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Dear Chump Lady, Cheater’s mom enables him in his affair

Dear Chump Lady,

It has taken several D-days (yes, I’m a chumpy chump) to realize that my fiance is not going to change. Now I’m working on putting together a workable exit plan and am just holding on until I can graduate and have enough put away in savings.

One of the things that has left me so shocked and disgusted with this entire situation has been the role his mother has played and continues to play.

For example, he brought the OW down to visit her on several different occasions. She didn’t breathe a word about it to me. She excuses his behavior by saying he’s “depressed” and “guilty of simply loving too much.”

He has used suicide threats in front of me and our child during moments when I told him that I would not tolerate him leaving to see the OW as an intimidation tactic. We had to stay in an emergency shelter. He broke up with me when I confronted him about his behavior, leaving us to be with her — with absolutely no money in the bank, utilities due, and with back rent owed since he controlled the finances.

We have stayed in the local women’s shelter on two different occasions as I felt that our physical safety was being threatened. (I’m ashamed of having taken him back; his “remorse” seemed so genuine).

His Mom KNOWS about ALL of this. Instead of holding her son accountable, she blames me, saying that I “react too intensely” and “only see the negative in everything.” She also told him that the OW would be a better choice for him!

And the whole kicker to this is that she is a psychotherapist who deals with veterans. Veterans who have experienced emotional trauma.

The question I have is that once I leave, am I under any obligation to have these two toxic people in my son’s life? And how common is it for parents of cheaters to engage in this type of behavior?


Dear Annie,

Question 1 — if your son is on the birth certificate and you’re going to enforce child support? Then yes, you’ll probably have a court-ordered obligation to share custody and visitation. Question 2 — are cheaters’ parents lousy people too? Sure, that happens. Or they’re Class A spacklers, like chumps. Excusing the inexcusable.

Question 2 — the primary focus of your letter, however, is really irrelevant and completely besides the point. Instead I’m going to give you the advice you did NOT ask for — GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE NOW!

Yes, I know you’ve worked with a domestic abuse shelter — terrific. And I know you’re making an “exit plan” — terrific. I also know chump hopium bullshit when I hear it. No amount of “savings” is worth putting up with someone who threatens your physical safety and makes suicide threats. GET THE HELL OUT NOW.

 (I’m ashamed of having taken him back; his “remorse” seemed so genuine).

You put this in parentheses. THIS is the crux of your dilemma. THIS is the most important thing — you took him back, and you feel ashamed. And now you’re riding out that choice to take him back because leaving again, and going back to the people who helped you feels mortifying.

Been there, done that, have the protection from abuse orders. GO BACK. It takes a woman on average SEVEN attempts to leave an abuser. Please improve those odds and go back to those domestic abuse professionals. What you’re experiencing is really typical. No one there is going to judge you — they see this shit every. single. day.

I know you want to finish your degree and graduate. I hope the shelter can help you with that. Or reach out to the counselors and advisors at your college and let them know what’s going on. Stuff the embarrassment and TELL THEM. Maybe you can defer for a semester. Maybe they can work out some financial assistance. I don’t know what your options are, but I do know this — your safety and your child’s safety are more important than finishing out the school year.

It may be finishing and leaving are totally possible. Personally, I think sleeping in a shelter, or in a cardboard box on the street would be preferable to living one more moment with a scary wingnut. But I also know that when you’re living it, as a survival tactic you minimize exactly how scary it is.

You wrote to me, Annie — IT’S SCARY.

And if me personally imploring you to leave doesn’t convince you, I’d like to direct your attention to Question #1 — having the abuser in your child’s life. If YOU take him back, if you NORMALIZE this shit, if you don’t stick by a protection abuse order and DOCUMENT THIS — how do you expect a judge to side with you?

I’m sorry, your Honor, I was saving money, taking my time to leave him ain’t gonna cut it.

If he’s toxic? ACT LIKE IT. Document it. You have a far more powerful story for full custody if you’re in a domestic abuse shelter trying to take back your life, than if you’re in a shitty relationship taking back an abuser.

Don’t model this shit to your child. And don’t accept abuse in your life. Ever. Exit plan starts TODAY.


Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
    • Praying for you Annie. I’m still a chump, but no physical abuse. We all know how hard it is to leave and to admit the relationship is over. Please be safe.

      • Thank you Crazy Lady and Vulcan Chump. Finding this place has been an oasis in a desert of dysfunction. (hug)

  • I want to second CL’s comment that the people who work at Domestic Abuse Centers are terrific–at least in my experience. Every woman who helped with me case and questions had to have been at least 20 years younger than me with less education and fewer overt “privileges” than I seemed to have. I was embarrassed and humiliated to be in the situation I was in. I felt seventeen kinds of stupid being there. They were nothing but kind, informative, patient, and practical. They cannot solve every problem, but they helped me see my problems without any kind of judgment, and they persistently encouraged me to use resources I did not think I was eligible for and would never have requested (like Legal Aid), if they had not calmly insisted I should just fill out the one page form and let the lawyers decide whether they should take my case or not (they did).

    Many chumps are accustomed to being the problem solver. And this will serve them well once they have left a bad relationship, but acknowledging that being a chump is in itself a problem and accepting the help of people who have your safety as their first priority is an important step in de-chumping yourself. Domestic Abuse Centers are staffed with people trained to recognize the problems a lot of us are (or were) blind to.

    Finally, one resource some campuses have that can be helpful, but may not be visible, especially in a public institution, is some kind of chaplain or individual who runs the various religious groups on campus. They might be the ones who host a tree trimming party or offer community dinners on the first night of Passover. They may or may not be a paid employee. They also often have discretionary funds and a network of connections to help students with the kinds of problems that arise out of domestic abuse or other crises.

    • Annie – have an honest talk with a trusted member of staff/lecturer/mentor at your uni/school about deferring. I was in the last semester of my masters when the sh*t hit the fan (1st D-Day, it was enough for me and I got out!). I came clean with my on-campus mentor (through email because I was an external/distant ed student) and told her what was going on in my life. She helped me jump through all the university hoops to defer the semester so I could just focus on ESCAPING first. Once I got out (I had to leave the country we were living in, with my children and head to my home country. Left cheater at the airport) I started up studies again the following semester back home. But honestly, so much was going on (legal battles over custody) that I couldn’t concentrate. Once again, my university allowed me to defer yet another semester. As it stands now, I’m picking up my studies the end of Feb, which is semester 1 of uni year here in Australia. If all goes well, I’ll be finished in June!! So, it’s worth asking to defer since you have exceptional circumstances.

      I also want to say that the anti-domestic violence departments (in Australia) are kick-ass! They helped me so much. Legal Aid, also fantastic. Once I made contact with them and told my story, I was given so much support and assistance. It is more than 7 months on and I am still getting help (counselling, legal help). It is well worth reaching out to to the right departments/organisations/people in your area/country/state and getting the right advice so you can get on the good path to healing and sorting your life out. Don’t be ashamed. There is no shame in reaching out for a helping hand when in need. The shame is all on the abuser/cheater. And CL is right – the people that are there to help you have seen it ALL before, and then some!! If the support is there in your country, please take advantage of it!! I’ve lived in developing countries where this kind of support for women stuck in abusive relationships just doesn’t exist! So don’t take help for granted if it is on offer. Hold your head up high, and get the assistance you need. You didn’t do anything wrong. (((Hugs)))

      • Thank you CL. Your words “it takes an average of 7 attempts to leave an abuser” are very comforting. The shame I carry for staying in my marriage and subjecting myself to the deeper abuse that my kids witnessed is sometimes overwhelming. But last week I fired the male attorney who never gave weight to the ugly side of these proceedings and left me regularly exposed to more abuse of the legal and financial kind. Within one hour I hired a real bi— with balls, recommended by my local domestic violence league. She’s moving fast and firmly to shut the shit down and for the first time in years I feel like I have a chance against the abuser.

        • Geode!!!! This is like reading my own story!

          I too had a male lawyer who shamed me for “going back” to my abuser. Actually, his words were “Why did you keep going back? The judge is going to ask you this and it’s not going to look good for you! It will look like the abuse wasn’t that bad, if you kept going back!” Yeah, what a douche! And this guy openly stated “I’m on my third marriage” in our first meeting and complained about paying child support to 2 ex-wives. I cringed inside – this guy had obviously been dumped by his ex-wives, had children with both of them, had issue with paying child support – he hates women like me! He can’t relate to me at all!! He was full of negative judgement and blame.

          I broke down in tears to my counsellor about what he had said, because I actually DID go back to my abuser a few times, this was before I knew about the cheating. Once I knew about the cheating, it was the icing on the cake of years of mental, emotional, financial and controlling abuse, and I quickly left him. My counsellor said “If he’s a REAL Family Lawyer, then he SHOULD KNOW that it takes a women several times leaving an abuser before she finally works up the courage to go through with it for real. He’s an ASS! Change lawyers!” I was getting Legal Aid and so I couldn’t change agencies as the funding was directed to that agency to cover my case. I emailed the agency and asked for another lawyer in their office. They assigned “The B*tch” to my case. The best female pitbull in the office. Married to an abuser herself for 18years, she knew what I was dealing with and didn’t take any bullshit. She actually did her law degree AFTER divorcing her abuser, because she wanted to help women like her. This woman had fire in her belly. The best kind of lawyer for any Chump. I was very lucky!

          So yes, it also resonated with me when CL mentioned that it takes, on average, 7 attempts to leave an abuser before a Chump actually works up the gumption to leave for good. To anybody feeling shame for, or confusion over why they kept “going back” to their abuser, I say – there is no shame in the fact that you went back, so don’t let anybody else tell you otherwise. People that make you feel guilty about it do not understand how the cycle of abuse plays out. Good domestic violence counsellors DO know, and will explain it to you throughout your counselling. Going back to an abuser is, unfortunately, a typical action played out in the abusive relationship. Don’t do your head in by blaming and shaming yourself for going back. You were in an abusive relationship. It’s like being on one of those hampster treadmills – it’s takes a final blow of disappointment and hurt to finally fling yourself off the crazy, neverending ride. Be kind to yourself. You really need to be, in order to move on and make a good life for yourself.

