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Dear Chump Lady, Do I stay for the kids?

Dear Chump Lady,

He says he doesn’t want to lose his family, that he’ll do whatever it takes. This is the second time he’s been caught with escorts. He says I’m the only person he loves, it was just sex, and if I won’t do it for him, then do it for the kids. He knows I love our kids and would rather cut off my arm than hurt them. It feels manipulative because it is, but at the end of the day, do I stay for the kids?  If so, how long?  They are 12 and they adore him.

Amy

Dear Amy,

Oh I see, this all rests on YOU. Don’t hurt the children, Amy! Don’t break up their happy home! Don’t do anything to destroy their adoration!  What a monster you are, Amy.

I suppose you made him fuck those escorts. Gave him your credit card, did you? Cleared his schedule for him?

He’s been caught TWICE. (And God only knows how many more escort occasions you didn’t discover.) When first offered the saving grace of doing “whatever it takes”, he responded by fucking more escorts. His whatevers have been exhausted. If you take him back, expect more cheating.

He says I’m the only person he loves,

He is the only person he loves.

People who love you don’t risk your health or disrespect you with lies. People who love you don’t hold your children hostage so you’ll enable their hooker habit.

it was just sex,

So this trifling sex thing was so insignificant that he was willing to risk his marriage and children’s intact home? Wow. Imagine the destruction he could wreak if he cared.

UBTed this translates to “Accept my entitlement.”

and if I won’t do it for him, then do it for the kids.

And the kids need to accept it too. Shit sandwiches for everyone!

NO AMY. Just NO.

You matter. Your health matters. Your sanity matters.

You are not required to be a martyr to this marriage. You do not have to keep handing out chances like people throw candy from parade floats.

You do not have to guard the children’s good opinion of him. Not. Your. Job. They can figure out their father for themselves with the fullness of who he really is. That is their relationship to work out, not yours.

Your job is to love yourself enough not to accept abuse or model it to your children.

No one grows up healthy on a diet of shit sandwiches. Lawyer up, Amy. Your husband can go fuck himself. Or an escort. #itsjustsex

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Sometimes I have nothing to add but a megaphone to amplify what CL says. *pulls up said megaphone* RUN!

  • Accept my entitlement…

    Ex and his EA partner Dream Princess used to mock ‘entitlement’ incessantly. I wish I could point out to him just how entitled he thought HE was…. but there’s no point and I can’t be arsed. 😀

          • Same here. The whores aren’t so dreamy when they are brought out of their cockroachy secret “affair” world and into the bright daylight of a real relationship. Contrary to what these people think, sneaking around fucking is not a real relationship.

  • Kids need sane and stable parents. PERIOD. And the greatest gift you can give your kids is a sense of security and confidence. You will be a better mother if you get out of the crazy. By staying, you will be constantly wondering if your husband is with an escort and racked with anxiety and self-doubt. You will be alone and no one will be taking care of you! The stress will consume you. Then after another year – when you can’t take it anymore and things fall apart – and your parenting has been erratic – the kids will view you as part of the problem – to the point they may even — Dad’s right, mom’s tough to take.”
    Trust me – I know.
    Hard to give up the life you expected , but a better one awaits.
    Hugs

    • And always remember – he CHOSE TO BREAK UP THE FAMILY – not you – the minute he decided to hurt you physically, emotionally and financially by sleeping with an escort and risking your health, your heart and your finances.

      • So true Tired. The destruction cheater hands out is in secret. What a genius move to leave the visible work of cleaning it up to the chump. You are not breaking up your family, Amy. He did that already, but is quite happy to let you do all the work of rebuilding it. And gets to label you as unforgiving. He’s not very nice.

    • Thanks TiredChump, I needed to hear this, they deserve a better role model and a Mom who’s happy.

      • Amy, chumps who live with and try to spackle crazy/abuse usually end up looking like the crazy ones.

        Part of demonstrating your own sanity is refusing to manage crazy.

        • How I wish I had the wisdom of Chump Lady and Chump Nation when I was spackling to keep the marriage in tact for the sake of the kids.

          Now I’m that much older and financially fucked. Why? Because in my line of work, I’m a fifty-six year old, white woman looking for a job in school counseling. In other words, a cliche that nobody will hire. And my kids treat women like shit. I helped teach them that by accepting being treated like shit from their father for their entire childhood.

          File.

          • I taught my kids the same thing ugh! I pitty the chump my son will marry someday. Get out and run Amy

          • ‘my kids treat women like shit. I helped teach them that by accepting being treated like shit from their father for their entire childhood’. THIS Amy, if nothing else gets you to move out of this relationship, this statement should.

            Kids learn from your actions, not always your words. Don’t teach your children of either sex to accept this kind of behavior..

          • I hear you Chutes, I hear you. I think I have controlled the damage of a bad model with two of my three sons.

            Run, Amy, run.

          • Lesson learned. Here …oz or the uk in fact. ..when your middle aged wanker decides you have outlived your usefulness and you rapidly have to reinvent some income to keep yourself the kids and a house you can’t afford then thats the time u see all the sad ladies serving on the supermarket checkout. My kids see the evidence. Even though im qualified in tertiary level at short notice you have to go with whatever is on offer. I so do not understand how these bastards lie straight in bed .

      • Amy,

        I stayed after dday#1 and a huge part of that were my kids. They were 10 and 12 at the time. A broken home was not what I wanted to give them…ever. He, too, promised that he regretted it and would do anything to keep his marriage and family. That lasted about a year and a half. Then his behavior slowly started going back to where it was. Half a year later, I was hit with dday#2.

        Here is the thing (and you only get to see this after you get the courage to say no more) is that the kids had an idea along. And they will respect you and learn boundaries from you but only if you stop accepting his behavior. And CL is spot on in that it is not your responsibility to fix what he broke. You say he is a good dad, but does a good dad cause the kind of harm that adultery causes? Or is he a good dad because you hide or smooth out all of his bad choices?

      • Just heard a news item saying that gonorrhea is going to be completely untreatable in a very short while. Whilst I believe prostitutes are probably less of a risk than most (screening, compulsory condoms, etc) as a person who unknowingly contracted two STIS, from a white, middle class mother who was fucking the only man I have ever slept with, don’t do it. Don’t EVER sleep with anyone who you know has had an affair. I wouldn’t have, had I any clue. Just be parents. Who don’t live together. Like a whole lot of other parents who don’t live together. The kids will be okay, and learn about boundaries, consequences and self respect.

        Good luck Amy. You’re gonna be fine. After a bit of hard stuff. But we can do hard stuff xxx.

    • Another additional angle: years down the road, the kids somehow discover that this was going on for years and you participated in the lie of pretending all was well. They may not feel less like you did it for them and more like they wonder what other huge secrets you keep.

      I realize it may not be appropriate to tell the kids everything now, but don’t let this liar make you a liar, too.

      • Amiisfree,
        I couldn’t agree with this more. Having to tell my kids that there was a dday#1 after dday#2 came out (and I decided not to keep it from them) was one of the hardest things I did. Both of them asked me why I stayed and didn’t leave then. They also wanted to know why they were kept in the dark.

        Here is what I learned: that if keeping his secret makes it your secret and you fear your kids (or other people) finding out, then it probably isn’t the right choice. Because like Amiisfree said, you then become a co-conspirator in the secret. And what is that teaching your kids about honesty? I am not saying you have to spill everything to them and everyone else. I am talking about hiding it.

        My kids and I worked through it and our relationship is stronger for it. And once I stopped hiding things from them about their dad and left it completely up to him to manage his relationship with them, he is proving he is not such a great dad. I was just very good at setting him up to be a good dad.

        • It’s worth remembering that cheaters prefer relationships in triangles, so they love it when a chump stays in the marriage and keeps the secrets from the kids.

        • “I was just very good at setting him up to be a good dad.” This has been my experience as well… I was so good at finding excuses for his lackluster parenting, now our kiddo is learning to watch his actions over taking his word as his bond… A painful lesson but one I hope will help her avoid cluster Bs as a grown up!

      • Agreed. As a 29 year old child of a dad with a hooker habit and a mom who stayed and spackled, I can say it isn’t a good option to stay for the kids. The kids won’t appreciate your “sacrifice”. I have a lot of anger toward both my parents, my dad for being such a fuckwad, and my mom for what I perceive as her emotional weakness, fear, and willful blindness. Then I turn on myself and think I’m a bad person for harboring such anger against the people who love me most in this world and have given all they can for my happiness.

        Patterns, even those covered up (especially those covered up) repeat themselves. I didn’t know about my dad but I lived with the symptoms of his cheating my whole life. I’ve never trusted the men I got close to for fear they would turn on me like my dad was constantly turning on my mom for seemingly no reason. I chose to marry a man who ended up cheating on me for two years, while I was pregnant with and raising our infant daughter. I found out about his cheating and my dad’s cheating within weeks of each other last year. Secrets always get out and it’s been hell to deal with these secrets. I’m now put in the strange situation of my mom asking me for advice on what to do about my father… and wtf do I say to that?? He’s a sociopathic narcissist and you should leave him? Which I said. And then the next day he comes to my house to help me paint and put up shelves, and sings songs to my 2 year old daughter who adores him. And my mom makes him his favorite dinner and doesn’t even take a single step toward autonomy.

        It is hell being put in the position of counseling my mother to break up the family, not that I trust she will ever listen to me. But she is depressed, she doesn’t sleep and works too much and drinks a bottle of wine a night and puts on this fake happy that I can’t stand. I can’t in good conscience tell her that it’s healthy to stay. Apparently he has no intention of stopping, it’s “just sex” and he loves her and you know, men have needs…

        It is tougher for the kids if you stay. Just everyone puts on their plastic mask so everything looks ok while you all harbor this festering infection inside.

        • Thanks for sharing your experience, rockette. My older son told me he suspected his dad was having an affair as far back as when he was in middle school, but he told me “I didn’t want to believe that of my dad.” I answered, “I didn’t want to believe that of my husband either.” So I think he somewhat understands. On the other hand, my youngest son was blindsided and had no idea that anything was going on. To this day he asks whether something else is going to hit him out of the blue that he didn’t see coming.

          The damage is just heartbreaking. It changes the meanings of all your memories — a lifetime of them. I guess the truly surprising thing is we are all able to pick up and go on with our lives. Sure makes you appreciate even the smallest things.

          • Lyn, I’m sending hugs for your youngest son. His world was shattered, the very place where one grows his sense of self and feels secure – FAMILY – got blown away.
            My son was 2 when OW was teaching him to call her mom. Divorcing his father and getting away from the crazy was THE BEST decision I could take for my son.
            And by away I mean away: we relocated to a different country.
            One year later, my son knows exactly who his mother is. He knows his father, and know his father is away. Yeah, he will have to deal with not having a present father, but I am firm that I took the best decision. My son has me, he has my parents and other loving relatives. He knows who he is, and that’s what matters most!

        • My DS (nearly 3) adores my cheater father and OW he left my mum for as well as my STBX his cheating father. I find this really difficult to wrestle with. We are stuck between a rock and a hard place because of choices other people have made. How can I be ok with my father but not with STBX?!

          • You don’t have to be ok with something you’re not ok with. You need to establish your boundaries, if not for you, then for your son! Are you ok with what you’re modelling to him?
            You’re obviously torn within yourself. Listen to that inner voice: what does it tell you? Where is that uncomfortable feeling coming from? There is your answer.

          • You aren’t married to your father. Like your kids, you will have a lifetime bond with your father. They will have a lifetime bond with your STBX, who is their father.

            These are not parallel relationships. Parent/child relationships don’t involve “cheating,” although some kids feel very betrayed. You can disapprove of how your dad treats your mother without cutting him out of your life. He did not promise sexual and emotional fidelity to YOU. Your kids can be hurt because their dad broke up the family but they can still have a relationship with him to the extent that is possible. A parent is not a partner, and certainly not meant to be an equal partner. There is and should be a generational boundary.

            You, on the other hand, are married to STBX and must decide whether you want to live with a SPOUSE who puts you at emotional, financial, physical and psychological risk. Who lies, cheats and manipulates people. Who walked away from you in a fundamental way when he should have been most loving and supportive. If you divorce your STBX, you will still have some connection because of your child, but there will likely be less and less of an emotional tie.

            The best possible outcome for you son is that the STBX will behave well enough for him to be secure and feel loved when with him and that your father and his OW will continue to dote on him and accept his love in return. Remember the “wire monkey mother” business, in which a baby monkey will cling to even a monkey made of wire to avoid being alone and abandoned. Kids are wired to love their parents. There has to be a lot of damage or parental alienation to change that, usually. And that really speaks well for the job YOU are doing. So give yourself some credit.

            • I do not agree with you, LovedaJackass. The implications of getting married and taking vows extend way beyond the partner. You take your vows having in mind to start a family and having offsprings. The implications of that are huge! How you treat your partner becomes the model for your children. How you treat your family is how you treat others.

              Pregnant chump was “programmed” this way. She was prepped to welcome and receive the exact same treatment that her father had for her mother. Realistically speaking, she did not know any different. At a subconscious level within herself, she chose her partner precisely to fix her relationship with her father!
              I totally understand her dilemma: here are 2 men in her life that are cheaters! She can divorce one of them. Should she cut ties with the other men – her father? Obviously, she feels guilty for even considering this option. And yet it is this very relationship she needs to work on.

              Pregnant chump, you reached a point in your life where you have no choice but to inspect the relationship with your father. It’s a divine opportunity to have your say, to state your truth and act on it!
              If you need support, take this opportunity to talk to someone. Someone that knows how to deal with karmic relationships.
              Wish you all the best!

        • Brilliant. And I relate so much to the fact history repeats itself.

          As a result of my own past and evidence to hand, I’m not a believer in staying for the children. Ever. Even if there is no cheating or abuse, kids pick up unhappiness like cat hair on clothes and usually end up feeling responsible for parental misery.

          Nope. Not fair. Not a start in life at all. Parents owe it to their kids to give them a strong start in life from which to springboard.

          Staying for the children always smells to me like “rationalisation and excuse”.

      • I agree. The thing is, if you stay “for the kids” you are complicit in the “he’s a good dad” lie. I told myself the “he’s a good dad” lie too. The truth is, you can’t be a good parent if you are putting sex with strangers above your family. Escorts cost money. Big money (no fucking way has it been twice – that’s the tip of the iceberg). He’s risking your health (potentially taking their mother from his kids), your kids’ financial well being (see big money above), and your family’s reputation (what if he gets caught in a sting operation?). How is that being a good dad? Good dads put their children’s needs above their own.

        I stayed after DDay #1 which was your “standard” affair (my kids were teenagers). When DDay #2 rolled around 4 years later, turned out that he had a stripper habit before the DDay #1 affair and after the DDay#1 affair which lead to DDay#2 affair with a stripper. And then I spackled for a couple more years, telling my kids that dad and I were separated while we worked through some mutual issues. That resulted in deep confusion for my son who thought his dad was a great guy and an appropriate role model. That confusion continues to this day (almost 5 years later). I wish so much that I had been honest with my kids from day one. Not that I would have or should have shared the gory details but being honest (even if my ex wouldn’t) that Dad made severe mistakes that had consequences because that’s how life works, would have saved my kids a lot of mental anguish.

      • Yes- this happened to me. I found out my father had been having affairs when I was seventeen and about to leave the country. I had three younger siblings and didn’t feel like I could tell my mother. I didn’t even know if she would believe me. They always presented as a perfect adult couple. No fights, his stellar career and her lovely dinner parties etx. I know my mother denied even to her self for years his multiple affairs and although I am empathetic now, at the time it make me furious. All the lies and seething tension we sensed but couldn’t see or couldn’t understand.
        Their marriage ended in separation when she was 60 after 32 years of marriage and the anger at what she had lost and missed covering for him all that time brought her down. She died 4 years later

        Plus if you want the second effect, I grew up and predictably married a man (barrister/narcissists) just like my father and used all those lessons I had learned from my mother, to suck up his shit behaviour until he finally and thankfully he actually left to become a ‘better man’ with the lady bait. I would never have left him despite frequent bouts of despair, because I was brainwashed into thinking an intact family is always better no matter the sacrifice and as long as you hide the problems the kids won’t be affected. Again a lesson learnt in my own childhood.
        Anyway two years later after a ton of therapy I won the house in court and got the kids most of the time, met a wonderful man, our five kids are happy together and am about to finish a phd. I want my daughter especially to see me respected, loved and supported and learn she can demand the same. I didn’t even know it was an option!

    • I have made the decision to leave. Do you know what the smuck wants the dumbass would like me not to tell the children the truth. Yes he is so worthy of my respect to keep his secret. Truth is what it is no covering for the man anymore. I have a great relationship with my children 19 and 20. It does kill me that they will have their hearts broken because their dad is a skid but i did not cause this and i am done covering his ass. He cries about how much he loves me i say stop it and grow up . I can’t wait until August to tell the kids and start with my future with them. Cant wait to go NC with the big ass. And i get half of his pension. See what dirty cooch costs you. Stupid. My day is coming and I don’t forgive or love him at all. He is done to me and I am taking my name back which is killing him OH WELL BIG BOY TOOOOOO BAD

    • This is so true. In the year that I spent pickmedancing, my kids saw a harried erratic woman who unknowingly passed her stress onto them. ITS NOT WORTH IT!!!

  • So timely for me, CL. I also feel a monster breaking up the world of my 9 year old son. He told me the other day I should have waited telling him about the upcoming divorce for another 3-4 years. He said “then I wouldn’t care, Mom”. We have been in a long distance marriage for the past 6 years and he saw his dad 2-3 times a year. All fun filled. Now sTbX is visiting and staying over at his Mom’s next door so son is with him. I told him I can’t lie any longer. I can’t spackle for his unfounded reasons for why he was not able to relocate and live with us because of “business” overseas – big BS as he works online. I have been repeating his reason to the friends and family. As I said them outloud I believed in them myself. No more spackle. I told my son the truth hurts but we better deal with pain rather than lies. Thank you!

