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Dear Chump Lady, Should I fight for her?

Dear Chump Lady,

My wife and I decided to start separation and divorce today. She really is my best friend and we’ve been together 17 years this September, married 11. We have two kids and one that was a baby when we got together, now 19, 15, and 9.

It’s been a rough time here and there but we’ve always been great as a team. Our first 7 or 8 years were great, sexually, intimacy wise we rarely fought. Anything serious we worked out.

Ultimately she had an affair and cheated with another guy about 5 years ago. Again we worked it out, after a lot of soul searching and tears I stayed and we tried to make it work. Things have been OK. The trust was gone, she had done so much lying for a year during the affair, it was hard to trust her again. We made it work though, but the intimacy was never the same. Sex was rare and the shadow of her affairs was always in my mind. I’ve been on and off thinking about ending it for year now, but I still have time where I fall for her all over again.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. She changed… I know the signs. I knew there was someone else. So finally I sat down and we talked today. She told me she met someone, they’ve been talking for a few weeks. Through talking we both realized that maybe we have fallen out of love, and that it’s better to just walk away. We are each other’s best friend and it’s scary to be alone at 38.

Should I fight for her? I feel like she has moved on. At first the whole thing seemed like we were on the same page, but I realized that she is essentially leaving me for him and it bothers me. Should I just suck it up and move on? I don’t have anyone in waiting like she does. Or should I try to fight to find that spark that pops up every now and then? We really don’t fight about anything, get along fine, and have good times together. I just have this deep part of me that wants to fight for her to go back to 16 years ago.

Sorry for the novel. Long story short she cheated, lost trust, stuck with her, was at the point of cheating again and we decided to separate. Should I let it go or try to stick it out and fight for her?


Dear Ricky,

She’s not your best friend. Not now. Now ever. Best friends don’t serially cheat on you, get the undeserved gift of reconciliation, and then cheat again (if she ever stopped). The question is not should you fight for her, but why would you want her?

“Fighting for her” is what we here at Chump Nation call the “pick me dance.” How exactly do you propose to convince your wife to be faithful? Love sonnets? Serenades? PowerPoint presentations? Do you know how soul crushing it is to have to explain your worth to someone?

If you’re going to explain your worth to someone, make it yourself. Ask RickyRich if this relationship is acceptable to him.

The trust was gone, she had done so much lying for a year during the affair, it was hard to trust her again. We made it work though, but the intimacy was never the same. Sex was rare and the shadow of her affairs was always in my mind. 

You’ve been down this road before, Dude. You took her back and the reward was ever-diminishing sex, mindfuckery, and hypervigilance. What exactly is here to miss? Her friendship? The sort that expresses itself by fucking other guys?

Ricky, you have the same problem every other chump has — you miss what you thought you had (an intact family, a loving wife). The reality is quite different. This woman has been checked out for most of your marriage. When you get some distance (known as NO CONTACT), you’ll see that she sucks and you deserve better. As long as she’s around you, casting little kibbles your way (we can stay friends!), you’re screwed. You’ve been on kibble starvation rations, so any kibble from her (she CARES!) seems huge.

Knock her off her pedestal. Take away her power. Give it back to yourself. This “relationship” is toxically lopsided. She checks in and out (cake), and you work harder to keep her. And when she seems finally checked out, you wonder if you haven’t worked quite hard enough at kibble production. Meanwhile, she gives NO kibbles to you, but finds time to “meet someone else.” Her inconsistency — the Fuckwit Can Giveth and the Fuckwit Can Taketh Away — makes her powerfully Godlike. TAKE AWAY HER POWER. You’re not doing tricks for kibbles. You’re not some dog she can balance a biscuit on its nose and tell it to wait. Wait. Wait…

Fuck the biscuit. She’s got another chump? Great. Bully for him. She wants to leave you for him? LET HER GO.

Scary at 38? It’s scary to start over at any age. But 38? You have a life time ahead of you! You’re a faithful, family guy and your stock will trade high. Right now, gird for battle (she’ll try to gain advantage in court, believe me), protect yourself and stay no contact. Better days ahead. Fight for you, my friend. Trust that she sucks.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • “I’ve been on and off thinking about ending it for year now, but I still have time where I fall for her all over again.”

    That’s your mightiness taking its first tentative steps forward into a life where you don’t have make excuses for, or compromises with, someone who has demonstrated that she’s a shitty partner and person.

    Value yourself, and give that mightiness some daylight.

    • Run Ricky!!! Just run from her!
      She doesn’t deserve you. She certainly doesn’t deserve any more of your forgiveness … or a 3rd chance ?

      CL & UXWorld are spot on. She’s proven she won’t change.

      Waste no more of your precious time on her. Get out as fast as you can, don’t look back and go NO CONTACT ??.

      It’ll hurt like hell at first and you’ll probably go though the ‘withdrawal symptoms’ and the grief for what-coulda-been that so many of us have struggled through
      – but not long (hopefully not too long) from now your future self will thank you for it!

      Stay strong and all the very best of luck. CN has your back ?

    • It’s time to move on and believe in you. Yes, I know your looking to that illusion in your head of what you thought your marriage was suppose to be but your trust is gone and guess what it’s not coming back! I tried for 18 years to make it work and in the end there was too much pain, too much hurt. So move on, accept what is and start again! The sooner you move on the quicker you can heal!

  • Yes, friends do not behave that way. Cheating without remorse is not friend behavior. Do not tolerate such contempt or reward it, pls.

    • Ricky
      DM is right. Friends do not behave this way. This really isn’t ‘friendly’ behaviour is it?
      I found a few ideas more useful than others.

      1). ACTIONS not WORDS. You have to stop listening to what she says she is thinking and feeling and pay very close attention to what she is actually doing, and asking you to do.

      2). She isn’t the person you think she is. She isn’t. She is now the enemy because you have ‘almost’ seen who she really is. You kind of know but are still in that place where you don’t want to know.

      3). Think about what she has done in detail and what that takes in terms of thinking about you. Seeing someone, deciding to get involved, deciding to meet together, deciding to kiss, deciding to sleep together all the time lying to you about her day, who she saw, what she did.
      The number of lies is incredible.
      Just imagine what it would take for you to do the same to her? Can you even imagine being able to do that even a little bit? I couldn’t for myself. As soon as I realised my cheat felt no guilt, shame or real remorse I had to go.
      4). You don’t have to think of her as a bad person or hate her straightaway. It’s ok to think well I still love her somewhere but we don’t share the same values. I cannot stand that she is/has done this to me. I don’t want to be with her. The ‘trust that they suck’ part comes very slowly.

      I still have to think after 8 months maybe I can still be friends with my VSTBX in the future sometime just to get me through the most painful days.
      Like CL says, unfortunately as much as you want things to be different you have to accept what things actually are and strike out for the life you deserve now. Get out, read here, take these lessons to heart, and know that understanding and acceptance are maybe quite a long way off.
      It’s a hard road this one, free of a cheat but it is true, authentic and one that values you.
      She is showing you what she thinks of you, as hard as it is you have to do the same.
      Good luck and hugs.

      • ‘Capricorn says
        March 22, 2017 at 8:38 am
        DM is right. Friends do not behave this way. This really isn’t ‘friendly’ behaviour is it?
        I found a few ideas more useful than others.

        1). ACTIONS not WORDS. You have to stop listening to what she says she is thinking and feeling and pay very close attention to what she is actually doing, and asking you to do.

        2). She isn’t the person you think she is. She isn’t. She is now the enemy because you have ‘almost’ seen who she really is. You kind of know but are still in that place where you don’t want to know.

        3). Think about what she has done in detail and what that takes in terms of thinking about you. Seeing someone, deciding to get involved, deciding to meet together, deciding to kiss, deciding to sleep together all the time lying to you about her day, who she saw, what she did.
        The number of lies is incredible.
        Just imagine what it would take for you to do the same to her? Can you even imagine being able to do that even a little bit? I couldn’t for myself. As soon as I realised my cheat felt no guilt, shame or real remorse I had to go.’

        THIS. This is exactly how I keep myself grounded. It makes me upset when I think about this because it makes me realise how badly I’ve been treated, but it keeps me in a safe place- AWAY FROM HIM xx


        Regardless of Remorse

        Remorse is usually for getting caught.

        • I agree cheating requires an amount of deception that leads people yo be condemned for fraud in business law… But not in family law…

          If adultery were considered domestic fraud, chumps would have a much easier time recovering and maybe, just maybe some cheaters would have the backbone to file for divorce instead of fucking randos behind their spouse’s back.

          • If only! Run Ricky! It sucks but they don’t change. I wasted decades when I should’ve left the first time he cheated I finally filed when I was 57 so get out now, while you have a lot of life ahead of you. Gaslighter not only lied, serial cheated and defrauded me for decades, I’m now implicated in a lawsuit because he made me CFO of his one man LLC and was completely unethical. This lawsuit has been dragging on for five years because the partner suing us is an attorney. I had absolutely nothing to do with his LLC nor did I know gaslighter had named me chief financial officer. So these lying cheating, conning Cluster B’s do damage to so many people in their lives. I really wish their breaches of fiduciary duty in marriage where punishable like they are in business… now watching our assets go up in smoke and legal fees. Can’t get divorced Fast enough. I didn’t move the divorce along fast enough because of other lawyers having to get paid first. Big mistake I’m afraid. I’m pushing forward now though.

            • I am so sorry you have to gobble down this colossal double decker shit sandwich Chump Change!

              I don’t know where you’re based but hope that, if your X can’t produce the articles of incorporation with your signature as a partner of the LLC, you’ll be able to extricate yourself from that business and finalise your divorce!

              It’s so infuriating what those fucked up fucking fuckers get away with…

    • No, these disordered loons are NOT our friends. That takes so long to sink in. It’s practically impossible to see until it’s all over, Ricky. Please take it from those of us who can see it so clearly now.

      When my ex was forced to come clean about the affair he was having with a stripper out of town, he said ‘Wife, you’re my best friend. But I don’t love you like a husband should love a wife.’ Oh, how true those words were. At the time I found them humiliating and soul-crushing. But 3 years on, and I see them as the most unintentionally revealing words the man ever spoke. If lying hundreds of times to your best friend is the revelation of your character, I’ll pass. If gaslighting your best friend is what you consider to be an ok part the reciprocal give and take of friendship, you’re not the friend I’m looking for. And if endangering my health, disregarding your own kids by moving away, and unnecessarily harming me because that was the easiest thing for you, I think I find myself gleeful at the death of that farce of a friendship.

      And no, he CERTAINLY did not love me like a husband should love a wife. Because husbands are supposed to protect their wives, and speak up if there’s a problem…not firebomb them with betrayal and cruelty right after they’ve just bore their children.

      Ricky, you get to decide what a friendship should look like in your life. Not her. Her idea is nothing short of lunacy. The next step will hurt, and for that I am so sorry. The next step is looking directly at that fact, putting a metaphorical steel rod in your spine, and saying ‘No thank you. I deserve better.’ Best of luck.

  • Amen to all that.

    I can identify with this based on what I went through with my cheater ex. No contact (or low contact) does a lot to give distance and allow you to see ALL their lying an manipulation.

    If they have any inclination to change (and mine didn’t) they can do it from a distance. Virtually all cheaters (being character deprived) will just take the easy step of going for narcissistic supply which means going to the next chump. I let mine go (despite the urge to fight for her) and all I can say is how much better I feel now that I can really see who she is.

    • Yes to NC. But I doubt I will ever know ALL the egregious crimes and intimate betrayal that went on in my marriage.

      • This seems so common (and familiar) – more details just kept trickling in once people knew we really were divorcing, and that went in for a long time – YEARS, even. Others I know have experienced the same thing. The amount of infidelity turned out to be staggering. That was hard to accept.

        • Why why WHY(?!!!!) when all these people know your ex is a cheater/dirtbag during the relationship – and say nothing- and the minute you are done arrive at your doorstep to tell you everything they knew?!! No one could have sent you an anonymous letter or email during the relationship? They just went for a ride along on the gas lighting bus with the ex for… fun? Power? Or just plain mean-ness?!! I had a steady stream of women walk thru the door of my business to fess up everything they knew after my discard. I think I’ve read every archived Chumplady article but I’m sure she could do a whole column on the psychology of these fake friends/social leeches.

          • Cactusflower
            That’s a terrible thing! Hugs to you. It never fails to amaze me how deep the bottom of the barrel is. To have been disgarded and then to find out others knew and didn’t say and then to have them say to your face is a special sort of cruelty. I’m so sorry you went through that. Please tell me you have only good decent friends now. ❤

            • I had a friend try to warn me about Gaslighter. Probably 10+ years ago. She told me a story about her girlfriend who was starting to fall for this “Rich Rancher” (ahahaha?) who is another Soccer Dad on her son’s team. The team kids were probably six or seven then. Then she pointed him out to my girlfriend as he was walking across the soccer field. “There he is!” And it was it was Gaslighter. ? My girlfriend said “He’s married to one of my best friends” and she’s like “He’s married??? “. I was very upset and came home to confront Gaslighter. Wow did he ever play it cool. “What’s her name?” “Everyone on the team is Hispanic”, ( no offense intended) “I’m friendly to all the soccer moms” geeze! Once my girlfriend confirmed that he had never called the woman, they had never gone out, I was so relieved and believed my ex. It hurt my friendship with my good girlfriend that she would say something like that without any proof That something was going on, and I was never close to her again after that. Now I have come to understand through therapy that he probably always had several women he was “grooming” at any one time, some he would score with and some he wouldn’t. He was grooming that Soccer mom, I’m sure. It’s probably best to either have proof or anonymously let someone know because we want to believe our mates who we trust and love, sadly… I did speak about it with that old girlfriend years later after I found out what a lying cheating scumbag he actually was and she said “I tried to tell you. I really didn’t think it would take you that long to figure it out”. That’s what makes me so mad – that I gave my trust and love I nearly 40 years of my life to him while he was such a pathological liar. But it just shows what a good little psychopath he really is.

          • Sorry Cactusflower I don’t know why people don’t speak up. I think lack of understanding maybe and not wanting to deal with the emotion of it? Knowing now what I know I would speak up but before? I am not so sure my past self would have as it affects the friendship in a way you can’t predict and the friend may well decide to believe the cheater over the friend.

            In my case when all the infidelity details came out an ex friend confessed that my H had tried to kiss her at a party about 5 years ago. Another told me she knew H had tried to take the Skank out for “coffee” and friends had speculated as to whether he was having an affair. Thanks ladies!

            What would I have done if I had known? Not sure. I would have talked with him but in all honesty I think he would have lied his way out of it because I trusted him. Way too much I realize now.

            • I have some nuance on why people don’t tell. Many years ago my Dad caught my sisters husband cheating and told her. Sister’s husband convinced her Dad was lying, she stayed with the cheater and cut her own father out of her life.

              My close friend told me only after divorce was going on that a few years earlier exasshole had come on to her and she’d sent him packing. I forgave her for not telling me at the time because this was her reason; “I love you, I was so afraid you wouldn’t believe me and I’d lose your friendship, I couldn’t bear it”. It is entirely possible I would have glossed over it, been convinced by him that she misinterpreted what he’d done. BUT I told her that I would never have cut her off or disbelieved her. This is a person who is *truly* incapable of lying.

              • By all means TELL ! Tell via snail mail (anonymous letter) or e-mail using an anonymizer if you don’t want to be identified. Why the f*ck do people behave this way ?! “Oh,I didn’t want to get involved” said in a simpering tone. When some crazy lady was wandering in my neighborhood and convinced herself that my friend’s cat belonged to her friend, I foiled that abduction. Kids breaking into a neighbor’s house or vandalizing the property ? I call the police and tell said neighbor when they return home.

                Being a “tattletale” will plant the seed in the chump’s mind. One notice regarding a spouse’s/partner abusive behavior and then let it go. Unfortunately I’ve had the opportunity one time too many these days to jot down Tracy’s website on a scrap of paper and hand it over to a new chump. I think I might carry photocopies of the front and back covers of her book and carry them in my purse at the ready…

            • I had a similar dilemma when I walked past a school dad at the beach, early one morning on a holiday weekend, with his arm around a woman who was most definitely not his wife. My friend and I were hurrying to get to a group swim so I didn’t have time to think. I then started to doubt if it was really him or a doppelgänger. In retrospect I should have called out hello and asked him to introduce me to his friend – then contacted his wife, whom I know only superficially, so there was no friendship to risk. And this is coming from a chump who would have preferred that people in the know (e.g. my sister-in-law, the hospital staff that ex had tried to come onto) had told me about the cheating.

