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Dear Chump Lady, My husband died. Then I discovered his double life.

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Dear Chump Lady,

My husband died unexpectedly about a month ago. I was devastated and my world fell apart completely. I thought he adored me. He demonstrated it to me with big acts and through little gestures; from thoughtful little efforts towards me to lovely dates and long evenings in each other’s company chatting over dinner and drinks. Friends thought of us as that awesome couple who were really connected and it seemed like we spent all of our free time together. (Note the key word: seemed). I remember that in that time of anguish, the one comforting thought I had was, “Even though we were together for only 15 years and I have to suffer this loss at a young age, at least I was fortunate enough to be deeply loved by someone.” I’ll bet you know what’s coming next…

Yes, about three days later I hacked into his super locked-down computer and discovered that not only had he been cheating with regular Craigslist hook ups, but he had mistresses, he watched a lot of sketchy porn (including some with ‘teen’ in the title), and he visited prostitutes now and then. He did a combination of the above pretty much regularly for seven years of our relationship. It was organized and methodical. Not only did he do these things unbeknownst to me, but he would bring it all very close to home. He even arranged with an ex mistress, a neighbor, for her to befriend me and gave her updates on my life (like my new favorite gardening show — she was into gardening too). I don’t know what the motive was here because it was over according to their text conversations — and I guess it doesn’t matter. He secretly tangled up his secret double life with our life; but made sure I was placated and he built my confidence up so I felt very secure and thoroughly believed that I was his one and only. I trusted him completely and felt very lucky to have a husband so devoted to me. We had our issues, but it seemed like normal married people stuff. Of course the odd things make more sense now that the veil was lifted, but most of the time he maintained this really lovely persona and I am still shocked by his even-keeled cunning over such a long span of time.

All along he would do things like tickle my feet and text his mistress with the phone angled away from me so I couldn’t see. (He was always on call for work and was in a band so had excuses for needing to chat). He constantly bugged me to spend more time with him so we took a long day at the beach and I found that he had been taking pictures of our picnic spread and texting his mistress while laying right next to me during our quality time together. But worst of all, he would offer to ‘host’ in his Craigslist ads, which means he was bringing random women from the internet as well as his mistresses into my home and into our bed. He also sent them photos of me and of our pets, told them intimate things about me that I had confided in him and gave them updates on my day to day life. I was living in a fishbowl without knowing it — pretty much solid for seven years. Sentimental trinkets and such sit on my dressing table next to the bed and they all were seen and maybe touched by these women. For me my bedroom is truly may sanctuary and I feel that my life and my space were profoundly violated. They used my space and I was unwise to it the whole time.

So now, instead of planning a funeral and mourning him, I am instead changing my locks (sooo many weird strangers must have been in my home), scheduling a day to get tested for STDs, and mourning the loss of a life that turned out to be a complete fiction. As I come to terms with realizing that my ally in life was not at all concerned about my well being and did not have my back but was the one with the dagger, I keep coming back to one sticking point.

I don’t want to move and I don’t want to rearrange, I don’t wish to buy new things (okay, I got new sheets even though the damage is done and I slept in his filth for who knows how long) or repaint (I like the color I chose) but making changes just for the sake of it will feel like they “won” and I don’t think he has the right to win this one. I am just not sure how to handle the feeling of having my innermost world violated. I expect this will sting for a while, but I am anxious to move on with my life. Any thoughts on how to reclaim one’s space?

P.S. We didn’t have any kids, thank goodness. We were trying though. We were going through IUI and adoption information sessions. (I’m 43, he was 47). He was actually willing to bring a child into our life! He also gave the current mistress updates on what the adoption sessions were like and when our IUI appointments were. I can only imagine that he would have done this well into old age. That level of selfishness boggles my mind. 

Birdie

Dear Birdie,

You don’t have to do one. damn. thing. you don’t want to do.

You don’t want to move? Don’t move. You want your dresser things arranged just so? Leave it. You like your paint color? KEEP IT.

For 15 years this monster stole your reality, denied your agency, and humiliated you. He built you up with those “thoughtful little gestures” just so he could tear you down. Secretly, behind your back. He lulled you into a false sense of security… so he could violate you.

Infidelity is abuse. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. What this man did to you is SICK.

I found that he had been taking pictures of our picnic spread and texting his mistress while laying right next to me during our quality time together.

He’s getting off on duping you, while goading the OW into the Pick Me Dance — trying to humiliate her too. See what a tasty lunch I have with my wife? Don’t you want the goodies I give her? Dance motherfucker DANCE!

Or triangulating with your neighbor to befriend you, when he knows he fucked her? Inserting her in your life? Encouraging intimacy? He’s raping you. Your vulnerability and powerlessness gave him a big, raging hard-on.

This is how sociopaths hurt you — at great remove. It’s not a hand-to-hand, in your face, kind of combat. No, it’s a cruise missile, dispatched with guided precision to destroy you.

If someone’s got a knife to your face? You know they mean to harm you. But a sociopath drops the bomb from 30, 000 feet and you never know what hit you. One minute you’re there at the breakfast table drinking your coffee, the next minute… oblivion. These freaks never get their hands dirty if they can help it.

But they do relish their bombs.