          • Hi LHATA, can you please let me know who your pit bull lawyer is please? I live in Melbourne thank you.

            • Hi WhereIsMia, I’m waaaay over here in Perth ? I’m so sorry. I really hope you find a kick-ass FEMALE lawyer. I don’t mean to sound sexist, but seriously, I really believe only other women can understand our position. I was super lucky to score the lawyer I did. I wish the best luck for you too (((hugs from WA)))

              • ***i mean, only other women can fully understand women’s issues pertaining to domestic abuse against women. Mine was a case of domestic abuse, and the cheating part was the icing on the cake that pushed me off the hampster mill. I promptly left him (at the airport! No joke).

      • Yeah…I live in the South, so….(being slightly sarcastic, mostly serious here). The problem is that Legal Aid isn’t even taking some physical abuse cases here due to lack of funding. It’s a nightmare!
        I’m not trying to shoot either of you down, and your advice to seek out resources anywhere and everywhere is being taken as we speak.

        A couple of other obstacles have been removed however, and am holding the cards as close to my chest as possible.

        And that Attorney, though!How traumatic it must have been for you to be in such a vulnerable position and to have the same abuse thrown at you by someone who has so much power and who was supposed to help. I’m glad you found “the B**ch”! She’s the hero we all could use.
        The first atty. sounds like half of them in this city! I know a few women who were victims of DV here…ALL of whom lost their children due to judges and attorneys who overlooked and minimized the abuse. Leaving this state is crucial to protecting my child and me.

        • My advice? Do it. Pick up and move as far away from your abuser as possible. These guys don’t stop at abusing spouses, they go on to abuse their own kids.

  • 20 years ago, after yet another rage, I asked him mom what I should do and she told me to leave him. I thought she was trying to get me to to live out a badass reaction that she never could…that might be true, but she was still right. I stayed for more abuse and he only got worse. GO !!

      • There is the odd twist in my story, I never did…I saved $40,000 and was ready to go any day … trying to balance the cost/benefit of leaving and still smoking hopium when he suddenly dropped dead. Death is the ultimate NC.

    • X waited until his parents died to pull the trigger on our marriage, but he had been cheating all along, unbeknown to me.

      When people heard about his treatment of me and our kids, they will often refer to his parents rolling over in their graves.

      His father would disown him, but I know his mother – having spent her whole life eating shit sandwiches – would have quickly jumped on the, “I just want him to be happy” train that his sister operates. She always treated me as an intruder.

      I wish I could tell all couples contemplating marriage to take a look at the dynamics of their SO’s parents. That’s exactly how you will be treated, either sooner or later.

      • No one was happier to see me be cheated on than my mil. She wanted me knocked off the pedestal so she could climb back up there. As the mother of sons, it’s such a creepy dynamic to watch. She got her sick queen-of-his-life position back.

        • Yep disorder breeds disorder . my mil was dancing on the ruins of our marriage . the emails he would write to me threatening lawyers and force selling the house were in part written by the witch. ! He was using words and phrases only an older person would think. It was pathetic and the rest of any respect I had for him evaporated.

        • Whodoesthat, the stuff he says sounds like it came right from Mommy’s mouth as well! There was one discussion (well, argument) we were having in particular where he kept trying to take off on Valentine’s Day. Months later, he finally confessed that he was sleeping with OW, and I KNEW that at the time.
          Well, because there was no smoking gun when it was happening, so the Sad Sausage came out saying that I have him “Walking on eggshells” and “see things only in extremes”. That he felt “unsafe” around me.
          Which is exactly how she speaks.

          Just got a weird thought: can a person have an emotional affair with a parent? lol?!

            • Spot on. The covert/emotional incest was what put my cheater into intense therapy to begin with, prior to his cheating. And me too, combined with my fucked up foo issues. mil re did a room in her house for him after dday so he could run right back home to her. Never called to check on me or the kids. Never. And she’s a therapist. As my kids say, Cs get degrees. Amazingly, when he told her he’d cheated and was kicked out, and her response was “I bought a new duvet!”, he actually listened to his therapist and ran the other way. Fuck these bitchy baby-men. And fuck these women who give birth to them and then spend the next 50 yrs trying to get them back in their vaginas. Seriously.

  • Shame: cheaters have none, but they count on it to keep you silent and still. Put the shame where it belongs, on the cheater (and, it sounds like his mother who has helped him become so entitled).

  • Wow have I been down the road of abusive bf! Thankfully, I was able to wrangle myself free within 6 months plus 3 more months of slowwwwwly backing away. He was a very dangerous person, and also very convincing! I managed to care for him deeply, but still had to leave. Once he threatened me with physical harm (death), I didn’t take it seriously. I spoke with his counselor and he told me to call the police because once they verbalize their threats, they are more real than thoughts and lead to action. For your own sake and the sake of your child who needs you, please get away from this man. He WILL follow through on hurting you.

    I have also experienced the guy whose Mom is involved in the relationship, because he tells her ever stupid detail. (Mama’s boy) You are under no obligation to share with her what’s happening in your relationship and she is the wrong person to gain any solace or support from. She is there as his mother to support HIM. I learned that one, so I NEVER discuss relationship issues with the significant others’ blood. In most cases, I find they could give a crap about you!

    So forget the Mom and take Chump Lady’s advice. You take care of you and the child and document everything, make a case to avoid contact with this crazy person! I’m so very sorry you are going through this. Pleas seek therapy right away and gather your support network! We are here for you at Chump Nation. Please feel free to dump on us anytime. We all gain strength and encouragement from one another. Take good care…

    • My first thought before I even read CL’s words were “he is not just threatening suicide, he is entitled enoughfeel take her and the child with him when he goes.” I, too, fear for your safety and your child’s.

      Consider this: those who say you are “being dramatic” are failing to recognize that any response to another person’s intense drama will, rightfully and properly, need to be dramatic. There is no other possible outcome. Your response may appear dramatic, but that doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you. Don’t let such faulty logic hold you back.

      • Well-said Amiisfree. In this situation, appearing dramatic is a response to drama. It needs to be handled a certain way. Our brains are telling us to ACT, GET AWAY, there is danger ahead…

  • Annie,
    Don’t you have family who can help you,a friend who has your back?
    Fuck his mother and what she thinks.She sounds toxic too and the less interaction you have with her the better.
    Putting your escape on the long finger is a really bad idea and as a supreme chump myself I know we can come up with all kinds of excuses to perpetuate the relationship,but honestly Annie,your main priority is to get away from your abuser asap.
    Find whatever support and help you can,from wherever you can and get away from him.
    Do not focus any of your energy on what the wing nut’s mother says,thinks or does.Instead channel all your energy on your escape.

    • Unfortunately I don’t have family; they are narcs and I had to create some distance in order to recover from their abuse. It’s probably why the picker was so broken! And friends have been difficult to come by , largely due to self isolation. I’m working on that and
      Am working to get a car.
      I speak with my therapist tomorrow to see if they are aware of resources to help with the exit; so far, it’s kind of grim. Legal Aid is severely under funded in this state, so even the worst cases end up being turned down.

      • There will never be a ‘perfect time’ to make the break. After you finish school, when you get a better job, when you can afford rent by yourself… the list can be endless. The thought that pushed me to move was ‘what am I modeling to my children? That it’s ok to treat people like garbage? It’s ok to be treated like garbage?’ Move out and move on for your child’s sake as well as your own.

  • They normalize the horrendous behavior when they spackle for their children. In laws can be a giant source of mindfuck. You just can’t see it because you are too close to it right now. Once I got some distance I realized how insane my thankfully, now ex-MIL is. That crazy came from somewhere, more than likely someone the crazy cheater is related to.

    Stop planning and start doing. Narkles the Clown did Occaissional work for my local DV shelter making it impossible for me to use. Luckily the shelter one county over worked with me (as it does for those married to law enforcement) so if you feel too close to one shelter, look for another. Rotate through them if you feel like you ar imposing. Do what it takes to get out.

    DDW here at Chump Lady gave me the 2×4 of love and mercy that made me realize these dangerous situations are not good for us or the kids. You think you can control it but you can’t. If fear is involved then you need to act like it. Get yourself and your kid out of there.

  • My ex husbands mother built him. He was adopted by her out of an abusive home when he was 3 and built him into the spitting image of her…..a grade A narcissist.
    This is the woman who told people I was mentally ill and needed medication when my ex left me for his mistress…..whom she also knew and she encouraged the relationship so he would leave us.
    This is the woman who would offer my teenage daughter trips to the mall if she would lose weight…because she could be so pretty if she would lose a few pounds.
    I started pushing back in the marriage and with her and that’s when I had to go.
    Now I know what I was dealing with but , like everybody here, while I was being gaslightef and stripped down to a shell of who I was was by them I had no clue and all the pain they caused was excruciating.
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, sometimes losing the MIL is as good as losing the ex.
    These toxic apples usually don’t fall far from the tree.

    • That is so horrible, Paintwidow. Glad you got rid of both of them. My XMIL played a HUGE role in the demise of our marriage. From the beginning she made it clear that she wished he stayed with his ex who she was actually friends with. She was constantly feeding and updating my XH with information about his ex. Even when I told him to tell her to stop and how disrespectful it was to me and our marriage she never stopped. His mother was always trying to be over-involved in our life and I knew she was jealous and upset that I “stole” her son. I saw right away she was a sick, needy narc and that she was upset that I got between her and his creepy, abnormal Momma’s Boy relationship. She definitely wanted to get rid off me and had a major role in causing problems for us by always encouring him to cheat/get back with his sick. His mom was such a needy, sick bitch!!! Good riddance to her and the sick, monster son she raised!!! 🙂

      • My STBX MIL was and is awful. She has always treated my kids poorly. One Christmas it came to a head and I saw her mask slip and what a terrible person she is. I refused to talk to her after that and she wrote me a non-apology letter. I was civil afterwards, but I am so glad to be divorcing that enabling, narcissistic bitch along with her douchebag son.

