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Dear Chump Lady, How do you ask for a divorce?

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divorcegodDear Chump Lady,

What you think is the right way to ask for a divorce? Does there have to be a justifiable reason beyond just feeling incompatible? Is it okay to ask for a divorce if you feel yourself falling in love with someone else?

I often wonder how things might have been different for me emotionally had my ex just been upfront about his unhappiness in the marriage. We went through 2+ years of marriage therapy, but he lied throughout and the cheating was happening simultaneously without my knowledge.

At the time, I felt our marriage (or really any marriage) could be saved if we both were willing to put in the effort. In hindsight though, despite the cheating, I do see that we were incompatible in many respects and I contributed to the prolonging because of my strong belief that marriage should be fixable (other than mental illness, violence or substance abuse), was best for our three young children, and should be forever.

I often think that I would have been just have devastated had he just said he wanted to end the marriage ahead of the cheating given my prior beliefs. He did in fact say this a couple of times during his cheating, but then would take it back. The cheating gave me a reason to feel the end of the marriage wasn’t my fault, whereas I would have taken it as my fault had he left prior to the cheating. I do believe though that all the lying did prolong this process, deeply affect my sense of trust, and tested my sanity.

Despite this, now I feel neither one of us was “at fault” for the marriage ending as we were inherently incompatible and even if he hadn’t cheated, we should not have stayed together. I didn’t have the vision to think that I could be happier with someone else (or on my own) or that my children would be okay or even better. Now that I am on the other side, I think it would have been a terrible tragedy to have stayed in that marriage feeling lonely, misunderstood, and unappreciated. We both enjoy very different activities, we have different values, and we don’t share a common vision for our future.

What are your thoughts on what is the best way to exit a marriage when you discover that you may have made a mistake or no longer fit together? Society seems to continue to see divorce as a failure when in fact there are many benefits and the hope to find a more suitable partner when you are at a stage where you know yourself better.

Thank you,

Happy Again

Dear Happy Again,

You raise an interesting issue. I think most chumps feel that we would have much rather our cheaters had given themselves an honest out than cheat on us. The issue gets muddled, however, with your question of who is at “fault” for a marriage ending. I think that creeps dangerously close to the blameshifting We All Brought Issues To the Marriage That Compelled the Cheater to Cheat narrative. Let’s untangle this.

There is a big difference between the upset of being romantically rejected and the upset of being chumped. Of course, both suck. And to be chumped is to be handed both shit sandwiches simultaneously — romantic rejection AND betrayal. Unfortunately, society conflates the two experiences into one experience and judges chumps for their grief.

Okay already! Get OVER IT. He chose someone else. It happens!

She doesn’t love you that way anymore. I guess you weren’t compatible. Stop hanging on! 

As if being chumped was an issue of sour grapes. Or we didn’t get asked to the prom. Like we lingered too long after the Loves Me timer went off, and it’s time to exit the stage already.

The grief and anger that comes from being chumped is about being deceived. It’s fury at the theft of our reality. At the humiliation and disrespect and endangerment. It’s horror at the wasted years and the sunk costs and the continued investment into what we thought was a secure, stable relationship. And chumps aren’t stupid to have assumed commitment — we were promised monogamy, either through marriage or mutual agreement.

Yes, it’s sad and terrible when a relationship ends. We grieve. But cheating is about NOT ending a relationship. To cheat is to eat cake — to perpetuate a situation of having BOTH the marriage and the fuckbuddy(s). Your husband let you go to marriage counseling for over two years, flailing about trying to find the cause of marital unhappiness and neglected to inform you of his cheating. TWO YEARS. He didn’t leave the marriage because it’s just so gosh darn hard to leave a marriage. He stuck around because of cake.

Anyone who is THAT miserable in a marriage can have an honest conversation, call a therapist, or call a divorce lawyer. He didn’t do those things — he cheated on you and feigned commitment — not just to you, but the fiction of “fixing” his marriage. Yes, you are fundamentally incompatible — he’s unethical and you aren’t.

What you think is the right way to ask for a divorce? Does there have to be a justifiable reason beyond just feeling incompatible?

Incompatible is such a useless term. Aren’t any two people incompatible at some level? I hate dry, ugly desert landscapes. My husband loves them. I love restaurants that serve locally sourced, artisanal root vegetables. He loves barbecue. When I wake up in the morning, I want to be left alone — at least until the coffee kicks in. My husband wakes up wanting to have intense philosophical discourses. Do we both want to smother the other with a pillow some days? Sure. But on the whole he’s awesome and I’m lucky to have him. I hope he feels the same — that my overall wonderfulness outweighs my more irritating qualities.

Most people set the bar for divorce pretty high — abuse, cheating, untreated mental illness, addiction. But think about it — those issues mean that your partner is not available for a relationship. Abusers don’t love you, they love power. Cheaters just love themselves (and purported fuckbuddies). Mental illness, if untreated, creates chaos. And addicts love substances. Bottles have no needs.

A penchant for artisanal root vegetables, on the other hand, is not a deal breaker. You can work around my beet love. If you want to divorce me because I like beets, okay. Then you’re probably pretty shallow. But I’d rather know this about you, because what if something really hard happens and you have no devotion to me? If you can’t handle BEETS for fuck’s sake, what about cancer? Please, leave already.

Happy Again — good people try and make relationships work. Wise people know if they have anything to work with. No one can hold up a relationship by themselves. I want to answer your question both ways — yes! divorce over any frivolous reason you want! and no! don’t divorce unless you have a damn good reason!

At the end of the day, if someone wants to divorce you? LET THEM. Anything else is the pick me dance, and I never want to love someone who doesn’t love me back ever again.

Is it okay to ask for a divorce if you feel yourself falling in love with someone else?

We don’t just “fall in love” with other people. You’re drinking the cheater Koolaid. To get to that point, you’ve made a thousand decisions to cross boundaries and “leave” your marriage. Attracted to other people? Sure. We aren’t dead. But in LOVE with a person? That’s intimacy. And if you have intimacy outside your marriage, then you’ve cheated, at least emotionally. But yes, ask for a divorce. The longer you eat cake, the worse of a cheater you are.

What are your thoughts on what is the best way to exit a marriage when you discover that you may have made a mistake or no longer fit together?

Exit honestly and with a fair or even generous settlement. (A nod to the fact that the break up was your idea.) If you don’t disrespect your partner with lies and infidelity, then I can believe in the conscious uncoupling that’s so in vogue these days. You can even stay friends in a superficial sort of way. (I mean, you just divorced me over root vegetables. If we’re not compatible for marriage, then why friendship? You didn’t cheat on me, but then again, neither did the kid who just bagged my groceries.)

Happy Again, the best way to exit — is to actually EXIT. Keeping the door open is cake. When you enter a new life, remember to shut the door behind you.

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  • ‘I never want to love someone who doesn’t love me back ever again’

    Can we hire a skywriter, already? 🙂

    • Love Luziana’s idea. There is ONE key phrase repeating in my head as I read this post: “It only takes ONE person to quit a partnership”…

      So cheating & lying & lying & lying & deliberately firebombing your marriage – just because you can – & you feel 100% entitled & that woefully selfish… has zero to do with incompatibility…

      It has everything to to with the CAKE-fueled inability to honor & respect your partner when you withdraw your commitment & “quit the partnership”.

  • This was a great post! I love the exploration of what’s actually a “gray area” (purported incompatibility) vs what isn’t (cheating).

    As time went on in my marriage, the differences between my ex and myself became more apparent. And when I left her for good, I (chumpily) attributed the decision to different life goals/incompatibility.

    Of course, as I grew a backbone again, I understood that I left her because she refused to stop cheating…that’s it. Any other differences (and they were relatively major, at the time), and I would have stayed and “made it work.”

    I do believe in incompatibility as a reason for divorce, if the differences are so great as to make you perpetually unhappy. But once infidelity enters the equation, incompatibility matters not at all until (if at all) the cheating stops.

  • Timely post and brilliant as usual. I am filing tomorrow even though I don’t want to really. I have not slept well for a few nights knowing this day will be here tomorrow. I have fear!
    My STBX cheated for four years with three others. (D-Day July 10th this year).
    I know it is the right choice but crikey it hurts.
    I’m just doing that thing that was mentioned a while back in posts ‘acting my way into thinking’.
    I was happy just over three months ago. Divorce is the hardest thing even if it is the right thing. Beating hope to death along with all the rest of your expected future really sucks.
    But thanks to all here and CL in particular I am VERY much in hope of MIGHTY and MEH.
    STBX doesn’t want the divorce either but for different, kind of cakey reasons.
    I very much liked the sound of ‘remember to shut the door behind you’. And I will.
    Thanks all. ❤️

    • Capricorn, I understand the anxiety you feel. I was anxious too. But, in the end, it was just a piece of paper. And, it didn’t take me long to feel good about me having been the one to take that step. I didn’t want a divorce either. But, I was able to see that my stbx would never value me the way I deserve to be valued.
      My advice is to be kind to yourself. If you need to mourn, do it. If you feel like celebrating, do that. Doing both, as weird as it sounds, makes a whole lot of sense.
      Sending peace to you.☮️

    • You are beating a false hope to death. The hope you have is that you can have a better life. And that is for sure not false hope.

      • That’s so true and I didn’t see it that way! It is false hope. That makes a difference actually to look at it that way.
        Thanks for that.

        • False hope = hopium. I was a major addict. I believed he would do the right thing and change his ways. I believed him when he said he loved me and would be faithful even though his actions over time consistently proved otherwise.

    • Best wishes to you. I know it is hard to end something that had such meaning and importance to you for so long. But when the other person obviously does not feel the same way, there is really nothing left to do but walk away and hope for new, more meaningful relationships (including with yourself) in the future. That bright future takes a while, but your journey towards it cannot even begin until you take the first scary step. And as for shutting the door, it reminds me of the expression “don’t let the door hit you on the way out!”

    • Capricorn, facing the fear and pain takes so much courage. I recall my adult child saying this was my new chapter.

      We leave behind the cowards who chose infidelity over a loving partner.

      My only regret was not making the first affair the deal breaker.

      • I agree DM,

        I should have left at first or second affairs discovery. There were multiple affairs, prostitutes in each of those discoveries. He was a master blameshifter, gaslighter, sad, convincing and apologetic sausage and I was a co dependent optimist believing I could save him and us.

        35 years, my cancer diagnosis in the same week as finding out two years of recent and multiple affairs finally gave me the clue by four wake up call and strength to kick him to the curb.

        I cannot believe I provided cake for so long. Being in love with the image can be a slow intoxicating death. I’m so grateful to finally be awake.

        Leaving a relationship honestly takes courage and honesty; both character qualities lacking in cheaters.

        FLY…first love yourself. Know your worth. Trust that they suck.

        Divorce looking like it could be finalized soon. Oh to be cheater free…

        Gaining my life back! Next up being cancer free.

