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Dear Chump Lady, My husband is having an emotional affair with his HS girlfriend

Dear Chump Lady,

I uncovered an emotional affair my husband was having that started before we began dating.

They were “the ones who got away” from each other in high school — they had huge crushes on each other but were dating each other’s best friends and didn’t admit the crushes. Before she got married her second time, their opportunity to get together was thwarted (my husband was married to someone else at the time (duh!), who had also gotten a whiff of their “friendship” and banned it!).

Romance was their thing: they sent romantic/sexy songs on Youtube and they were like “soul mates” according to her. She joked about how they would end up together later, like after her kids left home or after her husband died.

They both talked about what would might have been possible for them if her husband had died in that scuba diving accident he had. I also have the email where she is condemning cheaters.

You would love this: I called her mormon religious leader and asked him to help me keep them apart (I hadn’t found Chump Lady).

I also locked myself in the bathroom with his phone on D-day (Dec 2016) and sent myself all the images/texts/email. He had to take a dump in the backyard while the bathroom was occupied. A tiny bit of justice on a totally sh*tty day.

At first I got gaslighting: “YOU are the one who is messing up this marriage by making a big deal out of this!,” and “I had to reach out to her for support when we were having a tough time (because I wasn’t meeting his crazy demands in the marriage).”

Now, after having to be the one to figure it out and tell my husband what happened and try to figure out why (he has a surprising lack of introspection and insight), my husband is horrified about what he has done (he did spend a lot of time crying), has read some of the important books, and is being really good about boundaries with everyone.

Something I’m sure some of you can relate to: while *I* was trying to process the affair and my anger about it, husband started having panic attacks when I was angry and pressing for answers. So suddenly I couldn’t be mad or he might die.

Another crazy twist: my husband’s first wife had a year-long sexual affair with the Catholic priest who blessed their baby. So my husband HATED affairs.

Soon after D-day, I notified OW’s husband by email and sent copies of text messages and some choice email. Yes, I was angry and yes, I wanted OW to feel some of the pain. I also told myself I wanted help keeping husband and OW from contacting each other.

OW’s husband was initially in denial, minimizing what had happened and then months later he sent angry emails to my husband. Later he told me that his wife, the OW, feels bad — she thought she was just flirting with my boyfriend! She knew we have a kid together, but my husband hadn’t told her we had gotten married! Just gross.

Her husband now wants all of the email. Do I send them? My therapists (individual and MC) are saying that it is better if I am not in touch with OW’s husband.

Since D-day I have seen past signs (yep, doing Marriage Police) — I have access to his email — that he was trying to engage with others in this emotional affair kind of way — trying to get kibbles.

And I can’t forget: when I was in labor with our baby almost three years ago, my husband was super sparkly and flirty with a particularly beautiful L&D nurse!!!! SO crazy!! That was way way before D-day. He has this gross way of being charming with people (waitresses) when I am not around and always thinks he has to say something witty in social situations.

I know that research shows that this kind of relationship has the most staying power… I hate the idea that she is going to come after my husband again.

My theory now is that when my husband became newly single after his divorce (before we were dating), he went after someone he KNEW because it seemed safe — he has a ton of anxiety and is really risk-averse. My husband tried to get OW to leave her husband (they had three kids under the age of 3). It seems like husband seeks unconditional love since that is what his mother could never give him (she is a narcissist a-hole) and the emotional affair is the perfect format for getting unconditional love.

His therapists (individual and our MC) are saying he has low self-esteem. He sometimes also says we can’t talk about the affair because he starts to beat himself up.

Also, I think husband is co-dependent to narcissists (his mom, his first wife). I have no idea what that means about me/him/our relationship.

So some questions: Do I send the email to the OW’s husband? Am I still in Chump territory? Is my husband a type of non-narcissist/sociopath/asshole cheater? Or is he just a little bit of an asshole? 🙁

I just realized that I still don’t understand. I still don’t have the answers. I never will. It all sucks.

High Desert Chump

Dear HDC,

You’re asking me all the wrong questions. You’ve put forth a lot of theories about what brand of sad, misunderstood sausage your husband is. (My guess is 100 percent free-range Timid Forest Creature.) What the Schmoopies mean to each other, what kind of mothering your cheater had or did not have, his anxiety, his aversion to risk… Not ONCE in this entire screed, HDC, did you mention what YOU want. Every ounce of your energy is devoted to untangling his skein of fuckupedness (with some help from those quack therapists, more on that in a moment). Meanwhile, your own skein is still sitting there in its original packaging, untouched.

Bottomline, HDC — Is this relationship acceptable to YOU?

You okay with your boyfriend husband mooning over his “lost love”? Are you enjoying your role as marriage police chief? You okay with being the great consolation prize to a man who neglects to mention he’s married? How’s living the great romance That With Enough Therapy And Introspection He Realized He Loves Me, Sorta?

Forget about who you hope your husband will become (with the right books!), let’s look at the evidence of who he IS — and tell me, is that good enough for you? That’s the real question here, HDC, not what sad afflictions drive your husband to do the stupid shit he does. I’m sure your quack therapists will happily take your money and waste your time devising theories. I’m not a shrink, I’m a chump with a useless masters degree in Southern African history, but I do have the ability to think critically. So let’s examine the evidence and UBT this shit.

Before [OW] got married her second time, their opportunity to get together was thwarted (my husband was married to someone else at the time (duh!), who had also gotten a whiff of their “friendship” and banned it!).

So, he was a cheater in his last marriage too? Excuse me, had an emotional affair. Because adults who spend decades mooning after each other and ask each other to leave their spouses have never fucked. Right-o.

Regardless of what your husband’s ex did (if she really cheated or not, who knows?) — you do know he has a long history of being inappropriate with other women. This woman and the others he trolls for online. It’s not that the OW predates you — it’s that his lousy character predates you.

Now, after having to be the one to figure it out and tell my husband what happened

Read that sentence again and again until the absurdity of it sinks in.

and try to figure out why (he has a surprising lack of introspection and insight),

He doesn’t lack insight. Go read some Dr. Simon — “It’s not that they don’t see, it’s that they disagree.”

His problem isn’t introspection — his problem is entitlement. He’s okay with disrespecting you for kibbles. It’s all about him.

Oh but why?! Why is untangling the skein. Because he CAN. Because it doesn’t hurt him to hurt you. Not enough. His ego strokes are more important.

my husband is horrified about what he has done (he did spend a lot of time crying),

You just said he doesn’t know how he feels and you have to tell him “what happened.” So is he really horrified, or is he just scared of the consequences? Are those tears for hurting you, or are they for himself? Are you projecting feelings on him that he doesn’t really have? (Rookie chump mistake.)

has read some of the important books, and is being really good about boundaries with everyone.

Uh-huh. And that’s why you’re playing Marriage Police. Because of his super stellar boundaries.

I hate the idea that she is going to come after my husband again.

The OW is not the problem. She sucks, absolutely — but horrible women abound. And they don’t matter one whit if the person you’re married to has BOUNDARIES. OW don’t “come after” weak men — those men invite them. If the door is open, that’s on HIM.

Chumps don’t make cheaters cheat, and neither do affair partners. (“The devil made me do it!”) Sure, the OW is complicit, but your husband has agency. He never shut this down — you busted him.

He has a ton of anxiety and is really risk-averse.

Really? He has affairs — that’s risky. He doesn’t have any social anxiety in front of waitresses and nurses.

He has this gross way of being charming with people (waitresses) when I am not around and always thinks he has to say something witty in social situations.

Just lays his “wit” right there on strangers — and he’s risk adverse and anxious you say?

For a timid forest creature, he’s quite the attention whore.

It seems like husband seeks unconditional love since that is what his mother could never give him (she is a narcissist a-hole) and the emotional affair is the perfect format for getting unconditional love.

Unconditional love is a load of horse shit. Adult love comes with conditions. Conditions like, you don’t get to abuse me, or I’ll leave. It’s not your job to be his all-forgiving mommy. You’re his wife.

His therapists (individual and our MC) are saying he has low self-esteem. He sometimes also says we can’t talk about the affair because he starts to beat himself up.

How convenient. You’ve been betrayed and must make your needs smaller, because he has the sadz. Whoa! Do not stir the Timid Forest Creature lest he have a seizure! (Why not hook him up with a blood pressure cuff, and cross examine him until his head explodes? Just a thought…)

Your husband doesn’t have low self-esteem. He’s a guy who thinks he’s funny and charming and is starring in his own personal soap opera of Thwarted Love. Oh but his low self-esteem makes him grandiose! No, his entitlement makes him grandiose. What you see is what you get — he feels entitled to his kibbles. At your expense. And he cries and threatens to pass out if he doesn’t get them.

Is that acceptable to you HDC?

I’d go see a lawyer if I were you, and hang up your marriage police spurs.

And sure, what the heck, share those emails. If they weren’t so awful to send (“you’re making a big deal out of this!”), then it’s a trifling matter to share. Let the other chump in on this No Big Deal business. Maybe your delicate husband will stroke out.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • “100 percent free-range Timid Forest Creature.” I might add “with rabies” to the end of that descriptor. Cute but lethal and therefore to be avoided at all costs.

    CL, you’re so right on. HDC, here’s the same scenario except this is how it plays out later in life.

    Porky Pig’s OW is an old high school flame who only recently separated from her current husband (husband #2). I don’t know who contacted who first, and I don’t really care. It’s absurd. The fact that two 59-year olds would ditch their families and children for people they haven’t seen/known for 40 years is just proof that they’re unstable and unworthy of further consideration. My prediction is that once the “true-but-thwarted-love-buzz” wears off, it’s going to get ugly. Maybe not on the surface (because Porky is an expert at image management) but underneath, it’s going to be hell. How do I know this? Because narcissists are fundamentally incapable of self-reflection. He’s going to carry the same dysfunction from our marriage into his new relationship. In the meantime, he’s blowing up the rest of his life too, including relationships with his siblings, long term friendships, and his career. Whatever. My lawyer and I are fine tuning the separation agreement now.

    HDC, read and re-read what CL says because it is Truth. It will be painful to accept this Truth. Pain is bearable. Pain is temporary. You are stronger than you realize. You deserve so much better than what you are getting. All of us here did and do.

    I still struggle to comprehend my STBX’s cowardice. But after reading the posts on this site I have come to realize that he’s just a garden-variety narcissist cheater. Even so, it’s hard to reconcile the image (emphasis on IMAGE) of the man who would never lie to me with the sniveling worm who had to make sure he had a “relationship” established with OW before he had the balls to leave my daughter and me.

    You know what? He just sucks. Cheaters suck. Trust that they suck.

    • @Meh or Bust…so sorry that happened to you! That sounds absolutely terrible. I hope you’re doing great now.

      Not sure if my story is quite the same, but there are some things that stand out.
      The part where you said your husband hadn’t seen his high school flame in decades…wow! Last year was tough for me on top of all the shit happening already, and then my husband’s mom revealed something to me. She told me that the reason he never wanted kids (and wouldn’t even talk about it) is because he still wasn’t over Kate (not her real name).

      So basically my whole marriage has been a lie. His words when confronted were, “I treat you well, I provide for you, just let it go”.
      The problem is that I can’t be with somebody who still has these types of feelings for another woman. I also can’t be with somebody who still holds onto this delusional hope that an ex-girlfriend (who dumped him 35 years ago) will come back into his life.

      As I told his mom, that’s not romantic anymore. He is not a high school boy anymore.
      He’s a grown man and it’s time to leave this “girlfriend” crap in the past, where it belongs.
      None of us should have to feel this way…to be married for many years, only to find that our spouse still secretly yearns for somebody else.

  • Oh. My brain hurts. Take heed of all of this, HDC. Your husband is an immature wanker, who marries people who aren’t his ‘one true love.’ That seems sensible.

    The only reason this … ‘unrequited’ love … is still around is because of fantasy. That simple. Special snowflakes would melt pretty damn smartly in the real world.

    But, that’s not the point! The point is, ‘is this relationship acceptable to you?’ Nope. (I sincerely hope) it is not.

      • Soulmate status is soooo much easier to maintain in the fantasy realm….

        When you have to deal with a real flawed human 24/7, not so much.

        • Tell it, Anita! On Dday, when I was tossing skankboy out, I told him affairs were based in fantasy, not reality. He gave me a smug look. Because I’m sure in his head he thought it was twu wuv. Fast forward and asshole “is not that happy. I try to stay happy. I’m doing as good (sic) as can be expected.” I guess reality hit him in the ass. I mean, come on, living at HER love shack with 2 kids just going to be made of sugar plums and puppy dog tails! Bwahhhhhh!

          • AND, what the hell does “I’m doing as good as can be expected?” Oh, wait, it must mean I am the bad person who put him out of the house, so it must be all my fault! Hahahahaha! What an IDIOT!

          • Yep mine was strutting around like he was da man, now he has the sadz. Oh well guess he can crank up the bs lie machine to new online prospects. How the mighty have fallen.

        • So true. There’s a reason these HS sweethearts didn’t work out the first time around. Living in the fantasy of a “simpler time” with their “soulmate” may seem fun during hotel trysts with the maids cleaning up after them and the faithful, unsuspecting spouses at home during the dirty work of childrearing. But once in the sweatbox of a single house and reality’s ugly pressures…how long can that “high school glow” really last?

          • “I’m doing as good as can be expected”-yep, for a Terminally Malignant Asshole.
            I do hope he likes the “view” from his Asshole Hospice Gloom in the sub-basement of the Porking Garage.

    • “Special snowflakes would melt pretty damn smartly in the real world.” I love this so hard.

  • Dump this loser. There is no such thing as an “emotional affair”, I don’t know who came up with that but they need their ass kicked. It is either an affair (ie, cheating) or it is not.

    Step aside and let the Soulmates fly away together. Here’s a secret. They know a real relationship between them would be shit, that’s why they don’t have one.

    • Yes! I mean, what is that whole emotional affair deal supposed to mean? Is it that he’s trying to get in her pants but hasn’t quite succeeded yet? That it’s true love that they feel conflicted and guilty about, but not conflicted and guilty enough to, you know, actually knock it off, because the spiritual power of it overwhelms them? Is it supposed to be like some medieval courtly love nonsense? Bah, I don’t buy any of it. Sneaky relationships hidden from spouses are affairs. The little qualifiers like “emotional” are just another way to hide and justify.

      • I’m skeptical of EAs that go on for years and years and years unconsummated.

        A short-term crush? Okay. A longterm EA? No.

        • Affair = Affair = Affair
          Emotional, Sexual, Short Term, Long Term. Many, Few….who cares?
          Any affair is the first step in creating distance and unbalancing your marriage – your spouse is detaching from you.
          IMHO -emotional affairs are really rough as they lead to attachment and “tru luv” and let the cheater ascribe noble intentions to betrayal.
          Your husband is sharing his thoughts hopes and dreams with another woman – be afraid, be very, very afraid!
          Intimacy is the bedrock of marriage and the basis for a great sex life.
          My husband became friends with his assistant – helping her through a personal issue – and although I knew she flirted with and “crushed” on him – I did not think it was serious as my husband was not the “cheater” type.
          So wrong — as all that sharing, in which she also begin to help him solve life problems, led to a full blown physical affair and the end of our 30 year marriage.

          • Me too, TiredChump. My husband and his subordinate, married coworker (former grad student) because best friends and did everything together. Traveled to conferences, jogged at lunch, picked up each other’s dry-cleaning, decided to take a trip across the country together, and there I was alone, trying to take care of the kids and keep the family together. No amount of telling him how uncomfortable their relationship made me ever made a bit of difference. I started thinking something was wrong with me for being so jealous and upset. I kept telling myself it was just that he worked with mostly women and not men. That I was just insecure because of my upbringing. It wasn’t until I was out of the marriage and started telling friends some of the things that went on that I got confirmation that they would have been upset by this behavior too. On the surface my ex seemed like a real strong family man, an upstanding citizen, always volunteering at our kids’ schools and coaching their teams, and things like that. It always hurt me to the bone that he seemed to value her friendship more than he valued our marriage.

            CL is right, I spent way too much time wondering what made him act that way and not enough time figuring out if this type of relationship was right for ME.

            • @Lyn, I feel you on this. My husband has TWO female coworker “friends” that bother me.
              This might sound bad, but I believe a man’s best female friend should be his wife.

              I was cool with my husband having female friends until certain things came to my attention recently.
              If he doesn’t have boundaries and can’t see the issue, it’s a problem.
              Affairs often start as “friendships” and that’s what I explained to my husband.

