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Dear Chump Lady, My husband wants an open marriage

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 openDear Chump Lady,

You’ve written cogently about the way cheaters employ a double standard rather than asking for open marriage.  So I’d like your take on my sitch. After three decades of tacit monogamy, my husband asked for open marriage, pretending to be all honest and transparent and progressive, and was angered by my conventionality and uptightness in saying no.  He went on and on about how monogamy was unnatural, he didn’t get it, no one could be everything to someone else, blah blah blah. I said, no thanks, not built for it, don’t think it conduces to true trust and intimacy, and don’t quite trust a request coming at this point in the relay.

I asked whether I was already an unwilling participant in an open marriage, he reassured me NO.

Long story short, it was total bullshit. Discovered a two-plus year clandestine affair and other sexual adventuring (of the Craigslist, crotch-shot variety). Really fun stuff. But what happened then was simply ongoing demand for open marriage, which I refused, then kicked him to the curb, after which he held tight to his new philosophy (which he sees as blasting the terrible ideological fog of conventional monogamy), and played Mr. Oh So Progressive and Tragically Compelled to Leave Wife and Children to Escape the Unnatural Constraints of Monogamy. And of course, on a slightly different channel, to realize Selfhood, escape Controlling Spouse, and all that other crap.

SO…I felt totally gobsmacked and will admit to chumpily waiting several months for the “fog” to lift.  But then I filed and have moved to post-hopium attitude.

Here’s my question. Can you fortify my sense that this guy is full of shit? I hate the pretense of “I couldn’t live that way anymore and now have to be upfront about open marriage need.” He’s all “well I guess we just have to agree to disagree.” It makes me so sick and it feels so abusive to have him simply throw this in my face over and over and act as though he’s done nothing wrong, since his PHILOSOPHY explains his prior cheating.

The suffering will be finite, I know. I have filed. But still, I would love to hear what you think about this: whether you think it’s bullshit or laudable if belated honesty.

Phoenix7

Dear Phoenix7,

It’s one thing to begin with an open marriage. It’s quite another to have it thrust upon you after you’ve invested 30 years in what you thought was a monogamous marriage.

This “offer” is not sexual sophistication, it’s an implied threat — let me have my cake, or we’re through. The cheater lays the blame with monogamy — that impossible condition that, oh hey, we all agreed to.

The problem isn’t monogamy. The problem is that your husband unilaterally changed the terms of the marriage agreement.

You were presented with a choice, which at least was out in the open. Agree to let your husband have multiple partners, and you can enjoy the same, or end the relationship.

Let’s say you had accepted the open arrangement. You would then need to negotiate the sort of terms that polyamorists set, such as, am I the primary relationship? Who is an acceptable partner? Can we ask mutual friends? How much time is spent on extracurriculars? How do we manage risk for STDs, etc.?

But the problem there is you’d be negotiating relationship terms with someone who just demonstrated to you that he couldn’t be trusted. He behaves unilaterally and changes the terms of agreed upon arrangements (like monogamous marriage). Open relationships are based on trust too.

I really don’t think your husband believes in polyamory. I think he’s just a run of the mill cake eater. Did he spend two entire years working out his “philosophy” on Craigslist? (What kind of Platonic dialectic is that?) Apparently, he was quite happy to have you living by a set of rules he was not bound by. Do you think compassion led him to invite you into his swinging lifestyle? Or do you think it was cake? The idea that he could enjoy a smorgasbord of pussy without consequences. I’d put my money on cake.

Why did he come out about the wonders of open marriage after two years (that you know) of cheating? A guilty conscience or could it be something got dicey that you don’t know about? The OW threatens to blow the whistle, he caught an STD off a Craigslist friend, he decides his latest kink is watching someone else fuck you. I don’t know — but I sincerely doubt your welfare was at the top of his agenda.

He thinks he is a man of principle. A noble Don Quixote tilting at the cruel windmill of monogamy. A lonely philosopher wandering the moors of convention.

Instead of what he really is — a pathetic man-child who sends crotch shots on Craigslist.

Whatever. You don’t control his philosophical delusions. Just get on with your own improved, cheater-free life. Hopefully he’ll drink a cup of Hemlock soon.

This column ran previously.

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  • When I discovered my x’s ow, I asked if he eanted sn open marriage and if I could have a lover. He bevame insulted. Go figure.

    • Same here! I was like….well…I consider myself bi and your gf is cute, so let’s get REALLY fun. But for some reason he got all butt hurt about THAT being an option.

      It’s abuse. It’s about power and control….at least with my ex….NOT sex

      • That’s ultimately the difference between actually wanting an open relationship and just being a selfish cheater fuckhole. If you try to apply their rules to you and they get mad.

        • Not necessarily. Mine wanted me to get a playmate, to the point of almost visible impatience. All to justify her own behavior. The common denominator is being a selfish fuckhole.

          • Just to clarify, UX. Did you actually fuck another woman in front of your wife? Because that is fucking hardcore, dude.

            I tried this open relationship shit in the nineties. I am not cut out for that. I don’t share my woman once we decide to be monogamous. Sounds like you are like me. Jealousy and sexual gratification are not the most important thing in my life. I want to think, build, and be of service to others. Constantly chasing the next genital high is crass and fleeting.

            If she was still cool with you after you fucked another girl, then you do have a whole ‘nother level of fucked up that I haven’t adequately given you credit for.

            Maybe your gray-rock foo needs another round of applause.

            • My X was closed to obsessed with me having an affair, even giving me shit about a particular night over and over again. Of course, she was on business the same night with her Fuckbuddy.

              During MC, she made references over and over again to her only doing therapy to sort her issues out if I wasn’t seeing other people (as if I was even thinking that). But, of course, she was still seeing her fuckbuddy.

              Their game, their fucked up rules.

              I suspect most cheaters would never agree to an open marriage as they are so insecure they couldn’t stand the idea of their other half being with someone else.

              • After the discovery by my husband that I had been conducting an affair with an old boyfriend for nearly a year, He ended up In a stress center after delivering a very bad beating on my affair partner. Two weeks latter he came home from the center. To find me ready to go to a invitation dinner with my husbands father and mother and as the escort to a good friend of the family, when my husband was waiting for me right outside the door, I came out of the bedroom to walk square into his chest after the center sent him home with a taxi after we had refused to pick him up until latter that week.

                I had known for 12 years just how deadly his resentments to my refusing sex with him and the controls used to keep him in line with society’s needs. He started taking what he wanted with his seniority and. When those that tried to force him out of his rights started ending up broken and bleeding even after I was on my knees begging him not to push things, I was willing to get everyone out of his way from that day and even start the marriage he had been refused for 15 years. After he told me to take his pimp father by the hand and take my tramp self out to the interstate we could both step in front of a semi, the next morning I was told to bolt him out of the house to be put in his place. I was to call 911. if there was blood on my husband, there was plenty of that just none of it my husbands. It was the blood of four men that thought they could force him to remove his name off a bid He goaded them into laying their hands on him first. In under a minute he left all four as critical care patients in a display of hand to hand combat the four could not match. He also left me laying under the front door and frame with my leg broken, he also said he would kill me the next time I tried getting him hurt. Which was every holiday for the next seven years. I had to stay at his fathers for a month after Christmas when his father and friend showed up to force him at shotgun point to work on the holidays. In 2008 it was one more year till his 35 year seniority. he was qualified to get 5 weeks then and 25 days personal time he started getting violent with those that were forcing him to work. he smashed one mans face in after grabbing his weapon from him, Then over Christmas his father was yelling he was not going to make a younger seniority work and send his kids back to their wives he was divorced from. Then suddenly my husband was put in his fathers car by two men holding pistols on him one man sat in front and the two others say on both sides of him and his father said my husband would be home at 8 am, We would be at church. he picked up speed down the street when the 2 men in back flew out the doors at 45 mph. Another went out on his fathers hood and his father stopped in a yard. They got my husband to work seven hours late. The sheriff said he would not back us again. New years eve we took his ham on rye with mustard to him. The man that was supposed to work had returned his kids to their mother and was going with us to the cellebrations . My husband ruined the evening throwing a punctured can of wd 40 in the car with us spraying. rubbed the mustard on my outfit and we had to go home. I was waiting the next morning asking him about what he was doing with reservations for a double berth on the express the next spring. he was not invited on the trip he said hes vacation was then ans hew was not paying for another for me without him going. We took his and canceled them and was going to give his passport to TSA to hold until we were gone. the day we were leaving hes throwing me across an office dislocating my shoulder and took the refund check from me I was holding until January for a vacation I was going to force to st Croix. His father was screaming be a man and just go to work. he would finally get his stinking time that winter if he4 shut up. He had to be given O2 to revive him after seven men had to stop my husband from strangling his father to death over a stinking trip. Our return was not fun, two months in county for acting as false agency. latter that fall he was in surgery again getting his spine fused. and starting treatment for MRSA in his spine. This retired him. Three years of hard rehab and treatment. When he came home there was no intention to discuss his rights with us. First he came home not in a wheel chair as expected. He also came home three days early. I was out with an old boyfriend I was seeing the last year When I came home the next morning he trapped us in the drive. he had me packed and the guardianship that made him stay married to me ready to be assumed by my friend. My friend made the mistake of thing my husband without nerve impulse in his legs, he thought that my husband could not defend himself. He swept my husbands cane putting him on the floor. My friend started laughing and asked me how I had ended up with my husband the pathetic looser, My husband had carved his own cane over three years A dragons head with a tail running down over four feet tall and weighed 13 pounds. My friend paid for his bad joke with his scull fractured and the most savage bearing any one could receive and live.

                My husband went to a stress center in cuffs. He was sent home on the worst possible evening. His mother sister and I were planning to take him out ti a very nice place upon his return home/ To figure out how to include him in baby steps that he had ben excluded from for 31 years. Just figure out what could happen. The night he came home however was planed for another dinner, Invitation only, I was going with his parents and his fathers best friend. I ran into my angry husband coming out of the bedroom just finishing getting ready to go.

                started crying before the first words were exchanged telling him that the last three decades was mot meant it just happened. I was trying to slow things down until everyone arrived to talk to him about just meeting us any where he wanted after the event . For a discussion 2 decades overdue.

                He did not listen to my begging for a peaceful way to make our marriage right. When I tried running he tore my dress off me telling me where I was invited it was an automatic he was to. He cared nothing for any one else and their wants his came first from that second on he was the only and final judge and arbiter of how the rest of our life went.starting that second.

                He tore my dress off and told me he would kill me if I did not submit after being the community tramp. I was crying it was the only control I had to keep him in line. He said well consider the line broken as he took me to the floor.

                He took what I was willing to offer with some negotiation. with me begging it did not have to be that way. I was hurt when he forces into me.

                he also threw his fathers friend face first into the drive. Everything since has been him doing as he pleased. If I go on a vacation he had to ruin it by deciding he was going making all the group angry he was horning into yje tradition. the cruise in 2015 turned into us getting tossed off after his father came to our pre boarding room demanding he take the first class ticket offered home and just let the rest of us go without him. His father ended up with his head at an odd angle. One uppercut from my husbands hip after blocking the swing of his fathers bat left him down after my husbands cane blocked its swing. We all had to give up our berths, my husband sued the lines.

                His mother and father died in the last 8 months, leaving everyone scared that when my husband decides its going to be his way.

                I did

    • I tried to offer her an open marriage too. I just didn’t know what to do. If she was going to cheat, she was going to cheat. I figured might as well have it in the open and avoid the lies. She even encouraged me to find lovers of my own. But I didn’t really want that. Just wasn’t something I wanted. I tried to explore it, and the closest I ever got was having phone sex with someone, and I felt really weird from that. I also had sex with a mutual friend of ours that we had had a threesome with years before, and I felt like a complete piece of shit, even though I had permission and encouragement.

      I should have known it could never work because it started off as infidelity. I really don’t see how it is possible for that to ever work when it starts that way. It isn’t at all the sex that bothers me about what she did, it was all the lying. Oh, and she continued to hide things from me that she did with her boytoy even after we were supposedly “open”.