              • from my own experience, people tried to tell me, I would either spackle, think the other person was trying to cause problems, etc. On the rare occasions I would confront him, there were always “plausible” excuses why he had been seen with someone, oh to go back and slap myself! Heck, even one of the other whores tried to contact me on Facebook, clearly, she was delusional and wanted the sparkly turd I had 🙂

            • I believe there is a general opinion that it’s just not worth the risk to tell. I am aware of a mom from school that I know just in passing, and last year she found out that her husband of twenty years has been (probably still is) a serial cheater. Married twenty years, had two relationships that lasted for YEARS, and many, many one night stands. He was outed by a friend of hers (who guess what. she no longer talks to!!) If you are to believe the whisper down the alley rumors of what went down, he apologized when confronted, and the next thing you know… there are happy family photos all over Facebook, yet her best friend of more than 10 years is now persona non grata…she won’t even talk to her…because yes, of course he will never do it again…and she was of course exaggerating…it is incredibly sad to me how talented and capable we are of lying to ourselves…remove the crying, the confessing and the drama… and realize that this woman has a husband that has been cheating on her for her entire marriage…yet somehow, this extremely capable disordered man has managed to convince his not too bright wife that her friend was “exaggerating”… because ya know… He LOVES her…since we all realize the true sign of love and respect is twenty years of serial cheating … I am sure this happens more frequently than we might imagine…this was quite the stir for a while, and there were many other moms who were talking about it…I think the general consensus was that it’s better to just keep your mouth shut than alienate your friend. For the record, I don’t agree, and I would have to tell..sadly, we have no control over the result, but I know that if it were me, I would want to know…at a minimum to take the control back…there is LOTS of heavy duty spackle….and LOTS of wives who prefer to put their head in the sand and pretend they are not seeing what they are seeing….I was never told about my ex until he told me….or more accurately, taped a note to the bedroom door and disappeared…I am not sure what I would have done if I had been given the heads up, but i can tell you it wouldn’t be posting happy family pictures on Facebook with my husband kissing me… I have no words….

              • OK everything you said is right except for the “not too bright wife”. It’s amazing what you will believe from a very good manipulator that you love and who has been lying to you for years, and you’re probably trauma bonded to him. I was fooled for decades and I have an IQ over 160

          • Cactusflower–I had the same thing happen to me and it is awful.

            Turns out I sat across MANY people at dinner parties for *8* years who knew my then-Husband had had a steamy affair with a graduate student, and no one even hinted at it. They also saw other questionable behaviors on his part, and never mentioned a thing to me.

            Mostly, I think people aren’t sure what to say or how to approach it. I did ask one friend why no one said anything. Her response was she assumed I knew, had made the marriage work nonetheless, and thus didn’t want to stir up the apple cart. I tell everyone who will listen that in such cases, TELL THE SPOUSE, even if you have to do so anonymously. I want those 8 years back.

            • The whole “I thought you knew” is such a weak excuse. To me it’s no better than the cheater saying “I thought you didn’t love me” in BOTH cases if that was AT ALL TRUE your words would change ANYTHING! If I didn’t love you and you wanted to sleep with someone else and I was cool with it I would have said “I’m cool with it” EXACTLY the same as if I had an open marriage and I was cool with my husband’s girlfriend.

              • Whilst now I think/know I would tell, this is still a very tricky subject for me. As a small town dweller, and having heard so many rumours over the decades, sometimes it’seems hard to know the ‘truth.’ My former best friend (since we were children) didn’t know. But she did mention to me at one point that she felt uncomfortable with my partner’s ‘friendship’ with our other ‘friend.’ I lauged ot off and was not worried as we were very close and connected. No way he was cheating (yeah, right!) I have worried about her husband since before they were married 20 years ago. But I also kinda like him. The things I have heard about him, I can’t prove. There feels enough ‘evidence-by-grapevine’ that makes it fairly ‘clear’ that he is not the kind of man I want anything to do with. So I distance myself. But how do I tell this mother of five that people say he likes strippers and prostitutes? What if there’s more? What if there’s less? I know I would tell if I KNEW. I think I kinda know. But what if I’m wrong? I think there is a lot of doubt. And I have also in the past convinced myself that perhaps some couples who had one cheating partner, ‘had an arrangement.’ It is trickier territory than we like to think. I am all for TELL! SING it. I definitely feel gutted no one said anything to me (but to be fair, no one admitted to knowing. They all expressed deep shock.) It seems so simple. TELL. SCREAM IT. Or just send an anonymous letter. I haven’t found it quite so simple in reality. ?

          • My absolute best friend from high school married an actual creep. He had the nerve to come find me at my shared apartment and tell me he wanted to date me. I told him to never speak to me again or I’d tell my dear friend exactly what he was doing. (They had only been married about a year, then) I’m pretty sure he went on to cheat on her for the rest of their marriage; I can only pray she never knew about it. The blessed soul that she was took care of him through his final illness, and I hope she found that reward to which she was entitled.

            But I could never have told her because I didn’t want to hurt her. Him, I didn’t give a flying f&&k about.

        • Same here Amiisfree and all ya’all 🙁

          I almost put a sign on my front door – palm out hand STOP – inscribed with ‘I DO NOT want to talk about lying cheating coward!’ otherwise, Come on In 🙂

          …sigh…enough is enough…too.much.information!

  • Ricky, this is my story exactly, except we were together 30 years, married for 28. She finally left me for her old high school boyfriends from 35 years prior. In the very end she finally told some truth when she told my daughters, in front of me, that she married me for my potential. In 30 years she never loved me, she had use for me. When our youngest was heading to college that use ended and she left.

    All my life with her was a lie. We had good and bad times, but it was all a lie. I love my girls, they love me, and she’s a distant memory. Life is so much better than the 30 years wasted with her. I’m 52 now and still feel like my life is just starting. Listen to CL and go no contact/gray rock. It’s the first step into the rest of your wonderful life. Your going to do very well.

    • Marked711–for what it’s worth, cheaters always claim some post-hoc reason why they had to cheat. “Never really loved you” is at the top of the list. Why they think that justifies their affair, instead of broadcasts them as soulless losers who married someone for the convenience, is beyond me, but there you have it.

      The only nugget of truth in your X-wife’s justification is that they DON’T love us because they are incapable of love. They like novelty, limerence, status, respectability. Those of us who can love wouldn’t contemplate doing to anyone what they did to us. I wouldn’t treat a fire-bellied toad the way cheaters treat chumps.

      • Thank you. It’s true, they are incapable of a loving connection with anyone. It’s not a choice, they can’t do it.
        My therapist told me, in out first session that they mistake intensity (cheating) with intimacy and think they’re in love. It wears off quickly and then they move on.
        But you’re so right, mine “loved” her image of being married with kids. I just sucks that I was the sucker she found.
        She’s fading fast in my treat view mirror. 🙂

          • Mark

            Our stories are so similar – Ex left me for his high school sweetheart who still had children at home. I immediately left and let his guilt get me a good settlement. When a few of our friends would not have he and his new girl in their lives, the lies went from ” I never loved my wife” to “She cheated too”. They will say anything thing to justify their behavior or rationalize why THEY broke vows. It’s so astonishing how someone who loved you could say that crap to YOUR daughters…..I cannot imagine how damaging that was. But it is crap. Glad you are rid of her. Find a better role model for your daughters. That pig will continue to fling poo …..

          • It’s common Mark, I do believe it was the truth exasshole gave me when he said “I didn’t love you I just wanted a safe place to stay”. He backpedaled it the next day but it was in fact true. However, I did love him and the good times that we did have were not a lie for me. I am not wiping out the good with the bad. I do wish I could wipe the bad shit from my memory sometimes. But no one is going to take the good memories away from me. It took me a while to reach that point because at first it felt like I had wasted the best years of my life. I know that eventually I’ll be able to remember those times without pain. For now, they are tucked away and I know my experiences shaped me, they can’t be excised. And, I have some more years coming to me, as do you!
            Jedi Hugs!

        • Thanks for this gem; “[T]hey mistake intensity (cheating) with intimacy and think they’re in love. It wears off quickly and then they move on.” And love in nowhere in that picture. Your therapist is a smart one.

      • Yeah, I’m calling BS on the, I never loved you thing too. This is just a way to get herself off the hook, like she tried, but she never could really love you, Boo Hoo. Just another lame cheater excuse to do what she wanted and feel ok about herself.

      • They’re incapable of loving anyone other than themselves. It’s a difficult concept for Chumps to grasp because we believe they think like we do. It’s all a scam, we unfortunately married low life imposters, it’s so hard to accept that they’re not the person we thought we married and never were.
        Low life con-artists who don’t have a conscious. Trust that she sucks.
        Acceptance was a huge turning point for me.
        She isn’t your friend, sadly she never has been. Friends don’t betray, or humiliate you.
        “Trust that they suck” has been my mantra especially helpful when I begin to question or doubt the truth of who X is. She has shown you who she is, believe it and take good care of yourself.
        “Trust that she sucks.”

      • Tempest, you are right on the mark. It was with this knowledge and understanding I was able to immediately eject the cheater from my home: Those who can love wouldn’t contemplate doing to anyone what they would do to us.

        Tempest, in the beginning, I wanted to believe Lecher was a one time cheat with the grad student. I thought there was a unicorn in your midst and said as much. I apologize.

        Unless a person is the first to reveal the affair -not caught- on their knees willing to take anything thrown their way from the chump, begging forgiveness for the REST OF THEIR LIVES, and owning their shit in front of everyone, D U M P * I M M E D I A T E L Y and don’t look back. Anything less than this lacks remorse on a cheater’s part.

        Unfortunately, for the chump who chooses to stay, the wound never heals and you will have to care for that open wound the rest of your life. The good news is, because of this site, the chump can now make an informed decision.

        Once again, I want to thank all the chumps for educating me. Tracy, you deserve a blog award.

        • Tracy & the wisdom on this site are a real education. I now firmly believe that NO one should stay with a cheater, even a one-time cheater. The relationship is forever altered, and the chump has suffered a blow to their dignity that should not be ignored. None of us should have to give up self-respect for a marriage or relationship.

          You were one of my role models early after D-day because you tossed cheater out on his ear with nary a chance to say, “But…” Kudos to you. (and no need to apologize for thinking Lecher might have been a unicorn–he’s a smooth talker, to be sure, but an arrogant ass more. In my heart of hearts I knew there would be no reconciliation when, 3 days after D-day, he instructed me to “Stop obsessing about my affair and start obsessing about why I was unhappy with you at the time.” Ha ha–Bye Felicia).

          • Yes, I completely agree with the “NO one should stay with a cheater, even a one-time cheater. The relationship is forever altered, and the chump has suffered a blow to their dignity that should not be ignored” argument.

            I have found (3 years past DDay here and divorcing this coming May) that you never stop paying for their affair. Being Marriage Police/Detective is awful. I’m convinced that you’ll live the rest of your marriage this way and ultimately you’ll pay the price of your own integrity. The things I have done to get the little tidbits of information about my STXH affair is horrifying. What he did is quite frankly, unforgivable, but it’s just as hard to forgive myself for the measures I have taken to find out what he’s up to at all times after the fact. I feel so stupid and dumb for staying with him. I feel even more stupid for having married him in the first place and suppressing all the red flags.

            Time to pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again. Gladly. Glad he’s going to be out of my life soon.

            • SC

              Do forgive yourself. What helped me through this was the knowledge I fought for my marriage. It takes great strength to fight. How were we to know we were married to cowards? A weak con artist without a conscience or the ability to love?

              Clarity. We loved too much and assholes at that. Dust yourself off and let that scorched earth be a boundary.

          • Tempest – Yes, this is very interesting to me. Before being cheated on by my most recent ex – I had been (to another person) married, had children, separated amicably (no OW/OM involved), split relationship property fairly, co parented with co-operation and kindness and was finally widowed – with my husband being cared for during that last six months of his life in our home. We were/are both IMHO kind reasonable people. I believed that ‘people make mistakes’ that if my husband cheated (he didn’t), we could work it out.

            In comes Cheater Ex (not married, no children together) – happy until I accidentally stumble across evidence of cheating – given second chance, third chance – and many more until I’m a relationship policing, emotionally abused, dancing batshit crazy mess.

            Ironically two weeks before DD1, I was literally ‘lecturing’ a close friend about tolerance and forgiveness – she had been cheated on. “Surely after 25 years together you can work things out” Shame on me, I just didn’t get it AT ALL.

            (I have profoundly apologised since) CL and CN are the path to freedom and light!

    • I am so sorry she said that and in front of your kids. You deserve better. You are worthy of love and respect. She sucks.

    • Mark, you aren’t the only one to be used in this manner. I am a victim as well. I can’t believe I did what I thought was right and it blew up. However, from the very beginning my gut was telling me to cut the ties. I just let words from her and society overrule my instinct. I paid for it in the end. Never again! I would probably be labeled an asshole by our culture now. I don’t give a shit! It’s me now and I won’t ever try to be the savior or good guy for a one sided relationship again!

    • Well Mark, I was married 30 years and once our children were on their own, his skank decided to enlighten me to everything…, after all, the kids are grown. It was time for them to live their life. Shoot! I thought that was what we were going to do once our children were in college, i.e., start living our life! (I have to quit saying ‘Stupid Me!’) Mark, at 52 you’re STILL young. You’ll do fine. I’m glad to hear that you’re starting to live your life. Believe me, it gets better. Having self respect is tops. I’m 56 and though no boyfriend yet, I’m happy. I’m happy I’m no longer being manipulated and lied to, and I won’t put up with it again. I’m a little lonely, but I was lonely in my marriage. I just didn’t know why at the time. I feel very much the same as you, but I will always be grateful to the ex-hole for my children. I sometimes think that if that jerk hadn’t come into my life, then it would have been so, so much better. But then, you never know. I could have ended up with a jerk that was a whole lot worse; I could have been a battered wife ending up at 56 with no retirement in sight, kids who are drug addicts or that have committed suicide, and wondering how long I’ll be able to wait tables. Keep moving forward and be grateful for your daughters. Life is good and God has given you another chance. Remember, you’re still young at 52!

    • I only weigh in here so you can see how many of us heard a version of this same line. XH told me, all in one sentence, before I ever even knew he was unhappy, “I don’t think I love you the way a man should love the woman he’s attracted to, and I don’t think I ever have, and so I don’t think we’re worth trying to save.” — Just like that. All one sentence, out of the blue, I was told I was never loved, that the marriage was a lie, and what we had built together (with an eye to the future) wasn’t “worth it.” Ouch.

      When I asked him to clarify a few critical points in our timeline, he had an excuse for every one: Our first few years were “I was still in love with [my former GF who dumped me].” Then after we split up for about six months, he came back because “I didn’t like where I was living and jealous about [some guy I’d dated a couple of times and XH had heard about it.]” When he asked me (HE asked ME) to marry him, it was because he “knew you wanted it and I have trouble disappointing people.”

      Are all of these things true? Yes & no. And does it really matter? As CL says above, someone who truly cares about you (friend OR spouse, should be both, right?) would never treat a friend the way we’ve all been treated. — It will take time, Marked, but you’ll get there. You’ll realize it was all true for YOU, that YOU were your best self, and you can feel good about that. Those who skirt along on the surface and never make these sorts of attachments are hollow and empty inside, looking for new shiny things to fill them up — and the spoiler alert for them is that there aren’t enough new and shiny things in the whole wide world to satisfy them. They will die without ever having lived.

    • Marked711 — my story too! He married me because I was successful and he leap right into a comfortable lifestyle. I lent him $$ for his first new car. I paid for the wedding I paid for the honeymoon. I put the $125k down on our first house as a married couple.

      When I was consulting and not happy with the gig, his response was “bill baby, bill.”

      I now realize he was cheating BEFORE we got pregnant. Why would you have a child with someone you’re cheating on? Oh yeah, because you don’t want to give up the lifestyle and be responsible for yourself.

      • Well, having a baby is a well-worn strategy for tying someone into a relationship so it’s harder for them to leave. We just don’t often hear about the men who do it.

    • Marked

      My Little Rain Cloud Parade said the same thing to me multiple times as I was being devalued. “I never loved you.” Hurts like hell. I see from the comments that this is common cheater speak. In many ways I’m grateful for Little Rain Cloud Parade’s deceitful behavior as it brought clarity to me and I moved forward and am not looking back. My mistake was agreeing to a nesting arrangement which makes grey rock or no contact impossible. Since the nesting arrangement has ended my mental health has improved a 1000%.
      I am approaching 1 year from DDay and I feel better now than I have in the last several years. I feel empathy for the letter writer, and I hope CL’s response brings clarity to him. We need to recognize our own self worth and that is hard when we are in a relationship with the disordered. Repeat after me-trust that they suck.