    • I know he feels that way now, and that he can’t know it, but waiting wouldn’t have really made it easier for him. It also strikes me… What makes a young boy think of saying such a thing? It sounds… Well, planted, possibly. Just a thought.

    • Nope. It would not have been easier in a few years. There is, for many children, never a good time for their parents to divorce. They will be unhappy if you do it when they are 6, 16, 26 or 46.

      And if you wait and do it when they are older explaining then that you stayed for a decade to let them grow up in an intact family, they will just be angry that you are “still holding a grudge” or rocking the boat of a status quo you should have accepted long ago. Or their father will have a heart attack and you will be a horrible bitch for leaving. Or economies will change and you won’t be able to see how to make it financially. Or, or, or.

      It will never, ever be easy to leave a cheater who is blaming you for ruining the marriage.

      If you want out now, leave because it is the right thing to do, not because it is the right time!

      • Eilonwy, thank you for this:

        “It will never, ever be easy to leave a cheater who is blaming you for ruining the marriage.

        If you want out now, leave because it is the right thing to do, not because it is the right time!”

        I just had a chat with my lawyer. She will provide me with a blurb to approach the cheater STBX one more time, and if this does not work out, I will just do whatever it takes to be done.

        Chumpy me, I have been avoiding conflict all my life and priding myself on that. It’s shaking me inside out and I see the conflict is inevitable. But I can’t have fear and conflict avoidance run my life. On the way to MIGHTY!

        • That’s why you were attractive to him.
          Same here, now I’m the “take no shit” ex wife which makes me public enemy number one to him, the schmoopie, my in laws ( who think he’s amazing despite all the affairs. He was driven to cheat….blah, blah…) and he’s told anybody that will listen what a cold bitch I am.
          Whatever…..I know who he really is, so do my kids, and the people that love me.
          If anybody buys into his story……buh-bye, enjoy your trip on the mindfuck express..
          He’s an awful human.

          • I got that cold bitch speech endlessly. I think it translates to: you won’t fall for my chicanery anymore. How dare you not allow me to manipulate you further?!?

          • Same here as well, I’m a conflict avoider. For years I lived a lie, avoiding confrontation, spackling to avoid an argument. It only got worse as time went on, if there was something I disagreed with or questioned I was accused of looking for an argument, being bipolar or never happy.
            It was easier for me to smile and ignore my feelings than stand up for myself.
            My son learned to disrespect me not only from his father but the example I set by allowing myself to be disrespected. X’s behavior was unacceptable, looking back I should have made that clear at the beginning and held X accountable for his behavior.
            I paid a high price for a faux happy family.

            • Controlling cold bitch – that’s me apparently. And the endless need to drag anyone and everyone into our breakup – the poor sad sausage is now playing the sick card…..Endless triangles.

              Baaaha boohoo – I certainly am cold and indifferent to him now. He’s just living – you know – CONSEQUENCES.

    • My 8 year old son has been more subdued than usual, since starting to hang out with ex again in the past few weeks (after a years-long geographical absence, during which I finally divorced.) I’ve been trying to figure out what’s going on with him, then finally he said last night, “I just want all of us together. You, me, little bro, and dad. All of us to be together.”

      I had no answer. He knows dad did something bad/ dishonest/ inappropriate in a marriage, but he still cried 3 years ago when I told him I was divorcing (even though we were separated at the time, he held onto hopes we would get back together.) It’s heartbreaking.

      Then he changed subjects and said, “I would really like it if you just played Uno with me sometime, mom.” Yesss! Uno! Absolutely, honey.

      Kids! It’s really hard to know what to think. Thanks everyone for the encouraging words that I’m on the right path.

      • Lily Rose, my heart is breaking…Of course, Uno, chess, rides, trips, whatever you want, kiddos! I had to take my son to his dentist just an hour ago where I met with STBX and told him I would be emailing him the draft separation agreement for his review. I was hoping we would amicably discuss it and proceed with the filing. You should have seen the contempt and arrogance on his face! He told me he would not be cooperating and just plainly, NO! I told him I had all his wants and desires incorporated in the agreement: 50% custody, generous vacation time, international travels together, etc. He lives in another country so I gave him much more than he deserved. I told him nothing would really change for our son. In the past 6 years (of his 9yr life) he only saw his dad over the Christmas and summers for fun. That was it. And it will continue like this, if he wanted to.

        Argh, I anticipate lots of anxiety over this coming weekend. I will proceed with the divorce no matter what. Somebody said here, it was HIM who decided to break the family years ago when he went with his ex-gf Shmoopie. What does he want now? Even in my wildest dreams there is absolutely nothing I can think of he could do to reverse the situation. It can’t be undone. We attempted the reconciliation and it only lasted a few months. All he wants now is to live separately, as we have been, but for me to not proceed with the divorce. Where is Karma???

        • “50% custody, generous vacation time, international travels together, etc. He lives in another country so I gave him much more than he deserved. I told him nothing would really change for our son.”

          Don’t make my mistake. I did the same thing … offered way too much to a sociopath. just trying to break free with the littlest waves.

          A year and 1/2 out, when his behavior and lies start becoming revealed and it was apparent I was moving on and putting up strong boundaries, he started enforcing the 50% custody. Why???

          Because he can.

          All three kids nearly failed school that year. I’m now trying to change the custody agreement and it’s timely and expensive. And they love a good fight. If I had fought from the get go, instead of acquiescing, I’m sure I would have been awarded primary custody as I was the primary caretaker and he had so many money, fidelity and job issues.

          You’re dealing with an evil person that doesn’t play by the same rules. Remember this and protect your cubs.

          Put in place primary or majority custody legally, then let up with more visitation if you feel safe. But have it legally in place first, from the get-go.

          He’ll rage but weather that storm for the sake of your kids. ( I wished I had. )

      • I told our children that Papa had a few secret girlfriends. “No, not before… WHILE we were married. When? While I was pregnant with you guys and you were all babies and toddlers… and then again recently. That’s right. People are NOT supposed to have boyfriends and girlfriends when they’re married. Your husband or girlfriend is supposed to be permanent when you get married; that’s what they make a very.serious.promise about…” They understood that pretty well, especially when they tried to wrap their minds around WHEN the Papa they knew could have had time to have a girlfriend and where they could have gone that we didn’t even know… it split their reality too.

        The face on Cheater when I talked to the kids about this? Very satisfying. The veneer was cracked away.

    • Yes, truth is almost always better in the long run than secrets and lies. Even if secrets are never found out they have a corrupting affect on the people keeping the secret and those around them. Honesty really is the best policy. It may hurt like hell but at least you know what and who you are dealing with. My ex had an affair for the last 4 years of our 14 years together. He was ‘depressed’ during this time and I supported him saying we would get through it together. He said he didn’t want to hurt me. Well, he hurt me many times over than if he had been honest and said ‘I don’t love you any more and am leaving’ Being betrayed is horrendous. And anyone who hasn’t experienced it has no idea how damaging it is to your sense of identity, self-esteem and your very soul.

      • Absolutely. ..and to get labeled a “bitter” ex is despicable when people decide to wade in and decide because you dont suck it up or as the perfectly phrased eat shit sandwiches … then it means you are the lesser human for not letting your miserable ex get on with his AP with a clear conscience. After all he deserves to be happy after fucking you and yhe kids over .
        . Whats your problem ??

  • Amy, you care about your kids. So you will always have a relationship witb them. But let me tell you that you can only manage their relationship while your kids are kids. Then they will discover what shitty dad they have. It was like that with my mom and dad. She always managed our relationship, even when they lived together. When he cheated on her, I was an adult. I saw him as the shitty person he was, somebody who thought if me as my mom’s appendage, and could not be bothered to actually be with me. That way of looking at people, it’s the cheater’s mindset. And I had a first row seat.

    Things got better after he decided to change. Only when he dealt with his shit and made himself an unicorn, things got absolutely better. He is now one of my strong supports in the same shit, even if being with me and listening to my story is very painful for him. The point is, Amy, is doesn’t really matter where you are: your kids’ relationship is out of your reach, and if he is a beast like he seems, they will see it on time. And remember that most of our lives we are adults, not kids, so the ilusion they have now will vanish soon.

    • You talked so well, until you said it yourself: “Only when he dealt with his shit and made himself an unicorn”
      Maybe he changed and you obviously want it to be real. But you don’t believe it yourself, since you used the word unicorn. Trust issues.And when you think that trust is at the base of every relationship….

      • Dude, Enraged, judgey much? She used “unicorn” because that is the accepted term around here. She said he’s one of her strongest supporters when she has her own issues to deal with.

      • Seriously? Did you really dare to explain to me what I meant?

        I do not know what you call an unicorn, but for me the unicorn in this context is the remorseful and changed cheater. The person who understand his values were crap and needed to change them, and did so. Somebody who looked at himself in the mirror and decided that the shit he was carrying was starting to get out of the bucket, and he did not want to live like that.

        Yeah, I get it, some people will use unicorn because they do not exist. But you know what? I do not fucking care if unicorns and dragons and griffins and mermaids and kappas and all of that, do not exist in the real, boring world. They DO exist as long as I want them in my reality.

        Do never presume to tell other people what they mean.

        • We were having a conversation here and I’ve kept a polite tone, because that’s who I am.

          Constructions such as ” Did you really dare”, “Do never presume to tell other people” don’t make up a conversation, they make for bullying.

          You’re obviously triggered.

          • I think recognizing that someone is being triggered is a call for more sensitivity and reassurance.
            At least that’s what I need when it happens to me.
            Which seems to be all the dang time…

            Sending hugs to BVC and all concerned…
            <3

            • I’m quite frail myself and looking for support. That’s why I’m here, looking for support and helping others.
              Being bullied? Not my cup of tea, but feel free to hug whomever you want.

              If you need sensitivity and reassurance, then ask for it in a sensitive manner. Raging and bullying others is counter intuitive. You’ll get more of what you give, it’s a Universal law.

              • I think we can all at least agree that being on the receiving end of betrayal via infidelity sucks. There is so much pain involved; emotions spiral out of control and tempers flare.
                I in no way meant to piss anyone off.

                I like to think I’m mighty these days, but when it comes down to it, I’m often just putting up a really good front. I know what you mean about being “frail”.

                I would like to extend any compassion I can muster to all of you out there, even if we disagree.
                (And yes, by golly, I’m a hugger. Can’t help it. 🙂 )

  • How can growing up in a dysfunctional family be good for the kids??? I think kids rather have 2 happy parents who live apart than 2 who live together and are miserable. I never understood this staying together for the kids nonsense.

    • So true, they will grow up in a toxic stressful environment, even if you keep quiet and maintain the happy family farce. So many kids know there is something wrong, and the penny drops later in life when they find out about the affairs. And they don’t understand why their mothers put up with it. And resent the lies everyone was fed. You can’t protect them from the pain of disillusionment over their father, but you can teach them how to respond to unacceptable behaviour by leaving. Your ex broke up the family long ago, and the best thing for your kids is not to keep the lies coming, it hurts them more in the long run.
      As CL said, “no one grows up healthy on a diet of shit sandwiches”, and this includes the children of the mother who is eating most of them.

    • I heard the same thing today. And my answer was: you cannot get along in a relationship when there is a third person in it.
      One tries to reason and get along, while the other one is interested in hiding his tracks, whatever it takes. Add to the mix some whispers from the wind (3rd person) and you’re in la la land. That’s insane!
      The problem is not that the parents would get separated. The problem is that one parent remains as crazy as before, just with another partner!

  • Amy… This is hard! Will probably be the hardest thing you have Ever Had To Do!

    He has had sex with two prostitutes!

    He has let his sex head take presidence over his love for his wife and children!

    He has put you at risk for a sexual disease that could kill you! I have just heard of a mom of six who at 53 died because her husband screwed around on her for years.

    She stayed. She was the mom of six kids!

    When you leave…. He should do everything in his power to get help! If he really means it!

    That includes counseling! STD testing for as long as it takes. Major amounts of groveling and humility! If he is serious, it should take years!

    If he’s not, you will live to see those kids grow up!

    It’s been over a year for me. My husband told me he didn’t leave because of our kids. They are all now young adults and our marriage has Never been the same!!

    I’m really sorry! This is so hard and this will take its toll on you! You can rebuild your life. He can still love your kids without risking your life!

    Their shit really sucks!! I’m so sorry! Don’t risk it! You have two twelve year olds to think about!!
    This stuff sucks!!!

  • He’s a good dad to them, I don’t think that will change. It’s our marriage that he tanked. He’s in therapy, maybe he’ll be a unicorn. I’m just not sure I want to wait to see. To add complication. We work together, own a business, so I have to see him every day. Yeah….

    • If he’s a unicorn, he’ll do the work with or without you and coparent effectively while he’s at it. If he’s a unicorn, y’all can reconcile when he has a strong foundation in place. In the meantime, sounds like he can’t even trust himself, and he could take you both down financially with remarkable speed, so some self-preservation might be imperative for the kids’ well being (and for yours, since you are the sane parent who puts them first.) Something to consider.

    • Sorry Amy, but he’s already been a bad dad to them.

      A famous quote attributed to John Wooden: “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” He has failed this test in the worst possible way, even if the kids aren’t aware of the specifics.

      And by doing so, he’s bestowed upon you the responsibility of modeling what honest, transparent, safe and sane behavior is for your kids — something I’d guess you’d never have to do alone.

    • Amy,

      The heartbreaking part is that it is NOT just sex. People are rarely deviant and duplicitous in one area of their life. Sexuality is like Godzilla. When it enters the scene, we can’t take our eyes off it.

      If we could sedate Godzilla, and look at your marriage from 30,000 feet, I would bet my Rolex my grandfather gave me- that you would find many stomach churning examples of your husband being a tricky and unreliable person.

      Look at fucking escorts as only a symptom of a much larger sickness. He believes that his need to experience strange p*ssy is more important than your need to have a partner who does not behave like a degenerate low life. What other areas would he feel entitled to act this way? The business accounts?

      After caught twice, he then places the burden of your children’s happiness on your shoulders. That is not someone who is deeply shameful and remorseful. This is someone who has a black belt in manipulation.

      Extricating yourself from all the tentacles will be exhausting. I don’t think sugar coating that is helpful to you. But- can you accept that you are married to someone you will never be able to trust? That is what you are facing.

      If not, the time to act is now. Living with a liar is like waking up everyday with 20 lbs weights strapped to your arm and legs. The more time you stay, leaving will become Herculean.

      Right now, if you could take your heart, and put it on a shelf. Advise yourself if you found your daughter in the same set of circumstances. Become a cold eyed, tough Mama Bear- to yourself. What would you do then?

      • Thank you for saying that you cannot compartmentalize character. Narcs try to fool you and they are good at it but you wouldn’t be in this place if he wasn’t a good liar.

        I could get on a soap box today and rant for hours about this one so forgive me if I do. I am still boiling over a comment yesterday that a chump couldn’t tell her kids what their dad was doing for the fourth because it might be construed as alienation. Please, we live in a world where you can’t tell the truth because there might be natural consequences. I have learned all the lingo that is acceptable for lawyers and courts and am regularly told by my lawyer “I know but you can’t say that outside of this room.” It sickens me because maybe if there were consequences these jerks would think twice about adultery.

        Much to the horror of the politically correct, I do tell the truth,and if the consequence is they don’t want to be around their dad, it is because of his actions not the messenger. I do get that there is age appropriate and need to know consideration but I won’t lie and say he is behaving like a loving father with good character. I was naive and look where it got me . I don’t want that for my children.

        “They are 12 and they adore him”.- a narcissist’ dream- adoration but does he adore them back? Where was that adoration when he was fucking his escort. Do you want your children adoring someone who would hire a prostitute? If he told you when you were dating that he would pay other women to have sex when he grew bored with you, would you have even considered marriage or children with him. He screwed up and there are consequences for everyone, He needs to grow up and deal with it. Problem is, he is Peter Pan and he can’t. You are Wendy- move on.

        And #it’sjustsex goes with #Ican’tmakelove.

        I think we are all sorry every time we see a new chump arrive- none of us would have ever chosen to come here but it is a place to see the light, receive real love, gather your strength and gain a genuine life!

        Thanks chump nation for letting me say how I really feel!

        • I think there is a difference between parental alienation and telling the truth. As long as you don’t editorialize or push your thoughts and opinions on the kids, telling them the facts (in an age appropriate way) is not alienation.

          When my STBX does something or says something, The kids will often ask me a question about it. If there is a known fact, I tell them. What I don’t do anymore is cover it up.

          For example: STBX sent my 15Y son a text at 10pm telling him he loved him and asking how he was doing. The text was a mess. My son showed it to me and asked if I thought dad was drunk. I told him I didn’t know but it was Wednesday. Son knows that his dad plays golf every Wednesday afternoon and then usually plays cards afterwards (been doing that for years) AND he is old enough to remember that dad often came home drunk on Wednesday nights when he still lived at our home. In the past, I would have probably said that dad may have had a couple of beers but probably wasn’t drunk. Now, I just let them see him for who he is. Life is much better when it is lived honestly.

          • What a fucking brilliant response. So honest, so true, so trusting of your son’s intelligence and common sense.

      • This is not Test – Well said and the truth.

        “If we could sedate Godzilla, and look at your marriage from 30,000 feet, I would bet my Rolex my grandfather gave me- that you would find many stomach churning examples of your husband being a tricky and unreliable person.”

    • I don’t think fuckibg escorts constitutes a good dad. You are spackeling. Trust your belly, not your brain – which is in rationalize mode.

      Part of parenting is responsibility; putting self interest aside. Using your marital assets (the stuff that feeds you and puts a roof over your head) and exposing Mom to STDs is poor parenting. He is also modeling unethical behavior which is prob not confined to his hooker habits. Seeing prostitutes is pretty daring so I bet he’s also a liar in other areas. Do you want your children to follow suit? Personality disorders don’t develop in a vacuum.

