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Dear Chump Lady, Should I reconcile with a sex addict?

Dear Chump Lady,

I need a sucker punch reality check. I am 65 years old husband is 66 and we have been together since we were 18. Five months ago (October 2016), I found out through a semi friend tip that “your husband is a pervert.”

This caused me to search his computer (never had done that before) when he was out of town one weekend. I found enough to know something was up. Confronted him when he returned and of course he tried to deny, but when I continued to back up my statements with what I had found, he let me know that he had affairs almost our entire marriage.

He assured me it was all his issues, that I had done nothing wrong, and still to this day he knows it is all “him.” He has been to a sex addict therapist (we both realize he is not a sex addict) — only went one time, read the recommended book “Sex Addiction 101” by R. Weiss and then went to a psychiatrist twice who had been recommended by my psychiatrist.

His last visit with a professional was December 2016. I retired in November from a highly successful career. (Great retirement gift to find this out at the exact same time). I immediately moved to a small town in Colorado where my mom lives (she is a fireball and still living) and leased a condo. It has given me time to breathe and figure out what has happened.

My husband did finally tell me more details this past March. I kept telling him that it will be impossible to forgive if I do not even know what I am forgiving. I feel what he told me is just the tip of the iceberg. Three one-year affairs (all married women — one I knew!) with the affairs separated by several years, “happy endings at massage parlors,” and watching minimal porn on the internet. He denies internet match ups even though after D-day I found Tinder on his phone. I had found match.com profile info when I had checked his computer, but the site had not been touched for over two years. I called the informant semi-friend about three months after D-day to find out what exactly she meant by “pervert”. She said that everyone knows he ran around on me and has for decades. At parties he would flirt and make passes when I was not around him, according to her. She may be one of the affair partners for all I know. She never said that, but only God knows. 

He is extremely remorseful and does not want to throw away all our years. He used to drink alcohol (both of us would have a full bottle of wine or champagne every night together), but he stopped cold turkey over two years ago. He has willpower when he wants to, so I know he can stop anything if he sets his mind to it. He lost weight and has kept it off when he stopped the alcohol. Both of us are in much better health than we have ever been. My question is — have you ever seen a truly remorseful cheater do a 180 and become the honest, trusting spouse they should have always been?

Sometimes I think I do not want to throw away all those years either if he has truly changed, but then I stop and think he threw our marriage away every time he cheated on me. We have always had a great sex life and still do when he visits here. (We were both tested for STDs and all’s okay). This is probably from my side what they call “hysterical bonding.”

When his computer was checked at D-Day, I found info that he was about to rent a Airbnb in our city. When he was confronted, he said he was going to try to have another affair with a woman from yoga class who is married. He immediately called it all off (I assume) when I confronted him. I know that a cheater can get really good at hiding things when they know your eyes are more wide open. All these years I had no idea he was cheating on me and of course he has taken be this long to even talk about it with anyone other than my sister and a psychiatrist.

How long do you wait and see if his good behavior is really real? I also realize I had to catch him not him confiding in me so how real is his remorse? My psychiatrist said to wait at least six months after D-day because I was retiring at the same time and one life crisis at a time would be advised so I am coming up on six months. What are your thoughts?

Thank you,

Colorado Fox

Dear Colorado Fox,

So often chumps ask the wrong question. Your wrong question is — do I think a truly remorseful cheater can change? (Theoretically yes. Wouldn’t matter if he did, however, because you’d never trust him again. If he can lie to you for 40+ years straight, how the hell would you know if he reformed? Are you going to tether his dick to a post? Make him wear an ankle monitor? Implant a chip in his head?)

The RIGHT question is — how can I protect myself this instant from this fraudulent douchebag? My thoughts are about your successful career and your retirement savings. You mentioned YOUR successful career. You neglected to mention his. Gee, no wonder he’d like to salvage what you have together. How convenient of you to be out of town (cake!), yet available for the occasional hysterical bonding session, and far, far away from his computer nexus of dating sites and affair partners. #winning

Let’s weigh what he’s done, versus what you report as “remorse.”

On the cheating sociopathic fuckwit side we have: Three long-term affairs, Tinder profiles, Match profiles, sex workers, years of coming on to women behind your back, and an airbnb reservation. That you know of...

On the reform side we have: one trip to a sex therapist, two trips to a shrink, and a single purportedly read book. And he very kindly does not blame you for his cheating. #bitchcookie

Oh hang on, we also have sobriety. Which you interpret as “he can change when he wants to.” But what was his impetus to change? His extra weight and dissolving liver was probably not helping his game with the ladies. Good for him for kicking booze, but an absence of alcohol is not a change of character. Any AA sponsor can tell you about dry drunks — all the entitlement and acting out, just none of the drinking.

Your husband has no impetus to change his cheating — you’re there providing cake and a nice retirement fund. Why would he give that up? Because it pains him so to hurt you? Examine his sheer indifference on that front for 40 years. But you know now and he said he was sorry! So 40-plus years of staggering entitlement just disappears into the unicorn fairy forest?

Colorado Fox — you miss the lie. We all get it. Every single chump who ever chumped gets it. You want what you thought you had — a great connection, great sex, security, an intact family. You want your investment to not have been a total waste.

So you’re grieving, and right now you’re firmly stuck in the bargaining stage of grief. Maybe it’s not over. We can still enjoy sex! (I call “hysterical bonding” the pick me dance performed naked.) Maybe he can change! (Oh hey, I see a unicorn!) Maybe if I keep waltzing with this corpse we can appear on Dancing With the Stars!

You need to change your focus, Colorado. Back to YOU. Is this man who abused your trust, risked your health, and spent your marital resources on affairs for 40+ years worthy of YOU? Is this relationship as it stands now, knowing what you know acceptable? Don’t predicate that answer on who you think he potentially could be — but who he IS. Is what he’s done OKAY with you? Do you really think he can walk that back?

Let’s test his remorse. I want you to start protecting yourself today. See a lawyer. Get a forensic accountant or certified financial divorce planner and examine the money trail. Run a credit check on him. Look for hidden debts, credit cards, PO boxes. Financial abuse goes hand-in-hand with infidelity, especially at 66 years old. You don’t have the extra years to rebuild your savings. Get a good settlement and divorce him. You protect that nest egg. And as you’re doing that, report back to me on the depth of his sorry.

Next, I want you to go no contact with him. The sex and contact is fogging your reason. And don’t think he doesn’t know that.

Finally, I want you to fire that shrink who told you to wait 6 months. That’s the worst of the RIC advice there is — and it benefits two sets of people — cheaters and therapists on weekly billing cycles. I’d tell your shrink you’re going to wait 6 months to pay her bill. Oh, she doesn’t like that? Is she harmed by a reduction in cash flow? Did you make a promise to pay your bill that you’re reneging on? Isn’t it awful when people break their promises?

Now tell her to multiply her unhappiness times 40 years and a fistful of sex workers and get back to you. And if she complains tell her you said you were sorry and you did read the book she recommended. If she thinks that remorse should be good enough for you, it should be good enough for her.

Good luck.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Another way to protect your retirement and assets is by getting a Postnup after you gather all the financials, knowing he will never change.

    At this point you want to have the finances in your favor. You are living with a masterful con artist and the minute you file he will financially rape you.

    I say con the con. Expect the worst from a man who led a double life and take advantage of the fact that he believes you still want him.

    • I agree as well…

      I was shocked when my then-husband readily admitted to a number of disgusting things, then I found out about another layer of even more disgusting shit, then he got mad/ashamed…

      What your husband is admitting to are things he’s already digested, for everyone of those rats you uncover, there are 10 more hiding…

      The person I thought I was married to, the team effort I thought our marriage was never existed anywhere but in my head. Once I stopped spackling, I saw how disordered he truly is and keep eating shit sandwiches as we share custody.

      Please Colorado Fox, protect yourself, gather all your financial papers and divorce him.

      • Chumptitude –

        “…then I found out about another layer of even more disgusting shit, then he got mad/ashamed…

        What your husband is admitting to are things he’s already digested, for everyone of those rats you uncover, there are 10 more hiding…

        The person I thought I was married to, the team effort I thought our marriage was never existed anywhere but in my head. Once I stopped spackling, I saw how disordered he truly is and keep eating shit sandwiches as we share custody.”

        THIS is exactly what I am experiencing and needed to hear. My head is wrapped around that concept but my heart is taking too damn long to catch up and is causing me trouble. Thanks for the well written reminder – it is now my screen saver. 🙂

        • Mine too McFiesty. But, I’m “acting as if it isn’t” — staying completely NC and got a kick ass decision in my favor in my divorce. My heart will eventually catch up to my head. And in the meantime my head will keep me and my kids safe.

        • mcfiesty – Glad my experience can be of help to other chumps! I’m right there with you, my heart is still dumbfounded by the level of duplicity, my head is clear thanks to CL/CN…

          I keep forging on, and I’m honored to do so surrounded by you and other mighty high integrity chumps!!

          • I found out about many disgusting and hurtful things at sex addiction rehab ($35,000 ranch vacation) when he had to do a “disclosure” – 10 years later, and who knows what he was doing during that time, he left. Even after all that I did the pick me dance hard! After he left, he once said, “we should have lunch”. In my chumptitude I thought maybe he wanted to reconcile. In fact, he just wanted to have lunch! Maybe catch up, like he does with people he works with. Now, sometimes I am so baffled, shocked and hurt that yes, it was ALL IN MY HEAD. I can’t understand his reality and do best when I don’t bother trying. Yes, I was living my truth, he was living a lie. Thankfully I didn’t spend the rest of my life in the dark. Strength to all chumps!

      • “What your husband is admitting to are things he’s already digested, for everyone of those rats you uncover, there are 10 more hiding.”

        This is well stated, Chumptitude.

        The tip of the iceberg was really bad — and, I thought, the bottom of the barrel. Then I started to find some of the crap below the surface. I still can’t quite wrap my head around it all, and I’m certain I know less than half of it all.

        It’s just not possible to process the depths of deception and depravity. That alone proves it isn’t a real marriage and never has been.

        • “I still can’t quite wrap my head around it all, and I’m certain I know less than half of it all.

          It’s just not possible to process the depths of deception and depravity. That alone proves it isn’t a real marriage and never has been.”

          I’m right there with you JesssMom, I cannot relate to my X’s disordered world view, he uses the same words as normal people, but his very ability to attach different meanings to these words depending on his image management goals… NC is the path to truth and a better post-cheater life!

      • I was married to a serial cheater for 30+ years. I had no clue. Yes, I knew he was a flirt, but I would have sworn he’d never cross the line into acting out. What a joke my image was! After D Day I started digging. Guess what I learned–f buddies, happy endings, prostitutes, etc. I finally had to realize that I would never find it all, but always find more and I’d found ENOUGH. I don’t believe anyone can just stop cold turkey–not a serial cheater. And guess what, mine quit drinking cold turkey too. He couldn’t quit serial sex though. Please protect yourself–your health and your assets. He will take both if you give him the chance. You are worth more than that!

