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Dear Chump Lady, I just got HPV, but I’ve been monogamous for 30 years

liarpathoHi Chump Lady,

I have good reasons to believe that I am a big ol’ Chump. I was recently diagnosed with HPV after over 30 years of normal Pap smears and a supposedly monogamous marriage.

I have consulted several medical professionals, and they say that while there is a slight chance that the virus has been dormant in my body for 30 years, that is not very likely, and the most likely explanation is that my husband has recently cheated.

I was working out of state for the past year. My husband and I saw each other only four times over the past year. Some red flags, in addition to the HPV, include: suddenly spending five times the amount of money on his hair after I left, deleting contacts and messages off of his phone, and googling “testicle pain after intercourse” in the middle of June, when I had not seen him since mid-April. I found that Google search in his June search history when we were together in July (and, again, we had not seen each other since April).

There are other signs, but these are some of the biggest ones, and I believe they are enough for me to conclude that he has, indeed, been unfaithful.

I guess my question is, is this enough evidence for anyone? I know I sound clueless, and I really believe that I know the answer, but the chump in me has to ask. My husband has explained away everything with flimsy explanations, and he even smirks during some of these flimsy explanations, as if he is ridiculing me for even questioning him.

There have been other signs over the years, going way back 25 years ago when he had fingernail scratches on his back and I was 8 1/2 months pregnant. He said that there was a woman with long fingernails at the gym where he played basketball, and she decided to play with them and accidentally scratched his back. However, other guys that he played basketball with did not remember a woman like that ever being at the gym. Good grief.

My gut is telling me that I am a chump and have been for years, but he has tried every tactic in the book to convince me otherwise. He tells me that he loves me and he would never do anything like that to hurt our family or our relationship. He tells me that my imagination is just making normal things look bad. And he has even threatened me by saying that he would reveal painful events from my childhood that I confided in him if I continue to accuse him.

Just looking for some reasonable, objective, and sanity-giving perspective on this.

Many thanks,

Isawthelight

Dear Isawthelight,

Your gut is telling you that you’re a chump? No, the evidence is telling you you are a chump. He is gaslighting you.

You’ve got two handicaps here, Isawthelight — 1.) You want to believe him and 2.) You’re a reasonable person.

Let’s take those two points apart, okay?

You want to believe him. It would be much easier if he was telling the truth and he’s not a cheater. Your world would not be upended. You’re in pain now, disoriented, heart sick, but you know that if your husband is truly a cheater there is a giant ocean of pain you would have to swim through. You’re afraid of plunging head first into this ocean.

I get it. Your sunk costs are huge — 30 years of marriage. A whole life entangled with this man. And the love you feel for him.

I can just tell you this — the pain of “believing” a liar is ultimately worse than facing the truth about him. Yes, there will be raw grief and at times it will feel interminable. But it is finite. Subjecting yourself to more lies? Giving this guy the green light to abuse you further? Letting him insult your intelligence and shit on your self-worth over and over? THAT is the hell you are currently living.

By comparison? The ocean can be crossed. And the salty tears it’s made of are surprisingly buoyant.

You’re a reasonable person. This here is the Achilles heel of every chump. You’re decent. You reflect. You question yourself. You want to assume the best in people and give others the benefit of the doubt. You shy away from being perceived as judgmental or difficult.

And those qualities will get you played by disordered people.

I recently tweeted this quote I read in the Washington Post.

“Gaslighting can be frighteningly effective, especially on a person who has a realistic sense of humility about perception and memory.”

Gaslighting works on the fair-minded. It doesn’t work as well on the angry or cynical or righteously pissed off.

Humility about one’s perceptions is fine up to a POINT — but when that point is abuse? You need to call that shit out for what it is.

Here’s another problem — you probably don’t think this is abuse.

 He tells me that my imagination is just making normal things look bad. And he has even threatened me by saying that he would reveal painful events from my childhood that I confided in him if I continue to accuse him.

He threatened you. People who love you care about your feelings and perceptions. They would go to great lengths to reassure you if they were thought of as shady. He is turning this back on YOU. That’s emotional abuse. That’s what guilty people do. That’s DARVO — Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender.

I guess my question is, is this enough evidence for anyone? I know I sound clueless, and I really believe that I know the answer, but the chump in me has to ask. My husband has explained away everything with flimsy explanations, and he even smirks during some of these flimsy explanations, as if he is ridiculing me for even questioning him.

He smirks at your pain? He threatens you? That’s all the evidence you need. This is a nonstarter. Please call a lawyer and start protecting yourself today.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Dear Isawthelight, Absolutely get a lawyer TODAY. Trying to reconcile will only hurt you more in the long run. Every day you spend with him gaslighting you and mentally abusing you will destroy you. Ask me how I know. I wish with all my heart that I had kicked him out on DDay and not wasted 2 more years of my life.

    It hurts horribly at first, but once he’s out of the picture and you’ve gone no contact, you will be amazed at the clarity you find. You will be able to pick apart your marriage and see how often you bent and pretzalized for him and how little he was actually there emotionally for YOU.

    Spare yourself the agony, mindfuckery, gaslighting and abuse that reconciliation will feed you. Save yourself.

    • It is scary how a post and reply are so completely dead-on for what I have experienced. Just when I start to question whether I am really remembering everything that happened correctly or if I am being too harsh in my treatment of him now, I come to this blog and it is re-affirmed that yes, I was emotionally abused for years.

      • +1

        Where I would be without all the insight I got grom CL and CN, so lost… instead now I have clarity. Thank you all so much for saving me and my little girl.

  • Oh dear! Honey, lawyer up and get out with haste. I was diagnosed with an STD seven months after we got married (we’d been together for 5 years before) and I was angry at him for cheating. But of course he denied it. Said that that STD was probably dormant in my body for years and that it must have been before him. He was so calm and collected. There was no look of surprise on his face or upset. I on the other hand was a wreck: angry and worried. Ugggh. I had a choice: leave him or believe him. It was easier to believe him. So I stayed.

    Fast forward 10 years later and he left me for his “One True Love.” Like your story, I saw the signs, but I didn’t believe them. The smug look of “having one on me” but of course I didn’t know what it was. Then the lies. The Lies. THE LIES!

    What’s happened to me was abuse, but I didn’t realise it as such at the time. It’s only after he physically attacked me that I understood that he was truly evil and did not love, care or respect me. I couldn’t spackle when he choked me in front of our children with his parents joining in for good measure.

    You don’t need any more proof. What you need is a lawyer. (((Hugs)).

  • Isawthelight
    I only recently found out I was a chump. I had evidence and confessions but STILL found it difficult to accept and then move into action. My paralysis was short, three months, divorce will be final early next year.
    So I’m not of much help as I still struggle with this decision and the no contact thing because of the ‘sunk costs’ thing that CL says.
    But two things I do know.

    1). Trust that they suck
    2). Trust CL

    When the advice you hear here chimes with how you feel it brings with it a sense of clarity. So more than anything I follow that feeling. I trust the people here and move and act and trust that my heart will catch up with my head eventually.
    Lawyer up and make this site a daily thing. You will not regret it.
    Good Luck.

  • Today HPV, tomorrow HIV. Threatening to expose personal details is no different than threatening you with a knife – both are used to intimidate, control and scare you into submission.