      • Capricorn, (I am also a Capricorn! 🙂 )forcing ourselves to take care of ourselves is difficult when we are so used to considering our SO. The unfortunate reality is that our SO’s did not care about us in the same way. I know it is difficult, but you’ve already been given enough information to make the right decision. I’m glad you are sticking with it. I know that if you had things your way, your relationship would be wonderful with no infidelity to force you to exit the relationship. I’m sure we all wish it were this way, but reality is that his poor choices have led to you having to end it. I, like other chumps here so wish that I could have left after the first round of cheating. We live and learn. Know that now you have the rest of your life ahead of you and boy are you that much stronger now, should you ever encounter those that wish to deceive you. Best of luck in your difficult, but necessary journey into freedom.

        • Peakyblinders- “forcing ourselves to take care of ourselves is difficult when we are so used to considering our SO” is very very spot on. I am just beginning to see that I am actually spectacularly rubbish at thinking about myself. I did not realise it at all but since I discovered his cheating and he went back abroad to work I have had a really tough time not thinking about what he is going through, feeling guilty about ranting and raving at him on FaceTime, just getting him out of my head for a minute so I can focus on myself.
          At first when he had to go back to Asia to work I was horrified as how can you even begin to fix anything when he was 6000 miles away in the place where he had affairs? But gradually I have seen that I was lucky. He was out of my space which gave me time to think and consider without him there. I began to see how I deferred to him by habit, didn’t really consider myself first in anything. How difficult I find it to know who the heck I am or what I want. How afraid I am of just simple stuff.
          So now I can sort of see that I was happy before I found out but that the relationship was so lopsided I wonder how ‘happy’ I was. It’s all such new thinking it will take ages to sink in I guess.
          I do have hope that my future will be better for me. Sometimes I shy away from this thought as it seems to suggest the affairs were ‘useful’ in some way in highlighting unhealthy behaviour on my part. I think it means that I didn’t notice how controlling he was and how acquiescent I had become. The affairs were a symptom of his entitlement. Does this make them ‘useful?’
          I’m confusing myself!!

          • It happens over time. That is why you are unrecognizable to yourself at the end.
            Think of yourself as a bottle. You pour a bit of yourself out to make room for him and his needs. They are dense and sink to the bottom. This happens over and over again, until you are just a layer on the surface. The rest of you is filled up with his beliefs and ideas and wants and needs.
            The scariest part is emptying yourself of him – it is hard to know what to refill your bottle with.

            • Perfect analogy, Loiusville Flower. We can’t help to be kind to others, while neglecting ourselves. When something as horrifying as cheating slaps you across the face, it’s quite the rude awakening, but as you said, necessary to see that you deserve BETTER. It’s our “consolation prize” for the bullshit. Better days are ahead. It will be a long, bitter journey of self-discovery and also discovery of some of the depravity of humanity that exists. Now, you are armed with the truth. Consider yourself MIGHTY.

  • One issue I’ve really put a lot of thought into is “What is love, really?’. I think one problem I’ve had, along with the rest of society, is that no one, for the most part helps you figure out what love even is. Just about everything I figured was love I have found out was not.

    Society’s view of love covers many things; lust, obsession, limerence, excitement, and it’s just fucked up.

    My new definition of love is that you find someone and after you learn A LOT about them, you like and can tolerate what you learn. The good things are easy, but the bad things are where the truth lies. Liars, cheaters, theifs, and just plain bad people need to be eliminated from your life asap. That leaves the day to day things. Their personal habits. Their interests and how they spend their time. How much you enjoy them sexually. Their family. Anyone left after you shake all the losers out of the tree might be who you end up with. They may not. But you don’t follow your genitals to love, cause sex isn’t the most important thing.

    • I agree. I maintain that my definition of love and lateHs were very different. I believe that true love is a spring that flows from the Divine, from the God who created us. Real love does not require deception and selfishness and cruelty to be lived out. As part of my definition, I do not think there is any such thing as real love for a person you dont really know. If you dont know them then what youpercieve and react to is nothing more than a projection of your hopes onto someone else. I know he felt “something” and it was very real to him, but I think it was lust limerence and obsession.

      • Beautiful post, Unicorn No More.

        I agree that you can’t really love someone you don’t know. All the things you mentioned are just an extension of the cheater’s ego. They know the co cheaters aren’t the way they are perceiving them and they don’t really want a relation ship because they know that’s not the real person. I mean, seriously, Ms. Whore Perfection fucks married men, for gods sake.

        In my case ex wanted to fuck the whore but he didn’t want to deal with her on a full time basis, and I’m sure she didn’t want to deal with him on a full time basis either. Cheating is ideal for these people. They can claim love (I think ex had to do this cause he couldn’t admit to himself he was chasing a piece of ass), they can make “plans” to be together, and most importantly they can bitch about their spouses and feel superior without having to do one single, tiny thing about it. But, yes, it’s all an illusion that is enabled by the fact they never have to (and statistically almost never do) follow up on anything.

        • “ex wanted to fuck the whore but he didn’t want to deal with her on a full time basis, and I’m sure she didn’t want to deal with him on a full time basis either. Cheating is ideal for these people. They can claim love (I think ex had to do this cause he couldn’t admit to himself he was chasing a piece of ass), they can make “plans” to be together, and most importantly they can bitch about their spouses and feel superior without having to do one single, tiny thing about it”

          Every Word of This, TRUE!
          And gosh darn it when we divorce them and send their whole existence into a tail spin! I know its a huge injustice for those who have cheaters who have married APs but darn it I feel ripped off that Narkles the Clown hasn’t yet married the Flying Whore! To me those two narcs living with each other in perpetuity would be the best justice.

          • Agreed AoOK, so agreed.

            To hear the words “If anyone objects to this marriage between Narkles the Clown and the Flying Whore, let them speak now or forever hold their peace…”

            It has a nice ring to it, ya know, 🙂

            • SureChumped and AoOk…I guess I’m the lucky one among us! My ex-hole and his schmoopie – a stripper he met whilst she was atop a pole – DID get married. It’s legit now, y’all! I think there’s a joke somewhere in there about turning a whore into a housewife, but I don’t think I need to go there. Everyone reading this is already thinking it.

              I wrote a blog about what it would be like to observe a ceremony befitting this dignified, classy coupling. This is my ode to their unholy union. Spoiler alert: he uses a Funyun as a wedding ring.

              https://honeyandthehomewrecker.com/2016/06/15/homewreckerthe-unholy-union-part-5-3-of-3/

              • Honey, I saw pics of the flying whore on your site a while back. Glad your ex will have to look at that face every day. That’s enough punishment!

              • Hi Wife. I just spent a very pleasant hour on your blog. You are a wonderfully witty writer. I am sorry for what you have gone through, of course, but I sincerely hope that writing about it has been cathartic and restorative. Homewrecker has no chance going up against the likes of you!!! Best wishes and hugs to you and your children.

          • Cheating is sure a way to avoid intimacy. Cheaters are lying to their partners about the most intimate aspect of their relationship (as Sam Harris says, “to lie is to recoil from relationship”). And the cheater can avoid the day-to-day of living with the AP while lying to the AP about what goes on at home with the spouse.

        • “In my case ex wanted to fuck the whore but he didn’t want to deal with her on a full time basis, and I’m sure she didn’t want to deal with him on a full time basis either. Cheating is ideal for these people. They can claim love (I think ex had to do this cause he couldn’t admit to himself he was chasing a piece of ass), they can make “plans” to be together, and most importantly they can bitch about their spouses and feel superior without having to do one single, tiny thing about it. But, yes, it’s all an illusion that is enabled by the fact they never have to (and statistically almost never do) follow up on anything.”

          Yes, yes, yes, yes! This was exactly my narc ex’s case! He even muttered (after I turned him down the first time he wanted to come back) that now he had to go to her city just to get sex, and that it was never meant to be a long-term relationship. But 4 months prior he’d been crowing about being in love!!! And happily accepting that I’d kicked him out! He was off to a new and better life!

          Mostly it’s about the entitlement; he didn’t have to think about the long term, and how this might end (even for himself, never mind me or the kids), because hey, there are no consequences, right? He’s not actually making choices, right? He’s just doing what he wants to do when he wants to do it, and later if he wants to do something else (like have his family back), he’ll do that then!

  • As usual CL is spot on. I was in therapy with my cheater ex for years, he would give an oscar worthy performance every time about how I was the perfect wife and he wanted to be a good husband, all the while cheating in every form imaginable. Porn addiction, adult websites for sex hook ups, propositioning women he knew and the final death knoll a year long plus affair with coworker and I the dutiful wife had no idea. I remember looking back, how I would get up early make him breakfast before work, pack him a lunch including little notes of “I love you” packed inside only to find out later he was boinking his mistress at work in his car, her house, really anywhere they could find. He stole my reality, he removed my ability to make informed decisions about my life and made a fool of me our marriage. Even after divorce I let him convince me he was “changed” and loved only me only to find his proclivities had gotten worse and more lying and more cheating.

    Don’t confuse relationship “issues” with infidelity – it’s like comparing an apple and a nuclear bomb – the two things are worlds apart. Run for your life now.

    • Can we have this as a public service announcement, like, EVERYWHERE? “Don’t confuse relationship ‘issues’ with infidelity – it’s like comparing an apple and a nuclear bomb”

    • My stbx went to counseling with me for 2 years, also while cheating. In good faith, I sincerely participated: bared my soul, talked about my faults, took blame for “my part” of the breakdown of our marriage.
      After I found out about the continued affair, I went for an appointment alone with the therapist. I have to say, I was disappointed that she didn’t say ” Good job kicking him out! I was taken in too! Screw him!” She gave me this wishy-washy “if you feel that it is right for you” and “I can understand why you are hurt and frustrated.” Colossal waste of time and money.

      • Louisville, same here. And our therapist helped to weaponize him. Gave him more psycobabble to buttress his claim that he is a wounded warrior.

        I often wept in silent helplessness. Sometimes I sobbed. Having failed to elicit a response the first couple times the therapist tried, the therapist almost never turned to creep to ask him to respond. As in, do you see your wife’s pain? As in, Empathy 101? Creep acted like the stoic perseverer. The rational one. Or the “truly” wounded one, complete with halting, soft-spoken “reveals” or explosive two-sentence-only outrage. Almost every time, the therapist turned to me for a reaction. And I gave? Kindness, almost always.

        Talk about messing with a human being’s mind. I have a blistering letter prepared, in part because I recently found out that they had separate sessions about which I did not know. I know I’m not the one who should be embarrassed (creep should), but somehow I still feel humiliated. And that confuses me.

        What does not confuse me is that in addition to calculated cruelty for five years, gaslighting, and blame shifting, he cannily enlisted an expert to fortify his obscene sense of entitlement. They can both go to hell.

        • I’m thinking separate sessions without your knowledge is some kind of violation. You might look into reporting this person to the appropriate licensing agency.