    • This.

      Ask him to sign a post-nup protecting your financials as part of his apology. Let him know that if you discover anything else he hasn’t disclosed or if he does it again even once, you’re done.

      Then, when he does it again or when you find something he didn’t disclose, leave painlessly.

      If he won’t sign the post-nup, that is the extent of his “sorry.”

    • Doingme, you are a genius! In this case, letting him “prove his sincerity” by signing a comprehensive postnup would firm things up considerably in her favor, especially since he is trying to reel her back in. That’s the way to go! Start with untangling the details of the financial destruction and creating a postnup appropriate for the situation.

      If it goes straight to divorce with no postnup he has no reason to pretend remorse and no reason not to go after her for everything she’s got. If he needs her assets, he’s going to be desperate and all the maneuvering could skyrocket the legal fees.

      If there’s a postnup and he violates its terms, the divorce settlement will be much more predictable and less stressful.

      Even if Colorado Fox doesn’t end up seeking to end her marriage at this point, a postnup would protect her interests and give her peace of mind knowing he has signed away his ability to financially devastate her on top of the emotional devastation he has already wrought.

      • I sure wish I had the foresight and guts to insist on a postnup after DD#1. It would have saved us a lot on divorce lawyers as we go through the money fight.

        It’s a shame I didn’t find this site then. Instead I did what most of us do — MC, books, trying to understand and hold on… but when you’re marriage is build on a house of cards, it’s sure to fall apart eventually.

  • Wait 6 months to pay the bill- fabulous! I had a lawyer who told me to wait as long as possible and a MC who said wait a year. I finally couldn’t take it and found lawyers who urged me to file after 9 months. Now, he has 30 days to respond once he receives service (he is vacationing with slut puppet). Meanwhile, I live off savings paying 100% of the bills for me and 4 of our 5 children. Glad I didn’t wait a year to start this process.

    • Someone mentioned the other day, too, that things like time-frames and sex after discovery or separation matter legally in some states/countries — and cheaters generally know those rules — so it would be good to talk to that lawyer pretty soon.

      • I agree. In Maryland, if you have sex after finding out about your spouse’s cheating, then you are “condoning” the cheating & can’t divorce due to adultery. I bet her spouse knows this rule. I know it’s scary to contemplate being alone & having sex with a new partner if she doesn’t reconcile, but her spouse will never be the man she married. He’s a cheater. She’ll be pick-me dancing the rest of her life.

    • I think there needs to be a new ‘usual recommendation’. Right now it’s ‘wait six months before making any big decisions’, but the new one should be
      – ‘remorseful’ cheater moves out immediately. THEY figure out where they’ll live and how $$$.
      – cheater organizes and signs legal documentation providing fairly for chump and any associated kids, both temporarily and in a hypothetical longer term (‘if things don’t work out’).
      – best would be the divorce gets filed, and if possible, completed. People can always marry again if that’s what they want.
      – cheater gets into individual therapy, and pays for any therapy chump and kids need or want. No MC at this point.
      – cheater figures out how they will show chump that they are not cheating in any way during the next 6 months.
      – cheater shows what kind of parent they really are throughout this period.
      – NC ensues, 6 months. LC and gray rock if there are kids involved.

      If cheater is STILL remorseful, engaged, etc 6 months later, and chump still wants to ‘try’, THEN they can go to MC, date, etc, see where that goes.

      I’m betting 99% of couples would end up with the divorce being final, as they probably do anyway. But the whole process would be MUCH less hard on the chump and the kids. No pick-me dancing, no ‘what if she/he’s really a unicorn?’, no growing disrespect. So few cheaters would agree to this, so very very few would actually follow through, but then it would be clear that this is on THEM.

      • I agree with all of this. If you found out the house was on fire, you wouldn’t wait 6 months to call the fire department. Separate physically. Secure finances and file. Give it no contact for 6-12 months. The chump needs to detox. No decision to stay can be meaningful if the chump hasn’t had time to get mentally clear and balanced.

    • Your MC said to wait a year!! WTF!!

      After I left my (now ex) wife for good, my MIL emailed me and asked me to “wait and be separated for 6 months before filing for divorce.”

      Why?!? So wife can openly fuck her OM with “permission” as a separated spouse? MIL thought so highly of her daughter that she truly believed I’d change my mind after 6 months.

      She missed the point. I’d ALREADY given my wife 6 months to shape up and stop cheating. Wife had failed with all of those “second chances.” Wife had made clear what was important to her…and it wasn’t me.

      Moreover, in my state, divorce is required to take a minimum of 6 months. So, MIL automatically had her requested “separation” during that period. (Our relatively simple divorce took 9 months in total.)

      And did wife shape up during that period? Well, she claimed she did, writing me bullshit about growing and changing, and asking me several times for another chance. But, she was actually still fucking her AP the whole time (while he proceeded to marry his girlfriend!!).

      Yeah. Wait six months.

      Worst. Advice. Ever.

      • >>>she was actually still fucking her AP the whole time (while he proceeded to marry his girlfriend!!).<<<

        Nothing warms my heart more than when they get clipped by the Karma Bus so quickly!

  • Regardless of what you decide to do about your untrustworthy husband, protecting yourself financially absolutely must be done immediately. Don’t ever think “he would never…” because he would and he will.

    Alone is scary. Married to a betrayer is far worse. Immediate legal action is required to protect your assets. And yes, fire that shrink. Wait six months for what, exactly? I think 40 years of betrayal is quite enough, don’t you?

    • ‘Don’t ever think “he would never…” because he would and he will.’

      Yeah, you probably thought he would never cheat and look how that turned out.

    • Yes. The man you thought you married is not the man you are divorcing. If he would unilaterally make extremely selfish, dangerous (the STDs!), deceptive decisions about the very most intimate and trusted aspect of your relationship why on earth wouldn’t he do the same regarding your financial relationship? You are not divorcing the kind thoughtful man you thought you married. You are divorcing the lying, cheating, health endangering piece of shit you now know you did marry. Think of it this way: What if he kept two bags of powder (one filled with sugar and one filled with poison). He does not know which is which. Everyday he randomly put a spoonful in your tea–not knowing if it might kill you. EVERY single time he had sex with someone else, THIS is what he was doing to you—and he got off on it.

    • Yep I was married 36 years to a serial cheater who planned the financial rape all of those years! They don’t care about you or your kids…. extremely greedy and selfish assholes! Get out ASAP !

      • Same. Married 18 years to a loser who stole my and our kids’ financial security by the tens of thousands as he was walked out the door to go leech off his skank.

        Good riddance.

    • You nailed it. I never imagined that my husband would steal from me until the day I found the savings account that had $65,000 in it the previous year now had less than $600 in it. Turns out he had slowly, over the course of a year and a half, taken money out of the account and put it into his own investments. When the money was gone, he decided it was time to let me know about his affairs by leaving condom wrappers for me to find. Did I mention that this was all while I was going through cancer treatment? I thought this man had my back. Could have knocked me over with a feather.

      So yes, they will steal from you. If they can casually cheat on you for 40 years, believe me, they can steal from you.

      • So sorry you had to deal with this incredible betrayal while going through cancer treatment. The depth of their selfishness cannot be fathomed.

    • “Don’t ever think “he would never…” because he would and he will.”

      FarBetterOff nails it with this.

      We had no money–ever. We always lived week-to-week as he held a job for a couple of years and then quit … would look for work for six months … then we played catch up until the next cycle of his jobs.

      So, when I first came to CL and saw the warnings about financial abuse, I ignored them. What money could he possibly steal?

      The joke was on me. Turns out he was skimming the family till every week throughout our marriage (mostly for stupid crap — CDs, video games, fast food …yes, I was married to a nearly fifty year old who acts like a teenager).

      So, those weeks he was out of work and we couldn’t afford groceries for our children (so I had to borrow from family) … yeah, he was skimming money from my checks AND the borrowed money. Note: he was also getting enormous sympathy from me … poor guy couldn’t catch a break, don’t ya know?! (Facepalm from hell)

      His point: He deserved it; and it was just a “few bucks” here and there.
      My response: Nobody “deserves” to steal food from your kids’s mouths. It’s shitty behavior, period. And, even if it was “only” $20 a week that he deceptively took from family funds for the duration of our marriage, he owed the family nearly $25,000.

      And this was the guy who’s main “get laid” story-line was that he was a neglected family man who was overworked and underappreciated. !?!??!?! Ah, the bullshit is strong with this one.

  • #bitchcookie….. I will have to remember that one.
    This letter encompasses everything Chump Lady represents. Love this!!

  • Yet ANOTHER serial cheater trying to claim he’s a ‘sex addict’ in order to absolve himself of his shit behavior. Seems all men are doing this now and their BS’s are gobbling up this bullshit because they’d prefer to believe some ‘disorder’ made them cheat rather than face the fact that he did it because he WANTED to.

    “He is extremely remorseful and does not want to throw away all our years.” LMAO, yeah, sure he is. Sounds like he doesn’t want to lose half his assets and lose his ‘mommy’ whose always done everything for him but wipe his butt for him. “Remorse” my ass.

    Yes, the very deluded standard of “wait 6 months before making any big decisions” is just another bunch of bullshit tossed around by BS’s who just don’t have the lady balls to DUMP their cheater and want to cling like death to them, instead. Sounds like her ‘therapist’ gets her information from the delusion pool on SI.

    I actually laughed out loud at the BS’s question if she can trust that his new improved behavior is here to stay? LOL – seriously? He hasn’t changed at all. Mr. Pig has just become even more slippery, is all.

    • It’s not “all men” — plenty of men are faithful, awesome partners. There are good men on this forum, and good men in our lives — our fathers, brothers, and sons. Cheating isn’t a gender issue, it’s a character issue.

      (steps off soapbox now…)

      • I’m leaning towards 50/50 on the gender issue. We just don’t hear as much from the chump men. Men and women don’t seem to be that different where infidelity or character disorders are involved.

        • Agreed. I know Arnold used to comment here regularly and seems to have left based on the man hate which sometimes overwhelmed the threads instead of cheater hate. Lets use some “them and they” to spare the males around here a bit. I miss Arnold.

      • Good question CS. I’m sure post CL the pickme dance was the norm.
        Anyone who has gone through the paralysis wouldn’t laugh about the pain.

  • ChumpLady, thank you for keeping these letters coming. Even as Chumps move on mightily, you are holding the course here in your blog and changing the narrative.

    You rock

  • Hi Colorado Fox, your story is incredible!!!i m shocked you never had an idea about his ways! Did he not ogle women in front of you? Did you not see him flirting with women? Did you not have a nagging instinct that told you he was a butt sniffing Pavlovian dog? Basically everywhere he went sex was on his mind, he can’t even go to yoga class without picking up women! Don’t take me wrong I m incensed for you, a fellow woman whom was duped for over 40 years! My next question is can you forgive 40 years of betrayal? I think you want to because you love him and want to believe he can change but giving up champagne is not comparable. Those type of men need a good faithful woman to take care of them while they frolick on the side. There is no doubt he loved you to the best of his ability. But you deserved more than someone who made a fool of you, everyone knew you were cockolded. And that is the worst disrespect!!! Do you think he really loves you? No he loves his cock more! I hope you don’t keep giving in to him because he doesn’t deserve you. Good luck with everything

    • FBI- it’s so easy to get duped by a covert asshole for decades.