      Oh boy. Well for anyone who is on the right side of thinking about opening up, as in you are exploring things because you both want to, or you are already both into swinging and want to go a little further with it, I would really recommend reading “Opening Up”, “More than Two”, and “The Ethical Slut”. All very good reads, and probably the only thing that kept me from losing my mind during all of this. As of today, her affair is over, we are no longer swinging, and our marriage is closed. We need to work on us before we even think about going back to the spicy stuff. (Swinging, which we both really enjoyed)

  • This could’ve been written about my stbxh. I can’t tell you how liberating it has been to read how pathetically common this kind of bullshit is. Promiscuous is just “who he is” after 15 years together. This is news to me but thankfully he’s now old news.

  • After the last and final Dday, I wasn’t asked for an open marriage I was ordered – in a covert fashion of course.

    She would say things like, “Im open to anything” and do what ever she pleased. Her goal was so transparent, that she was trying to get *me* to ask for an open marriage. She was too just too much of a coward to come out and ask for it.

    From the time of Dday til she moved out (the actual day the divorce was final) was a total of 2 yrs and 8 months. I can not explain the kind of hell that I endured during that time. I was watching her go out all the time, always texting on her phone, seeing her come home drunk and the worse was her coming home smelling like sex. I was so defeated for those 32 months.

      • Damn straight he has been through hell. That is a shit sandwich I cant even imagine…I think mine showered before he came home.

        Out there somewhere is a sweet lady chump who is convinced that every single last man on the planet is a cheating louse and when she meets SureChumped, she is going to feel like she won the Lotto-of-Love and she will have.

        I actually believe that latehusband never wanted or intended to be a monogamist and gave into the pretense under social pressure. I wish he had told me the truth from the start.

        • I would say the worst part was 2 years of watching my ex wife get ready for her hookups.The woman that used to live in athletic clothes, ponytail and a baseball hat 24/7 now going to “Target”, “girls night out”, or “lunch with friends” freshly showered and in her new sexy outfits. Hell she even started wearing makeup and perfume as well as showering (who showers before work outs? ) before her “private tennis lessons”. Any questions about the big changes in her look and behavior where of course gaslighted with claims that she had the “right to look sexy and feel good about herself”. Of course once we started the wreckconciliation therapist advised date nights I got the baseball hat, ponytail and athletic clothes (which was salt in the wounds)

          • I wonder if in cases of domestic abuse, like say she’d just punched you in the face instead of screwing other men on the sly, if the MC would advise “date night.”

            I mean WT everliving F?

              • Heck ya! “16 in the clip and 1 in the chamber” – That would be a lot of BANG for your buck!

              • Hey, knock off the “murder the cheater talk.” Not cool. As a lawyer I tell you: In some jurisdictions, this is potentially criminal conduct. Also could threaten the existence of the website. It may feel good to say, but please: Stop. It. Now.

            • In the therapists defense he did at first completely buy into her “need” to have friends and explore herself B.S. After about 6 months of weekly couples therapy and a few more Ddays he had heard enough and canceled couples therapy, advised we each get individual therapy and (in private) told me to hire a private investigator. Chumpy me still had hope that she’d come to her senses. Luckily around that time I saw our family Dr for anti-depressants and he matter of factory advised me to get STD testing as my ex was having unprotected sex with other men. I called my lawyer that afternoon.

              • I visited the dr for STD checking and she told me it must be the theme of the day. The previous patient had a similar story of being cheated on.
                I remember looking nearly like a corpse: lost weight, pale and almost no life left in me. I was so sad…

              • Yup STD testing was so humiliating for me. The nurse that drew my blood did say that I have nice thick blood. 🙂

                It seems most of the folks that come in have watery blood saturated in alcohol and other toxins.

            • Date night as a way of winning over a cheating spouse is a joke. My cheater would call me as I was driving home and state he had a committee meeting and wouldn’t be home, I later found these meetings were dinner between him and other men at local pubs. During MC one night as I was putting the kids to bed cheater says “do you want to go for a coffee? I have a voucher.” I felt so loved, NOT, and when I declined because 1) I was tired. And 2) I was insulted. He acted all wounded that I had turned down such a loving offer.

          • Nice SD……my wife suddenly became a fitness queen and would just get up in the morning around 6:00 before work and go to the gym. Then it slowly changed to the extent that she would get up at 4:00 am for her morning workouts, I’d get up later, and I’d find every piece of makeup she owned was spread out across our bathroom counter. I could even still smell the perfume trail even though she left the house an hour earlier.

            I asked who does all that to go get all sweaty when you’re just going to have to come home and shower it all off anyway……I was told to mind my own business. Boy I was a sucker.

          • Funny how they go all out for others. Then when stuck with us, its back to the old. Mine at 40 went on massive weight loss, working out…. new clothes etc… post DDay when she was going to be all in on her marriage, she gained weight, quit putting the effort in on going out preparation…. Now i am not being shallow…. but what it appears is we are not worthy of the pursuit.

            • Dubious it would kind if you could link this cheater handbook so I could purchase it I rather be educated on how to notice the signs and catch the cheater then be left in the dark for a long time i it the marriage and waste my time on that person it would be much appreciated

          • I went through this same hell for 2 years. You have expressed so perfectly what she did to me. I wish I left sooner.

        • UNM he once came in after ‘drinking with the boys’ and kissed me. He smelt of makeup and lipstick.

          Another painful memory. Such disrespect.

          • Ugh…satan came in late after work one night (I still didn’t know what I was dealing with at the time…suffering PTSD, extreme weight loss – read skeletal, couldn’t sleep) and took me in his arms and french kissed me deeply…released me, huge smile on his face and said, ‘Ummmm, doesn’t that taste good!’

            …I almost throw up when I remember that now…nasty fucking bastard…

            • JeepTess, that is truly evil and made my blood run cold. What has become of him, I hope his entitled smugness has been superceded by the natural consequences of his assholery.

              • Stig 🙂

                I don’t believe what I hear of him from others if it ‘came’ from him…if they ‘witness’ it, yeah, I believe some of it…soooo…I’m told he is not happy, alone a lot, looks like he is possibly sick. …makes me so sad for him… But, I didn’t make his choices for him, he made them for himself…he said he ‘deserved’ to be happy (36 years together – 30 married). But, I did not deserve to be physically abused or meowed / growled at for months or…all the mind bending shit he put me through, so I filed and let him have his heart’s desire – his freedom. …what choice did I have?

                …some of the things he did those last couple of years…even worse than the ‘meowing’… were beyond insanity. Like…one afternoon…he hurled beer bottles at me until I retreated into our vegetable garden to shield myself behind the fence…he had adopted this evil laugh/growl (I know how insane this shit sounds…it happened to me and I still can’t think it real!) …when the missiles stopped pelting off the fence, I stood up to see if it was safe to come out…he was standing in the yard with his pants pulled down around his ankles, his shirt held up to his arm pits – this was around noon on a Saturday – he was swingin his penis at me and laughing and growling…??? …yeah…cue the exorcists right?! I truly thought he’d suffered a stroke. …our immediate neighbor called my cell and said, ‘Jeep! Get the HELL OUT OF THERE!’…she, nor I, can reconcile the him we were witnessing with the him that we knew…I was with him 36 years, she had known him 30 years. …it is mind boggling…satan walks.

                My father, who is a malignant, abusive narcissist himself – now declining with alcohol related dementia – told me that I needed to let satan come home because 1) he looks like he hasn’t had a good meal in years and is suffering and possibly very ill and, 2) Jeep, I don’t want you to live alone. …sigh…I just said okay dad…cause, obviously, he won’t remember it in 2 minutes and, he was comforted in the moment.

                I don’t really know, Stig, but I am truly thankful to be out and away from all of it. February 4th I will be 2 years divorced and about 5 years from his melt down. I have no idea what happened to him or why he became who he ‘became’, or ‘always was’…I only know that I witnessed and lived through true evil…and it was the most frightening thing I have ever lived through…and I was raised by an abusive, alcoholic, entitled, wife and child beating fucking EVIL man…dad was a walk in the park compared to satan.

            • That is completely and utterly vile. These cheating, selfish people have no regard for anyone but themselves. I am so sorry that happened to you… ?

              • …mine too Ginger… ;( They pretty much suck.

                I’m sorry you and all of us were put through such awful shit.

              • mine was the perfect husband. Said the right things, never fighting, never put me down or called me names. Always telling me how beautiful i am and such a good father. Came home after work, went to the gym most days after work. Didn’t go out and drink/party. I thought we were great. Found out several months ago, that for the entirety of our relationship ( from the beginning) he has been cheating online with 4 that i was able to dig up proof for, with 3 more possible girls. He has a pattern he befriends them and then flirts if they respond he gets more intimate and if they allow him he gets sexual and then starts getting pics from them. He has 1 pic of himself he said he sent once. I dont believe that i think there are more. Also a woman he got nudes from before we met started going to his gym.(he stopped going before i found out about this because the gym raised their prices). The only truth i have gotten from him is what i found proof of. He tried to lie and cover it all up and delted all the evidence. I had to dig for what i did find. I’m still in shock. He swears he never met them physically, but 1 woman (he has known for 20 years) showed up in our city and texted him her address and that she was drunk. They both said he never responded. I still think there is more i will never know. I honestly don’t care what happens to the marriage anymore. I put everything into us.

    • Sure

      I cannot imagine how you endured 32 months of that. I would be a basket case after a few weeks.
      ‘Luckily’ I had a run of the mill cheat who just wanted to sleep with other women when he felt like it. He wasn’t deluded enough or imaginative enough to ask for an open marriage. He knew to keep it all secret.
      Even today six months after ddays and divorce in process I came across more paperwork that he lied about. About 2014 we had a fraud flag on a charge on his credit card for a personals organisation. I told him and he called to say it was fraud. I totally bought it. Forgot about it. Then the ddays happen and I think, huh, how about those charges? He denies it was anything but fraud. Week or so later going through paperwork (in shock and horror on the hunt for evidence) I find letters from the fraud department still not filled in. I ask again. Oh, I called and did it by phone they sent a new card! It was FRAUD.
      Monday this week he asked if I had shredded his paperwork he had sorted through. No I hadn’t but he NEVER sorts stuff out. So I go through the bag last night. Found all three letters from the fraud department un filled and their letter saying they had to assume it was correctly charged and they dropped it. Charge was reinstated on new card the next month and he paid it.
      I would have believed him if he said he forgot and probably paid it anyway. But he is trying to hide it still. Why?? We are divorcing. Nothing to gain by lying except sinking even lower in my estimation. But he still lies. Just because. Two years before my multiple ddays.
      They truly suck.

      • Lying becomes part of their nature. As my therapist said, instrumental liars lie to get out of consequences; pathological liars lie for control and power over other people.

        • “pathological liars lie for control and power over other people.”

          This is something that I just don’t understand. My ex used to lie about stupid stuff. Stuff that telling the truth would have been so much easier. And I’d scratch my head and wonder, ‘why did he lie about that?’ There didn’t seem to be any power or control in what he was lying about. And then it would make me question my memory. I have an excellent memory when it comes to events that happened, things that were said or where everything is in the home. But with him, I’d question myself and my memory so much. And it was only him that I felt this way with. Now I realize it was him. And his mommy pulled this on me by saying to me, “I never said that.” She did. And my pastor did the same thing. He did say what I heard him say as my sister was there when he said it. But a few days later he said, “I never said that.” I’m SICK of these type of people. Here’s my foot kicking you out of my life.

          • I always thought that cheater just had a really bad memory. No he was just so use to lying he could not keep the truth straight. When in the midst of trauma following D’day and my daughter getting ill my minister said some things that infuriated and gutted me. When I challenged him on what he had said when I got some of my strength back he flat out denied it and his wife supported his lies as she was the only witness to the exchange. This hurt because I once considered her my friend. I learned that my best option was to get far away.

            • Lies are always about a lack of character. Another way to gain power was to agree with whatever I said. And I always had a sinking feeling inside that his agreeing was to make me believe I had the power in the relationship. And I’ll tie that right in with his complaints after the fact. They were numerous. In fact his happiness was dependent on some super power I should have had to read his mind.

              What I know now is that he DID listen and attend to my words. He used them against me twisting and putting a spin on them sadistically on DDay.

              Discard happens long before Ddays. Cheating requires manipulation and lies. Aren’t all cheaters pathological liars leading a double life?

              We’ve been conditioned to minimize not only our needs. There is much more that comes into play with the disordered. The abuse however small that it may appear initially, was ever present.

              It’s not a flaw. It’s a way of life for them. It’s what keeps victims of abuse in pain as others deny our reality. Narcissists are well aware of how ‘normals’ think and react with denial.