      I speak with the voice of experience. My “great dad” XH also had a taste for escorts…and coworkers…and my credit….and his company’s credit. Eventually it was my daughters credit; all while maintains the image of a great dad. (Though he only showed up for key events; like regional games and concerts while I did the logistical grunt work leading up to it.) And I too spackelwd until I got out and saw clearly my bullshit I was feeding myself.

      Read Why Does He Do That by Lundy. It’ll open your head up and give you key insight.

      • Lifeisgood I think your ex & my ex are brothers. My nick name is FICO from the FICO scores on the credit companies. He was living double life with my credit and 99.9% sure using corporate card to take “clients” for lunch. I have evidence of him meeting with whores on trips. At this point not my circus. I just divorced about a month ago and in a conversation my kid told me: “‘At least he will not bother you anymore” Kid never saw physical violence but lived how much he bother us with his “Kid trapped in a man body behaivor” Last year in a random conversation. Kid told me: “Sometimes people do not mature, for example, “Dad” ? Back then I knew kid was ready for the changes.

        Amy, DO NOT STAY FOR THE KIDS PLAN YOUR EXIT. NOW YOU CAN HAVE CHILD SUPPORT, SAVE ETC FOR YOUR FUTURE. YOU WILL BE OK

    • Amy, be prepared for the “great father” to show his true colors. Especially if there is money involved.

      I made my ex leave on the second D Day. I made it clear we were getting divorced, but that I wanted him to get better from his sex addiction and live near by to continue being a “great father”. I thought my ex was a great dad too, that I could at least count on that to be the guiding light through our divorce. What an idiot I was! Coming to understand that he was going to take as much as he could financially from me and the kids was even harder than D Day. The divorce was the hardest thing I ever experienced because the ex had no concern over the ramifications for the kids.

      I am divorced over two years now. POS (Piece of Shit) lives 2 states away and barely sees the kids. The kids and I have an amazing life together.

      https://sisterhoodofsupport.org Check out this group

      • BlackSwan,
        The financial crap they do during the divorce IS worse than the adultery. Mine spent 2016 while I thought we were going to try to get a dissolution hiding income and moving money around so that his business lost money for the first time in 17 years. He wanted me to agree that there was no value in the business and he would “generously” accept the debt AND that the supplemental income he earned from the business no longer was there. Overall, it would have meant I would have to pay him for his share of the house while I got nothing from the business AND I should agree that his income was 34% less than what his tax returns have shown for the last 6 years. I’m hopes of working out a dissolution collapsed and I filed…

        Only someone who has NO conscience could do those things to their kids. I guess I was still struggling with “was the adultery a result of him not being happy in the marriage” but when you add in the financial crap, it just comes down to lack of character. And it is showing up in a lot of other areas, too. Once they can’t fool us anymore by wearing a mask, it gets ugly.

        • I believe it. Just simply walking out on me was far easier to accept than the premeditated financial rape of the family and the loss of our home. His decision to go came before his spending spree making sure he walked when there was just $200 in the bank and when i realised that was all i had in the world i withdrew it . He accused me of raiding the bank accounts . Now i see he was trying to set me up to play out his sick game to make me look like i was after the money. Didnt work . I refused to engage with that narrative so he threatened to stop paying the mortgage instead. That worked so me and 3 kids are living in a small rented apartment. What shocked me most was the desperation in his plan to have him look like the victim and me the evil bitch. The kids sat back and watched but to their credit werent sucked in even when he claimed he was going hungry for lack of money for food.. never mind he earns 6 fig salary and expense acc. Went too far with thst now no one believes his bs. Still leaves me feeling sick he would go to those lenghts to have everyone pity him.

    • Post-nuptial agreement. If he is sincere, have him sign one that gives you a financially clean and easy path out of the marriage and business should his unicorn horn turn out to be fake. If he balks, you’ll know he is unwilling to truly commit to the relationship. (And be prepared for him to say you have to sign to similar conditions–which you should–i.e. you will be similarly penalized if you cheat and get a penalty-free forgiveness the first two times as well.)

    • Hey, no reason not to ask him to get an apartment, sign a post-nuptial, and do his “healing” on his own time while you have a year or two to get his toxic thinking out of your head.

      He’s not a good dad if he’s tanking the marriage. I recall a quotation my old Problems of Democracy teacher had hanging in his room: “The best thing a man can do for his children is to love their mother.” Obviously, that doesn’t refer to mothers who are cheaters but rather people like Amy. Your H is a failure in that regard. And he’s manipulating you with your own faithful care of the family. This man has a lot of work to do. Make him do it from the privacy of his his lonely apartment. If he is a unicorn, you’ll know soon enough.

      But meanwhile, while you have some leverage, tell him you need a year or two as a time out. You want a post-nuptial that deal with child support. Ask him to sign over the house to you NOW and in the post-nup make clear what your share of the business in. Have in writing what YOU brought to the table, including any years of SAH parenting. Take of your wifey hat and wear your business hat. Secure your financial future. Run a credit check. Look at all the money and make sure he can’t move it where you can’t get it. How protected are you financially? How is he paying the pros to sleep with him? That ain’t cheap. If it’s escorts–wining? dining? gifts? hotels? Stop listening to what he wants and be a hard-headed business woman.

      Right now you have leverage and power. You don’t have to blow everything up right away. Just do some massive lining up of ducks and give yourself some time away from him. Ask for a separation while he works on his issues. And get some therapy to help you set and maintain boundaries. Your whole life is tied up with a fuckwit who is using escorts. You don’t know what else he might be up to. Time to find out. Give him some time on his own and see what he doesn’t with it–but make sure you have the legalities worked out. See how he does with massive consequences. Make him earn the right to be your husband again. If he can.

        • You will know immediately how much he wants his family and if he is truly willing to “do anything.”

      • LAJ, you rock!

        Amy, when X was caught by kids on Christmas he said he was very sorry, said he was suicidal, went to outpatient sex addiction counseling, for a few weeks…. refused to follow therapists’ advice, did nothing to change, kept cheating and getting caught…. I finally imposed consequences– kicked him out. Then he begged for chances. I said ok:”let me talk directly to AP of the moment to confirm you ended it, sign post-nup, get into IC for at least a year, live apart but devote yourself to our family, try through your actions to rebuild our relationship…”. I said only then will I hold off on filing/consequences. My generosity of putting my life on hold for his recovery/change was met with allegations that I was a “bully.” Or “okay, thanks for talking to me.” No change whatsoever. X just kept right on having the affair, lying about it,blaming me and begging me….. I’d say the same thing over and over. X did nothing. I finally went to trial and got the divorce. Oh yeah, also full custody, max support, all our property, all our cash, my full retirement.

        MOFO texts me regularly: “I hope you are doing well.” WTF???!!!! psycho

        He’s on year 3 with this AP gold digger. They fight 24/7. She’s much younger and despises his age. He’s already been caught cheating.
        Her future is my past.
        25 years sunk but…. I cut my losses … there won’t be 30, 40, or more lost years with this POS.

        • Amy – good men, good fathers have good characters. Men with no characters cheat on their wives with prostitutes. Simple.

          My Ex did this to me. I am the mother of daughters and I’m ashamed I allowed this characterless deviant into my home and around my girls. A married man who pays a woman for sex is treating her like an object, a thing to be bought and sold – to have his way with – THAT IS NOT OK. THAT IS NOT A GOOD FATHER.

        • enraged

          What state are you in? I’m fighting over spousal support after being out of my industry for 15 years to care for our daughter so he could travel for business and lead a second life.

          I’d love to hear more about your case and how you were able to get that kind of settlement.

          On the children front, I’m so glad this subject came up. My 15 year old daughter has not had a substantial conversation with her father since we split and she learned of the affair. STBX blames me of course — his therapist says we shouldn’t have told her. Her therapist says we shouldn’t have told her.

          I refuse to lie about this stuff. When she asks if there have been others, I direct her to him. When she asks “how old was I?”, I direct her to him. I now realize he’s been cheating for 20 years, which means he’s been living a lie longer than she’s been alive. Who has a child when they are cheating? A narcissist who doesn’t want to give up his lifestyle, because at the time, I was making the big bucks.

          Daughter is frustrated with me. Wants to know when things will “get back to normal” and why am I mad all the time? She sees any emotion as weakness. I suppose this is normal. She sees us as a team and she wants me to be strong and joyful.

          4th of July was particularly difficult — his birthday and the 5th anniversary of DD#1. Daughter said I was having a pity party — that this was the 2nd 4th since the split. I told her I was better than last year and will be better next year. Her response was that she’s only around 3 more years and she wants weeks, not months or years.

          As I write this, I see her point — she’s in pain and feels there’s no support from me because I’m in so much pain and anguish. I know that once this spousal support battle is over I can begin to move on in earnest. Right now the battle keeps me enranged and my arguments keep rolling around in my head.

          • Ha! Spell check put corrected word at the top of the entry. At least it encapsulates my rant.

    • A Post-Nup that favors you and your kids is a great way to know if you might have one of those mythical Unicorns.

      Me – I know Unicorns don’t exist, cheaters just go deeper underground like Moles.

      • I think a post-nup & signing over the house, equity and all, plus a clear share of the business would be a unicorn-like gesture. 🙂

    • Good dads don’t use money for college or groceries or fun for sleeping around. Good dads model having appropriate relationships with women, respect their mother and show them honesty.

      So… He couldn’t keep it in his pants for the kids but you have to live a lie for them? Oh let me get some gravy for my popcorn.what a nutter.

    • Dear Amy,

      Cognitive Dissonance. A GoodFather doesn’t fuck escorts. A GoodFather does not disrespect his wife, the mother of his kids.

      No. He is NOT a good father. Not now and not ever. All the therapy in the World will never change what he IS at his core. He is a manipulative fuckwad. Do NOT stay and model this to your kids.

      Xoxo ANC

    • Hi…longtime lurker here. (Day#2 9/2013, kicked him out, long time separated, no contact except divorce emails…still ain’t over.)
      I have thought about this issue a lot:
      Whether someone can really be a “good person” if, in some areas of their life, they act horrifically.
      I have decided the answer is “no”.

      A really “Good Person” has a DEPTH OF CHARACTER that extends through all aspects of their life; relationships, family, work, it’s about how they respect all life, and extend caring to others.
      Someone who does the right thing even when no one is watching and they’ll get no credit.
      That, to me, is what makes someone a “Good Person/Dad/Mom/Pet Owner/Politician”.

      Just because this guy is good to his kids in some regards, he’s NOT a “GOOD DAD” because he is taking time, money, and emotional resources away from them with his actions. He is denigrating and disrespecting their mother. He is putting her well-being at risk.
      If his actions are at all illegal, or even just frowned upon, he risks jail/fines/public humiliation/loss of employment.

      So no. He’s not “a good Dad”, Amy. I’m sorry, but he’s not. He’s putting himself first, above all of you, knowing that it will cause harm. There’s nothing “good” about that.
      Here at Chump Nation, they are telling you the truth.
      He’s not going to have a personality transplant and suddenly be the guy you thought he was, or wanted him to be. Best get free of him now, and give yourself an opportunity to actually meet someone who won’t cheat on your with hookers.
      If–and this is a big “if”–he becomes a Unicorn, then it’s HIS responsibility, not yours, to jump through hoops to prove that to you and his children. If he’s really a great guy with genuine remorse, he will do the work without a guaranteed pay-off that you’ll stay. He’ll PROVE HIMSELF TO YOU. FOREVER.
      As they say here, “get your ducks in a row”, tell him nothing, and protect yourself. If he turns out to be a Unicorn down the road, you can always get back together. But I’m guessing after some time away from this person, you will realize you’re better off without him.
      Just my two cents…

      • Love this:

        Whether someone can really be a “good person” if, in some areas of their life, they act horrifically.
        I have decided the answer is “no”.

        A really “Good Person” has a DEPTH OF CHARACTER that extends through all aspects of their life; relationships, family, work, it’s about how they respect all life, and extend caring to others.
        Someone who does the right thing even when no one is watching and they’ll get no credit.
        That, to me, is what makes someone a “Good Person/Dad/Mom/Pet Owner/Politician”.

        • Gee, thanks. I’ve learned from the best. I am a heavily chumped / avid reader of Chump Lady. It was the wisdom and insight I gained here on this board that finally got me free from the dysfunction. Up until then, I was trying single-handedly to “save my marriage” via the advice from the RIC.
          (SPOILER: It failed.)
          I read enough stories here that sounded sooooooo much like mine that I had to sit up and pay attention.
          Like it or not. My guy–despite all outward manifestations to the contrary–was NOT a “Great Guy”. Did he have everyone fooled? You bet!
          My family, (my parents adored him), and my friends thought he was the Bees’ Berries, coworkers and employees loved him, the cashier at the store thought he was so great–he treated everyone with dignity and respect. Outwardly.
          I wasn’t even that interested in getting married 27 years ago, but I thought that he was so great that I would be a fool to let him go. (Yep. I was a fool all right. But that’s a different story.)
          Turns out he had this eensie-weensie problem of having a double life. It was news to me!
          That’s what loving and trusting someone implicitly can get you. I never snooped. He even told me how easy I made it for him, being all “trustworthy and stuff”. He trusted me completely. How many ways can you spell “Gullible”?
          Anyhow, there’s more to the story, a sad and infuriating tale probably best left untold at this point because it jacks up my blood pressure…

          But! There’s a Happy Ending to the story!
          I am most definitely at “MEH” with a Capital “M”, and even though the divorce is dragging along and I struggle with losing my home, my animals, my insurance/finances/the life I thought I was living, I am so much happier without him on the other side.

          I have a wonderful REAL “Soul-Mate” Beloved now. He who adores me, and I would go to the ends of the earth for this wonderful man. (Gee whiz, he’s also a fellow chump whose wife was a real piece of work, ran him into the ground on her way out the door.)
          He’s been incredibly supportive as I work my way through the process of finally ridding myself of my toxic ex. It’s not easy, I know, but he’s there, day in and day out. I was so incredibly lucky to meet him when I did. Grateful doesn’t even come close. I am finally getting the love I’ve needed and hopefully deserved, and it’s wonderful.

          As shocking and humiliating it was to discover how my husband had *really* been treating me all those years, I would take that pain again if it meant I can have the life I have now.
          He did me a huge favor, getting caught.
          When I think about the fact that I could have missed out on finding “REAL MONKEY LOVE” at this age, and instead kept living that lie with a man who somehow managed to suck all the energy out of a room, I am more glad than ever that I found out when I did. Better late than never!

      • Amy, this is why you shouldn’t live with him. He needs to show commitment to the family as a unit over time. He needs to work on the cheating and lying and hooker-chasing. And he needs to show you change while you are off pursuing your own life. In a sense, he needs to court you again, but this time while your eyes are open. If you are living in the house with him, he is not seeing any real consequences for what he’s done. That’s like busting your kid for a major infraction and saying, “You did a bad thing. Here’s some cake.”

    • We teach people how to treat us, and what you show a cheater by staying – therapy or not – is that you’ll stay no matter what. He cheats – again – and uses emotional blackmail of the worst sort to get you to stay? Please let that sink in.

      He may be a unicorn, but he won’t be until actual consequences are imposed. I, and everyone here, can guarantee you that.

    • Amy; I hate that he put even your livelihood on the line! He is hell bent on screwing things up from one to end to the other in your lives, and then has the nerve to blame it on you.
      Cheaters take advantage of your confusion and heartbreak.
      The way you explained it he was “caught”. I don’t think you will ever be comfortable that he has quit doing this, nor should you. It is so hard to face, but as you do, remember HE has screwed everything up for all of you.

    • My best friend in the whole world was on your shoes. Her husband spent thousands ( enough to buy a luxury car ) on his little habit before she found out!

      Financially destroyed, emotionally torn to pieces and two very young children in the mix.

      She has stayed with him. Years of therapy for both. An iron clad pre-nup.
      Marriage police and broken trust x’s a million.

      I know what this hast cost her. Her family does not know in any way.

      I would not wish this on anyone. But I support her choice.

      I stayed in my own marriage 10 years after it’s expiration date and I regret it. Everyone has their own time line – but life is so much better without the entitled dissordered freak show!!!

  • It is better for kids to be from a broken home than to actually live inside one. Modeling for them that you’re willing to take their father’s abuse is not healthy for you and it’s not healthy for them. Life isn’t fair because if it was, none of us would have saddled ourselves with these cheating half wits. A good lesson to learn.

    Kids also need to know that there are consequences for bad choices. This little life lesson will teach them that too.

    Your husband is manipulating you. He’s gone for the jugular because he knows how fiercely protective you are of your children. (Nine circle of hell-party of one!!) Fight back with a pit bull attorney and let him start eating from the buffet of shit sandwiches for a change.

    • It is better for kids to be from a broken home than to actually live inside one

      Keep repeating!!! Love this!

  • I am a child of someone that stayed for the kids. My Dad didn’t stop cheating after 1st time. He eventually left my Mum anyway and is married to the OW he left for. I think she regrets allowing him to continue abusing her, but she got 4 great kids and I know we were/are her world. He worked away a lot anyway so she did a lot of single parenting even though she stayed with him.

    My coward cheater didn’t want to have to face any consequences so he just left. I am still not sure what is worse, not that it matters they all suck whatever way it happens.

    • My sister and I had a pretty sweet life with my chump dad. Maybe it wasn’t Ozzie and Harriet, but it was peaceful. I knew what to expect. We all chipped in on housework and did fun things together. I could focus on homework and had friends over. I finally had clothes in my closet that fit and looked good on me, and weren’t purchased just because they were on sale 90% off with a coupon.

      Then he took my mom back and all the chaos and tension swept back in. I went from being a daughter to being Cinderella again. I wonder what her life would have been like if she didn’t have my chump dad to dust her off and give her a place to land when her entitlement landed her in shit time and again, and whether he might have been a happier person without a serial cheater in his life.

      I would have loved to see a healthy adult relationship modeled for me.

      • I thought I had picked someone totally different to my father. Turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong. They are the opposite sides of a coin. My cheater was very covert and my father much more overt. STBX had a really messed up childhood and convinced me that he was above all that and he was going to be better than them. I think he might actually be worse, they all lie so I’ll never know the full truth. It’s my fault really, I listened to his words far too much and ignored his actions.