      Typically they seek out confident independent partners, mirror those aspects and good traits back to their chumps. As a working person in the same industry as the asshole I married, I knew the culture and the same people he was fucking.

      Absolutely, was I naive. I had never in my life been so tangled with an abusive fucker. Yes, my gut tingled and there were some red flags. His gaslighting was so effective and PLAUSIBLE that it just was not within my scope of understanding that a person who I trusted the most could be evil.

      Out of my 20yrs with an asshole, I know only partial truths but I think I can at least state I WAS married for at least 18mths based on vows and commitments. It’s a kick to the gut.

      • I agree. As a busy professional, with a demanding job that required lots of travel, raising a family and caring for my aging parents, I hardly had time to brush my teeth, much less police the man who professed that I was his “soul mate.” Was he an egotistical ass at times? Sure, but he was very careful to cover his tracks when it came to cheating. He never, ever made a pass at a friend, never hid his phone (didn’t even have a pass code on it), wasn’t into porn and there was never a single suspicious credit card charge. In fact, I was often told I had the perfect marriage! Ha! It wasn’t until the last skank decided she wanted to cash in on what she thought was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that I learned who X really was. You would be surprised at what lengths some cheaters go to to keep their activities hidden, especially if money is involved.

        • The 20-20 hundsight only kicks in after you leave.

          Plus the truth (in my case, fucking our SIL) is usually something no sane person would want to believe. Spackle is powerful stuff.

          Co Fox, this guy isn’t just a liar, he is lazy. To him, you are merely a nurse with a purse. Sorry if that hurts, but part of Chump recovery is taking the 2 x 4s. Balance that with knowing that he was a fraud, but YOU were genuine. Megahugs!

          • Omg the son in law??? What is wrong with these people, not in my wildest dreams would I come up with this doozy!!

            • I read it as sister-in-law. But either is repugnant.

              The ‘why didn’t you know’ trope is pretty hurtful. I got it. From people who were ‘our friends’ who openly admitted no one knew. So if he hid it from them, is it likely that the he was sloppy around the person who loved him most and he had the most invested in? I know you mean well, fbi. But victim blaming really gets my goat. No. I did not know nor suspect. Because he was otherwise open (no phone problems, no passcode, etc) and loving. I assumed honesty because I had no reason to suspect otherwise. People telling me I was stupid for not knowing? Fuck them. He was GOOD at deception. So good. No one knew. No one suspected. But apparently I was supposed to.

              • Well stated. Seriously, it would NEVER have dawned on me that I was married to a pathological liar. Even now – knowing what I know – I understand why I didn’t see it.

                Normal people don’t think the way these disordered assholes think, which is why it wouldn’t occur to us that they have a completely different worldview. They play-act “normal” astonishingly well.

              • Hi horsecumin, I asked the question because I m truly mystified by this phenomenon of not knowing. I feel this way because I had a type of sixth sense something was wrong, right from the beginning. I even had dreams and anxiety when I did not know exactly where he was. I joke about it but I was like a blood hound. It drove me mad because I could not prove what I was feeling until I undertook measures to basically be vindicated. I had no proof but a nagging feeling. Of course he denied denied till the cows came home! In the end , I was not wrong, he had been lying to me. If I had not done detective work god knows how long it would have dragged on. He enjoyed pulling the wool over my eyes, they get a sense of power over you. I found out 3 years into our relationship and it was never the same even if we tried to make it work it literally broke my heart because I never loved before. This love grew into hatred for the fraud he was. I realize how hurt co fox is after 47 years and I only have sympathy for her, I was not playing a blame game but I needed to ask why? Perhaps I m too direct.

              • Not having a good at you, fbi. Just pointing out that I have picked people who were cheating for decades. Mine showed no signs. He says he even scared himself at how well he hid it, how good he was at lying. In the week before D-day, 17 months after he started the affair, 2 months after he ended the affair, I got my first weird thoughts, and talked to his best mate. He was shocked and totally surprised I was asking that question. He wasn’t hiding anything from me, backing his mate up. He is a chump and told me ‘no way, I would pick a cheater a mile off. Been there. Not him.’ So being told I was stupid not knowing really pissed me off. Nearly 30 years of love and trust tends to make you believe they are worthy of that trust. I realise there are red flags most people look out for. This guy was pretty careful. No one knew.

              • Wow horsecumin he must have been real good , mine was sloppy. But as in all cases the truth eventually seeps out and unfortunately sometimes 30 years later! Some people say get over it you re not the first person cheated on, but it is so much more because of the leading a double life betrayal.

              • It’s hard to get over wasting 36 years of your life….. it’s like finding out your innocent but served 36 years in prison… you keep thinking how do I get those years back…. you don’t! You have to live with the regret of being with the wrong person forever and your children are reminders of a fake life that never existed! Weird how others think that would just go away!

              • Telling someone that you are not the first want to be cheated on, get over it is like telling someone you are not the first want to be raped, get over it. What crap!

      • “Yes, my gut tingled and there were some red flags. His gaslighting was so effective and PLAUSIBLE that it just was not within my scope of understanding that a person who I trusted the most could be evil.”

        +1000

    • Butt sniffing pavlovian dog… LOL. And, yes, my Cheater had these reflexes, always, but he manipulated me (and I complied) to believe I was overreacting, that he was just a gentleman, that I was a crazy, troublemaker….

      • Clearwaters yes my ex as well told me I was crazy, and “too much” that I was imagining things… such a terrible thing to take away someone s reality, to toy with them. It certainly is awful! I too at first wanted to believe I was wrong, but….

    • fbi, you write: “There is no doubt he loved you to the best of his ability.”

      I think love has nothing to do with this situation. Love involves putting the best interest of your partner at the center of what you do.

      • Lovedejackass, I said loved to the best of his ability because some people are not capable of loving fully. They are broken emotional handicaps. I m sure if asked he would say he loved co fox. He did stay with her 47 years in what she describes as a good life. However, He is just a pervert, dishonest and a slave to his passion …pussy ! And lots of it. This compulsion overrides rhythm or reason. it’s hurtful to say he did not love her at all she did spend a lifetime with him!

    • As incredible as it seems cheaters do not share our values. After years and years of forgiving and yes, knowing i stayed.

      Truthfully, I wouldn’t have left had I not found CL. What kept me there? It’s complicated. I was told that I feared being alone by one asshole. No, I’m very independent. I make enough to support myself.

      I knew all about abuse in relationships. I was shocked when I was told I had Stockholm syndrome, that he never respected/loved me, that I was a battered woman who bonded with a sociopath.

      When I feel judged I know it’s out of ignorance as I shared that very lack of understanding. I would liken it to being hypnotized although when you wake up you recall everything that happened in fragments.

      And you’re compelled to fit all the pieces and pray you have the strength to face the truth. Because the truth is the pain.

      If you asked me three years ago if I had any regrets I would have said no.

      A man who leads a double life while married loves no one, not even himself.

      • They cannot love. People are objects to get their ‘fix’ so they ‘feel good.’

        My stbx left and moved to upscale neighborhood with young coworker. Diamond rings, $1,000 bbq and smoker, nice furniture, new 350 truck, new Rzr desert vehicle that cost as much as a car (as he cries he cant afford child/spousal support!), he’s looking to buy new toy hauler to fit the Rzr (we sold old toy hauler as his new toy won’t fit – but I wanted it gone as he took schmoopers on camping trip in it – the toy hauler I was paying for)…. and all these things are not making him ‘happy.’ Oh yeah, and he has a baby boy on the way.

        But he’s not happy.

        The trophy gf and fancy toys aren’t working. He’s still a miserable pos.

        He texted me two days ago all agitated talking nonsense trying to get me upset. Because he’s irritated and restless looking for someone to be a whipping post. I didn’t bite. I laughed. His desperation is showing.

        I asked him – why aren’t you happy?

        He has turned our daughter against me. He is Disneyland dad with all the toys. I am the mean mom wanting to see homework and demanding to know why my Honor student got another F. Stbx tells her it’s ok to get Cs. No, it’s not. She’s an A student, you moron.

        I read his journal from rehab 15 years ago. He said he cannot love.
        People are objects to use. If they don’t comply then bullying and intimidation are used to force your victim to comply.

        That’s their pathetic existence.

        No feelings for others. No empathy.
        Just taking. To feed a bottomless pit.

        He dumped his family and has all the new shiny toys. And he’s still an angry pompous troll.

        While I struggle to try and keep the house. He wants to sell it as I did not accept some lame settlement offer. So let the bullying and threats commmence!

        But he’s not happy. He never will be.

  • Just get out of this arrangement.

    There is only 20yrs difference in our stories and we have had nearly IDENTICAL experiences. You experienced a real marriage and invested your time and energy. What your never knew until recently is that you bought into your cheater’s smoke and mirror fabricated facade. The guy is a parasite of the worst kind.

    Do NOT feel shame at never knowing of his decades-long betrayal. We chose to trust and believe a person skilled in deceit and manipulation.

    Protect your assets and yourself. Interview EVERY.SINGLE.TOP.FAMILY.LAW.ATTORNEY in your area, meet with a forensic accountant, lock down any important physical assets. I truly hope you live in a state that still has the At Fault divorce option. Your husband is a monumental whore.

    Ps. These kinds of GoodGuy/GoodGirl serial cheaters never change. They will continue with the same deceitful behaviors and become very very careful to change an aspect of their lies and manipulation to exclaim they are different. Nope; it’s the same turd covered in new glitter. The creep needs to take his ‘journey’ alone = he will parade and parrot therapy-speak and continue acting on the same behaviors.

    • >>>Interview EVERY.SINGLE.TOP.FAMILY.LAW.ATTORNEY in your area<<<

      YES!

      THIS is one of the things my cousin's narc cheater husband did to her as part of his planning to spring a sudden divorce on her.

      They live in a small city and he made sure to scuttle her ability to hire any of the good divorce attorneys. This hurt her as she had to hire a fledgling instead of an old pro who could stay one step ahead of him and the crafty attorney he chose to represent him.

  • Colorado Fox do you really want to spend your retirement years on red alert and doing Magnum P.I. on your husband.What a crap way to have to live.A form of torture IMO.
    Forty years of deceit shows he is character disordered and cheating is hardwired in him.
    Not much to work with there.
    Of course he’s doing a bit of shallow,superficial faux remorse.He’s got a good gig going with you,the facade of a marriage and all the security that offers and he doesn’t want to lose it.
    I did the hysterical bonding sex thing and when I look back on it,it makes me sick to think I debased myself for an absolute turd who lived his life as your husband has lived his.A chronic womaniser.
    Long term,serial cheaters like him are irredeemable,incorrigable manwhores.
    Waste of time,energy,space,effort.Put all that into your own new life instead.