    You did nothing to deserve this. You did NOT make him cheat, lie, steal and threaten.

    It is worse than you think. You need to get your ducks in a row for the legal battle ahead. Brace yourself. Once you start digging you need to be prepared for the absolute worst possible scenarios. Protect yourself and your assets. You cannot trust this man. Letting him deal with the finances and/or having sexual intercourse with him is playing Russian roulette.

    You are stronger, smarter and mightier than you realise. You can do this. Good luck.

  • I found out I had chlamydia at 8 weeks pregnant and HPV at my first smear after my child was born. Took 4 years of his gas lighting after that for me to fully realise what the hell was going on. Walk away. In fact no, RUN. Lawyer up and don’t look back.
    Even if your suspicions aren’t correct (they are though), the way he’s dealing with your concerns is unacceptable. You can do this, and when you’re out the other side you’ll thank yourself daily. I do.

        • Actually, my doctor informed me that the strain of HPV that causes genital warts is a different one that the one that can cause cervical cancer. So it is actually the preferable strain to get. And yes, it does eventually “clear” your body and does not return.

          • Only a small % of people get gential watts. But I was 1. My cancer is linked to it. I had to see specialist as a lot of doctors are not educated in HPV. As adults you can carry several strains. Men often carry it and give it to women with no symptoms at first or for years.

            As I try to beat the odds of my cancer that say I have a 48% chance of being here in a few years- I really want to kick my cheaters ass!

          • Virus never “clears”, it is always there, just the symptoms may not show.

            Once contracted, it can take 2-18 years for the virus to show up (this is why they are so common), but they are identifying new strains frequently, so no one should be lulled into false security – or fear – by what they think they know.

            Best course – preventative care. I had to undergo screenings every 6 months until I went 2 years without any red flags – then back to regular yearly screenings. It took 6 years of screenings for that “2 year clear” to happen.

            WebMD has some very good information about HPV.

            • Married 36 years and the same thing happened to me after 12 years of marriage! I am a registered nurse and had only been with him as we high school sweethearts! He commonly gaslighted me and gave my Trich infections also! He refused to take antibiotics and accused me of cheating! I stayed but could not have sex with him due to my nagging gut instinct! He recently blew up the marriage and his long time ho-worker revealed hersel when both tried to harass me for all our assets! We’re divorced and he just moved to undisclosed address so that he can avoid ordered maintenance payments! If I can’t find him I can’t serve him and take him to court! These guys are parasites on women..,don’t wait!

      • 1600 mcg of folic acid daily will help with cancer prevention (it’s a B vitamin, and helps with other things, too, like reproductive & heart health).

        • And have annual pap smears, no matter what the doctor recommends based on the latest guidelines (every 5 years)–cervical cancer is very slow growing in most cases, and abnormal cells can be deleted if caught early.

      • Hpv has over 100 strains, 4 are known links to over 80% of all the female reproductive cancers. There is no cure:( please do some research on what strains you have. My stage 3 cancer is linked to HPV.
        a gift from cheater.

          • Thank you for asking- The 7cm tumor was reduced by intense chemo and max. Sessions of radiation – it sent me into chemical menopause and deep fried my intestines and pelvis area. It had spread to my lymph system and so the fear is it can travel In small amounts through my lymphatic system and other cancers will be a high risk of happening. The liver, bones, lungs, and breasts are their big concerns. I have ‘spots’ on Them and cysts growing in my lady parts. God, I’m scared but I’m a fighter and I want to beat these odds!

            • May your cheater develop gangrene of his private bits.

              You are already a fighter to have come through your chemo and other treatments thus far. I had the last stage of abnormal cells (just before cancer) 15 years ago (which I now realize were probably from my cheater). The vitamins that help prevent cancer with no are Folate/folic acid (1600-2000 mcg daily), vitamins D, C, + beta carotene (one type of A). If you can find the multivitamins made from whole foods, those are better than the lab-based ones (though pricier).

              Sending you well-wishes and hugs!

              • In addition to your treatments and follow-up, I’d recommend a whole-food, plant-based diet. It cuts down inflammation and will keep you feeling better while you heal. Check out nutrition facts.org, all evidenced-based research (I’m a skeptic and need the scientific evidence, in case you’re the same).

            • Chumptothe9thdegree and Tempest,
              Thank you for your comments. I am so sorry to hear about your battles with cancer due to HPV. It is horribly unfair. I am praying for your health.
              My HPV is the High-risk 16 strain. I was told to return in a year for another pap smear. Hoping for the best. Thank you for the advice about vitamins–I will do that.

  • I got the lovely parting gift of HPV. I went straight to my OBGyn after I filed. Turns out? I had a bad Pap. I had to have biopsies done. When the biopsies came back, I learned I had carcinoma in-situ of the cervix. I had about 90% of the tissue of my cervix removed.

    I work at a medical school, and our hospital has amazing specialists. I had an apocalypse of a pregnancy in 2011. My child was born 14 weeks premature. Then, 6 months and an IUD later, I found out I was pregnant again. Since I was so far along (18 weeks), the IUD had to stay put, making me high risk again.

    Since my hospital is also the safety net hospital of the area, every woman has several STI screenings during and after pregnancy. In 2012, my screen came back negative. Two years later, I had contracted HPV 16, the most high risk of the HPVs.

    Turns out, my ex had never stopped dating when we married. He even had a girlfriend for over a year during our 5 year marriage. And a child with one of his co-workers. I was *incredibly* chumpy.

    So, with the evidence of the HPV, browser history, scratches, and the fact that he’s turned hateful instead of reassuring, there’s no doubt in my mind. He’s cheating.

    Think of how you would react if he asked the same questions you asked or accused you of cheating. Would you turn condescending, or threatening, or abusive? No! You would be horrified that a person that you love is hurting and do anything you could to reassure your partner.

    I read a meme yesterday that said “People lie and cheat because they think they can get away with it because you’re too stupid to notice.” Don’t let him get away with thinking you are stupid for another minute.

    • This was my thought, too. I would be horrified if my now-husband (a) had a life-threatening illness, and (b) believed I had cheated. Heartbroken. I wouldn’t smirk, I wouldn’t be indifferent, and I SURE AS HELL would NOT threaten to break his confidences to get him to stop talking about it. Neither would you, I’ll bet.

      • I wouldn’t dream of it!

        The funny thing–if you can call it that–is that he *still* denies cheating. He has a 2 year old with another woman, and I filed for divorce in May 2014. But he still denies it.

        I’m impressed at the level of disorder which can allow a person to lie to me, repeatedly, while knowing I know he is lying.

  • Get. Out. Now. I was in your same boat, except I was not working out of town. He just paraded her all around our small town.

    HPV is nothing to mess with, it can be a precursor to cervical cancer. I deal with this every day with my job.

    Even if you take the google searches, nail scratches, contact deleting off the table; his smirking and threatening to revictimize you by talking about your childhood is enough. That is abusive behavior and can escalate.

    • Gonegirl is right. Even if he didn’t cheat on you and you ignore all your evidence, nobody who is your intimate partner should ever, ever, EVER blackmail you. That’s straight up abusive and, yes, if you give him the green light by staying, it will get worse. We’re all here for you, and we will love and support you, but you need to leave for your safety, emotionally and, probably, physically as well.