    • My MIL was more passive aggressive, She was calm/quiet, but no matter how subtle she tried to be about her comments and relationship with her mama’s boy son, I saw right through it. So here’s the fun part for lots of chumps…The gaslighting comes in when you try to confront the mama’s boy. He denies ever telling her anything, yet she magically knows everything. Mom would proceed to making snide/subtle comments about topics her son and I were discussing/disagreeing on. She tried to play damage control because her son felt I was blowing things out of proportion. She pulled me aside and claimed that she never meant anything by her innocent comments (gaslighting at it’s finest). Knowing that it wasn’t a real apology and was really damage control, I also did my fake apology, saying that perhaps it was I who didn’t understand and certainly she was not trying to be hurtful, etc. I understand the love between mother and son, but really? It does become slightly dysfunctional when there are other people outside the relationship entrenched. She undermined the relationship concerns I had by allowing her son to believe that he was perfect, she just doesn’t understand you and why is she making a big deal out of nothing… Sometimes, we can sense things and it isn’t paranoia, like he/she claimed. It’s called instincts. Just because things are not said with direct words, it doesn’t mean they are not said with indirect statements and/or actions…

      • These MIL s are evil. By the time she had destroyed our marriage and engineered our oldest son as a a new favourite golden boy her triumph was only complete when she poisoned our pet rabbits so that her coward of a son could run from the relationship into the affair and we would have to sell the house . (mortgage was too much for me ) . why the rabbits ? Because it would be practically impossible to move into a rental with free roaming rabbits in tow…5 of them . they never lived in hutches so she just cleaned up his little problem. That’s when I realised psychos really do exist. She also made an inventory of all out furniture and items he would get in the divorce . only a mother would remember the tea towels …. I was more relieved to be rid of her than him to be honest .

    • Peakyblinders, My god your MIL and Mommy Dearest sound like the same person. Maybe they could become friends, jeez!

      While her perfect baby boy is threatening, playing the back and forth game, victim-blaming, raging, and gaslighting the ever loving sanity out of everyone around him, she says things like “well, remember, he comes home to you” and “You’ll be his wife after all is said and done but you just need to support him while he works out his issues” -Goody!-while simultaneously badmouthing me when she thinks I’m not looking. Nobody holds him accountable for the shit he’s caused, nobody understands that such a great guy could have done what he did behind closed doors.
      It’s just so hard to accept the fact that all of our mutual friends are ignoring his abuse and offering him “support” during HIS difficult time (after I kicked him out of the house last month. Damn me for letting him back in). The silence has been deafening when it has come to finding anyone who has my back on that same level, and it hurts

      • Annie–the abandonment by friends is very painful. I’m 2 years out and still suffer from it occasionally. It’s incomprehensible that people could support someone who has done what he did, but people often have their own histories that bias them toward being cheater-apologists (e.g., the 3 people who most supported my X had all been cheaters themselves).

        Start setting up your own support group, this helps tremendously, and you can transition to them fully instead of the previous mutual “friends” (meant loosely).

        • Tempest.
          Sorry about the friends thing. I’m lucky he worked abroad as everyone here has been fine. Some more helpful than others but all expressing sympathy not nonsense. Some wider acquaintances have been a bit suspect but it’s easy enough to ignore them. Good that you are adored here!

        • And I think sometimes people are shallow and go with the sparkly person with the oversized persona.

      • Annie,
        The worst part is because it’s so subtle, people do think you are paranoid/over-reacting because they just can’t see it in the proper context of mindf-ckery. Then if you look at the demeanor of the MIL, they think, well she MUST be over-reacting because the MIL seems so friendly/non-confrontational, and is just a Mom who cares about her baby boy, etc.
        My favorite is how the cheater becomes the victim and it’s about his happiness. I agree with Tempest in finding people who support you if you haven’t already. The utter slap in the face we receive by people around us when push comes to shove is so hurtful and telling. That’s why nowadays when dating, I see a spade for a spade (particularly with blood relatives and friends who become “our” friends in new relationships) and keep my distance politely from those who I know deep down would not offer support my way and if they did, it would not be genuine. So many tough pills to swallow and that’s the hard part. It’s NOT just the cheating… It’s everything that comes with it, and it’s a pretty long list!!!

  • Not that it matters, but BPDs try to create at least 1 BPD child because of their own selfish abandonment fears. Get out. This should PROVE to you what he is. Don’t let him torture you or your child. Honestly, gtfo, NOW.

    • DunChumpin, that is exactly what his mother did. XH has one brother who is the successful, independent one. She made sure to raise XH as her own personal crutch who she could emotionally manipulate and guilt into catering to her and not abandon her. She had been divorced since he was a teenager and she almost groomed my XH to be like her replacement husband. So sick and wrong. This post is a big trigger for me since this was a big problem for me in my marriage and I will NEVER date or marry a Mama’s Boy again.

      • My X had TWO Mommies! His mother, and his aunt, who lived with the family. When we were dating, I thought it was cute, how she would bring him cakes, and rub his back while he ate them. The two of them basically fell all over him. Fast forward to our married days, and and he was never satisfied with only me, he was constantly bringing another female around, even at one point proposing a triangle, said it would be great for everyone, I would love it! I know now, that I’m out, that he was forever trying to recreate his days of having two women fawning over him! Mama’s Boy deluxe. BTW, I raised my three boys to be strong and independent, not to cater to me! They have all successfully launched, and we have great love between us, but I’m so proud that they are men, not dysfunctional boys!

        • Amen to that, FreeWoman! I am expecting a son and I’ll be DAMNED if he depends on me for emotional stability! Stand on your own two feet like a man.

          • Yay, Peaky! Please update us when he arrives

            You will, indeed, raise a REAL MAN…… What a blessing they are!

            Am soooo blessed that my son (31 yrs!) is ‘polar opposite’ of ‘cheaterpants
            And who does he credit for that, now that he is a full-fledged adult, loving husband, doting (step-) dad, successful business owner (& my partner in said business)?!

            Yeppers…the sane parent, NOT the cheater.

            You give this new little guy that firm foundation and he will indeed stand strong on it. Lots of amazing ‘Sane Parent’ Chumps, both Dads and Moms, can attest to that.

            Chump Nation…… I Love all y’all!

      • YES! Exactly this. My XMIL was cheated on and abandoned by her own husband. She spent the next 20 years moving every 3 months, declaring after each move that NOW she’s found the apartment that will make her happy, obsessively attending ‘happiness’ classes continuously for 20 years and constantly calling, writing and visiting her eldest son, my ex husband and trying to guilt him into spending more time with her. Finally she retired, moved close to us and proceeded to shred our family so she could move in with her son.

        • I used to think it was funny my princess didn’t see how she was like her mom. Then I saw her mom cheat on every boyfriend and move into another serious relationship. I think it’s at least 9 over 17 yrs (it’s getting harder and now she’s usually alone). Anyway, then it horrified me how similar they were.

  • I could be off base here, but the fact that you brought up his mother is a therapist, and says you “react too intensely” and “the other woman would be a better choice for him”, tells me you might be questioning your own behavior. I did this for years, as my MIL taught child development and my STBX’s parents are still married. If this is what she taught, and he came from an intact family, he must have been raised in stable and healthy family right? Which makes him stable and healthy and myself the problem? WRONG!

    1. Sure, she’s a therapist, but her opinion is biased. She loves a unicorn. You can’t get any useful advise from unicorn lovers. Yes it sucks that unicorn lovers excuse their behavior, but you don’t need their approval for self-respect! You deserve better, end of story! Sure you are flawed, but so is everyone else; there are plenty of flawed people who have loving stable partners. Your flaws are not the problem!

    2. Your reaction to shitty behavior is not the problem, the shitty behavior is the problem. That being said, you can only control you, don’t react in ways that paint you as unstable. Go “grey rock” (google it).

    3. If you haven’t done so already, read up on ambient abuse and gas lighting. The worst part of detaching yourself from a unicorn is realizing nothing about them is real. Once you do that, your mind will stop spinning!

  • Annie. You must be so anxious and afraid. Your thinking reflects that. You are asking irrelevant questions ‘should I have them in my future life’. Well no and nor should you have them in your life now. I was with an abusive boyfriend for five years but I had no one else. I was just getting by day by day focusing on college. I was so deep in the wood all I could see were trees. I didn’t understand myself that I was being abused. I would watch tv shows about abuse but didn’t think of myself as a victim of domestic violence. Only when I had reached rock bottom and told him I was leaving and didn’t care what he did, did I get out and slowly began to see what my life had become – a series of daily survival struggles managing his moods. My focus had shrunk to this and this alone.
    So if you have and strength and love for your child then leave now. I promise this is the only way to heal. Ask for help. People will help. Keep asking. Keep accepting. You can give back when you are out.
    We only have one life and it is really quite short. Please do not waste any more time.
    My trick to myself so as not to scare myself by thinking of all the future choices and problems and something I still use today as I recover from betrayal has been to come at stuff ‘sideways’. So I dont really think about what I am doing. I just do. So husband cheated. I wanted a divorce so called a lawyer. Went to appointment. Paid money. Did what he said. All without much thought. Went back to work. Tried not to think about it. Called and made appointment. Went to it. Got it. Still not thinking.
    You need to pack. Leave. Just do what needs to be done. Put as many people between you and them as you can. Tell everyone what he has done. Don’t be alone with him. Be safe. You have a child. You just have to be this for him. For you later.
    You have been badly treated but unfortunately or fortunately whichever way you look at it we have to decide what life we want and move towards it.
    Hugs and much luck to you. There are many stories of survival out here. Read them.