  • Mines a reformed drinker, dry drunk. Got fit and sober and started cheating.
    Its all addiction and about hit the pleasure centres.
    How could you trust a word he says. I agree with all above ,will be the hardest thing ever. If it was me I would leave the state.
    I did this years ago to get away from a toxic douchebag that I couldn’t help but keep sleeping with, worked like a charm.
    NC and thousands of miles equals peace and a new life in a new place.
    Best of luck to you.

    • Lady B
      I was in same boat, my ex liked to hook up with young woman in AA recovery rooms. Narcassist douche who would sponser people to control and manipulate them.
      Saving one drunk or addict at a time all while juggling online porn and happy ending massages

  • My husband was a porn addict and now swears he is completely remorseful. I even had him do a polygraph. But, how could I trust someone that was secretly jacking off to porn for years and I had no idea? Someone that was carrying on virtual relationships with web cam girls, including cam-to-cam jack off sessions in the house and I had no idea! He said he was ‘remorseful’, so – I am testing that the best way I know.
    Asked him to file for divorce and give me the best settlement he could think of. He went through his lawyer. He handed me the papers this morning. I am getting my part notarized today. He was extremely generous financially, extremely. Then, once the divorce is final – he can work on ‘winning me back’.
    I will watch his behavior from a distance. He doesn’t have to sneak, he can be exactly who he wants to be free and clear and I am just as free and clear to decide what I want for my life.
    Hey, he might just be a unicorn, but he is going to have to prove he is a unicorn. Not magically showing up in the bedroom at night (just in time for sex of course). He is going to have to prove his unicorn status slowly, consistently, over time. In the meantime, it doesn’t matter if he is a unicorn or not. The kids and I are taken care of. I was generous with custody, so I am not holding the kids over his head.

    I would honestly love for him to be a unicorn, but – until I know for sure, protecting my children and myself is priority number one.

    • Just be cautious coolbreezeout. Mine was super generous initially too. When I discovered DDay #2, I thought we would get the financials separated out and he would move out and see was he was losing. The longer he was gone and the longer I went no contact, I realized everything I could not tolerate. It took a lot of soul search, CL, and CN to realize I needed to lose a cheater to gain a life.

      Now that he has realized reconciliation is not in the cards, he is getting tighter and stingier. I never considered he would be a jackass to the kids and withhold money to get back at me. Get everything on paper!!!

      If you decide to reconcile later, no harm no foul. If you don’t, he doesn’t get to be punitive.

      • Same here. I never thought he would be such an ass with the money. The shit he is doing to try to hide income from his business and reduce his support payments is disgusting. He more than quadrupled his business expenses in 2016 compared to any other year he filed taxes (talking over 15 years here).

        Does he really think that a judge won’t see through that? I just hope that same judge orders him to pay my legal and accountant fees to prove the games he is playing. The cheating is not isolated. They will try to cheat you in every way once they realize that you are past any reconciliation attempt on their part.

      • Will definitely keep a look out. Thankfully my income is enough to cover my kids’ needs, so if he absolutely bailed tomorrow they would never miss a meal. He can be an ass if he wants to, his choice. I am not at ‘meh’ when it comes to his actions towards me, but I am all kinds of momma bear when it comes to my kids. I thankfully am in a situation where if I need to drastically increase my income, it is actually doable.

        • Good for you coolbreezeout. I do well too. He makes 3 times what I do though. When the kids ask him for money for extras like ACT prep, sports camps, etc… he tells them they need to work on their relationship with him first. I can more than support us, but I definitely feel it trying to keep up with what all they are used to having and doing.

          After blowing up their world and shitting at school with a 20-something there, he uses money to try to lure them in. I saw my daughter text her best friend “Bitch, bitch, bitch. He says I have to work on my relationship with him if he’s going to give me field trip money. Who the fuck does that?” She got it much sooner than I did that he’s just such an ass!

          These are all things he should be doing. Instead I hear from the kids he doesn’t want to give them money because he’s saving up to buy a house. Looks like it’s going to be about $500,000 one to boot. I had to take a deep breath and realize even this won’t bring the middle-aged grouch happiness.

          I need to keep doing ‘meh’ and not worry about what he’s doing. One day. On a Tuesday. Meanwhile I’m greatful I have CL and CN to vent to!!

          • Are they all the same ?? He couldnt help himself try and recover her mobile phone bill threatening to cut her off if she went $10 over on her plan . Wtf meanwhile he was out living it up with the yet undisclosed fuck buddy. Charming . Now he doesnt know why she doesnt speak to him …especially since he remarked to her . ‘I wont be paying your mother a penny youll have to come to me if you want support for your living expenses once you turn 18 ..cheers dad you tool. So hateful yet i did nothing but spackle and let him fuck me /+over till the end . If im feeling generous i reason its the overwhelming guilt driving his shitty attitude but when i read this blog its more likely …TRUST THAT HE SUCKS

            • Yes, trust that he sucks! Sage advice! I am trying to figure out why that is so hard. It is not like I have to remind myself that the world is round everyday!

    • This is just awesome. Wise and mighty indeed. An example for others to follow. It’s great that your husband was decent enough to do right by you and the kids. Now you will see if he can sustain that good behavior–and whether you can be happier without him in the day-to-day picture.

  • “Waste of time, energy, space, effort. Put all that into your own new life instead.”

    Exactly this for all of us!

    Spring has sprung on the east coast and I am feeling the “new” today, everyone-my wish for all of you!

    Colorado Fox-dump that energy sucker and enjoy the people and things you have in your life that really fulfill you!

  • Colorado Fox, I open heartedly, and sadly, welcome you to this community. YOU DID NOT DESERVE THIS, YOU DID NOTHING WRONG, YOU DID NOT MAKE HIM CHEAT.
    I am 14 months out. My husband, who lied, cheated and stole, is holding up the divorce and still hasn’t done full disclosure of financials. Cheaters are entitled and have lousy character traits. You cannot trust him. Obtain evidence, as much as you can, as safely as you can. Consult a lawyer immediately.
    In order for you to imagine your brilliant future alone (not lonely), I would like you to write your dream list – all the things you want to do, all the places you want to go. Pick one and start planning.
    I went out Saturday night, I hosted a Meetup group. A lovely gentleman came and looked at me in a way I hadn’t been looked at in so long I think I forgot what it was like. Treated me with such respect. Best of all, I knew I deserved nothing less. One day, so will you.

    • I’m 4 months out and same thing all the way around. The Worm drags his feet, makes the divorce proceedings as difficult as possible. Meanwhile, I’ve also found an amazing man who treats me like a princess. I have to keep pinching myself because after 20 plus years of being treated like crap, it all seems unreal.
      My advice is to always ask yourself, “do I deserve better”……

  • “Sometimes I think I do not want to throw away all those years…” this kind of thinking is what kept most of us stuck in these torturous relationships. The only thing you are throwing away is your abusive husband. You are not throwing away the essence of who you are. You deserve much better than this Colorado Fox.

    Rather than “better late than never”, think of this as “later is gonna be greater” and you will be, as soon as you put yourself and your needs first. Listen to Tracy, she has given you excellent and proven advice. Going No Contact will clear your head and make it easier for you to move forward.

    • Though my marriage was much shorter (a decade), I lived this same struggle. I had invested YEARS of my life, fidelity, plans, hopes, and dreams in this marriage, made promises that mattered to me, enjoyed his company, enjoyed the sex well enough… How could I just walk away?

      It takes time for it all to sink in sometimes. Everything I believed I had turned out to be an elaborate delusion. It was an enormously bitter pill to swallow. I can it imagine that more time makes this even more bitter.

      Yet, CL is right. You have most likely only scratched the surface of the deception, and whether that is true or not, you’ll never really trust him again after so many years. It will never be the marriage you wanted, first and foremost because it never was. That’s clear now.

      My heart breaks for you. I know the grief is immense. The only way out, though,is through, and you can’t start grieving until you can accept that you have lost what you thought you had. I am so sorry you have to live this.

      • A couple of other thoughts: first, you are going to need a doozy of a support system. You’ll need a strong, experienced therapist with a good BS meter. Don’t settle on that. The person should empower you to make choices, point out your blind spots kindly but firmly, and definitely avoid ever justifying deception. Therapists are paid professionals. You are the customer. Don’t settle and don’t be afraid to move on if the fit isn’t right for any reason, fair or not. Friends/family are great, and respectful people will stand by you through all of their choices, but you can’t be unedited with them without losing them.

        Be unedited with your therapist and avoid asking people who love and and don’t want to see you hurt to understand your cheater’s point of view. They won’t, because they will think he is bad for you, and that is a good thing.

        Second, don’t drive yourself crazy wondering whether he really is remorseful or whether he really does love you. It’s an errand of distraction.

        CL is right – the real question is not about him, it’s about you. If you got a year or five or ten down the road and found it was the same old story, could you live with yourself?

        Remorse doesn’t unkill, unbankrupt, unrape, undeceive, unabuse, or unscrew people. Feeling sorry after the problem is exposed is like wishing you could unpunch someone. It might make you feel some compassion for the person, but it really isn’t a game changer. Remorse looks pretty, but it doesn’t make anything better. It’s a shiny ring with a styrofoam jewel.

        Stick around – we’ll help support you

  • I agree with cl there are many many great guys out there and guys get screwed over too. Two of my bestest friends are great guys ive known over 40 years with great character. Asswipe only loves two things his slong and his wallet. Took me 30 years to realize i was living a total lie. Im approaching retirement real soon and id rather be single and happy living my own true life than being a detective and wondering for the rest of it. It hurts damn it hurts but its better to live a free cheater free life than with a serial cheater in lala land. Divorce his ass nothing to work with here. Good luck to you. Hugs!

  • Colorado Fox,

    40 years is a long time so I totally get why you’re hesitating. Part of it is because of the time invested and part of it is because you probably can’t believe he’s been doing this. This isn’t the man you thought you married. All of us chumps have been where you are so we understand but Chump Lady is right, this isn’t about whether or not he can change. It’s about you and whether or not you’re comfortable with your marriage the way that it is now; knowing what you know.

    If you’re writing in to this blog, my guess is that deep down this really is a deal breaker for you but you need a little push in that direction. If you were looking for reconciliation advice, you’d ask a pro-reconciling blogger and I think it’s pretty clear after one visit to this site, that’s not what this blog is all about.

    That’s how it was for me. I stayed for 3 years following my dday and I found this site on my third year. So much of what was said resonated so I lurked until I finally found the courage to tell my ex I wanted a divorce after 27 years. Keep coming here and reading the sage advice given by CL and I’ll bet you eventually come to the same conclusion. He was lying to you for a lot of years by his own admission and most of the time any remorse we see has more to do with the assets the cheater will lose, than it does with actual remorse. Ask me how I know.