          • I think you might be right. The problem is, I consented to separate sessions (dumb), and I think all the therapist said was, “From time to time I would like to meet with each of you separately. Is that okay with you?” You’ve given me an idea, but it’ll have to wait until I’m out of this hell, because I don’t trust therapist not to contact The Creep. My idea is that I’ll request any written waivers. Thanks, LAJ!

            • Warning to all chumps (and everyone else)–NEVER consent to separate marital counseling sessions. The risk of triangulation is too great, and the less-invested partner always has the edge (especially if they lack empathy or are proficient at lying). It takes an extremely astute MC therapist to detect the subtle undertones of a relationship, AND to confront those undertones. I would estimate that is about 5% of marriage counselors (and the U.S.’s premier marriage therapist is not one of them).

              • We alternated between meeting the therapist together and individually. However I only went to a few sessions because I could see very early on that the therapist was trying to minimize the cheating (Gottman method), and more importantly ex wasn’t putting forth any effort. Like with @ClaireS’s ex, it equipped him to more effectively for his Jedi mind tricks.

              • Maybe I am just a cynic, but paying someone to help “save” a marriage infected with a cheater seems absolutely crazy to me. I don’t mean to insult my fellow chumps, because I know you good-hearted people will do many things in an effort to make life better for everyone else before yourselves. It is an admirable quality. But seriously. Save your money for the divorce lawyer, because no counselor can make a cheater suddenly understand himself and want to change for your sake. And the conflict of interest is immense!!! The longer they keep you engaged with the fuckwit, the more they get paid!!! Okay, now I have just insulted both chumps and trained professionals who probably mean well. I must be having a bad day. (BUT DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY, CHUMPS!!!)

              • Completely agree, Dixie Chump. Not much point in MC with a cheater (as thousands here will attest). But I meant in any circumstance–don’t do separate sessions. Couples are in counseling as couples; that is the unit the MC should deal with.

            • Tempest–you ought to do a post on the pitfalls of marriage counseling. I never thought of the triangulation aspect. ARRGGHH.

              • “And our therapist helped to weaponize him. Gave him more psycobabble to buttress his claim that he is a wounded warrior.” ClaireS, excellent way of phrasing one of the major pitfalls of going to MC with a cheater–every new chump reading this thread should take heed of this warning as well as Tempest’s warning about the dangers of agreeing to separate MC sessions.

              • Oh yes! His last therapist wanted to talk to me about how I was making him feel “rejected” by attending my own support group. When I brought up an incident where he had risked my life, she said “well, he said it wasn’t dangerous”. At no time during the hour did she want to discuss his abuse and lying, the prostitutes in my bedroom or his 6 months of half-assed recovery. And she had a PhD! I never went back and immediately took steps to get him and his dysfunction out of my life permanently.

              • Geode–any therapist who tried to make you feel guilty for attending a support group is engaging in the same isolation techniques as our Cluster B spouses. NEVER is seeking better mental health or mindfulness a problem in a relationship, unless it’s a toxic relationship already.

          • Exact same thing for me. I authored a letter to psychologist board here in Australia regarding gross sense of betrayal after finding out about their private emails and sessions. Received a tepid response which left me even more enraged ☹️ No justice. To retain my sanity I have consciously decided to move on each day each step further away from that Clusterfuck of pain and treat this as a bad debt, a loss I will never recoup, but slowly, painfully recover from.

        • Same here. I have to admit I didn’t believe in counseling before, chose to have it after DDay, and was a model patient (? ), and it turned out counseling was even worse snake oil than I originally suspected. I paid a fortune to be abused by a pro on top of the traitor, the whore and the rest of the hyena pack (whore’s family).

          • I just do not understand a therapist, like the one we went to, advising to never visit the past offenses. I was made to feel that my rightful anger and pain over the cheating meant that I was in the wrong.
            Well, my XW was way more in the wrong than I ever was. Sounds childish,eh?
            I bet if I ever expressed it like that in one of the session, I’d be ridiculed as unevolved or something like that.
            I did not like the marriage counselor’s approach. I never really got to air my grievances, and cheating was a big one.
            In fact , I have never had a chance to really confront my first XW, as. much like the therapist, she would simply dismiss my grievances as being from long ago and point out how stuck I am.
            But, I am not really stuck. I have moved on. I have a good job and GF and life.
            has anyone else experienced this ( I bet many have) where the cheater never let’s you even address the cheating and looks to make you look bad if you try?
            I did write a letter to a friend, a guy I have met that went through this around the same time, where I described the abuse, the lying , the gaslighting etc. Then, I copied my XW on the e-mail. So, I did get a chance, although it was one sided , to let her know what I knew and how I felt she treated me.
            I heard nothing back for months until I got an e-mail saying that she had confessed everything, already and there was nothing left to say and she would not respond.
            But, here is the perplexing thing: she never confessed to anything. All I found out was through piecing together some evidence and there was a lot of speculation and deduction. Nothing from her giving any factual information.
            I wrote her back saying she had never disclosed the identities of the various men, the timing, the methods of subterfuge etc.
            Then, despite my pointing out that I had read one of her writings where she said she wanted to stop having sex with strangers, she denied any physical relationships.
            she came back with : there were inappropriate relationships where the chemistry became sexualized((WTF?))”
            No details, no identities-nothing.
            But, in her mind, she has been completely forthcoming with factual info. It is delusional, but I have no hope that she will ever let go of the delusion and am at peace with that.

            • And that is Step One in healing–fully comprehending that you will never get truth, justice, fairness, or compassion for your pain from a cheater.

              • Then I am a very , very long way from heali g. I Without justice or retribution I don’t see I can accept what has happened. I got abuse in counseling, abuse from the traitor which I consider to be similar to using a date rape drug, the lies being the drug. The law gives us some recourse in cases of fraud in business and finance but none in the most important aspect of our lives.
                I know victims of crimes often say the same thing and they suffer the loss of loved ones sometimes without ever getting justice so I sound like a whinging bore with my cheating and gaslighting issue, but this is how I feel. I got no remorse from the traitor, not even fake remorse. He is triumphant and determined to punish me for what he has done all along.
                The only comfort I get is talking to other chumps, they get it straight away.

        • Weaponized. Exactly!!
          I dealt with having stuff thrown in my face for a long time.
          Example: me saying “yes, I find other men attractive” morphed into “you wanted to have an affair, you just weren’t as honest with yourself as I was” and “I know you were thinking about having an affair when you started wearing more make-up,” and other insane stuff.

    • “He stole my reality, he removed my ability to make informed decisions about my life and made a fool of me our marriage” You said that beautifully. Such a bitter pill to swallow and so not fair. The comparison with the apple and the nuclear bomb… Dead on!

    • WOW, this was exactly my story but in a slightly different order (the discovery of the coworker came first), and he hasn’t contacted me since I left. But all the rest; the lunch notes, the stolen reality, not being able to make decisions based on the truth … so sad! I often wonder how he felt when he found those notes or read my texts, or visited my family. Probably just shut down his feelings because otherwise he’d have to face the fact that he was being a Grade A Asshole.

      I’m so sorry for everyone here who’s had to deal with their own GAAs over the years. It’s almost like a sound you make when you think about all of the crap you put up with. “GAA! What was I THINKING?!”

  • There is a strange myth of the “exit affair” that cheaters tend to bring up post-factum. Mine tried to explain 20+ years of cheating as one long “exit affair.” When I asked him why he didn’t just exit, period, at any point in those two decades, he got all flustered and confused. It turns out that he didn’t want out — he wanted in-and-out (excuse the bad double entendre). He only started saying that he wanted out once I told him I was divorcing him.

    So, yes, this: “Cheating is about NOT ending a relationship. To cheat is to eat cake — to perpetuate a situation of having BOTH the marriage and the fuckbuddy(s)…He didn’t leave the marriage because it’s just so gosh darn hard to leave a marriage. He stuck around because of cake. Anyone who is THAT miserable in a marriage can have an honest conversation, call a therapist, or call a divorce lawyer. He didn’t do those things — he cheated on you and feigned commitment — not just to you, but the fiction of ‘fixing’ his marriage. Yes, you are fundamentally incompatible — he’s unethical and you aren’t.”

    • Mine claimed an “exit” affair as well. But, no exit. He lied and lied and lied some more, to stay in the marriage, and I’m presuming to avoid having an honest relationship with the whore he was “madly in love with”. Hmmm. I don’t know if he was fooling me, the whore, or himself the most. Cause these facts most certainly do not compute. Chump Lady is right. Once the cake factory is in production, these losers cheaters will do any amount of lying to keep the cake coming.

      I read somewhere that any one caught cheating and having an ” exit affair ” will leave within the first three weeks. I also read about 3% of cheaters leave for the new ass. And I’d bet about 90% of those are shown the door. Not leaving voluntarily.

      • I think mine was an exit affair. At least, once I discovered the affair. I honestly have no idea how long he would have continued behind my back. I discovered Feb. 5, he was out of the house at my insistence by Feb. 28. I know logically that I have done a lot of things “right” with my boundaries – I don’t take shit from him at all and immediately went as no contact as possible with a 6 year old. But damn. It still hurts so much. I keep waiting for meh. To some extent, I don’t care about him anymore – he is clearly not the person I thought he was. But my heart hurts. And it feels like it won’t ever stop hurting.

        • Blonde barrister, I think for it to be an exit affair, they leave without any prompting. Yours left “at your insistence”. There’s a big difference. Plus, from what I’ve seen, things move quickly with the Exit Affair. Months, not years. They truly don’t want to be married anymore, and take action for that to happen. Cake eaters hang around basking in their glory of being the center of multiple women’s lives for as long as possible.. It’s easiest for them. Life on their own is hard….. Plus, if they leave they can no longer avoid being with schmoopie full time with out causing problems for themselves.

          One of my brothers , his wife packed her things while he was at work, and left him a note that she was gone. I don’t know if she was cheating but I’d bet she was. She definitely made the Exit part of it. I think that’s pretty rare. They usually do not want to go and must be forced out.

          • Yes, mine moved in with his most recent AP and acts like they are deeply in love. But she wasn’t the first, and he never wanted to leave me or divorce and repeatedly begged me to take him back and promised he’d be faithful. He would still be two-timing me today if I hadn’t kicked him out. Cakeeater. He sucks!

        • Blondebarrister–I’m sorry for what you went through. You still have a lot of pain, anger, and grieving ahead of you. Two years of as much NC as you can muster with co-parenting, and you feel the weight lift off your heart. There will be periods of peace, and even happiness, during those two years. But full healing–2 to 3 years minimum.

      • I actually think that it could only be called an exit affair it the cheater TAKES THE INITIATIVE to leave VERY SOON after starting the affair, often even before actually having sex with the other person and certainly before their partner figures out they’re cheating. This is what a person would do who truly was unhappy in their marriage, and just didn’t realize they needed to leave or didn’t have the impetus to leave, until they met someone they felt attracted to.

        An exit affair is stilly pretty bad, but any other conditions, it’s cake eating, and that’s much worse, in my mind, because of the mind fuckery it involves, and the on-going theft of our time and investment.