        • Pregnant Chump, I can relate, and I’m so sorry you’re going through this. My ex grew up with a cheater father – he even revealed one of the affairs to his mom when he was a teenager. He always swore up and down that because he knew how awful and damaging cheating was, he would never, ever, repeat it.
          yeah, right.
          I think it just legitimized it for him. He has always been much closer to his dad, and I think he convinced himself that if his father, who he adores, could cheat, then maybe it really wasn’t so bad. He can still be the best dad ever, in spite of the way he treated the mother of his children.

    • You laugh, but it’s true- in my dad’s case, the shit sandwich was feeling abandonment because his mom (my grandmother) had to do a lot of inpatient treatment for depression when he was a child and he was often stuck staying with family. He told me it took him a long time to get over that, even with the knowledge that no one had done anything wrong. I can only imagine that the effects of willful malice would be that much more prominent.

  • Amy, RUN.

    Staying provided the Limited with the image he wanted for show. I raised three children accepting disrespect believing every one of his lies. It’s a suffocating life I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

    Seperate yourself from what he SAYS. It’s like asking financial advice from a homeless man and parenting advice from a predator. He’s bankrupt in caring about both you and your children. Fuck his needing you to cover his ass USING your children to manipulate you into submission.

    Use what you have to expose him if necessary to get a good settlement both financially and in terms of custody.

    He’s the inadequate one Amy. Staying gives him power. Shut that shit down.

  • Down the road, we have a home life free of the drama and conflict that was making us miserable. The kids are so much happier and relaxed. They feel safe. Yes the divorce was hard, but it has been good for all of us. And I hope I have taught them not to stay with abuse

  • “If you take him back, expect more cheating.”

    That’s THE lesson.

    There are cheaters who truly reform; who change; who put in the effort to humbly fix their flaws. I’ve never met one, but I hear that these unicorns do exist.

    Your husband is not one of those people. His actions to date show he is entirely the opposite. And we just judge him by his actions, not his words.

    And how noble of him to drag your children into the mess he created! He’s all class! What a prize!

    Ditch this assbag.

    • ACTIONS NOT WORDS!!!

      STBX cheater who can’t believe I do not want him to have custody (he walked out over a year ago with no custody arrangement and never looked back until I filed for divorce), sent me an e-mail with orders to have the recall on his extension golden child’s care fixed and let him know when it is complete. Car is titled in cheater’s name and he lives about 5 miles away. Same day he texts golden child and asks for dates that son would like to go visit colleges and he will see about going with him.

      Translation: there is no glory in fixing recalls- dealing with mechanics is so beneath him. He has lowly employees who take care of his vehicles at work. College visits, star athlete son will be catered to and that will extend to him. He is eating up what these colleges will be thinking ” you, fine sir have created amazing offspring with such athletic prowess, he must be a clone because how possibly could crazy feelingit have contributed?” Oh, he has a learning difference that requires accommodation? I see, feelingit was involved but we will certainly overlook that to have you grace our presence. And thank you for coming to show us that you never went to college and you are far more knowledgeable, successful and rich than any of us college pukes will ever dream of being.

  • It amazes me, still, that cheaters so love the unlevel playing field, where they have all the power, the choices, and excitement, while they delegate all the sacrifice and responsibility to the chumps. And of course the chumps are thinking about taking care of everyone but themselves. CL puts it perfectly: “Your job is to love yourself enough not to accept abuse or model it to your children.” It’s a great thing to be unselfish, to be able to put other people’s needs ahead of your “wants.” But accepting a life with a cheating spouse is not unselfish; it’s self-destructive. It’s becoming what law enforcement calls a “willing victim of abuse.”

    Longtimechump’s post above shows what’s at stake. Her 9 year-old son wanted to wait 3-4 years before dealing with the truth of the family situation. Longtimechump is teaching her son the right thing: “we better deal with pain rather than lies.”

    The first thing you learn when you begin to deal with alcoholism or addiction is that users lie–and then they enlist others in the lie to cover up their behavior. Then the whole of family life is tainted with the lies. The biggest lies are “everything’s fine” and “we’re happy” and “nothing bad is going on here” and “the user isn’t hurting anybody.”

    When you have kids, you leave an abusive situation because you are their teacher and protector. You wouldn’t knowingly open your home to a car thief or a member of a drug cartel or a child abuser because you don’t want to expose anyone to those influences and the risks to life and safety those people pose. Yet a liar, a con artist, a serial cheater who strikes blows at the heart of the family gets a pass and sometimes endless chances to shape up and do the right thing. Meanwhile, the chump and the kids pretend to the outer world that “everything is fine.” It took CL and therapy for me to see that living with a cheater is no different than living with a crack addict. Users are users, whether they get their high on crack or kibbles and sex and sneaking around. Their allegiance is to themselves and their way of living. The intact family provides a cover, a semblance of normalcy, and a stable financial base. Meanwhile, kids are growing up learning highly dysfunctional ways of relating to other people, handling emotion, and managing conflict. They learn that lying is a way to live and manipulating other people is a normal thing to do. They don’t get to see marriage based in love, respect, reciprocity, and integrity.

    The cheaters broke the marital contract, but it’s always their play to blame the other person when a consequence is moving into the picture. They blame others for the cheating and then they blame them for the hurt that cheating causes the family. Leaving is, among other things, a way of re-establishing the truth of the situation. That doesn’t mean that everyone will see that truth, as we know that cheaters are skilled in impression management. But we ought not to live our lives based on what anyone–even the kids–think. We should base our lives on core values, including integrity and self-respect.

    • Very true LAJ. My X told me about some trouble he got into before he met his ex wife. He decided it would be a good idea to marry her as she already had kids and the family thing would be good for him. He was in his early 20s when he married her. Having a past of my own and being in my late 20s at the time I accepted and believed him. Behold 10 years later…it is my fault for being in relationships to prove to the world I am a perfect, stable individual. I am the one looking for a facade, yet escorts and hoes are not MY thing.

    • “Yet a liar, a con artist, a serial cheater who strikes blows at the heart of the family gets a pass ”

      This is incredulous to me. I will never get it and it makes me both mad and sad because it is a direct blow to what I see as my most important purpose: teaching my children values.

    • LovedAJackass you are on point today!! Not that you aren’t always. This post just rings really true for me and hits very close to home. I’m crying.

      “But accepting a life with a cheating spouse is not unselfish; it’s self-destructive. It’s becoming what law enforcement calls a “willing victim of abuse.'”

      And this…

      “Users are users, whether they get their high on crack or kibbles and sex and sneaking around. Their allegiance is to themselves and their way of living. The intact family provides a cover, a semblance of normalcy, and a stable financial base. Meanwhile, kids are growing up learning highly dysfunctional ways of relating to other people, handling emotion, and managing conflict. They learn that lying is a way to live and manipulating other people is a normal thing to do. They don’t get to see marriage based in love, respect, reciprocity, and integrity.”

      Integrity is a word that I remind myself of every day. I saw my dad as the powerful figure in my parents’ relationship and tried to act more like him when I could, as a way to avoid being taken advantage of. But he is a person without integrity, so what does that make me?

    • Thank you, LAJ. Powerful writing, and TRUTH!
      Makes me feel better about leaving. I struggle with guilt, because our family was pretty cool, but the game with different rules for him, than there were for me, was pure evil. At least my life now is full of integrity.

  • Amy,

    Staying with a father who treats his kids well but treats their mom like shit models great behaviour for them. His actions tell your son(s) that women are only play things and servants. It tells your daughter(s) that their only value is between their legs or in how subserviant they are to their master (like a Off”cheater” or a Martha in The Handmaid’s Tale).
    Please teach your children they are more than just a sex drive or service provider. Leave now!

  • Amy,
    I bought into the whole stay for the kids – and I stayed for 2 years. I thought my X might be a unicorn and wanted to give him every opportunity to grow and change. He went to therapy and he acted like a remorseful, take responsibility changed guy. But it’s hard to hold that mask on for a long time so by 18 months I could see the contempt, the lack of remorse, the continuous lying, and the obsession with his image. My kids (18 and 20) say they wish I had ended it sooner. And someone up the thread was SO right – staying and getting more and more upset and erratic in your parenting does fuel the narrative that you are a problem and drove him to do the things he did. My son bought into that narrative (that I had anger issues) for a while, but being 18 he could see the truth for himself.

    And the blame shift of you destroying the happiness of your kids… complete narcissistic drivel. You will be so much better off without him. If he was a man of integrity who did one bad thing in his life he would have changed after the first time you found out about the cheating. He is a man of no integrity, no moral compass and no character. And that doesn’t change no matter what YOU say or do. I am so sorry.

  • Thank you to “This is not a Test”. It is scary and heartbreaking, but you speak the truth and waiting isn’t going to make it easier.

    • Amy, thank God this is anonymous, but I am going to humiliate myself for your benefit. (Chumps must stick together).

      I actually visited an escort. Made an appointment. You have to fax or scan them your driver’s license. Drove to the hotel. Knocked on the door.

      I wanted to know about this underworld that the “X” had incorporated into his life, in addition to his other cheating behavior. I chose one from the Back Pages before it was illegal (their illegal status just happened). I picked one who went both ways, who saw men and women.

      When I met her, I was struck by her plain Jane, not that sexy appearance. She was dressed slutty, but she was heavier than me, older than me and looked very tired. I actually let her start the “massage” (yep, I was crazy) but then sat up and explained why I needed to pick her brain.

      She was not an insightful person, not like the posters here. I just want you to get a feel for what your husband is risking everything for. Escorts see tricks the same as a pan handler see someone who will give them a dollar. These men mean nothing to them, and only stand out if they see they can bleed large amounts of money out of them, i.e. a frequent flier. Her words.

      It is hard to organize this info logically, but ask me if you have more questions. But, this is what I want you to grasp-

      Escorts see having sex with these men, or giving them blow jobs about as sexy as a bowel movement. They are thinking of a Chick Fil A Combo or a nap or checking their texts. They do not see these tricks as human.

      These shows us many things. Your husband is risking everything -imagine your shattered heart, your children’s little faces, the family home, a gold box to represent your shared family history, the bank accounts on a Roulette table- to squirt off in a very much used, jaded beyond comprehension hole who views him as an ATM.

      This may not be popular here, but if he had visited an escort ONE TIME, it would still be an offense worth leaving him over. But, if he was as repulsed as he should have been, he could have never gone again. Maybe not even confessed, but flown the straight and narrow. He didn’t. He went back.

      I know this is unconventional. But if you could see the drabness of the hotel rooms, the cellulite on the escorts legs and stomach, her lack of health, hear her smoker’s yacking cough, her bored, another day at the office acceptance of letting strangers jack off on and in her body- it would place your husband in a new light.

      It would strip away the mystery of his behavior. You will be left with many emotions: rage, nausea, grief, and perhaps (dare I say it) pity. You will see your husband as a small man- weak and deviant.

      The escort had no ill will toward me. She answered all my questions. Wives and other women are as interesting to her as a chicken in Mongolia.

      I can tell you that, even factoring in gender differences, I cannot imagine anyone with an ounce of dignity or self respect, or basic respect for the human condition- not finding that situation wildly depressing and dirty. And I am an opened minded person. It was like the last stop on the train to Desperation and Filth.

      When I got up to leave, as she still wanted to finish the massage (She was a terrible masseuse. Never buy that it is a “massage”) I was strangely empowered.

      I had taken back a mostly male dominated underworld and seen it for what it was.

      About as sexy as a colestomy bag. Misgoynstic….women as meat, as product. Transactional. You pay money for access to my body. You see? It is a symptom of a larger sickness that your husband has, that my husband had. Amy, I still miss my husband. Sometimes. But I did not know him. Cannot fathom his rotted wormy brain. And he did not care enough to truly know me.

      Process this for a while. Be gentle on yourself. But sit with this and see what rises to the top of your mind.

      • God bless you, This is Not a Test. I wanted to do the same thing. I didn’t have the courage. So I found a guy willing to describe the experience of a “massage” parlor online.

        Although he did have a “Happy Ending”. he was completely humiliated and embarrassed he went that far. Swore he would never do it again and felt nothing but pity for these women and was disgusted with himself.

        Then there are the guys who go back for more and more and worse and worse…..

        • CalamityJane,
          If you still are obsessed about it, you can ask me any questions you like. It was risky, and I do not want other chumps to try it. I was so jacked up on rage, jealously and heartbreak, if the escort had tried to rob me, I would have attacked her like a wild cat. She was not the fabled, cliched heart of gold prostitute (Gag) but she was wily enough to know that if she answered all my questions, I would pay her and tip.

          I remember driving back home (I drove one hour each way) and realizing that this man, and the behaviors I had built up so large in my mind- were pathetic. I was analyzing and obsessing over a 4 day old Big Mac in a dumpster.

          This too helps with people obsessed with the Affair Partner (raising my hand). It is not what we think it is. It is not a yacht off the coast of Sardinia, with perfect bodies, erotic bliss and a Bose sound system playing Sade.

          It is a battered refrigerator, pretending to be a boat, slowly sinking a fetid swamp, with some old crackers for a snack, and few cheap thrills.

          Rejection breeds obsession. On some level, it does feel like a rejection- our beloved mate chasing or choosing another sexual partner.

          We have to reframe that. It is not rejection. It is a crazed kibble feast. And it has bubkus to do with our sexuality, or desirability as a mate or a yummy sexual being.

          • This is not a test…. I think you have nailed it!! How long were you married for and how long gone?

            • Stillhere,
              I was married for 7 years, and I have not heard his voice in 1year, and 4 months.

              He is 100% out of my life. I do not track him, investigate or sleuth. I moved to the other part of the state. If he is dead, I do not know. I cannot have children, so that was a blessing as far as mating with a sociopath.

              There was something in me, (pride?) that refused to pick me dance. It was too humiliating. I treated him like royalty. We had amazing sex. It was not enough for him. When I was discovering the truth, I was broken… a person who could barely function. If not for my dogs, I probably would have laid in bed for a year. Their sweet little faces got me up.

              I was blessed or cursed with an inheritance from my father. This is better than scrambling for dollars, but it left me with too much free time to obsess. I would have been better off bagging groceries or working on a road crew than moping around my house and pining for a ruthless turd.

              “He” loomed so large…he devoured all my juice, my energy. Now, I see him as a weak, dirty, lying cheat. An obscenity. I hate him with every fiber of my body. Real murderous, scary hate.. I don’t think that will ever pass.

              • The murderous part passed, but the maiming is still with me and quite colorful at times! Down right entertaining to be honest.

                I can be quite daring with my life, This is Not. I truly admire your resolve. Your description of events confirmed my beliefs.

                If only a movie could be made.

                Chump Lady – How are you at scripts? I have connections.

          • I have also been obsessed with the AP. XH w;
            In. 7pas a gaslighter who never admitted to the affair. but the crumbs of information I did get made me believe that he was “madly in love” with bis “girlfriend” wbo had a “tight” and “deep” vagina. His demeanor was beyond haughty when caught as he looked down at me while spouting denials. I have often wondered if his affair really was that great or if he was just spinning it that way so that he could further hurt me and feed off of my pain. OW did not take him on financially after the divorce nor did she provide transportation to continue the affair. I suppose sbe did not want to support an unemployed man. Post-divorce he asked me to buy him a vehicle as I received our shared vehicle in the divorce. I declined and told him, “I know you want that to see her. I will not belp you with her. It’s time for that mad love to stand on its own two feet. Either walk to see her or ask your mom for money for a cab.”

      • This is Not a Test….you are a brave woman for doing that. As much as you saw what you needed to see to get the information you needed, I am glad you were able to safely leave.

        When my X was visiting these places, unbeknownst to me, he would come home and accuse ME of false advertising! Of just trying to take his money and not giving a damn during sex. He once played a YouTube video for me of what I thought was a regular couple having sex. The man was working, but the woman was just there on her side dead-eyed in sexy lingerie. Totally robotic. Maybe this was an escort couple??? At the time I had a 3 month old plus to other kids and a crazy abusive bitch of a partner. I didn’t get it and was too tired and depressed to address it. After I fled I learned of the escorts. I think in his entitled insanity he began to see me as one of them. INSANE!

        • He was implying that you were lying there, like the woman in the video- not sufficiently bucking and clapping like a seal- to get him off?

          Yes- he is clinically insane. These men who complain that their wives are boring in bed- I want to shout at them from the world largest megaphone:

          “YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE HER CLITORIS IS. YOU KISS LIKE A LIZARD ON METH.”

          Believe me- if a woman is turned on, and a large part of that is being treated with kindness and loving care- the sex that follows will be mind blowing. These critters are not capable of true intimacy…ergo…good sex will ALWAYS be a dream to them.

          • Lizard on meth. Awesome. We were married to the same bloke I’m sure. Seven and a half years for me too. No kids. Eight months since I saw or spoke to him.

            Only difference is the monster I was with was too vain and arrogant for escorts. He wants his women to adore him so they have to be in his life somehow in an ongoing way.

            Twat.

          • Once went on a few dates with a guy who kissed like Woody Woodpecker..didn’t feel the desire to sleep with him after my mouth was pecked !

        • Something I could only admit to chump nation: after d day and I was doing the pick me dance , apologizing for not being his perfect loving wife appliance, I asked him if he wanted to punish me and told him we could have punishment sex. He was actually excited and took me up on it- him being disgustingly dominating. How sick is that?

          And now he is tenderly making love to his schmoopie– yeah right!

          • No, he is degrading her and getting his rocks off on her pain. Believe it.

            I might have done that, too. Do not feel bad. The gas lighting- it so serious. It makes us lose our minds.

            The X loved to humiliate me. Nothing pleased him more than to push the limits of decent and kind sex.

            Again- do not feel bad. I remember one night my X was high (a true gem) and he tried to put an Absolute Vodka bottle, the smaller part- up my vagina.

            Why? What? Who? WTF?