  • My dear contemporary, please sit down and have some tea. You’re not “throwing” anything away, you’re just getting a new prescription for your Reality glasses. The only thing that’s really changed is you now know Mr. Stud turned out to be a dud. Ignorance is damn expensive whereas Knowledge and Truth are ultimately a net gain-after beating the hell out of you. Unless you take concrete steps to protect yourself at least financially forget Airbnb and make plans to dumpster dive post retirement.

    Right now you’re in whiplash. I applaud your good sense in moving-bravo! Do you know how a pathological liar repairs the lives they’ve left shattered in their wake? They tell more lies. And if Mr. Dudley truly wants to make amends, no divorce decree is gonna prevent him from crawling on all fours and spending the rest of his wretched life begging for your forgiveness while consistently refraining from refilling his viagara script. Remember, words are cheap; it’s consistent behavior that reveals our Character. You now have decades of evidence regarding who he is and it hurts. Horribly.

    You brought your honest heart and integrity to your marriage and he brought his fraudulent Character. When there’s a death do we tell the survivors to wait 6 mo. before noticing the stench?! “No funeral for you, bukko we’re just gonna let ya decompose in the extra bedroom for 6 mo. Wouldn’t want to do anything hasty here, just wanna make sure you’re good and dead, OK?” The same applies here. Please, please listen to CL and CN and follow the recommendations in every way especially legally and NC, NC, NC. You already have the forward momentum so keep it going and follow through with the divorce. If he’s sincere about trying to repair the irreparable-and IMO he’s not, he’s busted-at the very best he’ll continue to engage in the same drip feed of mendacity because that’s who he is at baseline.

    And that is exactly who he will remain until his last breath. I’m sorry.

    • When the blinders come off you can see but not believe. My story is similar 38 years of marriage, family , home , looked like a beautiful
      life.. only to discover 20 years of STBX using prostitutes. Five months since Dday and the reality has penetrated my being, Divorce is in the works, and I am beginning to feel relieved of a burden I wasn’t aware of. The pain and loss leave a gaping hole, allow it to be filled with goodness and joy, start small and talk it all out. Some days are much better than others. Soldier on and understand nobody deserves what you are going through. Don’t hesitate to file and start moving forward. You can do it..

    • Tundra you are spot on. Reality glasses indeed.
      Sometimes I like to think of how my first love broke my heart with his cheating and I lost so much weight not eating that sitting was uncomfortable because my ass was so boney.
      I eventually left the state after doing the tango with the corpse one to many times and thinking, why am I degrading myself.
      After a few years I looked back and thought what a waste of time he was, but god I thought the sun shone out his ass.
      I think I may feel this way again in the next year about current cheating POS that I have babied through our 13 year relationship.
      Forge on keep reading this site people and create goodness in your life.

    • Tundra, this is truly great, “You’re not throwing anything away, you’re just getting a new prescription for your reality glasses”

      Keep posting. Please!

  • Here it is. Can a cheater change? Who knows. It’stbe great mystery, just as a parent that can suddenly lift a whole damn car off her trapped child…..and just as rare.
    It sometimes makes me sad, but I got the cheater that found a new gig with the younger woman (claimed sex addiction, “compartmentalization”, and his traumatic childhood for the reasons why he chronically cheated) and just left, buh-bye. He now claims we have a mutual hatred for eachother( over a money issue we can’t resolve and now the attys are back in the game) and he’s awesome in his new life…..a girl that loves him for who he is, two step kids, he’s “found the lord” with her and they are active in the church ( that’s rich right?).
    Is he changed? I don’t know. I don’t think so. I don’t care.
    I don’t care who he is in his new life or who he is for his new partner, I just know who he was to me and our kids. and that was a selfish asshole.
    Colorado Fox, these people don’t change. They are who they are.
    It doesn’t matter what he says now. He has the soul ( or lack there of) of somebody who’s capable of that level of disrespect, this is a non starter.
    I can only imagine how scary it must be to think of starting a new life after all those years with someone, but I promise you with some no contact you will come to realize it’s better and you find yourself again. It’s hard as hell, but absolutely necessary.
    Big hugs to you.

  • CL– you need to post the link you had in FB about how liars become immune to lying. It said they had less and less guilt about their lies the more they lied.

    So yes as someone else said they become hard wired to lie and deceive. This doesn’t change.

    CO Fox. Don’t do it. Don’t buy his bullshit. You don’t want this. You want what YOU thought he was. Protect YOUR assets. Get your lawyer and finances in check. Let him think what he wants and protect yourself your future and your well being. Let HIM do the pick me dance. They can change but not much.

    You don’t want this. It never goes away. Ask me how I know….

    • I read that article is was spot on.
      I took away from it also, if they lie about small stuff they will lie about big stuff.
      Something That will be front and centre when I start dating, hate liars with a passion always have.

      • Lady B–I took away from the article that at first they may feel a slight guilt, but as they continue with their lies it becomes easier and easier TO lie. So yes, the lying becomes hardwired. The guilt synapses no longer work on people who lie.

        Poor CO Fox, her old husband is hardwired to lie after 40 years. He is literally TOO old to change. At least people who are young and try to change would be more successful. They have the advantage of youth and young brain cells that regenerate. This baggy, old fart has a rotten liver AND his brain cells are NOT regenerating.

        I knew a man who was very wealthy, successful, a WWII decorated war hero. He was “old school”, so was his wife. He flirted and cheated when he felt like it and she looked the other way as long as her Saks Fifth Avenue bill was paid. So the old guy gets dementia and they retire to FL. He could no longer drive or function very well, but guess what he was still good at?? Hooking up with whores!!! So yeah his old wife, although designer clad, would have to go bail his demented ass out from the Hoosgow for solicitation of a prostitute!!

        This old bastard was hardwired to do what he wanted when he wanted. I’m sure he led a double life when he was younger and lied his pants off. It became second nature. The last time he got caught being arrested it was published in the local newspaper of the sheshe FL town he lived in. He died a few months later. Great legacy for everybody.

        So I hope CO Fox will take that into consideration when making her decision. I hope she protects herself and doesn’t buy into the possibility of change. I hope she protects HER assets that she’s worked so hard for.

  • She did say she wanted a “Sucker punch reality check” and she got one

    Welcome to the club. And so sorry to hear your story.

  • I was also married to a “sex addict” who was happy to play up that diagnosis. Ironically now, since we are divorcing, he claims he was never a sex addict. It was in fact our dysfunctional marriage because of MY issues (imagine that) that drove him to spend $10,000 at a strip club in a 2 day period, sleep with call girls, sign up for adult sex and dating sites spending over 20,000 (and that’s just what I know about in the 3 years of “reconciliation” when my radar was up).

    Oh, if I knew in my chump days what I know now. Actually, I did know, because people were telling me, “this is what you need to protect yourself from”. I sucked the hopium pipe hard, and though, “oh no, he’d NEVER do those things!”

    Fast forward 5 years and as he drags out this divorce he has purchased a new home cash, using our investment accounts (I was a stay at home mom for 18 years, so everything is in his name) takes his girlfriend on lavish vacations, and his setting me up for financial struggle. Ironically, because we are still married, everything he’s doing is legal! When you file get an order (I’m not sure of the legal term) stating no large purchases can be made without agreement from both parties. I too did not believe my spouse would ever try to screw me finacially, but I’m here to tell you, anyone who will cheat on you physically has no problem milking you finacially! Protect yourself!

    • Do you hear a constant theme here today? “Anyone who will cheat on you physically will cheat on you financially.”

      And it sucks to have to deal with that after everything else, especially when you have kids. Document, document, document, and get a good attorney.

    • I want to add a warning about such court orders that prohibit large purchases and/or withdrawls from financial accounts – and I know this from my own personal experience. In Michigan it’s called an Ex Parte Mutual Restraining Order. I paid my attorney to file this on my behalf, and the order was granted by the judge. EH continued to deplete 401K savings account, so I notified my lawyer who told me it would cost me more to bring him to court on contempt charges than the amount(s) he had withdrawn. Damn I was pissed – at the EH, at the system and at my lawyer. I wasted over a grand filing this order with the court, since I chose NOT to spend the money to go back to the court and have them enforce it. The system SUCKS as much as the disordered freaks we are trying to break free of.

  • He does NOT deserve you. Leave the cheater and begin a worry-free retirement with your self- respect intact.

  • A friend recently sent me an email with some heart rendering quotes.
    I want to share one with CL and CN:
    “Today I watched my dog get run over by a car. I sat on the side of the road holding him and crying. And just before he died, he licked the tears off my face.”

    I thought of this quote again today when I read Tundra Woman’s wise post above.
    “And that is exactly who he will remain until his last breath.”

    Is it any wonder that a dog is man’s best friend!
    If only mankind could not have more of our canine’s heart and soul qualities.

    Colorado Fox,
    CL, CN is here for you. We have your back.
    Your enough is more than enough.
    RUN!

    • What finally got me to meh was having my dog put to sleep. He was 16 and had been the most sweet dog you could ever wish for. I know it sounds weird but the grief of losing him and his devoted doggy ways overrode all other feelings. It was his last gift to me I guess. Since then I just don’t care, ex. Is not important any more.

  • Maybe people can become addicted to substances and activities. They have to learn to deal with whatever dysfunction they have themselves. You cannot help them, or stop them. You cannot enable their behavior. You have to take care of yourself, and overcome your desire to protect and defend your investment of 40 years. You cannot save another person but you need to save yourself.

    I don’t understand addictive behavior — how someone lets one preference of behavior control their whole life. I have many preferences, but I have to balance my desires and likes with the many other things I need to do in order to take care of myself and my needs. For years I worked to take care of myself, my children, and my spouse, and I assumed my spouse was working toward the same goals. I assumed. I was wrong.

    I find it ironic that I put up with so much BS, found so many excuses for his failures, and the entire time he was enjoying the fruit of my labor and eating cake. He could be sexually dysfunctional with me, and yet find great energy to pursue porn and other women. How does that work? If he had invested half of the energy he used pursuing these activities into doing what he was supposed to be doing, we would have had a very fine life, indeed. In addition, I have to wonder what the OW thought they were getting? Especially if they knew he was married? There certainly was no prize there to worry over. No unicorn is worth the time and effort you have ALREADY SPENT in pursuit.

    It is very hard to cut your losses. However, you have to be reasonable. If you have poison in a toe, and it has not spread throughout your body, YET, you have to cut off the toe. This fellow is not even a toe — he is toe jam. Surgically remove him from your life, and learn to live a better life without him.

  • After Dday when I found out about his long term affair, I also found out that he’s a peeping tom, a porn addict, and even though I nursed him through stage 4 cancer the year before, he has been bad mouthing me behind my back for the majority of our (at that time ) 10 year marriage. CL says it right…we ask the wrong question. Most of us find out all kind of crazy, any number of things at reasons to divorce immediately. When you have a list that involve multiple sex workers and affairs, why do we think they would bother to change? Mine even made a public confession before our church…however , he didn’t mention how long he was doing it, who he was with (even though it was another church member) and has continued the affair without stopping…5 more years have passed, lol.