  • Isawthelight,

    My biggest regret is not trusting my gut (intuition.) My gut told me something was wrong even before we got engaged. I saw what I thought was evidence (Love Letters from another woman who was stationed in England — she said, “If you come visit me, we can spend the whole night together and have sex.” Yes, he did go visit her, but took a long a guy friend. I was too embarrassed to tell him I read the letters, so I just asked him what was up with her and he said they were “just friends.” “Nothing was going on.” Even though my gut was SCREAMING at me that something was wrong, I still chose to believe him. I believed him, because I wanted the fairy tale romance to be true. And me believing him lead to another 23 years of lying.

    And scratches on the back — major trigger for me today as I totally forgot about my ex having unexplained scratches on his back. I remember asking him about the scratches and of course he gave some bs story. And this was during the time he was cold, distant and withholding sex from me. And of course I just “let it go.” Man, I wish I could slap young Martha across the face and tell her to “WAKE THE FUCK UP!”

    Isawthelight, you not only have your gut telling you that something is terribly wrong (yes, he’s cheating), but you have proof with a diagnosis of HPV. I know it’s so hard to accept that this is the truth about what is happening to your life and the person you’ve been married to is a liar, cheater and emotional and psychological abuser. But it’s the truth. You don’t need anymore evidence.

    Please take all the good advice you’ll get today. (((HUGS))) to you and you didn’t do ANYTHING to deserve to be treated like this or cheated on. Your husband has really poor character and that has nothing to do with you, the faithful spouse. Trust that he sucks.

  • “You’re a reasonable person. This here is the Achilles heel of every chump. You’re decent. You reflect. You question yourself. You want to assume the best in people and give others the benefit of the doubt. You shy away from being perceived as judgmental or difficult.

    And those qualities will get you played by disordered people.”

    Precisely. The first step is recognizing disordered people exist. Just because you wouldn’t say or do something to your spouse does not mean someone else–i.e. your spouse–is the same. They may very well be disordered. It is a painful education into how broken and wicked people this world is.

  • RUN now. Hard and fast. Call a lawyer right this minute. Don’t tell him what you’re doing. Go into stealth mode and protect your assets. Pretend to believe him and move swiftly. You have plenty of proof he’s cheating. Let’s say for argument’s sake that he is innocent. Even so, him threatening to divulge personal and intimate and sensitive details of your childhood is enough of a deal-breaker in my opinion. Be secretive, keep the status quo, and get your ducks in a row. He is a special brand of evil. This is going to get ugly and dirty. You need to have everything secured before you pull the trigger. Good luck.

    • Lucy is right – the most important thing you do now is move quietly to protect YOUR financial future before he figures out you are on your way out. Enjoy being the deceptive one if you can muster the acting skills. I took two weeks to line up my ducks (photocopying records, thinking of all the details I needed to nail down) before I locked him out.

      If you have already been arguing with him, gomquiet now and focus on your own future. There is nothing to gain in trying to find out more detail, or in calling him the horse’s ass he is.

      In your case you may not be able to simply change the locks, but please please when you do serve him the divorce papers, don’t do it yourself or ever be alone with him once he knows. My experience was that these characters get violent when they realise theor game is over…even mine pulled a 4 inch kitchen knife to my throat…and I had always thought he was a sissy pussy.

  • Welcome to Chump Nation. I’m sorry you’re here but I am glad you found us.
    It sounds like you know the truth but you need to hear it from someone else. That’s what happens when you been gas lit for so many years. You can’t trust your instincts because they’ve been dulled for so long. Right now you need to keep your mouth shut when it comes to your spouse. Don’t say anything about this to him. Instead put your energy into finding a damn good lawyer with lots of experience. Your spouse wants to chat? Talk about the weather, the laundry, what you ate for breakfast, anything but your relationship. Luckily you have had some distance which can be handy when you finally need to detach. Then you can am race full No Contact, the path to the truth and the light, and move forward with your life.

    Keep coming here to Chump Lady. She’s amazing. Everyone here gets it. They really do. The realizations, the moments of strength needed to push forward, the suckiness of some decisions your attorney will ask you to make in the divorce, the joy of the first time you realize you are far better off without him, all it. Someone here has likely run into it before. You will also meet other chumps who have successfully navigated a divorce from their cheater and moved on with their life to better things. You might not think it is possible but I assure you, a cheater free life can be glorious! Stick with us and we’ll help you find out for yourself.

    • Yep. If he clues in and starts bugging you for information, deflect him by saying you’re bothered by something else. He won’t want to talk about his cheating, so he should be easy to deflect. If he pushes for sex, you can always blame the HPV and tell him you are in pain. He likely won’t know the difference. He probably hasn’t read up on it.

      Your new lawyer will help you outline the rest of the plan in a location-appropriate way, including when to reveal things. Until you can get there, you have to manage the day-to-day.

      • Yes I totally agree. Don’t tell him that you are working on an exit. Just do it. I wish I had just carried on normally while lining up my ducks. It would have made it much easier. He became more emotionally abusive because I let him know. He was able to drag out the process and add to the grief of the process by becoming even more controlling. How I wish I would have just handed him the paperwork already completed on my way out the door. Would have saved myself another 18 months of his abuse.

        • I agree with Dot. I was still trying to comprehend that this was abuse and fix the situation (read: suck it up) towards the end of the “marriage”. He knew I was at the end of my rope so Satan lined up his ducks while I was still bewildered. He fucked me and the children over and continues to do so to this day (2+ years later). Satan won’t sign anything. He keeps moving the goal posts while blaming ME for holding things up. Bully me into submission as per the final 10 years of marriage. I live in this state of purgatory trying to hold it together for the kids. Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender. They are pure evil.

  • Deleting messages and contacts is all the evidence that I would need.

    As CL said, he’s not going out of his way to re-earn your trust, but instead gaslighting. And that means he doesn’t respect you.

    Mid-affair, I extended and olive branch to my wife. I gave her the password to our joint Verizon account, where evidence had been accumulating for months that she was texting another person late at night (no message history, just the number and date/time of text).

    Her response? To go to the Verizon store and put her phone onto a separate account so I wouldn’t be tempted to “spy” on her text message history anymore.

    Sigh.

    Had she responded by apologizing, comforting me, and assuring me she’d stop texting him…then I’d have something to work with. But like your husband, she didn’t respect her spouse or care about her spouse’s feelings or concerns. Her response was to add support to her house of cards, not to be open, honest, and loving.

    This man is a liar and a cheat. I’m sorry for the terrible experience you’re entering into.

    • JC – my now ex said the same thing. He wanted to get his own phone line with a different account because whenever I would pay the bill I saw strange numbers on his line. Funny how that is where I caught him cheating the first time.. the second time.. and the LAST time. Of course the gaslighting jerk would say it was work related (yep – but affairs with 3 co -workers over 7 years.

      • Sorry to hear about your ex.

        My wife claimed it was work-related, too. Her colleague worked in the law enforcement branch of her agency, so he’d work late hours and text my wife while she was at home with me. She insisted, repeatedly, that she HAD to respond to his texts. I never once believed her.

        I’m so glad to be away from her manipulation. Even when I knew she was tricking me, it was so surreal–not the life I thought I had built with her.

        She really was such a loser.