              This is the battle we face in my opinion.

    • Dude, that bitch sucks. Was a similar situation for me. After I kicked her out, I remember running into her at the local supermarket. She had a tank top type of shirt on and I could see the bite marks all over her chest. Those were the days!

      It hurt me then, but nowadays I find it kind of laughably funny

      Meh

      • Bite marks on her chest. That reminds me of the bruises Match Girl came home from her conference with. Upon further inspection, those bruises match up with the “I should have left you three years ago,” narrative. They so get off on the power of deception.

        Sure, I have been reading you here for a year, and I didn’t know you endured her in your home for so long. Mad respect, bro. Again, not having kids, I just don’t get the 4D chess and mental gymnastics required to navigate the extrication of a cheater out of a home to ensure that children aren’t homeless. I’ll add that to my personal lists of blessings I’ll be counting tonight.

    • SureChumpedAlot,

      I’m so sorry you went through all of those years of hell. I can’t imagine the torture. But what I do get is how hard it is to extract ourselves from these abusive situations. Having learned about trauma bonding and Stockholm Syndrome, I’m convinced people don’t choose to stay in abusive situations, but rather it’s a cruel twist of biological fate that has us bonded and feeling utterly powerless around these narcissistic shits. Sure, it would have been great to have kicked her ass to the curb. Insist that you two cannot continue to live in the same house. But sometimes all we can do is stumble around in the fog of abuse as we sink lower and lower as our self-worth goes into the crapper. The pain we continue to endure is tantamount to being strapped to a merry-go-round of emotional torture (minus the merry part). Please don’t blame yourself for having gone through that. You did the best you could, and you were fighting against your brain changing due to the abuse. PTSD is real and something that a lot of us cheater survivors suffer from, and it coupled with gaslighting, grief and rage makes for a potent cocktail of mind mush that is extremely difficult to push through.

      In my case, when my 48 yo ex told me he was ending our 20 year relationship to be with his 24 yo “new partner” (aka the OP), I told him he had to leave the house that night. He freaked out and started yelling and screaming and to this day claims I ended the relationship in the cruelest of ways by kicking him out. He was homeless!! Oh no!! If not for the kindess of a few friends, what would he have done!?! Well, he would have lived out of a hotel for a while until he could rent an appt. He had the money to do so. He’s since told all of our friends how I was a monster for kicking him out of the house and that he should have sued me for abusive behavior (oh the irony). I still wonder if I should have let him stay in the house. I’ve always been the nice guy that way. We spent 20 years building a life together. There were a lot of golden moments. But I see now how that would have nearly killed me. And I thank you for sharing some of your story to help remind me of that.

      Best to you!

      • As another person who lived with ex for 2.5 years after final dday while watching him prance in and out doing his thing, I would add that children are a big reason for trying to tough it out. Your own pain seems less important than having the family ripped apart. Looking back, I did my child few favors but at the time it seemed valid.

        • That was exactly in my case also Dixie. Also, I couldn’t get her out legally! And she knew it. She loved that power over me. Of course I could of moved out but moving out of my home and away from my 3 kids? Why? Because she was a whore. It just didn’t register to me at the time how much psychological abuse I was experiencing from being there.

          Looking back now, all I can say is Wow.

          • And if you move out you’re the bad one. I don’t know, maybe it is something else for women. Maybe it’s more of a “breadwinner” thing, but I am not allowed to dour much rather than thoroughly screw myself and my kids at this point. That’s a bitch in its own right. Ask a shrink what’s best for the kids, 50% custody with a good dad, the other half with a bpd or 100 with both with the non providing support and protection 24/7. If I leave it probably wouldn’t even get the 50 and there should be no doubt she’d even try to take that when she puts dollars to it. Leave a cheater, get a life for sure, but decide when and how very carefully.

            • ” but decide when and how very carefully” very true. That was also part of the equation.

              For me, honestly, being the “bad one” held no merit. I couldn’t give a rats ass what others would think because the people that really knew me – and mattered – knew that I was never the bad one.

              • Thanks ChumpedDude. It did help. I even have the support of my 3 birds with full custody.

      • He’s a fool to leave you, ChumpDude. You are kind and thoughtful.

        Perhaps the people who are playing back the CD-kicked-him-out narrative are Switzerland friends in the making. Or perhaps they are in need of some educatin’. He had the money and he was able to find shelter. Y’all don’t share any children from what I gather. He is miles beyond what a lot of the cheaters (and especially chumps) have available to us in resources. Don’t let that crybaby cheater get under your skin.

        • Thanks Dubious! Yeah, thankfully no kids. That would have been even more of a disaster.

          All of it got under my skin. Absolutely all of it. Kicking out someone I loved from our home of 20 years…how did I manage to do that? I loved him. And I kicked him out. But I listened to the part of me that had some fight left, and I’m thankful he was still there fighting for me because I don’t know how I would have handled seeing him coming and going to be with the AP. And my dad had just died. I needed him to be there for me and to take the reigns while I fell apart for a while. Instead while I was already in the gutter, he ran over me with a truck.

      • “You did the best you could, and you were fighting against your brain changing due to the abuse. PTSD is real and something that a lot of us cheater survivors suffer from, and it coupled with gaslighting, grief and rage makes for a potent cocktail of mind mush that is extremely difficult to push through.”

        ChumpDude this was an amazing post. Thank-you. Early on a therapist asked me why I tortured myself. Those words.repeatedly went through my head as a puzzle to solve. It took six years and an amazing therapist to find that answer in 2014. He was a narcissist, never respected me, a sociopath, a sadist, and I suffered from PTSD and Stockholm Syndrome. I’d developed unhealthy coping mechanisms to survive. The Awakening came that day when I knew the truth.

        Recovery is a long process. I am no longer that person. Your description was powerful and validating. We are indeed survivors.

        • Thanks Doingme!

          And thank the universe for Awakening as you say! I had a similar experience…

          We are survivors. And sometimes recovery seems like it will never end. And I guess it never will as we are forever changed. But our bumps and bruises bring a lot of character and beauty.

    • “This “offer” is not sexual sophistication, it’s an implied threat — let me have my cake, or we’re through. The cheater lays the blame with monogamy — that impossible condition that, oh hey, we all agreed to.”

      I wasn’t even offered an open marriage, he wanted a menage a trois, where he would have me and his ex (me being mostly the housekeeper, childminder, cheque book) and his ex, for sex only he claimed. And it was a threat, it came with accusing me of being asexual (bullshit, and we were having sex 2-3 times a week). To make things clearer, I was taking care of his son with the “ex” as part of their 50/50 shared custody. So my place in that little plan? I call it scullery maid.
      I refused and was called a bitch and not a team player…
      He did it anyway, I found out while I was stuck on the farm with their son, and I suspect it had been going on all along.
      I am the baddie and he has been terribly treated… I emasculated him and made him live like a pig, he was afraid of me, I would harm him, I was trying to poison him. All bullshit I had to listen to in MC following what I call DDay2 (when I found out he was at the “ex” whore’s house while I was at home looking after their son).
      Never at any point did he ever offer even an open relationship where I also would have some fun, or at least some recognition as a sexually active woman!

    • Did we have the same wife? Seriously, almost word for word, except she was also draining our joint account every week, and withholding her own pay. I put up with this for 2 years before I couldn’t stand her behavior any longer, happened when she told me she was going out for the 3rd time that week. I packed a bag and left my own home so she couldn’t go anywhere (we have kids). The next day I told her we were done, I wanted a divorce. I’ve made so many mistakes in our divorce since, acting on emotions, I texted things I shouldn’t have, didn’t think she could afford to file before, drown my sorrows and grieved for weeks. She’s denied me visits my children for a few weeks and somehow she got the most expensive lawyer in the county and filed first. I can’t afford one and I fear I’m going to lose everything as she’s asking for full custody Joint/Physical, No Visitations, claimed I’m an Alcoholic, Abusive, that I Abandoned the family when I left, and felt threatened. No restraining order has been issued because it’s all bullshit. I’m on Unemployment and seriously can’t afford to even file a response (which is due in 12 days) to her papers. I feel so defeated by this woman… she cheated and now she’s going to leave me without the ability to see my children, and likely penniless and broke for years and years to come.

  • After multiple consequtive DDays and failed wreckonciliation and after he felt my resolve to leave the marriage, he asked if we could continue in an open marriage. He said he did not have a problem with it if I did it discreetly. He said he understands that “women in their 40s want to f**k 25 year old boys and he understands my desires and he does not mind.” I asked why…he said let’s keep the marriage for the sake of our 9 yr old son. Pathetic.

    • Longtime
      It’s amazing isn’t it once the mask comes off the kind of things they say.
      It’s almost a new hobby of mine to say things just to see how he replies. It would be funny if it didn’t hurt so much.
      I can now SEE who he IS but part of me is still in total shock.
      The more you look the worse it gets.

      • Capricorn,
        You are so right about what they say and do once the mask falls completely off. Some of the things he said to me made my brain hurt — just crazy talk mixed with lies.

        I’d been reading self-help books for about ten years. Trying to implement good habits to “fix” myself. See. I thought I was the one with the problem. I couldn’t figure out what I was lacking or doing wrong that my husband lied to me a lot and had so many women “friends.” A lot of the self-help books say to ask your best friend or someone who knows you well if there is anything you are doing wrong or need to improve on. This makes sense to me, because we don’t always see ourself correctly. On quite a few occasions I asked my husband this question. I honestly really wanted to improve myself, be a better wife, mother and friend. Every single time he told me I was “perfect.” Now I know I’m not perfect. So after D-day and post Divorce Letter he said it wasn’t his “responsibility” as my husband to tell me what I was doing wrong or what I could improve on. WTF?! So I said to him, “So if Bill (not his real name and his best man for our wedding) asked you what he could do to be a better friend or better business professional, you would tell him it was not your responsibility to help him improve himself?” He paused for a few seconds (the narcissists pause when they are thinking and planning their next lie) and said, “No, I wouldn’t tell him.” What a bunch of BS! That’s what good friends do! Good friends sharpen each other. Good friends help you be a better person.

        Word Salad. Never heard that term until I came to CL. But now it all makes sense. Lots of words. Lots of truth. Lots of lies. Mixed up, round and round until you feel like you are going crazy when you’re served up them. Going forward, if I’m ever talking to someone and I feel confused in the conversation — I’m outa there!

  • Cheating Ex (and his AP) blew up my marriage. Looking back, lots and lots of red flags. “Me, me, me” in regards to every decision, and that control thing? I was never that spouse, and who the fuck does that in a healthy relationship? The disordered are bothered by ties that bind though (spouses, children, a mortgage, time spent together) because they are always looking to escape reality. At the gym for eight hours? Hey, do what you want! Trusting him to be normal, to recognize that he had it all. I thought I had married a grown up with morals….uh, nope. Marriage was doomed from the start with Peter Pan. Go the fuck ahead and DO what YOU want, just recognize that consequences are the direct result of crap choices. Crapheads will always choose drama and dishonesty over authentic because that is who they are, and hey, your needs don’t matter. Nothing is equal in a marriage there. And hey, new pussy. Pay attention to actions, cause if I had, I never would have married shit for brains.

    • Crapheads will always choose drama and dishonesty over authentic because that is who they are, and hey, your needs don’t matter. Nothing is equal in a marriage there.

      YUP this is her 1000000000000 % correct. Its pretty sad when she asked me what I wanted for xmas & my response was a normal sex life ( more than once every 8 months yep she totally rejects me) & a normal marriage (put the fucking Iphone down turn off the computer and plug in to reality) its just all about her. Her needs her wants her life her drama her blah blah blah ,,,,,,,,,,,,fucking frustrating. My therapist keeps telling me DO not let the anger rule you. I have to get to indifferent & not care. Pretty fucking hard some days when I just want to dump her shit on the front lawn and burn it. My sweet pea keeps me grounded I look into his eyes & I know I am doing the right thing …. My kids are my cause………..

      Yea I got a crappy sweater from Kohls.

  • I call this move ‘pulling a Newt’ as in Gingrich. I’m betting the open marriage thing only applies to the cheater. Per the second wife, that’s what Newt meant, that he could see both women. Exasshole never asked for that, just wanted both me and his OW, in fact he went into a rage when he decided I might be ‘cheating’ on him.