    Sorry shows, change shows, people. My ex was was sooooo remorseful, he left me with all of marital bills and asked for part of my retirement and the marital home that he does not pay for….but I believe both in God and Karma. As my lawyer put it…he’s got to live long enough to claim them….

  • My Dearest Colorado Fox,

    Please find Coobreezeout’s post above and use it as a game plan. I can feel you from here and this is the only way you can safely move forward. If a divorce is too much for you, a postnup will do nicely.

    It is much easier to play “go fish” when you hold 80% of the cards. You can’t risk losing this one. You just retired, you have so much good time ahead of you to finally celebrate the wonderful person you are. Please don’t let him hurt you further by risking your retirement. Time is on your side right now. It will not always be. Time is fickle as all hell.

  • It would be a very good idea to check your own credit, too. I did this after discovering the cheating to find that he had very generously put my name as a user on a credit card that he took out, and that had a huge balance.

    I never knew about this credit card and I never used it. I did appeal to him to take my name off of it (he was hopeful for reconciliation – lol) and as soon as that was accomplished, I filed.

    Lucky thing I did that because had I not, I would have been responsible for paying the balance. He defaulted on everything after he no longer had access to my earnings and had to declare bankruptcy.

  • Here is the thing…any man who was outed for decades of cheating/flirting/porn/hitting up on women ect IF he were truly remorseful would NOT be “up” for continuing to have sex with the wife who he cheated on. He’d be far too ASHAMED to even want to go there. Yes, shame and remorse would be filling his plate so full that the thought of sex would be a total turn off. How dare he continue to boink you after what he has done! This alone tells me that he has no shame or real remorse…but let’s test that:

    I am also in my sixties…ditto for cheater X. He has been cheating his entire adult life while proclaiming to be Christian man even…holding weekly Bible studies in our home and doing the God talk to entice vulnerable women into a romp in the sack with him…all the while saying he is happily married which is just a way of saying that he will not commit to another woman except for having a slurry of hedonistic pleasures. Happy ending massages too.

    I say, if you really want to see just how remorseful he is, tell him that you will need to divorce him, get a great settlement, and go NC for FIVE YEARS…to include NO bootie calls aka sympathy sex between the two of you during this entire time. If he remains faithful, you will eventually know because people “talk” and people “see” and God will make sure that He sends a “little birdie” to let you know just how remorseful he really is during that entire time. He quit drinking? Goody for him…I suspect that is simply because the booze interferes with his appearance and ability to be his best…for other women.

    Meanwhile, enjoy YOUR life doing the things that fulfill you. This is what I am doing and it is wonderful. At my age, I do not really give a shit if I ever get married again anyway. God will need to tear him into pieces and completely rebuild him if there is even a sliver of a chance for true remorse and permanent heart change. Cut this man out of your life or you will end up wiping his shitty ass a decade from now without really knowing if he is worthy of your care.

  • Dear Colorado Fox,

    Aww. I feel for you. So many years invested in what seemed a loving and worthwhile project. And just when you are supposed to head off into those golden years together … poof. Boy have I been there. I am so sorry.

    What I realized pretty quickly is that most of the plans and dreams I had for those retirement years were still completely doable … just without him! And truthfully? He was never really on board with a lot of my dreams anyway. He was just humoring me while he trotted off to get drunk, use drugs, and sleep with as many men and women as he could. “Retire to a low country equestrian community? But where will I meet all my desired hook ups????”

    Your husband of all those years is counting on you for your money, your sex, and future nursing care when he can no longer wipe his own ass. Do you really want to be saddled with an old man in the not too distant future? Believe me, I would lovingly provide such services to a man who loved me and cared for me in the good years. But not so for a man who looked for every opportunity to lie to me and screw me over over four decades. Nope.

    I know it hurts, but I hope you waste no time in breaking contact with him, getting a good divorce, and then riding off into that hard-earned sunset to enjoy yourself. The horse part is optional!

    • When I filed for my divorce, the clerk in the law office commented how there seemed to be so many more couples that had been married for over thirty years filing for divorce. I’m one of those couples. I know in my case I spent my entire married life taking care of the STBX and our children. I loved the life I “thought” I had. I stood by him and sickness and in health. I put his career, his wants, his everything, first. Then I found out about the strippers and it made me wonder what else I didn’t know. I agree with Dixie Chump in that I would have lovingly taken care of him to the end. Now, I can hardly stand to look at him and when I do, I see the foolish old man that threw away a good woman and blew our family apart. I see it. But he doesn’t. It wasn’t what he did, it was my reaction to it. I know this is what he thinks.

      My hope for you, Colorado Fox, is that you realize YOUR worth. It’s taken me a long time to realize mine, but I know it now.

  • I’m so heartbroken for this woman, because she’s the same age as my mom who has been putting up with emotional abuse from my dad for over forty years. Yet I’m so hopeful for her, too. I’m not 65 so I can’t say what this must feel like for her, but I imagine it seems there’s nothing left. But I’d look at it this way: if you get even ONE WHOLE YEAR of independent bliss away from this complete asshole then that’s a WIN.

    Twelve months of eating what you want when you want it. Of not worrying about STDs (did you actually see the clean report??). Of pursuing your retirement dreams big and small without someone crushing them or stealing your money so you can’t afford them.

    I mourned the loss of what “could have been” until I realized it never would have been. It was a fantasy I’d created to justify moving forward with my ex. It was a dump truck full of spackle.

    Go be fabulous. Flirt with a guy at Whole Foods. Watch Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth is amazing but the Kiera Knightly one is better) and eat a whole bowl of popcorn without someone’s nasty hands digging in.

    Live, woman!! LIVE!!!!

  • Colorado Fox,
    Only you can decide what is best for you but I suggest you do not throw away any more years on this relationship just because you have already “invested so much”. Unfortunately, like so many of us, you picked a bad investment for your time, love and trust. Not your fault, not your failure, not your worthiness, but what happens from now on is on you. You sound like a great investment, why not put your resources in the amazing, original artwork that is you.

  • Blah blah blah=sex addict! Great bait by the RIC to line their pockets. I highly recommend getting a doctor who is well educated in narcissistic sociopaths. And PTSD. Because once it finally sinks in, the depth of his con, your brain will explode (PTSD) . Grief. Anger. Decline of your emotional psychological and physical health. Stay on top of your health situation FOR YOU! He will never change. Why should he? Get out before he ends up in SA meetings scapegoating you for being co-dependent. And read your Chumplady everyday for strength. You can do this!

  • For me the things that stand out is;
    – Did you document the things you did find out? – -Did you get those names and all of those women/sex parlor? Estimated $ spent?
    -Did you take photos and have proof of all of the infidelity?

    You have a lot of years together so in some states they were just divided 50-50. If he thought that all those people could to be deposed and you had all of that stuff and all those sites would be subpoenaed and everything perhaps you could have that as a back up plan.

    But first – I get that post nup where he gives you everything – let him think that you’re going to work it out and get everything in line and just be stealthy which is hard to do when you’ve been an honest, transparent, loving wife for as many years as you have.

    But you have to be outside of yourself now and even make yourself an alter ego which protects yourself and fights.

    One of the things I do is I look at a picture of me as a little girl and say “how would I treat that little girl today?” Usually it’s not it all the way I’m treating myself now…

    I’m sure you want a life together. But under the surface he’s gotten off on how naive you’ve been. The whole town knows he’s s pervert and for 40 years people have looked at you as chumpy. He’s been good with that… never sleep with him again. He gets alone time to fuck around and visit you and fuck you. His life is good. No way he’d want to lose you. He told you tons and you still have good sex. How can you look at him without seeing him fucking others?

    My heart has not caught up to my head- but it will. Yours will – it may take some years but the rest of your days should not be spent as the whore police.

  • Colorado Fox, we are the same age. And I’m sitting here imagining that I had managed to stay in one relationship from age 18 to today and that gives me some idea of the scope of the problem that you face. But before I go any further, let me say that I agree 100% with CL and I hope you follow her advice.

    It’s not time now to unpack how you missed the signs that your H is a “pervert” and had affairs almost your entire marriage. That work, however, is a key reason why you need a better therapist. I’d stay away from psychiatrists and find a therapist who works with those recovering from trauma. You are a smart cookie; if you need to interview a few before you pick one, do that. Or call the local women’s shelter and get some names. You are married to an abuser. He just doesn’t leave bruises where people can see them.

    As I read your letter, I wondered: Where is your anger? Why aren’t you furious at this man? How can you look at him knowing he deceived you for almost 50 years? The lies. The gaslighting (“No, I wasn’t flirting with that woman”…”Gotta stay late at work…” “You have no reason to be jealous” or whatever it was he said to keep you in the dark. You had to go be tested for STDs. Your friends think he is a “pervert.” Why are you even talking to him? Who cares if he is sorry (and mostly sorry he got caught)?

    Your decision to get a condo and relocate is so admirable. It’s very tough to walk away in your 60s. But you’ve done the hardest part. You have a new home. You’ve got your feisty mom close by. You have the time and I hope the resources to build a new life that is not based on lies and deception. He’s been duping you for 50 years. THAT IS WHO HE IS–A LIAR. A CHEAT. And according to your friends A PERVERT.
    I feel 100% certain that if you hired a PI right now, that investigator would quickly show that the cheating is still going on.

    CL is spot on. You already know the cheating and at least the chronological scope of it (your whole marriage). Protect yourself. Get a forensic accountant and the best attorney you can find and figure out what works best for you. The infidelities are established fact. It doesn’t matter if you only know 30% of the cheating. What you need to know is how to protect your finances–home, retirement funds, investments, insurance, etc. You want 2 things: you want an equitable division of those assets, which should reflect compensation for what he’s spent on cheating for the past 50 years. So say he spent $1000 a year on affairs and sex workers every year. That’s probably over $40,000. A good look at where the money goes might show you that he has secret accounts, etc. As CL says, infidelity and financial abuse run together.

    A remorseful person will want to make up for the damage he’s done so if he is remorseful, he won’t fight a divorce, he’ll disclose all financials promptly and make sure that you have what you need to move on. He won’t fight you.

    You ask if your husband can “become the honest, trusting spouse [he] should have always been?” Think about that for a moment. How do we “become” honest and trustworthy? Those are character traits that must be first seen as core values (I want to be honest. I want the people in my life to be able to trust me) and then cultivated over many days and years, through decision after decision to tell the truth, to keep faith with others, to strive for integrity in all aspects of life. Your husband has all his default settings at “lie” and “cheat” and “steal” and “manipulate.” There’s nothing to work with here. And I think you know that or you wouldn’t have walked away. Do 6 mo

    • …Do 6 months of strict “no contact” and see how much getting away from his disordered thinking helps you become clear. You are a smart woman. If you missed the signs of what he is and what he was doing, it’s because he gaslighted you and manipulated your “reality”. And it might in part be because for a long time it was easier to believe his version of “reality” than to blow up your life. But either way–you need to detox and reframe your thinking before you make a decision to allow him to be any part of your life. That’s why filing now is key. What you need time to do is heal. But at 65, you can’t afford to wait for a year or two to get your mental clarity back. Protect your finances and divorce this guy as you go no contact and get clarity of mind through working with a therapist. You can always re-marry if he turns out to be a unicorn. But what is far more likely is that you will look back a year from now and be repulsed at what you see when you look at him.