  • Honey, the threat he makes about exposing your past personal details? That alone is reason enough to leave. No person who truly cares for you would ever hint at such a thing, much less openly use it to manipulate you to do anything. The question you’re asking is whether or not he has cheated. (He has.) The question you should be asking is whether this man deserves you in his life or not regardless of whether he has cheated. My response to that second question is absolutely not.

    • Exactly,the threat and the smug ridicule are clear signs you are married to both a cheater and a sociopath.
      And it is complete bullshit that his back was scratched by a woman playing basketball with long nails.
      I played all the way through high school,college and until about 45. Never,in thousands of games was my back scratched.
      And women with long nails do not play. Their nails would break.

  • Here’s another angle to consider — I don’t know about legally (the lawyer will) in your area, but from a relationship standpoint, confirming whether or not he put his penis in someone else isn’t the single criterion for reconsidering the relationship. It matters, sure, and significantly! But the other things that are of concern here matter, too.

    I guess I’m just saying that it isn’t 100% necessary to confirm an affair before you explore your options. If he’s mean, and you value your well-being, maybe he’s not right for you anymore, cheating or no, and the cheating is just horrible icing on that cake.

  • “He tells me that he loves me and he would never do anything like that to hurt our family or our relationship.”

    The best of lies have a tiny bit of truth added. Of course he wouldn’t do anything like that to hurt you or your family. He did it because he wanted to and didn’t think he’d get caught. In his evil twisted mind he told you the truth and he takes great pleasure in thinking he’s smarter than you.

    The game never stops and you will never win.

    • When I looked back over the my marriage, I noticed that I often got the small bit of truth to hide the big lie…. quite often delivered with a smirk or smile that I never saw any other time. Now I know that smirk/smile meant she was lying or hiding something…..

      I think we’re all in agreement that you should get out – you’re gut is always right except you have the benefit here of very convincing and REPEAT evidence. Some of us only have far weaker things to go on.

      • I know it seems like you have so little real physical evidence to nail him with.
        Many of us didn’t and had to just trust our gut.
        When I found the panties in my bed quite accidentally, it was really all the solid proof I had….and, yes he smirked when I showed them to him.

        That SMIRK. I think most of us are familiar with it. It seems the only time I have done it myself is when I’m involved in planning a surprise party (I have a terrible poker face) and the subjects gets a bit too close with curiosity and it takes you off guard and you haven’t got a plan B to tell them. I do believe it is completely involuntary (as opposed to gloating, say), but it expresses so much information right there that you know something is up. Something very secretive. (learned that in kindergarten, ha)
        The obvious cell-phone velcroed to their pants and their pillow at night and the changing of passwords you can no longer access, is definite proof they are hiding something very secretive.

        Those two things alone should be enough to tell you, you are right on all your instincts, even though you don’t have concrete evidence.

        This thread has really upset me because, when I was in my 30’s and 100% monogmous , married 12 yrs then, I was diagnosed with suspicious pre-cancer cells on my cervix from a pap smear. They didn’t have a term like HPV for it, but – hell, how else could I have contracted it, looking back, if he hadn’t been having an affair? It never crossed my mind and the doctor never mentioned it could be related.

        At the time, he was in the Top 10 of body-building and women were really falling for him. I always trusted him. Anyway, had a hysterectomy 6 yrs later because they kept having to burn these things off. Now, Jezus, Mother of Mary….I reckon he was having an affair way back then. (I had suspected something at the time but blew it off)

        Now, I’m going back analyzing my entire life with him and I am thinking of a lot of other suspicious things he got away with.
        The fact is, I would never have believe he was that kind of person.
        Would certainly NEVER have an affair on me. It really was so against the way he was brought up – very decent family with family values burned into them.

        Talk about this one email giving me a zoomy fast trip straight to ‘meh’, now that I’m 2 yrs out of from the divorce 36 yrs later.
        I guess I was just a good little woman who he used to cover up his private life.

        I feel SO fucking used.

  • Chumps have to learn to trust their instincts! There is a reason we think the things we do. We usually see or hear stuff that sets off the alarms but we reason them away (spackling). Trust what your mind says and follow it. Not the heart!

    • That is the trick, being objective – which can be very difficult.

      If you can’t be objective, let CN and/or close friends and family be objective for you.

      I think it’s very difficult to make informed decisions while you are going through the unparalleled emotional pain if infidelity. Find a shoulder, then lean on it. 🙂

  • Advice from experience. Stop confronting him. Quietly get a DIVORCE lawyer. Find out what evidence you need in your state. Maybe you need a new bank account in your name. Maybe you need to move funds before you file. Ask your lawyer. Your divorce may not go high conflict but be prepared for one, file first, push hard.

    It’s going to suck (I’m over 50 single guy with 3 kids), not what I wanted…but it gets better. It’s the only way it gets better.

  • Isawthelight,

    I’m sooo sorry this happened to you. Trust your gut, I wish I had. The HPV was dormant in you for 30 years – total and complete bullshit.

    CL – “He threatened you . . . He is turning this back on you. That’s emotional abuse. That’s what guilt people do. That’s DARVO – Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender.”

    Bold, underscore, blow up what Chumplady just stayed to the size of a poster.

    Time to get your ducks in a row and have a lawyer smack that smug smirk off his lying cheating abusive face.

  • Lot of chumps get hung up on evidence. If you live in a fault state consider getting a Private Investigator. In my state adultery will allow you to divorce without a 1 year separation and the adulterer cannot get alimony. Jedi Hugs!

    • I was one of those people. I knew something was up, but surely my husband of 25 would never lie to me! The smirks, the eye rolls, the silent treatment. I was the recipient of it all. X knew me well enough to know that I would never judge him without “proof.” Well, proof I got in the form of a front page news story. To this day, I believe the OW was responsible because she also knew I would never leave absent “proof.”

      I look back and wonder why I was so stupid. How could I have believed the garbage he was spewing? At one time, I was hung up on blaming myself. I was so committed to my marriage that I was not acknowledging what was right in front of me. I am more forgiving of myself, now. I was like the frog in the water; in never realized the temperature was rising in the pot until the water had already begun to boil.

      That’s what these kind of people do; they make you doubt your own judgement. Do not let him do that to you. HPV doesn’t just float in the environment, waiting to land. It takes an affirmative action to become infected. Loving partners do no demean and diminish, they support and uplift.

      Leaving a long term marriage is so very difficult. It is the equivalent of cutting off a body part. But that part is cancerous and is going to kill your spirit. My life hasn’t been the easiest since I left, but it is my life, and it is not one of deception and contempt. Like so many here, I wish I had left a lifetime ago.

    • Private investigator was the best thing I invested in. Found out right away with my second XW. Wish I had used one in my first marriage.

  • I too received the cheater gift of HPV after a lifetime of clear Pap smears. I felt so dirty and disgusting knowing that my ex husband had exposed me to the consequences of every nasty sexual encounter his slutty girlfriend had participated in. Apparently she got around quite a bit in her 23 years on the planet. Perhaps it’s karma at work but I’ve heard they are now unable to get pregnant. Is it because of his garbage dick and her filthy vajayjay? Is it because he’s a fat old man and she’s a malnourished anorexic? Maybe it’s just because they both suck.