            It was very sad. I adored him, but I remember later thinking:

            What if it had shattered? What kind of deviant horror show needs/wants that to get off? I let him do it for moment, and then asked him to stop.

            His response:

            Don’t be like that.

            • Thanks- and thanks for sharing your painful story, how do we teach our daughters? Obviously I was never taught.

              If only would have known that his watching porn with me when we were first married and me being uncomfortable was a red flag. I put a stop to that fairly early before our first child was born, but now it haunts me.

              • Forgive yourself, Feelingit. Many of us here have done things to try and hold our marriages together that we were uncomfortable with. They were masters at making us feel like we were inadequate. And yes, we all missed red flags. Forgive yourself, fix your picker and move on with the ability to recognize this kind of crap in the future.

              • Oh ya, I can relate to that one. Today is 33rd anniversary/. My divorce was final a year ago. I total relate to you, They are such sick fucks, and the gas lighting is horrid!!!!!! Mine did weird off the wall shit too and I would just think well “this is between us and no one else” WTH of course not, he had watched porn since he was 9 year old — 50 years. He was always trying to take to into his dark world. NOT THANKs.

                Have fun jacking off or fucking strange pu**y sucker, I still love me and our family that you threw away. YOU can rot in hell,

                LIAR MOFO,

            • What is with these people and pushing the sexual limits? Mine did it all.the.time. I started to dread sex because he loathed “white bread sex”. He’d stick ice cubes up me as a special surprise and then berate me when it didn’t make me all horny. AND I’D FEEL BAD because I didn’t like it.
              When I started dating again I figured guys who weren’t trying to get in my pants 24/7 must just not like me. Then i figured out, “no, they are NORMAL”.
              I now have white bread caring sex on a semi regular basis and it blows the socks off of the kink.

              • The things we were made to believe as “normal” could make a whole new post.

                I relate to this well. Growing up very conservative, I was embarassed to talk about sex, even after marriage, even with other women.
                It wasn’t until I reconnected with my childhood best friend that I felt comfortable (think little girls whispering their utmost personal secrets and giggling together).

                That’s when I found out the dick going soft while INSIDE you is not normal. But of course he wanted me to believe it was, along with many other f-ed up things. Of course, I am 100% to blame for the lost erections.
                If only I would be nicer to him [squash all my needs and wants]. He has been emasculated [by me holding him accountable when words don’t match actions].

                Poor poor sad, limp (but that’s normal!) sausage.

      • This post was awesome! I applaud you doing what you did and it definitely puts things in perspective. Yay for you being so bold and sharing with all of us. Bless you so much!

      • Thanks for sharing, please don’t feel humiliated for doing what you did. It gives us all an insight into how sad and sordid it all really is.

      • Wow, ThisIsNotaTest–very brave of you. You should consider a short article on your visit to the escort; where to send it I’m not sure, but it would definitely be widely-read.

      • This is so powerful. You are mighty. And smart. Great research (which I love above most things.)

      • You are brave as fuck for doing this. I commend you. Even The Bible says “Be as cunning as snakes but innocent as doves.”

        This is exactly YOU.

        U don’t need to be ashamed of meeting that escort. That was some kickass undercover reporting action.

        Way to go!

      • Wow. this post is so helpful to me. My husband is now claiming “sex addiction” made him do it. I am not saying I don’t believe sex addiction is a real thing, but it is always an excuse of some sort to justify his 8 years of prostitute use (that I know of…maybe more). Your description helps. My mind movies play it like it is some wild and awesome sex. My husband read erotic review and then would hire escorts based on their review. I don’t know exactly what he was looking for, that is all I know. I do know he actually gave oral to many of them!! Why would the escorts allow that? There is no way to protect themselves and of course he is totally unprotected doing that. Why wear a condom at that point, which mine claimed he always did but it is doubtful. We are separated, divorce in progress, I have had 2 STD tests and know I am fine….but it haunts me how he went to escorts/hookers over and over and even had some come to him at his rental home (maybe even our marital home? Who knows…). It also haunts me when I wonder WHY. WHY WHY WHY would he throw away the life we could have had. We have three wonderful daughters, he is a doctor and makes a good living, i am a nurse and college professor. We had a good life, yet he continued to see the hookers and lie about it. Every time he got caught, it was another “excuse” and currently he is seeking 12 step recovery program for sex addiction and feels like I should “give him another chance” which would be something like the 20th..who knows. I am not going to, but he is so crafty he makes me feel guilty for not being more “supportive” of his sex addiction struggles. Ugh. What about me? And what I went through, not to mention our girls?? At the end of the day, I see it as pathetic and disgusting. Mine is diagnosed with a personality disorder(s) – NPD and BPD. So screwed up. I am so impressed you met the escort. I contacted a few over the years via text. None were enlightened individuals.

  • Amy,

    The fundamental question here is do you want your kids to grow up with your husband’s values, or yours? Do you want to teach them the lesson that it’s perfectly acceptable to have sex with escorts while married as long as there are kids to use as a shield against divorce, or that there are severe consequences to everyone you care about?

    Over the long haul the kids will be better off learning that fidelity, commitment, and keeping promises are all very important, and remaining in a marriage without trust is bad for all parties. They will learn better lessons from your righteous anger than they will from your putting their needs before theirs. Hopefully you will eventually recognize that in this case, what is best for them is also what is best for you.

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.
    aeronaut

    • … than they will from you putting their needs before yours. …
      Sorry, no edit capability on blog posts.

      aeronaut

  • I stayed for the kids…for 7 years after I learned of the “first affair” which later revealed itself to be the “biggest” affair but not the first (?not the last, I dont know).

    TINAT tells us that the biggest abuse distracts us from seeing many smaller abuses and that was very true for me. My cheater was a terrible husband but I thought him being around for the kids was better.

    My sons are both adults now and they are both TERRIBLE partners. One is a dead beat dad who I convinced to sign over his parental rights so that my grandson could have a shot at a decent life. The other son is a charming fellow but does NOT have anywhere near the emotional intelligence he would need to be a good partner. My daughter is 21 and is on the cusp of her very first mini-romance….has never had a boyfriend and is terrified. She also took on a lot of her fathers traits, I fear she will act like him in a relationship and hurt whoever she partners with.

    Whooptidoopdi !! This is part of the payoff of them growing up witnessing the shit show of a man who had SO little respect or deference for his wife. He came by it honestly, his dad is a “great guy” who was wonderful to everyone but his wife who he treated like shit. They have 5 kids and one has a good marriage.

    Staying is like pouring poison into the well.

    • My XH the alcoholic is subject to rages and is, at heart, quite misogynistic. He also used to rail at his XW as a “crazy person,” a “nut job,” and a “psycho.”

      Guess how his son talks about his wife? Guess how he behaves?

  • Amy I reconciled with my cheater 12 years ago after his thang with a howorker. I ate that shit sandwich, but I think ultimately it was still oozing from my pores. Although I had an intact family and some good times, I was less and less tolerant of his behavior. I spackled and made excuses like crazy. My own kids realized as they aged he had issues. We even had a nickname for him. From the outside, everyone thought he was such a great fun guy. He was a control freak and very high maintenance at home. A sad sausage constantly venting to me about how no one understood him and appreciated him at work, at his hobby, his family, etc…

    In the year before Dday, I really started to get frustrated with his entitlement and self centeredness. We always did what he wanted to do and if I tried to conjole him into something I wanted to do, he’d make our time so freaking miserable. Sulking and pouting.

    He volunteered to help coach our daughter’s soccer team and along comes 20-something year old schmoopie. At Dday #2 I realized I couldn’t eat that shit sandwich again and neither could my kids.

    With time and distance, I really see the person he has been all along. The cheating was just more of the same self centered and entitled behavior. We never did anything the kids and I wanted to do. We never bought anything the kids and I wanted to buy. Why would a middle aged ole geezer go after a whimpy 20 something y.o. schmoopie? He could control her and feed off those kibbles she gives.

    Your spouse is paying for kibbles using marital funds from your business. He’s taking away time and money from your family. It really doesn’t get any better. This is who he is. Can you imagine how humiliating for your kids if they knew?

    It was only with time and distance that I could really start seeing the big picture. I spent years thinking it’s not so bad. He really does care about me and the kids, he just doesn’t know how to show it well. He loves his kids and wants the world for them, he volunteers to help with their sports. I know now it’s just all a source of kibbles for him and really not much to do with our kids.

    I go back to the nice versus kind post. He tells our kids now he didn’t mean to hurt anybody. I know now he didn’t even slow down at the duck crossing sign when he plowed through. Sure he didn’t mean to hurt that momma duck crossing with her babies. She was in the way. He was in a hurry. She should’ve looked harder and protected her ducklings if she loved them. It’s her fault too. I now realize we were collateral damage in his needs.

    Ultimately you and the kids don’t trump him and his needs. You don’t matter more than his desires in life (whether it’s a need for strange, your financials, whatever). I think it comes down to whether you can live like that. If you can continue to make excuses for him and spackle. At some point your kids will see who he really is and you can’t fix that either. He hurts to come to this realization. He’s really not a good dad or he would care how his actions impact their life.

  • He’ll do anything to save the marriage…except stop fucking escorts. There’s your answer.

    Time to GTFO, Amy. Put aside the adoration and protect your kids and yourself. Your husband sure as hell won’t.

    • “He’ll do anything to save the marriage…except stop fucking escorts.”

      Free Vixen, that was gorgeous in its brevity.

    • Yeah. This. What exactly is “anything” if it doesn’t include Not Fucking Hookers? Like, isn’t that a pretty baseline behavior for keeping a marriage intact? I think what he really means is “I’ll SAY anything to keep this marriage together” – which is a different matter entirely.

  • Please, please do not stay for the kids. They are too young to know the full details but, if they did, would they continue to think so highly of your husband? Very doubtful. And what would their older selves think of you for staying?

    My youngest daughter was exactly your children’s age when X’s affair was very publicly outed. She had no choice but to know all the gory details. I, too, considered staying for my kids, but it was my daughter who asked me not to. Why? Because she saw what it was doing to me.

    She told me she would be okay if I left…and she was/is. But she couldn’t stand the toll staying was taking on me. I was becoming an angry, depressed, isolated human being. The loving, happy mom she had grown up was rapidly disappearing and that mattered more to her than anything else.

    She loved her dad, and she still does. In fact, she and her siblings also “worshipped” him. He could do no wrong, he was their hero. In many ways, that was of my own making. I had put him on a pedestal from the day they were born, always hiding the bad and emphasizing the good.

    But a pedestal is no place to be. In fact, it is its own prison. I did my kids no favors by hiding who X truly was. In the years since our split, my children have had to learn that their dad is a mere mortal, with all the same weaknesses as other mortals. It has sometimes been a bitter pill for them to swallow, in some ways more difficult for them to accept than our divorce. Still, they are operating from a place of knowledge, not a place of deception.

    Did their lives change post-separation? Absolutely, but, for the most part, it changed for the better! No more silent, seething anger, no more tears, no more lies. More importantly, they are no longer under the illusion that their father and I had the “perfect” marriage and will not model their relationships/behavior after our marriage.

    I would hate to think that any of my children believe they should stay in an abusive relationship “for the kids.” Because, in the end, when you stay under the circumstances you describe in your letter, that is precisely the message you are sending them. Is that ultimately what you want them to think? Absolutely not.

    Someone here once said that deception and disfunction grow in the dark, but truth is the best disinfectant. Do not let your husband’s lies become your children’s legacy. Leave your husband for you, but also for them. It may be tough at first, and they may initially be angry at you. When they are older, however, your example will help them understand the difference between a loving marriage and a sham.

    • Violet, I am crying reading your post because it brings back memories. I bought into the victim blaming pick me dance crap for the first six months before I finally saw the light and when I made the decision to file for divorce, I sat each of my 5 children down individually to tell them and explain my decision and let them know how sorry I was for their situation. Each time, I cried but the kids did not. They each said they understood and knew that I had to do it.

      I think I was mourning the loss of my dream for them and they were seeing the truth.

  • Amy, I am so sorry and boy can I relate!!

    Aside from guilting you with manipulation and using your children as “bait” to make you stay, what else is he doing to “change?” Therapy? Full transparency? Full truth? (There is more than two escorts, trust me!!).Words don’t mean anything, it is actions. He isn’t truly remorseful yet, if ever, he is just worried about his own life and comfort. I have lived with this for far too long. The cycle is that he gets caught with an escort (or with a burner phone and disappearance of cash) , cries, begs and promises- mine even goes to therapy and now 12 step, then when things calm down- he does it again. Meanwhile I lived consumed with being a detective, angry, exhausted and not a lot of energy left for my kids. My STBXH has been cheating with escorts for amost a decade (that I can confirm, maybe longer??). I have only known for sure for five years but during his moments of promising change. I got more truth. Still, it took me a long time to believe the actions and not the promises and love bombing. I have always heard “I love you, it was only sex, it was due to anxiety, stress, low self esteem, I love our family (we have three girls), I only want you.” But guess what: he hasn’t stopped! He continues to do it and always has an excuse. I have my own house now for my kids and I, divorce in process, but he also knew that by using our kids and my values of intact family- he could “win.” He did it for years and I caved often. No more! I have had to get so many STD tests and at least never caught anything from him, but it was real fear and major stress he heaped on me. It was his burden and yet he made it mine just like yours is doing. They need real consequences! Even then it may not end. Protect yourself in all ways. Also, when this was new, I stayed for the kids too. They went through the same stress and emotional pain as me because they knew he cheated (not the gory details) and he would convince us all how committed to family and change he was- then do it again. It devastated them every time. Terrible!! My STBXH also got more verbally abusive and checked out while living this double life.nit consumed him for periods then he would be really focused on family for awhile. Major cognitive dissonance! It has taken a toll. Only recently did I also discover there was more than “just” sexual deviance. Dishonesty also in many other areas of his life with his business (he owns his own medical practice and is a doctor), taxes and other illegal thing involving prescription fraud. Mine takes advantage of any situation he can to “win”- at the expense of others, than justifies it with excuses (“everyone else does it”) and promises of change. It is so exhausting! Just be careful and don’t believe his words. I know it is so hard!!! Our outside picture to the world was shiny and happy – people thought we had it all. It was hard to admit the cracks and dysfunction. I am not theought it all yet but getting there. Hugs to you, Amy!!

    • And has he laid out the financial investment he’s made in his hooker activities? That would be one area he should be transparent about.

      • They will never be honest in this area…but keep pressing for it if you haven’t, Amy! Mine claims he has spent $10,000 but I believe it is more.

  • It has been 3 years since my 4th d-day and Mr. Sparkles leaving me and our son for the OW.

    See that Amy… they can convince you to stay AND THEN THEY LEAVE YOU. It happens every day.

    In those 3 years, me, my son and my stepchildren have learned A LOT about resilience. That’s a life lesson you can’t put a price tag on. They’ve learned that abuse of any kind is unacceptable.

    My son now has my full attention and energy because I’m not scurrying around trying to make the outside world think I have a happy marriage AND I’m not being the marriage police and getting STD tests every six months.

    And, God willing, I’m not raising a future chump (yes, sons can become chumps) and we are all learning how important it is to know your own worth.

    Know your worth, Amy… it is much more than that of your fuckwit and his sex workers. Show your kids THAT.

  • Amy,
    You will get through this. Leaving can be as hard as building Noah’ s boat. You gotta do it on faith, but you won’t regret it!

  • Take it from someone who’s STBX was also an escort cheater – it will NOT stop!

    Here’s all the things I discovered during discovery when STBX HAD TO give me access to financials …

    -they are spending thousands upon thousands of dollars.

    -They are risking your health. STBX was getting STD tests, but hey, I guess if I turned up with something, I’d have to figure it out myself, since he failed to mention STD testing should be performed. This after I forgave affair #1 with a stripper, and he swore he would never put my life at risk again. Yeah, cheaters are also liars!

    -googling phone numbers on a phone bill is a great way to find escort ads. Trust me, there’s many!

    In hindsight, my kids were having problems in school, not because I wasn’t doing enough as a stay at home mom (my cheater liked to blame everything on me, his struggles and the kids were all my fault…( p.s. That narrative won’t change after divorce…it’s all your fault… in one ear and out the other). In reality they were responding to a dysfunctional marriage.

    Listen, I went through the guilt of possibly hurting my kids, and I know it sucks! Then I realized I really had 2 choices… stay and continue to be cheated on (he proved he was not capable of monogamy), or leave and have my children suffer short term, but model that no one should allow themselves to be treated that way. Sure, they were hurt, and even upset with me, but we talked through it. This idea that it takes 2 people to ruin a marriage, but only one to make it work is asinine! It takes one person to ruin a marriage, but two to make it work! I want my children to know that, so if they are faced with a dysfunctional marriage, they do not waste years of their lives trying to change someone who does not want to change.

    It’s really hard to see the dysfunction when you are in it, but as you step away from it, things become clear. Yes, life has a lot of gray areas, but this is not one of them. Your spouse is trying to make it a gray area by putting the responsibility on you. If cheaters were so concerned about the children’s well being, they would be home improving their marriage, not out boinking escorts! If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, responding to bad behavior is not the problem, the bad behavior is the problem. There are consequences to every action, and he’s asking you to suffer his consequences for him, in the name of the kids. He is essentially saying “hey sweetie, you sacrifice your happiness, self-worth, monogamy, and all expectations of what you want your marriage to look like, because you wouldn’t want to hurt the children, right? While you sacrifice for our kids, I’ll blame you for boinking escorts (you know if you didn’t spend so much time with the kids I wouldn’t have to cheat), all the marital responsibility will weigh on your shoulders, and then… when you’ve finally had enough, because I’m NOT going to stop cheating, I get to say I was cheating because you were a bitter controlling shrew, our kids are miserable now because YOU broke up our family! All I ever did was try to make you happy and make this marriage work, but you just couldn’t get over my mistake(s)!”

    Get off the mind-fuck rollercoaster! You didn’t cause it, you can’t control it, you can’t fix it… and you can’t love him into fidelity!

    • “Responding to bad behavior is not the problem, the bad behavior is the problem.”