    • yes, some parts of your brain are still in 100% working order, some are temporarily offline. Don’t expect perfection, be gentle with yourself. For me, the maternal instinct was still good. I sent my dog to my mother’s house to protect her from abuse, which made me very sad and frustrated. The instinct to protect myself was totally offline from years of being in a dangerous home. But I could see the paradox, that the dog was safe, but not me. I think there is also a way out if you can focus on thinking of protecting your elderly parents or children, that part of your brain can summon conviction still, at least in my case, better than trying to think of saving yourself, which is accustomed to being defeated after years of being abused.

      • Cupcake, this is so true! I knew I couldn’t let cheater narc ex come back (again, I only kicked him out after Affair #2), because it would be such a terrible example for our kids. That stiffened my spine, when I might not have been as strong, if it were just for me.

  • I’m also struck today how one of the hardest bits of a marriage or relationship to let go of is the responsibility we feel towards them. We are invested in them and in the relationship and I found it really hard to rearrange what I was now responsible for. I felt emotionally responsible for the ‘family’ which is quite the web of relationships. Once I decided that I was no longer responsible for the marriage or for his relationship with the boys it became slightly easier.
    Reading Annie’s post made me think she still feels responsibility for making this relationship work or at least disengaging in a ‘good’ way. Hopium is a powerful thing as is a chumps ability to not call others to account for whatever reason.
    Best to make the leaving quick and go NC. Anything else seems to prolong the agony.
    What a fucking scourge cheaters are. This damage just keeps on and on.

    • Good point, Capricorn–the responsibility toward them is part of the greater web we feel toward the family. Not easy to excise one part of the web and leave the rest intact, but that’s what we’re asked to do. Draw out the analogy–the only way to do this successfully is one gossamer-light spider web thread at a time (e.g., NC one day at a time, to disengage from cheater without disengaging from kids/family).

      • All very good points and so true. Our sense of responsibility to everyone else is sometimes greater than our concern for our own well-being. (raises hand) Being the responsible caretaker hurts us sometimes when there is no reciprocity.

  • I lived with 26 years of crazy, so I get it. I’m living at my Mom’s with my teenaged son. The lawyer has been retained and the worm was served.
    It can be done.
    After 45 days, minus a one night slip up, I think “gee, no one has threatened, insulted, hurt, or called me a name since I left.” It’s so hard to detox from their drama, but that’s what counsellors are for!
    You will go through major withdrawal because your relationship is your drug of choice. I’m still detoxing! But it can be done and it’s so worth it!!!!❤️❤️❤️

  • Run run as fast as you can with your baby in your arms. If you do nothing now you have 50/50 custody to look forward to with this abusive prick and his equally fucked up enabling mother. Or worst yet they can wage war on you and make you look like an unfit mother and take your baby from you – these kinds of people are evil and underhanded and will gaslight you and abuse you into being the unstable one. Leave NOW the future of you and your child depend on it. Look for help from the shelter, school, friends, distant family ANYONE that may be able to assist you to get out of this horrific situation. As for the suicide threats let mommy dearest worry about that before crazytown makes the decision to take his own life and yours and the baby. You are in danger, please get our now no matter what the cost.

    • and Annie, be careful. Violence is most likely when a psychopath realizes you are definitely leaving. No advance warning, nothing. Do not give him time to prevent your exit.

        • Yes. And keep some cash he doesn’t know about someplace he’ll never look, like a tampon box. If you can, get all your important papers out of the house and stored elsewhere (your office, a safe deposit box, a friend or family member’s house). Keep an extra of important item (like glasses, keys, medication etc) in your car so you can leave even if he does something like break them or take them to prevent you going. Most of all don’t think: He’d never do that. Whatever “that” is; he will do it. Abusers abuse. They don’t have tidy boundaries about what abusive acts they will and won’t commit.

          • Amen Jojobee,

            Annie, never, ever put anything past a disordered person. Low impulse control coupled with a huge sense of entitlement makes these monsters dangerously spontaneous, aggressively taking what they want immediately! Stay safe Annie!!!!

  • This – right now – is the best it will ever be. I’m with Chump Lady that you need to go NOW. I can imagine you doing the cost-benefit analysis in your head, but the difference is that when you leave, you get self determination and control. What happens when you stay through the semester and he decides to pull some stunt with the OW during finals week? Cheaters are known for planning their timing to be the absolute most destructive to their partner. (Ask me how I know.)

    The question about how much your child’s dad and grandmother should be involved is a question for another day, because today you’re going to use that analysis as justification for inertia. “Well, I have to see them anyway, so I might as well stay where it is easy.” But that’s not true. Once you’ve flown the boundary flag and removed yourself from their influence, the game changes. H

  • In my experience MIL’s excuse the behavior because their children are just like them. Justifying their children’s behavior justifies theirs. Or they’re martyrs, they have suffered through a horrible husband and think you should to. Either way they can do a lot of damage to a marriage. XH1 was an abudive alcoholic, as was his father. His mother witnessed him punching me in the face while I was 7 months pregnant and turned around and walked away. X2 is a narc just like his mother. His mother would not acknowledge our children and constantly plotted to break up our marriage. The only way to deal with either of these scenarios is to run as fast and far as you can.

  • My ex-MIL is an enabler par excellence – and more than half her children’s problem. Even my grown child sees it now. I don’t think she would have spackled over physical abuse from him, but the mental and emotional? Absolutely! People like that will answer to God, IMO. Don’t excuse or perpetuate abuse.

  • I hope that you are are reading these messages of support and are able to take your next, best step.

  • His Mom KNOWS about ALL of this. Instead of holding her son accountable, she blames me, saying that I “react too intensely” and “only see the negative in everything.” She also told him that the OW would be a better choice for him!

    Why are you waiting for her to do something you should? You are the one that has to hold him accountable – no one else. It is your relationship that is in danger and not hers. She gets him either with you or without so it is no loss to her which means she will do NOTHING that impacts that relationship. I have an ex MIL just like this and even though she speaks a good line (you will always be our daughter) her actions show a way different picture of reality. Get out now before the pit you are in gets any deeper and take your child to safety and peace. You will never regret it. Keep coming here and reading the stories of many who have been in your place – there is a better life for you so please embark on your new journey today! Hugs and my sympathies to you in dealing with this BS.

  • Annie, Read what you wrote: “Now I’m working on putting together a workable exit plan and am just holding on until I can graduate and have enough put away in savings.” Notice how far down the road you’ve kicked the can. You don’t even have “workable exit plan”l you are working on putting it together. You are “holding on until I can graduate” and until you “have enough put away in savings.” Depending on where you are in your program, that could be years. And how many people in school can “put away money in savings” when you have a child? You can make a plan from the safety of the shelter. Or take the child and go home to your parents or a sibling or grandparent. Meanwhile–2 D-Days, fear of violence, suicide threats, he’s still with the OW and his mother prefers her to you and opens her home. My guess is that the only reason you are in the picture at all is that you have his child. And you still call him your “fiance”? Doesn’t that mean he’s asked you to marry him? And he’s already got an OW?

    One of the first things you can learn is to listen to yourself when you are making excuses–whether for him or for your own inaction. You know he’s a cheater. A Liar. You know that neither he nor his mother values you at all. But there you are, wondering if away down the road in the distance you have to let them have contact with the child. You aren’t married to him. You can pick up and leave right now without the worry of divorce or dividing assets. Call your parents or your best friends, get a U-Haul and get out of there. Stick your stuff in storage or Uncle Joe’s garage until you figure things out. Go where you are loved and protected. And don’t be afraid to admit that your picker is broken and the father of your child is a violent, abusive jackass. Don’t let fear of embarrassment win out over choosing a healthy life for you and your child.

    You’ve gotten good advice here about deferring your academic program. See the college or university counselor. You’ve got a shot at some free help there. You can also look around for a roommate–perhaps another single mother with kids in school who can use help. Meanwhile, move–you might start out in the shelter but this time have the goal of an apartment.

    And go file for child support. That will help with monthly finances. You may need to get a job for a while until you have your feet under you. School isn’t going anywhere. If you are well along on your program, you can take a semester off and get your life in order. If you don’t, there will always be something that pushes your “working on putting together a workable exit plan” further down the road. And eventually, he will either leave you, file for full custody himself so he and Schmoopie can raise the child, or harm one or both of you. Most certainly, you and your child will be abused emotionally. So get out. Now.

    • And PS: If you have a diamond engagement ring, there’s your “savings.” Sell it and move on.

      • Hi LovedaJackass, your name is so great, lol! I’m working on all of this (family is out of the question. The isolation has taken over, probably because I accepted him back so many times and people began to be weary of hearing about everything) But the roommate idea sounds awesome. We have a lot of single moms on campus whom I’ve met and who have escaped domestic violence situations themselves.

        Mr. All Talk never delivered on the ring. It just became habit to call him “fiance” with all of the sparkly talk he gave about marriage (while saying how unhappy he was to everyone else behind my back!)

        • I was in your shoes nine years ago this November. Run. Leave now. I was in my first semester of undergrad when my now-ex threatened to kidnap and hide the kids. I called the cops and went to a shelter, while his family accused me of overreacting. I ignored him and his family, and got out. I didn’t defer any semesters, because I needed to get a degree ASAP, and I already had borrowed money for school. Looking back, it would have been easier to have deferred, we would have been a less chaotic household. I had three babies, almost 3, almost 2 and 9 months when I left. The money worked itself out (without him spending it, I had a lot more than before), and school was very understanding. I visited each professor, said, “I need your help,” and gave a brief summary of what I was doing, and asked for a specific thing they could help me with. I got more help than I expected, and graduated on-time Cum Laude. I had to work full-time, and sometimes more than one job while going to school, but the kids have such a good life now- it was worth leaving. I shudder to think what their childhoods would have been like with him – especially since he was doing everything he could to sabotage school. He even figured out I’d been squirreling money away, and destroyed my art studio to get me to tell him where the money was. Get out now. Things will work out better than you dreamed, but do not stay trapped.

          • Susannah
            Wow that is one very mighty story. Well done you. With babies that small and college you must be made of special stuff!