    • I just now realized why Cockroach often had scratches! I never really noticed them or suspected anything, but he would always bring it up, saying things like, “see these marks? I got them by …… “. I always wondered why he was explaining away something I hadn’t even inquired about. Boy, oh boy, was I ever a chump!!

      • Sorry for that aha moment. I’ve had a whole bunch. I was a massive chump when I got the warts from HPV. I didn’t realize it until a year ago that I got them 20 yrs into our marriage and there is only one way to transmit them. That was a serious aha moment for me.

  • Isawthelight, I’ve been where you are now. Questioning everything, up and down, is the sky blue, grass green? Is my husband lying, can I trust what he is saying? I wanted to not believe my eyes. I wanted everything to be okay again. I didn’t want my world to fall apart by saying that yes, he is lying, he is cheating, I don’t deserve this. Isawthelight, YOU DON”T DESERVE THIS!!! Before I accepted this, I wanted a ton of evidence before I could allow myself to move forward in my own life. Today, I wouldn’t even need half of what you are describing to know that the relationship is not sustainable and I would need to get out.
    It took me 3 years of marriage counseling to wrap my mind around the fact that the man I was married to abused me, has no respect me and he never will. It took the same amount of individual counseling for me to gain the strength to file for divorce. It wasn’t until the divorce was final adn I was on my own for a while before I could admit that he was abusive to me. I mean, he never hit me, so… Please don’t make my mistake.
    He gave you HPV, don’t give him the opportunity to give you HIV/AIDS.

    • One more comment- During the time that I was suspicious but hadn’t yet gotten that undeniable nail in the coffin proof that I thought I needed, I had a feeling that I needed permission to say that the situation was not okay. I don’t know who I needed it from but I couldn’t shake that feeling. Isawthelight, If you need that kind of permission or validation here it is. It is okay to say, “This situation is not right, it’s not okay.”

      If your childhood was anything like mine you may have been raised to keep your mouth shut about bad situations.Trust yourself, you are a grown up now and while as a child you may not have been able to take care of yourself, I promise you, now you are more than able to.

      • ddame23,
        I can relate to what you are saying about being brought up a certain way. I was always taught to be nice and to believe the best of everyone. That is fine if we lived in a perfect world filled with perfect people.
        Even though some of the explanations my H gave me for suspicious behaviors were obviously ridiculous, I felt that it was wrong to call him a liar.
        It is odd, though. In other areas of my life, I have no problem calling BS. I’ve gotten tougher and wiser over the years. But in my marriage, I can’t seem to do it very well. Probably to avoid all of the complications that facing the truth brings (breaking up our family and starting over), along with the shame of being played. Although I also know that I should not be ashamed; he should be. It’s just so personal in a marriage, and it is harder to be objective.

        • Isawthelight, I am sorry you are in this situation. To me the threats and the smirking are worse than the cheating. I can accept that someone cheats because they are selfish and stupid, and don’t think of how much they will hurt you, but do not cheat TO hurt you. On the other hand, threats and smirks, condescension, disrespect, that’s just tormenting you for pleasure. It’s nasty. That is reason enough for you to keep quiet for now and lawyer up, gather all the documents and evidence you need. Bottom line, he is not on your side, and he was supposed to be. So now you have to be on your side. Get a good friend or family member on board for support if there is someone you can really trust. I am sorry but you can’t trust your husband about anything now. Best of luck to you.

          • Kiwi – that was so succinct and well said.
            Thank you from an oldie-chump.
            I get something out of C/N every single day and you hit a nerve with me on this one.

  • This is gross, but read on…A couple years ago, well before Dday, when I thought all was perfect in my world, I had a huge sores on the back of my thigh, very painful. I went to the doc who cultured it. It came back positive for herpes, the SEXUALLY transmitted kind. Since I hadn’t been with anyone but my husband since 1990, yes 1990, they asked me all kinds of embarassing questions. I was adamant that my hub could NEVER have cheated, we were happy, blah blah blah. BUT my hub travels for work and is often gone for a couple months at a time, all over the world. So I went ahead and asked him and of course he said no, of course not, doctors don’t know what they’re talking about-it was probably just a cold sore (ON MY LEG???) , tests are unreliable, and I believed him. Fast forward to now as I’m going through a divorce because he decided that a whore he’d only known for a couple of weeks was his SOUL MATE and worth destroying 25 years of what had been a great marrriage. Or so I thought. Anyway, I know you can’t 100% legally prove the HPV or this particular herpes is directly related to your hub or mine (although if he takes a blood test, that would help) but there is something in divorce called a marital tort and you can USE this information to possibly negotiate a better settlement. Not sure if that helps, but it might. Trust me, trust CL, trust your gut. If my wonderful hub could lie and cheat, anyone’s hub could.

  • Wow, today’s post hit me like a thunderbolt. I also was diagnosed with HPV after what I thought was 15+ years of monogamy with my husband.

    I went in for my yearly pap, which have always come back normal. I was really scared when the GYN office called me afterwards to say I needed to come in and speak to the doctor. Turned out, yes, I had HPV. I wasn’t familiar with HPV, but the GYN explained to me that this particular virus can lay dormant for years. I wasn’t a virgin when I got married, and my GYN said something to the effect of “You could have gotten this all the way back from your first boyfriend in high school” Oh.

    Silly me, I not only bought that explanation from my GYN, but I called my husband with the HPV news AND I offered right up the explanation that my GYN gave me. Did I make it easy for him, or what? Never mind that the red flags of his cheating were waving in the cat 5 hurricane force winds, on fire and smacking me over the head, I didn’t even for a second entertain that my loving, honest, devoted husband would have cheated on me and gave me an STD….. and those craigslist ads and deleted texts and unexplained prolonged absences of his? Just coincidences. Hah.

    Well, I got rid of the HPV by having TWO painful procedures that literally burned off pieces of my cervix to get the bad cells out of me. Boy, was that fun.

    D-Day struck about two years later. My husband was VERY involved with prostitutes. Very.

    OMG I HAD DISEASED CELLS FROM WHORES GROWING IN MY BODY. OMG MY HUSBAND INJECTED THOSE CELLS INTO ME. OMG.

    Not only did he not show a crack in his poker face when this happened to me, he also didn’t stop. HPV can turn itself into cancer if not treated. He almost gave his wife – the person who loved him most in the world – cancer with what he was doing. AND HE STILL DIDN’T STOP.

    Isawthelight, divorcing him and being single in my late 40’s was not the plan, and isn’t fun, but I’m no longer in danger of next time, hearing my GYN say “HIV” instead of “HPV”.

    So my advice to you, unfortunately, echoes those who have posted above me. GET OUT NOW.

    • GiveTimeTime,

      Your physician may have been right about you contracting HPV from someone you were involved with before your husband. A woman can get a normal PAP result but have HPV, which most of the population has by 50, often without realizing that they have the virus.

      I relate to the pain of discovering one’s spouse has been visiting prostitutes while married. My husband visited prostitites before and during our marriage, using the money that was supposed to go into our kids’ college savings account for sex–and he still publicly accuses me of being a bad parent!

      Like you, I was separated in my late 40s after approximately a decade of marriage and thus understand some of the challenges getting divorced at this stage.

      Hope your cheater-free life is better than the one you had married to your ex.