    • Yah Marked, I’m in with the gang all calling BS on the “I never loved you”. My situation is nearly identical, including the wife’s affair was with HS boyfriend after 25 years, except I’m still hanging in there. Not sure I’m doing the right thing, and it’s exhausting carrying the burden of keeping it together, marriage police, etc.. But cheater-wife’s response has been just good enough to keep trying at least until youngest son heads out on his own (in 2 weeks). Then we’ll see.

      But I heard a lot of the same things: “Tired of being a wallflower for 25 years”, “I knew a few weeks into marriage I would have a hard time connecting because of how you are”, “You were never there for me or the boys”. It’s. Not. Real. That is revising history to soothe, to lie, to protect… THEMSELF from the reality of how horribly they behaved and treated you. They can’t deal with it.

      Little by little I’m seeing that my wife admitting the lies and distortions were all self-protection and deflection. Not admitting directly, but indirect words and actions show her recognition. Direct admission would still be too hard for the weak, disordered character,

      Best to you Marked! I pull a good bit of strength from fellow male chumps who comment here, to remind myself it’s not my fault.

  • It’s all part of the cheater’s game to keep the kibbles and cake supply flowing, and to have the triangulation they so crave intact with loyal spouses plus their side dish affair partners. Here’s the catch though: the game is rigged, and the goal posts are ever-changing. You simply cannot win.
    One of the last things my ex-husband said to me was that he was hurt because I didn’t fight for him.
    They are crazy and toxic. Save yourself Ricky. You can do this. I’m alone at 53 and you know what? It’s awesome.

    • Yes, mine said he thought things would have worked out if I done some things differently during wreckonciliation. Yes, like swept it all under the rug, pretend like it didn’t bother me, and trust him instantly again.

      • The things they ask us to do are mind boggling! Satan’s brother told me I had to sign a contract that includes terms like I promise to “always” be nice and pleasant and to “never” criticize. After 25 years together???!!!! WTF?!
        Yup….as crazy as it sounds, I signed the contract. The result: he continued cheating, lying, raging, blaming…..
        Me? I felt my soul die– lost more respect for myself. Felt crazy.

        It’s outrageous! They commit adultery and have zero remorse. Blame us! And we dance and beg and suffer. Sickening. Abusive.

        Thank God for CL! It allowed me to take back my humanity, my agency. To go no contact so I could step back and see how vile it all is.

        Divorced now and healing steadily. Life is very good.

        • MotherChumper
          My God a CONTRACT!!
          I have no words for that. These people are insane.

          • So VERY,VERY,VERY insane. Did he sign a contract saying he wasn’t going to have sex with sluts? I bet not.

            • After first swearing that he would do anything to reconcile, the immediately coming up with a long list of “good business” reasons to keep living with the slut, then “soul searching” (spoiler alert–he did not find one) for months, cheater boy now says he “knew” we could never work because I “refuse to take responsibility for my part in creating the failed marriage that caused his affairs.” Seriously cannot make this shit up. The fact that I always held firm on not wishing to reconcile? Erased. For him, this is a story in which he was sadly forced to devalue and discard me because, you know, I suck in virtually every single way, and he has been busily inventing and publicizing those ways for months–the very months during which I was thinking he was working hard on individual therapy. But, nope, those post dday months were just another chapter in the long tome of ever more detailed and inventive lies.

              • Oh my, reminds me vividly of the rages exasshole would go into when he would insist I was “50% responsible” for his cheating and my response was “no, you are 100% responsible”. Cue rage and being called every possible name including the C word.

              • Your parenthetical, “then ‘soul searching’ (spoiler alert–he did not find one)” made me laugh out loud.

                I may need to borrow this line to explain my own divorce. Although, I am past the point where I usually bring it into conversation, I do occasionally need a way to be direct and acidic enough to answer a query about what happened to my marriage and cut off further probing!

          • Contracts. Contracts…

            Early on in marriage my cheater asked me for a 20 year business plan to consider a child. He fought vehemently against it. It took me 3 years of convincing to no avail. Then, desperate, I wrote a business plan with itemised and timelined expenses starting from dipers to school to outings and university. It was still a no. As I started withdrawing and “seeing” through his constant critisizing, lies, avoidance of responsibilities, etc. I guess he sensed the distancing and that I was ready to leave him. He stepped in with his generous agreement to have a child. He treated me horribly all throughout pregnancy. No help. No Physical or emotional support. He went skiing in europe during my planned C section. He left me with the baby with high fever alone in the city. He moved me to another city to live with our son because he had to rest and sleep at night. Until our son was 3 he only saw his fad on weekends. After that he moved us to Canada and we saw each other twice a year for a few weeks.

            Yesterday, while discussing separation, he yelled in front of his mom that my lifetime agenda was to marry him to steal his sperm, get the canadian citizenship and a good job and the divorce him. I laughed in his face. I cried and laughed.

            • Longtimechump–You can’t reason with the disordered, nor get them to be fair. I’m sorry he put you through the nasty drama, and hope you can finish the divorce from a safe position far away from him with all negotiations through the lawyers. These fuckers suck the lifeblood of chumps every time there is contact.

            • Longtimechump,

              I am so sorry you’re dealing with such a twisted disordered cheating parastitic stbx…

              I am gla you found CN and that you are in Canada with your son. Set up a co-parenting software, as your stbx is escalading, capturing his future abusive eanrs online on a platform judges take into account mught be a good way to instate NC as much as parallel parenting allows!

              Sending you hugs.

            • Hey, I’ve been accused of “sperm theft” too! God knows, how he must over value those wigglers!

              The amount I paid to finance his life and to divorce him would have enabled me to visit a sperm back thousands of times had the aquisition of sperm really been my goal.

              I suspect he now finds himself in a position where he cannot give them away. But, not my problem!

        • I’m sorry you lived through that, and the shredding of your self-respect at the hands of a master manipulator. The silver lining is that you can laugh in cheater’s face all the way to the bank after your kick-ass settlement. (Thank you, Judge!)

    • Mine took the opposite approach when I was still doing the pick me dance. He said he was glad I cared which made me think it might be working so I kept doing it. I especially thought I had something to prove because he said he strayed because he thought I didn’t love him. I was such a sucker.

      • Chumpinrecovery

        You were not a sucker. He was manipulating you and some of these people have been learning to manipulate from the cradle. Don’t ever blame yourself for falling for charm. Charm is a tool and some use it extremely well. Look at all the famous people convicted for child abuse. These people have charmed and fooled whole families and communities. You just had a very effective narc and you were so loving and trustworthy and you had that notion that he was the same.

        Today I have been struggling with the guilt of having chosen a man who was not a good husband or father. I feel I should have known better, that because I was so blind or undemanding I have let down my boys. I know it’s wrong thinking but it’s cutting all the same.
        The only thing worth noting was that we got out and are trying to build a terrific life for ourselves and are free and fixing the gaps through which these snakes get in.

        Hugs to you. ?

        • I totally get that. I feel so bad that I married such a crappy person and gave my 2 daughters such a horrible example of a man. Separated now and on my way to divorce but still feel guilty that they have that thing in their life as a role model. After 13 years together, he started banging a 22 year old girl from his work. Denied it at first of course but now I’m discovering that there’s probably been a slew of horribleness that he’s done. I feel soooo dumb not to have pegged him for the con artist that he obviously is.

          • I feel bad and stupid that I married my husband and we don’t even have kids! Believe me, the shame and humility I have for making that decision could fill the Grand Canyon. There were obvious red flags and yet, I whipped out my industrial strength spackle and went ahead with it. He treated me horribly when we were dating, I don’t know why I ever thought that would change, but as Chump Lady says, I was addicted to the potential of him. I felt very strongly that “He Had Good Intentions” and that should make up for everything else. I Could Help Him With That. No I can’t. I’ve come to realize after 12 years of being with this jerk that there are no good intentions – he acts solely on selfishness. I can’t help him with anything because he KNOWS that he doesn’t need my help. In fact he’s gone on to make me feel like he is always right anyway. Ugh. Feeling really chumpy right now.

        • I actually worry about this with my youngest. He has the charm thing down pat. He can charm anyone anywhere. As far as I can tell he has not yet ever used this skill to harm another person and hopefully he never will, but I feel like I need to keep an eye on him. I love him, but would hate it if he turned out to be a manipulator. Of course it would be fine if he ends up using this skill in away that helps people (conflict resolution or something). He has the potential to go either way and I pray every day that he will grow up to use his skills for good, not evil.

      • Mine said the same thing to my daughter–he cheated because he thought I didn’t love him. BTW–that was his third attempt to justify the affair with gradwhore (the first two strategies had not worked on daughter, who maintains NC to this day).

        And I took a different tact than Capricorn suggests to feeling like a sucker. I WAS a sucker. I bought his bullshit. I refused to peek behind the curtain and see my X’s vermin-infested core. Yup, I was stupid. I own it. But at least I wasn’t evil. And I’m not stupid any more.

        • Yeah, deep down I bought into it too. I wasn’t duped – I fed it! Somedays I feel like I deserve what I’ve been dished out because I was so flipping stupid to buy into marrying my cheater. I know I don’t deserve it. Have to change my narrative. I have learned mountains from this relationship about what one SHOULDN’T do and what one SHOULDN’T put up with. That is mighty!

          • I think this is a good Friday challenge:

            Hard but Invaluable Lessons Learned


            Best Distractions During No Contact!

        • Sucker no. 3 here. I also blame myself for not seeing it through earlier. For placing bets on the potential. For thinking I can help him with his mommy and daddy issues. The signs were always there. Even before the marriage. But he was the smooth talking charismatic handsome intellectual alpha man – why do we chumps fall for those? I can spot these species right away now and …NOT INTERESTED!

    • Absolutely correct about the ever changing goal posts. I’d do what he said it would take for him to love me, and he’d find a new flaw. It took a very very long time to realize the game was rigged. Why would he lie? snort- I was so naive.

  • Fight for her? No way! You are still young and that dead weight is about to be someone else’s problem. CL is right, put some distance between the 2 of you and you will see what a creepy, ugly person she is. And she in no way is your friend, so don’t pretend that she is. Friends don’t manipulate you, stab you in the back, and lie to get what they want. Nothing to see here … move along.

    • It’s interesting when you get some distance how ugly and unattractive they become to you not just personality but physically. Grey rock and NC keep it real. The three channels become clearer and you just don’t. Care. Anymore.
      When my STBX said “I know you still love me” I laughed and said No, No I don’t.
      He then followed up with “well you must hate me” I responded No, No I don’t. You killed it. I don’t care. Remember how that feels!! It’s called ambivalence!!”

      And walked away.

  • RickyRich,

    Marriage is a two way street, and based on agreements. You agreed to be her only partner, and she agreed for you to be her only partner. She broke that agreement five years ago, and now has again.

    It’s up to you. Do you want monogamy, trust, and reciprocated love, or what a relationship with her offers, something that includes some good things, but also includes her lying and the lost intimacy? That’s your fundamental decision.

    As many of us will tell you here, you miss the relationship you had before the first affair. You and she had that, and then she killed it with the affair, and it never really came back. So your choice is to stick it out with what you have now, or separate, and you can eventually find a relationship like you used to have with her, but with someone who won’t cheat on you. You have some hard work to do. CL calls it ‘fixing your picker’, and it includes accepting that you picked a spouse who doesn’t share some of your values (monogamy, honesty, etc.), forgiving yourself that error, and learning more about people so that you don’t make it again.

    In your case, since things were generally so good with her, separation will be very difficult at the beginning. It’s a lot easier to separate if one’s spouse behaves monstrously. But years from now, you will realize that her choices vastly prioritize her happiness over your happiness, her integrity, and any concern she may have for the welfare and well being of your children, and that, in of itself, is monstrous, no matter how pleasant she is on the surface.

    Your head knows what the right thing to do is, you said it yourself. “I’ve been on and off thinking about ending it for year now, ….” Understand that the past you want to go back to is gone, she has shown who she is, and you can either accept her as is, or seek someone better. She’s already done that to you, twice now that you know of. Choose wisely.

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.

    • This whole post is exactly in line with what I was thinking. I might offer one small distinction – that, for me, I was resisting the end because I felt so much grief about the relationship I *believed* I had before the first affair. He killed it with ongoing deceit and lies and cruel treatment of my heart, and the illusion I once thought was real was not possible to maintain anymore.

      It is so hard to “get final” about a failed relationship when *you* have loved the person so deeply for so long. How can I even be a real person when someone I chose as a life partner was so different from what I believed him to be? It took a lot of time (and professional help) for me to learn to embrace the experiences I had all those years without having to attach them to him anymore. It would have been so much harder with kids.

      I guess the thing is, you just have to admit and accept that the person isn’t capable of being a good partner, rip off that band aid, and accept the grief. Many life changes will result from that decision, like friends and your home, but they will all be for the best in the end.

      We’ll be here to hear you vent and give you support. CL is right, as is Aeronaut, and the others here. You truly deserve better. LOTS better.

      • Amiisfree, this: “I felt so much grief about the relationship I *believed* I had before the first affair. He killed it with ongoing deceit and lies and cruel treatment of my heart, and the illusion I once thought was real was not possible to maintain anymore.”

        On top of the demise of the illusion, the complete re-write of history. Mine told me I never lived him. I was after his sperm. I told him I could have bought a sperm from the Sperm Institute for $60 per infusion. I moved to another country for him at the height of my career. Totally diffetent culture. New Language which I learned. I put him on the pedestal and was worshipping him. I moved again 6 years later with our son and to a third country. Without him but at his insistence and promises that we’ll be reunited soon.

        Twice I changed my life upside down. Cutting my career paths. Starting all over in the new place. No family. No friends.

        I made it. Both times. Had great jobs. Made great friends.

        Lost a cheater. In the process of gaining my life back.

        • From all the stories of strength, courage and capability I’ve seen here in the CN community, I’m starting to think that lowlife asscrap cheaters at their core must be jealous of what we all have inside — they know they don’t have it and they desperately bolster their self-esteem by keeping lopsided relationships. They must feel how hollow they are really – and it must kill them to see other people – their -significant others – slaying life. So they try to destroy or undermine us because if they can’t have it, who do we think we are to have it too.

          TLDR; trust that they suck.

  • Believe me…I wish I had not fallen into this trap. You will thank yourself later. Not worth it and she will enjoy the triangulation. Unfortunately this isn’t a movie where good triumphs over evil….

  • I’m 38.

    And I’m difgging having my independence.

    After I left my wife, she “encouraged” her OM to “fight for” his marriage, because she was apparently “heartbroken” that I didn’t fight for her. (I did so for 6 months of her affair, but that wasn’t sufficient in her eyes.)

    Man, YOU’RE fucking married! Married people don’t have to “fight for” their spouses. Instead, they are for one another, regularly nurture their relationship, genuinely deal with problems together, and HAVE BOUNDARIES (which I refer to as “playing defense” for your marriage).

    Your slut wife has no boundaries. Affairs don’t “just happen.” They are caused by one spouse (an one willing piece of shit AP) not respecting boundaries. Your no-integrity wife does not defend your marriage against the no-integrity men who fuck other men’s wives. Those men come along, and she chats them up, flirts, gives her phone number, sends texts, builds a rapport, kisses, fucks…and then “suddenly” is in an affair, betraying you and your children.

    Is this who you deserve? Is this the example of a strong and respected husband that you want to set for your kids?

    I get where you’re at (I was there myself, having no backbone and pathetically negotiating with a cheating wife). But you’ve gotta start realizing that your wife doesn’t respect you. Look at her actions, not her words. And realize that you have to find the backbone you lost years ago.

    Time to take out the trash.

    • “Married people don’t have to “fight for” their spouses. ”


      I never “fought for” my CheaterX. When I learned that he cheated, I was devastated. I wished–oh how I wished–that the clock could be reset so that we’d have what we once had. I believed at the time that his affair was the product of the severe stress he had at work, but I had to be honest with myself. Did I want to be married to a man who had “have an affair” as a stress-coping mechanism? The answer was no.