    • Yeah that rage thing is what kept me from filing first. It still didn’t prevent ex from vandalizing our home…two years after he had moved out. For somebody happy with his new love that just about said it all.

    • Datdamwuf,
      Sounds sadly familiar. My adulterous STBX asked me to choose a dating site membership for him (only) while we were married but not separated. My STBX, even years after officially leaving me, still says disgusting, obscene things about me (to the public and in front of kids) as if had been the one who was unfaithful during our relationship although he, not I, cheated on partner during engagement and marriage.

    • When X wanted to reconcile because his 5+ year affair was no big deal, I told him I would go fuck someone for 5 years and then we would talk about reconciliation. That did not go over well. Asshole

      • Mine told me to go fuck someone from an adult website, because then we would be “even” and I would be more likely to reconcile with him. Nope. Bye Felicia.

        • Just goes to show how literally fucked up in the head they are… I know another chump whose cheating wife was willing to allow her husband a “freebie” to even the infidelity score. I suppose that way a cheater could drag the betrayed spouse down to his/her level and then stash it away in their arsenal to use against the betrayed at some later date…

          • I tried this. 2 years after D-Day #1 when I was still struggling to trust him and be with a lingering sense of unfairness, I asked for a “get out of jail free card” to balance the scales, and he reluctantly granted it. He knew who I was going to be with, that he was some random guy from out-of-town, that I would never see him again, that we would be safe, etc. After 10 years, sure, it would be fun to experience someone else’s body, or so I thought.

            It totally backfired.

            After it was over, I ended up feeling like shit. Like I sold off a piece of my soul to try and heal and patch together what was left of my relationship. When I came home that night after everything, my now-ex had a meltdown, and I cried. A lot. His meltdown was one of the few times I saw his mask slip. And I felt absolutely terrible. I lost who I was. I only ever wanted monogamy. We fumbled along for several years after that point, but then D-Day #2 hit, and it took the rest of the fight out of me. When he left to be with the OM, all I could think was how I wished I hadn’t had that one random hookup because it didn’t help anything and just had me feeling sad that I lost myself.

            • Wow, ChumpDude, your experience is a good warning to chumps who are desperately trying wreckonciliation and would consider compromising their principals to keep their cheater. Stick to your principles and don’t sink to their level. Be true to yourself.

      • that’s the best thing I’ve heard all day. thank you for that. i think if i ever break no contact or maybe when i see him in court, i might use that on him. HAHAHAHA

      • Newday, I admire your quick-witted response!! My ex denied any wrong-doing even though I had proof!!! (Gaslight much???) I was like Tempest — absolutely done trying to salvage the sinking ship. Bye Felipe!!! Hence my moniker…. I was Over and Out!

      • Yup, and the “diet of the entitled ones” is called Toxic Cake.

        These cheats are eating nutrient poor foods like cake. These cheats probably even get withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop with their toxic cake. Their toxic hunger then becomes a condition where their body lies to their pea-brain and tells them it’s time to eat cake when they shouldn’t.

        They are all a bunch of toxic cake eating bitches!

    • No doubt Drew. They tell you they just want to stick their toe in the water, when in reality, they’ve already done a few laps in the pool.

  • 30 years, and then asking for an open marriage!?! WTF!!

    Yeah, I may want to be an astronaut when I turn 60, but I hope I will have realized that my opportunity for that profession is long past…and that my poor eyesight and heart murmur disqualified me anyway!!!

    My ex-wife pulled the same shut, but after only 4 years of marriage — not 30!!!

    Rule of thumb: if your spouse asks you for an open marriage, chances are VERY high that you already have one…especially if there’s already a third person with whom your spouse is enamored (as opposed to suggesting it more generally–without someone specific in mind–which seems to be to be the only genuine way to introduce that lifestyle).

    As CL said, my wife didn’t want an open marriage. She wanted absolution for what she had already done, and continued to do. She wanted me back in my place, agreeing to another one of her requests as I had for years. After all, to her, the purpose of our marriage was to make her happy, and she was getting upset that lately I had come to expect some of my own needs and goals to be met!

    • “my wife didn’t want an open marriage. She wanted absolution for what she had already done”

      Here, here JC, so so so true. Their goal also is to get us to *take us down* to their level so they can then feel better of themselves. This is the same thing that an anchor does.

      • Mine did the same. Asked for an open marriage even though (unbeknownst to me) we already had one. I agreed to try it because I am sooooooooooooooooooooooo chumpy. I didn’t like it and asked to stop and he used it all against me. Manipulative and so fucked up.

    • My cheater Ex asked for an open marriage after 20 years and I said “No”. Like JC said, I didn’t know it, but I already had an open marriage for several years, just that no one told me I was in one. When I filed for divorce, she actually suggested that “we stay together, raise the children together and live separate lives”! I am not kidding and again said “No”. One of my friends said: “she wants the same life, just without you in it”. Well that didn’t happen. Divorce became final in June of this year.

      Somewhat bizarre footnote: Yesterday my lawyer called me to say that the Ex’s lawyer sent him a letter demanding that I begin paying half of her rent (voluntarily) because she can’t afford to make ends meet even with child support. And her lawyer reminded him that it is in the best interests of the children that I do this. He couldn’t stop laughing and reminded me that she still wants the same life, just without me in it. Of course our reply was “NO”. You can’t make this stuff up, can you?

      • I just can’t help thinking of all the things that would be in the kids best interest. An enriching trip to Europe would enhance their cultural awareness! Learning to drive in a hummer would keep them safe! Organic cooking classes for their nutritional excellence!

        You give a whole new meaning to “Just say no!” Good for you.

      • Khris – something tells me the kids could always come a live with you and be properly cared for until your XW finds more suitable and affordable housing?

        • It would be in the kids’ best interest not to live with a cheating whore and move in with their honest dad…

    • This right here: “Rule of thumb: if your spouse asks you for an open marriage, chances are VERY high that you already have one…”

      Got asked this question. Said no. Turned out that didn’t mean the same thing to both of us.

  • The open marriage thing is a nice touch after they’ve been in one for x many years. Mine stopped asking and would say things like “we need to reach an agreement ” but not say about what. While the manipulations were so clearly easy for her, the concept of it wasn’t. I really don’t think that was asking for it for herself. It gave me the impression that her unemployed grandfather of a boyfriend suggested she do.
    That honestly is the hardest part. I’m ducks in a rowing, but she never she says things to me from his fucking mouth, I’m tempted to lose my mind. Why couldn’t he encourage her to talk about the theater or poetry or MMA? Seriously why is it always just continuous mind numbing, classless, tasteless, intellectually uninspired drivel?

    • DC – I would get the “we need to fix us”… and then I’d so… ok, you won’t go to counseling, so what are your ideas… his response was that I should get up at 5:00am to watch Walking Dead with him and he would come to church with me on Sundays. (NOTE: He was already grooming a new OW while sitting next to me in church. And, no I didn’t get up at 5:00am to watch TV with him – so that is why he cheated and left me.)

      Friggin’ sociopath.

      • The good news is it wouldn’t have mattered if you did. It would’ve become why do you annoy me at 5 am when I just want to watch the Walking Dead. You know the best thing about the marriage at all cost sites? They do teach you to get your head on straight if only for apprearance. I did that. No drinking even if stressed, therapist, hobbies. Even though, she of course reverted to type, I didn’t. This time I could see the manipulation and the lies and KNEW it really wasn’t me. I’m immensely grateful to them for that. After years of emotional abuse, we really aren’t who we want to be. Becoming that is invaluable. So to any new people here-do not drown your sorrows. Stay level headed and screw your head back on straight if you do reconciliation. It’s important you see things clearly.

  • The justification that these cheaters use to convince us, others, and themselves that their actions and choices are right and at times “what is best” is always the part I cannot wrap my brain around. Just.Not.Normal.

    So wish I did not have kids with the STBX. No contact would be a dream.

  • Even more than ego, selfishness and cake, the universal motivation behind cheating is control of chump.

    Holding information from someone is a control issue.
    Hiding information from someone is control issue too.
    Think of it. Cheaters have clandestine control of finances, their schedule, their activities…

    Convincing your chump to agree to, or at least go along with, an open marriage contract is the cherry on top of the control sundae! Cheater does not loose social standing in a divorce, or loose wife appliance, kids, financial and emotional support – nothing! and they get to keep the strange pussy when they feel like it.

    On the flip side, cheaters use the threat of returning to wife/family to control mistress. If they fear that cheater will return to house and home keeps a lot of OW or OM in check. OH! how wonderful! to have two people playing the “pick me dance!”

    It’s a tsunami of lopsided dysfunction, it usually comes crashing down on everyone’s head….

    • Exactly why I am running “out of the house” like my hair is on fire. Let the two of them continue to play these games. The kids and I will live authentic lives without the messed up drama somewhere else.

    • “Holding information from someone is a control issue.
      Hiding information from someone is control issue too.
      Think of it. Cheaters have clandestine control of finances, their schedule, their activities.”

      Once again, thankful for CL and CN. One of the many things I’ve learned here is that abuse is about power and control. My ex-cheater controlled all of the above. Now of course he said I could buy anything I wanted (I rarely did), but he “future faked” by convincing me about how we were saving for our great retirement — lots of travel with each other and our future grandchildren. I bought the lie. So I went without. Colored my hair at home. Haircuts maybe three times a year. Small wardrobe. Made due with what I had. I did all of this for the fake future we talked about a lot. The only good part is I got half of everything, so I will eventually have a nice retirement, but without a cheater.

      My ex never asked for an open relationship, but I’m sure I was in one at times, but didn’t know it. He did however post D-day say to me, “I wish you had a healthy male friend to spend time with.” Yeah, he was trying to justify all his “healthy female friends.” How all these women he was so close with emotionally were just so healthy for him. Yeah, give me a break. I wasn’t born yesterday. Two times in our marriage, I had a male friend. One was a friend from high school (we lived over 700 miles apart) that I emailed back and forth to a few times using our families email, so nothing was hidden. Right before my high school reunion, my male friend asked if we could meet the day after the reunion for a few hours. I felt 100% comfortable asking my husband if I could meet my friend the next day, because my husband had tons of female friends over the years. And one friend for sure he met out for lunch for their birthdays. So I wasn’t asking for anything that he wouldn’t do. The day came and my husband was visibly jealous of my male friend. When we got back home, a week later, he said, “If you are pregnant, we know it’s not mine (he had a vasectomy).” And for a few months I had a male friend at work. He had to work in the same area that I work in for two hours every day. We just talked about politics mostly. So at dinner we’d talk about our day with the kids. Occasionally I’d mention work friends name as he was a part of my day. Ex was visibly jealous of him too. And I wasn’t trying to get him jealous. I was just talking about my day. So him telling me that he wished I had a “healthy male friend” is a bunch of BS. He couldn’t handle all the triangulation with OW that he put me through for over 20 years. For some reason I needed to be okay with all his “friends”. I wasn’t allowed to be jealous or feel insecure. I wasn’t allowed to question his actions or the lies he was telling me. I just needed to be the Good Wife. Do my job. Keep my mouth shut. Don’t question him. Fuck that shit. And the kicker is that he said I was “judgmental and controlling” in the Divorce Letter. He was the controlling one. He controlled our entire relationship, marriage and family life with his “work.” We all went with his schedule. And I had every right to judge his behavior. Lying to and cheating on your spouse is wrong. There was nothing wrong with me pointing out that his character sucks.

      Never again will I allow someone to control my life like that.

      • This sounds awfully familiar to me, Martha. My ex accused every single male and gay female work friend of wanting to sleep with me. The possibility that you actually like working with someone or that you can be platonic friends with someone seems alien to them. It’s certainly alien to him — after the split it turned out that he had less than a handful of friends, mostly former room-mates from college. I think it’s impossible for people who live a double life to make themselves vulnerable to others and make earnest friendships, so the default thinking is that if you develop new relationships it must be for sex.

        • I completely agree with you that you can have work friends of the opposite sex. It’s only natural for friendships to form when you work with someone almost every day. I work with mostly women and the people that I’m closest to are women, because they are the one’s I spend the most time with.

          My ex works mostly with women too. It’s only natural that he knows a lot about their family life, etc. They work together. I think that’s perfectly natural and healthy.