  • The most horrific ending to my marriage was figuring out that the “relaxation fantasy” my ex had picked during couples Tx (hang gliding) included the OW. (He had stolen community money, convinced “friends” I was financially abusing him BC I had told him to get a job, and had bought a hang glider for himself and another woman and was hiding it at the “friends” house). What was most atrocious was the fact that the “couples therapist” supported him in this process when it came out. Last year I had to threaten to take her to the ethics board BC she works out with my ex and his 4th wife (but not the OW) and she thought this was A OK! So you have to be clear that the therapist holds your values and beliefs as well BC otherwise it’s sort of a fuck job on the marriage saving.

    #lettingthemhangout
    #triangulationisfun

  • Not that in my case there was a marriage to be saved. In my case it’s a straight up con job. He fuckbuddies around on wife #4 (BC that’s stable) while letting her take care of the 4 kids and him financially and through care giving. My two kids are only over there 30% of the time. Thank God for that. I wish they were over there less BC he’s such a loser.

    Folks….never ever ignore the red flags. Really ….if you’re wife #3 and they are in their 30’s….if they can’t hold a job.. .of they have a restraining order against them….run …run very far away.

    • Yes LD! Don’t ignore that red flag if you are fortunate enough to see it. Dr. Crazy lied about how many times he’d been married to both me and his wife before me. He knew I wouldn’t have given him more than that first 2 hour telephone conversation if he’d been honest. I learned too late that he’d had 4 failed marriages and one failed engagement. All 6 of us were the ones to dump him but only after years of gaslighting, abuse and the Cluster B mindfu— control tactics in addition to his cheating.

  • I have considered this a great deal over the 11 years since I got the “I don’t love you, never did, I’m divorcing you because you are a terrible wife (and Im lying about not having a girlfriend)” speech.

    I think the verb “ask” is poorly placed…I dont think you ask for a divorce, I think you inform about a divorce. Asking presumes that there is an opportunity for the other party to refuse and life just goes swimmingly along from there.

    It would have hurt no matter how he said it, but I have realized that what I would have done vest with would have been something like this:

    “UNM, I need to tell you that I have decided to leave this marriage. I know I promised otherwise and Im sure this will hurt you but I need for you to know that the decision has been made and I am unwilling to reconsider. You are a decent person, a committed spouse and a wonderful mother. Please don’t take my decision as an indicator that you are an unworthy person, but I have come to this place on my own and in order to be true to my intentions, we need to begin the process of divorce. Please know I will be fair to you and will not treat you with treachery in the business of handling this difficulty”

    For me, getting the “Im divorcing you because you suck” meant that if I no longer “sucked” according to him that our family could be saved. Cue “pick me dance”. I needed to know that we were already past that.

    • Then he would have needed to pack his shit and left asap and told the kids the truth. It would have sucked and I wouldhave been crushed but if he had had a modicum of decency or integrity, I am almost sure I wouldnt be here tapping away talking about it 11 years later. His method left horrible damage and it was because he was a selfish cake eater asshole.

    • This type of honesty is all any of us would have asked for, would have hurt like hell but probably wouldn’t have given me PTSD I’m struggling with now and would have let me truly move on with my life. Instead they lie, subvert, manipulate – the mental mindfuck they do on us all is what devastates us and makes it so difficult to move on because that hanging chad of hope just lingers because WE are decent people and can’t imagine doing these things.

    • I was going to make this exact point @unicornomore (so glad I read the responses today so I didn’t look silly)

      Had he been a decent person Narkles the Clown would have stated his unhappiness and informed me of the problem them gone about fixing it one way or another, but he liked the cake (hence why the Flying Whore hasn’t left the rich hubby for him.)

      I didn’t ask for a divorce. I gave him 24 hours to tell me everything or I was going to divorce him. He decided not to be honest. So I told him I was divorcing him.

    • Agree–inform the other person you are done. Mine assumed we would “make a joint decision.” Nope. There was no joint decision about your multi-month affair with gradwhore (and all the others who came after her). *I* decided to file (and texted him I had done so from the courthouse after it was a fait accompli, so that he couldn’t talk me out of it).

      • Doesn’t it feel great to exercise your power? Especially after bending over backwards FOREVER to cater to the King (or Queen). I had had enough, and moved out to Mom’s house. He wouldn’t give up Pill Junkie, she was so special and so delicate, so I let him know that was the end, left, lawyered up, and filed.
        I love two things CL said: Abusers don’t love you, they love power. And, cheaters aren’t available for a relationship. Both of these add up to more years of the Chump investing, and the cheater sneaking around and then smirking at you.
        I don’t miss any of that one bit!
        Oh, it feels good to make good decisions to guide my life now, and not have to have a Nutbag derailing everything with his agenda! I know I can put together plans, and they actually come true.
        Great reply today, CL!

        • Free, ^^^this^^^. Yep, it is great to be able to live my life for a change. Yep, make plans, then follow through, dreams for the future. I missed all of that when I was with skankboy!

  • Would I have been heartbroken if my wife just divorced me straight up before the affair? Absolutely. I’m sure I would have been very upset and depressed for a while. I’m sure I would have been angry. But I would have eventually gotten over it. And maybe we could have had at least some type of friendship over time – we do have young children together and we’ll have to deal with each other on some level until they are older.

    But with all of the lying, gas lighting, hiding money, deception, disrespect, and absolute humiliation she put me through with the affair – how can you ever trust or have any kind of friendship with somebody like that? She literally just kept me around to use me. Just to look at somebody and know that she had to really work at deceiving me and flat didn’t give a shit about the consequences to me, the kids, the OM’s wife, or anyone else – that’s just not something you ever forget. There will never be any chance at a future friendship between us.

    Just divorce me honestly, and THEN go find somebody (hopefully not married) to live your “authentic” life. Why is this such a difficult concept for people?

    • Same BS I dealt with. She lied and deceived me until she was emotionally ready to move on. Then she had another one lined up for when the divorce was underway. Lied to me for years! And in that time frame only I was working. Bought a new car for her and remodeled the house. Never any indication she was unhappy and thought of leaving. Just slept around to see if life without the reliable one was what she wanted. Still paying for the crap today. Pay child support for a kid that lives with me 90% of the time. So I get to keep supporting her and drug addict boyfriend. Cheaters just SUCK!

      • lostntx, If the kid is living with you for 90% of time, you should have your attorney file a motion for decreasing the child support. You will have a very compelling case!

      • They truly do, LostnTx. Lying and deceiving until they feel in a better place and have at least one other option lined up. All the better to blindside us and feel the emotional rush of knowing they pulled another one over on us. Ah, the power. Let us all trust that they suck.

      • It sucks, for sure, Lostntx, but keep your eyes on the prize–children who see your value and integrity. That is priceless.

    • I understand now that this is the fundamental difference between me and the traitor and it boils down to character. He has never been out of a relationship since his first marriage. Can’t be alone with himself without cake but in fact is always alone and malcontent no matter what or who is around him. No personality, just a series of costumes he puts on to become a different character, like one 30 year round of fancy dress parties. He is also fascinated by comic book superheroes. Must think he can be Superman then Spiderman, then whatever. Throws his toys out of the cot every few years. The women? We’re just part of the outfits.
      So, he tries on the new costume and accessories while he still has the old one. Can’t be without a costume for a second, afraid of being naked. Could never split and stand on his own two feet.

      • I must add when I met him he and the whore had split up 6 months prior, he was living alone and looking for a new relationship. But in hindsight, he lived a street away from her, then ‘swapped’ their son every day and he was very connected to her family. I took it as a good sign that it was an amicable split between decent people, everything above board. I was completely wrong. He had no friends after 10 years in the same city, only her and her hyena pack. Within 4 months of us becoming boyfriend / girlfriend he moved himself into my home after staying there for a week with his kids from first marriage for the school holidays because his place was just a cabin. My fault, I was uncomfortable with it but didn’t stand my ground. I wanted to be wanted and let wanting my lifestyle stand in for wanting me.

      • Yes!! Deadfool was exactly the same. And wanted to be a superhero in the mundane as well. Always changing a tire or bringing money to this whore or that. Several emotional affairs at once, always looking to be bolstered by their hero worship. #GAA

        • The traitor was very chivalrous to me at first, and always like this to strangers, and the whore. But with a couple of years he completely turned on me, but was still a knight, a superhero, to everyone else.

  • For many people here, this passage here is all we need to know: “Most people set the bar for divorce pretty high — abuse, cheating, untreated mental illness, addiction. But think about it — those issues mean that your partner is not available for a relationship. Abusers don’t love you, they love power. Cheaters just love themselves (and purported fuckbuddies). Mental illness, if untreated, creates chaos. And addicts love substances. Bottles have no needs.”

    And that’s what should be in the forefront of a chump’s mind. Is this person available for a relationship?
    1. Active cheater? No.
    2. Cheater who says “sorry” but nothing else changes? No. Because the cheating itself is only the over sign of unavailability. In order to cheat, the cheater has had to check out emotionally. Emotional growth doesn’t happen as a result of getting caught.
    3. Cheater who says “sorry” and seems to be more “checked in”? It’s not the superficial changes in behavior that matter. So what if the cheater starts hanging around the house and lovebombing? So what if the cheater goes to marriage counseling? As CL says, cheating involves thousands of small decisions–to flirt, to send a text, to make a connection with someone, to send another text, to call, to meet for lunch. And those decisions play out for weeks, months, years. And the biggest decision is to keep the chump in the dark. To play a game with all the advantages on the cheater side. And why? As CL says, “To cheat is to eat cake — to perpetuate a situation of having BOTH the marriage and the fuckbuddy(s).”

    So what would a cheater do upon getting caught? Secure the marriage so as to secure the cake. The cheater wants the marriage and the AP(s). So in a sense, the obvious play for any cheater is “sorry.” Is to tell the AP “We have to be more careful.” “I have to spend more time at home.” “It’s just till the kids graduate/Susie’s wedding/someone’s cancer is cured/I get promoted…”.

    Cheaters who truly want to save their marriages need to be in individual therapy working on their own cake-loving personality disorders. And until they solve their own problems, like addicts, they aren’t available for relationships. And if chumps settle for that (raising my hand, having lived with an addict for years), you are settling for less than what any person who is available for love and commitment deserves.

    • I just copied this post and pasted it into my how-to-stay-sane folder. I have no doubt I’m out of here. It’s just that the narrative, the tactics, often don’t make sense. Per usual, you just laid it out very clearly.

      Mine is #3 on steroids. He’s in IC while I pretend to reconcile, and not even close to what you point out would be sensible therapy, at the least (i.e. to address his serious disorders, character, personality, or otherwise). He’s the best manipulator I’ve ever seen, and unlike most dark Triad characters, has been in IC before — for two years.