          • And please please please fire your therapist and get one who helps you focus on doing you!

          • Nail on the head TiredChump! I could not agree more. +1

          • Agreed, Tired Chump! I’ve been through both of the same situations on some level (the coworker who “likes” my husband and the high school girlfriend who might possibly still be in the picture somehow).

            You spoke the absolute truth. What you said about how they detach from you is spot on!

        • I was on this site at the point of believing the EA crap. CL, Tundra and a few others said no no sounds fishy, of course they where right and two weeks later I found out. Never thought mr shy social Anxiety guy would cheat, but he did indeed and looked me in the eye and denied it without flinching. From my guessing, he has told me nothing and at this point I don’t want to know or do a post mortem, the EA was about 3 months tops before it was physical.
          He wants to ‘talk’ now. No chance, what so he unleash more hurt on me. I have enough info and am focusing on me now., he can feck off!

        • Yup, no way. Calling it an EA is just more gaslighting. The worst of it for me is that the STBX and the AP actually manipulated my son into believing that “we just share passion for our work” BS. He was convinced of the affair and really angry, then manipulated half to death–including being accused of having anger issues that he should “get help” with–then found out he had been chumped in a big way, and was both angry and deeply hurt. It’s the fucking purposefully with the kids that is by far the worst of it for me. Still makes my heart clench to think of it, and it continues. Ugh.

          • Couldn’t agree more, Cashmere. It is one thing to find out your were lied to and manipulated, but once you get clear enough to recognize it, your heart breaks even more when you watch them do it to your kids. There are no boundaries.

        • EA can continue for years, however, if one moves geographically. There can always be the promise of greener pastures, star crossed, unrequited love, and the delusion that there is a deep sharing of intimacy. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that my h EA would have turned physical had she not moved to another state and only visited him at work where the Magic all began when she came into town. There is also the delusion he had/has for years that it wouldn’t have turned physical. If there is contact IRL as well as virtual life, eventually it will cross that boundary. Either it ends or it escalates. The laws of physics apply here, too. Refer to Newton’s first law of physics and replace the word object with motion. Bingo.

        • Someone else in CN put it perfectly. “Cheating is transferring your emotions to someone else without telling your spouse”. The sex is only 5%. The emotional betrayal is 95% of the affair.

  • Great post! I so relate to all the excuses going on as to HIS mindset and HIS behavior based on HIS words and HIS actions. I explained away all my XH’s red flag behavior and saw him through the lens of my own values. And when I did that I found I could explain away everything! For 10 years.
    Good news is I AM FREE!!!!!! Although I am dealing with constantly having to assert my boundaries with my X knucklehead, there is no more explaining it all away.
    And, CL’s quotes from Dr. Simon means so much to me now that I read Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing and the awesome, Character Disturbance.
    I was lucky/unlucky that my disordered XH was more abusive and not Mr. Nice Sadz Guy like yours. It seems like those types make it super hard for someone to stop untangling the skein and focusing on your own needs. I hope you take CL’s advice though. You may be telling yourself that you can see the nice guy underneath all this bad behavior…but…

    • Scratch more abusive…I mean more OVERTLY abusive. This is definitely a type of abuse, HDC.

  • CL is right again. I could have written a letter similar to this in about 2005, but my untangling of the skein of fuckedupness would have go on longer.

    What catches my eye today is the BOLDNESS required to have a relationship with this EA partner (and be flirty with everyone else who crosses his path) then he claims TIMIDITY in facing his actions and consequences and threatens to drop dead. Perhaps the most amazing thing is that WE LET THEM GET AWAY WITH THIS ABSURD DICHOTOMY.

    What the hell is wrong with us?

    The gal I am today says “run like hell right now” but I was the Queen of the Unicorn, so I understand the “yes, but…” argument you would give for not leaving. You are free to live with this shit forever guaranteeing that you will live with this shit forever. Maybe you could lay out your terms VERY clearly and make a deep promise to yourself that any violation is an absolute dealbreaker.

    I was in your shoes before and there is no way in this world I would put up with the same shit I put up with before. Cyberhugs

  • This sounds exactly like my ex. The need to find kibbles with other women, no matter at what stage in our relationship. I have been playing marriage police our entire relationship, and I didn’t even realize. See, the thing is, it’s quite possible he was in a relationship when he was pursuing me! However, if he was, he never told me. Now I know that’s sort of his MO. I can’t tell you how many times I sneaked a peek at his email, his myspace (this was where I found his outgoing message to a fellow female soldier deployed with him in Afghanistan, barely 2 years into our relationship and not even 1 after our marriage was official – he just wanted to get to “know” her), his fb and his phone.

    He had an “emotional” affair during the time I became pregnant with our son. I found out because we had some extra text charges on our phone bill (this was in the days before “unlimited” texting and 1k iMessages that don’t show up on your bill at all). I snooped and found out he’d “ended” it without having progressed to a physical affair. But it was close.

    How I wished at the time that I wasn’t pregnant, I would have left him. I told him so. Do you think this ever stopped him? In the moment, of course, it did. But the flirting and seeking kibbles from women NEVER did.

    This last affair, his grande exit affair, he did cross the line. He went physical. He swears he didn’t until after I kicked him out of the house. Somehow he thinks that jumping in bed with a woman whom he says he didn’t have a relationship with the day after I threw his shit on the driveway is somehow more honorable than just doing it while we were living together. Don’t get me started on if I believe him. Apparently lying is his shtick.

    Anyway, HDC, this “emotional” affair he had when I was pregnant (pregnant and working as a waitress to support his ass while he went to school to pursue his dream of becoming a mechanic for commercial airlines alongside his skanky bleached blonde classmate), was 8 years before his grande exit affair. And when I confronted him and he confessed you know what he said? “Look at what I did to you when you were pregnant. And that was *nothing*! That was *flirting*!”

    Yeah, he called it flirting. Oh, I guess my utter devastation and crumpling onto the shower floor while I imagined being a single parent and wondering why someone who proposed to love me for all time would do this to me was *nothing*! I was overreacting, clearly.

    Leave now, before you waste another minute on this asshole. Your job is loving wife and mother, not marriage police. And he doesn’t deserve you!

    • So, when did “flirting” become acceptable behavior for married men? It’s disrespectful and inappropriate.

      • In my opinion, it’s not appropriate at all! He’d have this way about him with the freaking toll booth operator for God’s sake! I mean, really? He cares so much about image management that he cannot let one opportunity to make a woman smile go by (regardless of her age, looks or marital status). It’s so inappropriate.

        • Mine did and does this too. I believe their internal dialogue each and every time is “Yep! Still got it!” Plus, you never know if you might meat that elderly, married toll booth operator at some future time … it is good to have laid the ground work. Snort.

      • I think it’s another form of abuse, of power over, the flirting with other people in front of spouse.

        • Validated: Boom. Another way to show disrespect to your relationship. Constant flirting will now be on my radar. Thanks for the epiphany. 🙂

          • I guess I’m not a flirt. Never have been unless I was courting the x. If I think about ‘flirting’ with some married guy in front of my husband or a group of people, I think it would be highly obvious that I’m an easy lay in the sak. Maybe people enjoy that ‘game’ but it’s not for me. Of course, coy is a different subject. 😉

    • 12years, I agree that the cheater makes you feel like you’re overreacting all the time. They deny your feelings. Eventually, I just shut up and started stuffing all those emotions to keep the peace (although occasionally I would explode). It wasn’t until the very end when I was telling him what I’d read in black and white in his journal that I realized how good he was at manipulating me. He was trying to tell me I misunderstood what I’d read. Then he chastised me for violating his privacy.

      • Ah yes, the “violation of privacy”- mine told me that none of this would have ever happened if “I didn’t go through his phone looking for it.”

        Yes, of course, it was me and my nosiness that blew up our lives – not the fact that there was actually something to find on his phone!

        • Mine screamed at me when I demanded to see his phone after I confronted him about two very long 11 pm phone calls on our phone record to the same number just days before. At this point he had told me he wanted “out” and we had agreed to a trial three month, in-home separation, so he was in our bed and I in the guest room. I busted in at 10:30 pm and asked him what was up with the calls. He denied anything was going on. During our argument his phone buzzed…hmm….who could be texting a married man in his bed at 10:30 pm?? I told him to show me his phone. He refused. I asked him again, he refused again. I told him he needed to show me his phone, if nothing was going on. He screamed that I would never snoop “through his shit EVER again”. Yeah, man, it’s my snooping that’s the problem. I was constantly off-kilter in our marriage. I was always suspicious. It was my trusting him that was the issue, not the fact that he gave me a REASON not to trust him. Ass.

          • Yes. Biggest red flag I ignored. We were on an awesome vacation and he was acting very suspicious with his phone. I asked to see it and he refused. I said he could see my phone anytime so I should be able to see his. He refused again. Then he got angry. I have a photo of us shortly after that argument that he insisted on taking (never did see the phone) and I look so unwell. We got married th2 months later. Biggest mistake of my life.
            He also was always asking me to take photos of him on these trips. I now know it was to send to his side sluts and harem whores. Smh.

            • I’ll never forget looking at the phone records and seeing millions of calls to his married coworker. Only problem was some of those calls were at 6 am on a Sunday when we were still asleep. Some were late at night, long after work. Duh. I don’t think they were work related. I called the number, heard a raspy, irritated voice answer, asked politely, “who is this?” She stated her name and I asked her to say it again. Then I hung up. Within 3 minutes my husband was texting and asking if I’d called his coworker.

    • Situational monogamy… yup, I missed that in my marriage vows too.

  • “He has this gross way of being charming with people” I’ve come to the conclusion that when people are ‘charming’, they are trying to rob you of smarts, common-sense and agency. Watch out for charming people! Look for kindness instead.

    • It makes me wonder if there’s any value to charm at all. I’ve been called charming but it never made sense to me. Wcause I always thought that charm requires artifice.

  • Wow HDC,the amount of energy and brain power you’re expending on this piece of crap husband is astounding.Not a criticism btw as I once did the same myself,for far too long.
    That energy would be far better spent working on you,on getting the hell away from him and creating a new life for yourself.The untangling,policing,ruminating is truly exhausting.
    Do you really want to waste your precious life on this?

    • … And not just HDC either, right? I mean, we’ve got a couple of ministers, the OW’s husband, probably some other people, all trying to keep poor little husband on the straight and narrow path. My philosophy is just the opposite: Give him enough rope and see if he hangs himself. Put me down for a guess of “within five minutes.”

      He’s not a dog who needs fences. He’s not an infant who doesn’t understand crawling off the porch results in a painful fall. He’s a full-grown adult and I don’t think it’s that he hasn’t developed the proper adulting skills (poor Sad Sausage!, SUCH a hard life!) but instead that he HAS developed an alternative set of manipulative skills: of sitting back and letting HDC take all the responsibility for EVERYthing!

      I also wanted to add that if your High Desert is in Bend, then you’re in a culture replete with fostering entitled Narcissists, having just spent a winter there I was really put off by what a bunch of self-congratulatory folks have created that community. So, y’know, good luck with all that.

      • Love this, NWBiblio! It’s amazing how quickly we all get sucked into the “fragile flower” manipulation. I love your analogies: they clearly show he’s an adult who has simply developed an ability to use others.

  • Mine swore up and down it was an emotional affair and I bought it as she lived in Germany, then found out she had lived in Singapore and flown over for a weeks fuck fest, while douchebag told me he was on work business. All a dirty secret for a year and a half till I found a receipt in the car and then eventually all the photos of his ‘soul mate’ who looks line a twelve year old boy. Anyways douche claimed for years he had social anxiety, total horse shit. He was not a confident person but he sure fucked me over and was an abusive asshole all of 2016. I know why now.
    Send the emails.! Fuck it. They fuck us over. Mine got righteously pissed when I told whores husband, he said I invaded his privacy and was unreasonable, excuse me. That made me so mad, the audacity!
    Im doing great now 5 months out, feeling strong. Wingnut not so much, soul mates not leaving her husband and he is up to his eyeballs in debt and trying to come back to me, whilst telling me he hates me and its all my fault mind you. The texts are crazy town. Says shit like my Dad brainwashed me and Im petty, he’s s POS who has zero respect for me. This five months has allowed me to see his abuse of me clearly as my mind is not scrambled daily by his mind fuckery and constant selfish whining.
    He can go take a flying fuck as me and our boys are doing just fine and I will make sure it stays that way cause Im resourceful like that, had to be living with him. I was the one that got shit done and he was in for the ride.
    His crap girlfriend or his next victim dredged up from online dating sites can have him and his bag of bull shit and empty promises.
    Don’t tell him what your doing and don’t try and understand the bs, they throw any old shit out there to pull the wool over your eyes.Read CL and get on You Tube, once you understand you will grow in strength and move on to a better life without him, he’s never going to be the person you want him to be. Bit angry tonight, was thinking about how I slept on the sofa the night I found out about the affair, he couldn’t cause you know he has a bad back, what a fucker.

    • Yup, me too…he swore up and down it was “just” emotional because she lived a continent away, but work trips facilitated plenty of hotel monkeysex.

    • LadyB, that was a righteous rant! I understand your fury, and your post is perfect. You are mighty!

  • This should be titled, “A Priest, A Mormon and Two Shrinks Walk Into a Bar…”

    Oh what tangled webs we weave: I need a dry board and a marker to diagram all this fuckery. I didn’t know “Emotional Affairs” leaked bodily fluids like broken brake lines-“Just keep pumpin’ baby!” Wanna bet there’s pecker tracks all over someone’s-both of their/all of their-vehicle seats? This is worthy of a installment of “CSI: Specious Vaginas Unit.” The only people I know who cry on demand are high school girls and actors: The latter do it to get paid and the former to get laid. Anyway, anyone’s who’s willing to take a dump in their backyard without an outhouse must truly be full of shit.

    Time to get the knots out-and this guy should be one.big.NOT.

  • HDC–PLEASE send the emails to OW’s husband. He deserves to live an honest life, and they may be just what he needs to propel him out of his dishonest marriage. For some of us, information (even of an awful nature about our spouses) is a salve. The poor guy is being gaslighted to Saturn by OW, and needs the stable footing of hard, cold evidence that she is a cold, calculating, backstabbing bitch. Help another chump out; send the texts & emails to him.

    • Agreed. I see CL’s point on not focusing on it, but yes, let the OW know! Might help him turn a corner himself. The OW’s husband in my drama contacted me (we all knew each other since the STBX was having an “emotional affair” with his high school girlfriend-then-best-female-friend; such a unique storyline, eh?). OW’s husband was tentative about it at first, he really DIDN’T want to know the full truth and ruin his own spackle-party; but once we’d compared notes on the exact same absences at the exact same time, and the exact same mind-bending, crazy-making lies we’d both been told simultaneously, I think it helped us BOTH turn a corner on understanding how badly we’d both been played. Until that point, I was still able to spackle the hell out of my STBX’s strange behavior. There was no WAY he could be that deceptive, be telling that many lies…then after chatting with the OW’s husband…oh yes, they really are being that evil.
      Knowledge is power. Without that knowledge I’d have struggled with the pick-me, unempowered doormat stage for a hell of a lot longer.

      • Schmoopie’s husband was also the one who outed them to me. STBX said he told me for his own selfish purposes and did not have my best interests at heart. That may or may not be true, but I fail to see how that is relevant to the fact that STBX cheated and hid it from me. Regardless of the motivation for telling me, I was glad to get the news. Painful as it was, it put a lot of things that previously had not made sense into perspective.

        Tell all.

    • Yes, I am thinking that reading his wife’s thoughts on his near miss scuba accident might be rather … enlightening. The thwarted lovers would both be free to live out their fantasy soul-entwinement rather soon, I bet.

    • Ironically I was just at the Vatican for LDS, Temple Square in SLC. There, in the square, are the LDS ‘commandments’ chiseled in stone for the world to revere. It clearly states that adultery is forbidden. EAs, PAs are adultery. Send the emails to the OWs husband. He deserves to make his own choice if he chooses to remain with a hypocrite of his faith or dump her cheating ass.

  • Reassurance from a doctor: panic attacks are unpleasant but are not dangerous. Go ahead and be mad with your Cheater husband.

  • LOL !!!

    ChumpLady I love you!!! Thank you so much for your lovely writing and your help — it means so much to me!!

    Please make a movie!! Get a fabulous woman director — yes!!