          However. He takes it a step further. I have found out from a good source that he spends a lot of time “visiting” with women who are not even in his department. He intimately knows about women who work in departments that he has absolutely no reason to visit. He’s a predator. He has to have a large supply of female attention and admiration to fill up his dark, empty soul. And it’s more than friendship. I’ve seen flirtatious texts and emails. I caught him out once on a drinks date with a former ho-worker. He said that was the only time he did something like that. BS. That was the only time he got caught!

          And this is why he was jealous of my two male friends. Because he knows what his female “friends” are all about. It’s not just friendship. It’s waaaaaay more than that! He was projecting onto me his cheating. He was a cheater, so of course since I had two male friends, then I was a cheater like him. If his female “friends” were just truly friends like he said they were. Then he shouldn’t have been jealous of my two male friends.

          Never again will I be in a relationship like this. I saw the signs from the beginning and my gut was screaming at me that something was wrong with his “friends”, but I bought all his lies. He entered our marriage as a liar and cheater. That’s all on him.

          • Such a classic excuse when you call them out for the first time with irrefutable evidence–“It was the only time I ever did it!” As if that excuses it. My X laughably told me, all indignant and condescending, “In all of my 50-something years on earth and I happen to look at gay porn just once, ONCE, and you happen to find it. Of course you would, that is SO typical of you.” Ah, the projection! They all think we just fell off the turnip truck . . .

            • Yep! They do think we’ll buy the lie, because we did in the past when we were more trusting. My ex easily told ten lies the night he went out with a former ho-worker. And then he came home and looked me straight in the eyes and continued to lie. Cool and all calm-like. And then he lied to me for another two months when I thought he was working on our marriage with our MC/pastor. Even the last time he kissed me passionately was all a lie. This is what a great liar he is! He could easily pass a polygraph test. So for him to tell me that was the first time he went out on a date while we were married – LOLOLOLOLOLOL!! Nope! I don’t believe you, Lying Cheater. That was just the first time you got caught! And that one Happy Birthday email I saw where he told another former ho-worker that he “missed her so much!” That too was just one time. Nope! Two years later I saw a similar Happy Birthday email to another former ho-worker. So, no. It was just once. I have no doubt in my mind that he has dozens of women he sends out Happy Birthday email to and tell them how much he misses them, blah, blah, blah. And then there’s the two tissues in his den loaded with dried up semen. Found to separate occasions. One under his desk. One in a drawer. First one I let go. Second one I confronted him with the evidence. “No porn!” with arms spread wide-out as he takes the semen loaded tissue and pretends to wipe his nose with it. Sorry. I wasn’t born yesterday. And then when I watched “Orange is the New Black”, I got confirmation from that show that guys jack off into tissue. Yeah, I’m a bit naïve and have to figure things out slowly. 25 years of lies, cheating and defensiveness from him if I called him out on his shit. NO MORE!

        • theotherwhite

          Wasn’t the same for me. My cheater didn’t have friends as such really. We moved a lot for his job so I put it down to that. His work friendships were all women but I trusted him and thought he was just a lovely listener who liked to gossip more than talk shop with the men.
          Turns out of course he used his female side to get close emotionally very quickly with women and when the chance arose to take it beyond friendship, he did. He’s great at sussing out vulnerability and soaking up the subsequent kibbles.
          He was always overweight and I was forever worried about his health. Turns out each of his OW were the same. His favourite bought him books to help and took him on healthy walks. They didn’t know they were beating the same dead horse I had been for 20+ years.

          But. He never suspected me of cheating even though I was mostly alone living back home with the boys. Either he didn’t give a shit or it was that he KNEW it just isn’t something I would do.

          It’s hard to accept he’s gone from a ‘female’ kind of guy to a predator.

          It used to upset me that his family saw me as controlling and the one who wears the trousers as he is quiet and seemed easy going. They used to think I was too ‘strong’ and opinionated. They would be quite mean and he would not defend me. I thought it was because he was scared of them in some way or deferential. Now I think he might have enjoyed seeing me being taken down. He resented me for things I think. Being organised, dealing with everything, having opinions.

          Things sure do change when you become a chump don’t they?

          • The traitor always went on about his female side, being in touch with his feminine side (an his inner child, perfect excuse for childish behaviour and tantrums), being a feminist, being sensitive, getting on better with female co-workers, although I never even met one friend and as far as I know he didn’t have any.
            He resented me for being organised, dealing with everything on time, having made lots of money by myself before I met him and being in control of my finances, although he and his kids benefited greatly from all this. I thought he even resented me for coping with all the miscarriages and not falling apart. But when I did fall apart after DDay, no empathy, no compassion, not even a little pity.

      • I could have written this. I have so far yet to go in this divorce process and I am already weary of it all. Lying piece of shit wasn’t content betraying me with other women, but now he is trying to hide assets and income. Trying to hold back my anger for the kids’ sake is not easy.

        • Find an outlet for your anger when the kids aren’t around. My bff went into the woods near her home and threw eggs at the trees. She found it very satisfying. She also got a kickboxing dummy to hit. I have no problem expressing my anger but I know a lot of chumps do.
          Suppressing anger can really mess you up physically and mentally.
          Hugs. Now, go punch something.

        • Yeah, Getmefree. Find a good way to let your anger out. Trust me. I suppressed it and then I exploded. I won’t go into details, but it wasn’t good. It is scary when you feel out of control. THE RAGE! Thankfully I don’t feel like that anymore.

          Like Louisvilleflower suggested — kickboxing dummy would be great! I wish I would have thought of that. I had a friend who used to go in her car and scream. Or hit a pillow when no one is around.

          ((((HUGS)))) to you. 🙂

          • I scream (and cry) often when I am in the car alone. Unfortunately, I unloaded a bit on my mom today. She is one of the only people who knows the full extent of what he has done and continues to do. I feel a little unburdened but I hate doing that to her. This divorce process is soooo frustrating. It takes so long and he just keeps complicating it by the shit he is trying to pull. I can’t believe that I was married to someone willing to do this. That this is who he was underneath all along and the level of deceit he pulled to keep me believing that deep down he was a good person.

            • GetMeFree,

              Don’t feel bad about unloading on your mom. That’s what family is for. I’m usually a very private person and I kept all my marital stuff to myself (big mistake). But when I was hurting, I called my family constantly (we don’t live in the same state). Sometimes I would just say, “I need to cry a little bit.” Or I would unload what was going on. People really do want to help! They just don’t always know how to or what you need. And keep unloading here at CN. I didn’t find CL’s blog for over a year after the Divorce Letter was read to me. I wish I would have found her sooner. She would have saved me from making a lot of mistakes!

              Yeah, I know it’s a long process and it royally sucks. My ex tried to pull stuff, too. You keep fighting for yourself. You can do this! If I can, you can. I was super deluxe chump, so it was really hard sticking up and fighting for myself.

              Yeah, I totally hear the pain and anger in your last two sentences. I can totally relate. All of us at CN can relate. It’s hard to wrap your mind around the fact that your spouse is not the person you thought they were. It takes time for your heart to catch-up with your mind and the facts of who they are. It’s been over two years since D-Day and finally I 100% believe that he sucks. He cannot be the “nice guy” and the horrid, cold, lying cheater. He’s either one or the other. Unfortunately as the person closest to these cheaters, we see them for who they truly are and not the fake image they present to the world.

              I’m sorry you are going through this. It will get better. It really will. I didn’t believe anyone when they told me it would, but it has. It’s a day by day process of healing. (((HUGS)))

              • Martha,
                Thank you. So many people think he is an ass but will still hang out with him and give me the subtle impression that I should just get over it and make the best of it for the kids. This is the only place I can go that truly gets the level of manipulation, gaslighting, deceit, and betrayal we have dealt with.

                The unknowing how everything will turn out in terms of the divorce and parenting plans is eating away at me. So much out of my control leaves me feeling frayed.

      • Martha– the “healthy female friendships” line–I got that too in so many permutations. And emails he signed “I love you and miss you” with 20-something “friends” (he was in his late 50s) who he kept secret from me (cuz secret from your wife is how you do healthy friendships) which he insisted even after dday was perfectly appropriate behavior. He would agree to stop fucking prostitutes, but I, as his wife, have no right to expect him to give up his healthy friendships, or telling them he loves and misses them. His meaning of “friend” and “healthy” and “appropriate” –not the same as mine. For those healthy friendships he destroyed our marriage and family and put me through hell. And my reaction to all this–he told me was controlling, selfish, small minded, fearful, unwilling to get over my victimhood, and unwilling to see “who he really is.” I think I do see. Divorcing him.

  • I never got the whole “ask for an open marriage” deal. My wife just went out and had one. At the end of our marriage, her boyfriend was jealous of her other boyfriends (all married guys). So obviously I was in an open marriage for a while – she just forgot to mention that to me. In hindsight, it’s really just embarrassing and disheartening to think I was involved with somebody like that.

    Back to the topic though, asking for an open marriage to me just means that either (i) the cheater is getting tired of running around in the dark – because that does take a lot of work after all, or (ii) the OW/OM is sick of playing second fiddle and having to run around in the dark all the time to see your spouse (which is probably the most likely reason). I’m sure things would have to get stressful and tedious carrying on a hidden relationship after a while. I get stressed out just thinking about what it would be like to have had a single date behind my wife’s back, let alone a full blown relationship. And I would think the stress would get to even these folks eventually. So just like a submarine that’s been underwater for days, that ship’s gotta surface sooner or later, and the easiest route for a cheating relationship to come out in the open of course is to get your “blessing” – blessing that would be many months or years after the fact of course – but a “blessing” nonetheless.

    • Blindside
      OMG I just realised that I was in an open marriage too if you look at it like that. STBXH had three girlfriends on the go each one from the last country he was working in. Like a board game I suppose, collect a girl token from each country but you loose if wife token gets to know (hey did I just invent a new board game? Can think of a few designs for the pieces to move around the globe).
      I’m wondering if they ask for an open marriage when cheating has got kind of easy and boring. If they need to up the stakes a bit to keep their adrenaline going. Just having one affair, then another with younger girl, then one with a better class of girl, then hey lets have an open marriage. Or do they begin to really believe they are all that special and think you might go for it.
      But it could be as you say. Just want to make it all easier.
      Unbelievable.

            • Yup Dixie, and all these cheaters want to land on “Broadwalk” and “Fuck Place” and build up on their hotels.

              Of course the cheaters also like to take a “Chance” and put their dick-beaters in the “Community Chest”.

              • They also like landing on the “Short Line” because they are entitled impatient fucks.

                They hate landing on the “Electric Company” and “Water Works” because paying bills is too much reality for them to muster.

                But all us chumps want them to land on “Luxury Tax” – ahhh Meh – pay up mother fuckers!!

              • “Waterworks” will have a whole different meaning for some members of CN whose X’s predilections ran toward golden showers. (shudder)

            • Yup, the cheats don’t like “Go to Jail” because that would cause them to face their own reality – their own reality being that it is they, that created their own prison!

        • Chance (of STDS!)

          Community Chest (Hooker boobs available to all players!)

          Free Parking (for a quickie)

          Get out of jail free (open marriage!)

      • Nice. A game with moving pieces around the world? Sounds more like Risk to me than Monopoly……Risk of an STD that is.

    • I know it came from O Scumbag. He’s always right about these things yknow. Her heart wasn’t in it though I’m sure now they talk about how they tried to honest so don’t feel badly.

    • When I was reading this post (and other similar posts) my first thought was “the AP is threatening to blow the whole thing up and he’s trying to do damage control”. We have to remember that for every lie they tell the spouse, they are telling a different and equal lie to the AP. The open marriage request is like the hail Mary pass of trying to keep the kibbles flowing. Attempt to keep the spouse (and maybe get a little pick me dancing going), but don’t actually admit to anything. Usually the spouse is stunned and bothered that they buy a little more time to placate the AP and make them think they have “won”.

      Then if the AP actually drops a dime on the cheater… they will just deny. “She’s crazy, she’s a girl at my office that I maybe flirted with a little bit, but after we talked about an open marriage.” or “He was just a friend for a long time, but now that we have an open marriage, yes we did sleep together, but we talked about it.” They just spew lie upon lie.

  • Once skankboy “casually” brought up “what do you think about threesomes?” I said “sure, as long as I get to pick out the guy, I’m good with that.” Never brought it up again. BOOOOM!

    • Hahahahahaha NMSB!!