      Exactly.

    • Googling phone numbers… wow, that was a trigger for me just now. That was how I first discovered Mr. Sparkles was cheating… mysterious numbers on the phone bill. He didn’t even try to hide it.

      I swear, sometimes, it is like they WANT TO GET CAUGHT. That’s when I know my guy is a Sociopath. The sex is just a boredom thing… it’s the MANIPULATION and MINDFUCKING that provides the real rush to these fuckwits.

    • Loved your post Got-a-brain! So much of your story is like my story. I want to add a few more squalid details for Amy on dealing with a spouse who frequents sex trade workers. My ex didn’t use escorts (as far as I know) but he paid strippers for sex. He coped to sex with 6-8 strippers so you can pretty much triple (at least) that number. My ex told me that he always used a condom. Small comfort, that since I knew from reading an email he sent one of his stripper/APs that unless he put a condom on his tongue, every time I kissed him I was getting a mouthful of literal shit sandwich. For years I dealt with frequent vaginal yeast infections. As soon as I stopped having sex with my ex, the infections stopped. You see, men don’t get yeast infections but they can transmit the bacteria or whatever causes them. As for STD tests, even if the men are using condoms, if they put their mouths on sex trade workers’ skin, they risk passing a STD to you. And I’ve been told by medical professionals that sometimes symptoms don’t show for years so 5 years out and I still get tested for STDs just in case. Also, for me, there is the horror of being a faithful spouse who had only been with my ex before and during my marriage, realizing that I have now “been” with a long, disgusting trail of sex workers and their partners through my ex. That he willingly risked my life not just once but over and over again for some strange pussy is the thought that ultimately freed me of my love for him. No one who loves you would knowingly expose you to such risks. No one who loves your kids would knowingly expose them to such risks. That’s the bottom line for me.

  • It is never just “two” escorts.

    These two surfaced. There are more and it is way worse than you realize. Buying women for sex is depraved. Cheaters of this sort don’t want to live in hell, just visit it from time to time. THAT is why he wants his family – – cake.

    There is a side to him so hideous that were it to unfurl, you would have the unfortune of seeing the horror of a truly vacuous soul.

    You and your children deserve more. Mourn the loss and prepare for a new life.

  • Amy

    You are fully enmeshed with your abuser. You live and work together. It’s difficult to face the many changes you will have to accept as this impacts every aspect of your life. It’s scary as hell.

    But you have uncovered his other life. It puts you in a position of repeatedly feeling inadequate. Sacrificing yourself is his expectation. As long as you are willing to cling to the hope he will change the status quo is maintained.

    We as chumps do some justification of our own. He’s getting therapy, he’s a good father, we work together and we minimize our needs taking one for the team.

    You’re in it deep Amy. Change comes with a price. Think about how detached a husband has to be in order to repeatedly seek out escorts. Stop justifying; make a plan.

  • Girl I feel your dilemma. I had a run of the mill cheater and sat on the fence for 3 years because: kids. I think that’s totally normal and an indicator of the self sacrifice of a loving mom. It shows your heart and goodness.

    Reality: there’s no coming back from what he’s done. And you know that which is why you’re here. With any luck he will change with therapy. It’s great he’s in it, good for him. But he broke something real good and it’s ain’t fixable. Even if he never does this again ever ever, you still can’t fix this kind of broke. It sounds like you need more time to figure that out. I wish you quicker clarity than I had, but it’s a process. A painful soul sucking process but when you can see the light on the other side of the dark tunnel you’re in, you’ll know your worth and never look back.

    Good things happen to good people (mostly) who are living their authentic goodness. Do that and things fall into place. But you can’t do that when you’re spackling for this dirtbag. Not possible.

  • I stayed…and stayed….and stayed some more. Our kids needed her. I had created the family I always wanted (well, except that in my version, my partner wasn’t an addict or a cheater). I didn’t want to hurt them. And then my health deteriorated and my parenting started to suck. When I caught her in her third affair in 9 years, I finally told her she had to move out. You know who the kids blamed? ME. But I got my life back. I have continued to love and support them. She only sees them about once per month, on her terms, and only when she needs something from them (like pet-sitting services). [The Egyptians worshipped Isis as the ideal mother and wife as well as the patroness of nature and magic.]

  • Amy,

    Run, run, run…do not stay.

    My 1st Dday occurred 20 years ago when I was 6 months pregnant with our first child. There is no doubt in my mind that I delivered my son prematurely due to the stress from my discovery. I had been fine up until Dday, but soon after, I developed high blood pressure, had an emergency c-section & my son spent almost 2 weeks in neonatal. When we got to bring him home, we had heart monitors & home health nurses to help…I was too busy caring for our new baby to concern myself any longer with his affair with his ex hs g/f.

    Fast forward 10 years to DDay #2. I had been tipped off that my then husband was fooling around with a former co-worker of mine. Phone records confirmed “something” going on. I confronted him. By now we have 2 kids, 11 & 8. He fell to his knees, begging & crying, swearing to me that nothing was going on other than talking, but there was an attraction there. He even begged for forgiveness from our kids. 2 months later, I found his burner phone that he had graduated up to from his personal phone (he knew I was playing marriage police). He STILL denied anything & being the chumpiest of chumps, I stayed. Oh, I made an appointment with an attorney to discuss my options, but at the time I couldn’t afford the retainer & was too proud to ask my family for help. Since our divorce was final in December 2016, I have discovered many people knew about this affair. She was bragging about sleeping with my husband to anybody that would listen. It still burns my ass that no one felt the need to tell me about what she was saying. He kept denying it & telling me I was crazy. Wow, I really wasn’t.

    In October 2015, I got the ILYBINILWY speech. Although it came out of the blue, I had noticed that he’d become friends on FB with his ex hs g/f from affair #1 & I said nothing until his announcement & of course he denied anything going on. I took me 11 months of false promises, “I love you’s and I’ll do anything to keep our family together” speeches, & all sorts of other bullshit before I finally decided to file. We had even separated & the kids & I moved out of the house during this period, but he begged for reconciliation as he “didn’t want to lose his family”. Turns out, he & his ex hs g/f had still been seeing one another & he then moved on to a co-worker, whom he is now living with, while lying to me & our children the whole time.

    Do. Not. Stay. For. The. Kids. I lost 8 years of my life trying to keep our family together. I wish now that I had left. Had I known how much better my life & my children’s lives were going to be without his lying & cheating & manipulating, I would have RUN LIKE HELL. Don’t wait until your children are older. My 16 y/o daughter recently admitted to losing respect for me for staying with her dad, but she’s proud of me for getting us out of there. That was all the validation I needed that I did the right thing in leaving, it just should have happened sooner.

  • I am sorry Amy but “great” Dads don’t fuck escorts and cheat on the mother of their children. “Great” Dads protect their families, invest in them and treat the Mother of their children with respect and kindness. They don’t shift blame or guilt to their spouse when caught TWICE for abusive disgusting behaviour.

    He made choices and those choices have consequences. You are not responsible for his choice to cheat and put you and your children in harm’s way. He’s shown you who he is, so believe him.

    I know it’s difficult to walk away from someone you love, it’s very very difficult. And yes, your children will be angry, but life with a cheater is no good for anyone. Your children will realize very quickly who the sane loving parent is. It’s important to teach children that abuse in a relationship is never acceptable.

    And be prepared for your cheater to react strongly when he realizes the gig is up and you intend to file or separate. These creatures can become unglued so have a safe exit strategy in place and speak to a lawyer.

  • Really I guess I am lucky STBX left me so I didn’t have to make those kinds of decisions. I know that if he had taken reconciliation at all seriously I would have stayed and probably been miserable in the end and he would have strayed again. I am just mad that he had to go and bring a 3rd party into the mix before leaving me. He’s such a coward. He couldn’t do it without help. I don’t care how much better off I am without him, however, they are both still bad people and I will never thank them for putting me and the kids through this. He’s a selfish, self-centered coward and she is a selfish self-centered slut. They have no conscience.

  • Amy,
    I am an older Chump.
    I pick me danced, he stayed.
    I truly believe, and now I know, that my cheater did not cheat again.
    The cheating is just one aspect of a narcissist, sociopath type of character these people are. There is so much more to their character. ( ask JeepTess), she broadened my knowledge with expert information and she is very special to me.
    Amy, life is difficult, so many ups and downs. We all know this.
    It would be so nice to have a strong shoulder to lean on, a true friend in a partner to talk with, to discuss things, to simply just sigh together when there is no solution to a particular problem. Someone who is there for you when your parents leave this world leaving a giant hole in your heart and he doesn’t even attend their visitation and funeral services. Even sadder that I felt relieved he wasn’t there as I didn’t know what he would say or do as he did not like my family.
    Our daughter very recently tragically lost her husband, little children lost their father.
    The cheater does love us, but OMG he helps with his mouth, he is not a doer. He talks, I do. All thru my marriage he talks, I do.
    Amy, sweet lady, I truly feel it is best for you to leave. YOU are the loving, sane, present parent.
    My heart breaks for you for all you have suffered, for all you have to face on the long road ahead.
    After reading all today’s posts, the wonderful strong Chumps, their courage, their strength, they just touch my heart and I am so proud of them. Many feel like daughters to me, family and even though I can’t see each one of them I deeply care and they live in my heart, each and every one of them. You Amy, you touch my heart and down the road I want happiness and sincere, deep caring to be a part of your worthwhile life. You deserve this Amy, do not let him rob you of this.
    I believe my most important role as a poster on CL, CN is to encourage young, new Chumps to RUN for their life and for the lives of their precious children.
    YOU can do this Amy, in five, ten years I want happiness, not doubt, to dwell in your heart. Your precious children will be the hugest part of their brave, strong Mother’s happiness.
    I see it in your future Amy, it is possible because you can make it possible.
    I hope my post makes sense, please forgive any typos, still not much sleep.
    Xxxxx

    • Amy and Fellow Chumps,
      My third sentence down, in my post above, like really Peacekeeper and you know this how!!
      Stupid of me to write that, what was I thinking. I need more sleep.
      I am really not that dumb.
      Cheaters don’t feel a need to share with their partner, as to the number of times they have cheated or any details at all.
      I have just given my head a good shaking!
      ?????

  • My biggest regret that I took so damn long to pull the plug is that I modeled acceptance of this treatment to my kids. I can trace it back 15 years via internet sources (although I only knew about it the last 5 years), but I suspect it started well before then.

    I discovered the bunny boiler OW shortly before my daughter’s wedding. I asked that they just keep it on the down low until after the wedding, then I would happily divorce and they could ride off into the sunset. She went into overdrive meltdown – calling 20-40 times a day, leaving bipolar messages on our home phone; called and left obscene messages on my office phone; threatened to show up with a girlfriend at the wedding wearing ex’s favorite sex costumes. She didn’t, but daughter got an email from her on the plane, returning from her honeymoon.

    Now that was a shit sandwich, but the worst part is that daughter also married a cheater. They were both military, and pushed the wedding up so they could be stationed together (he was up for transfer), but it didn’t happen and he was moved 200+ miles south, where he apparently set up house with another woman. My daughter (badass air force pilot) was deployed several times, but they got together every weekend they were both in country. They bought a business together and our family provided him use of a condo and help with location and buildout. Shortly after it opened, she got an email from the OW on the military email telling her all about the affair, along with a text from her shit for brains, announcing how he would have my daughter “out of the business” in 5 minutes. Fortunately she really is a warrior, and having witnessed the crap her father put me through, took all of 5 minutes to tell him it was over and start interviewing lawyers. Good news is, she is fully recovered – working for NATO, living in Europe, and marrying a really lovely man next month.

    But I digress. My regret is that for God knows how many years I was modeling pick-me dancing with a low life cheater as a lifestyle. Daughter’s cheater worked on her for a year before she would even date him. And I know everyone brags about their own kids, but she really is special – tall, blonde, gorgeous, a college athlete, Academy grad, and a pilot. She also has a sparkling personality and is the friend magnet for her group – and arranges all the parties and events. Pretty sure she could have her pick of men, so why in hell did she settle for this one? In retrospect we both see all the red flags he threw off. I have to think it was growing up in the toxic soup environment of life with a cheater.

    Even when no one in the family knew about the cheating, it was going on. My regret is that the children picked up on the messages subliminally and now have to “undo the skein of fuckedupness” in their early adult years.

    So please, for your sake and the sake of your children, get out now. As CL says, model the sane parent to your two children. Life without a cheater is so much more peaceful and authentic. My hardest task at this point is to stop beating myself up for staying so long, and forgiving myself for being such a poor role model for my kids. Save yourself. Save your children. Love yourself – get out now.

    • Kids learn what they live. It’s that simple. Things that are destructive become normal in their eyes.

  • Easy answer – NO, you do NOT stay together just for the kids. Speaking from experience – I did this for 2 years. Gave him 2 years to change his ways. Nope. Didn’t work. All I did was waste 2 years of my (and my kids’) life.

    I did the mental gymnastics and kept telling myself it was better to stay with him than have my kids experience a broken family. But, his secret life (that I knew about) just got out of hand and was affecting the kids. He was never around, an absentee father, always “at work” (at the karaoke bars f**king the hostesses).

    When I left with the kids, I was really worried it was going to mentally screw them up. I took them to counselling, had my family support them in any way they needed, built up a village around them. They are FINE! THRIVING!!! It’s been just over a year and they really are doing well. It’s the best decision I have ever made. They are in a really fabulous place, growing up well, just THRIVING!!!!

    I didn’t want to model to my daughter that she should accept a relationship with a man that is not invested. And didn’t want to model to my son that it’s OK to abandon women and children. Leaving their father has shown them that there are consequences for disregarding the ones you love. They are only 8 and 7 years old, I didn’t think they would get it, but they do. They knew that daddy was “never at home”. And that when he was “he was always angry and didn’t play with us”. That, they figured out on their own. Kids are not clueless. As long as you maintain your sanity, always be honest with them (in an age appropriate way), and be the supportive and happy mother that they need, they will be FINE.

    Get a lawyer. Leave this asshole. Go and have a lovely life with your children. Like CL says, it’s HIS responsibility to maintain his relationship with his kids. And they will figure him out. Mine already have – he’s so lazy, he only Skypes them once a fortnight. They know he’s not invested, and never was. But they have so many family members who love them, around them, that they really are A-OK.

    Be brave, take a deep breath, and make the move. I guarantee, you will NOT regret divorcing this idiot. You will, however, regret it if you stay because you think it would be “better for the kids”. It’s NOT better for the kids. It really isn’t. In most cases, I’m sure it is WORSE for them if you stay. The kids don’t need it. They need their mother to be happy. That’s all.

    Best wishes from Australia!

  • Hi Amy:

    First to answer your question as to whether you should stick things out for the kids, the answer is no. Children need to have examples of healthy relationships in their lives. Regardless of whether or not their father engages with them, the fact is that their father is not engaging with YOU in a healthy fashion. A man who lied to you at least once, then gaslights that it was “just sex” (uh, he’s married–I’m sure you’d be okay with helping him out on that), is a man who treats you disrespectfully in a lot of small, subtle ways. Your kids will pick up on that and believe that this is normal.

    And you will be Marriage Police, anxious for signs that your husband is still going after prostitutes and having to get tested regularly for STDs. Your kids will think that your behavior is normal.

    Second, about his claim that he will do whatever it takes. Put that to the test. The test is this. Legal separation, visitation, child support, and a generous post-nupt that will act as a settlement should you decide to divorce. If he balks at this, you know that he’s not really interested in doing “whatever it takes.”

    Oh, and you say he’s “doing the work?” Does that mean he’s booking his own therapy appointments? Is he seeing an individual therapist or are you both in marriage counseling? If he’s in IC, are you sure he’s truly going to the appointments? When’s the last time you GPS’d his car (trackers are available).

    Go reread the classic CL “Reconciliation and Entitlement.” It exposes a lot of cheater behavior with respect to how they see “reconciliation” as entitling them to forgiveness. But it speaks a lot to Chump behavior, too.

    Remember that before you caught your husband cheating, you loved and trusted him. You gave him one chance. He squandered it. Now he’s worried that you’re going to make him pay the consequences. Consequences include divorce (with the financial hit he’ll take) and being exposed as a cheater to the world. If you stay married, his image stays intact, but he can get a bit better with hiding his cheating.

    He shattered that trust when he cheated. Regardless of what he does, the fact that he broke that trust means that he broke your marriage into a gazillion pieces. Even if he were the unicorn, he can’t glue those shards of trust back together again. You’ll always see the cracks. Whatever you had before is gone forever.

    Cheaters play on our desire to be fair. We Chumps want to “fix” things and to be generous. But when we do this, we make our needs small. When we excuse our spouse’s cheating by saying that they’re sex addicts or whatever, we’re actually saying that THEIR needs and happiness are more important than OUR needs and happiness.

    Healthy marriages don’t work like that. Healthy marriages are about give and take. It’s a mutual thing. Chumps let themselves get sucked into one-way relationships. That’s why Chumps need therapy–to recognize that we need to set healthy boundaries and expectations, and that if the other person doesn’t honor those, then they don’t share our core values.

    Amy, never stay for the children. It’s not worth it. My own CheaterX’s parents stayed together after my late MiL found out her husband was cheating with a married woman. His work was in another city 2.5 hours away. He came home only on weekends. Not only did they not divorce, but the mother defended her husband and held him up as an example to both her sons. Yep, they’re both cheaters.

    So look at what YOU want, not what HE wants. Ask yourself if you deserve this kind of life, and if it’s what you want to pass along to your children.

    Best of luck.

  • Trust me. GTFO.

    Stay as calm as possible over the next 4 to 6 months and collect all of your financial data. Do not let him know you are doing this. Collect everything make copies and put the copies in a safe place. And then file.

    Take it from me, after dealing with my STBX hooker habits for the past 3 years, there are much MUCH more hookers than you réalisé. While I’ve been getting ready for my filing I have seen hundreds upon thousands of dollars that were removed from his accounts while traveling for work, including paying for hotels. He would leave the house early to meet hookers, or extend his business trip and pay for his hotel for the night to meet hookers. Trust me, there are so many.