      • RockStar –

        Thanks for commenting. Yes, I’m sure my physician was correct about the virus being able to lie dormant for years. Of course, when I first got the diagnosis, I checked Google’s opinion on this and Google confirmed it.

        That said, now that I know that my husband was fucking whores on a regular basis for at least five years, in my mind, the odds are tipped away from me having caught it from my high school boyfriend 30 years prior, kwim?

        I hope your cheater-free life is better and continues to get better as well.

        • Now-a-days the recommendation is to screen both for abnormal precancerous cells AND any HPV strains by age 30 (and every five years if both come up negative). I caution anyone who has had a negative pap-smear and HPV test in the past and finds out they test positive for HPV later, even without the cancer. It’s highly-unlikely it was “just missed” or “dormant,” as most people clear it from their body within a year.

  • Dear Isawthelight

    Yes, when I realized my marriage (just under 28 yrs) was a “sunken ship”, I told myself: “swim ashore”! Yes!!!! It was a “ocean of pain” but when I washed a shore I actually had “salvaged jewels”! The treasure of living a life without a cheater is a gift you cannot see at this time. You are mighty!

    • Ah yes, and there is no salvage left on the RMS Mehbound,
      as it succumbs to the ocean salt and fades into the landscape
      of the oceans treachery.

      Your salvaged jewels now accompany you on your maiden voyage,
      destined only for the journey of bonding with the oceans true beauty..

  • ISawTheLight,

    I am sorry to hear that your results for HPV were positive. I hope that you realize that most adults by age 50 have some strain of HPV, and most of those do not suffer effects of carrying the virus. Although your husband could have given you HPV, if you have ever had sexual relations with anyone, even if the physical contact did not include sexual intercourse, and even though you have been intimate with only your husband for many years, then it is possible that you contracted HPV from someone else. If I understand correctly, a normal PAP does not guarantee that one does not have HPV. Here are a couple of articles on the topic. Sorry that I could not find more that might more precisely address your concerns:(http://www.medfusion.net/templates/groups/6064/10450/form3.pdf)
    (http://www.goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/positive-high-risk-hpv)

    That being said, even if your husband did not give you HPV and has not been unfaithful to you, your husband’s treatment of you, threatening you for questioning his fidelity, is enough to justify your angst and discontent. Your husband is abusing you. What do YOU want to do in light of the fact that your husband is abusing you?

    • This depends on if she was tested for HPV virus DNA on her previous paps (a test they likely performed given her age). If she came up negative a few years ago for HPV and now is positive, the HPV is new.

      • My last Pap smear was normal. That was three years ago. My Pap smears have always been normal. In fact, my gyn told me years ago that I needed the tests only once every three years because I was low risk–married for over 20 years and monogamous. However, she said that if I or my husband ever took a new sexual partner, I should be tested more often. At that time, I laughed and said I’d be sure to tell my husband to let me know. Ha
        I do believe that this is new and that my husband gave it to me.

            • Thank you for asking and thank you to everyone here for the advice and support.
              We have been discussing the options: counseling, separation, or divorce. I can’t see that counseling will work because he continues to adamantly deny everything. If he would confess and show SINCERE remorse, then there might be a chance. However, confession of the truth is against his nature, I believe. And, truly, divorce is the best option. He has been showing me who he is, even when–or maybe especially because–he plays a shell game when it comes to his values and intentions. He’s pretty much always had this tendency toward mind games. I’ve seen the same behavior from others that he grew up with. I’m tired of the games, the sweet-talk, the threats, etc. After 30 years, I think I’m through with it. The HPV, as unpleasant as the diagnosis is, was the revelation that I needed.
              Divorce paperwork will not begin until January. We have some huge family events coming up next month, along with the holidays, so it is a bad time. I’m living away from him for now.

    • RockStarWife,
      Thank you for the comments and for sharing your experience.
      I have struggled with the uncertainty over the HPV as proof. If I had only the HPV diagnosis, and no other reason to suspect him, then I would assume that the virus had been dormant. However, because of his behaviors over the years, and especially this last year while I was working out of state, it is just too much. Everything adds up now. I think the HPV is the wake-up call I needed to really face all of the other red flags and not be cajoled or bullied into looking the other way this time.

  • “Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.” – Henry David Thoreau

    Unless he was watching a movie in which a character experienced testicle pain after intercourse. I have searched for some very weird stuff after watching a movie.

  • This ^^^. Even though I am not totally free yet, by maintaining no contact (A MUST) I began to heal and become reacquainted with myself. I feel better than I have in years. There is light and love after the storm.

    • Yep! I refer to “the storm of life” if for some reason I talk about the time frame which I just calculated was exactly 5 years ago that I discovered “the stranger beside me”! No Contact is huge in healing.

  • I had a boyfriend in college who gave me HPV. I found out because I was having terrible pain “down there” and went to the doctor. The doctor checked me out and then when the diagnosis came back proceeded to YELL at me for having it. I had no idea WHAT was going on. I was stunned. HPV wasn’t really a thing back then. I went to my gyn back home and she looked at me with such pity and empathy. SHE was the one who told me the truth. ANd that started my journey of breaking up. I had the hardest time letting go. He seemed nice but he gaslighted me all the time. I was better without him.

    Good luck and hugs!

  • “He smirks at your pain? He threatens you? That’s all the evidence you need.”

    Sometimes a post can come down to 3 key sentences. A man gives his wife HPV after 30 years of marriage and he smirks. And threatens. No remorse.

    Nothing to work with here.

  • Wow–I don’t know where to start. I’m overwhelmed (in a good way) by the support here. Thank you all.
    Chump Lady, thank you for posting and answering my question. Your reply and the other comments here are the shot in the arm that I needed.
    The observation that chumps are easy targets for gaslighting because they are reasonable makes so much sense. I have literally decided to “believe” ridiculous stories simply because I can not imagine anyone ever telling audacious lies. What a chump.
    As someone mentioned above, many lies have a bit of truth. My H and I tried marriage and individual counseling a few times over the years. After several joint sessions with one counselor, we each had individual sessions. In one of my sessions, I told the counselor the fishy story about the woman with long fingernails who scratched his back during a basketball game (which no one else on the team remembers). My counselor actually said, “He tells partial truths. It was a woman with long fingernails, but they weren’t playing basketball. She was a hooker, and she scratched his back while they were having sex.” She also told me to trust my gut. I can’t imagine why a marriage counselor would put that idea in my head–unless she was trying to help me.
    But back to the current evidence–the HPV and other red-flag behavior while I was working out of state for the past year…. Thank you all for the objective perspectives here. The light is dawning.
    I want to reply to some of the individual comments above, too.

    • Oh man, that counselor is worth returning to if you can. The ones that give it to you straight are rare and worth their weight in gold.

      • Oh yeah. We went to a MC once. He spoke with the Fucktard for approximately 5 minutes, then looked at me and shook his head back and forth as to say “no”. It was frightening that someone could figure out the disordered in 5 minutes whereas it took me 15 years.

  • There are 3 scenarios for how this goes. In all three you need to keep your focus. Once you know the truth there will be a part of you that will want to blast him with all that you know and the threat of you leaving to get him to have an ah-ha moment….change his ways, realize what the stakes are, he won’t.
    The goal is leaving and keeping yourself intact as much as you can while doing it. It is 1000 percent necessary ton let go of the idea that any change is possible.
    1. You will end it and he will beg to get you back. He’s never changing, don’t fall for it.
    2. You will end it, and he won’t beg you back and move on in a hot second with somebody else. It’ll hurt like a mother but keep your focus on you and your settlement.
    3. He will leave you and move on in a hot seconnd( or years earlier) and it’ll also hurt like a mother. FOCUS ON YOUR SETTLEMENT.