      Skankboy will never understand that a marriage is between two and not three. I guess that fucker can’t count!

      • Fuckers can’t count. Mine claimed while cheating and months after DDay2 that he was meant for serial monogamy. He has an MSc and is a pompous arse PhD dropout who used to brag to his family that we have 6 degrees between us. Claims he used to teach stats to undergraduates too…Last time he sent some cattle to the meatworks there were 10, the form was already filled out with the right number, and he “corrected it because it was wrong” and wrote 8. Cattle were held up at the works for 24 hours while I sorted out the paper work.
        Whore won the prize: a cheater who can’t count or pay bills.

  • I really don’t understand what the “advantages” would be to an open marriage — I guess I wonder, why be married at all, but then monogamy was never a “burden” to me either, so perhaps I am just not sophisticated and chic enough to “get it”. I have long believed there needs to be a special legal status created to take care of any domestic situation that falls out of our accepted norm — especially if there are children involved. The care for the children should be of paramount importance — far beyond any differences in religion or race or any other differences we might argue over. I believe we should have a legal status of domestic partner when we agree to jointly own real estate, or a business, or have/adopt children into our care as adults. It should not matter if we are male or female, what color we are, or where we come from. If two adults consent to do any of these things, there should be laws which govern and protect each of them. If the property is sold, if the business is dissolved, if the people choose not to live together anymore — the children should still be protected and supported by both. This could cover any situation – like two sisters or brothers, or aunts or uncles who become the caretakers for children. It is not a marriage, it is a responsibility agreement. This makes much more sense to me than agreeing to be “married” and that it be “open”. If someone wants to screw around, they are going to do it, whether or not we agree to it. Good luck to the “poly” people out there with sorting out their rules for misbehaving. I won’t ever have to worry about those rules because I am hopelessly old fashioned and monogamous by nature. I’d rather do without than share, Sorry but not really, to any possible suitors I might have out there who were hoping for an “open” hook-up!

    • Indeed, Portia. Two in business to raise a child should get legal protections. But in my country we are so far removed from such a reasonable arrangement.

    • Portia, in that case, why should this agreement be limited to 2, why don’t we make polygamy legal, why can’t more than 2 of any gender enter this kind of agreement (egg donor, plus sperm donor, plus any number of others for example) and what would be the maximum number?

  • Anybody who’s been on here within the past year or so knows that this is my story, almost down to the letter.

    The pretending to be honest and transparent and the line of “it’s not possible for one person to fulfill all of another person’s needs” (as in Phoenix’s case), the attitude of “it’s MY time now, I’m going to live for ME” (as in SCAL’s case), the gaslighting with claims that she had the “right to look sexy and feel good about herself” (as in SD’s case) — all of it was on full display. Along with a good measure of “if you can’t handle that I need to have my own life, then you need to start getting counseling and work on yourself” thrown in.

    The manipulation was breathtaking. KK knew exactly how to play to my laid-back and analytical nature, my non-disposition towards anger or rage, my own sexual desires and outlook on sexual freedom, and of course my inclination towards keeping the peace by making sure she was kept content (if I had a dime for every time I heard “Happy wife, happy life!” over the course of 15 years . . .)

    Chump Lady has it exactly right, and I wish I’d known of this column before I agreed into this hellish journey: I was negotiating relationship terms with someone who just demonstrated that she couldn’t be trusted.

    My agreement gave her license to say “You agreed and you can’t handle it! It’s YOUR problem!” when things started going horrifically wrong after only 30 days.

    It also made it easier to break every supposed rule we’d put in place, giving me just enough supposed transparency about what she was doing to keep me off track and provide cover for what she was doing in secret.

    Finally, it allowed her to keep up the facade of wanting to be in a marriage and keep our family together: “I love you — my presence here and willingness to work through all of this shit with you proves that.”

    It was only after I said NO MORE that she started revealing the true depths of her cowardice, entitlement and lack of any sense of integrity or decency.

    Bottom line: Anyone who suddenly asks for an open marriage after committing to a relationship and building a life has already determined that (s)he is entitled to a life that completely minimizes (at best) or completely disregards (at worst) their partner’s sense of security and well-being.

    • “It also made it easier to break every supposed rule we’d put in place, giving me just enough supposed transparency about what she was doing to keep me off track and provide cover for what she was doing in secret.”

      Right there it is – the small pieces of truth to throw you off and make you feel guilty if you questioned. Not sure which is greater, my embarrassment for falling for it, the anger over him doing it, or the hurt that he had such contempt for me and a lack of true feeling that he was capable of treating me this way. Sucks…all of them.

    • Mic drop! Boom UX.

      That sums it up perfectly.

      I always though that because I invested in my marriage – and I bonded with her – and I helped her make and raise three kids – that I deserved a certain level of respect. Of course instead of getting that respect, I just got my world blown up instead.

      Whorrie living in her own open marriage – with zero agreement from me – felt as I was living in Chernobyl every.single.day. The toxicity was just compounding every.single.day.

      Interesting though, years and years later – it is she that is living in her own Chernobyl with nobody at her side – not even her kids.

    • You have described my work friend perfectly UX. Like you, he also tells himself that he is liberal and has open ideas about love and marriage, etc. But he has been living with this “arrangement” for over a year now. I honestly think it is physically killing him but he will NEVER admit it. The poor guy is on so much medication I can’t keep it all straight. I’ve tried so hard to ask him questions that would lead him to some self-reflection but he is always INSISTENT that he is happy (even though at the same time he admits that he cries almost weekly and he has never cried so much before) with the arrangement. I’m not one to just tell people what marriage (or any aspect of their life) should be so I am VERY careful not to comment on my feelings about it. I’m sure he knows as we got pretty close when he found out about my cheater. In fact, I came to rely a bit on him being a good listener for me and he was always really good about checking in on me to see how I was feeling or doing on any given day. BUT when I turned him down on being his “other,” he pretty much stopped talking to me except for one time (so far anyway) when he texted me asking me if he has selfish (so really asking for some affirmation that he is a good person). Otherwise, it’s been radio silence from him. I’ll be honest that I’ve been really hurt by the whole thing. But I remind myself now and throughout this whole ordeal that at least I know who my true friends are. I take comfort in that knowledge.

      I wish I could direct him to today’s post. But I’m afraid of even doing that. I just figure that whatever he does is between him, his wife, her boyfriend and all 3 of their collective shrinks…..yes, they each have their own shrink. How fucked up is that?!

      • @blondebarrister — I think it’s extremely telling that he’s keeping it up after you turned him down on being his other.

        Women who propose the open marriage route know that they have a very large pond to play in — there will always be multitudes of men (single, married, involved, any age at all) who are willing to engage in no strings attached sex with a woman who puts herself out there as wanting it, regardless of her relationship status. Men who agree to it (before coming to their senses) come to understand rather quickly that their pond is far, far smaller.

        My guess is that your friend is hoping that if he just finds a willing partner to play with, everything will somehow get better. It won’t. (Ask me how I know.)

        As it stands, he’s not only dealing with emotional rejection from the people in whom he has invested his trust and confidence (wife and best friend), but also repeated sexual rejection from women based on circumstances beyond his control. That is a devastating combination — not wonder he’s on medication.

        He hasn’t yet reached the point where he values himself enough to say “ENOUGH — I deserve better than this!” (see yesterday’s blog) The anger has not set in yet. I hope for his sake it won’t take something like what happened to me to finally wake him up.

        • UXworld, I absolutely agree with everything you said. I hope he reaches the point where he values himself more. I have tried over and over and over to reaffirm that to him. He seems to be sticking with the party line that everything is fine (which he has also told me while crying).

          I wish there was something I could do for him, something I could say, another therapist to send him to to make him see that he is worth so much more. I mean, these people schedule “date” nights and his wife sleeps over at the boyfriend’s house. Even his kids are getting to the age where they are starting to understand that mommy has a husband and boyfriend.

          I really don’t mean to sound “judgy” because I get that this **might** work for some people. I just can see the physical manifestation of what it is doing to him. And it’s not pretty. I don’t think that he will ever actually find somebody who is okay with the lifestyle and being a hidden partner (we are both attorneys in a good-sized law firm and I am fairly certain our law firm would not be real excited about his lifestyle. He has also told me that he is not comfortable with anybody else knowing about his lifestyle).

          I don’t understand any of it to be honest. Yes, finding out my ex-h was a cheater sucked ass. Having to be apart from my daughter every other weekend because of cheater sucks. It all sucks. But it’s still way better than watching somebody get ready to go spend the night at their lover’s house.

          • But that’s just it — it might indeed work for some people, but it’s clearly not working for HIM, despite what he says.

            As much as we chumps preach paying attention to our cheaters behavior, not their words, to reveal truth, we must also turn that philosophy on ourselves. His body’s physical reaction to the situation, and the fact that he’s crying when discussing it, shows the truth of the situation, despite the verbal assurances to you and to himself that everything is OK.

            Unfortunately I have nothing to offer you in terms of practical advice beyond what I wrote in our forums exchange. I wish we were in close proximity — it might be easier for him to hear this from another guy, and one who’s been through it.

          • Blondebarrister,

            I lived what your friend/colleague is going through for a very long time also.

            I always valued my older sisters objective views and opinions. She would tell me, “Rob, why don’t you just leave – please find your dignity.” But her words or no one’s words would work. I had to grieve at the beat of my own drum.

            This was my reasoning not to leave for the first year or so:
            -I was still in denial. I was hanging on to hope that she would see the light.
            -Intact family with Kids was the most important to me.
            -I still loved her and I loved our family.

            This was my reasoning not to leave *after* the first year or so:
            -Principal. She cheated, she should move, but I couldn’t get her out legally either. Emotionally I was totally moving on.

            So my point is right around that 1st year mark after DDay is when things start to change – or at least that’s how it worked for me. Sounds like your friend is hanging on to hope. Hope that his wife will see how much he loves her.

            It also sounds like his pivotal point on changing his emotional direction is coming up soon. Continue to be patient with him as you have done so well already. I would bet you will see a genuine change in him the next handful of months.

            • SureC, yes, your reasoning for not leaving are identical to what he has told me! I think he is afraid of not having friends and waking up without his wife, best friend and kids everyday. And he has told me that he loves her and loves his best friend…who has been his best friend since high school (he is late 30s now)! Some best friend to sleep with his wife behind his back for who knows how long before the whole “open marriage” shit.

              I keep thinking that maybe things will change for him. Maybe he will get to a turning point. Maybe he will get tired of watching his wife go fuck his best friend. But if anything, I think he is becoming numb to it all (whether that is medically induced numbness or simply natural I don’t know) and more accepting of the situation.

              My heart hurts for him. And I’m sad that I feel like I lost a friend (we were friends long before I knew of his lifestyle and he made any moves on me and I turned him down). I’ve told him that I would always, always be there for him no matter what. And I think he knows that and that is why he texted me out of the blue a few days before Christmas asking me if I thought he was selfish. My heart is such that I just can’t initiate any conversation about it with him. It’s been almost a year since my d-day but it still hurts like a son of a bitch. And hearing about his situation and what he is willingly subjecting himself to is sometimes just too much for me. I will listen if he needs somebody to talk to, but I’m not going to seek that conversation out.

              Sometimes I feel like a bad person because I am actually hoping he finds the courage and self-respect to divorce her. Otherwise, I see a lifetime of pain for him and eventually his children.

              • How in the name of all that is decent and good in the world can you think of yourself as a bad person for feeling the way you do? You’re a fucking heroine in waiting…and once your friend reaches the point of no return, he’ll see that too.

              • Blondebarrister
                Maybe also keep in mind that you cannot get anyone to do anything just because you think it is a good idea and will end their suffering. Firstly, any course of action will only work if he wants it enough to do something about it. Second some people are genuinely stuck and you can just wait for them to eventually get it and change and you can help with that part but also some people do appear to get something from ‘victim status’ and will soak up all sympathy given until the giver eventually moves away drained.
                Also as chumps we often give a lot but as you are dealing with a lot yourself already be careful. Plus he really isn’t your problem. I don’t mean that in a harsh way but we all need appropriate boundaries. You have made it very clear what your feelings are and what you think he should do. Now maybe only talk to him about other things. You can not solve his life nor should you. It’s his to live as he sees fit. And really who knows, apart from him, what he needs or wants. We can assume a lot about others that isn’t actually true.
                And chumps can get drawn into others ‘crises’ that seem easier to fix than their own.
                Road to hell and all that.