      (sorry for the cut off post–I have no idea what happened there.)

  • In many ways, my marriage was like CF’s. For 33 years, my XH cheated with others and I didn’t know. A couple of times I had suspicions and he somehow convinced me it was all in my head. Friends knew and never said anything. Something recently I also learned. – I had had an inheritance from my parents. Not a large fortune, but enough to ensure a comfortable old age. Well, my then husband was a financial planner and he invested my money. In his business, they get paid on commission and so when funds are traded, the planner makes his money. So, my money was moved all over every month, all of the time. I had no idea this was unusual. But, the amount kept going down, down, down. After separation, I got a new financial planner who invested my money and doesn’t move it, except after a thorough discussion with me. My money is going up, up, up. I was being used financially when married and never knew it. Now I am becoming more secure financially over time. So, not only did he cheat with other women, he cheated me financially. It really is about character – in all areas. Yesterday, someone wrote about fighting over a turd and I loved the analogy. This man is a turd in all areas and if anything, one should feel sorry for anyone who gets involved with him. So glad to be divorced and living a totally free life.

  • Don’t know if I am off topic but I need to vent. I just went to a therapy session with a family therapist because my stbx does not have a good relationship with his children. I hear there are some narc cheaters who love their kids and are good dads but my husband is not one of those. His love is conditional and his needs come above everything else. The kids are there to serve him.

    So the therapist tells me no contact is ok for me because he is emotionally abusive, name calling and demeaning, but 40 years of research says kids of divorce need thei dad no matter what. WTF?! They should continue to eat shit sandwiches?

    Next I am accused of damaging them because I am not making sure they see their grandparents. Grandpa has ALS which does not effect his thinking only movement. He can text and Facebook. He sent a Facebook message to my two adult children and that is how they found out the identity of cheaters homewrecking whore and that they were Facebook friends.

    I finally shut therapist up when I told her that grandparents uninvited us all for Christmas and did not contact me again even though in February I arrange for my sons to take grandpa to a truck show. Meanwhile the are hosting hww in their home. I told her if he wants kids to see grandparents, he can arrange it.

    He probably doesn’t have time because of his biweekly trips to Florida and the Bahamas with hww.

    She wants to talk to stbx again and then talk to me again. I am so worked up. Talking to her just draws up all the years of his shit and makes me feel ill. I will ask my lawyer, but I don’t see why me or the kids should be subjected to that.

    She even said my kids should learn who dad is and how to deal with him- take his behavior as Oh, that’s just dad. Kind of like, oh, that’s just Charles Manson- laugh it off.

    Any advice? I just want to cry and I had been feeling stronger, taking control and filing.

    • Read this yesterday and thought maybe Gordon Ramsay doesn’t want to spoil his kids which is noble but I detect a narcissist. Today I googled and surprise, surprise, he has a history of infidelity but his wife is standing by him. One of his partners even wrote a book about her affairs called pillow talk. I am really getting unwanted education on life these days. Being naive I has its benefits.

      https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/3297279/gordon-ramsay-wont-leave-his-four-children-a-penny-of-his-fortune-as-he-fears-it-will-ruin-them/

    • FeelingIt–NO, kids do not NEED a relationship with two parents, especially when one is selfish and sucks at parenting. Children need one sane parent, they need love and structure. The therapist is wrong, and doesn’t pay attention to research. (If it helps convince you, I am a developmental psychologist with 20+ years of teaching parenting/family and a whole lot of school-of-hard-knocks experience.)

      The type of parenting used by your STBX is toxic; children do not need to be exposed to that. Sadly, most courts will make them see their errant parent if they are under 11. If over 11, they often have a choice.

      • Thanks Tempist, I really needed that this morning. 40 years of research – not a good argument. My children are people, not statistics and they deserve respect. For the therapist to give that kind of cookie cutter response, it doesn’t say much for her. Maybe we are the outliers but we can’t be two far out considering all the stories on this blog, but outliers matter too and I know my Stbx and children a whole lot better than her.

  • Can a cheater change? I agree with CL on this point. In the wake of DDay and finding out that your world is built on lies, we ask the wrong questions. As with everything else that the cheater does, the focus is once again, shifted to them. They maintain their centrality as we work very hard to understand why they would engage in such behavior. “Are they capable of change?” “Do they care that this hurts so profoundly?” Unfortunately, all of these questions are problematic because as CL also points out in nearly every post, you can’t control the choices that anyone else makes. Untangling the skein makes you, literally, crazy.

    The only questions that you can really answer are the ones that you know about you. Can you really keep living with this person after they have broken everything that you have? Can you really, truly justify what they have done? You know that they can and they do! “Hello! My name is Ted and I’m a sex addict. I’ve been sex free for one hour. Being a sex addict is not my fault. My parents did this to me and all my relationships have reinforced it!” They find a host of reasons as to why what they have done is morally and ethically A OK. But you really need to ask YOURSELF if what they have done is right. Can you really, truly say that you could trust this person again? Playing detective/police chief is pretty awful and at the core, it is not an authentic or sustainable lifestyle – EXCEPT in the role that being a police official helps in a marriage/relationship. Know your boundaries and ENFORCE them.

  • Colorado Fox,

    I want to focus on one aspect of your letter.

    “We have always had a great sex life and still do when he visits here.”

    First, if you have always had a great sex life, why did he need to flirt, to have affairs, and massages with happy endings? Clearly it filled some need for him. And you state that both you and he believe that he’s not a sex addict. But he’s got something going on that makes him behave that way. Whatever it is, if you want to reconcile, you need to come to grips with it, and decide if those behavior patterns are acceptable to you going forward.

    Second, of course the sex is great when he visits you. For him, it’s “Hey, I told her about my sleazy behavior (or at least some of it), and she’ll still spread her legs for me. Awesome.” And for you, it’s
    “Maybe he really loves me and will stop cheating, because he wouldn’t do this with me if he didn’t plan on being faithful going forward.” Unfortunately, only one of you is right in their thinking.

    My interpretation of your situation is that he’s a player who likes having multiple partners. You are the partner that he roomed with and is married to. If you’re content with that, by all means, forgive him and stay married.

    Sorry you had to discover this at your age. But you have a nice long retirement ahead of you. Without work, in a new place, you can completely reinvent yourself. Decide who you want to be, and be that person.

    Good luck. Hugs. Strength. Peace.
    aeronaut

    • “First, if you have always had a great sex life, why did he need to flirt, to have affairs, and massages with happy endings? Clearly it filled some need for him.” That statement makes you sound like you are alarmingly close to victim blaming, Aeronaut. We don’t do that here.

      Also, in case you haven’t noticed, when it comes to cheating there are NOT two sides to the story. There might have been before the cheating but that action alone changes the whole narrative. So you see, the only need that was being fulfilled outside the marriage was this guy’s need to be disordered. That doesn’t really count. Plus there are plenty of cheaters who cheat when their marital sex life is very active and spicy (plenty of chumps who will tell you that) so, yeah, no. Not a legit sentence to bring into this conversation.

      While I agree she shouldn’t be having sex with this guy, I won’t call into question her perception of their sex life. She was there, we weren’t.

  • I do love your pros(for prostitutes, in my mind) and cons (oh, how many he pulled!) CL, and I would like this made into a Christmas song to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas (I was waiting for a partridge in a pear tree to appear. at the end of those lists). Love you as always.

  • Dear Colorado Fox,

    I’m sorry to read that,unbeknowst to you, your entire adulthood (almost fifty years) was invested in a lying,cheating p.o.s.
    He’s still lying. You confronted him and he denied and obfuscated. His “issues”,lack of self-control and galling selfishness have hit you hard,the equivalent of an emotional tsunami.
    Sex addiction,in my opinion, is a crock of sh*t. Read David Ley’s “Myth of Sex Addiction”.
    Good on you for getting away from Mr. Egocentric by leasing a condo near some emotional support,your mum.
    Downgrade the semi-friend to a nonentity. True friends,even just people who value civility and respect for others, inform others who are being conned and hoodwinked.
    He doesn’t want to throw away all your years together ? You mean he doesn’t want you to walk away with your assets (maybe more than half if you earned more than he did) and not have a caring,devoted spouse to care for him in old age. Tell him you (no longer Mrs.Nurse and Purse) are leaving him to fend for himself.
    You may have been tested and cleared for stds but I hope from here on you insist that any man you have sex with uses and condom and dental dams for all sex acts until trust is established. Alas,our immune systems weaken as we age.
    I hope you find someone who values and adores you !

  • Though it may be common knowledge, I never knew that you could quite literally “lock down” your phone so that texts from the girlfriend never lit up the phone, never showed up on the main screen, or gave any indication of the fact that they existed. So, the “doting husband” could even let his young children play games on his phone, completely secure in the fact that there was nothing to worry about. He was an IT exec, so quite knew his way around technology. There is a part of me that believes that this little game is actually designed to inspire confidence in the wife. You believe there is nothing to worry about… who, after all, would not passcode his phone, and even let the kids play with it if he had nothing to hide. After I found out about the existence of this nifty little device, I did some research and realized it has been available for a long time… paint me clueless, I never knew……

  • The wife of the Alabama Cheating Governor divorced him, I read, after fifty years. If she can do it, so can we all.
    I wish she would write to Chump Lady.

  • Whilst I am talking not quite 30 years, Colorado, and a(n apparently – I’ve fine-tooth combed the hell out of this!) one affair only cheater, who ended the affair before I found out, and then worked his arse off for the next several years to prove his deep sorrow and remorse for blowing up my world, I eventually had to leave. My ‘problem’ was the tagline here really. In order to try to gain a life, I couldn’t stay. It felt like settling for less. Yes, he was lovely, open, loving, caring, sweet, understanding, so, so gutted at what he’d done. I just never loved him as much after he cheated. I adored (still do, dammit) that man. He was delicious. But for just over a year, he was a liar, a cheat, and he didn’t even protect my sexual health. I could never reconcile that arsehole with the man I loved. The partner I fucking deserved. Cheating fucks relationships. That simple. That fucking sad. And that was with a version that was not a full-blown narc. (Maybe just for a while ?.) He gets it. He knows how hard we both tried to ‘build something new’ – cheating was not ‘the best thing to happen to my relationship.’ I don’t think any relationship really ever survives cheating. Like CL, it’s all just a variation on the shit sandwich buffet.

  • Her Therapist telling her to give it 6 months before making a decision is no surprise. Many work from the premise that once the chump has gotten over the initial shock of the matter they will think differently to how they do in the moment. It is the same when a spouse dies and the grieving spouse just wants to move on.