        • Hi, Annie! You like my handle because you too have loved a jackass. 🙂

          I hear you about the isolation, but don’t write off your family. The roommate idea might work best for you but start re-connecting with people who love you but who couldn’t enable your choice to stay with your jackass. Reach out and let them know what you’re doing.

          And please note that calling him your fiance is a form of “impression management” and spackling. You are excusing the fact that he doesn’t value you or your child enough to marry you and make a real family. He’s a sperm donor. Get the heck out of there! Set a deadline and GO. Meanwhile, call your folks. Tell them what’s up. If you are going to save yourself this time, they may surprise you and step up. If they don’t, that’s just another group of people you don’t need. But if they just wore out trying to save you from this dirtbag, his mother, and your own denial, give them some time to see you are thinking clearly and ready to move.

      • THIS!
        Thanks to CL/CN advice-I sold whatever jewelry & items assclown had given me over the years to pay for an atty & a storage unit on the sly!

  • Annie, I am so sorry you are going through this. When you’ve realized you are in an abusive relationship but you still have that little bullshitter in the back of your brain telling you “he would never REALLY hurt me”. That is the worst place to be. You are afraid of him. He has escalated his abuse to control you. Make no mistake, this is calculated on his part.

    Don’t be me, I stayed because I could not afford to pay rent and the mortgage on my house. I stayed because I was afraid to lose my home. Unfortunately I was not frightened enough of my ex abuser. That.was.a.mistake. I’m lucky, and alive, only because he was afraid of going to jail, I watched him make the calculation that day. I saw it in his eyes.The true hatred he had for me was intense.When rages stopped working on me, ex went to suicide threats. Those threats got more detailed over time. When that stopped working he brought a gun in the house, chambered a bullet and stuck it in his mouth. Then he turned the gun on me. The PTSD from the abuse is not entirely gone. Is this where you want to end up? You and your child may not be so lucky, you could die or be hurt very badly.

    Make a plan. Jedi Hugs!

    • To clarify, when I went through this I did NOT know that suicide threats are a common tactic used by abusers to keep control. I want to make sure you understand that is what it is. Jedi Hugs!

      • I married my first husband because he tried to commit suicide when I broke up with him. He went from there to trying to choke me when I wouldn’t fall in line. Indeed it’s a control tactic.

    • Datdamwuf, I’m so glad you made it through. It took someone else to slap me upside the head before I got in deeper with one of my ex’s. Like you said, lucky to be alive… Thankfully she is coming here to give herself and her child a chance at survival.

    • Datumwuf ((BIG hugs)) to you. I’m so glad you made it out, and hope your life is peaceful and happy beyond all expectations now! Your story and my story are strikingly similar. What you’ve been through to get out must have required every ounce of Mightiness from you.

      The only times that he has ever used suicidal threats…the ONLY times…were when strength was showed. He wasn’t getting his way.
      The first time was when I was pregnant with our child; it was so shocking and utterly terrifying because before that his mask had remained intact. It threw me into premature labor, I ended up at the hospital that night, but to this day he brings up how horrible it was that I called the cops on him.
      These people are absolutely ridiculous. No matter what horrible shit they inflict on others, it’s always about the Sad Sausage. They and only they matter.

      • “The only times that he has ever used suicidal threats…the ONLY times…were when strength was showed. He wasn’t getting his way.”

        This is the problem with waiting to leave until you’re in a position of strength (graduating, having a nest egg). The abuse will escalate, in proportion with your sense of independence.

        Be safe, work with the domestic violence advocates, and keep forging ahead. Mostly, BE SAFE. Leaving is the most dangerous time, and this guy sounds unstable.

  • It’s kind of difficult to type; there’s a little something in my eye this morning… It feels so good to finally be *heard*. That hasn’t happened in a long time. This is Annie, by the way.
    It’s funny somebody mentioned the ring as being savings, since we’ve been together and no ring…you can laugh with me here, it’s pretty absurd. I was used to calling him “fiance” for so long, but realize that it is simply future-faking on his part.So no, there is no ring and there has been no proposal. Maybe we could come up with a new name for him instead of something that connotes a belief that we have a future together. We absolutely do not.
    I know I have to get. The heck. OUT. It should have happened this past D-day when I saw a flood of texts between him and Mommy Dearest where he was blatantly saying he was going to leave me in the near future and how “suicidal” he felt about the OW dating another guy, how “miserable” he was with me, bla bla bla. All while he smiled to my face.
    I found out later that he was showing up at her work, threatening to end his life during that time. She and I do talk. After D-Day, he gaslights and plays the victim (” I was speaking in theoreticals!””You misunderstood what you were reading!” “I lie to you because your intense reactions make me *afraid!*”)
    Part of me is disgusted and purely angry at his behavior. Part of me is scared and questions my own ability to interpret all the evidence thrown at me correctly.
    The Hopium pipe is severely cracked, and yet every now and then I find myself trying to smoke a diluted version of it out of a Coke can. He’s being so *nice* now while keeping no actual promises and while sleeping on top of his phone every night. Must hurt his back…
    The clarity of everything is hitting HARD while reading your replies, and there isn’t enough Kleenex in this box.

    • Annie- Watch out especially for men who threaten suicide. It is just a whisper away from homicide. They are simply sorting out who they want to kill.

    • Annie, cry as much as you want (I cried when I read your post). Then you go Jedi Ninja, find your anger and at the same time be stealthy. Will post more of my story in a bit, these types will use the legal system against you. So need to watch out on that front too. Jedi Hugs!

    • Hey Annie.
      Well you will need more boxes of Kleenex here that’s for sure. Sometimes for being ‘heard’, sometimes for the stories that break your heart (like yours), and sometimes with laughter as this can be a wickedly funny place.
      Love yourself and value yourself. Become another chump nation hero so we can all cheer you along.
      Start imagining a new future how you want it. That helps me. Please get angry and get out.

      • Thank you Capricorn! I’ve felt like that soda bottle that somebody has been shaking up for years and years, and the lid has just started to twist a little bit. Emotions are bubbling over today. It took a while to post my story after having been a reader (after last D Day) and have seen a lot of your posts. It’s great to finally be able to “speak” with you.
        Finding CN feels like finding home.

    • Annie, your “ability to interpret the evidence” is just fine. You feel scared for good reasons. It doesn’t matter whether this guy’s language is “just theoreticals” or promises or delusions. He is responsible for the language he uses, and if it is scary or threatening or just plain lies, then you should take it at face value. The fact that this guy tries to undermine your confidence rather than admit to what he has been saying tells you everything you need to know–i.e. you cannot trust him. Trust yourself.

    • Annie..
      Do you have your own banking? If yes, have you ever considered setting up a Go-Fund Me account? I don’t know what CL’s policy is about this, but if she would be ok with you posting the link on here or in a private forum, I would bet that chumps who’ve lived through this and have come out the other side would truly love to be able to pitch in and help.

      Something I’ve learned through my nightmare is that people WANT to help. Not everyone is like those obtuse family members or that crazy MIL who would just as soon leave you with no food or lights.

      I’ve learned to accept help. Acting as though I could do it all on my own was just me being prideful. It’s taken 3 years to come to that conclusion, and it’s not been easy. When we resist asking for help, we deny others the chance to bless us, which they want to do because in turn it blesses THEM. No one has to help, just those who want to and can. Yes, asking for money is hard. Do it anyway. Create your Go-Fund Me, send the link only to safe people (so it can’t get back to him) and see what happens. You can even send it to my and I’ll post it on my blog.

      I recently set one up for a single mom friend of mine who works 3 jobs. She was robbed one night, and the following morning she posted on FB that she forgave the thief. It lit a fire in me, so I set up the fund and let her know about it after I’d already done it. I sent it out to the church and FB friends. We raised $700 for her, and a friend of mine even donated a new laptop to replace the one that was stolen! I did the same for the under-funded single parenting ministry at my church last month, and raised $1,100 for them. $5 here, $10 there. It usually isn’t even missed by the giver, and it adds up quickly.

      People want to help. Look at all of this support you received because you reached out to Tracy with your letter! Chump Nation is on your side. I know you feel stuck, but a little start-up money is a great way to get you and baby out of there and safe ASAP. Just food for thought, Annie, don’t mean to overwhelm you, I’m just hopeful for your situation and will be keeping you in my prayers!

      • Great idea, Honey & t.h. The problem with GoFundMe is that it takes 7% plus a small fee per contribution (so that people who can only contribute $5 have much of their contribution eaten up). In the past, we’ve done Paypal contributions to people in need, through the forums.

        • That’s awesome, Tempest! Whatever works to get more of it to her, should she want to get ‘er done.

  • Run Annie, run. You are stronger then you think you are! You dodged a BIG bullet and yes it’s scary and hard and difficult, but you are woman, hear you roar. We’ve all been there, some worse off then you, and they survived. But one thing is the same, WE ALL LEFT and we all thought we wouldn’t make it. The only thing I have to say is, only take the time a week at most, to plan a safe place. But get the HELL out!! Your son will thank you for it in the long run when he sees how strong his mom is and what sacrifices she did for him. He will thank you for sparing his life.

  • Annie,

    Your story sounds very familiar. Like you, I was a student and mother of young children for much of my relationship with abuser (marriage). My then-husband threatened to take the kids. My then-husband called the utility company, learned that a bill was due that day, and then decided not to pay it when he moved out so that I would be literally left in the dark. Like you, I took my offspring to a shelter (supplied by my university). My children’s paternal grandparents weren’t as obnoxious toward me as the mother of your child, but they did express unnecessary sympathy for my abusive STBX (as in ‘Poor guy, he has too pay ALL this child support’ although he abused me for years (and the kids, who told me AFTER their father filed for divorce)–even though he took luxurious vacations without our kids after he left). I am not going to tell you exactly what to do as I know that decisions like the ones you are facing can be very difficult to make. I did not finish my doctorate and now wonder if I could have ‘stuck it out’ in spite of all the chaos and torment. I didn’t have a choice, though, as my abuser left me. I felt very insulted, disempowered, and probably even humiliated by the ABUSER’S divorcing of ME as opposed to MY divorcing of ABUSER. (Someday I might think more about the fact that abuser did me a lot of favors by divorcing me as I probably would have just tolerated the abuse and cheating for the rest of my life had he not left.)