    And you will never trust him again. He doesn’t return your SMS when he’s traveling? Your head will keep spinning wondering where he is. Child has an emergency and you need to take them to the hospital and he never answers the phone? Including the phone in his hotel room in which you then need to call security guard to wake him up, and it turns out he wasn’t answering because he was with someone? He travels at 10 days at a clip, Skype’s with your child only twice in 10 days to the point where your child is so upset and having temper tantrum’s? And then your head goes into the mindfuck again, who is he with? Why is he late for his calls? Why is that he answering his phone?

    This mindfuck will never go away. The longer you stay, the more you’ll turn into the shell of the person you used to be. All that is ahead of you is depression, anxiety and inability to be fully present to enjoy your children.

    Get out now.

  • Amy,

    I wish you and your kids could come over and see what the other side of your Hell looks like. The other side of Hell is Heaven. 🙂

    My two youngest are still at home, 12-son and 10-daughter. I left four years and nine months after the DD#1. DD#2 and DD#3 happened at the same moment…husband had a DUI with a hooker in my car while we were camping. While he was in the hospital his phone revealed an affair with a married woman he knew in high school (he was her first, how romantic). Do you know what hurts most from that now…he wrecked my beloved BMW! She was paid off damnit! 🙂

    Staying with him cost me my sanity and made my children miserable. I started to be known as the crazy one, the one with anger issues and the one that likes to make people miserable! He totally flipped it on me and I showed up to play the part.

    Today, it will be a year in September since I saved us, life is damn good my friend. He is a horrible father, plays mind games with the kids and rarely pays child support. His kids are not half as hurt as they were while they watched me fall apart. “He always lied mama, all the time”. He hooked back up with his Virgin Love and is still a raging alcoholic. He writes her name on his chest in pen and then talks to the kids with his shirt off. When my poor daughter asks him what that is, he covers it up and tells her she saw nothing. She thinks he is insane. She is correct.

    The only thing I am still working through is my deep hate and disgust for him. It burns bright within me and I am working to shed that too. It keeps me from true “meh”. I keep it to myself as much as I can and blow it out on him when I can’t. As far as the kids go, I tell them what I truly know…your father has problems that we will never be able to understand or fix. We are very blessed we no longer have to live with it and suffer. Pray for him. They agree and they pray.

    • I love your name,”GraceinMotion”. Just lovely! That you and your kids can pray for your ex means it’s a literal truth in your life. Good for you! A couple of posters have mentioned the hatred thing. Fortunately for me, my kids are adults so I am completely NC with my ex and have achieved Meh BUT I find that any time something happens that affects my kids and is attributable to the Edgar Suit, that white hot hatred and rage stokes back up. Still Meh though – I don’t care what he does or with whom – I just wish he had no lasting effect on my children who deserve to live as free of his shit as I am.

  • After the first ddays early in our marriage I stayed for my 4 kids. Thirty years later found out he had never stopped cheating. This is what staying for the kids did:
    2 adult kids that I suspect are narcs. No empathy for people they deem unworthy. No accountability for their hurtful actions. They, like x, devalue people to explain their own hurtful behavior.
    2 adult kids that have watched me jump through hoops trying to please an unreasonable person. They are drawn to people like x and I watch them pour their hearts out to people who use and abuse them. I see their self esteem eroding right in front of me.
    I hate that this is what my children have learned. Especially my youngest two who have so much to give. I’m trying to get them into counseling.
    Point of my post is, I took my kids to church every Sunday, was very involved in their school, constantly talked to them about values and morals. But watching the dynamics of our marriage influenced them more than what I tried to teach them. I worry these behaviors will be passed down to my grandchildren. I will never forgive myself for what I inadvertently taught them.
    Your husband wants you to think of the kids. I agree, think of your kids and leave.

    • Growing up with a narcissistic parent is 24/7/365 training camp and indoctrination that takes a huge effort to undo and worth it in the end. No more character disordered people in one’s life !

  • Amy if all of these comments don’t resonate with you, then you are doomed to go down that road and trust me …….. its full of potholes.

    I will only add a few more comments, “secrets make YOU sick”. I stayed for 31 years, first DDay was 6 years into the marriage that I thought was perfect! I was holding a week-old baby #3 (in 5 years) and he so matter of factly just told me he had cheated early in our marriage and he wanted to come clean, bc he NEVER wanted to do that again. I was crushed and in my heart loved him still and wanted my kids to have their dad. SO long story short, over the course of the next 26 years he continued his cheating. I never told anyone, and allowed him to convince the world that he was great!

    I finally had enough shit sandwiches, and accepted that the man I thought I married NEVER EXISTED. Truly I did not know him, I would have never married him. 2 years ago I exposed him to our grown kids, extended family, friends and anyone else I felt needed to know. I refused to be his prop any more and I filed for divorce. All the years I justified in my head staying with him saying he was a GOOD DAD!!! Don’t ever say that, ONE time is enough to get rid of him. The kids are better off and will respect you, trust me. He was a fucking monster during the divorce, My grown kids were shocked that I had hid this secret and even though they are adults now, they can’t believe I was so stupid to stay with him all those years as it nearly broke me! CHEATERS cannot change, just think about what they’ve done, as all these posts here on CN describe. I have lived all of it ………… RUN RUN RUN, do not let him convince YOU to stay with him for your kids! Its a charade that never ends.

    SAVE yourself sweetie, your kids will love a whole mom. Don’t take this lightly, the world is full of the fuckwads and PORN has not made it easy either. Cheaters ruin everything ……….. xoxo

  • Amy,

    If you have read this far, kudos. I want to draw your attention to the theme of several Chumps, myself included, who have hypocrite, narcissist cheaters in our past as well as in our present. When mom finally did leave, I couldn’t respect her for a long time-what sort of woman puts up with that shit? The answer, twenty years later, was me.

    Don’t make this seriously dysfunctional behavior part of your kids’ lives. Yep, it will scorch, but leave a cheater, get a life. Here is why: DD, who is 17 now, was given the truth. As much as it hurt her to know, she did not deserve to be drowned in spackle.

    Nor do you. Welcome to the club nobody ever wants to join. You have hard years ahead, but the decision is yours, whether you pass this misery down another generation or not. You might call it tragic, the way you feel now, but I call it parenting. I can honestly say it would have been much easier if he had died, and for all intents and purposes, he is dead to me. Kiddo has her own relationship with him, which is none of my business. But she trusts and respects me. And herself.

    x-Meh

  • I was thinking about all the conditional love fucktards impose on chumps.

    He only loves you conditionally.
    1. You must sign over your very soul for the kids. It’s an 8 year condition.
    2. You MUST believe ‘it was only sex’ Amy.
    3. The winner is he ONLY loves you Amy.

    His conditional love sucks ass. Leave him Amy. Let him know that he’s a fucking asshole and you have much more value and integrity. He underestimates you.

  • I stayed after finding out about emotional affair with married coworker. I had a 3 year old and a 1 month old born with hemophilia. I was in financial jail. He promised to stop seeing her and work on marriage. He never did stop seeing her. That was 1992. I would have done anything to save my little family. Fast forward 2015..29 years of marriage. He has become expert in cheating and lying and I am spackeling like a champ. My biggest regret is modeling behavior to my kids. Both my older children are in very dysfunctional relationships and it saddens me. I have triumphed these past 20 months going back to school, setting boundries and taking care of me. It is so hard to watch my kids suffer for love and spackle like I did. Wish I could rewind the clock. RUN and never look back. These sick fucks mutate like viruses…they learn and become more deviant and better at hiding things. They treat you like shit. Trust me that it only gets worse. You deserve to be loved and respected. Respect yourself and get out!

    • Some people just have a need to dominate during sex. It is the only way they know to achieve orgasm. Paying for it is the oldest business in the world.

      Callgirls may look great in their posed adverts, but as we all know, they are just working girls for whom intimate encounters are a source of tax free cash. Many of them are barely legal, and think it’s a great way to avoid college debt.

      What they don’t yet realise is that not only is it risky for their health and safty, but it also farks up their ability to have ‘normal’ relationships later on themselves. Many will deny it, but I know from professional experience that a significant proportion of them end up with significant emotional challenges later on, even if they avoid STD’s, pregnancy, the tax man, and crazy customers. Imagine running a business where virtually all your clients are potential crazies.

  • Please don’t stay for the children! When I left my sons were 12 and 9. They are now 19 and 16. The oldest possesses many of his Narc father’s traits. I tried my best to prevent that but my therapist has said its always nature vs nurture and nature seems to have prevailed. I had to teach my youngest son to stand up for himself and set boundaries. He never saw me do it while I was married and had a difficult time doing it for himself. I did all I could once we were out to show him and tell him. Thankfully he’s a good kid who has learned much in his 16 years.

    As far as their dad is concerned…I had a problem for the first few years watching how he treated his kids, what he did and didn’t do, how he didn’t care about them sometimes and how he was still always #1 in his own eyes. Everyone told me to just let it go, that the kids would eventually see him for what he is. Well everyone was right. They both have their own opinion about him and its not always good. They now see how they are not important to him, etc. They see that I was the sane parent through the worst of it and continue to be. Last year I sat them down and told them that I left their dad because of the verbal, mental and emotional abuse as well as the affair with the howorker. Neither boy said much but they both nodded their heads in agreement to most of what I said as if they understood. What a great burden to be rid of!

    Amy, don’t stay. Start the process – get your ducks in a row and leave. Is it hard – yes. Is it scarey – yes. Can you do it – yes. Do you and your kids deserve a better life where you are treated well and are respected – yes!

    One final word…My lawyer called me this morning. The divorce decree has been signed by the judge and I am OFFICIALLY divorced! It took me 6.5 years to get Dickhead to complete the process. He did as he said he would do – drag it out, try to drain me of money, etc. But I prevailed – along with the help of friends, family, CL and CN.

    You’ve got this Amy

  • Like it or not, you and your kids will be paying for your husband’s choices for the rest of your lives. Unfortunately you have been given this choice. The best way to start your road to a better life is to start now

    If you stay with him, the damage only get worse and worse. Spiritual damage, emotional damage, financial damage, health damage

  • Amy, I’ve heard this from my ex, too. My children finally told me that I should have done it earlier (and they love their dad) so that we all could have been happier. Kids do feel the strain of a relationship like yours (I speak from experience). So do put the kids and yourself first, and go see a lawyer.

  • After DDay I tried to save my marriage for the kids. Ex had moved out for a job and I found the
    OW the day after he left. I went into mega chump mode and tried to figure out how to save our marriage. During that time things were coming out fast with my kids. EX had let them know years ago, when affairs started, that he was leaving me and that I was horrible to live with. Starting when they were 10 and 11 years old. By the time I knew he was leaving me (they were 15& 16) They had no respect left for me and were going to leave with him when it came time to move. He was going to tell me after the family house was sold that I was not coming with him and the boys. Well when it became know about OW my sons put two and two together and figured out why he was leaving was not because I was horrible but because he was a cheater. They told me after watching me blame myself for being a bad wife for 7 months what the plan was and that they were sorry and staying with me no matter what… I filed immediately and was divorced almost before he knew it.

    The boys and I have not talked to him since.

    • TheBestMe it’s so hard to believe these asshats behave this way. I actually think they believe their own sad sausage stories sometimes. I just wish mine had said he couldn’t be married to me anymore and gone on to live an authentic life. But no, they wait to find a little schmoopie. When I went to counseling the first time around, my husband had initially told me he was in love with someone else then later denied it. My counselor told me men don’t leave a relationship unless they have another one lined up. The counselor went on to tell me my husband was ‘dismature’. I spackled and ultimately took him back, now I know because he and schmoopie didn’t work out. Set myself up for another Dday years later. Asshat thought he was running off into the sunsent with our kids with his twu wuv schmoopie #2. He was actually shocked they didn’t want anything to do with either of them.

      I’m divorced but not quite at ‘meh’. I’m getting there though!! I’m glad we are both moving on with our kiddos to that new authentic, cheater free life!

      • You know, I just don’t get that they are always looking for someone “better.” As if there is perfection out there somewhere. Heck, I gave up on having a “perfect” relationship a long time ago. Maybe in college. Isn’t that called reality? My ex said he “fell out of love” with me. Heck, I figured out about “falling in and out of love” when I was in my early 20’s. In my experience the “feelings” of love come and go, but the commitment is what matters. Love is an action. I fell in and out of love with my husband many times but I didn’t leave. I stayed even he was bald, had prostate problems, gall bladder issues, was grouchy, etc. Once my ex burst into tears and said he didn’t want to get old. Well, neither do I, but what’s the sense in running away? I often felt like my ex was happiest when he was pursuing whatever was just out of his reach. Once he caught it he just moved the goalposts.

        • ‘I often felt like my ex was happiest when he was pursuing whatever was just out of his reach.’

          This is exactly how my ex was (or is I guess, no contact!). He always had to have a new interest to throw his time and energy into. I knew when he started coaching our daughter in middle school, he’d have picked apart the team, coaching staff, and program before she ever made it through high school. He would be trying to change everything about it and be all pissed off that no one would listen to him and agree with him. Our usual MO would be to give all of our time and extraordinary amount of financial support until he reached the pissed off point and he would immediately withdrawal the financial then time. I was right for the most part except for no one listening to him. Along comes a 20-something assistant coach who listens to him, agrees with him, and comforts him over expensive dinners and trips! She told him she just want to be friends though. He got a sadz.

  • Amy,

    “. . . and if I won’t do it for him, then do it for the kids.” I call bullshit. How does continuing to live with someone who finds it ACCEPTABLE to seek out and HAVE “JUST SEX” with escorts/prostitutes (TWICE, to which he admits) benefit or serve your children? You are listening to and considering the words of a man who has ADMITTED to comfortably lying to you, deceiving you, betraying you and coming home to sleep next to you, TWICE – to which he admits. Lies are like roaches – if are made aware of one or two, there’s an entire colony someplace. I have learned not to place any value on the words of a confirmed liar. Your letter said he was “caught,” not that he voluntarily “confessed” out of some misplaced guilt. That means he was COMFORTABLE deceiving you. That’s who he is when the lights are out and he exists stage left.

    “Staying for the kids” is probably one of the biggest mindfucks out there. Ask me how I know. As parents, our actual job descriptions calls upon us to do what is in the “best interests” of our children. Some of us figure out too late that modeling dysfunction, normalizing and rationalizing disrespect and passively cooperating in our own abuse in order to hold our families together is not operating in the best interests of our children or ourselves for that matter.

    “Good” Dad? Really? I used to think my Ex was a “good” dad. Once I was away from him and observed his decisions, particularly during the divorce, if any choice came down to his children’s welfare or his welfare, he picked himself ALL THE TIME, unless he was legally forced to accept a different outcome. I came to realize that at his core, his was “bare minimum” Dad or “As Seen on TV” Dad and always had been. Your husband cannot be a good dad while deceiving and disrespecting you. Think about the fact that the same mouth he uses on those escorts/prostitutes is the same mouth he brings home and uses to kiss your children (not to mention you) goodnight – and he’s perfectly okay with that.

    I don’t know if your children have ever been ill and you have had to give them medicine or they have had to undergo a procedure that, while unpleasant and/or painful, would cure them and make them better. Would you withhold that treatment from them? Your husband’s lying, cheating and stealing resources from his family (paying escorts/prostitutes) is the disease. Separation/divorce is the recommended cure.

    • “exits” stage left, not “exists” stage left. I beg your pardon for any other misspellings and obvious grammar mistakes.

    • Chump Princess I too thought he would put our kids first during and after divorcing. I really don’t know why I thought that would be the case. I guess I got high on spackle fumes and believed in the dad unicorn. Some of the things he has done since the divorce when I make a 1/3 of his salary: tell our son he’d have to wait another month before he could get his new eyeglasses (I bought them-son’s were broken); it was his turn as I had bought our daughters; tell our daughter to have me pay for her sports league sign up and uniform since ‘he just paid child support so mom should have the money’–she said he’s being passive agressive mom; won’t put any money in our kids lunch accounts although he’s supposed to pay all school expenses; tells our son the $80 for the ACT testing is getting too expensive (our son is trying to boost his score to open more college options). The man makes $230,000 a year plus bonuses. He just bought a $430,000 home. What a dick he is!!! The kids see it.

      Really I pay most of all of the kids’ expenses. I figure I will sell the house and downsize in a few years and pay back what I owe with the equity. I am a chump. I just don’t want to contact him for anything.

      Spoiler alert: I was always bewildered as to why he’d let his sister that works 2 jobs pay for meals without insisting we pay. I was really embarassed about it. The kicker is he takes schmoopie to the most expensive restaraunt in town.

      He definitely won’t get any father of the year awards from our kids!!

      • MJB,

        It is just amazing how many parallels there are in so many of our stories. We had two children still in college and another one heading to a graduate program when he began the divorce. He quit his job, which left the youngest two without medical coverage (one of them found a job and was able to secure coverage within a month or so, the other one was without coverage for a year), attempted to get one of the children to assume responsibility for a college tuition Parent Loan (which request was refused) in addition to filing for bankruptcy immediately after the divorce was final, among many other things. He and the OWife married and bought a large home in a gated community immediately after the completion of the bankruptcy proceeding. Any financial assistance or support my children have received, comes from me. One of my children recently stated, “we only have one REAL parent.”

        I don’t worry about it any more. I’m the parent I am and he is the parent he is. I don’t cover for him and I don’t make excuses for his behavior. He is who he shows himself to be. It is actually easier because he no longer gets any credit for my parenting and I no longer get blamed for his selfish, punitive parenting. It has become a win-win for me. I may have to work for longer than I anticipated, but it is a worthwhile trade-off for none of us having to be at the mercy of a reprehensible, irresponsible jerk.