      When you’re married, you try to establish reciprocity and an open channel for communication. Cheating is a unilateral decision based on an ethos of deception. Cheaters cheat because they can. Because we, the Chumps, are loving, trusting people who try to see the good in our spouses, even when they take advantage of us. Our cheaters know they can cheat because we trust them.

      Ricky, you don’t deserve to be cheated on. No one does. You gave your wife the gift of reconciliation once. She didn’t accept that gift.

      Find a good lawyer, one who handles men’s issues in divorce cases. Get a good notion of what you can expect–which is especially important, given that she’s decided to move in with the other man (and especially if you have the children with you when she moved out). Work with getting therapy for you and your kids. You and they will need it. Go as No Contact as you can, considering that you’ll have to deal with custody issues (scheduling software is a godsend here). Be as good a dad as you can to your kids and model honesty and openness to them. They’ll learn that you are the trustworthy parent, that you have their backs.

      You can do this. You are mighty!

      • I have done the walk of shame fighting for the asshole. Tracy is right; fighting is the pick me dance.

        Ricky fight for a settlement in your favor. Stop talking to your cheating selfish lying wife-whore and get your own lawyer. Let HER, the unhappy one who likes fuck buddies, find her own place. You stay put for the kids. Watch her mask drop once she faces consequences.

        You didn’t grow apart, she’s a lying, cheating, slunT.

        • Oh my god: “Watch her mask drop once she faces consequences.”

          Doingme, I am watching this very thing now!!! His mask and his mother’s!

  • Strad. My X cheater just said the same thing. “You did not fight hard enough for me”. That is so disordered in so many ways. JUST UGH!
    Ricky – walk away. Start your life. No contact is the way to go. You yourself have seen that you could never trust her. You WILL be ok.

    I’m alone at 58. Its weird. But I know I could never trust him and that is a crappy way to live. I am out making new friends and making a new life.

  • RickyRich, if you think she has no respect for you now, go ahead and try & win her back. She’ll see you as nothing more than something stuck to the bottom of her shoe. If she doesn’t already. Please have some self respect and cut all ties with her, she is not your friend and by the way 38 years old is prime.

    • True… Though I believe that anytime is prime when you feel really good about yourself and your life. My prime just keeps shifting forward. 🙂

    • Yup. You will not win her respect fighting for her. She’ll only respect you even less.

      And BTW, she is supposed to be fighting for YOU, not the other way around.

      Victims of abuse don’t fight for forgiveness from their abusers.

      • AMEN! She should be prostrate on the ground begging forgiveness. She should be offering anything and everything for another chance. Yet, she demands MORE of you? Does a mugging victim chase down his mugger saying “But wait, you took my wallet–but, you forgot my jewelry. Really, I have more to give.” Ridiculous. JC is absolutely right.

  • What chump lady says is true. I found out about my wife’s 1st affair at the 6 yer mark…it was not her 1st. We stayed together. At the 12 year mark I found out about what I thought was the 2nd and then 3rd guy. Yes she was dating 2 men at the same time. When confronted she denied. But then she went shopping one day and emptied half the savings account, bought new shoes and filed for divorce all in one afternoon.
    The day after the divorce was final, she moved in with the stepdown boyfriend. ..
    But she had me back in court within 2 months on bogus stalking charges and wanted more child support after she already settled for a lump sum of 150 000.00
    The charges were dropped, she lost custody of my son. She got knocked up with losers kid 7 month after the divorce and married one more month later.
    Listen to CL….document everything. Keep a journal, it will benefit you when she tries to take you for what you have left. She is not and has never been your friend. …you were just someone she used. You deserve better, and after a period of NC, you will realize it…take Time to heal… have been fucked with too long…take care of yourself and the children ….she will use them against you…

    P.S…my ex had a total of 7 other men in her life during the 12 years we were married …the truth comes out after your divorce. …run far and fast away from her

    • Yes, and anytime you communicate with her about the divorce or the relationship, remember that your actions are probably being documented. High road with her and anywhere public, pseudonym and vent here. 🙂

  • RR, 38 is so young! I didn’t even get married until I was 34 and I am just now divorcing at 50 thanks to a cheating narc stbx. But you do have a whole life ahead of you. It’s sad to have to let go of the old one but I envy your youth. I say leave her to her cheating and go find a nice new person to grow old with.

    • Even being old is better than staying with an abuser. I was 42 when my first wife was discovered cheating and 52 with the second.
      Now, I am 63 and life is so much more peaceful.

  • A year ago yesterday I found CL and CN. I had just realized I had to take responsibility for my situation and my own future and stop waiting for the STBX to see how wrong he’d been to me and our children with his long-term affair. At the time I called myself an idiot for not wanting to see (or believe) that I was living in a dream world of my own making. I saw that I was just like so many other unfortunate chumps and I wanted what I had invented, a loving marriage that had its “normal ups and downs.” When I realized that what I had was false, and looked at what I really had, I knew I didn’t want the lie.

    I can say that one year later (15 months after D-day), I feel better than I think I’ve ever felt in my life. It has been hard as hell to pull my mind and soul into freedom, and I’ve lost friends and family members (and money) along the way. But today I am free of his BS and in a new, real relationship with the one person I’d neglected for so long, myself. I’ll be 51 this year, was with him for 15, and I have ZERO regrets about kicking him to the curb. Because I finally see that I am not alone. I have me. And I am my new best friend. A year ago I thought that sounded way too sappy and weird. But I truly feel and know it is true today.

    Ricky, you can do this. It may very well be the hardest thing you ever have done. But on the other side of the pain you face is freedom, real freedom.

  • Didn’t read anything but the title. Don’t have to.

    Just say NO! I’ll teach my child to never “fight” for a relationship. Let that mother fckr go!!!

  • Ricky-

    Ugly truth number 101 about cheaters: When someone you’re in a committed relationship with, goes off and sleeps with someone else, not only do they not love you, they don’t respect you very much. Such a hard truth to face but you must. She’s not your friend; best or otherwise, and the sooner you get away and get your contact to as minimal as possible, the sooner you will recognize this.

    Here’s another ugly truth: Unless you get one of those handy mind eraser things like they had in the movie “Men In Black” you can’t un-know about your wife’s cheating. I think that makes true intimacy impossible again because you just never trust them again. I never realized how important that trust was until it evaporated on dday. I too attempted reconciliation (for three years) and the trust was never restored. Although I will never know for sure since I didn’t have the elusive unicorn, I suspect for the chump, that’s an impossible task no matter who they are reconciling with. It’s always there just under the surface. Any errand that took a microsecond longer than it should have came under question. It was no way to live.

    When you perform the pick me dance, the goal post is always moving because the game is rigged. In this scenario, “the only winning move is not to play.” (War Games)

    Good luck

  • do NOT fight for her. cut the cord and build a new life. there will be someone, someday worthy of your love. she is NOT! Trust an elder who has been there and done that. In the end of this relationship, you loose.

  • One BIG statement out a cheater’s mouth, if you have kids with them, is some sort of statement declaring how much they value their “family”- usually meaning their image and facade of being a so-called parent infront of their kids, neighbors, workmates, etc..

    What they’value’ is NOT you, their partner. They love the image you help create. You have been their Beard of Normalcy. And they hope their very sad proclaimations will keep you cemented in their orbit as a stepford spouse.

    Most likely you did the heavy lifting and they were there to parade in all of its glory. Value yourself first. These creeps have already shown you that you mean nothing to them. You weren’t even a consideration when they happily crossed an agreed boundary/s (haha. Marriage vows) with APs rando’s, etc… what matters most to them is keeping the arrangement ‘for the kids’. Don’t get duped.

    We are all starting over at various stages of our lives. It sucks. But nothing sucks more than agreeing to be a prop or a doormat to an abusive spouse or SO.

    • ^^^^^^ Times 100. Image management only. They DO NOT value family at all.

  • So, she has admitted she’s been talking to some guy for a few weeks only when you brought up your suspicion. Never mind she has cheated on you before and she’s in the game again.

    If you believe that then you’re class A chump.

    Instead of fighting for her fight for your balls. Drop off a suitcase to this new 3 week old new guy of hers with a thank you note.

    You don’t say if she gave you this 3week new love’s name, probably not but you wonder if you should fight for her.

    Tell her she’s free to go and get your balls back.

  • You were thinking about ending your marriage already, but now that she is leaving you for another man you feel compelled to fight. I can relate to that. I think we all have a certain possessiveness towards our spouses (as we should since they promised to be there for us alone), and it kills us to think of some other underserving someone taking our places. This has been very hard for me. STBX treated me like dirt, but I still get upset at the thought of him with Schmoopie. I keep thinking I am getting better and getting over his leaving me, but then whenever I get a reminder that he is actively wooing someone else, giving her all of the attention and affection he has withdrawn from me, I lose it again and I can hardly stand it. To the outside word I might just seem like the jealous type but those people have no idea what it feels like to be replaced after so many years of loyalty. I just keep trying to remind myself that the best revenge I can get on both of them is to let them have each other. It’s hard though. Anyway, you need to keep going back to those original thoughts of “maybe I should end this” and remember all of the reasons why you were thinking that and stay focused on the fact that she is the one who isn’t good enough for you and that is why the marriage is ending.

    • Chumpinrecovery
      Again we are on the same page about this stuff. You think about yours with his new love.
      I’ve been feeling ill for days as mine just started a contract in Thailand. I am waiting for the divorce to be final but can’t get thoughts of him choosing his next bedmate out of my mind. It is torture. I’m trying to focus on me, my life, the boys but knowing what he has really been up to the past four years I know what he will be doing again soon. I’m here trying to hold it all together and he’s fine. Sending happy texts to the boys. His life continues unruffled. Yes he’s lost a family but he only saw us a few times a year. He’s happy to pay for us but he will for sure be having more cake out there. More than even he can eat.
      Being the sane, hardworking, single parent is worthwhile and meaningful but it’s also hard.

      • Hugs Cap. I’m so sorry this happened to you.
        He is a horrible monster and I’m sure you are WAY better off in life free of that evil. However, I also grieve the loss, so I can empathize.

    • Chumpinrecovery-I think many people confuse jealousy with being upset over blatant disregard and disrespect. Big difference. Of course when we take issue with our significant others flirting, acting inappropriately with other men or women they love to throw in our faces that we are out of control with jealousy. No, we are upset by the lack of respect and total disregard for our marriage or relationship. Please do not let them or anyone else tell you otherwise.

  • I’m 5 1/2 years out from Dday and just awaiting the decree but I must say that my one regret is that I didn’t file faster. Cheating is the biggest disrespect for a marriage and you shouldn’t have to fight for your spouse….if they don’t want to stay and faithful…then there’s the door. We are usually mourning what we thought we had. I never thought I’d say this, but I actually feel sorry for the ow he ran off with. Since splitting with him, I found out that the is a narcissistic, porn addicted, peeping tom. There’s no fixing that crap no matter how you cut it. Life is soooo much better now…

    • I sometimes feel bad for OW. She’s only 25 and maybe doesn’t understand that she’s chosen a man-child with no core values of his own, merely a reflection of whatever he thinks will garner him the most kibble. Well, we all make mistakes, I guess, and there are always consequences.

  • It took me four years to finally be in a better place after my ex cheated multiple times. I would try to work it out, but in the end I knew it would never work. You just can’t satisfy a cheater ever!!
    He always blamed me and I believed him. But then I found a support group and it put a lot of things in perspective! And it was the best thing I ever did.
    We have a child together so it does make it hard to go NC but I see myself as an independent person, doing everything on my own and that feels great! (Yes he’s a deadbeat that doesn’t pay child support :-/)
    And you know what? He says that he’s in this great “relationship” but I know he’s miserable because he’ll try to get under my skin sometimes to make me miserable, but it doesn’t work anymore! He doesn’t have the power!
    All he’s ever looked for was a payout, not love. Now she’s stuck “taking care” of him and I’m fine with that, I already have three kids to take care of, I don’t need to take care of a grown man!!

  • We read the comments here and the part that is striking is when I see that almost all of them start with the line ” this could be my story…”, because it is.
    Ricky, go no contact….or as grey rock as you can. It will be THE HARDEST SHIT you ever do in your life, but I promise you it’s worth it.
    I’ve gone very low contact with my ex, I’m 2.4 years post final D Day. I’ve learned the lessons, I read here obsessively, I trust and know that he sucks. I could say I have the love and respect of my kids, got a great settlement, lost a cheater, got a life…..all of the above. I think if there’s one stumbling block that I keep tripping on in my quest for complete and total meh is that I want for HIM to realize he messed up. I want Karma to get him.
    I do completely feel your pain. We all share in a very common hell here but I do believe there are vast differences in chumps that finally leave and the chumps that are abandoned. I can’t speak for the chumps that throw a cheater out on their ass (I bet that feels awesome) but what I had was very different. I had what we thought was a life with him and then in the blink of an eye it was gone…..oh, and btw, this is my affair partner and she’s going to be the new you now.
    It’s more than one person should have to endure.

    • Paint widow- I threw my cheater out on his ass based on indirect evidence (no admissions, no smoking guns). He denied it down to the wire. The OW called in front of me and he told her “you need to lose my number.”

      It meant nothing. She knew it was just for show. Affair partners are their accomplices.. It was dramatics because he had a sliver (the size of an atom) of conscience and he gave pause to see me dry heaving in the bathroom waste basket. He was just throwing me a small bone because I was so shattered.

      When I actually threw him out, he took hours to leave, delaying it. He did not want to leave. I don’t know why.

      I can tell you it is still absolutely horrific because he actually did not care a mite. It felt awesome for literally about 10 minutes, and then it just felt like soul death. I got a few hollow gestures and some phone calls…but that was it.

      I have to be honest in the spirit of this blog and admit…I kept waiting. I was like a dog, with her little ear cocked…listening. I threw him out….when does he come back, emaciated , weak and sobbing? Where are the roses? The card? The email? The 3 AM knock on his knees?

      Those gestures of remorse never came. He had MOVEVD IN with his AP and another woman that night. I think he already had the place rented. Yes…a threesome. They just partied and laughed and posted on social media and it was like-

      I never existed.

      Stealing someone’s great line above: I was murdered alive.

      You just can’t win with this motherfuckers. Someone else’s beautiful line:

      The only way to win this game is to not play.

      I am of the Tempest School- once you cheat, it is dead. And what do you do when something is dead? You don’t touch it. You run from it. Like rotten meat or a corpse.

      I too long for the Karma Bus to break every bone in his smug, cruel face. I fantasize about him realizing..My God, what have I done?

      But they are not wired that way. I think of this as like a special club we are all in….like we know the truth about the pod people. We try to proselytize others and explain….but people do not want to see the TRUTH…they are howling, empty abysses…aliens searching for intensity, cake and kibble. They will never be full. They go through people like termites do wood.

  • Ricky,

    We’ve all been where you are. Emotionally attached, believing in what we thought was reality, only seeing the good qualities in someone while trying to ignore what that person is actually doing. It’s hard to come to grips with the fact that we loved and married a person capable of such selfish and despicable acts.

    But the fact is, we did. We all married selfish cowards.

    You need to get out of the relationship, and that starts with draining all of the emotion from your situation (I know, it’s hard). Then take a hard look at what your wife was actually doing. She was running around behind your back before, and I’m sure it was devastating for you the first time. She undoubtedly saw this. And her solution to this — do it some more. Who does this shit? Could she care any less or have any less respect for you?

    So think about what it would take inside her to do that. And understand that those qualities are never going away. If you get back with her, she’ll just have it happen again in a couple more years. The old adage that “once a cheater, always a cheater” didn’t get pulled out of thin air. It’s true because that’s who these people are. That’s a part of their core character – and that’s never going to change, regardless of who they’re with. If she’s not with you, she’ll just use somebody else. They are about themselves and their personal happiness. Everybody else, just stay out of the way. My ex-wife did the same shit as yours, I just finally came to the realization that she has significant character issues that I just glossed over before. When my emotions for her went away, I saw her for what she was, is, and will always be. I’m happy that I divorced her and I’m excited about my future. I hope you can get there as well.

    • Blindside
      This is all so very true.

      IMO cheaters just want to keep life as sweet as possible for themselves. They will show you whatever face they think will work with you. Her ideal outcome? An amicable divorce with some fiction about how you both ‘grew apart’ this often for ‘the sake of the children’. Then she can move in with the new man and have that new life without any unpleasant consequences. If she can keep you sweet as well so much the better. She can keep you ‘as a friend’ just in case the new guy doesn’t work out or she changes her mind and feels that you are the better bet. She has two men keeping her sweet. You have to decide who you want to be.
      One other thing. Everyone here says it’s painful, it hurts like a motherfucker etc etc but it really does. It takes vast reserves of energy and support to get through. So self care, good friends, CL and a belief in you deserving better.
      I’m 8 months nearly nine past multiple ddays and I’m only just realising that it takes a shitload of effort to get just to the point of divorce and then there’s that building a new life thing that begins just as you feel like you are running on fumes.
      So dig in and come here often and to the forum. It is a place that is my support network and lifeline. Without this site I would be pretty much lost.