    Also, on a serious note: cheating and chumpness is a worldwide phenomenon, you know that right? Race, religion, ethnic — all — cheating is universal and no one likes it. That’s why I think your book and your movie could be worldwide successes.

    Just saying! — Again much love and thanks to you for your generous sharing!

  • HDC – Firstly, for your main question: YES, you should provide the OW’s husband with any and all information he desires to have regarding his wife’s adulterous affair. He has a basic human right to all information aavailable about what is going on in his own life, so he can make informed decisions about what he wants to or can do. Please share everything he asks you to share. The so-called therapists whom are telling you not to talk to him at all are ridiculous. They are clearly working on behalf of your deeply perverted version of a marriage (that is what it is after an affair, a perversion of what should be a whole and healthy relationship), and not on the behalf of what is best for you.

    Secondly – please stop saying “emotional” affair. An affair is an affair, and it appears your husband is a serial cheater who feels entitled to not only betray you in the most intimate ways possible, but who feels entitled to your care and concern for HIS feelings about the betrayals. Betrayals, plural.

    Fuck that.

    Lawyer up. This shit is gonna get a whole lot worse. You are better than this. He has shown you who he is, and his messed up childhood or his FOO issues do not give him a pass to abuse you.

  • And BTW, here’s the strategy I’d pursue: I’d take out a very large Life Insurance Policy (because he’s not “a little bit of an asshole”-he’s a massive Black Hole) wait about 18 mo. and then throw a fit worthy of Involuntary Commitment. At least that way you’d have some experience of what “commitment” kinda means, there’d be a nice pay day when ya got out of the Mental Health Unit and the mess would be cleaned up. Bonus: No protracted Family Court stuff.

    All’s I could think of with his panic fits were those goats that just faint on demand, poor little forest creature. Anyway, people with glass churches shouldn’t spackle: That only works on drywall and there’s waaayyy too much wet, slippery stuff here.

  • Am I the only one who reads these stories and finds something very personally familiar about all of them?

    In this one, it’s the high school girlfriend, the emails (cheaters love email) and the part about telling their religious leader. Those were three different affairs in my case, though. His HS girlfriend was the one he was having an affair with when I caught him. When I found out about another affair he had with another ex girlfriend (not from HS) and realized she was acting like some Godly woman at church, I let her preacher know.

    I was Petty Betty through and through when his affairs came out and had no problems showing evidence. The husband of another of his other women was in the middle of a separation from that one. I called him right up and asked if he’d like some information about his wife. This guy was all over it, unlike the one in this post who was initially reluctant to hear it. I told him everything that I had witnessed, heard about and had proof of. I sat right at my laptop while on the phone with him and forwarded him their emails to include the inappropriate pics she’d been sending him so that he could show them to his lawyer.

    Not. One. Regret. Instead of chumps being afraid of how they’ll look, cheaters need to be the ones afraid of how they’ll look. Chumps don’t need to be quiet.

    By the way, from the post:

    “He has this gross way of being charming with people (waitresses) when I am not around and always thinks he has to say something witty in social situations.”

    Dear God. If I didn’t know better, that sentence would make me swear that you’re married to my ex husband.

    • Last in line, I think the familiarity comes from the fact that as Meh or bust said , they are all just garden-variety narcissist cheaters. Nothing they do is original.

      CL your response is exactly the reinforcement I constantly need for trusting he sucks. Little consolation but HDC you are fortunate to get this lesson at a younger age. I guess we can’t control when we wise up.

      I can’t imagine having to be the marriage police. Drop that job right now. I projected my truthfulness onto stbx for 26 years and he took full advantage. Even though I did the pick me dance, I know being the marriage police would be a stress that would make me crazy.

      ” he has a ton of anxiety and is really risk-averse. “. This one so reminds me of a conversation I had with Stbx when he was telling me it was 15 year old daughter’s responsibility to set up a get together with him to celebrate her birthday. I told him that he should be responsible for setting up a get together. His response was “did you ever think that I might be afraid of rejection?” At the time I told him to grow up she was 15 and he was her father. After the fact , I wish I had said: did you ever fear rejection when you sat at the bar and propositioned strange women to have sex with you?

      I, like many of you, am guilty of overanalyzing motives and cheater’s thought processes. Loved the saying Friday, about continuing to to analyze for years or leaving the pieces on the floor and moving on. What matters is he is broken and you can’t fix him.

      I hope I can take that advice to heart!

  • I’m going to take a crack at this:

    At first I got gaslighting: “YOU are the one who is messing up this marriage by making a big deal out of this!,” and “I had to reach out to her for support when we were having a tough time (because I wasn’t meeting his crazy demands in the marriage).”
    No- you are still being gaslit; he has simply adjusted HOW he gaslights you.

    Now, after having to be the one to figure it out and tell my husband what happened and try to figure out why (he has a surprising lack of introspection and insight), my husband is horrified about what he has done (he did spend a lot of time crying), has read some of the important books, and is being really good about boundaries with everyone.
    Those tears are for himself. Reading books on the subject is teaching him to behave exactly the way the books say he is supposed to. The *boundaries he makes sure you SEE* are really good, of course.

    Something I’m sure some of you can relate to: while *I* was trying to process the affair and my anger about it, husband started having panic attacks when I was angry and pressing for answers. So suddenly I couldn’t be mad or he might die.
    Poor thing. My Cheater did this too… right up to and including threatening to kill himself, while our children were in the next room. I told him to go ahead and do it. When he started bringing up the anxiety/panic, I told him to go see his PCP, tell him to explain the affairs as the cause of his strife, and take whatever meds his physician gives to Cheating Bastards Who Feel ALL the Sadz for Themselves. He didn’t.

    Another crazy twist: my husband’s first wife had a year-long sexual affair with the Catholic priest who blessed their baby. So my husband HATED affairs.
    I heard all about the crazy exes Cheater had… things so crazy that when I came into contact with them, could.not.possibly be true. They weren’t true; it just made HIM look good. Most often, it would be a story of reversal… HE had done something like that. Remember that ALL YOU KNOW IS ONLY WHAT HE TELLS YOU. And you already know he is a very skilled liar.

    OW’s husband was initially in denial, minimizing what had happened and then months later he sent angry emails to my husband. Later he told me that his wife, the OW, feels bad — she thought she was just flirting with my boyfriend! She knew we have a kid together, but my husband hadn’t told her we had gotten married! Just gross.
    She lied to him too. Of COURSE she knew he was married.

    Her husband now wants all of the email. Do I send them? My therapists (individual and MC) are saying that it is better if I am not in touch with OW’s husband.
    Yes, you should send them. You should send them because he is even more in the dark than you are… because he deserves to know his ACTUAL reality and not the false, barely-palatable one his whore wife serves up to him. Another bit of advice? Do not trust therapists who encourage deception. Fire their asses immediately.

    Since D-day I have seen past signs (yep, doing Marriage Police) — I have access to his email — that he was trying to engage with others in this emotional affair kind of way — trying to get kibbles.
    I promise you; he has other email accounts and utilizes messaging platforms within other apps.

    And I can’t forget: when I was in labor with our baby almost three years ago, my husband was super sparkly and flirty with a particularly beautiful L&D nurse!!!! SO crazy!! That was way way before D-day. He has this gross way of being charming with people (waitresses) when I am not around and always thinks he has to say something witty in social situations.

    My theory now is that when my husband became newly single after his divorce (before we were dating), he went after someone he KNEW because it seemed safe — he has a ton of anxiety and is really risk-averse. My husband tried to get OW to leave her husband (they had three kids under the age of 3). It seems like husband seeks unconditional love since that is what his mother could never give him (she is a narcissist a-hole) and the emotional affair is the perfect format for getting unconditional love.

    Also, I think husband is co-dependent to narcissists (his mom, his first wife). I have no idea what that means about me/him/our relationship.
    Your HUSBAND is a narcissist asshole. These are the excuses he gives you to make you think his character is fixable. It isn’t. HE FLIRTED WITH YOUR NURSE WHILE *YOU* WERE SQUEEZING HIS CHILD OUT OF YOUR BODY. Really now… what was his excuse? Was the L&D nurse – who no doubt felt creeped.the.eff out – going to give him unconditional love? PUH-LEASE.

    His therapists (individual and our MC) are saying he has low self-esteem. He sometimes also says we can’t talk about the affair because he starts to beat himself up.
    The thing about therapists – and we already know that your indiv. and MC ones are shit – is that they’re generally very easy to trick, especially for narcissists.

    So some questions: Do I send the email to the OW’s husband? Am I still in Chump territory? Is my husband a type of non-narcissist/sociopath/asshole cheater? Or is he just a little bit of an asshole? 🙁
    Yes. To all of it, except that your husband is a narcissistic cheater. Look up Covert Narcissism. They’re the most proficient and dangerous of them all.

    • Insistonhonesty,
      You not only took a crack at his, YOU nailed it!

    • HDC, PLEASE listen to what InsistOnHonesty says.

      I promise you, if you keep digging you will find out that not only is the “emotional affair” many times over also a physical affair, but you will find his sugar daddy and other married man dating accounts, other e-mails accounts, and evidence of many other affairs.

      This guy you are married to is a narcissist. His MO is to get whatever he wants for himself at any cost. His tears are to make sure that happens. Nothing more, nothing less.

      I know it was the hardest lesson for me to learn: I thought there must be some good in my cheater ex, because I was holding him to my value system. But here’s the thing: Sone people are not like you. They truly don’t have emotion and don’t give a shit about anyone else.

      Despite your husband’s fake crying and panic attacks, seeing therapists with you and reading books (he is doing the latter two to learn how to play you and keep you feeding him cake and kibbles), he is not a sad little panicky sausage. He is a narcissistic monster, just trying to keep you in line. And it is working out beautifully for him.

      There’s a reason we call ourselves chumps, and you, my dear, are still in the thickness of the chumpiness.

      Do yourself a favor. I know you don’t want to, but pick yourself up, dust yourself off, give all the evidence you can to the OW’s husband. Start digging very covertly for more info… not your husband’s accounts he allows you to monitor, to throw you off the scent of where the real action is going down, but the ones where he is actively pursuing physical affairs. Trust me, you will find them, and far more of them than you would ever dream possible.

      Don’t confront him. Just read what he is actually doing, gather it all up, and when you are ready, lawyer up, get your ducks in a row, and get ready to divorce his ass.

      It will take awhile, but you will soon understand that your marriage was over from the second you got wind of the “emotional affair”. Trust me, right now you are standing on the edge of a cliff trying not to fall. The answer is to jump off and never look back. All that balancing is bad for your health.

      Oh, and fire those therapists. He is using them to keep YOU in line, not the other way around.

      If you don’t believe me, do what Insist says. Bait him with anger over his “emotional affair”. Wait for him to have a “panic attack” and don’t let up. You may even get a fake visit to the ER out of that one, but chances are they will just wait it out. That will tell you much about how real those attacks are, and they won’t be. If he panicked in stressful situations, and he truly feels bad about his “emotional affair”, wouldn’t he have ended up in the hospital while having that emotional affair, for feeling so bad about betraying you? Isn’t it funny that hasn’t happened?

      I’m sorry you’re married to an ass. But until you find the REAL evidence and go no contact, you probably won’t believe this.

      I’m sorry. We are all here for you.

    • THIS:

      “I promise you; he has other email accounts and utilizes messaging platforms within other apps.”

      To this day, Mr. Sparkles is never without his phone in his hand scrolling something, tapping something, looking shifty. Our son had ONE AT BAT at a championship game last night… Mr. Sparkles missed it because he was on the phone.


      • p.s. What do you think it means when he is part of an AOL group called “AnalPlay4Us”… mic drop.

        (Can’t make this shit up!)

  • “He’s cried a lot” … yes my STBX did that as well. Nothing makes you question your perspective more than crockodile tears. “Oh he’s crying, he must feel bad.” But I bet if you inquires as to “why” he feels bad, it’s because he feels bad for himself! I witnessed years of random tears, but I’m here to tell you 5 years and 5 prostitutes later (found out about those in one sitting on D-day 2. Thank god I became mighty and there wasn’t a D-day 3) those years were never for me!

    Things cheater actually said to me in MC…

    – I’m the one suffering the consequences, 21 year old stripper gets to go on about her life and it’s not fair.

    I’m sorry I hurt you BUT….
    – I was lonely
    – You wouldn’t ride my motorcycle with me
    – You see everything in black and white
    – You had a bad childhood
    – You let our children watch too much TV
    – She kissed me first (that I brought her to my hotel room is irrelevant, I was just being friendly)
    – I need you to need me, but you’re too needy
    – I couldn’t deal with the fact that my son has a learning disability, he will never be great!

    There isn’t one ounce of self-reflection or insight in any of those, it’s all about what he wasn’t getting… and that’s what cheaters are all about… THEMSELVES!

    As CL says, you are trying to untangle his stuff. I’m betting that is just a continuation of the marriage dynamic, you do all the work and he sits back and plays the victim of all the things you missed. When they keep you focused on jumping through the next hoop you don’t realize those hoops are never ending and there is no finish line!

    • It is so true, the tears are all about themselves and how sad they are for themselves that they got caught. Now, consequences! For my timid forest creature fuckwit, he only ever cried when we were talking about HIM and what HE was losing, and how everyone was going to think he was such a fuckwad now and how I couldn’t tell anyone what he did because he was already so isolated and oh how sad. Never any tears of compassion for how everything was affecting me.

      I told the people that mattered and I don’t cover up anything about it now. So freeing. I can’t imagine living with such a giant secret at the heart of a marriage, that you can’t even tell your closest friends what a giant douchebag your husband is for fear of DISRESPECTING HIM. The RIC is all about containment and not telling people and its bullshit. In my opinion you need to blow them up or else they never feel any consequences. Even when they do get blown up it’s hard to know if anything really got into their sparkly heads. Trying to keep it to yourself to respect that person is a waste of energy. The respect is already gone, and he deserves none of your sweet consideration for his (pretend) forest creature feelings. I also worried at one point that ex would off himself because of how depressed and sad he claimed to be, and then I realized, no fucking way, it’s all and act and he has such a high opinion of himself that he would never actually end his own splendid existence and such a possibility shouldn’t even be on my radar.

      • My ex was so divorced from his own emotions that he had to ask his counselor why seeing me and my son cry over what he was doing made him feel upset. Apparently his counselor told him he was either a psychopath or a person who was experiencing the feelings of compassion. My ex decided it was compassion for us that made him sob. LOL. We were together 36 years and the only other time I’d seen him cry even a little was when he broke his leg.

      • High Desert Chump – I am so sorry you have to live through this, especially with a small child. This is painful and the shit sandwiches are going to keep on coming as your cheater might be doing his best over time to mindfuck you through your shared custody (ask me how I know…)

        I agree with CL and all the comments here, send the husband all and every communications you intercepted between your husband and his wife. He has the right to know and will make his own decisions about what he wants to do with that knowledge.

        Second, it is going to be a shitshow, but you deserve so much better than unraveling your husband’s skein any longer. As many mentioned, with cheaters, the tears and sad sausage routine are most likely about their own losses. Unfortunately, more often than not, they are not anything akin to the demonstration of compassion chumps so want their cheaters to feel.

        I, like many fellow chumps, could not believe my husband could be a remorseless cheater… But once I convinced myself to watch what he did over believing what he said, there is all was, proof after proof of his selfish self-centered approach to life… He could be a poster child of “situational monogamy” (another great addition to the Chump vernacular, thanks ICanSeeTheMehComing!).

        My then-husband did not give a shit about how much finding out about his affair hurt me, he only cared when it came to how fast I would get over it so he could preserve his carefully crafted and polish image…

        He used the same words as we would, but the meaning behind them were very different… Thus the need for the UBT:
        “I love you” meant “You make me look so good” or “you’re so useful to me”
        “I never meant to hurt you” meant “I was hoping to hide better”
        “It did not mean anything” meant “I am entitled to a double life, but you are not, learn your place chump!”
        “I dealt you a blow no one deserves” meant “Yeah, ok I was shitty, but can you just forget about it and tell everyone that I’m a good person just trapped in a bad situation?” Not a chance in hell.
        “For the sake of our kid, let’s tell people we grew apart” meant “Don’t expose me or you’ll regret it.”
        “Let’s not hire lawyers, we can do the divorce papers on our own” meant “I will give you nothing, how can you even dare divorcing me??”
        “you are a spiteful pathetic thing” meant… well in that case I believe he meant it… But hey I knew better than believing him at that time.

        A cheater out to protect his/her image will say anything and everything to anyone as often as needed.