  • MJB Your post is exactly how I am feeling this afternoon. I am not even sure what the trigger was, I should probably try to figure it out so I can stop it but I was driving home and got so angry at fucktard in my head. I start thinking about how he lied and cheated for years before announcing he was leaving to be with the latest shmoopie. Now he just want to tell everyone that we are splitting up like we were just a couple of high school kids going our different ways. His mom even tells people we are splitting up. I just want to scream it wasn’t like that, the bastard lied, cheated and then abandoned us. I was never consulted or considered. He has left but still wants to control me and give me as little money as possible. He is a selfish prick who treats his kids like crap and he has a drinking problem. He can run into his brother and brother’s x wife at a bar, introduce his shmoopie and they can happily drink together for 2 hours. (Hasn’t spoken to brother in 3 years because they don’t get along). Meanwhile he can plead the fifth ammendment on adultery that he rubs in mine and the children’s faces. Get me to meh!!!

    • Feelingit, so many people don’t understand the depth of pain caused by betrayal and abandonment. I remember the rage I felt for a long time, I think what you’re experiencing is normal. Anger is the emotion of action. It will drive you to get away from him and create a better life for yourself. Don’t let it get out of control, but use it to emotionally separate yourself from him. It’s been 5 years for me and I am mostly meh these days, except for the occasional trigger.

      • You are right lyn, and you can’t explain it. I am lucky to have one friend who really seems to get that I feel like I have been raped even though she has not walked in my shoes. Your story of x crying about not wanting to grow old is exactly like my stbx. His dad has ALS and when he was preparing to abandon us, one night he was crying like a baby about how he didn’t want to get that disease. He was saying that stress caused his dad to get ALS and implying that I was his stress- what a load of shit.

        Now I look at that and realize he can’t even empathize with his sick dad, he can only make his dad’s illness about him.

      • A big part of my anger has been partly for myself! This was Dday #2 for me about 12 years after Dday #1 with a different schmoopie. I am a giver. I have given and contorted myself like a pretzel for him and the marriage. One of my initial thoughts at Dday #2 was ‘I don’t have anything else to give to this marriage. If my all was not enough, then this is over’. Oh, and also some relief as in I got a get out of jail free card!! I cycled through grief and giddy if that makes any sense. It’s like a salty sweet craving 🙂

  • Please, please get out. I am currently facing the consequences of having been with a serial cheater for 39 years (37 married). Although I had numerous signs he was a cheater even when we were dating I spackled over it all. We were married 14 years before we had our beautiful daughter. He was the most doting father and I was so proud of him especially considering his Dad left when he was 6 weeks old and he only saw his Dad once before he died. I was so busy building a CPA practice, working 80+ hours a week, taking care of all the bills, cooking, etc. while he was working 38 hours a week for the state with all the holidays, weeks of vacation, and all the perks that come with it. When my daughter was 2, my mother died in September at the age of 60. I went home to spend a week with my family. That November when we were on our way to my family’s for Thanksgiving he informed me he wanted to get a hotel room and be by himself since he was under a lot of stress. WTF. He didn’t but a few weeks later he informed me that an employee had filed a sexul harrassment charge against him. Of course he said it was all lies and he was so believable. God I wish I would have left then. After that there were 2 more sexual harrassment charges and they took away all of his supervisory duties and moved him to a job an hour away. With his ego and not being able to tell people what to do he decided to open a restaurant in 2006 even though I was completely against it. Needless to say the restaurnt was a failure (pretty sure he was having an affair with the manager).The restaurnt closed in 2010 with a loss to us of around 250,000 + (not including the huge stress it put on our relationship). We were forced to refinance our house which had been completly paid for. Of course I worked harder to pay off the debt while he continued to go on expensive spring break trips with our daughter during tax season. I paid off the loan on June 30 of last year. He had managed to maintain his job at the state agency (working part time for awhile) and in January 2015 got a job as CFO/COO at another state agency. July 9 of last year I discovered he was having an affair and kicked him out on July 10. He was having an affair with a 17 year younger married coworker (in a different department so no sexual harrassment). We divorced in February, As you can imagine my work sufferred tremendously and I lost a lot of clients. On top of that all the retirement savings were put into his 401K and state retirement account. As of March 1 of this year, I had no health insurance. In SC the basic law is to split assets 50/50. He ended up keeping all his retirement and I ended up with the house which is way too large for me to keep up. Since I had for years earned more than he had, I was granted no alimony. In the meantime, he started telling our daughter horrible lies about me. I started noticing the disrespect but at that time wasn’t sure why. He had begun blameshifting with her and our friends to prepare for his evenutal leaving. Oh the lies he told. She turned 24 last month and we have had a hard time in our relationship. I love her with all my heart but she is her Dad in so many ways and I see the damage having stayed with him caused. I know he loves our daughter but she was really never more than ego gratification to him (cheerleader, president of freshman and sophmore class, VP of student government Junior year, President of student government senior year, homecoming queen, etc). She has 3000 friends on Facebook who think she has the best life but deep inside she is so miserable (has been going to counseling for a year and a half) and all her relationships fall apart for the stupidest of reasons (her reasons). I fear she will never have a stable relationship and will always be looking for that next one. The damage they can do is unbelievable. I will be 59 next month and don’t have much time to rebuild my life but I pray she can. If only I could go back , if not to that 20 year old innocent with so much potential but to that time 22 years ago when I should have realized we meant nothing to him Please leave for your own sanity!

    • Thank you for sharing. Yours is my story too in many ways. My three children have picked up their father’s character traits, this has taken away any hope if I had some left. Love doesn’t mean enough. It’s the hardest part.
      He brought the same financial damage too, same amount of money lost in his business and he didn’t listen when I tried to show him he was making a mistake. But after he failed he said I didn’t stop him and that he was unlucky because his wife didn’t give him good advice and I made him fail. Even more money he took away from the family for hookers and as loans for his new job. I paid for his businesses, the bills, the food, the mortgage and expensive private schools. I protected the children from his rages, it was my only solid boundary, now he’s charming all my family after years of neglecting.

    • I’m 65. I rebuilt at 61. You can do it and have a GREAT life. You can still model mightiness for your daughter. Sell the big house and buy something that makes your heart sing. Spend a lot of time planning what you want it to look and feel like. Blessings. You are still young enough to have many years of life ahead.

  • It’s all impression management with cheaters. Early on, they have us chumps believing that they are wonderful and charming.

    Now that I know my cheater for who he really is, that’s all I see. It’s not anger I feel around him, but rather disgust for the things I know he’s done. Yet he still has others believing he’s a great dad.

    Whatever your cheater has admitted to, you can be confident that there is sooooooo much more that you don’t know.

    When mine was trying to convince me of how long he had been “unhappy”, he confessed to having accessed a camgirls website while we were on a family vacation several years ago in another country. The vacation was a wonderful memory for me because we all had such fun, yet he felt so unfulfilled that he’d pull up that crap on his laptop while the kids and I slept just a few feet away in the same hotel room? How gross is that??

    That is almost more upsetting than the all-out affair he had more recently. It makes me sick to my stomach with disgust.

    Yet my own memories of that family vacation are nothing but happy. And of him acting like a good dad. Pure mind-fuckery.

    Cheaters are very skilled at impression management. But there is a steamy turd beneath the “good dad” exterior. Once you know it’s lurking there, don’t let yourself fall for the lies anymore. Trust that he sucks.

    • So true, but in my case his impression management is very effective on my family too.
      He remains the good guy. An indelible fictional character, nothing like the real cheater, thief and liar that he actually is.
      I have evidence of his multiple cheating for years, the money spent on hookers. My mother, who is a strict catholic and witnessed through the years how he neglected our children, still loves him. She doesn’t believe me, I showed her pictures, chats, emails, the money he asked me for his business spent on hookers.
      His impression management has destroyed my credibility.
      I thought my mother would have been disgusted as I am seeing those dull, gross pictures. He’s charming and she won’t change her mind.

      • That’s awful!

        It certainly puts us in an awkward situation, having to explain to people that our cheaters are not who they seem. When I hear myself telling people about mine, I feel like the bad person in the situation because I’m talking so badly about another person. I only shared all the details with one person and a few of the details with a few others, knowing that people gossip. Not because I’m protecting my XH, but because I want to take a shower after just telling the story!

        Your mother should choose you over your ex. It must feel painful to not feel like she has your back. I’m sorry. 🙁

        • Not knowing what to say to people makes things hard. I have only told my very closest friends because I agree I am afraid people will think I am a gossip and who wants to hear such an unspeakable story. I am afraid of turning people off by oversharing. It is so akward with people like my new neighbors because I feel like I am harboring a secret and they must wonder what happened to my husband? I find myself almost sharing with people and then catching myself. It is yet another reason to hate Styx for putting me in this position.

          • FeelingIt–find a breezy way to tell people what your X did, “I thought he should have closed his dating profiles by 10 years into the marriage” kind of thing. Eventually you will know in your heart that his shame is not yours to bear, and you’ll regret not telling people the full truth. Trying to tell them the full truth later has less impact.

        • Thank you, Tempest. It will sink sooner or later, I guess.
          I just wonder why it’s always easy and immediate charm the result for the cheaters, viceversa honest people have evidence and then still have to wait for the sinking phase. Blessings to you and all CN.

        • People just don’t get it, they’re not disgusted or scandalized by the cheaters’ behavior, they look for reasons and eventually take their side or if we’re lucky remain neutral, yet they’re suspicious or judgmental if we talk about it. Belessings and thank you, Justanotherstatistic

      • MerryChump–that’s horrible! Your mother should have loyalty to you (not to mention adherence to the evidence). All I can hope is that, just as it took us a while to fully believe what our cheaters were capable of, perhaps it will sink in to your mother soon, too.

  • I’m realizing cheaters have such an easy life.
    There are bunch of excuses for them.
    So many people are experts in sugar coating the ugliness, the immoral rotten instinct, the entitled arrogance.
    Because there are excuses made up by the cheater, but what bothers me most are the pointless excuses provided by Switzerland friends, relatives, coworkers, the neighborhood and everybody who says he’s a “nice” guy even after cheating.
    Cheaters have the benefit of doubt and enjoy life, they just have to smile as if nothing happened.
    This one in Amy’s letter is taking advantage of an intimate and sacred feeling such as maternal love for our children.
    Society won’t admire a mother who misses this chance to show her supreme sacrifice for the children, but the same society continues to admire a cheater who betrayed his family and broke a promise.
    It seems that the world is ready for polyamory! It’s ok, I’m fine with that, I’m not the one stopping progress, evolution and so on, but open relationships are based on an agreement of both sides.
    Society is blindly accepting lying, deceiving, withdrawing money, breaking a contract for the futile pleasures of one side of the two involved in the contract.
    This happens at the expense of good women (and good men) who are cheerfully asked to swallow their pride, give up honour and emotional stability, live in hell just to keep cheaters happy. Sane people lose, unhealthy people win.

  • Lots of great advice here Amy. Lease take it.
    Bottom line is this

    You don’t stay for the kids, you leave for the kids.

  • If I had stayed for the kids I’d be living a miserable life with a giant asshole.

    Even if my life was miserable now, and it isn’t, at least there’s no giant asshole in it lording over me.

    Fuck him and his entitlement. Get a fair settlement. Live your life asshole-free, the air is a lot fresher out here.

  • Personal story of someone in my extended family. Couple was married young, within weeks of their college graduation. The families had been friends since the newly married couple were four years old, and they all encouraged the relationship, and eventually, the marriage. The marriage was rocky, and it was obvious from the beginning that it had been a mistake. The wife was domineering and quick tempered, and the husband wanted a divorce. Instead of ending the marriage civilly, the families pressured him to stay. The wife became pregnant, and the husband coped with his unhappiness by having a series of affairs. The pregnancy resulted in twins, a boy, and a girl. Their birth occurred nearly ten years ago. The daughter is quick tempered and spoiled, and the little boy is introverted and quiet. She orders him around and is cruel to him, both verbally and physically. Children are perceptive and intuitive, and we, their parents, are the ones who get to decide what type of environment they grow up in. Choose well. File for divorce, you are doing them no favors.

  • I was engaged once as a young woman to a guy whose dad had cheated, walked out, realised his ‘mistake’ and came back two weeks later. This led to around 15 years of faux reconciliation, punctuated by pretty much continuous acrimonious fighting, which poisoned all the children’s lives.

    All three sons hated their mother, blamed her, and had terrible attitudes to women.

    I benefited from this wonderful intact marriage by being physically and verbally beaten up on a regular basis. I was also cheated on, which I chose to ignore/not think about, just like I did with the beatings. It took me three attempts to get away from this guy, but I did it. I finally left at age 22.

    Please don’t stay together for the sake of the children.

  • I have a little more time now that it’s the end of the day, and I thought I’d share what can happen if you stay for the kids.

    One of my best friends had a cheating dad and parents who stayed together for the kids. The cheating started when they were young teenagers, and the parents stayed together until both kids left for college. And what do you think happened when the kids were out of the house? He left for the other woman, and married her.

    The kids didn’t know about the cheating, and spent a lot of time with their dad and the OW while their mom spiraled into worsening alcoholism. The kids started to put the pieces together, but have convinced themselves that their dad and the OW were “just friends” until after the divorce. We here at Chump nation know better, and my friend and her brother do, too, but it’s easier to turn a blind eye when no one has told the truth.

    So what happened to my friend? She went straight into a marriage with a cheater that nearly destroyed our friendship. (I was “blacklisted” as a threat to the marriage and we lost touch for several years.) She had dysfunction modeled at home and went on to a dysfunctional marriage of her own. (I grew up with 100% monogamous parents and believe that any loyal person can be chumped, but those with a cheating parent seem more likely to either cheat or be chumped.)

    Today my friend and I are back in touch, and even though we live far apart we’ve supported each ER other through our divorces to cheaters. She’s now in a healthy relationship with another kind Chump. Her dad is still married to the OW, though they seem entrenched in the monotony of rural life. Her mom, who is an amazing person when sober, is now a raging alcoholic who lives with her very elderly mother and works at a gift shop. (So much for the massage therapy work she undertook after the divorce.) I wonder who and where she would be today if she had stood up for herself, not stayed for the kids, and was honest about her husband’s cheating. The only person who seems to have come out of it unscathed after “staying together for the kids” was the cheater.

    Amy, staying for the kids benefits one person, and only one person: your husband. Don’t sacrifice yourself and your children’s future for the sake of “staying for the kids.” It is a lie. Neither you nor the kids will come out ahead. Cut your losses and start to rebuild now. Be honest with you kids. Don’t model dysfunction or you will simply pass it along to your children, and then you’ll have to help them mop up their own catastrophes.

    The best thing you can do is leave for the children. It may not feel that way now, but it’s a gift, an investment, and a buffer from the crazymaking of an abuser.

    • Alcoholism can have many roots, but among other things, people use it to dull their pain. Better to face the pain, walk through it, and move on.

  • Dear Amy,

    I lived your choice for 5 humiliating, soul destroying years. Do you know what that did to the kids? They picked up the tension, my hurt, my anger, my humiliation, his defiance, his resistance, his disrespect. THEY WERE TERRIFIED. My D got nervous hiccups, my S got more withdrawn. They constantly told us how much they loved us, to try and get us to remember they existed in our drama, and were they safe?

    Do not do this. I am now sitting with drug misuse and anxiety issues. Please Amy, there is no easy answer, there is no nice way out of this sea of pain, but please please model to your children self respect and boundaries and self belief, and that you are the safe, sane parent.

    I have apologised to them, but nothing on earth excuses my raging co-dependence, my obsessive focus, my insanity, to the detriment of their sense of mattering. It is the biggest regret of my life, trying to single handedly reconcile to someone who did not care.

    (to this day he denies that their pain has anything to do with him. They just need to sort themselves out.)

    Seriously,

  • It will not be good for your kids to have parents who hate each other stay married.

    Staying together for the sake of the kids only works if you get counseling and improve your marriage.

    You tried that with him and it didn’t work – and that’s on him, not you.

  • Children learn from what they see their parents do. If you stay with him, 20 years from now you’ll either be comforting a sobbing son/daughter who’s just found out their husband/wife is cheating, but they’re going to stick it out for the kids, or watching the SIL/DIL sob because your kid’s cheating on them, while you sit there with a sinking sensation knowing where your child learned to act like this.

    Don’t do it. Also, you’ll be a far better parent separated and sane than you would be trying to paste a happy face over your internal heartbreak, suspicion, resentment and paranoia as you try and persuade yourself that everything’s fine and your husband takes another “late night at work.”

  • I had an ex boyfriend who was a serial callgirl customer. He was a complete idiot…he thought they all respected him and his pathetic cash.

    The most interesting part of dumping this cheater was that during my ‘marriage police’ time, I manged to get most of his passwords. This included enmails, ebay, banking, etc. After his departure, I did a thorough audit of his correspondance. Thus included messages he left on an adult paid sex website…usually last minute, so they often didn’t book him. He actually only met up with about a dozen over about three years.

    What was astonishing was the content of his messages. While in person he was a wimpy little arse, you’d have thought from his messages that he was King Dong treating the lucky prostitute to the time of her life. The reviews he left for them were laughable. I noticed he never met the same girl twice…except for one who brought along her friend for a threesome and then it turned out he couldn’t keep it up long enough to have sex with two women.

    From his bank audits, I matched what cash he withdrew and must have paid these girls by the dates on his email bookings. He was paying upwards of £150 per encounter for rural skanks (not even high class hookers)… And he was paying for the rooms as well. He liked bleached blond, overweight, greasy looking girls…much like OW he is stuck with!

    One hooker did try to pin him down for paternity (he didn’t change his passwords, so I was able to track him long afterward). He changed his last name and moved counties. Yes, he actually changed his name to that of the OW. He was trying to evade the tests.

    I did that hooker a favour and sent her a copy of his name change anonymously (I saw the email he got from the gov). I learned recently that he has been ordered to pay support and that child is now nearly 7. I have often wonder what the OW thought of all that after she produced 3 kids in four years with him.

    Since those shockers from the callgirl underworld, I have thankfully returned to plain vanilla life. Fortunately life never dealt me the necessity to turn tricks for a living. But I don’t envy those women, most of them have no other way to survive.

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