    One thing that I found helpful and surprised me was the support from social workers at the university, my housing staff, and some of my colleagues/classmates. Nobody there doubted me. They provided me the safe house and other resources. Does your school offer similar services?

    In the future, you will likely need to interact with your fiance and perhaps fiance’s family. Although I still have to deal with my STBX and his family, the time and energy I have to put into dealing with them have declined significantly. I am starting to think clearly again. I predict that your situation in this regard will be similar to mine.

    I think that you are strong and wish you good luck and much happiness.

    • RockStarWife
      Don’t really know what to say to you really. Just felt something as I read your post. How strong you must have been.
      I bet you didn’t realise how strong you were at the time though. I went through a rough time with a boyfriend and I remember when people started to find out they would say how brave I was or how strong. I never felt that. I just felt weak and beaten down and at rock bottom. It was only with hindsight I could see how I was quite strong.
      I have a basketful of FOO issues too, same thing.
      I think that becoming a recent chump is the first time I have felt and recognised my bravery and strength and have used them deliberately.
      That’s progress I suppose. Now just need to fine someone who isn’t a fucker! Then I’ll be set ?

      • Capricorn,
        I sense much strength and compassion in you. Sending good thoughts your way!

  • All of the relationships I’ve ever been in all involved them cheating. (Picker off much?)

    Anyway, one of them I stayed in due to fear. He mindfucked me enough to fear him. He told me that if I ever left him my son wouldn’t have a mother!!!! (not his son; he has none) Wow wow wow!
    This nightmare lasted for 13 years!!! He stalked me too and I had to get order of protections 3x’s!!
    I had so much shame in this too that I cry as I’m writing this. I never told anyone what was really going on, most especially my dad. I didn’t want to disappoint in yet another poor choice and it was humiliating given what a strong man my dad was (along with I feared my dad going to jail if he found out) . My poor son witnessed all of his crazy. I could go on and on with this one.
    He left signs in yards and on light poles throughout my neighborhood and my friends begging me to come back with my first and last name on these signs!!! He egged my friends house because I had my car in her driveway as a deterrant (I wasn’t there) and he damaged the hood of it by putting some kind of chemical on top of it that ate the paint. He called my phone over 300x in one day so much so that the counter on my cell stopped at that number!! (this was 14 years ago when it finally came to an end)
    And on and on and on…….I documented EVERYTHING! I still have all that mess that I keep in a safe place, just in case. He tries now to get in touch with me on facebook. I ignore of course. And now, I can hardly believe that when I look back, that that person was me who was so scared and mindfucked!

    Hang in there emotionally but get out NOW! CL & CN is right, as always!

    • Wow, IHaveHate. Your story gave me chills just reading about it. Very sorry you and your son had to live through fear and emotional abuse to get out of that relationship. Hugs!

    • I Have Hate,
      I think that I can relate to the ‘I had shame’ part. I am generally quite open about my life, but I think that I felt something like shame. which made me embarrassed to tell people that I was barricading my kids and me in a bedroom with my cell phone and sharp objects in case my then-husband tried to hurt us at night. I didn’t think anyone would believe me as I got a lot of ‘You’re over-reacting’ and ‘I can’t believe that he would do that’ When I told relatives about less severe behavior by then-husband. I hope that you feel a million times better now! I thought that people would think that I was the hostile disordered spouse or think that both he and I were just two ‘messed up’ people who ‘just didn’t get along.’ A lot of people are more comfortable minimizing and denying bad behavior instead of protecting the innocent or at least acknowledging the existent of abusive, cruel behavior.

  • I have been there done that too, left or kicked him out time after time, and then took him back because of empty promises, and they are always empty. They sound pretty, but they do not follow through. The abuse will start all over again. It’s a circle of abuse and it took me 20 years to get out.

    I finally realized that sleeping in a cardboard box would be better then what he put me and my kids through. Get help. Get out. You will never believe how nice life is on the other side.

    Sure, it will be hard, he will fight, he will cry, he will promise, it’s all just smoke and mirrors. Just repeat that everyday until you believe it. I suggest no contact with him or his mom.

  • I work in higher education. Please reach out to your institution and find out what services are available to you. Start with the counseling center. There are a lot of resources available to students (scholarships, food pantry, etc). There are also pro bono attorneys that can help with drafting custody arrangements.

    I’m with Chump Lady. Waiting to save and graduate is not prudent. You are also taking for granted that your situation is stable. He is not a stable person. His mom enabling the other woman is kind of irrelevant.

    For what it’s worth, I was working on doctoral coursework while going through my divorce with a creep.

    • Dr. Chump,
      May I ask what type of doctoral program you were in, how long the program took, how long after D-Day did you finish, and whether you had kids while going through your doctoral program? I would LOVE to get a chance to go back to finish mine–even at this late stage of life and with kids in tow!

      • My motto is, “Have a happy life. Stick with your master’s degree.” Just kidding (sorta).

        I’m still writing my dissertation, which isn’t unusual in my discipline (public policy) as a lot of us work as practitioners. I resumed working after I completed my comps and my TAship was over.

        My ex-husband walked out a week or so after my first semester in the program ended. I maintained a nearly perfect GPA, won awards, and took on extra teaching jobs. It worked out fine.

        I don’t have children, but I know many doctoral students who do. Frankly, I think they end up managing their time the most efficiently. We also have a lot of students who come back later in their careers. Just make sure have a reputable program, decent funding, a dissertation chair with whom you have a good relationship, and professional development. You should go for it!

  • My mother in law would invite the ex boyfriend over for dinner at her house… while daughter was there of course. Let them use her house as a hook up joint. At least in my case, mom did the same thing all her life….. sees no wrong in doing what makes you feel good for the moment…. plus she always hated my guts.

    • @ David, it’s astounding how these people can be so void of empathy or decency. I’m glad you made your way out.

      I’m pretty sure that half the reason why they hate our guts is because our exes made sure they looked like the victims at our expense. If they look good at the expense of trashing our character and messing with our minds, they can get away with anything.

      These people truly, truly suck.

    • I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if that was happening in my relationship, DavidB! At the very least, she was babysitting his kids for him so he could run off and get laid…

  • Annie, please stay safe now. Figure out the whys later, they come in time. I’ve left an abusive man, scary as hell and the hardest thing I ever did, but once I was resolved to leave my family, friends, and others came around. I’ve helped lots of women leave abusive situations, I’ve had women stay at my house before, there are helping hands out there!! And we get it so judgement is just a non-issue. You’ll sort things out one day at a time. I agree with CL though, get out now, because things will get worse, not better. You are mighty!! It’s okay to be scared. All courageous acts are scary. But you will find your strength. Hugs

  • This thread hits the spot for me. I’ve been struggling not only with my ex’s cheating, but his mother being the architect of it. She was always sweet and lovely to my face but actually PLOTTED with OW behind my back and gaslighted me. She would say to her extended family “Chompingchump is such a she-man – she works while my dearest boy has to stay home and cook.” In other words, I’m struggling to bring in money and be the mother of two young children while he sits around not finding a job, refusing to apply for disability, and cheating with the nanny. I would have loved to stay home! When I was in a wheelchair from injuries sustained having HER grandchildren, she complained to her son that I was “lazy” and the “house is such a mess” and I should be discarded for being so useless due to my injuries. (Now cured, luckily). Nevermind I was working with my disability and bringing the only money into the house. Meanwhile I had been prepared to take care of my ex as he succumbed over the next few decades to an incurable degenerative disease. XMIL actually knew that OW was having affairs with more than one married man and didn’t care. She is proud of her dear son for ‘winning’ this woman. After all OW from the same country as XMIL and OW is a “proper wife” who stays home and cooks. And then the final double cross — OW offered that XMIL would move in with them if OW could be the wife – that was what this MIL was really after. XMIL didn’t realize that it was her own son who didn’t want her living in, not me, and her son was shifting the blame to me whenever he told her she couldn’t spend more time with us. Once ex and OW were married they made XMIL move out. XMIL now lives alone and denies that any of this happened despite the evidence of emails, her screaming fits in front of the police, etc. XMIL wrote an email to her extended family “Now that ex and OW are married, I’m moving out so they can have some time to work on their blossoming relationship.” It’s so clear when I write this down that they are insane. But they were my family – it’s hard to put this behind me!

    • Oh my god ChompyChump, it sounds like your MIL could take anything good you did and spin it into something awful. She sounds like a despicable person; it makes my blood boil. You didn’t deserve that crap!!! I’m shaking….
      Cheater and Mumsy do this crap, too. One of the many times that he left us with nothing (this is a pattern), it was for 2 weeks and I had maaaybe $20 in my pocket. Because I had angrily confronted him on his ongoing cake-eating, he had broken up with me. I desperately sought employment, couldn’t find it, and scrambled to draw upon any resources that were there which was basically nothing.
      (everyone seemed to be in Switzerland)And as usual, the rent was due/utilities, etc.
      He leaves whenever we are facing eviction.

      I don’t know how to say this next sentence.
      The only job I could find was one I created…giving people massages for money. To be clear, they were legitimate, therapeutic massages. I never prostituted myself, but ran into a bunch of total creeps who tried to pressure me into having sex with them. Married men. That in and of itself was traumatic as hell and to this day I struggle with my views on men because of it. I worked night and day with little sleep and managed to get us caught up on the bills.
      My boyfriend began hoovering me, and all I could feel was relief even though he had been so despicable when he left. I let him back in, he did nothing to get a full time job and so I felt pressured to keep doing the massages until better employment came around (I eventually returned to school and am now receiving stipends from loans).
      He was more than happy to live off of the money, but turned around and accused me of prostitution. I was a “whore”. He only brought this stuff up when I brought up the cheating which inevitably continued to try and shock/shame me into silence. Yet he STILL lived off of the money I made quite happily.
      And of course he was telling his Mommy about it while sprinkling it with a bunch of crap to make me sound like the biggest whore in our city. She wept for him, condemns me to this day…even though I was the one who survived when he left us with nothing and no warning.