        High Desert Chump, my advice is similar to CL’s and to many on this comment thread.

        Stop having sex with your husband. Get tested for STDs.
        Make copies of all your financial documents, and download all bank statements.
        Find out all the Credit Cards you have on his and your name, I found out through my X’s amazon account that he had several more credit cards than I was aware of…

        In addition, wire 60% of all liquid assets to your own account (if he asks tell him that’s what will make you feel safe with him after what you’ve learned).

        Line up alternate living arrangements, and land a job that will cover your living expenses and those of your kid asap.

        Meet with attorneys (many offer intro sessions for free, and once you meet with them, your husband can’t hire them to represent him). Learn about your options to stay in your current home or move out (if you rent it doesn’t matter as much).

        Once you line up your ducks, get to safety, start being no contact, and have him served. Start with the harshest custody plan possible (let him see his kid during the day on weekend until the court order otherwise, if you have family or a close friend that can help, then have those with you during drop off and pick up to minimize his outburst and mistreatment of you). I would highly recommend that you use a parenting software like cozi, custodyjunction or ourfamilywizard. This will help as many of the info on these software tools can be used by attorneys and judges in custody battles.

        It might be difficult to leave him, but CN will help you minimize his abuse as you get out and build your next chapter. High Desert Chump, you deserve so much better than this level of duplicity and disrespect, I hope you will take our advice and focus on your and your child’s best interest as you consider your next step.

        (((High Desert Chump)))

    • Ahhh the old “you see everything in black and white”!l bull shit. I got hammered over the head with that repeatedly. Funny thing is, he always said I would be a good judge (I am an attorney) because I could see all sides to a story and be fair. (UBS: I can manipulate you). So which was it?
      I can tell you: I can be fair, except when it comes to allowing him to use and abuse me repeatedly. When I called him on it, I was too black and white.

  • OMG,
    I have read today’s post topic twice.
    There are innocent children mentioned here, but, for the life of me, I cannot find one sensible adult.

    For Dogs there are Dog Whisperers.
    For us Chumps, there is Chump Lady Whisperer.
    I don’t know how you do it.
    You sure are MIGHTY!

  • #1. Shitcan both your IC and your MC. They are encouraging you to rug sweep for your husband. I can’t believe your IC approves of this strategy. You are responsible for your own recovery, not cheaters hurt wittle feewings. You make him feel bad? He’s SUPPOSED to feel bad for what he’s done.

    What counselor does not require dealing with problems face on?
    — one who wants you to be their client for years and years and years and years.

    You are writing here. I am assuming that is a good sign, you know something is rotten and you want to do the right things. You simply have a serial cheater on your hands, he will not change, he will not change, he will not change. You have a classic covert narc on your hands – there is no winning…

    Trust it’s not you, collect your bearings and move away from the emotional cripple.

    Stand behind the yellow line, (stay out of the way of the drama). Let the other riders get off the tram first (let someone ELSE partner and stay with this drama). THEN load yourself on that train and move away from this looser.

  • STBX had an emotional affair ten years ago. It bothered me a lot at the time, but I didn’t recognize it as an actual affair. I also thought it was a wake up call to be a better wife. I spent eight years pick me dancing and keeping an eye on his interactions with other women. Finally he distracted me by quitting his job and complaining that I didn’t make enough so I focused on working hard and getting ahead in my career and missed it when he had two physical affairs and left me for Schmoopie 2.0.

    Save yourself some trouble and get out now. He will eventually get around to the physical affairs if he hasn’t already and then he will find some way to make it all your fault. Don’t play that game, it’s rigged.

    • “He will eventually get around to the physical affairs…”

      I’ve always said that emotional affairs are just appetizers for the meal that they 100% WILL HAVE unless they’re either caught or spooked somehow with the fear of getting caught when the spouse of one of them catches wind and is on to them. They’re what cheaters use to lead up to what they really want and can later say “just happened.”

      • Oh, make no mistake. THI guy has already had physical affairs. Plural. It’s fairly obvious. The therapists are even providing cover for that.

        • Believe me, I know. Hell, part of the reason for the crocodile tears is to make her think he can’t take anymore so that she’ll back off and not investigate deep enough to actually find the real smoking gun.

          What I said about emotional affairs was just in general.

    • Wow, @Chumpinrecovery – it took mine between 8-9 years to go from an EA to a physical one as well! I wish I’d left back then as well, at least I’d be used to this single parenting thing by now and likely wouldn’t feel like I wasted so much of my young life on a loser.

      • I totally believe in emotional affairs. After decades of harmony, my guy took about 8 years, from crushes to full blown walk out of your families life affair.
        The more I look back at all the “marital problems” ie: “Magneto problems” it is all really clear.

        It was all about the affairs. First emotional, then actual. All the complaints after 20 years, all the demands for change – everything. Marriage police does not work, affair proofing is a joke – sometimes the simplest answer is the correct one.

        Why did he cheat? Because he chose to.

        The longer I learn about this, the longer I know that the only thing stopping a man from cheating is HIMSELF. No other person or power will alter the course of a decided action.

        • You are correct. You can’t affair proof a marriage. That is where I went wrong. Before the EA we were equal partners in our marriage and I couldn’t imagine him ever cheating. We disagreed sometimes but we compromised and worked things out. Even after the EA I thought the fact that he chose not to make it a PA was a sign of character. Now I realize how foolish that was. The very fact that he was tempted shows lack of character. All the EA did was put it in his head that he had other options if he wanted them and could look elsewhere if I failed to live up to his impossible expectations. He was in the driver’s seat with me trying desperately to be perfect so he would not cheat. Well he had the PAs in the end anyway. This is the first time in my entire life that hard work has not paid off. In our first session with the MC he said that just before the first PA he was regretting not having a PA with the EA. I was just such a disappointment.

          HDC, this is your future if you stick around. Assholes all of them.

    • You summed it up, they will get around to it and yes it is rigged. Mine made sure I had no down time to see what the hell he was up to.

  • HDC, How’s that Marriage Police position working for you? Are the pay and benefits fattening up your 401K plan? Didn’t think so.
    Here’s the thing…I lived 10yrs exactly like what you are doing. Cheater could not resist any opportunity to “test” out his prowess on anything with boobs and a head of hair…all for Ego Kibbles, and all at my personal mental/emotional expense. Are you willing to wait around until you have undeniable proof that he got his dick wet? I sure wasn’t. It was enough for me that he was busy devaluing and betraying our marriage by pursuing and/or fantasizing about having variety, strange, or the forbidden…didn’t matter to me if he actually ever scored or not…because setting the marriage on the edge of a cliff with the ever present threat to push it over was not something that I was willing to live with. I did not give a rats ass about his reasons just as he never gave a rats ass about what his behavior did to my stability. I refused to babysit his morality…he certainly never found it necessary to babysit mine.

    Are you afraid of sending the emails because her husband might take them to heart and dump his wife…thus making both of them more “available” to each other? And somehow, it would then become YOUR fault if they both ended up together? If so, there’s your “answer” to the REAL dilemma that you have with your husband….and that is: You KNOW they would…because the only thing stopping them for the time being is YOU and how well you can keep navigating THEM. Nice way to live huh? Sooner or later, your husband is going to go completely off the rails with her or someone else when you miss catching another red flag. Mine did, as did everyone who is here at this site…it was simply a matter of time and opportunity.

    Here is the other thing: Any time that YOU feel as if YOU have to set up ANY boundaries for moral behavior in your marriage to keep your spouse from cheating (emotional or physical)…you are not really IN a viable marriage. Send the emails and let the chips fall where they should have been all along.

    • Sweetz, you are mighty! And wise. HDC, listen to these words!

    • Well said! How is it so many of us can have such a similar story? You could have been talking to be and be spot on.

  • The damn Entitlement. I absolutely hate it. They are entitled to everything under the Sun, up to AND including the Sun:
    Forgiveness, peace, quiet, having their needs met, chumps twisting themselves into pretzels to rival those sold at the county fair, privacy of affairs while being married, a “social life” that (of course!) includes being sweet with the ladies, kibbles left and right, full and unencumbered access to all assets, a great public image (fake, just plsssss keep this “mistake” under the rug Sweetie!), no consequences, their skidmarks scrubbed off the toilet and the cumstained panties glossed over by their respective and respectable spouses.
    It burns my fjcking britches!

    Mine is no different. While we “dated” he did the online chase daily of women, obsessive porn viewing daily, for hours!, a long-time “one true love” through email (he’d never met her but ruined 2 previous marriages courting her through email and mailed gifts and flowers).
    When i finally called “last call” on our “relationship” due to his long term obsession over a facebook acquaintance (they had met once at a party and she fits his type) he said oh, it’s nothing, it was nothing just “an imagination”.
    An imagination that damn near killed me. That was there for at least 6 months of our last year dating. He acted like it’s a fart in the wind.
    I almost made it out alive but unfortunately now we are married (yeah, i got sucked back in :/ )
    After the last 6 months of shit and torment i am resolved to carry on with the marriage, divorce is up to him but my eggs are in safe-kept baskets and I’m concentrating on things that make me happy.
    His latest quip “I’ve never been so in love with you as i am now, i have total devotion to you”. Sure, fucker. Let me hold my breath. And, of course I’m lovable. I’m a great person. Period. Just not infallible and i got duped time and again…

    Dear HDC, please give the husband all the info you have. It’ll provide him some clarity, which is much needed in these situations, and will give him facts on paper that are like ammo against insidious gaslighting. Ask me how i know…i wrote the longterm crush, begging for a lifeline to clear up what he’d been telling her…seeing as he’d promised me it’s out of sight/mind since 2 months – but i found out the contrary, it had intensified in him 3fold in secrecy. She enjoyed him running after her of course, i saw it in the messages before. But he deleted the ones of the last few weeks and she NEVER said a word to me when i asked for help saying “can i trust him or is he lying to me, please help me”.

    All i can say is send the ammo, save it for yourself and show your lawyer and DITCH THE MOTHERFUCKER ALREADY.

  • I really really feel for you HDC! My X claimed emotional affair too. The OW was a flame from college days and just couldn’t give him up. They were always in contact. They had lunch together just before X and I got married, which was a huge red flag, but I was informed that I was completely overreacting and that they had a friendship that was very special – something that should never be said to the woman you are marrying in my opinion. Several years later, after the OW’s dad died, she decided that she needed closure from the intense, true relationship she had with my X 12 years prior. I had just purchased a business and was working my guts out to get things up and running. My X decided to quit his job, saying that he was going to “help” me with the business. What he did instead was sabatoge me by having a full blown affair with this woman and she was several states away! Since her family lived in our state though, she would be in town regularly and they would meet up. She even brought her kids once so they could meet my X.

    I tried untangling the skein for 3 more years after this. My spackle turned industrial strength. The best advice is to RUN! Run to an attorney and start the divorce process. Run to loving family and friends who will be there for you if you need them. Run to a new life! Don’t waste anymore time with this sad sausage. Life is too short! My own mother was telling me of a woman that she knew who had a terribly abusive marriage to a cheater. He cheated and cheated and cheated for years. She had kids with him, she had to go get a full-time job because he wouldn’t share money with her and she talked all the time of leaving him. When she was in her 60s she had a massive stroke and died. Never left her cheater. He treated her like dirt to the end. Can you even imagine what an awful existence that had to be? Don’t waste another minute untangling – RUN!


    • Recently I was reading an article that described how a marriage that involves a cheater cycles just like an abusive marriage. There’s the flirting/EA, then the confrontation, then the promise to do better, then a smooth period, then another flirting/EA…and over and over. It certainly was that way in our marriage. Nothing I could ever prove, just strange happenings, too close “friendships,” etc.

      • I can relate to that. Definitely a cycle. This time it cycled out of control.

      • Your husband did the same to the OW. His criticism was severe when she came up short in his mind and would then cheat on his wife and his mistress, with yet another OW. The cycle never ends.

    • @marriagedetective…I’m so sorry that happened, and I agree with you.
      This is what happened in my situation too. Last year my husband’s mom told me that his high school girlfriend (who dumped him in 1988) might still be in the picture on some level.
      My husband denied it when confronted, but I just KNEW he was lying. He acted guilty as sin. Then came the silent treatment from him for months…although he was the one who hurt me!

      As in your case, there was also talk of them needing “closure”. I was like, closure for what?! That relationship is history (or so I thought).
      Also, similar to your case…the high school girlfriend’s parents still live in our state, but she herself lives miles away across the country. She is also married to what seems like a very nice man, with two children. She pretends to be a Christian woman…she’s anything but.

      I believe that on at least one occasion my husband met up with her somehow, under the pretense of traveling for work.
      This type of affair is hurtful (although what affair isn’t?) But I think it hurts more because they still have this idealized image of the “past love” and we can’t compete with that…even if we’re better than the other person in millions of ways.
      It’s a tangled skein indeed.

  • HDC – you’ll not find one person here who will tell you to STAY and UNTANGLE THE SKEIN. Want to know why? Because there is no happy ending with a disordered fuckwit, only a lifetime of betrayal, anxiety, exhaustion, low self-worth, empty bank accounts… need I go on?

    I’m sorry you are going through this. And, I’m sorry you have bred with this monster.

    Send the OW’s husband the emails. Meet with a lawyer. Get your ducks in a row and get you and your child out of this toxic cesspool.

    Start untangling your own skein… boundaries… self worth… red flags. And, start building a new, sparkle-free life for you and your child. I promise you, it is much easier than being the marriage police for the next 20 years.

  • HDC-I would not take your husband’s word on his ex having an affair and while it is quite possible your husband’s mother is a raging narc I would not buy into what seems to be “pseudo” psychological trauma due to not being loved as a child horseshit. He’s playing you. Get away from this narc nut job before you become ill.

  • “I had to tell him what happened.” I had to read this sentence three times to understand what happened. Remarkable how someone has the cleverness to HIDE an affair, yet need to be reminded that it… happened.

  • I’m still reeling over the OW and the cheater fantasizing about her husband DYING in a scuba diving accident he apparently had… I’m guessing, the surviving husband has not yet seen this email??? Please send it, HDC. If my spouse ever fantasized about my death, I’d want to know.

  • CL SAID: “So, he was a cheater in his last marriage too? Excuse me, had an emotional affair. Because adults who spend decades mooning after each other and ask each other to leave their spouses have never fucked. Right-o.”

    What’s with the whole “I’ve known her since we were kids. I never fucked her.” routine?
    Just because they haven’t, doesn’t mean they won’t.

    • Just because they say they haven’t doesn’t mean they haven’t.

  • HDC,

    I hope you listen to Chump Lady and Chump Nation. We’ve all been where you are at and we know how it will end…whether today or 30+ years on down the road…end it will. I don’t know how old you are but, regardless of your age, don’t waste anymore years on your lying, cheating coward. Get out now and save yourself further grief and abuse. Protect yourself and your child(ren) and lawyer up.

    While you’re at it, head on over to our forum and get some great divorce tips too. I was reading there last night and learned a whole bunch I wish I’d known while divorcing satan. Would have saved me a whole lot of worry financially and personally.

    ‘Maybe your delicate husband will stroke out.’

    Oh that is so funny! 😀

    satan’s head started exploding when I started standing up for myself and quit dining at his bullshit buffet. …I bet your stbx’s will too. It’s a good look for them 😀

    Good Luck to you!

  • I’d like to point to one sentence here: “They both talked about what would might have been possible for them if her husband had died in that scuba diving accident he had.”

    Just how sick is that? How comfortable are you laying your head on a pillow beside this disordered loser? They are one step away from Scott Peterson territory.

    This letter was so painful to read. HDC, your husband isn’t an adult. He’s still stuck back in adolescent territory. And no use untangling the skein to figure out why–you just need to pay attention to the fact that you are trying to control someone else’s behavior, when that person is clearly incapable of an adult reciprocal relationship. He’s been married twice, cheated twice and is still trolling for APs and kibbles from people he doesn’t really know. He tried to break up the family of 3 babies and that means he’s tried to break up your family. He’s totally unplugged from the commitment to be your equal, faithful adult partner. And yet your fear is that the HS OW is going to “come after [your] husband again.” My fear is that these two might arrange a scuba accident for him or you might disappear on your way to the supermarket.

    He’s been having this emotional affair since before you met him. The chances of his having a sexual affair may be near 100%. This isn’t about his mother, the OW, the nurse he flirted with, the women he trolls for. This is about the fact that you are married to someone who is amoral and disgusting. Who literally is sorry that a man failed to die and open up his pathway to Nirvana with Schmoopie. And what do you suppose was going to happen to you in that scenario?