    These assholes will say anything to get out financially intact and keep what’s yours. Leave anything good you felt about him at the door and focus!! All that shit was a lie and in a year or two when you’ve moved on you’ll be happy you invested your energy into a good settlement and not a cheating asshole.

  • “And he has even threatened me by saying that he would reveal painful events from my childhood that I confided in him if I continue to accuse him.”

    This right here screams “I’m cheating and I’ll do even worse to you if you tell anyone”

  • So much this:

    “You’re a reasonable person. This here is the Achilles heel of every chump. You’re decent. You reflect. You question yourself. You want to assume the best in people and give others the benefit of the doubt. You shy away from being perceived as judgmental or difficult.

    And those qualities will get you played by disordered people.”

    And so much this quote from the WP:
    “Gaslighting can be frighteningly effective, especially on a person who has a realistic sense of humility about perception and memory.”

    When I look back at the disordered in my life, primarily Cheese Fries and Jesus Cheater Dad, I realize how hard I worked to understand their point-of-view, their childhoods, their traumas, their pain. How I convinced myself that their negative actions were the result of depression or bipolar or anxiety or SOMETHING that allowed for the possibility of change and recovery. I blamed myself for my fifty percent of the relationship problems and I spent years in therapy working on my issues. When, despite all my spackling, I came to unflattering conclusions about their characters, I then blamed myself for not letting go of the past, for blowing things out of proportion, for not trying hard enough with my boundaries and I-statements, for being codependent, for enabling their behavior, for causing their behavior by things I’d done in the past.

    That humility and aversion to passing judgment on someone kept me from simply looking at their awful behavior and saying, “You’re an asshole and I don’t let assholes in my life.”

    Life is a lot simpler when you size people up, trust your judgment, and act accordingly.

    • Yes, yes, and yes. Wanting to UNDERSTAND everybody has kept me from seeing the simple, obvious truth and drawing the correct conclusions.

    • Bang on! That is one of the most perfect reflections of myself I have ever read. Thanks Better Days. You really nailed it. I think I’m going to print out your comment. I did ALL of those things you mentioned. 30 yrs of trying. 30 yrs of showing up to our marriage. Every. Single. Day.

      I gave it my 100% and his 100%. Ha! He didn’t have to work hard at our relationship. I was doing it all for us and believing his words of devotion and commitment. I was gaslighted, lied to, cheated on (apparently more frequently than I first found out about), abandoned…and I still had hope.

      I really do feel sorry for my 30 yr younger self. She should have run the other way the first time she saw him. He was a wolf in sheep’s clothing and the wolf showed himself here and there, I forgave him and felt so sorry for him being a wolf. Poor man (said very sarcastically). I really believed he wanted to change. I believed he had the capacity to change. He certainly had the tools, opportunity and resources to be a better man. What he lacked was the will, the honest desire and the character to be a better.

      Yesterday I had an epiphany – I’m done. I’m done wasting energy on him. And it feels so freeing. I finally feel ready to disconnect. I’ve wasting 30 yrs in him and I won’t waste another day.

  • If you spackled all of the other bs from your spouse, do not spackle him committing manslaughter ( knowingly infecting you with someone else’s potentially deadly diseases). Fuck him and take all of this info to a tough attorney. The guy is garbage . You need to save yourself in every way possible.

    A lot of us have been ‘touched’ by diseases that can kill and disfigure or simply never go away. We had no say in acquiring these diseases, our cheaters did that for us.

  • “I guess my question is, is this enough evidence for anyone?”

    Yes, Isawthelight, it’s enough evidence for anyone.

  • Isawthelight-

    Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need hard evidence that someone is cheating to divorce them. Iron clad proof of cheating isn’t often helpful in divorce, particularly if you live in a no fault state. Additionally, I think that society tends to go one of two ways with marriage: Fight at all costs or treat marriage as though it’s disposable. There has to be a happy medium between those two extremes.

    Don’t get me wrong. I do not think that marriage vows should be taken lightly but if your spouse is doing the things you describe such as gas lighting and making not so thinly veiled threats against you, then it’s okay to call it a day and leave.

    Regardless of whether he’s cheating or not, you don’t have anything to work with here. It’s far more honest to do the adult thing and file for divorce no matter how long you’ve been married. Some investments are just bad and need to be dumped.

    • I agree with this point. I think one of the biggest mistakes I made was staying married for as long as a I did. We were not happy, I didn’t like him after a while, he was mean, he said racist shit all the time, he was entitled and honestly I was not sexually attracted to him (and he did nothing to help the cause)… I should have divorced him before we even got the point where cheating was on the table. But I didn’t feel right doing that for some reason. Like the fact that I didn’t have one of the three A’s on my side (abuse, addiction, adultery), meant that well I was stuck.

      Of course when it all went to shit I had all three of those things to deal with. He drank too much, he was emotionally abusive, and then just to complete the hat trick… he fucked his whore. Now I don’t have the hard proof. I don’t have I picture of him flailing around on top of her or something… but it doesn’t matter. I can leave because I don’t like him as a person and I don’t want to be married any more. Full stop. Some investments are a bad investment and you need to cut your losses.

      I tend to sort of create thought exercises to gauge my feelings when I don’t have a great sense of how I feel about a topic. Sort of a day dream of a “worst case scenario” and I think about how I would feel. Right about the time I was almost ready to divorce but wasn’t quite there, I dreamed up a scenario that was “If he came down with some sort of horrible illness, how would you feel about having to exhaust your resources to try and save him.”

      … and the answer was “I would be really pissed to be stuck having to spend resources on that asshole when it would probably be better if he died”. When you get to the point that you think “I mean he could die comfortably, but he would die.”… it’s time to go.

      Set aside the expectations of what you should do as the right thing. Set aside fearing that people will judge you or think you have lost your mind. Do you want to be married any more? If your Husband became ill would you gladly sacrifice time and money for him without resentment? Do you think he would do the same for you? If not, then don’t waste your time trying to “unravel the skein” as we are apt to say around here. You had a good run, it’s time to move on.

      • I’m with you CAGal. I did the same thing. A couple of years before dday, things were absolutely miserable. I knew something was horribly wrong and visions of divorce lawyers were constantly dancing in my head. Unfortunately I couldn’t get past the whole “I didn’t have a good enough reason to divorce him” reasoning. When the little niggling feelings started turning into things I could no longer ignore, I did my best impression of inspector gadget and looked through his blackberry and found the most coveted proof I desired.

        Hand to God, my first thought was: “This is my get out of jail free card.” Of course then I panicked and got sucked in by the RIC. That was the opposite of helpful because all that literature just made me feel like I wouldn’t be trying hard enough if I didn’t give him a chance even after he cheated. And after all I was just protecting my investment.

        At the end of 3 useless years in reconciliation, I pulled out my get out of jail free card and used it. I wish I had the nerve to just walk the two years prior to dday. He was probably already screwing the OW but it would have saved me some heartache and most of my 40s.