      He kept insisting on talking to my therapist. I finally relented, just to seem cooperative. I warned her — and to her credit, she admits she felt the urge to empathize, even though SHE told me, early on, that he was severely disordered. This level of sophistication in a covert abuser is beyond dangerous. I now understand he’s capable of anything, and it does not help that he has been obsessed with me for 25 years, though we’ve only been together for 11. After I read your post, I realized (little slow on the uptake, still pretty dazed), that he was “just” a particularly insidious example of a predictable pattern. THAT helps. I appreciate it.

    • Excellent, LAJ. I would add that emotional abuse itself is grounds for leaving. As pointed out in the first set of posts, don’t stay with someone who acts like they don’t want to be with you. Life’s short, and there are higher quality people or more compatible people (or cats/dogs) in whom you can invest.

      • In my own marriage, I had 2 or 3 reasons for leaving. Substance abuse, emotional abuse, and “acts like he doesn’t want to be with me.” Until I mentioned divorce, then he pulls out the counseling card. Ah, no. Not unless you get sober, dude.

    • Another masterpiece, LAJ. Worthy of rereading over and over. #2 is really hitting home today. Unavailable for relationship. So true.

  • Thank you for examining this difficult topic. I know I would not have been amenable to divorce before the cheating because of my personal beliefs in the sanctity of marriage and lifelong vows.

    However, he did not want out of the marriage. He was content to enjoy the comfort and status of family man while getting his licentious desires fulfilled by other women. He wanted new and numerous adoring women. That’s not right. He pledged faithfulness to me.

    He cried and said he never thought I’d file. He didn’t think There would be consequences. Now he’s created the story that he left me for her, and they will live happily ever after. In reality, she was the only one who would continue a relationship even after meeting me. They both have no morals and are emotionally bankrupt, but apparently he is happy now.

    I still can’t believe he has chosen to put another person over his children though. He has discarded his own flesh and blood. We had a great marriage for a long time, but now I do not even know him. I know he is a person I would never become involved with now, and he is definitely not my friend.

    I will never understand his choices.

    • He is happy and chose her over your children because OW prevents him from being utterly, completely alone and unsheltered. To be kicked to the curb by everyone who knows him … can you imagine? He is grateful that he can hide what an asshole he is by pretending that he left you for her. He is not fooling as many people as he thinks. And his gratitude will be fleeting, given his entitled nature. Which doesn’t bode well for OW, now does it.

      • +1. ” And his gratitude will be fleeting, given his entitled nature. Which doesn’t bode well for OW, now does it.” That last sentence especially – 8 words scathing perspective and perfection.

    • + 1
      When STBX was caught he did not want out of the marriage.

      He was content to enjoy the comfort and status of family man while fucking his current whore.

      She knew all about me, including that we were still intimate, loved eachother, and our small children were devastated and despise both of them

      He didn’t think There would be consequences.

      He “only wanted to see AP openly” but “the marriage isnt over” and said he didn’t want an open marriage- huh?!

      “I still can’t believe he has chosen to put another person over his children though. He has discarded his own flesh and blood. We had a great marriage for a long time, but now I do not even know him. I know he is a person I would never become involved with now, and he is definitely not my friend.” THIS THIS THIS THIS

  • A lot of people equate the pain of being cheated on in a marriage to finding out your boyfriend was making out with Annie at the frat party.
    Its not the sex, its not the leaving (although both of these hurt like a mother fucker) it’s the lying and the mind games and the manipulation. The sex i could get over. The way he tore me down to justify his affair destroyed me.

    Or would have if I hadn’t found chump lady a few days after dday.

    • and the emotional abuse inherent in the devalue during their affair. The hardest thing to deal with is contempt from other people, and cheaters show chumps utter contempt.

      • So true, Tempest!!!! The contempt is the worst because they have suddenly turned against you and have decided that you are no longer valuable and before you find out about an OW, it’s so hard to understand why. It always felt like a brick wall was suddenly put up between us and he put it there. Those feelings were the worst and I never want to feel that way again.

      • The devaluation was torture…….I had enough of that. I was mentally lining my ducks up to leave, then BOOM…..Dday…tossed his ass out that very day. I promised myself I will NEVER allow that again in my life in ANY relationship.

      • Oh god yes. We used to take walks, or drives or just doing errands. We used to talk and laugh. The last six months or so of our marriage, it was me talking to fill the void. He would stare ahead, saying nothing, contributing nothing. Then suddenly when I was in mid sentence he would start talking about something utterly random and not connected to anything I had been saying. But I was to jump to attention and interact. Until he stopped talking, started staring and leaving me feeling like nothing.

        That is what I cannot forgive him for.

  • Many chumps believe in taking responsibility for the marital issues. The truth is the cheater is often moving the goalposts of complaints to justify the affair and the cheating behaviors.

    I spent years pretzeling, trying to make things fit his complaints. Made the children ignore his bad behaviors, refereed his arguments. I made major overhauls to budgeting and family spending, “name calling” (his words, I find that he didn’t mind the name calling as much as being CALLED OUT on his foolish behaviors.) – Boo hoo! You called me a fool. Well, YOU are the one who broke xmas bulbs by throwing them, slamming them around. Should we all just grin and tell you what a rock star you are all the time??? Fool.

    Guess what? All my changes were not good enough, they were never going to be good enough and everything was going to be Magnito’s fault in the end, anyway.

    My case was so extreme, it has become laughable now. I have heard at least ONE DOZEN different reasons the marriage ended. Every one of them “Mr. Has the Sads” is the poor victim, Magneto is the villain…. every one.

    • Yes, I am the villain too. Because he stole the kids Christmas chocolates one year, his brothers’ Christmas chocolates another, and I made him go and buy replacements and called him a greedy pig. Because I took care of the preparations, the shops are 50kms away and he sabotaged everything. Because I bought him an electric lawnmower not a petrol one, because he pontificated about climate change and fossil fuels but wanted to burn them just for a bloody lawn. Because I didn’t want to have sex several times a day with fibroids and constant pain. A few times a week was what I could cope with. Because I wouldn’t do anal and said so at the start and told him if it’s an incompatibility then don’t get into a relationship with me. Because I wouldn’t let him drug me so I would be paralytic and let him do it to me. Because I raised his kids well, did homework, helped with CVs, got them jobs. Because I made home cooked meals on a woodstove that also heated the house for all of us, and asked for firewood. Didn’t get it so demanded it for my birthdays and still didn’t get it. Yes life was so awful with me that he couldn’t leave. Had to have an exit affair with his ex probably for the whole nine years. I was just too bloody evil with my six miscarriages and surgeries. I was so evil they left their child with me while fucking each other.

  • My first LTR of 12 years ended because he changed his mind about wanting kids and started having feelings for someone. The difference is that he didn’t try to stay with me. I gave him a month to decide if he really wanted children, he did, he moved out. He didn’t try to get any assets, he didn’t fuck with my head. He didn’t mean to harm me. It hurt, but within a few months I realized we really had grown apart. I had changed and grown while he was still trying to be a rock star. He liked being around people all the time and I did not. Many reasons. I realized I did still love him, like a brother. The annoying one, LOL. We remained friends after the breakup. I’m still friends with his sister, I loved his Mom with all my heart and we were close until she died. You can separate amicably if you are not treated like shit.

    • Exactly! I am friends with nearly all my exes to a certain extent. I have been to their weddings, met their children, taken their moms to lunch while they are in town and enjoyed the stories of their lives from afar while meeting up at parties or group lunches or other social events where we happen to see each other out with our families. I truly enjoy the happiness and triumphs of their lives. They are good people who were either wrong time, wrong place, or wrong future goals for me. Looking at this big picture helped me understand that I was not the one with the problems in my relationship with Narkles the Clown. It’s a clear case of “one of these things was not like the others.” Once I stood back and looked at the variable, it made things easier to see.

    • Hey, even my XH the substance abuser (who did in fact treat me like shit) was a peach in the divorce. He knew he had messed it up. He knew I would be fair, and I knew the same thing about him. It was painful, and we still have a very asymmetrical relationship, as we always did. But we were able to preserve the best of what we had.

  • I am so thankful for this, it puts into very eloquent words everything I have ever wanted to say.
    Like many here we married in our twenties. Are we the same people we were then? Nope. Do people grow older and discover that they are different people with different interests or visions for their future? Yep.
    There are a few things that I know. The first, he wanted me to have 100% interest and every single thing he loved, but never showed 1% interest in anything I ever liked. He wanted me to know and love ALL of the things about him that I didn’t necessarily find interesting. I may not have found them interesting, they may not of been my cup of tea, but at least I tried. I know now, that he didn’t know me at all. He was never interested in knowing me or loving me the way I deserve, or he would’ve shown some interest in the things I like.
    Did we grow into different people over the years? Should we have gotten divorced even if he hadn’t been cheating? Absolutely! But that does not make cheating okay.
    My ex husband was into magic the gathering. He would go all over the country playing these magic card tournaments. Did I want to don a wizard costume and go? No. Did I understand his love of it? No, but I embraced it. Did it cost us thousands of dollars to send him to these tournaments ( probably because he was bringing her too) ? Yep! Did I ever complain that we hardly ever took family vacations because our money was always tied up in what HE wanted? No. I wanted him to be happy, and if I’m being honest, I thought it we keep him from cheating again if he had a hobby. The hobbies were tournament salt water fishing, tournament magic cards, tournament poker….he had a bunch of things that cost thousands and didn’t keep him faithful.
    Cake, Cake, Cake!!!
    He had a million chances to just tell me he was unhappy and go, or tell me he was unhappy and fix us, he didn’t. There was no chance of fixing us when he was certain the defect was just me.
    Now the story he tells is that we just grew apart. That he and the affair partner are destiny….like cheating on your invested partner is okay if you both recognize their are cracks in the relationship. There are cracks in the relationship because he likes to dress like a wizard on the weekends, and I found a love for making cheese or shopping for antiques. I didn’t fuck 4 different people over a 15 year period because you don’t like making cheese.
    These assholes just suck.

    • Why would he go? What a life he had with you–he could pursue exotic expensive hobbies while you stayed home with the kids. He could count on you to make all the effort possible to make his life happy and pleasant and full of cake. While he did…nothing that didn’t make his life happy and pleasant and full of cake. My guess is that he didn’t experience you as a “defect” as all–he just uses that to justify repaying your 100% commitment with infidelity.

  • Assuming there wasn’t any cheating……and our spouses came to us and told us they were unhappy and wanted a divorce, of course we would be devastated.

    But I am a firm believer that it was their cheating that caused them to be *so* unhappy towards us in the first place. Their unhappiness suddenly appeared as their cheating was exposed. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

    The cheaters needed to justify why they made a choice to not want to love us and stay in the marriage anymore. “Unhappiness” or “irreconcilable differences” on their part is as vague of an answer that the disordered can muster up. They justified it by demonizing then discarding us and putting their illusion (or delusion) on a pedestal.

    The main reason that I truly believe this is how many people do you really know – seriously – that are divorced because they were unhappy an no cheating was involved? Not including abusive marriages, I can honestly say that I know less than 3 out of hundreds. And if you know more, it is very probable that the cheating was never discovered.