    And why are you in marriage counseling when this guy is still engaged in these behaviors? The therapists can’t fix him. The church can’t keep them apart. MOW’s husband can’t keep them apart. You can’t keep them apart. And that’s not because they are soul mates or any of that. It’s because they LOVE the affair. The sneaking. The secrecy. The idea that they are special. The longing for each other. The devaluation of you and the MOW’s husband. The disrespect for everyone. The triangle. The giant FUCK YOU they give to everyone in their lives.

    Both of these therapists are idiots. This man doesn’t have low self-esteem. He’s disordered. And he likes it that way.

          • Agree +4. My partner tried to kill me so he could not only be with Schmoopie, but have my money as well. They plotted together to do it, and it is a matter of police record. On the surface, he was a really nice guy.

            Don’t ever underestimate the evil potential behind disordered characters.

            If there is a reason for them to want you gone, then for your own safety accept that and leave promptly.

    • A. Fucking. Men. ^^^^^^^^
      Exactly this.
      No one suspected to find a very pregnant Laci and fetus wash up in San Francisco Bay, and absolutely no one saw it coming as Scott and Laci, by all appearances seemed like a happy couple, nearing the celebration of the birth of their first child.
      Why would someone do something so abhorrent? Because he could. And with Narcissistic​ disordered people, all the explanation needed was: Laci and baby were in his way of pursuing​ a stable relationship with Amber Frey. And. He. Could.
      If these two are fantasizing about “what if” death scenarios, and “when my husband dies” plans for their very own future together, perhaps you should take heed the burning, on fucking fire ? red flag and book it to next Tuesday. I’m not kidding. Get out. If not for you, then for the safety of your child.
      Over reacting? Maybe. But you have the correspondence indicating death wishes, and if I found that email on my husband’s computer, I’d take it to an attorney… Figure out my next move, legally and take it.
      Good luck, and remember: there is safety in numbers. Find some friends and talk to them. Show them what you know. Tell them how you feel. Don’t be alone in this, regardless of physical safety. Find yourself and your strength in your sisterhood, or your local church, or your family, or right here on CL. Wherever you can. Just don’t be alone in this.

    • Quote: “I’d like to point to one sentence here: “They both talked about what would might have been possible for them if her husband had died in that scuba diving accident he had.”

      Affairs thrive on fantastical thinking. Having one or both spouses die would (in theory) be cheater’s wildest and most clandestine dream. They get to keep the lover, belongings and kids while getting public sympathy galore for widowhood AND everyone cheering they “bravely found someone else to make them happy.”
      I be fantasies about spouse dying is common.

      Has there ever been a column here about the fantastical plans cheaters put forth to their spouses?
      I bet THAT would be an eye opener….. last I heard they believed that chipmunks and birds were going to tidy up and make the bed…or something like that.

      • That would be an interesting column……..I personally know of a woman that finally HAD to leave as her “devoted” husband had plans to kill her. One plan nearly worked. He iced the steps and she fractured several bones in her ankle and leg. Her therapist and doctor urged her to get out, her life depended on it. Her therapist to this day does not charge her as he (initially) missed ex being a dangerous sociopath. Her ex had many girlfriends, forged her signature on loans, racked up credit card debt, the was house was being foreclosed, the IRS was in hot pursuit, cars were repossessed, insurance premiums cancelled for non payment and he had one heck of a drug habit. However even at that point he was well known and loved in their town so when she brought drugs that were mailed to their home to the police, they looked the other way. The day of her mother’s funeral was the day she had the post person hand her a certified notice from the IRS (one of the many) and it all started unraveling from there on. He kept her in the dark as she was busy working a full time job and took care of her ailing parents. Now she is hitting 60 and has to start from scratch. This is why it is so important to just leave when the nonsense starts and stop giving them more time to screw you over. Oh and just to note he finally had to leave the town as he had screwed over too many people to count.

      • “Affairs thrive on fantastical thinking.”

        So true.

        This would be a good topic for a column or a Fun Friday question.

    • Wow, LAJ. I never fail to be amazed at the wisdom spoken here. It’s refreshing to hear THE TRUTH.

    • Lovedajackass: I almost threw up reading your post…”the sneaking, the secrecy, the longing” god. it really makes me physically ill.

  • Now I get it. I thought we were trapped in a different category of affair but it is all the same.

    Even though I really don’t think they went physical -they live in different spots. My husband didn’t delete anything and I think I saw almost every communication between them. She was trying hard there at the end though, before I caught wind: Inviting him to pick her up at her hotel for breakfast/dinner when she was in town. Also asking if the next time they get together they could have dinner at *his* place (she knows I am out of town most of the time -we have a long distance marriage).

    The funny thing is that I already thought I was at “meh.” But I am not really at “meh.” I don’t THINK I’m dancing, but now I am seeing it differently. Dancing is as subtle as sticking around.

    I am realizing I need to read the book as my next step. Thanks Chump Lady, thanks CN.

    Ugh, I am catching myself still doing it: trying to figure it out and give him the benefit of the doubt. I am telling myself that this predated me and that he didn’t mean to continue their affair culture. But he escalated it while we were together. He sent her a romantic song and told her he was thinking about her.

    Does anyone just decide to stay in it? I feel like I don’t have the energy to make changes right now… But now I can relate to what everyone is saying: it feels like husband is in it because it is cheaper than getting a divorce.

    Thanks for the support. Haha regarding panic attacks being non-fatal. Wish I could LOL. 😉

    • I saw so much of myself in your letter. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I think many of us go through this stage. We want to fix it, we want to understand.

      You have the right to decide to stay if you want to, no one can make you leave, but consider that if you were in business with someone and you found out he was colluding with his previous employer would you remain business partners with that individual, or would you immediately call your lawyer?

    • HDC – We are rooting for you! Infidelity is one of the worst shit storms of life and it’s awful that anyone goes through it. Feels like there is no way out. It feels crazy! My heart aches at your story – I’ve been there. I’ve asked the exact same questions that you are asking. Like others have said, put the attention back onto yourself. What do you want? Is this kind of behavior acceptable to you? Do you really want to be with someone who would do this to you?

      CL says it best – Leave a cheater, gain a life. The minute my cheater moved out of our apartment, was the minute that my life started feeling better. The crazy was gone. This giant burden of fucked up shit was lifted. I felt free! I can’t even begin to tell you how great it felt to not have that in my life anymore.

      Does anyone just decide to stay in it? Yes, I did and tried to reconcile for 3 years. I felt like I couldn’t leave him high and dry. He needed me. He was unemployed. He was a sad sausage. Let me tell you – the behavior only gets worse, not better. He may not continue his affair, but his entitlement gets worse. He treats you more like garbage than he did before. He lets you do ALL the work all the time. He does more of the making you feel like this is all your fault. Additionally, he’ll start rationalizing why he thinks that he was right in having the affair AND he’ll start even talking in terms of “What affair?” “Why are we calling it an affair?” He won’t cop to an affair later on after he rationalizes what he’s done. The crazy doesn’t get better, it gets worse. And worser. And even worser.

      • “Does anyone else decide to stay”…ug. IT GETS WORSE, AND WORSER AND EVEN WORSER. Don’t want to share but feel I have to. I threw him out 3 months after I found out about the slut. Baby was 8months by then; eldest just graduated HS, second one a senior and the 3rd was 3 years old. The house was in trouble as his business partner broke up the partnership after hearing what he had done to me and some “small” embezelment. I was exhausted, tired, depressed, broke, working full time and nursing still. He begged, I let him come home. For the next year or so, I thought things were better, we were better for it, he was a much better father with baby girl than he had been with our son. Helped me around the house, blah blah blah. Then one gorgeous April night, I had just bbq’d dinner and I actually said to him, you know, I want for nothing. I am really content and happy. I am so glad we stayed together and worked things out. He left for a meeting. I was in the kitchen when my best friend walked in with my eldest daughter. They told me to sit down. They told me that 2.5 years earlier, my husband had cornered my eldest (17 at the time) in the garage and made sexually explicit comments to her, questioned her about if her boyfriend “got her off”, then threatened to tell me she was smoking cigarettes if she told me. 2.5 years my girl lived with this. They then told me he had tried to kiss the second daughter when apologizing to her 2 weeks earlier for being a shitty step dad so had decided to tell me everything that had been and was going on. I called the sheriff. He told me that girls their age rarely tell their mothers what is going on because of a need to protect their mothers. I THREW UP. I left everything, took my 4 and began again. I did not have you guys then. I wish I had. Clearly, I am here now working out the carnage I thought I had buried. I am free, but not, you know?

        • A big hug to you Patience and good on you for getting away from a sociopath. Best of luck in rebuilding-you can do it !

          • Thank you saffa. I am learning so much on CL and from the CN. It is bringing things up that I have shut down. I

        • Patience,
          ( I wrote another reply to your post of June 2nd, ” The Sentence That Changed Your Life.)”

          I am late catching up with today’s posts and I just read your post above.
          I have to say to you that YOU are MIGHTY.
          You have been through so much and you have held your head high and ran with your children with your dignity intact.
          “It’s not who you are, it’s who he isn’t!”
          I am so sorry for all you have been through.

          There is a reason chumps find each other. We hold each other up. We understand.
          I cannot believe all you have survived.
          As I said in an earlier post a chump really can look upon our survival as a badge of honour. YOU survived. He did not break you. His lack of character is his doing and his alone. There are no words to describe him! No words!
          But, every brave, good, valiant word in the entire dictionary begins and ends with YOU, Patience.
          YOU ARE MIGHTY!!
          ((((Mega hugs Sweet Lady))))

          • I feel that hug, Peacekeeper, truly. When I wish my oldest had told me everything when it happened, I realize that the baby would not have been born; I would have fled then and there. So its a strange thing. We all know she was supposed to be here. I remember the day I moved us out. He had said if I didn’t leave, he would get the money to stop the foreclosure. I just starred at his dead lifeless eyes. I said, you don’t know me at all do you? I would live in my car before I lived with you ever again. My neighbor came up and hugged me, said how brave I was for putting my girls first. She said I was her hero. Her mother had not and she suffered years. I didn’t feel like a hero, I felt like a failure. I don’t feel brave, I feel guilt and shame for bringing that monster into our lives. I come here because it helps me not feel like a complete total piece of trash. Thank you for all the kind and supportive things you have said to me. I read your post from yesterday on my train this am and I welled up. I don’t want to look back, go there, but I won’t ever truly move on until I process the whole nightmare without self loathing. Sorry, I am very emotional today. Ghosts.

            • You are mighty and such a wonderful mom. These asswipes fool us. You believed your children and took the immediate right steps and protected then.

              • MJB, thank you for those loving words…its all coming up so I am trying to process. Thank you for listening and encouraging.

            • Patience, you did a mighty thing by leaving that monster, and you did a kind and generous thing by sharing your story. We all learn and grow together, and when our shame gets brought into the light and dismantled, healing can happen. You are not alone, and you are most definitely not trash. Thank you for posting today. It helped me a lot.

              • FMT: If anything I have to offer can help anyone, then it was not all for nothing I have been told. It was very hard to write it all yesterday. I was very down. I went home and talked to my mom and just cried. Why is it all coming up now? Because my daughter is getting married I suppose. Her father and his wife blame me and refuse to speak to me. They will be at the wedding. It has been awful for her to deal with her father refusing to be anywhere near me. They put her in the middle. I said just be mad at me, but don’t drag her into it. But, I did believe my girls, I did get us out and away. The minute I found out, I called the sheriff. Done. “when our shame gets brought into the light and dismantled, healing can happen”…what a beautiful thing to say. I so pray this is true. Blessings.

            • Good Morning Patience,
              I hope you had a good sleep.
              The last few days have been so emotional for you.
              Patience, when you walk up the aisle, or walk to take your seat, as The Mother of The Bride, you hold your head high girl!
              You are Mighty! You are the Sane Parent! YOU have been, always will be, the loving, present Parent. YOU always put your children, each one of them, first.
              I am thankful that you have your precious children, your Mother, and your best friend, ( whom your daughter could confide in and together they both came to you to tell you the awful truth).
              As you hold your head high at the wedding please feel the presence of CL, CN, right there beside you, holding you up. We are not fictional characters. We are real and we got your back.
              To h.ll with anyone with negative thoughts words or actions against you! Ignore them as pesky specs of dirt in your rear view mirror!
              You got this Patience, YOU ARE MIGHTY! ( let your Mother of The Bride corsage be your badge of honour)!

              • Goodmorning my friend. I did sleep well. Im taking little ones campinh this weekend, so it will be good for me and they get to run wild, swim, pancakes. I am walking her down the aisle with her father. Stepmonster nit3 happy but f her. My faughter said if it was a problem for them, then i would walk her alone. You raised me mon, not him. Melted my heart. I will take the Tribe of CN with me. We do heal, just not all at once, it takes patience, hence, the name. I try to be patient with myself, my stumbles, my little victories. Yes, at 53 i camp alone with them. After divorce, i got a pop up and figured out how to tow and all of that by myself. I was not going to give up, let him win by stoppong me from going camping. So all of you single moms out there. It can be done!!!

        • I am so sorry that happened to you and your daughter. (((Patience))) He’s a monster, but you’re mightier. It took a lot of guts for her to tell you, and it took a lot of guts for you to start over. Please be kind to yourself. You did not know. Your ex is despicable and it’s on HIM not you. This is not your shame to wear. Please don’t hate yourself. You’re STRONG. You LEFT and you’re modeling mightiness to your girls. He took enough. Don’t give him any more power to hurt you.

          • Ah, CL. How can I ever thank you for doing what you have done for us? I suffered alone with this for so long. Knew no one who was going through the cheating and all the carnival rides that entails. Not to mention the horror of the rest of it. Now, 7 years later, I find you and I am beginning to understand what happened to me. Little by little, I am learning that so much of it had NOTHING to do with me. Can I tell you how freeing that is? There is something about being with others who have experienced the same destruction of self that is healing, comforting to know we are not crazy, that we are strong, not stupid. I am learning from everyone on this board. I gain strength and encouragement. I realize my picker is far from fixed. Hence, how I found you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you a thousand times. All of you.

        • (((((((Paience and children)))))))

          I am so glad that you are all out and away from that disordered bastard and FREE of the pestilence that is him.

          I hope with my whole heart he was arrested and jailed and has to register himself as who he really is!

          • JeepTess: He was not. They said it was “grey”. He knew the lines not to cross and didn’t. They said he was “creepy” but did not commit a crime. No registry. Really? He was jailed 2 years later for assaulting me. I have full physical and legal custody, but he has some visitation. The judge actually looked at him and said, “I know who you are”…It was chilling.

            • Oh honey! NO JAIL and he GETS VISITATION??!!! What the hell is WRONG with this world! How does this happen?

              I, there are just no words! My heart is breaking for you and your children 🙁 They, and YOU, must be terrified anytime he gets to take them!

              …this is one of those I wish the Karma Bus were real and on time and being driven by a monster just like your x is…

              I am so sorry Patience. I’m glad you still have your mom to go to.

              • Oh, the Judge said that since the kids he was gross to were not his, they could not justify keeping him away from the two that were. Like the sheriff told me when he violated the restraining order 3 times: “You know, we won’t do anything until you end up dead or on a gurney. Too many of you women take them back and so it’s a waste of time for us”. Truth from the police perspective. So, I learned to protect myself. Once he realized I was not afraid of him anymore, that I would stop at nothing if he harmed us, the tables turned. He has become the “victim” and is afraid of what I could do since the courts believe me. He’s a sick f..k.

              • Insanity Patience!

                The night that satan was arrested for ‘man handling’ me, he jumped in his truck calling me the c word (I HATE that word!) when he realized I was on the phone with the police (the dispatcher caught it all on tape) and drove away. The police showed up after he was gone. I was outside (it was 1:30 in the morning!) looking for the mighty monster biter Beau, who satan had purposely let out – I’m sure to save himself from being bitten… Anyway, they took my statement…I was too scared to press charges, I know, I know…anyway. At 2 AM I hear squealing tires and satan cussing! The police (BLESS THEM) had stayed in the immediate area and saw him AS HE WAS WALKING BACK TO THE HOUSE! They arrested him and took him away.

                That very day, here in the state where I live there were 2 murder suicides…one a long term marriage and one a short term live in situation. One of the women had a restraining order…the other did not…they were both murdered by their disordered partners before they killed themselves…the short term did it in front of their 8 year old daughter…the poor child!