  • Cut your losses and get out! Don’t forget for one minute that these assholes get off on your pain and triangulation. Once you dump this albatross on her ass she and the OM of the month will find thier “game” a bit less “fun”! Then the affair implodes pretty quickly. Also, imagine “fighting” for her and let’s say she sticks around for a few more years. By then you are pushing 50 or so and age and your health (or hers) catches up to you. You find yourself then dependent upon someone you don’t really trust and you are screwed! Will she actually care enough to take care of you if you were incapacitated? Would you be willing to take care of her without feeling some animosity towards her? Or would she, like my Ex did, ride off into the sunset to be with her OM while you are desperately ill with no remorse at all??? At 38 you are young and healthy, drop this immoral hag and find a real grown up woman who can actually love you like a spouse should! You have a lot of good years ahead of you, don’t waste them on this person and her never ending drama show. Tell her to go, file for divorce and get rid of her! She will suck you dry and think nothing of “dating” while you are deathly I’ll. Ask me how I know????

    • It is terrible that he did that to you and you hear about that kind of thing happening all of the time. This is one reason that my brain knows (even if my heart is having a hard time catching up) that it is a good thing STBX is leaving life now while I am healthy. I always feared that I would become ill and I knew that STBX would see looking after me as a major imposition. I hope to never need looking after, but if I do, I wouldn’t want it to be him because he would resent me for having the nerve to get sick and inconvenience his life. Better that it ends now.

  • I never got a single admission, nor any real reason for ex’s cheating, stealing money from me, lying/gaslighting…I had evidence, I had plenty of proof for myself to know what was going on, so when push came to shove, I really didnt need him to admit anything I already knew—- that he was a scumbag….

    About a month after our divorce was final, he came by my house to see our daughter for a minute…we started talking, and i asked him again why he left….even on my knees in front of him with tears flowing from my eyes begging him to tell me why he left after 13 years together…that was a dark moment for me, playing to his sick need to see me broken… however, even then, he wouldnt admit to single thing, or give me one good, valid reason for his checking out all those years…

    Wait, he did admit to one thing–during our brief wreckonciliation, —- that he intentionally left his laptop up and running when he went out one night and coincidentally left his gmail account open, and his facebook open in which I read and watched him have a IM with a woman telling her that he was leaving—- the sickest part is that he watched me reading it from his webcam on the laptop using his phone while he was IM-ing her!!!

    So, almost 2 years from that one and only DDay, and being total grey rock/mostly no contact, I can say life is so much better now!!!

    I do advise you to keep your plans and intentions to yourself – lawyer meetings, documentation, financial stuff, etc. She is counting on you to still think of her as your best friend and therefore will try to talk you out of x, y, and z that is not to her advantage.

    Trust that she sucks like ChumoLady says!!!!

    • UMXiA, that truly sucks. Like Chump Nation Hall of Fame evil.

      Too evil for even one of Chump Lady’s cartoons.

      How Mighty You Are to free yourself from such evilness!

      • Thank you, NMN, it damn sure hurt like a mother f*cker when he revealed that to me— just after we had sex nonetheless — but the anger kept me moving forward.

    • Unsinkable,

      Your story is jaw dropping. So thankful you are away from that sick and evil man. And happy you sound like you are doing so well! An inspiring story of resilience – thanks for sharing.

      • Thank you, KathleenK, usually here on CL/CN I refer to him as The Evil One. He is beyond evil.

  • I think what’s really bothering you is that you don’t like the idea of the Other Man “winning.” Get that out of your head. He’s taking a problem off your hands. He’s not stealing your jewel; he’s taking a cheap, broken, piece of Ikea furniture you left out on the curb and saving you a trip to the town dump.

    • Lulu, your symbolism is so helpful to me. Thank you for that image. I am adding that the furniture is a couch that is wet, smelly, and rotted that has worms in it.

      I did confide in an older woman (94!) who is my friend who has lived through many tribulations, even being asked to use a different bathroom because of her race. She has known true oppression. When I told her the whole sad tale, she said:

      “Honey, you need to write that huzzy a thank you note. She just moved a whole heap of trouble &heart ache out of your house.”

      • Imagine a stained mattress left on the curb that all the neighborhood dogs used as a message board (tinkled on) !

  • I’m just guessing here, but I bet part of this is that you don’t want the other guy to “win.” (Raise your hand if you didn’t have that thought pattern, Chump Nation.)

    But think about the “prize” he’s winning here. A habitual cheater. There’s a reason “If they’ll cheat with you, they’ll cheat on you,” is a cliche. Let him have the “prize” of always wondering who she’s texting, never being secure, and wondering if he should end it. You deserve better. Seriously.

    • How right you are, I was so caught up with the final affair of not wanting the OW to “win”. The only thing we are winning is a big fat Turd Prize!

    • And remember that even as you divorce, the OM will be thinking, “What if she wants to leave me and be with the father of her children again, the man she was with for years?” Let him “win” that bundle of self-doubt and anxiety.


    • I keep suggesting to Chump Lady that we have a “What did they Win” column do we could vent about what the other man or other woman really got when they ended up with our mates….

      Anyone else think that’s a good idea? It would be fun don’t you think?

  • Let’s put this through the chump translator: “Should I fight for her?” actually translates to “Should I fight to bend the space-time continuum?” Because what younactually want is to go back in time to the wife you (thought you) had. You don’t have that wife, and you will never have her again, no matter what you do, no matter how perfect you are, no matter how unfair it is. You cannot time travel. So should you fight for her? Sure, and maybe tinker in the basement working on a time machine at the same time. You’re likely to get the same results.

    You’re marriage is gone, Ricky. You have nothing to fight for at this point except your dignity, and of course your kids. It hurts like hell, but that doesn’t change anything.

    Your pain is of no real consequence to her, and for me that was (and still is) the hardest part to wrap my head around. But your pain was worth it to her. Breaking up your family for a little strange dick is worth it to her. Watching the fallout across generations and families is worth it to her. Throwing her second chance in your face was worth it to her. Like ChumpLady said, she is NOT your friend.

    You’ve got a bad case of the “but maybe”s. But maybe if I, but maybe if we, but maybe if she, but maybe this will…nope. You already tried that. Didn’t work. Insantity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Try a new set of “but maybe”s…but maybe if I leave, I can find authentic love eventually. But maybe if I leave, I’ll find my voice again. But maybe if I leave, I won’t have to fight for my own worth anymore.

    Excuse the stream of consciousness nature of this post, it’s still early here!

  • Ricky, my experience was that I should have left when I discovered Dday1 back in 2009, instead I “fought” to keep my marriage. And did he appreciate me in that I stuck with him, worked thru it and contorted myself to try and be his “everything”? Nope. I now know it just made me an easier target in his eyes and he felt more emblazoned to cheat. Now after many Ddays I am 49 and starting over. Oh God how I wish I had run when I was only 42. Lost years fighting for someone that was NEVER going to be satisfied happy or appreciative of me. Run now, run fast, run far!!!

  • During the devalue phase of my last relationship with a narc (last, dammit!), he used to spin this fantasy that we would move on to evolve a Great Friendship.

    He would shift suddenly from “minemineminemine” to “let’s make a standing dinner date for Tuesday’s” while splitting up the household.

    I’ve come to think of these kinda vignettes as Crazy Cake.

    The Fuktards act any kinda crazy for cake.

    Rich, be prepared for Crazy Cake.

    It doesn’t mean she’s remorseful (see CL’s article on Naugahyde Remorese).

    It doesn’t mean she values you.

    She’s just hoovering, and hoovering is a selfish act (mineminemineminemine)

    Please move on without her. Please recognize you have no idea what friendship looks like. Please don’t date for awhile.

    And please keep reading Chump Lady.


  • Run don’t walk away from this toxic cheater merry-go-round! Step right up to the land of no contact, physical, verbal and let the your lawyer do the talking for you.

    She is NOT your best friend. Was she your best friend when she was sleeping around for years? Nope. How about when she is exposed you to STD’s, emotional torture? And the list goes on.

    They all pull that BS, all it is is her trying to control the situation. It is all about impression management, appearances, hers not yours.

    Does it suck yesterday, but once she realizes you have a lawyer (get a good one, not who she wants) you will see a different side of her.

    My ex flipped his shit, the anger was like nothing I’ve ever seen but in that moment the real him came through.

    She’s not your friend, trust that she sucks! Repeat that as often as needed.

  • THIS: “If you’re going to explain your worth to someone, make it yourself.”

    I stayed for SIX YEARS after the first d-day… trying to show Mr. Sparkles my worth. YET, if I had truly valued my worth as much as I wanted him to value it, I would’ve walked away back in 2008 and not waited six more years… only to be DISCARDED.

    He’s been through the OW and now on to a new woman whom I call “Girl with Dogs and Cats”… his next victim.

    Me… I’m working on valuing my own self worth which Mr. Sparkles pummeled into an abyss through years of emotional invalidation while I worked full-time, carried the mortgage, raised our son, tried to help my step kids (3 came to live with us), and be his wife… but nothing I did was ever ENOUGH. Because you can’t fill a bottomless pit.

    RickyRich… your wife has a HOLE where her CHARACTER should be. No one will ever fill that emptiness.

    38? You’ve got a lifetime ahead of you… I didn’t have my son until I was 39! Raise those kids, be the sane parent, build a LIFE for yourself that doesn’t require you having to learn to “trust again”. Know your dealbreakers. KNOW. YOUR. WORTH.

    Don’t raise your kids to be chumps… raise them to be champions!

  • THIS! Beachgirl nailed it! They don’t appreciate anything they get from anyone! It’s just something they feel is “owed” to them. If you take them back they just fall back into the same pattern they had before BD. They see it as thier entitlement to treat you just as badly, if not worse, than they did before DDay. It’s all about them. Mine returned after our divorce. Now he’s very ill, broke and needs a “nurse and a purse!” So he actually believes that I some how “owe” it to him to take care of him! Really??? Where was he when I was hospitalized with lung cancer? Where was he when I was hospitalized and facing another surgery for MRSA? He was running to Florida to “dance on the beach” with an over the hill whore! No remorse! Reciprocation is the word today. He cared NOTHING for me when I was horribly ill. I ended up taking care of myself so I guess if he felt he owed me nothing then I owe him nothing!

    • Take good care of yourself, Roberta, we love you!
      (Forget him)
      Eat well, relax, appreciate how funny and cool you are, eat your spinach!
      Cheaters that ‘expect’ us to do things, have not reckoned with CN!
      I hope you’re the one who is dancing, on the beach or in your living room, LOL!

      • Thank You Free Woman. I am doing well and I am happy. I just want chumps to realize that looking at your age when you are contemplating divorce should not be what drives your decision. I have friends who are in thier 70’s who are far more social and active than twenty somethings! Also chumps spend a lot of time looking at “sunk costs”, another waste of time! Just pack the cheaters necessities up in a large trash bag and kick thier ass out. Then file as soon as your lawyer opens for business the next day. Don’t waste anymore time on a cheater. They’ll suck you dry. Trying to show (read dance) them you love them and trying to “win” them back is a huge waste of time! It’s like chumming the water, sharks WILL come if they smell blood! Just dump these jackasses at Schmoopie’s doorstep and let the cheater ruin someone else’s life.

  • Chumps can have their spouses arrested for domestic violence. If you have read all of CL then you know that this group thinks cheating is abuse. The problem is there is no punishment for it. In your brain, Ricky, is a place that feels physical pain and in that exact spot is where you feel emotional pain. So, abuse is abuse. One can kill you quickly. A blow to the head, a shot in the heart can be lethal. A blow to your self esteem is like slow poison which is just as deadly. Do you have restful sleep? Are you always on guard? Do you snoop hoping not to find anything? Have you lost weight, gained weight? Do you have headaches, stomach aches or undefined aches? Are you on some kind of medication? Do you ever have a day when you aren’t thinking about it? What kind of life is that?
    Don’t you think you deserve better than that?

    • ^^^
      Yes. Yes. YES! We all deserve better.

      So well put.

      When there is a loud noise, I jump. The hyper vigilance. The waking up angry. The irritation when everything “seems” ok but I am seething.
      I see it bleed over to my boys and it is infuriating that Scuzzy took away our peacefulness. We are reclaiming it.

  • You already have been fighting for her. You’ve been working to keep the relationship together, you’ve been putting aside your desire for a loving trustworthy spouse. You have been working very hard for a long time. She has not. She is not for you and she is not for your marriage. she’s against you and she is against your marriage. You need to quickly recategorize her as someone who is using you.

    My cheating husband of 11 years left me when I was 38. I am now 44, remarried with a beautiful baby. I am married to a delightful person who is sincerely good to me my older son and other people. I thank God every single day.

    I thought I was going to die when my first husband left me. I felt like I’ve been murdered but I was still alive. What died actually was my hope for a kind life that was never going to happen with a cheating man who was opting to despise me instead of be an actual loving husband. What I have now is better than I could’ve ever hoped for. I hope the same for you

  • RickyRich, I empathize with you so much. I thought my husband was my “best friend.” Even now—2.5 years post-divorce, when he pretty much only contacts me for child support and visitation arrangements—it’s hard to not get sucked into treating him like my “buddy” during those few minutes where we hand off kids. We have very natural chemistry, and he was always fun for hanging out with and playing some video games with. It was his abject failure at anything “adult” (housecleaning, steady job, fidelity) that made him such a horrible person to be married to.

    I’ve sometimes thought, well, couldn’t we be friends again? The answer is: NO. He is not my friend. Friends don’t fuck other women and lie about it. Friendship is mutual and honest and respectful and my ex-husband is none of those things.

    Neither is your wife. You should not pursue her and you should not even be friends with her. Let her go.

    • Rarity, I got the sad sausage routine this weekend, about us remaining “friends”. I gave him the quote about being friends with your ex is like after being kidnapped, your captors ask you to keep in touch 🙂 obviously, I have used my humor to get me thru some really unfunny stuff!

    • And, Ricky, if you haven’t read Rarity’s story of post-cheater success, you should. It was featured as the blogpost here a couple of days ago and is inspirational for us all as to how awesome your life can be without the dead weight of your cheater dragging you down every single day for the rest of your life.

    • Rarity, Thank you for your wonderful, inspiration response to my question about your faith and using C.S. Lewis!
      You have a magnificent career waiting with your writing skills and searching mind and heart. It will be exciting to see what you do with your talent.

    • Here’s what “my best friend”, the man “who had kicked the drugs thanks to this wonderful woman (me)”, did. November 2015, 11 months into wreckonciliation after DDay1, tricks me into going again to MC after I’ve said I will only go there to work on fixing the relationship (we weren’t married). Announces he is done and he wants to discuss the separation. Turns out he had got a lawyer back in July, after discussing it with the whore for 45 mins on the phone, then ringing 4 law firms, then filing for legal aid 3 days later, all of that behind my back, while I was looking after their son, and his second son and third son from first wife. “My best friend”.
      My new best friends: the VAR, my lawyer, my itemised bills and my detective skills and CN. I already knew about the calls to lawyers, but hadn’t told him. Didn’t know the rest, but found the paperwork soon after thanks to a thorough search of the woolshed.
      She’s not your best friend. She’s the most dangerous person in your life.

  • Ricky-Please, please listen to everything that is being advised to you here. Run, don’t walk, away from her & all of her bullshit!

    You will find that your friends are here in CN…yes, complete strangers whom you’ve never met. But your fellow chump friends here have all been down the same path you are traveling. Follow the advice given here…NO CONTACT, gray rock, get a kick ass attorney, etc. All of the advice comes from experience in dealing with lying, deceitful, cheating, POS assholes. Trust us when we tell you that your cheating sorry excuse for a wife is not your friend…never has been, never will be. Trust that she sucks!!!

    Move on & focus on you and your kids. You deserve better!