      Thank god for school. It’s everything to me because I’ll be damned if we ever end up in that place again.

      When we fight for ourselves, they can twist the story anyway they want to and make us look crazy/desperate/just as ugly as they are if not worse.
      He put us through hell and I refuse to feel shame for surviving. And YOU are a survivor.

      • Just to clarify: When I say “he did this crap, too”, I mean that they happily live off of the money we make, but do it while making us look like horrible people.

      • In a college town, you can make good money as a food server (waiter/waitress) or you can do childcare. Don’t be afraid to take a low-wage job to start. If you know other single mothers, you can look for someone and exchange childcare. None of it is easy, but you have some control over your working conditions. Most colleges in universities have bulletin boards with job postings from local employers. You could also look into getting a job at your college or university–with any full-time job, you will also likely get free tuition. College hire lots of entry level people to do janitorial work or clerical jobs.

        You should also ask about work study if you stay in school. You may well be eligible for that, as well.

        • Thank you for the suggestions! I am applying to some childcares as that would offset the costs of working. Great idea! but for some reason have always sucked as a server. A few years ago I tried part time at a local restaurant and messed up almost every order. Aaaaand was fired. Servers deserve mad respect!

      • Annie,
        Some people try to put their crappy thoughts/actions onto others. Just because that’s what you would do, it doesn’t mean that that’s what I would do! It’s total BS. When I confronted one ex, he tried to call me a wh-re too. He saw emails between me and a good platonic friend from the Army that simply said Hi, how’s the family? I was always happy to hear from him, but I felt like I needed to hide my PC from him because based on some things that were said, he was video-taping me in the house! I confronted him on the video-taping and he always denied, but how the heck would you know certain things??!! I just didn’t have the proof to call him on his crap. These people are truly something else…

      • You are strong, Annie and getting through this! What we’re learning from CL is that at the end of the day we should judge them by their actions and ignore their poisonous and completely ridiculous words.

    • ChompingChump–that story is cold. the Sociopath doesn’t fall far from the tree. Good riddance to the whole family.

  • Annie, I’m so sorry you have to deal with this ugly situation. Anyone who drops you and his financial obligations to you like a hot potato doesn’t deserve your time or company!!! And no in-laws that condone such behavior deserve your time either!

    As for the in-law drama, yeah, I hear you. In my case it’s the OW’s family that’s totally cookoo. They must live on a different ethical planet than I do. They welcome my husband into their home (where the OW moved back into with her kids after dumping HER husband). They let them sleep together there WHILE HER KIDS ARE IN THE HOUSE…knowing perfectly well he’s trashed his own family. They say things to me like “it’s all working out for the best!” and other drivel about the power of “true love”. And to add insult to injury, the OW’s parents are sending CHRISTMAS PRESENTS to my own children AT MY HOUSE! Like they’re sooo happy to gain some new grandkids out of the deal. WTF??? It’s so mixed up I can’t even wrap my head around it.

    I refuse to have them as part of my life, and thankfully I shouldn’t have to since they’re not my kids’ direct relatives.

    Best of luck with getting out of your ugly situation!

    • “The power of true love”.

      Last I heard, you can’t have love without honesty and respect. What is WRONG with these people?
      None of this is okay. Not a single iota of this.

      It’s so enraging to see that these people are never held accountable and that to everyone else, it looks like love and forgiveness and whatever other shade of lipstick they try and put on the proverbial pig, when really, it’s enabling ongoing emotional ABUSE.

      • I agree 100%. Not ok, and not real love if it’s based on deception and abandoning your responsibilities to your family.

        And yeah, her whole family (and part of his) are just “staying out of it” and letting these two do whatever they want, at whatever expense to their families and kids. I guess they are afraid to rock the boat…and as a result STBX and OW get to keep living in their fantasyland where what they are doing IS okay.

        I’m guessing neither you nor me can 100% avoid some contact between our kids and these crazy enablers. It’s still the kids’ relatives. But I’d sure want to minimize it and have some honest conversations with the kids when they are ready.

    • NotYourPlanB
      Wow. The sending of Xmas presents from OW’s family to your children just had me stunned and that’s after I’ve been reading here every day for a full six months. That is truly fucked up. They are possibly insane? Or the most insane spacklers ever.
      I thought getting emails from two OW were bad but I can see on a scale of 1-10, that reaches a 4??

      The way you write about it is funny so I hope you are in a place where it is and not excruciating.

      Just. Wow.

      • Well, excruciating at moments, and I’m embarrassed to say that I took far longer than I should have getting those things out of the house. It was so unexpected I wasn’t even sure how to act about it. But other times, crap like this is exactly what I need to counteract the “hopeless victim” mindset. I put up with and spackled a LOT over the last year. But not even Industrial Strength PowerSpackle would stick to that shit….(oh yeah, the OW got the girls presents too….if it was meant as some sort of messed-up peace offering it did not get interpreted that way….)

        It also enraged the momma bear in me. If STBX and OW’s “true love” lasts very long, she and the in-laws will inevitably have at least some contact with my kids, and I want to minimize that as much as possible! I do NOT need these innocent kids learning any morals from people that would even think to do something that weird, or enable what’s going on under their own roof without any protest. They’re already messing up the OW’s kids, stay away from mine!!!!

        Though I do try to remember to be grateful that there is no physical abuse or outright abandonment going on in my mess. Crazy-making, absolutely. But reading other stories here I see it could be much worse.

        • I’m still stunned. It’s just so bizarre. The OW I can see as they love to mess with you but her parents too? Some people truly have no appropriate boundaries. Might explain a lot about the OW.
          I still have no words.

    • I’d be sending those Christmas presents back before they ever hit the inside of your house.

    • Oh my God, NotYourPlanB! I feel for you. I understand the crazy-making that happens when the insta-family thing happens on the OW’s side. It’s a flipping of the narrative to make it seem that this is just one big, happy, extended family.

      This is all fine, normal even! Don’t pay any attention to the carnage that took place in order to build this new and improved family! Twu wuv doesn’t cast dispersions or assign blame!

      HomeWrecker’s mother has repeatedly sent my children a huge array of Easter Baskets, Halloween stuff, and a boatload of Christmas presents (most of which were sent before Honey and HomeWrecker were even engaged). She posts pics on FB at Christmas each year of hand-made ornaments with my kid’s names on them. She even has those little stick figure family stickers on the back of her pickup truck that say ‘My grandbabies!’, 2 of which depict my son and daughter.

      HomeWrecker’s mom lives out of state and has never once met my children. When I found out who HomeWrecker was and I confronted my (then) husband about her, HomeWrecker went on FB and had a public temper tantrum in all caps berating me and laughing at me for being ‘pathetic’ for judging her. Her mommy dearest then wrote in the comments below that ‘String the bitch up!’. Yep. Them’s some classy, empathic folks.

      But that’s child’s play next to what Mommy did a few months ago. She got a tattoo of all ‘her’ grandbaby’s names on her arm in an infinity circle design. Two of the names were my children’s names. On her arm. Tattood. FOREVER.

      I shit you not. You can’t make up this level of crazy!!

      Pictures and narrative for your enjoyment in the link below.

      • Still trying to decide which screams “classy” louder–the “String the bitch up” or tattoos of grandkid’s names.

        I have reached the stage of puzzlement that must have been felt by mathematicians trying to solve Fermat’s last theorem–comprehend all the basics (1. cheaters and their APs are entitled, empathyless jackasses- check; 2. You can’t talk sense to a cheater because they are intent on minimizing what they did and blameshifting to avoid responsibility-check), but that last bit–how can they savage someone’s life and then go on a public media campaign to make other people think THEY are the victims,and think that will actually work, I cannot wrap my head around.

  • The MIL enablement doesn’t surprise me at all. My XMIL a minister for the Episcopal church in the area. My FIL closely affiliated with the church also. They introduced my X-husband to the OW. They paid for many flights from Tx to Wis for the OW to visit my husband. They lied and provided their home for them to love nest in. My FIL co-signed a house loan for them. MY FIL and soon-to-be-X conspired to sign over shares in a business through fraud to stop me from claiming in the divorce. The bright spot is when the OW burns her bridges and falls prey to them also.

    When I was married to my first husband he was very abusive. I was at the Domestic Violence Shelter on a regular basis. They helped me file and pay for my divorce. They testified in court for me. They got me affordable housing. Most important thing they did is got me in college. I excelled in Criminal Justice/Psy. That led to my career in the Prison System. The thing is to break the cycle of returning to your abuser. I myself left and went back about 7 plus times. I am currently trying to help a women stuck in this cycle.

    The beatings get more and more brutal. It takes a toll on your body and mind. It also takes a toll on your children. They learn from their parents. The Shelters have many resources to get you on your feet. Usually because in a shelter, you jump to the top of the list for State Housing vouchers. They usually even have volunteers to help you move. They’ll arrange a police presence at the family home so you can retrieve your property. Usually the abuser stays clear because they are cowards at heart. They won’t come up against someone who will slap them back. The shelters help you navigate the paperwork you need to do to get aid and the divorce going.

    A main motivator for me was college classes. I met a different class of people while attending. The colleges can point you towards a career that will increase your income and possibilities. I left my circle of friends that were also my husband’s friends. I wanted no memories of that time period in my life. The help is out there for you to utilize. While working the prison system I donated a portion of my bi-weekly paycheck to the shelter that helped me for my whole career. I now donate my time to the area shelter in my region.

    • yooper01…..So much important info in your post!

      So glad you shared your knowledge, experience and moxie…..So glad you survived and THRIVED!