    • 100% this.

      The time leading up to dday, Fucktard was getting increasingly critical of everything I did. I couldn’t win, he stacked the deck against me. Everything about me was wrong, boring. I could tell he was measuring me against someone else, and I came out short.

      He did this to prove in his mind that he was so unhappy, that he was right to be with CFMD. Tore me down to build his case for the affair.

      Sex I can forgive. The cruelty he has shown me before and during our divorce I can never understand or forgive.

      • “Sex I can forgive. The cruelty he has shown me before and during our divorce I can never understand or forgive.”

        I am genuinely surprised that even after I learned that he was a serial cheater that the crazy monkey sex is not the thing that bothers me. It was that his behavior led him to be cruel to me. He was assbastard mean.

    • My ex continues to claim that he was SO unhappy, and that’s why he cheated. This explanation is SO incomplete. Here’s how I understand it;

      – our relationship was only so-so, primarily because he was so selfish, uncaring, and crabby. I still treated him quite well all along, but gradually became less tolerant, then gave him an ultimatum about the crabbiness about 8 months before he started Affair #2. He actually stepped up, started treating the kids and I better, and our relationship started to really improve, as did his relationship with the kids. We all noticed it and told him so, and showed him tons of appreciation for his efforts. (He later admitted that his negative attitudes hadn’t changed one bit, he was just biting his tongue on his crabby and mean behaviours and comments.)

      – our sex life had also gotten so-so (although still very active; he was too big a moron to know that having sex almost every day after 14 years meant he was LUCKY!), for the same reasons. And like the relationship, our sex life was getting significantly better over the few months before Affair #2. It’s SO much easier to have good sex in a better relationship, with someone who is treating you OK.

      – he was out of town for work 4 days a week, knowing that would last for months, at the time he decided to accept Slunty’s offers. So he had no one to help him manage his stress (normally me, of course), no one to sleep beside (and he HATES sleeping alone), no one to have sex with so often, for those 4 days/3 nights each week. I’m betting he really really couldn’t manage being alone that much, and he made zero effort to stay connected to me in any way. So I’m sure he was unhappy at that point – because of his own choices.

      But in the end, what matters is that he made ZERO effort to make our relationship work, he had ZERO concern for my happiness or that of his children, and he made ZERO effort to communicate with me about his ‘unhappiness’ before deciding it justified his fucking around. AND this was the exact same sequence that had led to his first affair, 6 years prior, which he had of course promised would never ever happen again. He’d promised that if he were ever that ‘unhappy’ again, he would leave me before screwing somebody else. (He ‘forgot’ about that promise, how handy!)

      And the saddest part of all is that I didn’t really realize how very unhappy I was with him (I knew I wasn’t happy happy, but figured that with the improvements after my ultimatum, we were perhaps on the path to being happy together, at least….) until after the dust settled from Affair #2/my kicking him out. I am SO MUCH happier without him around. That is very sad indeed. Sadder still is that the kids are happier too.

      And him? I don’t think he’s ever been happy in his life, not for more than a couple of months of heady euphoria in a new job or a new relationship. The man doesn’t know how to be happy, and because his unhappiness is ALWAYS someone else’s fault, he never will. Pathetic.

    • SureChumpedALot – you are 100% right about how few couples EVER end a marriage without 1 partner cheating. “Unresovable Differences” or “We Grew Apart” & all similar weeny & passive language is a huge euphemism for: 1 partner cheated & bailed or forced the other partner to pull the trigger.

      These wimpy euphemisms are what children eventually figure out too – especially if the chumped parent is loving enough & brave enough to try to speak up & talk to kids about what it means to cheat & be cheated on in a marriage. Thereby helping their children learn the MOST important principles of integrity & reciprocity & respect & what real love is… in their own relationships.

    • I completely agree, SureChumpedaLot. “I was unhappy” is the post-hoc explanation cheaters use to try and justify their infidelity. They know society frowns on cheating, and they are strongly motivated toward impression management. Since all couples have some issues, some people will nod, “Ah, yes, marital problems made you susceptible to someone else’s advances. You shouldn’t have done it, but it is understandable.”

      Cheaters bank on that reaction; if they can show “it wasn’t 100% my fault,” or convince even 25% of people that their explanation is valid, they are one leg up in impression management over admitting they just have crappy characters, zero loyalty, and poor impulse control.

      • Awesome Tempest. You summed it up very well.

        “Ah, yes, marital problems made you susceptible to someone else’s advances. You shouldn’t have done it, but it is understandable.”

        It’s amazing when some novices (including some therapists) don’t lead with “poor impulsivity” over being “susceptible to someone else’s advances”.Poor impulses aren’t even mentioned in their sentence/s. These “novices (including some therapists)” have their blinders on and refuse to take them off. Usually because of their very own ignorance. The only thing cheaters are “susceptible” to is their self created entitlement because of their lack of impulse control.

        • This is why I keep coming here! This post today is exactly what I needed to read.
          I am one that firmly believes that we had a pretty darn good marriage until the ho showed up and he became enamored.
          He never even mentioned he was unhappy during his time with her – 3 yrs – since I never caught on.
          As soon as I did, that’s when I got “we’ve had problems for years, Shechump’.
          Well, news to me.

          I woke up this morning firmly believed he regretted his decision, for some reason.
          Probably because I missed his companionship.
          Now, I’m just over thinking about THAT!

          Chump Dart please.

      • So true!!!! It’s amazing how they are all the same. Once I accused him of cheating, suddenly he hadn’t been happy for a long time. Suddenly we were just too different. Before my accusation, everything was peachy. We would have drifted along (with him cheating and eating cake) forever if my gut hadn’t finally woken me up.

  • The thing that angered and confused me for so long was, if he wanted out of the marriage why not just say, “Hey, I want to fuck this 28-year-old now because I’m just shallow enough to think that this is a real relationship.” You can bet me knowing up front that he was no longer committed to the marriage and was willing to replace me with someone else would have been a sure fire way to get me to want the divorce he claimed he wanted so badly. And wouldn’t that have been the more respectable route to take than sneaking around and pretending to be someone he wasn’t? But that would have involved honesty and compassion and he obviously didn’t really want a divorce just like she didn’t want to give up her fiancée. When I confronted him with the details he first denied, then he minimized then he blame shifted. A person who wants out of a relationship doesn’t go through all that nonsense unless there’s something in it for them. Cake was his ultimate goal and my emotional well being never even played into his plans or concerns.

    That’s what makes this type of situation so unfair and messed up. There’s no honesty in any of it and we chumps are left completely out of the loop when it comes to making informed decisions about our own lives. These cheaters are making the decisions for us because they are making up the rules as they go along and not bothering to tell us that the rules have changed.

    For me and my STBX, it was never about compatibility, although you could argue that one who is honest and loyal could never be compatible with a fuckwit. Being chumped is about one person using the advantage of having all of the knowledge and power to manipulate someone in a relationship. My marriage was a dictatorship not a partnership. I was only able to make untainted decisions when his house of cards collapsed and I understood that I was never viewed as real partner in our marriage nor was there ever any real love or respect coming from him.

  • My wife cheated on me. It hurt really bad and the crazy nasty things she said to me were super painful. I travel often for business and she told me during wreckonciliation that she had been secretly hoping I would die in a plane crash. She said she never loved me and thought about breaking it off two months before our wedding.

    It’s 16 months after d-day and 6 months post divorce. I’ve fallen in love with an amazing woman who is better in every single way… smarter, warmer, more successful, self confident, attractive etc. This weekend, I realized just how lucky I feel to be with my new girlfriend…. and I had a profound realization that I never felt lucky to be with my ex… not even when we were at our best. My ex and I had some good times for sure but this love feels deeper.

    • Miromesnil – Great story. You so deserve it.

      #Ijustlovehappyendings!…….#notthatkindpervs…..LOL

    • Thank you for giving me hope that there is better out there. Haven’t found it (probably not ready to) but I have to believe there is better than the lying, angry, cruel joke of a man I settled for all those years.

    • Good for you!

      It makes my heart happy to hear the “It gets better” stories from the chumps here.

      A reminder that when you have a reciprocal relationship with a person who is not disordered that its not just pouring yourself into someone else and getting nothing in return. In a reciprocal relationship your emotional needs cup gets filled up too. It’s a whole different dynamic!

    • Miromesnil, so glad to hear you got out and have someone nourishing in your life. What your wife did to you was cruel. What she said to you was just unspeakably barbaric. Monster. You are mighty!

      • The funny thing is… one thing that helped me move on was… I quit trashing her privately to my friends. My friends were happy to be a shoulder to cry on and confer with me about just how much she sucks… but I stopped doing it (mostly) and that actually made me feel better. Other people agreeing with you that your ex partner sucks can make you feel even worse for having been with such a sucky person. Try it… just keep your thoughts to yourself about cheater and see if not discussing their suckyness makes you feel better. I was really surprised… other people telling me how much she sucked made me feel worse for having been with her.

        Another painful part was letting her buy me out of the house we had fixed up… but after she cheated in the house… I really didn’t want to be there and was ready for a fresh start.

        All that being said, she has been a pretty helpful co-parent as of late… and even offered me some time on Christmas (per the Agreement, this year I get Thanksgiving, she gets Xmas). She has been understanding of changes in travel… and I am starting to have a sliver of respect for her… which is weird.

        • I’m glad you’ve healed and moved on. But I would caution most chumps about not talking about the infidelity, divorce, or the cheater before you’re ready.

          IMHO, it requires a full two years to process what happened to us, and part of that processing requires sometimes discussing memories that pop up over time, or an additional period of grief around some marital or personal milestone/anniversary. Therapy is expensive for a reason–it does help to talk things through (with a therapist or close friends), as long as you are simultaneously crafting a new life.

  • I teach a class to adults about hidden needs, boundaries, expectations etc. I always write on the board any bad behavior I can think of and they suggest. Without fail lying is always in the top three. Usually the other two are rape and murder. If you think about it lying is a form of murder. Especially done by a loved one. You are so vulnerable to them that they “murder” your ideas of what is safe and what is real.

    • Yes, the lying. All the lies over the years. All the stupid, stupid lies. And all lies that didn’t need to be lies — when telling the truth would have made more sense. The first known lie that he told me was that his “friend” in England was certainly more than a friend. You don’t send love letters to just a “friend.” He could have told me the truth and I could have decided for myself if I wanted to stay with him or go. But he lied and I believed him. Liars lie and cheaters cheat. Lying is a deal breaker for me now. You cannot be in a relationship with a liar.

      • Oh God, the lies. X was a self-proclaimed lecturer of moral values. He was great at setting the standard of what is appropriate or not and endlessly talked about how lies are the worst thing you can do to your psyche. He seemed to have studied this quite a bit. He preached that; the problem with lying was, for every lie you told, you had to tell 3 more to cover it up. He said nobody could keep up with their own lies because they don’t remember them all once you start. I was impressed! Until he said, if you DO lie, keep it as close to the truth as you can.