  • Ricky– “you saw the signs…” and asked her about it.
    That’s it right there. Can you live the rest of your life with this person, worrying about seeing the signs and made guilty for even doubting, etc.
    Seeing the signs jumped out at me, as that is part of my story. In short– I accused ex of cheating less than 5 yrs of marriage (10 yr relationship). I was gaslighted. I spent the next 12 years as the main force for the marriage– finding sitters for date nights, arranging weekends away, etc. I thought my ex was all-in the marriage (spent 3 hrs making homemade meals for us, etc). Then I saw him acting the same way again. Confronted him…. he told me of a crazy colleague who threw herself at him, etc. etc. Again, I was convinced (dork!), as this person really has some issues. Ex INSISTED marriage was ok, just unhappy with work, etc. OK, two years later, took a leave from work for a new job (one he always wanted, I supported it) across the country. 7 months in– he announces the marriage over. I beg for MC, after all, how can you throw away 18 years of marriage, 23 yrs together?!
    It took him 3 months to admit there was someone else, and that he had cheated BEFORE (yes, that first suspicion….).
    ok, maybe that wasn’t so short. 😉
    Point is, your STBXW (and I say that intentionally), she is not emotionally in– she is gone.
    Do yourself a favor and walk away. It is what is best for you, and the kids.
    (and no, 38 is not old! Wish I had been left at 38, or 29, which is when it all began.)

    • The she is gone is what I’ve finally been coming to grips with. She told me herself. I caught her texting one of my co-workers 4 years ago (he actually told me out of guilt) and tried to leave. She begged and pleaded and gave lots and lots of kibbles and I believed her.

      Now she says all that was because she was afraid of being alone.

      • The afraid of being alone comment was probably one of her only truthful statements. Defects hate being alone.

      • That may be true. Her fear of being alone is so strong that she wants to line up 2, 3, or more guys that would be with her. What she doesn’t get is that the best way to not be alone is to commit to one person and be faithful to them. When you do that, the only thing that leaves you alone is their death (which is still scary, and sad, and traumatic).

        But her behavior will hasten her being alone. And further, being with someone who won’t really commit to being you is, in a sense, still being alone, even if someone’s with her physically.


  • Wow that’s a whole lot of comments quickly. What I’m hearing from CL and you all is the same I’m hearing from family and friends of us both. I’ve started coming to grips with what kind of person she really is and see all the little manipulative ways she has acted all these years.

    I’ve been trying NC, it’s nearly impossible right now because of our kids (19,15, and 8) . They still don’t know about the affair, even though him and her are still seeing each other and becoming more and more public. My step son the 19 year old suspects.

    I have told her she has too be the one to tell them, I can’t and won’t do it. She hasn’t yet, am I wrong in not telling them? I’ve been staying with my Mom and Dad. This was my choice and she claims she is fine with me still staying at the house (it’s rental, not owned) but when I finally chose to to, she ended up lying to them and spending the night with him. Like I said I’ve been trying to keep NC and seeing the kids as much as possible but it’s hard.

    Nearly every day there has been something that needs fixing. She doesn’t know how to pay any of the bills online, take care of important matters etc…

    Honestly we are struggling financially right now and neither of us can afford to live alone and I am torn on how to proceed. I am looking for a better and or second job and cheaper housing. I told her she should just move in with him, which she scoffed at of course.

    Actually filing is something we said we will wait on because if financial issues, but I have the means from and outside source if I choose to go ahead. She has told me it’s over, should I just go ahead and start the process.

    Again apologize for the novel, but I thought some of the update was needed. The advice here is similar to what I’m getting from friends and family. I’m just really having trouble dealing with the fact that she has been living a lie for a while (she told me so pretty much). What I thought we had wasn’t.

    • Ricky,
      I don’t think you are getting it. I am not being ugly or cruel. All of those factors will not change. There will never be buckets of money, and the children will not magically age faster.

      Take some time to absorb all of this priceless advice (free therapy!).

      And think of yourself as being trapped in a cult. You have been gas lighted. You are sleeping with the enemy- not your best friend. This person has no regard for your welfare, your heart, your health!

      There will never be a perfect, all the stars are aligned time to leave. But, the longer you stay- you are cruising for a bruising my friend:
      soul crushing, wallet crushing, spirit death.

      Ricky- this woman is throwing 10 gallon buckets of liquid shit in your face. And asking you to wipe it off and smile.

      • Be the sane parent and don’t leave the home. She needs to leave. And file!!! I didn’t tell my children and they got the cheater narrative–he was so unhappy and miserable with me. I finally told my son ‘there’s something dad needs out of life that’s not in being married to me’. You don’t have to tell them she’s a whore. They just need to hear the sane version of the truth.

      • I second everything NOMORE says! Take all the measures to protect yourself financially and emotionally. Tell your children. I didn’t at first and came to find out a while down the road that he had been spinning a load of lies to my eldest. She was severely damaged by those lies because they were in conflict with the reality she observed. It messes kids up to be gaslighted as much as it messes us up! My youngest, of course, thought it was something she had done. When they don’t know the real reasons kids assume responsibility, which is also really damaging. So take those precautions listed above and then tell your kids frankly and age appropriately what she has done. If she lies to the kids, contradict her right in front of them with the truth. After the divorce DO NOT make excuses or cover for her. If she doesn’t remember their birthday don’t remind her. If she doesn’t send X-mas presents don’t tag some of yours from her. If she doesn’t watch notices from the school show up at that recital alone. LET THEM SEE HER. This is very painful in the short term, but it spares them long term. You don’t have to hate her. You don’t have to run her down. You just have to NOT cover, polish, or otherwise clean up and embellish who she really is. She fired you as husband. She also fired you as PR manager.

      • Totally she should leave, she is in the wrong. Mine was out 3 hours later got friends over who supervised his exit. Kids 9 and 11 told the truth, they are coping fine. Not your shame. I tell everyone who wants to know why we split, I covered his lying drunk ass many times over the years, no more.
        Take what’s yours, she can go shack up with him, guarantee the thrill of the affair will wear off real quick.
        Mines living alone working his butt off and I think he thinks he’s going to piss around for a year and then come back.
        Any sane women wouldn’t touch him with a pole, will just end up with someone of equal low moral standing.
        I hope to be with someone awesome in a year or rocking my new life with kids in tow, which is already happening.
        Got energy because I’m not being mentally abused anymore, have gone back to yoga which is working wonders for my esteem, lost 8.5 kgs and look better than I did 10 years ago and am learning new skills at work that will benefit me in the future.
        Struggling financially a bit but don’t have to put up with him wasting money on total crap and never being here because he worked so much to waste money on said crap.

    • Rich, stop planning anything with her – – immediately!!

      You are in a FOG. We were all in that FOG once and can smell it on you a mile away.

      Educate yourself on rules in your state on divorce, custody. Pronto. Don’t tell her you are. Don’t tell her what you learn.

      Secure your money pronto. Don’t tell her you are – just do it.

      Pull a credit report and close any accounts you can that are shared or she has access to. Again, don’t tell her.

      Get all the tax returns, pay statements, car titles, insurance docs, passports you can and move them to a safe in your parents house. Don’t tell her you are doing it. Don’t ask her for them. Just secure them.

      Secure all evidence of her infidelity and the money she spent on extramarital fucking.

      And go talk to a lawyer.

      Like today.

      Don’t tell her are. Don’t tell her you did.

      It will make you feel mighty to demonstrate to her that you are taking your power back, but brag to us instead.


      • That’ll be easier, no joint account. I have tax returns online. No passports, don’t know where any titles are, though they are all in my name.

        When I say bad off financially I mean when we pay rent, that week it takes almost the entirety of both our checks. My checks pay the bills, hers are daily living expenses.

        • I’m kinda glad she waited at least a little bit till I was making shit pay lol.

          • Ricky, consult with an attorney asap. Do that before you take any other steps. There are different laws about adultery, in my state the cheating spouse can NOT get alimony and you don’t have a waiting period. In most states no one cares, find out what you have. Trust me on this, once you start divorcing her all that ‘friend’ shit she is spouting will go out he window. On that note, do not out your STBXW on the affair until after you talk to the attorney.

            Unless you have some concrete plan or idea your money situation is going to dramatically improve very soon, then using that as a stick to stay stuck is not useful. You will need to figure out the money situation, but again – see step one! You won’t be able to properly figure out a budget or where to live, etc. until you have a plan for separation and divorce.

            +1000 Jedi Hugs!

        • This is Awesome, RR!

          You are turning your thinking around like a Mighry Person.

          Consider changing passwords to all online accounts: emails, Amazon, turbo tax, health records, banks, untilities, eBay, PayPal, ancestry, google, all clouds, etc.

          At the very least this will keep her from changing them helself and excluding you…

          Please do this asap.

          You’ve got this, R. It feels surreal but you got it!

          • Smart to think of Amazon! My computer autosaves all passwords.

            When I saw that Scuzzy and his Toilet had backdated on FB when their “relationship” started (to when we were still living together and I had no idea he was deep into an affair) I lost it. Just pure cruelty on their part. Why?

            I went into Amazon and had a summer Christmas binge for my boys and myself. About $4000 worth. Not a drop in the bucket to what he did to me, but it felt wonderful. I also used Amazon pantry to buy tons of supplies like laundry detergent so we would be “stocked up.”

            (He also used one cup of Tide for a few pairs of socks, took one sip of a drink and then it go flat, waste, waste, waste. Petty? A sign post of a “fuck you” mentality? I don’t know…but it wasted thousands of dollars and he never changed nor cared).

            I have never heard a peep about the Amazon shopping spree from his lying pie hole.

            • Wow Butterbean, that was smart to do all that through Amazon. I couldn’t do that because it was my credit card that was linked to it and HE was always the spender – and like yours – the waster. Wanted a sandwich, he would take a slice of ham and was too damn lazy to cover it back up and put it in the fridge so we got to throw it (it was summer). He had the water heater running 24/7, a monthly phone contract set at 266 euros just in case he wanted to call his mom in the States (which only cost us peanuts on the few times he did call her) and so on. He moved back to the States almost 2 years ago and was too lazy to cancel his car insurance over here (the car he sold in June 2015) so so far he’s looking at nearly 3000 euros in car insurance. When he left, I knocked over 1,000 euros a month of my bills, and that does NOT take into account his phone bill, his car insurance etc. Just wasteful crap, that of course I had pick up the tab for. Happy days indeed to be rid of that parasite.

    • You might want to consider telling the kids. I didn’t (because I wanted him to) and he never did, wanted to wait until the youngest (11) was older etc. I thought his relationship with Schmoopie was cooling off and as he still didn’t want to reconcile (although neither did he file for divorce), I figured that maybe she wasn’t really the reason our marriage was failing so telling the kids wasn’t necessary. Well, when I found the charge on our joint credit card (paid out of our joint bank account) for the flowers she got for Valentine’s Day, I lost my shit, and my 16 year old daughter overheard and was devastated the night before a tough exam which she failed. Schmoopie really is the reason why are marriage is breaking up and I wish I had told the kids earlier in a more controlled fashion not the night before a big exam. They will eventually find out no matter what. Do you want the m to find out because you lose it (or maybe you have better control over that than I do), or because the neighborhood rumors eventually come around to them, or because they see her and sparkle dick (my favorite OM name) out on a date? Put more pressure on your STBXW to come clean, but if she doesn’t find a way to let them know in as controlled, simple and factual a way as possible. That’s my advice.

      • I agree–tell the kids. They have to be wondering what is up. Don’t gaslight them the way your STBX gaslighted you.

        • I agree with Regina. Your children are old enough to understand, and I believe the true story will help with their recovery. Don’t let her protect her false self and mind fuck them too–and believe me, cheaters’ pathological requirement to maintain that false self will NOT exclude lying to their own children–about you, about everything and anything. It’s an extremely painful lesson for children, too, but it’s ultimately the better one: truth, integrity and long-term health…on so many levels.

          • I realize this, she is all about appearances. I stopped wearing my ring, changed my Facebook status and tried to deal. She has done none of that.

            • As others have said, get a lawyer.

              I am not sure the exact consequences of some of the things you are planning, but I see potential problems. For example, if you get a second job, that money could be considered as part of your joint earnings. She’ll end up with more of the assets or less of a child support obligation, etc. Going into debt now is bad, but ending up in debt for years while your earnings go to a former spouse who cheated on you is worse.

              She is colluding with another adult. She is building an exit plan. Please do not have any doubt about this. And that exit plan is NOT about treating you fairly.

              If you want primary custody, then move back into the house and stay there. If you leave the house, it allows her to rewrite the narrative toward her own benefit in all kinds of ways, including with the kids.

              You are trying to do what is best for everyone while she is trying to do what is best for herself. You have to act strategically and that is nearly impossible when you are still grieving, even hoping, to save your marriage. But it is what a lawyer is paid to do.

    • I get it, Ricky. This shit is HARD. And, in addition, you’re being forced to navigate possibly unfamiliar waters (they were unfamiliar to me) like legal stuff and sometimes money stuff… all while taking care of your kids, while your STBX takes shelter in another man’s arms because she’s too cowardly to face the reality of what she has wrought. — Keep reading CL and you’ll see loads of stories just like your own, where the chump (thus the name) gets stuck with all the heavy lifting because the STBXs can’t be bothered — they may even blame it on “feeling uncertain.” But regardless of the reason, the chumps do all the work.

      Yes, you must file, and I urge you to do so as soon as possible. As someone above said, there’s never a “good” time, unless you suddenly won the lottery (even then, you’d probably have to give her half, and wouldn’t that suck!).

      Unfortunately, you have kids, and I can’t address those issues, but there are plenty of chumps here who can. What I can tell you is that cheaters get nasty when backed into a corner, so you will have to start thinking about STBX as an adversary, “the enemy,” if you will. Decide what YOU want in YOUR new life without her (sorry, buddy, but that’s where this ends up) and start fighting for it now. It may mean living in your parents’ basement for a year or so, but that’s one tiny year in a lifetime — it seems mortifying but this is sacrifice for survival now and an awesome life later.

      Think of yourself as a soldier behind enemy lines with only a backpack, a canteen of water and a couple of snack bars to get you home. You can do it, but it’s going to suck. But start now. Like, today. Do ONE thing today toward the end goal of divorcing her and starting a new life. Ask friends to recommend a good attorney. Look into what’s needed by the court system. Start gathering documents regarding your financial situation. — Act first, then lick your wounds later. We all did it, and you can, too.

    • Ricky,
      I think you should tell your kids. The simple honest truth without editorializing. “Your mom has a boyfriend” NOT “Your mom is a piece of shit liar and cheater”. Save the latter comment for CN.
      When you stay silent you are letting her spin the narrative to her advantage. I’m sure your kids are aware that you are distraught at the moment (and rightfully so), so please let them know what is going on.
      You know how you felt when you realized that what you thought was reality was actually NOT reality? That’s how your kids will feel too. It is so very stressful to kids to know something is wrong and not know what it is. Please spare them that. Reassure them that you love them and you will be there for them during this horribly difficult time. And Ricky, it’s your story too – you have every right to tell it! Tell it and show your kids how a man of integrity behaves. Devastated by infidelity, angry (and rightfully so), and still trying to move ahead in the right way. Somehow you have been led to believe that “fighting for your marriage” is what a good person would do. It is not. Good luck Ricky!!! (((hugs)))

      • KathleenK
        Yes!! All of this. Tell the kids. Tell them soon. Read ALL the archived posts about telling this kids. If you do not she will pull the same tricks on them she does on you.
        I didn’t have this choice unfortunately, I was completely blindsided by his double life and I imploded over the course of a couple of weeks. My three boys (20, 17, 10) then, heard so much detail and all of my pain and devastation.
        Please consider carefully how and when to tell them, again the archives are full of info or post this specific question in the private general forum for lots of specific advice, but do it soon.

    • About telling the kids, you have to go with what feels right to you.

      Mine are 11 and 13. When we separated last summer, I made my STBXH give them the news, with me in the room to offer support. I wanted them to understand that he was leaving and that it was not a mutual decision (despite him trying to blameshift it into being mutual… “because that’d be easier for the kids”). The kids were blindsided. Like me, they totally didn’t see it coming, and they begged for us to only be separated and not divorce. Afterwards, I told my STBXH how cruel it was for him to give them false hope that we’d ever reconcile. He’s always making false promises to them. Usually it’s something light, like “We’ll go swimming this weekend!” and then nothing. But separation vs. divorce is huge.

      I recently told them that we are currently in the process of divorcing. I had planned to tell them about the affair, but I still chickened out. But it’s not to protect my STBX. It just felt like too much information for the kids at one time. I still plan to tell them. It’s important for them to understand that relationships don’t just end, that there’s a real reason behind those endings.