                …this was why the police stayed around…I guess they just knew what to expect. I am so grateful that they did! Who knows what he would have done?

                The fact that this is such a common occurrence is why it baffles me that these disordered freaks usually are just slapped on the wrist and nothing else happens…which is what happened to satan…he was freed before noon the next day…came right to and into the house! My lawyer had put a restraining order on him that morning and he had been informed of it when he was freed. he didn’t give it a second thought, just did what he wanted. My neighbors started pounding on the door and hollering…that is why he ran out of the house after chasing me upstairs…but they saw him anyway… Frightening!

                satan is the same! He claims he never touched me. Some of the stuff he tells people is unbelievable…I just give them the link to our court case and divorce…make of it what you will folks, he’s not my problem anymore, have at it!

              • Insane. So similar. They do whatever they want, the more outrageous, the more people look at us, like really? Yes, really. In my State its near impossible to get full physical legal. So when i mention that, its very clear something was seriously wrong with him. Hugs to your mighty self!!!

    • HDC,

      I don’t think you get it, this is not an EA, you said: “Inviting him to pick her up at her hotel for breakfast/dinner when she was in town. Also asking if the next time they get together they could have dinner at *his* place”. You really think they are just having dinner? That they aren’t fucking at the hotel afterward? Srsly? Focus on finding a good life for yourself and get away from these people.

      You will have a lot more energy after you divorce him. Jedi Hugs!

    • HDC, I seriously thought about just staying in. Our kids are grown and I was wore out emotionally and physically. On a particularly exhausting day, I asked my son if he would think less of me if I stayed (he was and is very supportive of me and was proud of the steps I had taken up to that point.). He told me that he wouldn’t think less of me and then said, “but you know you’re just postponing the inevitable, don’t you?” He was right. I couldn’t live like that anymore. I filed and have just moved out. Love my little house and being able to breathe.

  • Thanks SOOOO MUCH CL for yet another GREAT answer! Sometimes I think that if I keep reading this type of ugly stuff, that I’ll get stuck in anger and bitterness and that I won’t move on. I sometimes wonder how you can keep reading the same things over and over and still be compassionate. We need you to remain here not just for the newbies going through this the first time, but we need you to be here for us that are 2 years past D day as well. Reading this letter and your translation and comments once again makes me realize that I ate a shit sandwich for years. As time passes I found myself thinking “He wasn’t so bad…” and “I guess my life could have been worse…” But when I read it again through a newbie’s eyes, I re-live the anguish. I realize that YES it was all that bad! And, YES, I am so, so much better off now. Thank you, CL! You’re mighty!

    • It doesn’t get better. My stbx had a EA with no “apparent” PA with conworker 5 years ago. I tried untangling his skein like you wouldn’t believe. Baby was only 5 months old and I left him for 4 months but came back to “try harder.” Naturally I was doing all the work and he sat back and complained as usually. 5 years later and caught him meeting OW outside of work, alone. He says it was all innocent and in public but once you have become a proven liar, their word is worth nothing.

      • Btw, we are LDS and your religion doesn’t make a difference with disordered people. Some disordered people like to use religion to their advantage.

  • I’m a guy, I’ve never had any affairs either emotionally or physically, but I do know of other guys who I have heard have had affairs. And I can tell you this………..there isn’t a single guy I’ve ever heard of that’s had an inappropriate “emotional” relationship with another woman that hasn’t tried to (and eventually succeeded) in turning that inappropriate relationship (or emotional affair if that’s what we’re calling it) into a physical affair.

    So I wouldn’t buy the whole EA thing for one minute. That’s just a last ditch effort to keep you from finding out the truth. And you’ll buy it because your brain trying to shield you from the pain that you know is on the other side of that door. Sorry to say though, it’s there.

  • This was hard to read, so much like my own story.

    The X was hung up on his old GF from 20 years ago, compared me to her our whole 20 year marriage.

    Right before our 20 year anniversary I find out they are in contact. He says it’s an EA. Cries. Blames me…the whole enchilada of cheater martyrdom.

    The week after our 20 year anniversary I find a picture of them together on a cruise from a few months before. He then makes fun of me because I believed the whole EA crap.

    Yeah, they are both divorced now, but not with each other. To them, it’s all a fairytale until the walls come crumbling down.

    RUN! Get a lawyer. Get your life back. Don’t waster another minute on a lying cheat. He didn’t waste a thought on you while he was betraying you.

  • Don’t get stuck in the “why” vortex. My deadcheater had a laundry list of woes: neglectful parents who were involved in a cult and went bankrupt when he was 10 so he was scarred for life, bad childhood, bad relationships with brothers, then we moved into alcoholic territory, sex addiction territory, bipolar diagnosis, ADHD, ugh the list was endless about why he was an asshole. In the end the why didnt matter, all that mattered was he was a lying selfish using serial cheater that I wasted almost two decades of my life on. So what if he has issues: is this the dead horse you want to drag around for the rest of your life?? Oh yeah and your “kindness” in trying to help him will never be repaid with anything other than more lies and deception because once you start trying to untangle their issues for them they only see it as a green light to excuse their evil behavior. Run like hell, dont look back!

  • The Coward had endless emotional affairs (one-sided, as far as I could tell) with a series of women before and throughout our relationship, and I stupidly stuck by his side (especially stupid when this was going on before we had kids and got married.) *sigh*

    It doesn’t end, you know.

    The Coward was showing me–at times energetically–that he was not invested in US. I didn’t see it that way, of course. But there were other clues–so many. Like, he would disappear for hours at a time on the nights and weekends that he wasn’t working, because he needed exercise and other hobbies or he had a lot of work to do (at work). He wasn’t interested in buying us a nice family home (that we absolutely could have afforded) but he DID buy a vacation home that he characterized as his getaway place (“my getaway place” he called it), and would work very hard on the maintenance of that place (I did, too, in my chumpy, chumpy way…) to make it nice for the women at work that he crushed on. He liked working nights and weekends. He liked doing things alone. When we walked, he walked ahead of me. He badmouthed me to his mother and undermined me with the kids. He didn’t like taking me to work functions. I was a pain in the ass to him–a major annoyance. My needs were a hindrance to his happiness. So, like many of us here, I made my needs small or took care of them myself as I took care of his. (I bet you’re doing that, too.) I really resented him. And I hated myself for it. No wonder he didn’t like me, you see?

    Then? The Coward, who I believe is a covert narc, finally found The One. They were college/HS hook-ups, and the story is that they found each other shortly after he joined FB. I’ve spent many years thinking that she was simply the first blonde in so many years who finally let him touch her (after YEARS of him trying with many, many others), and THAT’S why he left, but now I’m not sure. Maybe there were others he slept with. I remember one night some woman called after his high school reunion (that I didn’t go to) and he swept the phone into the garage and explained after the call that she had a mistaken impression. I thought she had a crush on him or something. Maybe he slept with her. Oh, and there’s the Ashley Madison and Adult Friend Finder accounts I found out about after he left, and some other woman he befriended after supposedly meeting in a chain restaurant (that’s the story from my son) after we separated? WTF? (I wonder if she’s a AM/AFF find….ew.) There are women around town who won’t look at me when we see each other. Just so weird. The OW in my case was my Get Out Of Jail Free card, as it turned out.

    Anyway, my point is, it’s just so funny to me that the final straw was him sleeping with another woman. Not all the other bullshit that preceded touching genitals–just the touching genitals. I guess I was cool that he was a dick (or at best negligent) to me in so many other ways. But genital touching? Nooo. I wish I’d have realized he was a ticking time bomb long before I found out about the genital touching. Actually I wish I’d have valued myself enough to understand that the way he treated me was UNACCEPTABLE and that I could do better. It’s just that it took genital touching (THAT line) to finally help me see that he’d been an asshole all along. I learned that here at CL. Hahah–it wasn’t a mid-life crisis, it was that he was an emotionally stunted, angry baby-man all along.

    What will it take for you? Do you like nagging a man to love you? Do you like the chase? He seems to. He likes his wife appliance very well, doesn’t he? You snoop, he goes deeper underground. What a fun game! And you’re still the adult in the house taking care of everything or begging him to give a shit.
    That’s not love. Do you like being “married” to a baby-man?

    I’ve been where you are. It doesn’t end well. Your “husband” feels entitled to treat you like an afterthought, like a pain in the ass, as if you’re his mother. He’s a petulant ass, just like my ex.

    Life gets SO MUCH BETTER without a drag like that in your life.

    • Damn Stephanie, THIS!

      “What will it take for you? Do you like nagging a man to love you? Do you like the chase? He seems to. He likes his wife appliance very well, doesn’t he? You snoop, he goes deeper underground. What a fun game! And you’re still the adult in the house taking care of everything or begging him to give a shit. That’s not love. Do you like being “married” to a baby-man?”

      These are precisely the questions that got me. My X and I did the “Come and Get Me” “Go Away” Tango our entire married and dating life. It was the suckiest relationship I have ever had. Yet it took giant sized helpings of devaluing to get me to get out of it.

      Life is SO MUCH BETTER without these creatures. +1

    • Agreed, Stephanie. My husband has a thing for blondes too (his high school girlfriend is blonde…not an attractive one, though).
      As I told another Chump above, all affairs are bad, but it’s the ones with old flames that are truly damaging in my opinion.

      I wondered why we seemed “stuck” in our marriage after many years.
      Came to find out it was because of the old girlfriend still having an emotional hold on him.

    • Agreed, Stephanie. My husband has a thing for blondes too (his high school girlfriend is blonde…not an attractive one, though).
      As I told another Chump above, all affairs are bad, but it’s the ones with old flames that are truly damaging in my opinion.

      I wondered why we seemed “stuck” in our marriage after many years.
      Came to find out it was because of the old girlfriend still having an emotional hold on him.

  • HDC,

    Run away from this human maggot like your hair and your ass are on fire and he’s holding gasoline and a match. Give all the emails and anything else you think can help to the OW’s husband. Get out of MC and get a better IC. I have lived a similar experience (the “flirting” with waitresses and “didn’t get unconditional love from his mother” made my hair stand on end it aligned so closely with my life). This never gets any better, only worse. You condition yourself to accept it and manage down your expectations so it appears to get better. Once that happens, he will introduce something even more toxic into what I will loosely term your “relationship.”

    Let me give you a little perspective that you can’t get while you are still living this insanity – and it is insane. Why are you listening to and believing anything a proven liar is telling you? Remove the label of “spouse” or “husband.” I just read about a grandmother who killed her 18-month-old granddaughter so understand, with sick people, relationship labels are irrelevant. You are dealing with a proven liar. Liars lie, which renders them untrustworthy. Are you comfortable living with someone who is untrustworthy?

    What about your relationship has focused all of your attention on his feelings, his wants, his needs, his desires, at the expense of your own and what’s best for your child? Is it because you feel the only way to keep him is to keep him central while disregarding yourself and your own needs? Are you comfortable living the rest of your life like that? What about when he begins demanding that you put his needs above the needs of your child? He will – ask me how I know.

    Are you willing to live with the fact that this man does not love you or care about you? Lying and cheating are not compatible with love, I don’t care what anyone tells you. A person who is comfortable lying to you and cheating on you does not love or care about you. Your inability to accept that reality doesn’t change it.

    Your husband isn’t going to die from anxiety. He is using that to control your response to his totally unacceptable behavior. Not only does he get to do what he wants, he gets to tell you how you can respond to him doing what he wants. Do you want to live like that for the rest of your life? If anyone is going to die from anxiety from this relationship it will be you. Living with unending duplicity is a slow death.

    And you know what your reward will ultimately be if you continue to tolerate this Cretin from the Depths of Hell? When and if it becomes opportune and he sees a better option, he will leave you. It could be tomorrow or it could 40 years from now. He has absolutely no loyalty to you or your relationship. His constant flirting is comparable to animals grazing, constantly looking for fresher pastures in which to graze. It is unending. Is that okay with you?

    He is basing all of his decisions and actions as what he perceives is best for him. You are basing all of your decisions and actions on what you perceive is best for him. You are both in love with him. Who is looking out for you and your child? Who is loving you and your child? It’s not him.

    • Chump Princess that is exactly true…. “lying and cheating are not compatible with love”….Whether you choose to believe in the existence of Unicorns, remember that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior….and yes, continue on and decrease your needs so that you can prove to yourself… and everyone else.. that things are getting better. Once you are made aware of the serial cheating, the continued affairs, the one night stands he will stop. If only momentarily, until he believes that you, for some odd reason, believe in his fidelity and honesty, neither of which he has ever practiced to date. Liars liar, cheaters cheat. He will continue on until he is caught again, he will just get better at hiding it. Once they know they have you, it will simply get driven further underground until he, or you, can no longer tolerate the “relationship” you are living in… A quote from my IC that I will never forget is… “You do realize that this is not a way for anyone to live”… and that is SO true….

  • Here’s one more little gem: A couple of years after XH & I had started dating, he broke up with me because he didn’t “feel that way” about me. I knew what this was all about because I knew about his old HS girlfriend who he thought was “magical” and they had “spark,” and sure enough when he moved out and she came to visit, they met up. I don’t know quite what happened (rejection, perhaps?), but within a week he was back at my door asking to get back together. Like an idiot, I agreed, thinking that perhaps he had learned a lesson about the grass being greener — I also chalked his actions up to immaturity, as he was only about twenty-five years old (I’m ten years older).

    Fast forward thirteen years, and he finds another young woman who looks REMARKABLY like his old HS girlfriend, but evidently that “spark” was mutual this time, so he sat me down to tell me he’s done with me. Begone, aging harpy shrew bitch! I have found a young sparkly fellow narc to perk up my middle-aged self!

    What I wouldn’t give to turn back the clock and not have taken him back the first time. So HDC, “save” this relationship if you want to, but if you think this is the last/only time you’re going to walk this path? You are mistaken.

    • So much truth being said in this response. Women with husbands that cheat need to wake up and realize that once a cheater, always a cheater is true. Some wait a couple years until they cheat again and maybe get better at hiding it. Some wait a decade or longer. Some have another one on the side immediately but the wife is so focused on the other woman they found out about that they don’t have a clue he is already sleeping with the next one.

      • Oh gosh, so hard to hear this. I believe what you are saying, though.

  • I have been where you are. Trying to figure out the puzzle. Truth is I had never committed in this way before. So I was 1000% invested in the life he sold me we would have. And the agreement that he wanted the things I wanted. He set me up. Plain and simple. Was it natural for him or planned manipulation? Who knows? At this point it is not the point. What does matter is that he was raised, taught, and is a person who is not being who he agreed to be.

    He is creating the lies, sneaking, and cheating. A man who is married and in love, does not tell another woman, you’re just a GF, unless he’s hoping that is enough to get her to sleep with him. He wasn’t anxietial about any of it, until you demanded answers.

    Many people ask is that the Life I would want for me? But I was not even thinking of me. I have been doing some real therapy and looking deep into why I didn’t matter in this scenario with my ex. I realized I had been independant my entire life on purpose. But when I moved in, submitted to, committed to my man, I was all in.

    As a child after adoption that had meant, living in fear. Submitting, being small, doing what I was told, taking a beating. There is a whole long sad list of things I didn’t know would be triggered by being vulnerable to a mate. I picked a mate as disordered and abusive as my adoptive parents. I just didn’t see it. He came in a fun, smoking hot, charming package, and he told me what I wanted to hear, he assured me he would be my man, he listened tome tell my childhood sadness and hurt. He also kept saying how alike we were, how no one else understood me like him. This went on for years. There were signs- yes,many- but I was used to mixed signals and decoding behavior. It made me vulnerable to it. I didn’t understand myself. I just wanted love, security, loyalty, and I was prepared to give that to I’m whole Heath led forever, as I am sure you are.
    But then – when in deep shit, he began to use my strengths against me and make them weaknesses – when the mask came off. You are being played. But you are unwilling to go off the script you set in your mind. You keep ramming your head- thinking he will feel bad for you- he doesn’t he feels bad for him.

    MY ex like your Husband had crafted the perfect con. And I was at that point doing everything for him. I realize now- I didn’t care about me. At all. I thought about it, I had fantasies about leaving, but I was loyal and he had many years to use my weakness against me. I wanted to stay and get us right. He was done using me and I was not of use anymore. I was sick and no fun. He jumped ship, but not before abusing me and treated me as bad as anyone could while I was sick. The phrase kicking someone while they’re down- that was him- its like he got off on it. Diabolical.