        • Me,too,on the Get out of Jail Card. I was semi-euphoric for a while. I had not lost my mind after all. And my XWs were so abusive,I was glad to have a way out.

  • “And he has even threatened me by saying that he would reveal painful events from my childhood that I confided in him if I continue to accuse him.”

    This is deplorable and abusive.

    I faced similar threats once many years ago, and I had to make a choice:

    a) Will I continue to live in fear about the childhood painful events, and allow them to be used as a weapon to beat me with?

    b) Will I face those childhood events head-on and start disclosing them safely to others, so that their pain and impact is lessened?

    I chose b) and had therapy, and then started talking about it on blogs and in other safe spaces. It hurt, but it made me grow as a person, and the best thing of all was that it took away the fear of being exposed, and of having those events used against me.

    NO-ONE uses my past against me as a weapon. NO-ONE.

  • Sorry to hear your story Isawthelight. And I’m sorry to read that you and others like me also have the depressing post-divorce legacy of HPV 16, but fingers crossed it will either clear, or worst case with regular colposcopies we can get treated early if anything develops. It sucks, but I keep telling myself thank God it wasn’t HIV.
    Please take everyone’s advice here seriously – keep quiet, find a lawyer and in the meantime document your assets, and protect joint accounts from major withdrawals without 2 signatures. Many cheating spouses siphon off money – his accountant even tried to steal money from my superannuation which was returned when I reported it to the fraud department. And he miraculously came up with $150,000 for a house deposit for his new house with OW that I had no record of.
    Good luck – this will be very painful but you will come through it OK, nothing is worse than staying with a man like your husband.

    • I just had this vivid memory of the scratch marks my ex had in the last year of our marriage – the cause for that only just dawned on me reading this! And the school parents wonder (with obvious disapproval at not being “amicably” divorced ) why the thought of sitting near him at a school dinner makes me feel sick?!

  • I too found out for sure my husband was cheating when I was diagnosed with Hpv. His response was, “but I was careful”?. He was never concerned about the long term effects on me. We are separated right now and neither one of us has filed. He continues to deposit money in our bank account. I feel stuck- I know I need to file, but I am scared for the future. Right now I have enough money to live okay as long as he continues to deposit the money and he is out of my life, except seeing the kids every other weekend during the day only. The attorney retainer fees of the attorney I like is overwhelming. I am not looking forward to finding a new job so I can earn more money and be away from my kids a ton more. It is hard to push thru to a future you are not looking forward too even though you know it is necessary. He has left our marriage and has not looked back. It has been 9 months since DD and I am still having a hard time digesting my new circumstances. We have been together for 29 years, married for 20.

  • One thing stands out to me. He googled about the pain in his balls “AFTER” intercourse. Had he googled about pain in his balls because of the “LACK” of intercourse…that would have been acceptable…aka “blue balls” syndrome.
    When I was married to my prior husband, we had sex about 12 times in ONE day. He said his balls were so sore that he thought he’d never be able to get back into the saddle again. He was fine within several days.

    Your husband’s google search was a direct inquiry about his pain in his balls and most likely a result of probably having a TON of sex in a very short period of time. Add to that, is the fact that there was at least an entire month (or more) between when you two had sex because of your work situation. Get my drift? Add to that his deleting stuff…we ALL know what that means…he is hiding something…why else would he find it necessary to do that?

    So sorry.

    • What I meant to say is that you had sex with him in mid April…he googled the pain “after sex” in June. Even if you had sex 12 times in one day during your last visit with him in April…he would have long recovered by June. Further, given that you did have sex in mid April, he would not have had enough time to have developed “blue balls” by June. It takes MANY MANY months to develop blue balls…but only if there is no masturbation or nocturnal emissions for release. But he did say “AFTER” sex…so there you have it.

  • Isawthelight,

    Like everyone else here, I’m so sorry you’re in this place right now. It’s a very dark and difficult one to inhabit, though as your name suggests, you’re already peeking through the sliver of hope to the other side.

    My XH blew up our marriage in just eight months. Or that’s how long it took me to finally face the facts of what was going on (co-worker affair, prostitutes, emotional affairs). Whether a year or thirty, the pain is very hard to bear. You don’t want to admit things didn’t work, or that you could be chumped so easily.

    He’s abusing you enough; don’t beat up on yourself. Take the advice of the seasoned experts here and protect your life, your family, and your future. You do have one, and it’s your chance now to make it what YOU want, without him being able to steal one more minute of your happiness.

    Sending you love from the Midwest! ?

  • When you think about it, most people around us are gaslighters.

    How many of us have heard some form of:

    1. “I’m sure he / she didn’t mean it that way.”

    2. “You’re just paranoid.”

    3. “just because he / she did / said “x” does not mean what ever you interepreted……”

    Life is too short to wait for solid proof. sometimes you need to make a decision NOW. And stop worrying about showing others that you are fair and reasonable. How often does anyone else worry about that?

  • The HPV is just one factor to think about. IMO, the threat to expose painful secrets you told him in trust and confidence is the deal breaker. It’s emotional blackmail and an intimidation and control tactic. Abusive, and not the way you treat someone you care about. If he’s willing to hold that over your head, he’s in no way a safe partner.

    I have a twist in the HPV issue. I contracted it sometime in my past. I’m not promiscuous, but was not a virgin who partnered with another virgin. Since men are usually silent carriers, I caught it in a relationship from a partner who never knew he had it and will never know who or exactly when it originated from.

    I’ve had low grade abnormal pap smears off and on over the years, and a couple rounds of biopsies. The cells never progressed beyond low grade, so my doctor is just monitoring me. If my next pap shows abnormal cells, I’m going to ask for more biopsies and to just go ahead and remove the abnormal tissue, because at this stage it would be a minimally invasive office procedure (freezing them off).

    Now, nobody ever told me it was caused by HPV and sexually transmitted until about 4 years ago when I switched ob/gyns. I immediately told my cheater ex everything I learned, and gave him literature from my doctor to understand his risk factors. He knew that he had been exposed to my HPV, and that he was now a silent carrier. He knew that the virus could cause cancer and potentially kill.

    But he still had unprotected sex with another woman and neglected to tell her about the virus. His excuse? “There’s no test for men, so there’s no proof that I ever caught it from you”.

    Yep, that’s the cheater mind at work. Sidestep and deny.

  • I’m sorry you also found out you have HPV. I was with my unfaithful ex-husband for about 5 years and was abstinent for a long time afterwards. After about 3 years of abstinence, I found out I had hpv and needed surgery. It is a very common disease and very treatable. But, I know processing all this emotionally can be hard. The bottom line is that you’re a kindhearted, faithful woman who can find better friends and partners than him. The grief of leaving would be difficult at first. However, the long term gain is far better than staying stuck with someone who is emotionally abusive and can’t bother to concern himself with your feelings or health.

  • I am the same chump. The woman I caught my husband with DIED from anal cancer, caused from HPV. A year after she died, I was diagnosed with anal HPV. Four years later he still swears they didn’t touch each other, in spite of damning evidence. I filed for divorce yesterday. I’m a chump NO MORE!

    • Sorry to hear you’ve been victimized like that! It should be criminal to spread diseases knowingly! That was the main reason I married….and the main reason I divorced him!

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