              • I’m a chump UXworld, what can I say? I’m still working with my therapist on not taking responsibility for Cheater’s affair! It sucks. I’m getting better at acknowledging that I did nothing wrong but it’s hard for me. Really, really hard. So yes, I do feel a little bad for wishing this guy would divorce.

                Capricorn, I do think he is “stuck” as you suggest. And I’ve definitely stepped WAY back from his situation. Now we only talk at lunch with a larger group of other people about generic things. It’s his life, not mine. I’m just sorry that he has to medicate himself to get through the days and nights.

                Thanks to you both and surechumped for all the comments. It’s been really helpful to me to talk through this stuff. I don’t have anybody I can really talk to, other than my shrink. And certainly I can’t talk to anybody about my friend because he asked for complete confidentiality.

      • I hear you, BlondeBarrister, on wanting to protect your anonymity. I hope you do decide to give him a loving two-by-four to the head. It does sound like he is killing himself. You are under no obligation to help him, but I hope he survives the dreaded open-relationship gauntlet.

      • “I wish there was something I could do for him…”

        Blondie, he told you what you could do for him. When you refused to add yourself to his open marriage he shunned you.

        Chumps are sometimes compared to codependents. I don’t think the two are exactly the same, but there are some similarities, such as excessive caretaking of adults who should be doing for themselves and taking on burdens (including emotionally) that are not yours to bear.

        You’ve practically pounded your head through a brick wall being an unpaid psychologist for this person. I bet your conversations were 99% about him, his feelings, his problems, his emotions, his drama. Just like you were a shrink, not a friend.

        What did you get in return? Propositioned and when you didn’t put out, discarded.

        Take good care of YOURSELF. That is something us chumps and codependents do not do, especially when we are caught up in someone else’s drama.

        Actions, not words. His actions are not that of a true friend. Who does this to someone who’s supposed to be your friend:

        “What? You don’t want to put out and add yourself to my open marriage? Really? I can’t get physical kibbles on top of the emotional kibbles you’re already feeding me? If that’s the case, I’m turning my back on you!”

        Sometimes the same person can be both a chump and a narcissist. Chumps can be manipulative, emotional vampires, etc. You know the deal. IMO, your work friend is doing the sad sausage chump style.

        I have a widowed chump aunt who likes to trap me on the phone with sob stories for years now. Begging me for advice on the exact same things. She says my cousin tells her the same exact advice and marvels at how smart we both are. She never takes any advice, never does a thing about her problems and keeps complaining about the same things. When my uncle passed away, everyone thought her life would get much better, but she always manages to get in a chump position with people that are not romantic relationships taking advantage of her!

        Everything is her, her, her. She doesn’t even ask how the weather is, let alone how I am. She can talk for hours about herself, in effect, chumping me!

        For anyone wondering, if there were a Chump Army, she’d be a Five Star General. She’s definitely one of us. However, there’s supporting one another and being sucked dry!

        I love her with all my heart, but I cannot take the emotional vampirism and riling up my emotions with anger because of her so called victimization. I think you’ve got one of them on your hands too.

        From what you write, I can tell you are a good, kind and caring person. You mentioning you being a “bad person” made me cringe!

        A couple of 2x4s. You may want to use them to explore a new paradigm in regards to your relationship with your coworker. Or chuck them back at me and tell me I’m an idiot. But I swear chumps can be selfish NARCs and play head games and harm and manipulate people too. Actions, not words. Put the effort into you and yours!

        • I had the same reaction. This man is not your friend, BlondeBarrister. Are you even sure that he is a chump? It sounds like he listened to your story so he could learn how to pull your strings.

  • THIS:

    “The problem is that your husband unilaterally changed the terms of the marriage agreement.”

    To this day, my X believes he didn’t cheat. He will tell anyone who will listen that he didn’t cheat.

    We were married. I have physical proof that he:

    – ran multiple personal ads on multiple sites
    – responded to Craigslist ads (and others)
    – scheduled appointments for “massages”
    – withheld money from the household budget
    – had a burner phone
    – went to a hotel room to meet a hooker
    – “got picked up” at a hotel bar on a business trip (his admission – but nothing else happened)
    – started calling the final D-day OW from our family vacation
    – began dating the OW before telling me he was leaving our marriage

    So you say toe-may-toe, I say toe-mah-toe… Cheating is Cheating… anything done in secrecy, even texting is cheating. Knowingly deceiving the person you vowed to love until death you do part… and gaslighting children and your spouse… is cheating.

    You wake up one morning and decide you’re polyamourous, TELL YOUR SPOUSE FIRST.

    That is where these cheaters show their colors – which aren’t very progressive or insightful and frankly resemble a shade of dog shit – they feel entitled.

    Stay strong. Leaving a cheater is the smartest thing you can ever do, aside from buying Apple stock in 1980.

    Rock on Chump Nation.

  • I know we try to stay away from politics in this neck of the woods, but does anyone else feel like Trump is trying to force the USA into an open marriage? After 240 years of a solid union, Trump wants America AND Russian as a mistress. Cake! He even has Kellyann Conway to gaslight America and convince us that Russia is just a friend! There’s nothing going on! Why are you always so suspicious anyway, are YOU hiding something?? The parallels are just too obvious.

      • Haven’t seen you in the Forum, Free Vixen. This is a perfect topic to discuss over there in the “Off Topic” thread.

        • Thank you, but I don’t find it to be off topic. These are the signs, patterns, and red flags that we all missed with our spouses. Being able to finally recognize gaslighting and inauthenticity in the world around us is what makes us EX chumps. It just so happens that the president-elect is an almost caricature model of the behaviors we hear about here day after day. I find that relevant.

        • I don’t come to this site to see political bullshit. Please remember that millions of people voted for Trump, so you could be offending many of the people that post on here. Just saying.

          • I was simply offering Free Vixen a way to commiserate. I also know and respect Chump Lady’s rules. Best to all chumps.

          • It’s not political bullshit. I said nothing about policies and instead referenced how his behavior correlates to what many of us here have experienced in our marriages. It’s in the news daily, and it’s a good educational tool.

  • Obviously, nothing my hub does is ORIGINAL. He came to me with the same exact scenario, almost word for word. About my “moral high ground” and why couldn’t I be more sophisticated, and it was old fashioned. After 25 years of marriage, both monogamous UNTIL he decided to have a major midlife crisis and decide the key to happiness is to play around, so he wanted to renegotiate our marriage contract and is now very angry at me for filing for divorce. He really wanted his caked and eat it too, be married and single at the same time, while he goes on a “solo journey to find his identity”.
    Crying for a year is over. I’ve finally gotten angry and said BYE. Found some shred of dignity and self respect. No contact is the ONLY answer.

  • My ex treated me to an “open marriage” for 30 years. He just didn’t bother to clue me in. And when I pointed this out to him at the end, he just shifted uncomfortably in his seat … it was impossible for him to deny his feelings of entitlement. It is tempting to give credit for someone at least coming forward and asking for the arrangement … but that feeling lasts about two nanoseconds. There is always a self-serving reason for the request — they were about to get caught, the deception is no longer fun or worth the effort, they want to see the hurt on your face, … something. These assholes have no decency or kindness in them. None.

    • “It is tempting to give credit for someone at least coming forward and asking for the arrangement”

      True story–

      When I was in my early 20’s, I was set up on a blind date. I met the guy at a local bar and we sat and had a glass of wine. He started telling me that he had a live-in girlfriend…AND…a girlfriend “on the side”. The “side-piece” knew about the live-in girlfriend, but the live-in girlfriend didn’t know about the side-piece.

      AND…he also started seeing someone else. The third woman knew about the live-in girlfriend but didn’t know about the other side-piece.

      He wanted to add ME to his “harem”.

      I politely declined.

      On the way home that night, I remember thinking about being conflicted by his “honesty”. On one hand, I gave him credit for being “honest” about his arrangement. But I realized that he really wasn’t being honest at all, as he was lying to the others.

      I also wondered how he’d feel if he discovered that any of his women had been less than honest with HIM. My guess is that he’d probably feel outrage that someone could ‘step out’ on such a swell guy as himself.

      I’ve learned that when a cheater asks for an open marriage/relationship, what they REALLY want is an open arrangement for THEMSELVES. Even the ones who claim to want *us* to “see other people”, they don’t really mean it.

      • Very true, my X was very jealous. Even threatened to kill me if he ever caught me cheating. But to him, his cheating since day one was totally fine. In fact, it was all my fault!

  • I’m old and this open marriage thing has been around a long time to justify cake – just called different things. In the 60’s it was ‘don’t try to own me’, in the 70’s it was wife-swapping, in the 80’s swinging, etc. People with good character who want to have multiple partners do so in an honest and respectful way. People with poor character who want to have multiple partners create an ever changing environment of confusion, fear, and distrust. I still wonder how the hell I built a 15 year marriage on a bed of shifting sand.

  • He asked for an open marriage after D-Day, which was also the day I asked for a divorce. He said that a friend of ours had this arrangement where she slept around but stayed in the marriage until she fell in love with someone else. He said it sounded right to him. And that it would be temporary — only until he fell in love with someone else. Somehow that was intended to sound like a plus.

  • CN, we’ve been having a troll problem here lately. I just changed the terms of the comment feature so that only people who have previously approved comments can post.

    If you’re a regular, this should work. If you’re a newbie or using a new email, you will be in a moderation queue.

    Sorry for any troubles you may experience. I’m going to try this and see if it helps with the troll creating a new name and IP every day.

    Experimenting…

    • I thought I read something really insensitive at the top of the comments. And now it’s gone.

      I’ll never understand people who do this. Don’t they have anything better to do with their time?!

      Thanks for keeping us safe, CL! 🙂

    • Anybody know the song “Signs” from The 5 Man Electrical Band?

      Total Jam! Very powerful song!

      Well anyway, I transplanted a couple lyrics in this legendary verse…as paying homage to our trolls of course.

      Trolls, trolls, everywhere a troll
      Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
      Do this, don’t do that, can’t you see the troll?

  • My X-hole tried that on me too, more than once. After being horrified by first the open marriage line, he then went on to want us to become swingers. UGH! I almost jumped out of the car when he said it.

    It’s all a crock as they are spinning in circles trying to justify their behavior.
    After 20 years of marriage with the abusive twit, he finally blamed his cheating because I didn’t fold his socks and underwear correctly. He was almost crying as he said it while making excuses for his week-long cruise with his GF. Seriously, after awhile it just got so stupid it was hard to believe I fell for any of it.

    • I hang my head in shame as I too was a contributor to Domestic Laundry Abuse.

      When we first got married — I didn’t do laundry “right.” Right = like Mommy Dearest did it for Perfect and Special Son. So I did it like MD. Fluffing most of his clothes for five minutes on high and then hanging everything up to dry. Twenty years of that! And he had the nerve to tell me that I “never took good care of him.” After Divorce Letter, I told him I was no longer doing his laundry, cooking for him, he’s sleeping on the couch and I was done taking care of him. Baby/Man cried in the basement. Sleeping in his sleeping bag on the cement floor. Boohoo!

      And here’s more Domestic Laundry Abuse: I didn’t fold his socks right either. Or his t-shirts. I didn’t put them away the “right” way in his drawer. I didn’t “rotate” his shirts the “right” way in the closet. Shirts need to be rotated, so he didn’t wear the same shirt all the time!!!!

      And the most abusive laundry thing I did? Well, as mentioned above. Most of his clothes were hung up to dry on hangers. So eventually the empty hangers needed to be taken down to the basement, so they could be use again for next batch of laundry. I gathered hangers from three closets for 20 years and never once complained about the extra work I was doing for him. Well, he came home from work and for some reason he liked to wear button-down business shirts twice. So he went to hang up his business shirt, but there were no empty hangers in the closet. THE RAGE!!! He STORMED downstairs into the basement, grumbling about there not being any hangers in the closet. I’m so abusive doing the laundry the way he liked it and making multiple trips down the steps in order to put hangers away and fluff his stuff up. I hope his next wife is a Mommy Dearest with wire hangers.

      • They are always so miserable! Everything is our fault! I was told that I should wash the baseboards in our 2500 SQ FT house weekly. HUH- who the F does that!! And WHY DON’T YOU DO IT THEN!!! So happy I’m in control of my home now!!