      What I did tell them is essentially this: “Your father and I have very different values. I believe that families are a place of love, honesty, and acceptance, where people feel open to share their feelings and not keep secrets. Daddy does not have those same values. Daddy likes to keep secrets, and that’s why he ultimately didn’t feel happy here. I want you to always feel safe and loved and to know that I am here for you no matter what.”

      So…. Kinda the same message, but I kept it super positive. I solidified my role as the secure, trustful, and loving parent. Someday, perhaps when he introduces the OW to them as his “friend”, I’ll mention that she’s been his girlfriend since before he moved out of our family home. Who knows… I haven’t worked that part out yet.

      One piece of advice that I’ve gotten from all of my divorced friends is that kids ALWAYS figure out who is the most responsible/loving/trustworthy/reliable/etc. parent, even if you don’t say it.

    • Stay with your parents and try to get custody of your child (children?). She can’t afford to be on her own? Oh well. I am quite sure she would have no problem with you staying and paying half or more of the bills while she is footloose and fancy free. You’ll be surprised at how much better off financially you’ll be without her and the dysfunction.

      • Oh yes, this! It was amazing how much further the money goes without a selfish asshole wasting it on shit that is not necessary. I think it surprises many of us.

    • With regard to the children, I think we need a bit more clarity here. First off:

      19 year old son is your stepson, correct? While 15 and 8 are yours with STBXW. I think it would be prudent and appropriate to discuss the issue with each of them differently. You already said 19 has suspicions. You might want to sit down with him, alone, and discuss the situation. Clarify your relationship with him and your feelings with/for him. If you still want to have a relationship with him, let him know that. Explain that you’re doing the things you’re doing because of the values you have, and that his mother doesn’t share (put it very gently). Or, if he’s a disrespectful brat, you might want to be done with him too, and that’s your choice – but it sounds like you care about him a lot from the tone of your messages and letter. Let him know that he can still have a relationship with his mother and you, it going to be different, and strained. Tell him that you care about him, and won’t put him in a position where he has to pick between you and her, that’s not fair to you. (Letting him know that early in the process will allow him to recognize if his mother ends up doing that to him, and seeing it for what it is. He’s an adult, albeit a young one, and can make decisions for himself.) And finally, let him know that you’ll discuss it with the younger kids yourself, so don’t talk to them about it until you do. No reason to put that on him, intentionally or accidentally.

      Now the younger kids are a different issue. They are still minors, and custody issues have to be resolved. Further, 15 and 8 will have very different understandings of the situation. So what you tell them may not be the same (although in both cases, it will be the truth), and you’ll have to allow for some uncertainty in what happens going forward.

      Overall, you need to figure out what you want, how likely you are to get it, and what are the reasonable and attainable goals for the plans for the future. Then work to get there, protecting yourself and your kids.
      See a lawyer, yesterday if possible. Get solid guidelines about what to do. If you keep staying at your parents, it could create a de-facto situation where she gets the house and custody, and new guy ends up displacing you in a year, same house, same family, yada, yada, yada. Suspect you don’t want that. Find out what your rights and responsibilities are, and what your current actions will set up going forward.

      Hugs. Strength. Peace.

      • We’ve already done this. He’s been mine since he was 2 with a biological that has never met him. We talked for 3 hours. I told him there are things he needs to talk to her about, that I’m not going to lie to him, but he needs to hear it from her.

        We are actually very close and it turns out he has a lot of pent up anger towards her because of her selfishness and the way she treats me. We are solid, more so than him and her.

        • Dear RR, caveat with this approach: She’s going to lie to him. It’s just their go-to problem solving method. I would recommend either do a sit-down with all three of you, or let him know in no uncertain terms that he can ask you anything afterwards.

        • Btw, I just want to say that I think you are doing an amazing job, but echo what others said before: Protect yourself! She may play nice while you are, but it can change surprisingly quickly.

          You sound somewhat oddly anger-less, like maybe you haven’t found your anger yet? You know you don’t have to “get over it” just because society says it’s the “right” thing to do? What she chose to do to you is horrible on so, so many levels (and then she chose to do it again…), anger in this situation is absolutely, 100% justified. You’ve been royally screwed. It took me awhile to get there, so I get it if you don’t feel you have the right to be angry yet. Once I found it, I find for me it works best to channel it as rocket fuel to get me though divorce and on to Meh! You don’t have to direct your anger at her, e.g. my favorite mental touchstone when STBX says something despicably nutty during mediation is: We can agree to disagree, and I will file the appropriate paperwork. 🙂

          • I don’t know about the anger honestly. I get bits of it, but I’m kinda numb beyond hurting… I’m not even really doing that anymore. I’m just existing. Being with the kids is the only time I care about anything.

            • You need to find it!! See CL’s amazing post today for all the reasons why.

              I’m gonna hazard a guess that you are reacting this way this time because of what you “learned” during reconciliation the first time. I would imagine that required the eating of many, many shit sandwiches while stuffing any of your needs or feelings you were having into the back of a very long, dark closet in your mind. I’m also too good at this (but I’m fighting it and starting to win!), for me it was because my dad was a narc too, and I grew up well trained at pretending I didn’t have any needs. Makes you absolutely perfect narc fodder. I honestly had no clue about any of it, but I’ve come to understand a lot of my issues stem from my upbringing. And I REFUSE to pass these habits on to my kids, which means I need to change my behaviors so I model healthier ones for them to learn from.

              If you think this could be a problem for you as well, there are lots of resources on the interwebs, I particularly like narcissismschild because he gives very concrete examples of situations that were wrong (I find it hard to look back at my childhood that way, because whatever you grow up is your normal).

              RR, you deserve so much better. She does not deserve to get to keep you as a friend (remember, your friendship is yours to give), true friends always do their best for you, and that does not describe her, sorry.

              Here’s to hoping you find your inner rebellion 🙂

        • I hope this doesn’t sound harsh, but why in the world do you think she’ll be honest with your kids about what she did? She’s a serial liar. Cheaters lie to protect their image and preserve cake. Why would she volunteer to sully her image and lose kibbles? That is what people with a conscious do. She is not one of those people. Stop expecting her to do the right thing, and stop trying to make her do the right thing. You can only control you. I highly recommend that YOU tell the kids, the sooner the better.

        • RR I thought that was the state of my relationship with the traitor’s son too. I potty trained him, taught him to ride a bike and to swim, we had him 50% of the time. Turns out traitor was cheating on me with his ex, the boy’s mother, I suspect this was on and off for the entire time we were together. I haven’t seen the boy for almost a year, or talked to him. God knows what they’re telling him.

  • RR

    I wish you strength, smarts and luck in the next few years. You will need all 3.

    My story reads pretty much like yours. When I caught him, it was via Facebook and he had only been on it a few months, so it was a ‘short’ affair. BS. As time went on, my Kiddo and I found more evidence, some of it truly ick (Schmoopie was my ex sister in law), and a I realized a few important things:

    1-Trying to understand them is STILL an act of depriving yourself of energy you need for YOU,


    2-No matter how deep you go, it is still shit.

    My ex was likely at it with the Downgrade for decades, not months. He might even be the reason she broke up with his brother when their kid was 2. I suspect your stbx was always like this, and yes, it is awful to want what you thought you had, (like, a real wife) and the understand that what you really had was a grifter.

    Of course, he would never tell me, because denying closure is part of the high for cheaters. Not as good as cake, obviously, but they do get off on it.

    Tuesday is coming. Keep walking.

    Love to all in Chump Nation.

  • “Do you know how soul crushing it is to have to explain your worth to someone?” CL

    Mothers and Fathers- Drill this into your children’s bright minds.
    Chumps: Keep it in your pocket like a roll of Lifesavers.

    The nanosecond you find yourself explaining your worth to ANYONE- so they will treat you better-

    Stop, take a breath and walk away forever.

  • Fairly new to CL,CN. In reading thru the archives it shouts out that chumps are good, decent, loving, people. People with true character. Women and men who dressed for the occasion, stood beside their life chosen partner, said and meant their vows. Lived these vows each day of their life. ( when broken, broken by the cheater, NEVER the Chump). As for the cheater, what vows, what life time partner? A cheater shows they do not give a single thought to the child or children created from this commitment to each other. A chump feels heartbroken for herself, or himself, and a chump’s greatest heartache is the pain the sorry mess causes ther children.
    Ricky Rich, you are young, CL, CN will guide you with their wisdom and their loving heart. You can do this.
    Your cheater is always lookng, looking, for something better. There is nothing better! You are it. She is lost and blind! Too late for her.
    One day, with CL, CN cheering you on, you will reach Meh, there is definitely a Tuesday in your future. There is someone who will love you, indeed, someone who will treasure you and all your good qualities!
    Pulling for you, with CL, CN, all the way!

  • RR,
    You’d be “fighting” over a polished turd. She was a shitty wife and a serial cheater.Let someone else have that smelly “prize.”

    For what it’s worth, take it from me, as a man who got thrown out at 42 like last week’s trash for her AP, you can find plenty of better women out there when you’re in middle age. Give it some time (at least a few months), then get your game back on. You’d be amazed how many women want a man that has a proven track record as a good father and husband.

    • As a soon to be single woman in her forties, he’s right. I don’t know if/when I will be ready to date again, but if I do, I will want the sane one with the good track record and so will all of the other women out there. You will have your pick (just pick carefully).

  • I will only add this: I dragged XH to one marriage-counseling session (he refused to go to any more after that). Somewhere in the course of the session, the MC said, “It’s common for men to go through periods of doubt and uncertainty about their lives somewhere around age 40 then again around age 50.” His point was, it’s normal to have doubts, NOT it’s normal to use those doubts as an excuse to go out and fuck around on your marriage.

    But, according to one of the few mutual friends who I’m still friends with now, post-divorce, XH’s takeaway message was “The counselor said it was normal that I was doing this and I’m probably going to do it again in another ten years!” — He took it as PERMISSION to cheat, not just now but also like a free pass in the future!

    That’s how these warped people think. Always about themselves and what they can get, for themselves.

    From your updated post, Ricky, it seems like you already know this is the painful road you’re going to have to extricate yourself from the disordered woman you married. — Don’t worry about the 38 year old thing. I loved being in my forties — it was my best decade, I think.

  • The more time I spend with my fellow chumps, the easier it is to recognize the bullshit. Clearly, RickyRich’s wife does NOT see your marriage with the same level of friendliness and commitment. As the chump in the relationship, it is SO hard to accept that your closest friend has betrayed you, but you simply must. Going no contact is a huge part of that process. Stand up for yourself.

    If you have some level of friendliness, well that’s great. Maybe it’ll make coparenting easier. (Coparenting with a cheater suuuuuuuucks.) In my situation, the anger came only after we separated, when I finally regained my self-esteem and confidence. I realized how crappily my STBXH had treated me, and it made me furious. That happened last summer, and I still feel the anger more than any sort of sadness. I don’t miss him… only the illusion of who I thought he was. It’s those years of mindfuckery and deceit that leave me angry. I’m still waiting for meh.

    That said, I also discovered an abundance of happiness when we separated. I love my new life now. Also, my kids seems happier and healthier when they are at my house.

    Ultimately, CL says it best: Trust that she sucks.

  • Travelling the world,
    “You’d be fighting over a polished turd”
    + 1 million billion!
    Just recently I was very annoyed with a totally unfair happening to a young loving person in my life.
    I told him: “There will always be fucktards in your life. Step over them. Wipe the shit off your feet. Hold your head up high and continue to walk above them. Never walk below,or beside asswipes!
    Made him smile, if nothing more.

  • I started over again at 52. I thought my husband of 29 years was my best friend, too. Turns out that meant he was the only friend I had ALLOWED myself to have.

    Once on my own (and I, like you, finally got fed up with his cheating, condescension, and ended the marriage) I got into another relationship out of loneliness…which did not work out. I would have been better off to spend time single, learn to love myself, enjoy making platonic friends. Do not feel shortchanged because she “has someone” and you don’t. All she has is a fellow cheater. You have the gift of freedom, and your wonderful children to be your family.

    Take your time finding a new partner, be discerning, and you may be amazed by what a healthy, honest partnership can feel like. I am so happy now that I am finally, at 59, with a normal, fellow chump, who loves me and does not seek the attention of others like a cheater does. I’m sorry you’ve been stuck with dysfunction for so long. Don’t let the pattern repeat.

  • This is so exactly what I needed to read today as I made the first step by calling a lawyer for a consultation. THANK YOU CL and CN. I really don’t know if I could get through this without all of you.

    • Good luck to you as you embark on a life with greater integrity after you ditch the cheater. Post your story in the forums for support or advice as you go along.

    • Stronger!

      Well done you, as my British friends say. You aren’t alone and you are mighty!

  • Dude, we’ve all been there. Being a chump and doing the pic me dance is just one phase in your road to an amazingly better life, that is, if you decide to meet this thing head on, be patient, feel what you feel, learn from each phase of this. Give yourself whatever time you need to process this and grow from it. OTOH, fuck that bitch you’re married to. Don’t give her anything at all because SHE WILL USE EVERYTHING AGAINST YOU! You have to accept the fuckwhit she is and that SHE IS YOUR ENEMY.

    As hard as it is, the more you can go no contact for now and forever with her, the better your future will be. Every single word you share with her will be USED by her against you. I know buddy, it’s so hard to believe that this person you shared a life with can be your enemy, but it’s this way globally, all cultures, all demographics, all religions, gender, etc. This story is THE SAME everywhere. She’ll do and say ALL OF THE SAME THINGS EVERY CHEATER SAY AND DO, SAME SCRPTI, SAME BS. OTOH, you need to do WHAT ALL CHUMPS NEED TO DO to get to this new life that waits you.

    Trust me when I say that the end result of this is so much better than what you are living now. You will look back and wonder how the hell you ever ended up with that person.

  • Find out if you’re in a fault/no-fault state. It could help you. Lawyer up and read the Chump Lady’s book. Calling your soon to ex your best friend is like saying you love someone and then pushing them down the flight of stairs. She is not a friend to you at all. Surround yourself with support, fight and move on.

  • The hard part is realizing how much time wasted on something that did not work. Problem that is bigger is wasting more time trying to make it work. You are still much younger than most of us here. Because you were so young when the relationship started, it is most of what you know about adult relationships. You should be happy to know this type of treatment is not all there is once you get some DISTANCE! Best of luck to you and your kids.

  • Dead on accurate on all point by our CL as per her superb usual. One essential in her response might be the following:

    “When you get some distance (known as NO CONTACT), you’ll see that she sucks and you deserve better. ” CL

    Staying in contact or falling back into it ( moments of weaknesses ) is akin to having built your home on an iceberg. Cold, unwelcoming yet it is your home and you want to make the best of it, for you, your kids, for the “love of your life”. You can’t, are not able to recognize that this is not really fit for human habitat..until you get on the opposite shore, feel the trees, warmth, fit for human living AND see for your own eyes the dark mass which is lurking underneath said iceberg. No matter how suitable that iceberg might have felt by default and by virtue of knowing no other habitat, the dark, heavy mass was always there. All these years, since the iceberg had been created. You living on it were unable to understand its massive gravity pull. Going no contact is giving you the gift of seeing and understanding that dark mass underneath for your own. Hurts like the fucker though as you might experience some major endorphins depletion. Cold turkey on the drug but as needed as withdrawal pangs for a better healthy you. Chump Lady is correct on all accounts

    • forgot to say. It would be nearly impossible to realize the sheer weight and girth of an iceberg’s underbelly while sitting on it. Only when you see it from a distance in cleared water that you get the zest of things…

      • …..AND every time you initiate contact for whatever reason other than kids, divorce process ( ie because YOU want to hear his/her voice but use an excuse ( be the one who has never done this throw me the first stone) you are de facto boarding the boat back to the iceberg and stepping back on the old cold comfort place….

        Okay done with the tirade… 🙂

    • @meh is starting to feel pretty good

      I love this iceberg analogy. The worst danger from the iceberg lies below the surface where you cannot see it – like these relationships.

      • I do, too. It is brilliant and sad and absolutely accurate.

        Also, icebergs are isolated, and we rarely read about chumps who had HONEST and robust social support networks that were dialed into what was going on in the marriage/relationship.

        Most cheaters don’t want us to have friends, close family ties or career accomplishments.

        They want us alone, adrift on a cold sea, with only them as our lifeline.