    The biggest difference between us. He would tell me his hurts and needs, and I would build him up, and help him where he didn’t excel. Fully expecting he would do the same as he said. You may not value yourself. Because I never did. I thought I did. I had as long as I kept my distance from people. But I look back and see, loving someone to me, seemed to be submitting to them and giving them everything at the cost of me.That is what felt normal.

    I’m only coming to realize how extremely sad that is. I now have a picture of my small child self, before I was adopted on my dresser. I look at her and say, how would I treat her today? And I act accordingly. It’s helping. Would you want to look back at your life and say, I didn’t matter? I didn’t before-except to live and please my man who has shifting ailments depending on your policing.

    Being young, pretty, smart, none of that made a difference for me. I know it doesn’t matter to you- what you have to offer. He matters. It was knowing that I was really messed up. It was my fault. Logically I knew that wasn’t possible but he was in my space everyday- telling me otherwise. I didn’t value myself at all. I valued him. I am now working hard to erase that image and I hope you can too. It’s the only way you will leave and know you can be with someone who will love you as your are. I would love to be 24 again and choosing a different path. You can!

    • What awesome insight, Chumptothe9th. A lot of what you said rings true for my childhood as well, especially

      “But I look back and see, loving someone to me, seemed to be submitting to them and giving them everything at the cost of me.That is what felt normal.”

      My parents loved me, there is no question, but my mom was abandoned and neglected as a child and suffered with major depression and was very ill. This took it’s toll on me and I didn’t want to do anything to add to her suffering. Growing up in this environment teaches you to put your needs last. If you don’t, you feel selfish. This type of relationship seems normal since you’ve not experienced life any other way.

      I like the idea of putting a picture of yourself as a child where you can see it and asking every day how you want to treat her. It’s wonderful when people share these types of techniques on this forum to help others.

      • Wow, Lyn, I had a very similar experience growing up. It took me until my mid-30s to realize how dysfunctional my upbringing had been – because what kind of ungrateful bastard questions his parents’ abilities? My mom devoted herself to me and my sister, and wondering if she’d been a bad mom was too disloyal for me to broach until I finally felt safe with someone else – my ex. The footing wasn’t as solid as it appeared, but it at least let me finally start down the path of recovery.

        My ex seemed great because my relationship with her was at least better than what I experienced growing up. It might have very well have sucked too, but not nearly as much.

  • Three kids under three?! Paternity Test Required. Wanna bet there’s a “lurve child” in the litter? How birth control could fail that miserably tells me she’s either a chorionic gonadatropin junkie or she figures her stomach looks better inflated-and I bet it does: The stretch marks on that have to look like a cross between the tortured ass seam on those pea geeen stretch pants commonly rocked by females on “People of Walmart” and the stitches of a sewing machine on crack. In any event she’s still doing her “missionary” thing-in the prone position: “…trying to recapture those Gllooorrry Daaayys, yeah they’ll pass you byyyy, Glloorrryy Daaayys, Gloorry Ddaaayysss..”

    How the hell he didn’t fall in there (no wait, he has) means he either tethered himself to the bedposts or rented scaffolding. While I was contemplating the mechanics of how in the hell you’d even be able to touch sides, (a John Holms clone? A “threesome” that includes his pecker and a XL dildo?) I had a momentary lapse of Eureka: He’s a real cave man, a spelunker! He was just “exploring for science” what life forms reside in the bottom of Mary Anna’s Trench! And because it’s for science don’tchaknow, just wait till he “shares” some of those “life forms” with you. He may be a sad sausage but that doesn’t mean you have to be the equally sad Chumpy Cheese, yk?

    You really wanna know what an “emotional affair” actually IS? Youtube Garfunkle and Oats, “The Loophole.” That’s the most concise explanation evah. Besides, Every Picture Tells A Story, Don’t It?

    • OMG TW you are on fire. LMAO. I confess I had to look “chorionic gonadatropin” up in the dictionary, though!

  • Oh, CL, you are excellent. I honestly had a very difficult time trying to navigate through HDC’s letter.

    Chumps get so occupied with doing the “right thing” to “fix it and make it all better” we tie ourselves into pretzels. It never occurred to me that I could leave a bad relationship. To the person I am now — this seems odd.

    CL is correct. You need to ask yourself – is this relationship acceptable to YOU? Or if you prefer – is this relationship healthy for you and your family today and in the future?

  • I hold a somewhat different view in that I think people can carry out fantasy affairs for years. Pretty common even. However, how could you ever know for sure?? I don’t think EAs are the same as cheating (it’s one thing to talk about it, quite another to do it), but I can tell you one thing for sure. I would NOT stay with anyone who had either, because you’re clearly not in it with me if this is what you’re doing, and I’m no one’s consolation prize.

    Find your mighty. This guy sucks!! To whatever degree he sucks doesn’t really matter. Do you really want a sucky life partner?

    • Ultimately, we agree that it’s not worthwhile to stay with a sucky life partner, but I would argue that non-physical affairs still divert energy and resources away from where it should be going (into the marriage) and instead towards another person outside the marriage. I’m participating in a game I don’t even know I’m playing, so not that it matters but isn’t it that much easier to choose the sparkly skinny-jeaned college coed than the sweatpants wife doing the laundry and perhaps just a bit cross because this is the third time this week that he’s been home late from work (where the coed also works, by no coincidence)?

      When I discovered XH’s thing with OW, I actually said to him, “You may not have even laid a hand on her, but at this point it hardly matters.” And I still stand by that. To me, it’s the same sort of rationale as high schoolers who feel chaste because they “do everything but… YOU know! IT!!” or even more juvenile, two bratty kids in the backseat of the family car, “I’m not touching you! I’m not touching you!” while holding their fingers inches from each other’s faces.

      These are resources diverted. Marriage over.

      • No argument there. It’s unacceptable to me, too. You’re mighty! I def didn’t leave when I heard of an EA, I didn’t until I absolutely knew there was physical infidelity, but I would now.

        • K – ‘I def didn’t leave when I heard of an EA, I didn’t until I absolutely knew there was physical infidelity, but I would now.’

          K – that was hard for me. I knew in my bones he was having this deep affair (took me 3 yrs to figure it out!) but had no physical proof. So, I threw myself into fantasy land thinking they only had an EA, and of course, nothing physical, once Right! My gps saw him staying over at her house many times in the city. Still. It wasn’t until I found her panties in my bed – probly on purpose – that gave me the evidence I needed in my thick head. And, shit – that’s when I blew the roof off our marriage and couldn’t resist kicking him literally down the driveway. (although, he got away)

          • Hopium is so powerful isn’t it? You want to give them the benefit of the doubt. I guess we all learned huh? If there’s smoke signals these days, I don’t even worry about whether there’s fire. I’m just outta there.

  • I have just had an aha moment. While I don’t need to go into a lot of details, I have realized that my husband and I were never really married. Yes, we had a ceremony and paperwork, but he was never committed to marriage. Right from day 1, he was always emailing his old high school girlfriend who lived on the other side of the country. When his serial cheating came out, one of the women was the sister of this girlfriend who lived nearer to us. He felt entirely no guilt. The only bad thing to him, was that I found out. I have been mourning the end of a 33 year marriage and now I think there never was a marriage. So, I am going to toss my mourning clothes in the garbage (metaphorically) and say the connection to me never really existed. It was all in my head and I am going to give it up. I was useful, until I wasn’t. I thought I had moved on, but now feel I’ve moved on even further (if that makes sense).

    • I feel the same way. Nothing is real anymore. I have uncovered too many lies and they go back too far. He was never honest or faithful. 20 years and it is just gone (or never was).

  • Yay! Feeling better. Thanks for the virtual head-smack. CL, you are mighty. I feel like I have a ton more clarity after re-reading your UBT. So I am still not ready to divorce but I am at least seeing things clearly.

    Wow, I am so cynical. Does anyone survive this and believe in romance again? Or do we realize that romance (even in a safe relationship) is a nice dance that we do because it feels good and we want to pretend? How many of us give up men altogether?

    I am really old. I have been through so much crap in my life. I thought I was done with all of that when we “committed.” I thought his anger and humiliation about his first wife’s affair meant I was safe. In fact, I was worried that *I* would end up hurting *him,* the sensitive creature, as I have always been adventurous and thrill-seeking (I love backpacking and hiking), and he is the stay-at-home type.

    So there are some things worth looking at: he really does everything to make everybody else happy. He works so hard. He would do it all if I would let him. And he can’t figure out how to take care of himself -and his stress at work is insane. Except for getting kibbles for himself! He figured that out! And the panic attacks were so bad that he couldn’t stand up. That was real. Since then he has a never-ending headache and is trying to figure out the root of it (prob getting some kibbles from pretty nurses at his appointments). So he is a timid forest creature. That helps. Wish I could stop trying to figure it out, though. 🙁

    Does anyone just accept the relationship and find a way to meh in the relationship? Does anyone do that? Is that the European way? And then both parties find ways to get discreet kibbles?

    I can see that I am trying to justify doing nothing. Ugh. I guess this phase will pass.

    Meantime, I will busy myself with finding a way to forward all those thousands of emails…

    Thanks for all the hugs and compassion.

    • HighdesertChump, You are still bargaining. You will not accept your reality. You like the fake reality that you can still have a marriage, love, trust, and because you marriage policed him and he had panic attacks, that it is over you. Did you ever think he had the attacks because you ruined what he had with her?

      All that you are saying now to me (and I’ve been there so it rings true), is;
      1. You want the lie of what you have more then to accept the truth
      2. You will not value yourself at all in this situation
      3. That you see him as more important, because you are obsessed with him and his thoughts, fears, needs, attacks, and not what it is doing to you.
      4. You like yourself as a person who gets none of you needs met or you feel “normal” doing this.
      5. You will NEVER get to ‘meh’ in this relationship because you “care” too much and he cares to little.
      6. You taught him there are no real consequences to what shit he does – any of it. (My ex figured out pretty early on- how little I meant my boundaries).
      7. He is ok with you devaluing yourself to check on him and tell on him which equals his centrality in it all. He is valuable. You are not BS he wants.
      8.Good attention, bad attention, any attention is still good for him. Panick attack = sympathy. Evil shru wife that thwarts true love = attention. Priest, therapists all discussing him= attention. Being nice to everyone for kibbles = attention
      9. You see it- you just disagree. You are sure if you work hard enough or figure out the magic mental puzzle that is him that will =love forever.
      10. You are so desperate – you are asking if you can get to “meh” and stay married to him. Please stop lying to yourself. Please start valuing yourself. I value you you more then him and I don’t now you. We are sisters in Chumpland. Come home and realize you are a pawn.

      Hugs and encouragement.

      • Thanks for your words, hugs, and encouragement. I guess it is a process. Since D-day I was hoping that this case is different. I am going to run some things by you all that I am still ruminating about, but I am sure it is frustrating to see me equivocate. Will post in bigger thread.

    • HDC:

      -The panic attacks are not real.
      -It has been a physical affair; the OW said NEXT time, which implies previous times.
      -He has SO MUCH opportunity to cheat.
      -He is NOT a timid forest creature; that is how he wants you to think of him. It’s working.
      -He is not kind and giving ALL; that is how he wants you to think of him. It’s working.
      -He is a covert narcissist and he’s playing you like a casual game of war.

      -You are not cynical at all; you are in denial.
      -Your husband is a huge asshole and a remorseless cheater, just waiting for you to leave town again so he can bury his sadness into a warm, wet hole.

      You are not willing to accept this. It’s scary, we know.

      Protect yourself with a lawyer and don’t tell him what you know, fully, until you’ve lined up your financial ducks (per a GOOD lawyer’s advice) and have him served. Or don’t- but at least now, you know. You are aware now and the choices you make from this point on are all your own.

      Good luck.

    • HDC my ex told me horror stories about his ex wife. She was a teacher and would have students in their home. She didn’t stay home to take care of him when he had the flu. She started having an affair.

      I thought he’d do anything for anyone too. It was all kibble seeking behavior.

      Looking back now (and no contact really does provide clarity), I realize just who he is. Mine is Mr. Nice guy. Everyone loves him. Except we had rotating friends. I learned not to get too close to his friends wives because we wouldn’t be hanging around longer than a year with these couples. He’s a homebody too.

      I ignored the red flags. Dday #1 when kids were 2 and 4 y.o. Sold our house and kids and I moved to smaller place. Divorce almost final when he came begging back.

      All I did was delay the inevitable. Dday #2 was with our teenage daughters young coach at school. What a shit sandwich for the kids in their high school. How humiliating for your wife. I feel so phony sitting with all the parents. Can you imagine how my daughter feels with her teammates?

      It really only gets worse. He is on wife #2 and doing this shit. He hasn’t learned any life lessons. This is who he is. There’s always another crazy chick around the corner to play with him.

      • Oh holy heck I have read your posts! Your story is crazy. Hugs and more hugs. Thanks for responding. I dread having another D-day ten years from now.

    • HDC, lots of compassion is here for you. I remember wanting him to come to his senses before me filing & losing what I wanted most, an intact family. I filed because I knew I could not go on being psychologically abused, which is what is happening to you when he says he cannot discuss it because of his anxiety. I did not FEEL like filing at all. Lots of cheaters try to find a way to silence their partners. STBX’s mom told me if I wanted to be with him that I should never mention it again. Devaluing at its finest.

      I’ve devoured the books in CL’s Amazon store. “Why Does He Do That” is my latest one. “How to Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcisssist” might be of interest to you. All of them are good & will validate the things you know are wrong & happening to you. You don’t need to explain his behavior to him or explain what decent & good behavior is. He already knows.

      Someone said in this thread, why does he do these things? Because he chooses to. That about sums it up for me.

      It’s a long process, & it’s painful. This site is a lifesaver.

  • The crying he is doing over “what he has done” is not for you or your family. It is purely because of the consequences he is facing. It is all about him.

    My STBX brought his AP to my son’s soccer game. This was before my son even knew that his dad had been seeing someone and just a couple of month’s after his sister was born. He was pissed and hurt. He didn’t talk to his dad for two months. STBX’s comment – “I wouldn’t have done it if I knew how he was going to react.” Nowhere in that statement was remorse for the hurt he caused but only for the reaction he got.

    • “Nowhere in that statement was remorse for the hurt he caused but only for the reaction he got.” Gross. Thanks for your words, Mighty Mama.

  • Wow. That’s kind of my story. And I have to agree with CL. It really does come down to whether or not this is acceptable to you. I banned contact for my husband’s emotional affair partner. I convinced him that it was an affair even though there was no sex involved. I read a lot of books. I processed his family of origin issues with him and how he was projecting his mother onto me. I cried. He sometimes cried. The girl quit and moved out of state within the year but I continued to beat myself up about it. I caused my husband to look for love outside our marriage! What a horrible wife I must be! But at least they were no longer keeping contact.

    7 years later I found an email from her. Then him to her then her to him again. I confronted him. He promised it was the only one. It wasn’t a big deal. It was innocent. He feels nothing for her. He can still be friends with her.

    I have 4 children with him. We just married off our oldest last weekend. It’s been 15 years. only recently did he actually come clean about the depth of the relationship. Still no physical but it is so clear how very delusional he was. He believed it would never go physical and she felt the same way. So I repeated back some of the things she said to him at different times.

    They were skating on thin ice but the line was crossed. That is the part of Mormon culture that really needs attention. Probably all of married culture but eccliastical leaders know what’s in the handbook and emotional affairs aren’t included. Nobody really knows what to do with it because sex wasn’t part of it. Yet the tintillation of an extramarital relationship and sharing of intimacies is so not part of fidelity.

    My story is still being written. I stayed for the kids. I stayed because I couldn’t justify TO OTHER PEOPLE that he was having an affair. What is acceptable to you? Banning the relationship is putting worthless words out to the wind. Do you have to actually end the marriage? I don’t think so. But I think you have to be absolutely willing to do so if his behavior doesn’t change. What are your deal breakers? Write them down then love yourself enough to abide by them. 15 years after DDay, I realized a huge deal breaker was living with all the holes in his stories. Nothing new happened, it was just a realization. I calmly and with conviction, let him know I couldn’t live with the holes even though he sees no reason to revisit it. He was wrong, okay? I already knew he was wrong. That wasn’t what I was asking. So find someplace else to live until I healed and sorted out what I wanted to do. We were both fully aware of the implication. The relationship, though over, according to him, continued in my mind because he had hidden so many things and I refused to be the marriage police. I figured out what was not acceptable to me and was willing to split in order to care for me.