        • No one does that! Except for a control freak!

          My ex always wanted a wreath on our home. We owned a house for 18 years I think. Both homes he wanted a big wreath on the outside second floor area of our house. I told him I thought it was a great idea. Each time he mentioned it, I said I liked his idea. He also wanted all the bushes decorated with lights. I think he put lights out twice in 18 years. “I would like” means “Martha needs to do it.” His Mommy Dearest is manipulative the same way. She throws out an idea or a “poor me” story and Chump Martha would jump all over that and be the helper or the fixer. I caught on to her manipulative ways a few years ago. She’d be all sappy sweet on the phone and says, “We haven’t seen you kids in a long time.” I’d I said back, “We are free almost every single weekend.” Dead silence. She didn’t want to be bothered asking us over as that would be work for her. She wanted Martha to do all the work like she did in the past. Anyway…..I had to drop my daughter off at the exes ghetto house to get something and what does he have? Two wreaths and lights outside. He had the energy and time to do it for his whore and his manipulative family, but not for his wife and kids. Assbrain. These narcs never change. It’s always all about appearances.

          • Oh Martha yes! I noticed the “I would like xx” commands first with my MIL then realised my spouse was doing it too. My MIL’s last attempt was “I would love to go to Costco”, followed by an expectant look. She lives 160km from nearest Costco, (which I live near) is not a member and does not drive. When we got there she would expect me to pay for her stuff, as it’s so hard being a pensioner and she really needed those glow in the dark Disney figurines. I just said “you should, it’s great”. The look she got on her face! My husband stepped in and said “we can take her can’t we?” To which I answered “of course you can” and walked off. Same look on his face. But boundary set.

            This was 2 years ago and it hasn’t happened. He didn’t want to take her, he wanted me to volunteer. She would have preferred me as I used to be a far easier mark in terms of paying for stuff. What a wake up moment that was for me, but I feel sad for the 20yo me who would have been thrilled my MIL wanted to spend time with me and gone to every length to try bond with her, when she wanted was free stuff to add to the hoard. This way of “asking” means they don’t owe you a favour, because hey you volunteered, so clearly you want to do it and they are just going with it. And when you ask for something they don’t feel even slightly obliged to reciprocate.

      • What does fluffing for 5 minutes on high and then hanging to dry do? I am curious, as I am trying to learn domestic stuff better. I was a laundry Cro-Magnon when I married my nowhusband (who is awesome, btw). He actually sorts clothes and washes using cycles other than “Reg-9”. I’ve been learning, but it’s still hopeless because I will add stuff to loads at the last minute just to have a full load, without paying attention to the care label. 🙁

        • Well, fluffing for five minutes on high steams out the wrinkles. And then hanging on hangers up to dry, you usually don’t need to iron unless it’s a business shirt that needs starch and a iron. Also, according to my ex, the clothes last longer. I’m sure this is true as if you ever looked in the lint trap, that’s a cloth fibers in there. My ex is PROUD that he has t-shirts and shirts that are over 20 years old!

          That’s awesome your husband helps with the laundry. 🙂

  • Behold the power of Hopium, Attila. It keeps Chumps stuck in incomprehensible humiliation for as long as it takes to finally break free. And almost every instance of MC, and the entire RIC, is set up to compel the Chump to an endless buffet of sandwich à la merde. Read CL long enough and you’ll develop compassion, rather than contempt, for those of us who tried to keep the shuffling zombie corpse of our relationship alive.

    If your own journey to Meh didn’t happen to include the extended-play Hopium Pick-Me Dance party, consider yourself fortunate. And very, very unusual.

  • If you buy a house, you make a contract with your bank or mortgage company that lays out the relationship between you and the lender: how much money you get, how much you pay back, what the interest rate it, the penalties for not paying. If you don’t keep up to the agreement, you lose the house. The bank doesn’t get to change the terms in the middle–like raise the interest rate if the mortgage was fixed rate–unless that was agreed on up front.

    The STBX in this scenario stood up and promised to “forsake all others.” But then he decided to take back that promise. Secretly. He lied. He cheated. And then he covered it up with a PR campaign that rebranded cheating as “open marriage.”

    You can’t be married in any real way to someone who is lying and changing the terms of the marriage contract unilaterally. It’s my guess that the cheating was going on longer than Phoenix7 knows. There are two big ways for chumps to get past the image management mindfuckery of a cheater like this one:
    1. First, imagine that your friend was telling your this story, or your sibling. How would you respond to the idea that he is “belatedly honest”? I’d say 30 years is way past “belatedly.” If someone wants out of a marriage, the honorable thing is to tell the spouse and file. But that upsets the balance of cake…
    2. No contact. Once the chump stops debating and discussing this ridiculous notion with STBX, then the chump mind gets out from under the hopium and the 30 years of thinking STBX is a decent guy and then things get clear. He’s a jackass. A cheating jackass. And one who wants to take advantage of marriage and at the same time ” enjoy a smorgasbord of pussy without consequences.”

  • My sick jackass of an X asked for a divorce, then “came back” to the marriage after his affair with gradwhore (though I did not find out about the affair for 8 more years). I was still numb from his having asked for a divorce and his aberrant behavior for the 5 months prior, only to find out he had put a picture of me in lingerie (with the head cropped off) on Adult Friend Finder so that he could watch other men fuck me. I was appalled, wondered what kind of individual I was married to, but stayed because a friend of mine (and a clinical psychologist) told me my children would be irreparably damaged,. Her own children had gotten into drugs, teen pregnancy, etc., which she attributed to her divorce years earlier.

    What horrifying advice. My children would have been better psychologically if I had divorced Hannibal Lecher. I’m sure he put me on AFF for 2 reasons: if his affair was ever revealed, then he could claim that I had done the same thing (if he’d been successful in convincing me into AFF trysts. I refused), and whatever gradwhore had done for him, it had ramped up his taste for far-out sexual experiences. Straight-up sex with one’s wife was no longer stimulating, despite my array of lingerie. I wish I had been able to make full sense of his disorder then. I’d have struggled financially, but will never get back those 8 often-agonizing years.

  • It appears we all were in an open marriage. Problem is most of us were unaware. Now if that person before they go astray wants such, at least that is honest in its own way. This would give us the option to go with it or go away. My case, anytime a female got out of line I would fully inform wife and what I was doing about it. She always seemed jealous and angry. Probably was. I dont believe they want us doing what they are doing. In the above, he was probably about to be outed in some way. Probably not him being honest in anyway.

    • You told your wife when a woman acted inappropriately toward you because you were a good dude, David. That is bound to happen to chump guys like ourselves. We are narc-bait. They can smell us like a bitch in heat.

      No doubt your wife still had cum running down her thigh though, so she felt (a cheater’s approximation of) shame.

      • Def narc bait. I would wait up for her while she was on the road home from doing a job out of town. I remember thinking she was taking a long time to make the drive…. 4 hour was 6-7 hours. Upon arriving home she would expect a hug and kiss etc…. now its pretty disgusting to think that kiss was on the lips of a woman who had just blown her 20 something boytoy. I am amazed at myself for how gullible I was….. the signs were hitting me in the face for years. My denial was her best asset.

    • “Open” marriage means everything is out in the open. My cheating STBXH had already proven he was constitutionally incapable of being “open” (i.e., honest). I told him that he can’t justify his sexcapades as polyamory because he had broken every rule in his stupid “ethical slut” book. I also told him if he referred to me as his “primary” ever again, I would kick him in the balls.

  • Whatever circumstances that caused cheater to spill 10% of the beans, it is at least good enough to let the chump know that she is a chump. That is enough to get the party started.

    At the same time, it’s also bullshit, no matter how many pink bows you put on it.

    One thing that I think helps to keep chumps stuck in indecision is the tendency to use “either/or” thinking when “and” thinking is more accurate.

    Example: Maybe s/he DOES mean it when s/he says he loves you. He just means it in HIS/HER way (s/he wants to possess you like an object, keep all the great things you give him/her in his life without any regard to consequences of his/her harmful actions, throw him/herself around like s/he doesn’t matter (and like your wellness and well-being don’t matter, for that matter…) without complaints from you, come and go as s/he pleases without having to let anyone know what is going on with him/her, etc.).

    S/he loves you AND s/he is chock o’ block full of bullshit. Both are true at the same time.

    The only question worth asking is whether s/he is, or is not, willing to be in the relationship you want and need (honest, faithful, reliable, supportive, trustworthy). If not, then s/he’s not right for you.

    CL makes this point frequently. It doesn’t really matter (in terms of whether or not to stay in relationship) how the other person feels about the fact that s/he is making choices that are harming you. It doesn’t matter why s/he is making those choices. The most justifiable sounding reason in the world wouldn’t be what matters.

    The only thing that really matters for decision-making, in the end, is the fact that the person is willingly harming you.

  • STBX never asked me for an open marriage. The closest he came was informing me that one of his AP’s had told her husband about their affair and he (poor bastard) thought it was “hot.” At least that is what I was told. Could have been gaslighting- he’s okay with it, why aren’t you?
    He did show me the Esther Perel TED talk during wreckconciliation.
    Neither thing sat well with me.

    • Every single damned time someone quotes Perel to me, I say “If you don’t believe in monogamy, don’t do monogamy. I can respect that. However, if you have to sneak around and lie — and omitting key information and keeping secrets do count as lying — so you can live the life you want and also get all the great things you get by being with your monogamous partner, then you are an asshole that doesn’t deserve to have that partner in your life. You should let your partner go find what s/he wants and go do what you want. No pretty-sounding guru makes being an asshole ok. If you want something different than what you have, grow a spine and say so, and let the other person get started finding what they want rather than wasting time on you.

      I have it down pretty much word-for-word. It is generally met with crickets. There’s nothing left to say, really. Sometimes it’s even met with, “I know, you’re right.” That’s weird when that happens.

  • Haha. When I came here just now, an ad for Showtime’s The Affair popped up. Talk about targeted marketing.

  • Oh boy, when I told my then husband “do you know how easy it is for me to do that?” he became so offended, nearly cried. Unbeknown to me, he was screwing the prostitute/babysitter behind my back, for a year and a half!

  • I’m a little late on this one. Polyamory, swinging, and an open marriage are three different things. One of my best friends is polyamorist and even though i don’t really understand the lifestyle, it seems like a lot of work to me–balancing a true emotional relationship with more than one person. Swinging is usually when a couple seeks out another person or couple for adult play–no emotional attachments, just sex. Sometimes it happens with the same couple or person more than once, or sometimes it is just a one-off deal. Swing clubs are fairly popular these days. Open marriage is where you agree to both “date” other people but stay together for emotional and/or financial arrangements. To me that seems like the hardest one of all, like, what is the point? Anyways, just had to clarify all that, as far as I understand it.

  • The problem with Phoenix 7’s story is that is she comes across as an obnoxious tw*t.
    There’s no doubt that her husband has done wrong by her and she would be right to move on especially as she obviously holds no respect for him anymore nor for the marriage they had.
    Where she is annoying in this case is in using her husband’s foul play to vent her disgust at the idea of an open marriage. The problem is not with open marriage, the problem is that her husband’s an a-hole.
    Get it together woman. If you don’t accept the idea that people are not able to hold back innate nature of human beings, that’s up to you but stop using your unpleasant situation to try an impose your values on others. It’s not a good look. As for your marriage, that is bad to hear.

  • My husband informed the other day that after 11 years of marriage we do in fact have an open marriage and always have. Apparently, I agreed to this when we married. I suppose my memory is bad because I don’t remember agreeing to any such thing. At 44 years of age I must be going senile.

    Anyway, he says I am a selfish Christian prude for wanting to “own” him. He basically said that if I am not over the moon in support of his “polyamory” then I am the one with the problem. He continues to tell me that I am creating drama by being upset. He doesn’t appear to care about my feelings at all. I am basically convinced that I married a selfish d—, and that’s all there is to it. What is it with these men? Why get married? I made a commitment and want to stick to it, but I think it’s impossible at this point.

  • I AM HAPPY TO SAY MY LOVER IS BACK, IF ANYONE NEED SOME HELP TO GET YOUR LOVER BACK, EMAIL ADDRESS IS;_________________________ROBINSONBUCKLER (@ HOTMAIL). COM…
    HOPE HE HELPS YOU OUT……

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