  • Regarding cheating wives and what they really think of their faithful husbands…

    Years ago, when I was very young, naïve and starting my career, I was so surprised to encounter the awful gossip that would fly around the office about people and their affairs, especially the married women who I always thought were more responsible and faithful than men. (LOL!)
    There are two situations that leap to mind in response to Ricky’s post and others posting here.

    One was a young married secretary, who coworkers claimed would sleep with almost anyone in the office, including the president. The rationale given for her behavior was that her husband was “disabled, and unable to meet her needs, and that it was ok with him that she had affairs because theirs was a MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE”.

    Another woman was a middle-aged executive sales person, who coworkers claimed (and she herself strongly alluded to) having many affairs. Some of these affairs were with men with whom she was trying to get their business. The rationale given for her behavior was that her husband was “boring, self-centered and focused on his own hobbies, he was totally aware of her many affairs and he was ok with it because theirs was a MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE”.

    This is the common narrative given by cheating wives….”we have a marriage of convenience” ….to excuse their extremely callous, amoral adultery lifestyle.

    The most likely REALITY: the young husband was NOT disabled, the middle-aged husband was NOT boring or self-centered, they were NOT aware of their wives’ adulteries, they would NOT have been ok with it, and they did NOT view their marriages as being ones of convenience.
    The cheating wives had no problem with spreading horrible lies about their husbands to literally scores of coworkers, in order to justify themselves.

    Moral of story: Cheating wives see their husband as a CONVENIENCE, but have absolutely no respect, loyalty or compassion for them as men.

    • I know mine talked slap about me to everyone. That’s why when he introduced me to work people they seemed so weird and cold towards me.
      His narrative was I was a controlling bs

  • Ricky,

    Kick her ass to the curb….it will be hard to do but it’s going to make you feel so much better, and when you look back in the future you will feel so proud of yourself for regaining your manhood.

    There is nothing left to fight for dude. Your relationship is deader than dead, and why would you want to resurrect a shitty relationship anyway? Your wife has been emotionally abusing you for so long….you’re not thinking straight…. trust me I know because I was in your shoes 5 months ago. File, go no contact, and I promise you you will come out the other end a better man. And it will be sooner than you think!

    Let the bitch be crazy by herself; you just take care of you and erase her from your life. Don’t delve on her or who she’s with….she’s a narc and she will sleep with whoever is useful for her at the moment….if you leave her alone, I promise you her karma will come.

    I know it hurts like crazy right now. I understand your pain very well. Trust me when I tell you that divorce is not the end of the world – better things are waiting for you Ricky! Because you deserve so much more in life than what you’re dealing for with right now.

    • Forgot to add, she will want to stay married to you if you actually filed (she will not file for divorce, so you will have to do the dirty work). Do it for yourself man…..emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind! 🙂

  • I too struggled with the notion that my ex was my “best friend” and it wasn’t until I went NO CONTACT that I was finally able to see how flawed my logic really was. Contact muddies the water and allows for further manipulation or mind fucking. You will see, when do do the very difficult thing of cutting ties (as much as you can with a woman you have kids with), that they lose a lot of their shine. This person is not a friend to you at all. Friends are loyal and honest and respectful behind your back as well as to your face.
    Preserve your dignity and work toward accepting that she sucks.

  • Your stock will trade HIGH, indeed. You have EVERYthing to gain. There are literally millions of beautiful, loving and faithful women out here who are dreaming of meeting someone just like you. Believe me.

  • Ricky, your cheater’s mindfuckery abilities are so keen that she has you saying in one sentence that you still fall in love with her, and in another that BOTH of you might have fallen out of love with each other. Isn’t that a convenient narrative for Ms Cheaterpants, oh, we fell out of love, nobody’s fault, it happens??!

    Fuck that noise, Ricky. Don’t let her control the narrative. She cheated on your more than once, believe nothing that comes out of her mouth, and YOU own your story. She doesn’t get to tell you how it is or how you feel. I am angry on your behalf. I hope you get there too, and save yourself. Run!!! You’ll fine someone much better out there, who shares your values of love, friendship, and loyalty. This woman does not and never did.

  • RickyRich,

    I’m pressed for time right now and I hope to get back to make a longer comment if necessary, but I want to throw this out in hopes that it will aid you in thinking rationally about your actual relationship with this manipulative waste of skin posing as your spouse, as opposed to the hoped for relationship you have with her.

    Do you have any “best” friends that if you invited them over, fed them, invested money with them and completely trusted them, and in return, their friendship with you included stabbing you in the back and leaving you for dead, that you would still be calling your “best” friend and be having difficulty severing all but the most necessary ties? Would you still trust them, be willing to be alone with them and/or want them back as part of your life, knowing that they see betrayal and any real lack of remorse for that betrayal and the harm it has caused you as just a blip on their mental and emotional radar? That’s what you’re actually dealing with right here. You’re calling her “friend” while she is acting and thinking as your adversary.

    That’s why No Contact, No Contact, No Contact (or Low Contact) is important. It is what allows you to recalibrate your thinking so you can step back and begin to see the reality-based contours of your relationship and not the fantasy-based contours which keep you invested in the possibility as opposed to the probability or the actuality.

    Your relationship is not only done, it has been burned to a crisp and needs to be thrown away with the rest of the trash. I am so sorry. These people are vacuous, immoral cretins.

    • Bravo, Chump Princess. So well said.

      This is “Old Testimenty” but maybe that is why sex is so dangerous. It makes us lose sight of reason…once those bonding and pleasure hormones start firing…we accept behavior that with platonic relationships we would be infuriated and break all contact, with pleasure.

  • I could swear, this letter came from me! My circumstances are different somewhat, but really, this is my situation. I am FINALLY coming out of the fog – the fog of the pick me dance flamenco. Wow!

    Dear RickyRich – RUN! RUN for your LIFE! Get your ducks in a row and file as soon as possible. I can tell that you haven’t taken real stock of the situation. You are using industrial strength spackle. I have done the same thing. Even if my STBX isn’t having an affair right at this moment (we are 3 years past DDay) I can tell you that the entitlement behavior is in full swing. It has taken so much for me to bitchslap myself and wake the hell up to what is really going on.

    I know it’s really hard, but Ricky, be honest with yourself. Dig, Bang Down that spackle and see what is beneath the surface. Before I married my STBX, there were so many red flags – red flags that I’ve spackled over so well that I had forgotten that my gut told me long ago that this person was no good for me. Put your relationship in the middle of the room and take a big step back and see what is going on with an eye of morality and logic – take the heart out of it. Cheating is who she really is. And even if she’s not in another relationship, there is always residual spillover into other facets of their lives. Trust the she sucks.

  • RickyRich,

    You wrote:
    “Should I fight for her? I feel like she has moved on. At first the whole thing seemed like we were on the same page, but I realized that she is essentially leaving me for him and it bothers me. Should I just suck it up and move on? I don’t have anyone in waiting like she does. Or should I try to fight to find that spark that pops up every now and then? We really don’t fight about anything, get along fine, and have good times together. I just have this deep part of me that wants to fight for her to go back to 16 years ago.”

    This needs some editing. I’ll give my suggestions.

    “Should I fight for her?” –> Should I fight with her?

    “I feel like she has moved on.” –> Thank god she has moved on.

    “At first the whole thing seemed like we were on the same page, but I realized that she is essentially leaving me for him and it bothers me.” –> She initially had me conned that the decision was mutual, but I realized that she wants another fling and is dumping me to do it. (Be thankful she is dumping you and not hiding it.)

    “Should I just suck it up and move on?” –> Should I just celebrate my freedom from her and move on? (Hell yes you should.)

    “I don’t have anyone in waiting like she does.” –> I didn’t spend time, effort, and thought to find a safe landing place once she dumped me, unlike she did for herself. (Cause you have a moral center, and she doesn’t.)

    “Or should I try to fight to find that spark that pops up every now and then” –> Or should I try and focus on the few small nice things that keep us together instead of the big glaring character flaws in her that have destroyed our marriage.

    “We really don’t fight about anything, get along fine, and have good times together.” She’s really good at hiding things, brushing unpleasant issues under the rug, smoothing things over, and keeping our time together superficial and devoid of conflict.

    “I just have this deep part of me that wants to fight for her to go back to 16 years ago.” I just wish she weren’t such a self centered whore, and was more like the person I thought she was 16 years ago.


    Ricky, good people form strong relationships and commit to them. They do stuff in the context of those relationships that isn’t always in their best interests, but rather are in the best interests of the people they care about, their spouse and/or kids. Does your wife do that? Or does she just look at what’s best for her, what she wants?

    I’m currently remarried, four and a half years, to a wonderful woman. And on the surface, if someone presented me with the opportunity to have a meaningless fling with someone else, it could be fun, it could be pleasurable, but I would never do it because I value the closeness and intimacy I have with my wife too much to jeopardize it for any little fling, and because it’s morally wrong to cheat, and because I promised my wife that I would only do certain things with her, and because I don’t want to hurt her, and for many other reasons I won’t write out here. It sounds like you’re the type of man who made a similar commitment to your wife some years ago, and is discovering (again) that she didn’t make the same commitment to you.

    You’re focused on your family. She’s focused on herself.

    You don’t want to destroy the household you’ve created for your kids. She has one foot out the door.

    You thought she was your BFF. She thought you were her BFUSBCA (best friend until someone better comes along).

    You weren’t looking for someone else to love while you were still married to her. She was.

    I totally get that you, like most guys (and plenty of women, too), are thinking in terms of fighting for what you want. But what you want is the good parts of her without the bad parts, and that doesn’t exist. Some things, and some people, aren’t worth fighting for. Fight for yourself, fight for your kids. Fight for your eventual ability to find another woman who has many of her good qualities, and perhaps some other good qualities that you might appreciate, like loyalty, fidelity, and trustworthiness, and fewer (hopefully none) of her bad qualities.

    Another interpretation of all this is, suppose some time ago she sat you down and said, “I’m unhappy in our marriage, and I want a divorce.” You get all upset, promise to try harder, work on your problems. She isn’t moved. You divorce, and then she finds someone else and gets close to him. Now, let’s pretend that she skipped all the parts up to and including the divorce, but did the finding someone else and getting close to them, with the intention of doing all the rest after she was happy with her new guy. Isn’t that what she has done? You can think of her statement that “she met someone, they’ve been talking for a few weeks,” as her doing all that other stuff. Does it matter if she has had an affair with him or not? It seems like she’s open to the possibility, and that’s cheating in my book. You can decide if it’s cheating in your book or not.

    It is really hard to have the rock that you built a lot of your self esteem on (marriage and family) turn to quicksand under your feet. But you can recover from it, and in the end you’ll be better off. As someone else here quoted, Louis CK said, “Don’t fear divorce, it’s always a good thing, because no good marriage ends in divorce.”

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.

    • Fantastic Aeronaut! This is what we have been missing: a UBT 2.0 for the bullshit we chumps tell ourselves while smoking the Hopium.

  • I have to agree with what everyone else has said. She will not file for divorce for herself and will alternate between rage, charm, and self-pity (CTV). She will desperately try to keep eating cake and having you do the pick me dance. My stbxw alternates between promising to ‘do whatever it takes’, blaming me for the affair, and texting me how sad she is. Oddly, she refuses to take a polygraph or to sign a post nup (go figure). Everything is always conditional on me taking her back and giving it another try despite the one admitted affair and at least two other still denied affairs.

    The reality is she is most likely never going to change and if you stay, you will spend the rest of your time with her constantly wondering where she is what she is doing and when she will betray you again. It’s no real way to live.

  • The time will come
    when, with elation
    you will greet yourself arriving
    at your own door, in your own mirror
    and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

    and say, sit here. Eat.
    You will love again the stranger who was your self.
    Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
    to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

    all your life, whom you ignored
    for another, who knows you by heart.
    Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

    the photographs, the desperate notes,
    peel your own image from the mirror.
    Sit. Feast on your life.
    Derek Walcott

      • You’re welcome. It’s called Love After Love. I have a greater appreciation for what it says, now that I’m a chump.

    • This is, by far, the most well read, literate, insightful and well written group on the wild west of the Internet!

      The poem made me tear up. Thank you for posting it, Just Breathe.

      This is for you, even if you have never watched Six Feet Under..Breathe Me

      • Ok, Butterbean, now I am tearing up. I had not heard this song before. Thank you.

  • Been there, done that, the answer is no.
    Just no. Once you get off the crazy train, detox, and start meeting other people who treat you with respect you will face palm yourself…..

  • It’s pointless to fight for someone who isn’t interested in picking a winner. Or, in your case, impossible to fight for someone who has already decided you’re the loser but isn’t telling you because she enjoys collecting your entry fees.

    • Some people are shit magnets, mine picked shit disordered friends I guess because he could relate to them.
      He didn’t like normal people because he thought he was special and soo much smarter than them.
      I see it now, amazing 7 weeks on how clear and organised I am becoming without him spinning me in mindfucking circles everyday with his, I need this whining endless crap.
      There are those that give and those that take, cheaters are out for themselves always.

  • The basis for any relationship, business, politics, personal, is Trust. Once Trust is gone, no matter what is said or done by the liar, the relationship can never recover.

    If you think you can live with the corrosive effect of never being able to believe that anything you know is true, then stay in the relationship. If not, save yourself and let it go. Move on.

  • “You’ve been on kibble starvation rations, so any kibble from her (she CARES!) seems huge.’
    That’s how they do it.

  • Marriage to a cheater is like a one-two punch. The first punch is the abuse, and when you are still reeling from it, the second punch comes and that is the cheating. Your self-esteem has been lowered by the abuse, but you still try to make the marriage work. What is so disabling about the cheating is that this abusive act presents itself to you as someone’s else’s (the cheater and AP’s) romantic fairy tale while you are denied your own romantic fairy tale, despite working hard for it and even taking abuse for it. The spin that the affair is a love story between two beautiful people who deserve happiness and that the chump is not up-to-par is just more abuse.

  • Please please my friend, get away from this bitch. She is a disordered creep and you need to go NO CONTACT on her ass.
    I know exactly how you feel because I’ve been there but when I finally made the choice to drop the fuckwit I realized the truth. Everything we are trying to tell you is true. She is NOT your friend. Accepting her abuse is not noble or admirable. Standing up for yourself and saying “no”….IS.
    Please believe that she does not love you. You deserve fucking better, bottom line. Fuck her and her leg-spreading, cake-eating, sociopathic ways. Move on and grow. You will see just how beautiful life can be on the other side of meh. Show your kids you love them by love YOU!!!!

  • hi ricky – your story sounds a lot like mine. i am going to be very blunt below.

    – this bitch is not your friend, at all. look at how she has abused you over the years. she has strung you along so she can have her nice bit of “normal” to come home to every night whilst she hunts for other men to make her “feel good”. she’s used you to keep up appearances. she doesn’t want the life you want. don’t believe her bullshit about her needs not being met or whatever other story she’s telling herself.

    – 38 is not too old to be alone, but how much more of your life is worth throwing down the drain for this person? you aren’t going to get your needs met in this relationship. better to get out now and spend some time sorting yourself out. grieving the end of a marriage is a big undertaking, but the outcomes are well worth it. i was divorced at 40 and met someone 2 years later who i am still, very happily, with. we’re on the same page when it comes to the important stuff. there are single women out there who are well worth your time, once you’ve worked through this relationship.

    – stay cordial with your ex throughout the separation/divorce process. make sure you get your share of the assets and custody (where applicable). find a place to live, alone, and cut off all unnecessary communication with your wife (i.e. everything that’s not a business-like conversation about the kids). write a list of the horrible shit she’s put you through and stick it up on the fridge. any time you feel like calling her – read the list. do nice things for yourself to balance out the tears and the pain. don’t try and date anyone else until you know you can be happy alone. rejection is much easier to take when you have a good life solo.

    – get fucking angry about what she’s done to you, but don’t take it out on anybody else. i had a punching bag that suffered extreme abuse from me on a daily basis for the first 12 months. use the anger to spur you on towards a better life.

    – be patient with yourself and believe that it gets easier.

    take care, dude.

  • “Fight for her” is romance novel BS. It never works that way. You can’t change her heart (cuz she don’t got one.)

    “Run from her while you still can” is a better frame of mind.

    • This from someone who begged The Coward to “Fight for me!”

      Ok? We alllll make mistakes.

      Bahahah! “Fight for me.” As if. He ran. I benefited.

  • You don’t fight. She’s the one that risked losing everything. If she’s really sorry and really loves you and really wants to repair things SHE will fight. If she doesn’t she obviously doesn’t care that much. Let her go and find better. So many women out there. . Go find one who loves you.

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