        Ha – I should have read more into his b/s talk.
        However, I do know all his lies were bouncing around and he wasn’t good enough to cover them all up.
        He wasn’t used to lying and, health-wise, he ruined his psyche by getting so deep in lies that I’m surprised he didn’t have a heart attack.
        Seriously, they were against the way he was brought up.

        Sad – why would anybody want to get involved with lying and cheating? Not worth the mental anguish of being so dishonest.

    • Well, and as someone here so brilliantly pointed out, having sex with a cheater is like rape in that you did NOT consent to having sex with someone who is having sex with someone else. You did NOT consent to being violated emotionally, possibly health-wise with STD’s. It’s not forcible, generally not violent, but a huge violation of trust that can leave one traumatized for a very long time. It is a shattering breach of intimacy.

  • Happy Again, it seems to me that you were unhappy in the marriage but your ex was probably happy. He didn’t tell you he was unhappy, even though you asked!!! He must have wanted to stay married – and have sex with other people.

    Some chumps realize after a break-up/divorce that the cheater was a selfish partner in other ways. Perhaps that was affecting you. Perhaps the cheating was affecting you even before you knew about it?

    Or perhaps part of your incompatibility was being with someone who wouldn’t tell you they were unhappy and would rather cheat?

    This doesn’t answer the philosophical question of when to divorce without cheating. I’m just not sure your husband was as unhappy in the past as he says now.

    I guess I would go with what I think ChumpLady is saying – couples should work as hard as they can on their marriage, but if one partner isn’t really working, it won’t work out. Both people need to be willing to compromise. They can’t lie in marriage counseling if they are unhappy. They can’t be in other relationships while they try to work things out.

  • I filed because not only did he have an affair with a sociopath (I could go on and on, trust me) but he wanted both of us in a Monogamish way because he said he was “in love” and she was his “soulmate” after a mere handful of weeks (compared to our 25 years) and that his love for her was separate for his love for me and so he NEEDED to have both of us in his life and I NEEDED to allow him to do this. She worked him good, he was totally preyed upon, oh well. So, combined with a new love for porn and the fact that he ran away telling me he might NEVER come back, I filed. What that did was cause him to blame ME for doing it, wanting now to hurt ME financially and every other way because he said he never wanted a divorce, he wanted my unconditional love. “If you really loved me, you’d let me have her, too” and I went crazy for a while. Got hoovered and almost bought it, almost drank the koolaid, ALMOST let him knock me off my “moral high ground” of fidelity and monogamy (he was so sarcastic about my rigid beliefs and tried to make me agree that a man can love more than one woman) but I’ve gone 100% no contact since Sept 19, and while it’s very sad as he was really the love of my life, I can think a bit more clearly. He was a really good husband until the day he snapped last year. I don’t know how to explain it, but he refuses to go to therapy to repair our marriage, he doesn’t want to be my husband, but he can blameshift and tell everyone now that I’m the one who filed, so it looks like I”m the bad one. Most people know the truth, but his toxic family supports his new decision to “go on solo journey to seek his identity”. Apprently it’s OK to abdicate all responsibility, run away, leave home projects unfinished like a twilight zone episode, and discard son and brand new grandchild. WHO DOES THAT? Sorry for the rant, but I just don’t understand anything anymore.

    • (((Sabrina)))

      You want to know Who Does That. A lying , deceitful, manipulative asshole of both genders.

      Stick to your ethics and integrity. I too got the sob-story of expecting ‘perfection’ from cheaterpants. Nope. I expect NOT to be lied to, to be respected, and to have an intimate ADULT relationship. If THAT is what cheaterpants meant by ‘perfection’ , than the asshole was correct. I wanted that kind of perfection in my committed relationship. DON’T Waiver from your moral compass and values. Stay No Contact. Your guy is a creep.

      Stay No Contact. Document the crap he is doing because you are still legally bound AND he is spending joint assets on someone who is NOT his legal wife or children. Chuck the enabling inlaws. Toxic people breed toxic people.

    • Sabrina, today’s post pretty much explains it. He wants CAKE. He is entitled! He wanted you to sit still for his affair, to not disrupt his life, to just give him what he wants even if it is bad for you. You were married to him for a long time and he was able to keep up the mask of normalcy. Maybe sometimes these disordered types (the ones who think they are entitled) get worse as they age. I do know criminal tend to mellow out and stop offending; maybe this kind of behavior lays dormant for a long time, while the Cheater gets his kibble supply from adulation at work or getting promoted or winning gold tournaments. And then those things aren’t enough. The fact that the in-laws are enablers suggests that there’s some toxic stuff in the family to begin with. I’m sorry you are going through this pain, but at least you were spared the mindfuckery of marriage counseling.

    • He was a really good husband until the day he snapped last year. I don’t know how to explain it, but he refuses to go to therapy to repair our marriage, he doesn’t want to be my husband, but he can blameshift and tell everyone now that I’m the one who filed, so it looks like I”m the bad one. Most people know the truth, but his toxic family supports his new decision to “go on solo journey to seek his identity”. Apprently it’s OK to abdicate all responsibility, run away, leave home projects unfinished like a twilight zone episode, and discard son and brand new grandchild. WHO DOES THAT?

      MINE did exactly the same thing, Sabrina, only he didn’t even wait for the grandchild to be born – he ran away a month after our daughter announced her pregnancy. He abandoned me after a 38 year marriage, walked away from the home we built, from our adult son – because son refused to accept EX’s bullshit reasons, and he ran immediately – IMMEDIATELY – there wasn’t even a pretense of a “solo journey.” He began insinuating Senior Slut into his family as my replacement only a couple months after abandoning, and went totally public at a family wedding shortly thereafter.

      He’s lied about the reasons, “we split up” is his standard line, like “we” had anything to do with it. And has blameshifted, dragged me and my character through the mud; I’ve discovered he was “emotionally abused and miserable” for years. Funny, he never thought to mention that fact to me. And, as his own “toxic family” is one of cheaters (between his mother and two sisters, there are 5 divorces between them, and one sister is a “family counselor”!), they have completely bought his narrative and cut ties with me.

      So in answer to your “WHO DOES THIS”? question – apparently well-hidden, entitled assholes do it. And in numbers that are staggering.

      Hugs to you.

    • He was a really good husband until the day he snapped last year. I don’t know how to explain it, but he refuses to go to therapy to repair our marriage, he doesn’t want to be my husband, but he can blameshift and tell everyone now that I’m the one who filed, so it looks like I”m the bad one. Most people know the truth, but his toxic family supports his new decision to “go on solo journey to seek his identity”. Apprently it’s OK to abdicate all responsibility, run away, leave home projects unfinished like a twilight zone episode, and discard son and brand new grandchild. WHO DOES THAT?

      MINE did exactly the same thing, Sabrina, only he didn’t even wait for the grandchild to be born – he ran away a month after our daughter announced her pregnancy. He abandoned me after a 38 year marriage, walked away from the home we built, from our adult son – because son refused to accept EX’s bullshit reasons, and he ran immediately – IMMEDIATELY – there wasn’t even a pretense of a “solo journey.” He began insinuating Senior Slut into his family as my replacement only a couple months after abandoning, and went totally public at a family wedding shortly thereafter.

      He’s lied about the reasons, “we split up” is his standard line, like “we” had anything to do with it. And has blameshifted, dragged me and my character through the mud; I’ve discovered he was “emotionally abused and miserable” for years. Funny, he never thought to mention that fact to me. And, as his own “toxic family” is one of cheaters (between his mother and two sisters, there are 5 divorces between them, and one sister is a “family counselor”!), they have completely bought his narrative and cut ties with me.

      So in answer to your “WHO DOES THIS”? question – apparently well-hidden, entitled assholes do it. And in numbers that are staggering. And no, he only looked like a “good husband” if you didn’t look too closely – he wasn’t, and likely never was. Allow yourself to believe that.

      Hugs to you.

    • He was a really good husband until the day he snapped last year. I don’t know how to explain it, but he refuses to go to therapy to repair our marriage, he doesn’t want to be my husband, but he can blameshift and tell everyone now that I’m the one who filed, so it looks like I”m the bad one. Most people know the truth, but his toxic family supports his new decision to “go on solo journey to seek his identity”. Apprently it’s OK to abdicate all responsibility, run away, leave home projects unfinished like a twilight zone episode, and discard son and brand new grandchild. WHO DOES THAT?

      MINE did exactly the same thing, Sabrina, only he didn’t even wait for the grandchild to be born – he ran away a month after our daughter announced her pregnancy. He abandoned me after a 38 year marriage, walked away from the home we built, from our adult son – because son refused to accept EX’s bullshit reasons, and he ran immediately – IMMEDIATELY – into the AP’s home and arms; there wasn’t even a pretense of a “solo journey.” He began insinuating Senior Slut into his family as my replacement only a couple months after abandoning, and went totally public at a family wedding shortly thereafter.

      He’s lied about the reasons, “we split up” is his standard line, like “we” had anything to do with it. And has blameshifted, dragged me and my character through the mud; I’ve discovered he was “emotionally abused and miserable” for years. Funny, he never thought to mention that fact to me. And, as his own “toxic family” is one of cheaters (between his mother and two sisters, there are 5 divorces between them, and one sister is a “family counselor”!), they have completely bought his narrative and cut ties with me.

      So in answer to your “WHO DOES THIS”? question – apparently well-hidden, entitled assholes do it. And in numbers that are staggering. And no, he only looked like a “good husband” if you didn’t look too closely – he wasn’t, and likely never was. Allow yourself to believe that.

      Hugs to you.

      • Crap! How did THAT happen?!? I got logged out of the server here at work and. . . multiple posts. My apologies.

        • He’s lied about the reasons, “we split up” is his standard line, like “we” had anything to do with it.

          The Coward LOVES that line, “We split up.” I’ve been clear with anyone who comments or asks that “we” did not split up, he left for a woman he was having an affair with.

          He’s so scrambled; a friend told me that he cheerfully/helpfully explained that it’s ok, because he has a NEW wife now. So it all worked out!

  • My ex cheated with every intention of leaving me for the OW every time. He would cheat with some slut from work, decide he was in love with her and ask me for a divorce. A few weeks after that he would tell me he didn’t want a divorce after all, tell me about the affair and how sorry he was, and tell me he really loved me. He obviously did not love me since he continued to cheat on me off and on through out our marriage. I ask this a lot too, why wouldn’t he just divorce me? If I was that bad of a wife and we had nothing in common or common goals (which is what he told me after I found out about his latest affair), why keep coming back to me? Why not end the marriage instead of screwing around? I guess I will never understand his reasoning and I try not to. I am still upset with myself for taking him back so many times. I am also upset with myself that I still get jealous because he has been with the current OW for two years and he actually seems to love her (does all kinds of crap for her and takes her places, things he never did for me). So why am I still hung up on my jerk ex who treated me like crap? I am ready for my meh (every day, not just some days)! Sorry for my long rambling post!