    Are we okay now? I don’t know. Am I okay now? I was always okay. I was always the one that honored our marriage vows. I’m stronger than I thought I was and still willing to walk if I stumble across something onerous. My eyes are open but they are looking at me, my children, my family. The burden of proof rests on him, not me. He’s proved that he lies and that he acts selfishly. Is that who he is all the time? No, but those lies and selfish acts have had dire consequences. Apparently, I’m willing to allow them in our marriage in the past as long as he owns them and hides absolutely nothing. There is no guarantee he’s told me everything. There is no guarantee he won’t lie again and destroy us. But I’m still willing to take the chance.

    • And for the record, since her husband asked, yes, share the emails. It’s not vengeance. He has every right to know the facts and make decisions based on facts. You don’t need to offer any interpretation. He needs to ask the questions to his wife. It’s between THEM.

    • Thanks for this. I didn’t realize until reading all the replies that all I can really expect is another D-day. In some ways, I think I am willing to take a chance too. It really is crappy. Sorry you have been in this position. In some ways, yes, the emotional affair is really difficult because the emotional stuff is what us chumps want. We want devotion. And it is so easy to give theoretical, abstract devotion where nothing is demanded. And the intimacy!

  • HDC,
    You and the OW’s husband are in real danger! Please think about this.

    Your manipulative, cheating husband has gaslighted, exploited and overwhelmed you with such monumental deception that it seems you are emotionally numb to the *VERY MENACING* conversations your husband and the OW are having.

    There is a progressive pattern to most love-triangle murders.

    The first step is when one or both of the illicit lovers individually begin to secretly fantasize about it, and how it will solve their problems.

    The second step is when they acknowledge it to each other, by verbalizing, joking about and discussing the death wish. And the advantages of the death wish.

    Apparently, your H and OW have already accomplished step two regarding her poor, hapless husband. This is only 1 step away from step three, which is actually planning the deed.

    Just because you don’t have anything in writing about your future doesn’t mean your H and OW haven’t also mulled it over between them.

    If you have any of these emails where they are discussing the accidental death of her husband, I would encourage you to turn them over to the police. I mean that sincerely. Go to the POLICE. This kind of communication needs to be exposed and investigated.

    Or at the vey least, do as someone else recommended, go to your attorney and asked for advice. Something needs to be followed up on ASAP. Send the OW husband the emails. Take steps to protect yourself.

    These two long-time, adulterous love-birds sound like a USA TV crime show in the making. Please don’t be that silent picture of the sweet wife that everyone is eulogizing when the cameras roll. Don’t let that hapless OW husband be that silent picture of the good guy everyone misses.

  • “You’ve been betrayed and must make your needs smaller, because he has the sadz.” CLASSIC!! Had to wipe my soda off my phone because that was too funny!

  • HDC

    He’s not suffering from anything other than his need for avoiding consequences. Find yourself a good attorney and file. Do this before you send the remainder of the texts.

    Gather all your doccuments and put them in a safe place. File for an immediate order to remain in your home and boot his ass. Change all the beneficiaries on your assets if they are in your name prior to filing. Then go for the juggular.

    You are living with an abusive entitled man child. Go no contact. Do not discuss the settlement with him. Get that lying asshole out of your life.

    Stop focusing on him. See a therapist specializing in trauma bonding. This isn’t about love; its abuse.

    • Thanks for your words. “Stop focusing on him.” I needed this wakeup call. So much. Thanks.

  • The whole scuba diving accident scenario is creepy. Bet her husband would get some clarity on how much esteem and love she has for him, NOT!
    My Ex and Schmoopie actually contacted his lawyer when I got lung cancer and just before my surgery they were hoping I wouldn’t make it! They were asking the lawyer how they could “spin” thier relationship with the family so they wouldn’t look so terrible. Much to his lawyer’s credit he informed them that they would “still look like assholes no matter what!” Those were his exact written words! Even his lawyer knew they were scum, but thier money was still green! Don’t ever think these scumbags wouldn’t entertain your demise either.

    • Good God Roberta…I am so glad you did survive the surgery! My jaw just drops daily on this blog. Sick. Major points to that attorney for calling them out on it.

    • Roberta,

      This is just awful. I am so glad you are mighty.


  • (regarding the emails) The chumped husband deserves to know the whole truth in making a decision about whether he will stay in his marriage. He’ll never get it from her. The truth matters here, and he deserves it.

      • I am so glad you have decided to send the emails! Anyone facing a cheater has the right to as much information as they can get their hands on IMHO. Good for you.

  • Emotional affair is just another word cheaters use to justify what they’re doing. It’s either an affair or it isn’t. My counsellor explained the definition of an affair.

    Irrespective of whether it is physical or not if it’s something you wouldn’t do with your partner and/or kids present or you have to hide it, it’s an affair.

    Lawyer up and kick his shy, timid, sensitive ass to the kerb where it belongs. If Schmoopie wants him – let her have him. Her fantasy love won’t be so wonderful once she has to deal with looking after a broke divorced cheater, washing his skid marked undies, having to share him with a child and deal with all the bullshit that comes with him. Let’s see how quickly the fantasy wears off.

    • Yep! I know they even joked about this (they found out how different they are when they were emailing incessantly about their lives) but decided to enjoy the “sweet reverie” and keep getting kibbles.

  • The skein of fuckedupness oh my – in its full glory here . HDC – please , please start running. Ask no questions , just run . To your lawyer . Now . I am sorry but he ‘s not gg to change and how many more years are U gg to play mum and therapist to him? I dun see remorse , attempts to cut off Ow, change his charming ways sit strangers and to win U back . There’s nothing to work with . My ex was exactly like that – told me that OW was a nice peron , she and her kids needed him, that he was not needed in our home, that we did not love each other enough when we got married hence we ended up with him having an affair. I knew it was messing with my brain and did not even try to untangle the Skein. I cut him loose . And last I saw – his quote in his Whatsapp contact says ” enjoy life while U can”. Less than a year after the divorce and breaking my kids hearts . I tell him nothing about the kids and our daily struggles (2 teenagers ) , I just play the sane parent . So he thinks that hey , everything is fine , kids look well , talking breathing etc . Seriously I dun give a F@&k what he thinks . Also have no interest to lay guilt trips on him or waste any time on him for that matter . CL is spot on , when dealing with a fuckwit (and all cheaters R the same . The exact same.) , just focus on yourself and the kids . Let him swan around and do his impression management . We can’t control them . Start running . This realization made me less mad over him having the fucking (literally ) good life with her 2,kids and grinning from ear to ear each time he comes see the kids . It’s HIS life , always was , not my shit to deal with anymore . One has the “nice OW” the 2 kids of hers (different fathers ) who ” need ”
    Him and treat him like a king . I have my 2 kids , the house and alimony . I have no hot and nice partner or even a date (too busy with raising kids without diffdrent men waltzing in and out thank you ). I appear a total loser I guess but it’s ok , I will play the sane parent . What happens over at OW and most likely to become second wife is no longer my concern. It’s true that married couples become strangers after divorce . And fu fuckwit actually please with me to remain friends and have an amicable divorce . Sure , I gave amicable as far as the settlement was concerned but nope , not gg to play the supportive ex or “cool ex wife ” – why should I ? Dun feel like it , dun want to .

    • The very last thing in the world you appear is a “total loser.” You are mighty as hell, sane parent! Hats off to you!

      • Agree with FMT, mehmehdancer. Being the sane parent is pure gold.

  • I never thought that he might have made up his first wife’s affair! He does have evidence though, and the Bishop ended up moving the priest to the next town over because husband raised a stink about it. And husband’s ex is a total narc. We are battling her every day in one crazy court case after the next over our troubled daughter.

    Never saw the disordered before. Thanks for the help. And CN is right about attention/validation! He gets a ton even from his lawyer and etc. while battling his crazy ex. And from health practitioners.

    Thanks for helping me see more. I never saw it this way! The low self-esteem thing! I think he was humiliated in front of the counselors because he wants to seem like a good person. And he has been horrified by the idea that I might tell people. He knew I told one girlfriend and then he was trying to find reasons for me to quit that relationship. I didn’t realize that he felt humiliated and wanted to avoid her.

    I did ask him about contact between him and HS sweetheart during his first marriage. He said he couldn’t remember. Except that she sent him books and his wife at the time banned them from being in contact.

    Yes! I wondered about husband missing OW and he did say he felt relieved. He was starting to have to manage OW -I could see it in the texts after the fact. It was getting harder to hide her (OW was a social media creep -that’s how I found out about them!).

    And the scuba accident! Yes, so gross! That email is old (pre-me) and it was OW fantasizing about what might have been. Husband was just happy, because kibbles.

    I did tell husband absolutely no contact ever. I told him it would be over immediately if there was. I am not really patrolling any longer.

    I really do work on myself and have a pretty healthy balance. I was a single mom for many many years before we committed.

    It is true I am bargaining. Obviously. Ugh, gross. They are so gross. Thanks for being the ones that can understand.

    Our stories are awful. Hugs!

    • HDC, I’m really sorry you’re in this situation. It sucks completely, and I can imagine the kind of pain and confusion you’ve experienced. LaJ’s post was terrific, and there’s not much more to add to that, but what you said just now about “I did tell husband absolutely no contact ever. I told him it would be over immediately if there was. I am not really patrolling any longer” makes no sense. ZERO. I say this as a chump who made the same comment to my shithead ex. See, how can you *not* patrol, knowing what you do? As long as you continue in this relationship, you will be compelled to patrol. The dynamic is embedded in the core of your relationship, simply because he is who he is, and your whole history is enmeshed with this former flame. He will not change. He probably can’t, or wouldn’t even if he could.

      But you can. You can recognize right now that this is a game you can never win. Two weeks after I issued my ultimatum to my ex, I moved out. I took my girls and I got the hell out of that fucking hellhole. Because I realized, I’d always be waiting for the other shoe to drop. If it wasn’t OW’s shoe, it’d be someone else’s. Some Craigslist whore, or some practically statutory escort, an ex-gf, or just some random chick. And I realized, he wasn’t worth it.

      Best.decision.ever. So I think the question you need to be asking yourself right now is, “What exactly am I holding on so tightly to?” Because it certainly isn’t an open, honest husband who respects and honours you. Sure, you can probably stand it for longer. But why do you have to stand anything? ((hugs)) to you. I really hope you shitcan this guy.

      • It’s true! I was so carefree and happy before this. “This is a game you cannot win.”

  • “Is this relationship acceptable to you?”

    This genius phrase is exactly what made me decide to divorce that douchebag.

    Luckily I found CL soon after D-Day, and the timing could not have been better. I knew that cheating was a deal-breaker for me, and through all the reconciliation websites I wasn’t trying to save my marriage; I was trying to find validity to leave the asshole.

    So when I read a post of CL that had that sentence in there, that was all the validation I needed.

    I also was dealing with my husband being in an “emotional affair” and I don’t have any proof and of course he swore up and down that he didn’t cheat on me, but after discovering CL I realized that it didn’t matter. This relationship was unacceptable to me, regardless whether he had an “actual” affair or not (I have no doubt in my mind he did; no one leaves out of the blue without fucking, no way).

    That’s the $64,000 question. At the end of the day, do the details really matter? Is this relationship acceptable to you? Had this have happened to a close friend or other loved one, what would you tell them?

    • “Is this relationship acceptable to you?”

      Thanks, this IS gold. Sadly, I am still working through my feelings.

      • I am working through my feelings too, and it’s been over 4 years for me. I’m still on this site, after all. But we both deserve much better, and it’s far better to be alone than to be alone in a relationship. You will gain a very fruitful life from the ashes, I can promise you that.

  • I agree JK, I would turn them over to him in a heartbeat. Let him read them and let him have a nice discussion with his cheating wife. Hopefully he too will kick her ass to the curb! Everyone I associate with knows that if I know someone is cheating that I WILL tell thier spouse or thier SO! They have a right to know and the right to protect themselves!

    • Yeah, decided to send. I would want to know. I think I was worried that OW’s husband would think nothing of the affair -he minimized it to begin with. Plus how do I even send that many emails? That was a barrier I am trying to hurdle.

  • Honestly I do not know who invented the term EA. When the tech world was not here maybe there was EA via snail mail and secrets PO BOXES or phone call. When I started reading CL I saw this term and it was so difficult to me to “picture it” since English is my 2nd language. The more I read this blog 99.9% said.. ” He told there was no sex” “She said this”. I can understand the pick me dance but if we are going to do the “Pick me dance with the cheater Star” we can not believe on EA. There is no EA with co-workers, just a coffee, just a ride, just watching movies etc. Please, I discovered CL on 2014 afraid super afraid but kept reading. I would never imagine that I would be able to cross the other side!! Divorce what final a few months ago. Just leave the bastard so he can jump from EA to physical affair. Do not worry about telling the other man. Take care of yourself you do not know how the husband or your husband is going to react. If you are in the states you need $ from him for child support. I have pics of howorker & Mr. Cheaters pants. I could fax it, email it now to Human Resources since I am dealing with them as we
    speak. Not a smart move so TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF plan & divorce.

    • “Take care of yourself.” Great advice! Thanks for posting and good luck to you! You are mighty mama.

  • Don’t hold your breath on those Mormon leaders doing anything. My cheater XH was Mormon and his leaders never gave him more than a wrist slap.

    And he showed up in Sacrament meeting arm-and-arm with his mistress while I was there with his 9-month-old, and I sent his leaders a picture of them kissing at a party. Still nothing.

    • ugh!!!! sorry, that is terrible. hugs to you.

      I was mormon for a long long time. Now when I go I see hypocritical, fake smiles because of what has happened. I know that will change over time. Are you healing?

  • “So is he really horrified, or is he just scared of the consequences? Are those tears for hurting you, or are they for himself? Are you projecting feelings on him that he doesn’t really have? ”

    It’s comments like this that demonstrate the real value of this blog.

    Kick that fucker to the curb.

  • I have worked in law offices. Chumps, depending on the size of your city/town/area, go to the top three divorce attorney offices for an ‘initial consultation’ – some of those will be free and some will not. You do this even if you cannot afford those attorneys. What you are really doing it creating a conflict of interest for those law firms so your Cheating Ex cannot use them. It was one of the best things I learned while working and saw it used several times against Chumps who ended up with less than the best representation or who had to go out of the area to get a decent lawyer because the Cheating Ex did this. Let me tell you an attorney that is not from the area will fare far less then those that are from the area. The legal system is a ‘good old boy’ fraternity. Hope this helps at least one person.

  • “You okay with your boyfriend husband mooning over his “lost love”? Are you enjoying your role as marriage police chief? You okay with being the great consolation prize to a man who neglects to mention he’s married? How’s living the great romance That With Enough Therapy And Introspection He Realized He Loves Me, Sorta?”
    ^This right here^ This behavior is a slippery slope.
    I chose a man who fawned over his lost love highschool g/f in emails b4 our dating and marriage…She lived miles away, so I didn’t think anything of it, because I was so ‘cool.’
    Little did I know, he would leave me for some random girl he met, while we were dating; for me to go back when he was done w her, and us fast forward into an instant family w a new title.
    Of course he would then be found having yet another affair, after we established kid/business/marriage; w his high school best friend’s then girlfriend…not the original said lost love g/f to whom the emails, I found, were addressed. Ew. Small towns can be gross, (you loose your place in line.)
    Wtf? How many different “lost loves” did he have? Many. S.m.h. I remember he was always extra flirty w the hot waitresses and whoever else gave him an adoring look. Sounds like the same bullshit.
    I’ve learned from doing the pick me dance for someone who was always on the fence about me. There were other cheating situations he participated in, and staying, turned me into a spiteful, bitter woman. I’m now beyond thankful that I’m free of full filling a role, and that I was finally able to stop participating.
    If his shnookums AP turned wife really is true love, then so be it; and more power to me! My life has been exponentially better since he’s gone!
    There’s no real compatibility if there’s no genuine love. Love is making mistakes and amending them…not continuing to test bounds. Turns out I didn’t know how to genuinely love a man like that, so it was difficult for me to demonstrate it to him. Honestly, I don’t believe it will ever be possible for me to love a man like that; because I certainly did not love myself while with him. Adult love really is conditional. If he didn’t like how I was treating him, he had the option to exit; but I guess he needed a good enough excuse other than just incompatibility. Oh yeah…that spongy floury stuff w the sweet frosting one usually gets on their birthday….Mmm mmm!

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