    I am 3.5 years out and only yesterday I was asked by a therapist “how do I think it would be for him (the Ex lying, cheating, closeted gay, porn addicted newly married super christian) if he actually told the truth” WTF! the session became about him because I mentioned that my Ex had called me and then denied doing it, and that I was frustrated that he still feels compelled to lie about the most trivial shit. That was her focus getting me to consider how it would be for him and when I did not go down the rabbit hole of poor him, then she wanted to know how this made me feel inside. I won’t be seeing her again, it lasted all of one session. My Ex whom I am 99% NC with 1% contact due to kids claimed he had not called me and had no idea what was going on but it was not him, he was driving. In the old days I would have pondered this for hours and then would have felt compelled to prove that I was not crazy. Look! See! technology does not lie! but there is no point to that now. It only proves that despite his claims he has dealt with his issues (with the church) he clearly has not because he still thinks he can gaslight me. Poorly might I add!

    I got the same wait game from my church after D’day whose expectation was that I would wait on the sidelines of my marriage indifferently without any hint of divorce because they believed they could fix him by monitoring his computer use and meeting with him fortnightly for disciplinary action. Yes, this was their fix all to curb his desire to cheat with other men which he had successfully hidden for a decade, and when I refused to play the waiting game they blamed it all on me and his being possessed by a demonic spirit and proceeded to help him groom my replacement. How long was I to wait is unknown I was told by the pastor of the church during a confrontation 5 weeks after D’day that I could not say my marriage was over till he said I could. This shocked me and I was not willing to submit myself to that level of abuse so got to making plans to get out, when I learned two weeks later that they had called my Ex back into fellowship at our church without a single word to me I knew they did not have my back. So I left. This too was all later blamed on me, my lack of faith, forgivness, submission, (add every shitty thing I ever did as a wife here) because it helped them to be justified in keeping him. This made me realise that I should have gotten out sooner, I did not leave my husband when I suspected he was cheating and struggled with all the lies and deception that went with who he is because I feared loosing my support networks, that I would be judged as an unfit person, mother, christian, if I left my marriage without any tangible reason (or proof) to do so. Only to discover that even with proof I was treated exactly as I feared.

    My encouragement to chumps, listen to your gut. Friends, family, therapists, pastors, random fucking strangers will all have an opinion on what they think you should do. Listen to that little voice that is warning you that for self-preservation you need to get out, some internal voices may be small due to years of abuse, some may be screaming “WTF are you waiting for?” however it speaks, listen and act accordingly.

  • Doingme
    Good point. I nearly had a car accident this morning and you just reminded me that I am glad I changed my Mum to the beneficiary of my life insurance policy and pension.
    Should would take care of my boys and pay off the house.

  • Dear Colorado Fox
    If you’re still reading these comments… I have a STBX that is 62. I think one of the big reasons mine (and yours) is fighting for the marriage is that they are concerned about who will “end up wiping his shitty ass a decade from now ” as one person above phrased it. It’s not love. It’s not history. It’s who will take care of THEM.

    Mine is a ‘pathological narcissist’ according to my therapist. So my divorce is in the works. I am totally NC. (For those who may remember my story, mine is the narc that videotaped me secretly for over 20 years…oh, and porn and hookup sites too..)

    And you do need to check the law in your state re: having sex with him after finding out about his adultery. In some states it precludes your using adultery as grounds for divorce. It’s called ‘condonation.’ As in, you basically condoned his cheating by sleeping with him again. Stop.

  • I was married 26 years with children. I found a text between him and a neighbor. He wanted a nudie for his birthday. When confronted he went to gym. Next day filed for divorce. Found out he was sleeping with another neighbor on the same road.
    I could finally see why my marriage wasn’t working out. Too tired to go out. Not in the mood for sex. He was well respected and made a lot of money. He was also getting a large inheritance.
    I got PTSD from all this and more stuff I kept finding out.
    I remember when I was growing up we had neighbors who fought all the time because the husband fooled around. I vowed I’d never marry such a man nor stay in that kind of marriage.
    I am almost three years out from D-day. My mind has really cleared up and I’m at a deeper peace I haven’t had since I was in my twenties.
    I went nc and I took walks, cried and slept. I also haven’t dated to really clear my head while healing.
    I’m smiling again and I look younger than my 56 years. I am debt free, no mortgage and a good retirement. Best of all I see him for what he is, or should I say never was. He cheats on new girlfriend and he’s still sleeping with neighbor. Who needs this. I was also going through a deep depression being married to him because our lives were catered to his sex life with neighbors and strange women on internet.
    You aren’t losing anything worth keeping. You have to consider old age. If something happens to your health do you really want him in charge of your life.
    I’m glad I got rid of the trash. He can have the life he chose. Me, I want a nice clean man and peace of mind.

    • Hey Beetle
      I needed to read this tonight after having a game of text tennis with him and he told me she was his soul mate, blah blah he hopes to live with her in three years, she is OS.
      Was good in a sense that I saw what a lost soul he is and how he wants to use me. Feel a bit more free now and need to respect and love myself and be firmer on N C as I just get hurt talking to him.
      I too feel like the years have come off me. I feel lighter, I am lighter and am going to date a little bit soon as I feel I can handle it.
      I cry and do yoga and have cried in yoga but that’s ok, better to move through these emotions than avoid them, we come out stronger for it, I feel that already.
      He turned out to be a phony and that hurts like f… but I’m waiting quietly for Tuesday.

      • Yeah, a lot of deep hurts come out from all directions. I am going to go to therpy when finances are better. That’s why I have put off dating. My Xh you would have never known this side of him. His face totally changed and now he still looks like that. He’s also aged a lot. That face still gives me the freaks! it’s so evil.
        My daughter though it was a midlife crises but I think it was more bordering on some kind of breakdown. He had lists and list of women on internet he made dates with.
        I am still a very good looking woman and all I wanted was to have a good family and go travel some with his inheritance with the girls. Go to some nice places before our daughters moved out of house. He was just waiting for his inheritance to date everybody. That was so humiliating to go through the divorce. I don’t know what people said but I didn’t want to go outside.
        What a nasty way to treat your wife and children. In one text of my daughters to him; she texted: out of gas on side of road, no money can you come here and help? His reply: I’m on a date and I won’t be back tonight or tomorrow. I’m sure you will find someone to help you. I mean what a jerk all around. Karma hasn’t hit him and I doubt it ever will.

  • I find this post (or type of post) very disturbing. 65 and 66 year old couple together since 18, wow. To end up with such an ending (very like my own). This all hit me in the face at 46 after 23 years, but 40 years and in my 60’s the devastation is beyond comprehending, that is for sure.

    In my three years since all blew up for me, story after story so alike and one more devastating than the next, it is just so sad.

    Affairs with friends, neighbors, co-workers, joining cheating sites, making online dating accounts while married, porn addiction and on and on and on. Really just sick stuff.

    I walk a lot and look at these perfect houses with the seemingly perfect couple/families.. I speak to people etc.. and just wonder in my mind what horrors they face or cause that are hidden under the surface.

    Cheating is as old as man himself. But cheating from now to then has become more brutal and uglier than the imagination allows.

    You know it all comes down to such a simple basic things… lack of morals, purpose, character etc.. keyword LACK. A total LACK.

    Sometimes I hurt so bad that I wish I was a fucktard, without morals, character and just going through life seeking fun fun fun regardless of costs and who in my path I destroy. Somehow, these people seem to have it all figured out and are not suffering with the burning hurt that runs through our chests since finding out about them.

    I am ranting, it is all I can do.

    • Jackie, I feel and think exactly the way you describe, this post also shook me up for the same reasons.

      I am 65, found out about cheater last year after 39 years of marriage. From D-day on I have been trying to look forward (CL and CN are my lifesavers) and forget psychopath. But reading Colorado’s letter and all these posts is like having someone inadvertently pull at your rotator cuff tendinitis shoulder that you had at total rest to avoid the pain. I did spackle for kids and for the “investment”, but the things that bothered me were really just the surface, cheater was an expert at manipulation and lies.

  • Hey Jackiesdone
    I look at houses like that also and at young couples with new babies who are so full of hope.
    Being chumped as made my heart tarnished and a bit jaded at this point. I always was a bit naive and of cause we assume that others have the same level of decency as we do, but the truth is they don’t some people live in that shady world and are fine with doing so.

    • For sure! We had the most fabulous home births and babymoons. I wasn’t naive. My father is gay. And a cheater. I have watched dozens of marriages fail because of cheating. So had he. He thought cheating was such a dick move. Then did it.

      He was a fabulous partner, and then a fabulous and fully involved Dad. Until he fucked it all up for someone he never even loved. Those stunning memories just make me feel sick these days. My son was asking for photos to contribute to his flat ‘kid pic board’ at uni the other day. And my heart broke even more as I flicked through old albums, seeing the bond the kids and him had, the love in his eyes as he delivered our three. Affairs are SO worth it, huh?

  • “Colorado Fox — you miss the lie. We all get it. Every single chump who ever chumped gets it. You want what you thought you had — a great connection, great sex, security, an intact family. You want your investment to not have been a total waste.”

    *Cries* This is so true. It still hurts and yet I know divorcing my serial cheating husband was the best choice for my well being and happiness.

  • I think there’s one piece of advice that CL tends to hand out in these situations that is key here:

    Don’t wait to find out if he can change. First, divorce him. Protect yourself financially. Split your assets away from his permanently.

    If he can truly change, he can prove that to you after the divorce and after your nest egg is protected.

    If he wants to be with you once you are setup financially and on your own and does not have a chance at your nest egg anymore, THAT is the time he can prove his changed character.

    But you will likely find rage and anger, if you try to divorce him now. Cheaters don’t like it when you quit eating the shit sandwich and stop feeding them cake and kibbles, and try to take away their affair funding! Funny thing, that!

    Lawyer up. Go no contact. Get your wits about you and your nest egg away from him. And let him prove to you after you’ve done those things that he can change.

  • Colorado Fox, I’m a retired chump chick in Colorado, too! We’ve done the cycles for over sixteen years, rinse, repeat. He’s been on dating sites since day one. Just curious, he explains whenever I catch him. But do the “just curious” need condoms in their wallet? He’s all sorry and nice for awhile, until I think all’s well. There’s always something going on behind my back as he smiles to my face.

    I’m struggling with the stay or go decision too. Which is the more harmful choice to me:
    Divorce and lose the health insurance he provides and try to support myself on a small pension, or
    Stay and slowly die under the abuse and control. I already feel like Dottie Sandusky, knowing what he’s doing downstairs on the internet but having to swallow the bitter pill and cry myself to sleep. Soon I’ll be too old to make a run for it.
    I can tell you, they say they love you, but once you file, they turn vicious on a dime. Get your ducks in a row financially beforehand, copies of taxes, account statements, etc and remove his name from any savings or investments you may have. He will clean you out and it’s legal if he’s on the account. It will turn ugly so fast, your head will spin. I know, because I filed last year but he talked me into reconciling.
    His only motivation in staying together is, HE DOESN’T WANT TO PART WITH HALF OF THE MONEY! Better to butter you up and continue what he does in secret with ALL the money.
    That’s the truth and does it hurt!
    We’re both in Colorado, so please stay in touch!

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