    • Don’t look at what he’s doing with OW. That good behavior won’t last–or if it does, it’s because he’s still got lots of kibbles left with her.

      • I try not to look at what he does with her and for her but some days it is hard. I got crap husband who never wanted to go anywhere or do anything with me and she gets perfect boyfriend who takes her anyplace she wants to go (concerts, festivals, vacations). It still hurts that he could never love me like that and I hate that I let a lying, cheating ass make me feel unworthy and inferior.

        • I got a similar deal, Tossed. Please don’t take it as a reflection on you, you gave it your all, and he wouldn’t. He gave like 1.3 %. He refused to care, or let you go on to anything better. He sucks.
          Our task now is to show ourselves love! Be a little selfish, care for you and do what you want with pleasure. It takes a long time to get over the devalue, and how unfair it was. We did NOT deserve it, we’re truly wonderful, and they were incapable of seeing what was right in front of them!

          • Sometimes I wonder if The Twat is just better at pressuring The Coward to treat her with respect (at least to her face) or to do things for her or with her than I was.

            But then I remember that he’s an avoidant, passive-aggressive coward who will grow to resent her in due time.

            They don’t change, you know.

  • After months of feeling completely crushed by DDay, I asked myself this same question. Why didn’t he just tell me that he was unhappy and wanted to look around? Just divorce on good terms and go your own way? When I was finally far enough along in the healing process, I realized that it would have been just as bad for me if he had, only in different ways. From day 1 of our relationship I had said that my policy on infidelity was zero tolerance. Period. I was actually glad that I had openly and publicly made that decision 25 years ago, so there was nothing to think about in face of the truth. All I had to do was act. Which I did quickly and decisively. Like CL often says, it hurt like a mother fucker. But I’m also happy again! Two year have passed, I’ve had the love and support of my family, friends and Chump Nation. My Tuesday has come and gone and I AM FINE.

    I can admit to myself (and to CN) now that I’m glad he did it this way, taking himself down in flaming selfish failure. It gave me the spark to carry on with strength, class and grace – to be mighty. You can never know what would have happened down the road not taken.

    A few brave people have said to me, “He did you a favor.” My answer to that is, “I never would have chosen this, but yes, he did.” Thanks, loser. I’m rockin’ it!

  • I think it is natural to be reflective post-divorce – as in, ‘wow, why didn’t I see that coming?’, ‘what could I have done better?’ OR ‘why the heck didn’t I leave sooner?’. It sounds like ‘Happy Again’ is struggling through this process.

    I believe that at any time you can end a bad relationship.

    In my case, and I know it sounds odd, I didn’t know that I could end a bad relationship. In hindsight – there were a number of significant opportunities/events that I can see, not so much as red flags, but rather as moments of clarity that can be described as driving into a dead end. One included a heart-to-heart with my XH asking him to spend some quality time with me each week and he flatly declined using an interesting blend of blame shifting/lying/gas lighting reasons. In that moment, I felt numb, deflated and that our relationship must be over. Except that it wasn’t – my XH never changed is behavior – and the business of life continued on. (Yes DD#2 was the catalyst for me to end my 17 year marriage. I can see now that I was doing a lot of the heavy lifting in the relationship including ending it and submitting the divorce papers because XH wouldn’t do it. )

    I do wonder, at what point XH decided that it was fine for him to have a girlfriend and a wife and brag about it to his friends/colleagues.

  • Dear Tracy,

    Thank you for responding to my question and thank you to all the fellow chumps who commented. I really appreciate your response and I fully agree with your bottom line: whether of not the decision to divorce is right or wrong, I would not want to be married to someone who doesn’t love me back. I also agree with many of the comments that while I also would have been devastated to have been “dumped” prior to the cheating, I would have saved a lot of time in recovery and maybe we would have a better co-parenting relationship now.

    I am happy to say I am fully in “Meh” now and I actually think that there are many benefits to divorce that should be more widely discussed – I love not having my parenting undermined by him (someone with no boundaries/rules), I love that my time with my kids is so much calmer and I can be more present with them without worrying about what he is doing now, and I love having some free time to myself when he has the kids. I also feel that I have gained an understanding that I would never have had prior to being divorced that has made me much less judgmental, much more empathetic and strangely, much more self confident. I don’t know if I could have gained all this perspective had I not gone through what I have. All three kids are also much better off – their grades went way up, they are happy and calm – I also never say anything negative to them about their father but I also don’t say anything falsly positive. Once the sting of rejection is healed and the getting over the initial strange feeling of being one of the few single people at school events, I realize that I am so much better off than I was before. When he left, it was only then that I realized how alone I had truly been for many years where he was not really present. I know myself better now, I know I will make a wiser decision next time and best of all, I know if I make a mistake, I can get over it and everything will be okay.

    Thank you Tracy and chump nation for all of the postings and comments these past two years. This blog was critical to me in restoring my sanity and moving forward. I am very grateful to you all and wish all new members a speedy recovery. Life is better on the other side.

    Happy Again

    • Happy, you are amazing. Might I ask how long it has been since your divorce? Because I long to be you when I grow up!! I am so glad you are in such a good, healthy emotional place and I hope all of us can get there in a reasonable amount of time. Hugs.

      • Thank you Dixie Chump!
        Its been about 22 months since he moved out. We are almost officially divorced. There was a lot to untangle so its taken awhile. I reached Meh after about 18 months after he left. Besides this blog, I also read and watch a lot of the writings/videos by Tony Robbins and I have found them very empowering and helpful. I wish I could have recovered faster – I’m not sure what made it happen one day. I think it helped me to consistently make a conscious decision to be grateful for all the blessings I have, to remind myself to be as good a role model as I can for my children as everyone goes through difficult times at some point, and that I truly believe everything happens to us for a reason. I don’t want to waste another minute thinking about him anymore. No one escapes life unscathed. We all get humbled at some point. Divorce should not be considered a failure. I think we are the lucky ones. It is unlucky to be in a deeply unhappy marriage and be afraid to leave because you don’t want to be alone. There is no doubt that it is extremely painful, scary and difficult in the beginning but then you realize you are free and you can create your own future – it is extremely liberating when you get there. I wish you all the best for a speedy recovery. I wish there was a way to make it go faster. Just know it will come and you will be better.
        Good luck!
        Happy Again

  • This topic is awesome. I wrote this on fun Friday maybe you did not read it. I was planning and getting organize to my exit. I was playing dumb etc but on Friday (10/21) I went upstairs and cheaters pants was talking on the phone on the sofa @ 2am so quiet (Phone on my name, ready to request log) . I was so upset the devil came out. He started to lie etc.. Told him I wanted a divorce(could hold it anymore) Now he is a sad sausage! That he is a “bad” person etc. The MOFO told me to find a lawyer & that he will sign whatever!!! But there is more… he asked me if he can stay until he can paid off some bills. I said yes since I will ask for a lot of things on the divorce. MY moment of meh!! I did not cry while I telling him you just want cake!!!! MOFO said: “You do not look so affected” maybe he wanted me to jump over a bridge or what!! He does know the anxiety pills I used to take & the MOFO dare to tell yesterday after me processing the fact I have to deal with.. He said: ” you can start dating if you want!!?!! ! ” I told him ; ” I do not have the same standards of the whore that you are” yelling at him. Thanks to you CN I feel mighty, strong & ready for the paperwork I have to deal with. My kid does not yet!! That will be the part I might cry!!! PS yesterday I slept like a baby. All the stress is out gone I can not believe it… wish me luck & I will keep you post it!!! The chump of my area please write me in the Forum for good lawyers in the area!

    • Good for you. I also felt very empowered and strong after I finally confronted the fucker and told him I was done. Adrenaline, no doubt. Hang on to that righteous anger and move fast to serve his ass on a platter. Get a good settlement before he has time to dig in. There is probably plenty of pain to come, but that can wait. Time to draw on your inner Dirty Harry! Good luck!

  • What really bothers me is the whole thing about spouses “falling in love” with other people. If you are married, that shouldn’t even be a thought or an option. I was so in love and focused on my STBXH that no one else would ever be able to steal my heart away or make Mr fall in love with someone else, it just isn’t even a possibility in my mind. Just like CL said, people don’t just “fall in love” with other people a lot of proactive time and energy goes into it.

  • “Bottles have no needs”

    I like this, this made sense to me. I offered the substance in the bottles, when she drank from the bottles I had to offer she got the attention she craved, normality, security, stability, the family…finally she drank the attention bottle dry and I could give no more she went to another liquor store for the cheap, dirty liquor that could fill the void and threw me in the garbage. This new bottle she drank from looked good, had a nice label but was filled with a cheap and dirty liquid.

    Me on the other hand am maturing into a nice vintage bottle of red.

  • I don’t know.

    I think I would have been much more confused and hurt if it wasn’t cheating that drove him away. I think I would have blamed myself. For what, I don’t know. Lord knows I tried. I was all in. And it wasn’t easy. I would have followed him to the end of the earth. I would have changed for him. I would have done anything he asked of me. Pretty much, I did. I always met him where he was. It was not easy. But I accommodated him. Sometimes it was really fun. Sometimes it was really awful.

    But now all the crappy treatment I got from him, all the spackling of his behavior over the years–it all makes sense now, and I can move on with my head high. No, it didn’t take two, it took one, and he found one just like him and walked away.

    He did me a favor. Because none of what he did leading up to me finding out about the cheating was actually grounds for divorce. The cheating was the final straw–the free pass, so to speak, to finally let go and not try so damned hard to make it work with someone who was not invested. It all makes sense now.

    It feels pretty good to be able to say that it wasn’t me. I take zero responsibility for the way he sabotaged the marriage and ditched our family.

    I don’t wish it on anyone. I hate that my kids’ father is a coward and a lying cheater. I hate that I had to stand in line at the lab for std testing. I hate that someone like OW knew my name and said my children’s names with her filthy mouth before I knew who she was. I regret the things I said to him when I realized he was fucking her when I was at work. I am sad that I no longer have a relationship with my ex mother-in-law, and that things are awkward between my kids and me when the subject of their lying, cheating, coward father comes up. But all of it happened and continues, and yet I have my dignity and integrity, and I am solid and mighty. I know who I am. I know my worth.

    Finding out about the cheating was a gift.

    He was miserable and a cheater for the same reasons.

    • “I hate that someone like OW knew my name and said my children’s names with her filthy mouth before I knew who she was.”
      ^^^ This!^^^

      Nearly 3 years later and I still feel so violated that she was privy to my life before I knew she existed. Knew about my kids, and clearly wanted what I had.

  • I truly believe love doesn’t just wander off when it’s feeling neglected. I think you have to kill it with negative thoughts and deeds. Everyone has emotions….positive and negative towards their spouse. I was even attracted to people whilst married. Difference between me and my ex, I choose my marriage. He didn’t. Simple as that.

  • BEETS?!
    That was just a metaphor, right? For repellent behaviors/strange habits/weird interests/fetishes of otherwise nice, loving, normal spouses–right? Nobody likes beets.

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