      Sickening what your former in-laws did. Judgment Day will NOT be pretty for them! God demands so much more from one who misrepresents Him & uses their ‘office of overseer’ to further Satan’s whims.
      (I had some of the same happen in my situation, but not at the hands of the in-laws—-They were disgusted by what cheaterpants did!)

      Though I have not had to use the resources you mentioned, I have friends that have. And the help they have received has been literally life-saving, as well as sanity-saving! So very glad you have chosen to give back in this most precious way!

      {{{HUGS}}} to you as you ForgeOn!

  • This month is the third anniversary of my separation from a physically and emotionally abusive wingnut. Thank you, CN for helping me to find my inner mighty for 3 years now.

    I could have written this letter so many times. My ex threatened suicide fairly often. My maternal grandfather committed suicide, so that threat is not a threat I take lightly. The first few times, I got angry.

    Then I called his bluff, and told him to go ahead and do it. If his life was so terrible (it wasn’t) and he felt his only path was suicide, then he should just do it (not my finest moment).

    He went outside and punched our metal storage building. It sounded like a gunshot. My only reaction was, “well, crap…” That was my biggest eye opener that there was a big problem in our marriage.

    Any time he threatened suicide after the wall punching incident, I called 911, and told the operator that my husband was threatening to kill himself. The police and ambulances came and took him away for a 72 hour psych hold.

    He didnt pull that crap again while he was at home. He tried it over the phone, while in the Charm-Pity-Rage cycle. Once he realized what he had done and that I was about to call 911 again, he retracted that crap really fast.

    My ex was a truly malignant narcissist. He used the threat of suicide as a manipulator. He loved himself way too much to ever hurt himself. Keep that in mind. But, the threat is the threat, and if he makes it, you never know if he means it or not. I would advise you to call 911 every time he makes it. Not only does it mandate a 72 hour psych hold, but also documents everything for the court.

    If he is using the threat as a manipulator, after 72 hours in a psych ward, he won’t do that again.

    To answer your question about the mother in law, yes, my mother in law was awful. She enabled. My ex had a horrible substance abuse problem. When I went to her about getting her son into rehab, she just told him what I said. Never tried to help. She knew about the other women. She knew he was going to have an uphill fight for custody against me.

    Instead of fighting fair, she tried to play me and used everything I said against me. Even tried to have me placed on involuntary psych hold out of retaliation. Never try to take on a crazy, vindictive mother in law. If I had it to do all over again, the small amount of child support would not be worth dealing with that crazy family for his very limited supervised visitation.

    Take it from someone who has been there and done that: RUN!

  • Annie get out now.

    As a fellow make chump here in CN said to me, men threatening suicide is their first ring in the ladder of physical violence. This is a control tactic in an escalating game for control.

    Please leverage your network and get out. Grab cash and ID and leave with a trusted friend. Take clothes and stash it at a friends house. Bank card with friend. Start moving supplies for an extended leave with a friend. Then pack the car with the minimum necessities and go to the women’s shelter.

    Only let the one trusted friend know what you’re doing. Tell no one else. Block him from your phone. Do not answer emails. Keep yourself safe.

  • I want to clarify, supplies for extended-stay means that your friend will bring them to the shelter. Stay in the shelter until they move you to emergency housing, and do not let anyone know where you are except for that one trusted friend

  • Ah, CL gave prime advise.
    Now about your question, how parents of cheaters can be like that?
    My grandma tried this dish with my mother. Talking to my father: “Oh, darling, remember that girl? She’s now a teacher, she asked about you.”
    My mother takes no shit and returned it to the sender: “does that girl know that he is married??? You missed to tell her that piece of information?” I think there was also: “are you his pimp?”, but I’m not sure.
    Basically, take no shit from anyone.

  • I’m sending you hugs, Annie. I have been where you are and it’s a tough place. I was married to a malignant narcissist and his nest of vipers family were malignant narcs too. They all were doing their best to isolate me from any help of any kind. Cheater ex smeared me behind my back for years, and yes, he was saying I was a working hooker. What is even more insane, is that he was so smooth and convincing that a lot of my so called friends believed him….. His whole family, people at church, it was amazing how many people bought his story. All the while I was going to nursing school evenings, working full-time nights, doing all the cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, parenting two boys, and doing it all on three hours of sleep. Mean while bitch mil is doing passive aggressive shit like having cheater ex steal things of mine and dispose of them behind my back and then present me with a newer version whatever he took. Then they could paint me as ungrateful when I got upset over having something I liked stolen. It pissed me off no end!

    Things came to a head when cheater ex casually mentioned one day when he felt depressed, he felt like killing me and my boys and then killing himself. It did take me a little time to get my boys and myself the hell out of there. Like you, my family were narcs who would have cheered cheater ex on, and probably would have helped him rather than me.

    I did everything right. Went to a woman’s center, got counseling for domestic abuse, got an order for protection, got myself a good lawyer came out OK in the divorce. The one thing I could not get around was the paternalistic judge in my case. He refused to grant supervised visitation, despite the order for protection. That enabled cheater ex to kidnap and murder my youngest son. He then drove to another state along with a buddy of his, where they both killed themselves. It was almost two weeks before I knew what had happened to my boy.

    I have since heard from multiple sources that suicide and homicide are different sides of the same coin. The disordered do not see others, especially their children as anything but possessions, things to do with as they wish. In the case of cheater ex, my son was not a flesh and blood child that loved and trusted him, but merely a tool to be used to try to utterly destroy me. A win at any cost. In the disordered play book, love is a weakness to exploit. They understand love’s power, they just aren’t capable of feeling it. However, they can fake it til the cows come home to get what they want.

    So what I’m saying, is do what ever it takes to get yourself and your child away from him and safe. Stop paying attention to what he says and pay attention to what he does. That is where the truth lies. The show us what they are. He is showing you that you and your child have no value to him. He is showing you that you and your child are just possessions to be used and abused at his whim. Get yourself a good exit plan together and execute it ASAP. Your lives may depend on it.

    I will be praying for you. You can do this. I believe in you!

    • I can’t imagine what you went through. Some people say the only thing worse than being cheated on by your spouse is losing a child. And you went through both. You are strong to move past this and gain wisdom from it!

    • ((((HUGS, Momma Tessie! HUGS!))))

      Your wisdom, once again, shines thru! Love to you…… I am always encouraged and strengthen by your words.
      A dear friend of mine also lost a child at the hands of a cheater (the OW, actually) and so your situation is all that much closer to my heart.

      (I know it may sound like just so many words, but I really do think of you and your sons {Yes, BOTH of them}nearly everyday. And you are also often in my prayers. You have seen the Devil face to face and still come off victorious! Such a testament to the power of God’s love and His promises)

      Love to you as you continue to ForgeOn!

    • Tessie, you have been through the worst hell, the worst possible outcome and reading your story yrdterday, I just wanted to reach through the screen and give you a big hug. Your story needd to be heard by those who would minimize the horrific damage that an abuser is capable of inflicting.
      ))Big hugs((( to you and I’m grateful that you jumped on here to share your wisdom.

      • It always bothered me my ex the night he out of the blue said he wanted a divorce freaked out the next morning and declared he thought I was going to kill him in his sleep. All I was thinking …he is having s breakdown. When someone talks killing it grabs your attention

  • I could write a book about my kindness towards my ex MIL, who lived with us (which I later learned the us included the slutnpuppetnwhen I was at work andnoutnofntown for work) and the abuse I suffered by her son and, ultimately her. In the end, she is his mom and she has been abused by him also, although I suspect she is the main reason he is a sociopath. I Choose to let it go and not figure out the how and why. I just know I want nothing to do with those people.
    I still remain good friends with most of the rest of his family, who know he is an evil sociopath and no longer have anything to do with him or them after what he did to me.

    • I echo everyone’s sentiments. Please get out safely and don’t wait, it will only get worse.

  • Annie, leave. Leave now. If you stay it will not get better and it will get worse. Each day that you stay you are endangering yourself physically and emotionally. I know it feels like everything you have worked so hard to juggle is going to fall apart…and you are right. It will fall apart. But everything you have been juggling is shit unless you and your child are ok. Drop it for now and pick up the pieces when the time is right. You are mighty and you will rebuild and you will be ok. AND YOUR CHILD WILL RECOVER. LEAVE. LEAVE NOW. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. I’m not out far enough to say everything gets better, but I’m far enough out to say my son and I are getting better. I promise you can heal.

  • Always hugs to you Tessie. Annie it can always get worse. Don’t let it. You can do it and we are here for you. Take whatever help you can there is no shame in it. Hugs to you to Annie

  • Annie,

    As others have said, get out!

    My advice to you would be to get to sign papers as soon as you can with him getting VERY limited visitations with your son. You need to be documenting all of this, the suicide threats, the having to stay in a shelter. This could help prove your case that your ex is mentally unsafe, unpredictable and a threat to the care of your child. Get ready for a court battle and be brave/strong. Protect your kids. Do not allow 50/50 custody. Good luck.

  • I’m a little late, but just got around to reading this post today. One thing I wish I would have been warned of is that cheaters can often become violent when you tell them it’s over, even if they have no history of being violent with you in the past. I had been with my cheater-ex for 28 years with no violence. Two days after I told him I was done, after finding more escort sites on his phone, he came home and threw me head first into a cement planter. It broke my nose in two places, gave me two black eyes, and could have killed me, since I was only two weeks out from having brain surgery. I never thought he would physically hurt me.

    Of course I wish I would have moved money and had a better plan. Leaving a cheater or having them leave is never easy. If I had known what I know now, I never would have agreed for him to come back to the house to pack his office without someone there to protect me. Our safety and the safety of our children needs to come first. Leaving them triggers a lack of control in them that can cause them to become violent even if they have never done so before. Please be safe!

  • Answer to question 2: “why are you looking for sanity from the source of the insanity??” [my kickass therapist in answer to my indignation about my enabling MIL]

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