That was your life, Birdie. This man had a big arsenal of hurt, and he lorded it over you each day. He had you in his sights, he knew he was destroying you, but how much longer could he tease out the beautiful feelings of POWER? How close to disaster could he skirt? Ooh… while tickling your feet? THAT close. You don’t know do you? Chump.

And now he’s dead, thank you Jesus.

I am anxious to move on with my life. Any thoughts on how to reclaim one’s space?

Yes. Just claim it. Enjoy your powers of agency.

You can exercise those powers however you choose. You can tell people the truth of what you discovered and deny his sainted memory. You can go forward with the adoption if you want to. (Why should you be denied motherhood because you’re short one cheating fuckwit?) You can stay in your house, or move to Siberia. It’s YOUR CHOICE!

If it were me, I’d probably sell all his shit — every last thing — and put it in a Do Whatever I Want fund. I would probably confront that gardening neighbor too, and let her know you know. Not much to say, but don’t let her enjoy the power trip of your cluelessness.

What I would do, however, is disabuse yourself of the notion that  “they win.” No — there’s no game, just the mindfuckery and abuse they hid from you, but now the Evil Puppetmaster is dead.

Your story was always yours. You were always real, Birdie. You were always invested and had a loving heart. These fuckers can try and twist reality, and make chumps of us, but it does not change the content of our souls.

The only space worth reclaiming is the space in our heads. Resist untangling his sociopathic skein. He stole years of your life, and now he is justly dead. There’s no nuance to his life story — he was a sociopathic motherfucker, a BAD PERSON, and he’s out of your life. His story is OVER.

But your new life is just beginning. Grab it. Every day you know the truth and you outlive him — you won.

 

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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.
  • I understand what you mean about not changing the things you probably chose in the first place, It was weird when I made X leave. I realized everything in our home had been selected by me. He never so much as chose a paint color. From furniture to light fixtures, it was all me. He left with his clothes, a few family heirlooms, his precious electronics, and his books. Why should I change what was already mine? My home was just his hotel, without any meaning to him.

    • YES YES YES what you said. I picked all except his stupid plane prints that were OK at best. That I paid a fortune to have reframed that he never bothered taking. MY home was also a hotel without any meaning to him. Explains why he never took any pride in its appearance.

      They are not capable of true attachment to anything – animal, vegetable or mineral.

      • “My home was a hotel to him”…this hit home.
        I was always told to pick what I like. He used to joke for almost 30 years that it was “bride’s choice”.
        Turns out his taste in furnis is completely different from mine.
        But it wasn’t his home, it was a hotel where he just pretended to live.
        Luckily, I love everything I picked!

      • Yes! The color, furniture decor all my picks he never was into that stuff anyhow. I too often had the feeling our home was a storage unit for his junk. If you like it, keep it. Any and all gifts from him gone though. My bedding every last bit is all new and mine, just mine. Got the beautiful bedroom set from my Mom and would never give that up. I was more than happy to get rid of the aerial picture of the property he was buying from his family though. Turns out now that goldiggerow-ife of little more than a year is already divorcing him, dumb as he was he had put her name on that property with house and now they are involved in a legal mess fighting over the place and guess who is now in a crappy rental probably with that picture the only tangible thing he has of his property for the time being, not stbx goldigger ow-wife! Bahahaha!

      • So mine left and didn’t want anything other than a couple of prints I bought him.

        I have his dead mother’s stuff, his family photos, wtf? And he moans that the second home is all he has left of his mother. She never even saw the place — it’s just because he used his inheritance money to buy the place. Oh, and he can’t find her ashes. Who misplaces their mom’s ashes?

        After his mom died, he never spoke of her. At all. Not on Mother’s Day, not on her birthday, not on the anniversary of her death. I always thought he hadn’t dealt with her death. I didn’t realize he didn’t feel anything. Ewwww. Who did I marry?

        • Pack his stuff and put it into a storage space. Give him the key and the bill. Let him make the decision what to do with family relics. Not your circus, not your monkeys.

          If he doesn’t pay the bill, he loses it.

          • I did exactly this. D-Day I made the arrangements. Rented the storage locker and let the manager know what was up. The next morning, locks were changed, all of his remaining belongings were placed in a storage locker, bank account cleared down to his specific $$ and signed the papers to remove my name from the account. Then the email outlining the cancellation of his life with me. Ankles can have him. What I should have done was thrown his crap out into the yard with a huge sign that read “Free to decent human beings” or had it delivered to Ankle’s front yard.

            I gave him 30 days to get his crap or it would be disposed. He waited until the last minute and took most of it and from what he left behind in a stack, I think he thought he would get another chance to get another load, but day 31 it was out of there and I started disposing of the crap. His book collection was a great donation to the local library and his clothes were well received by the Goodwill.

            Was too nice to put the crap in storage. He didn’t see the value when he left to go to his slutshack, I shouldn’t have wasted the time or effort trying to return what he didn’t value to start with. But, being in the aftermath of D-Day, I claim temporary insanity.

            • Congratulations to you. Clear thinking. My DFHD discovery dead husband day three weeks ago. Told my kids, grown , enraged. One week later took all his very nice clothes , with my best friend, to a Rescue mission. Felt great. Began to see that he was really nowhere in the house. Nowhere. Met an old friend yesterday who got chumped 7 years ago after her husband died. Sat through his funeral saying to herself ‘Really? Really?’ PAID for it. Still has his ashes! Has not moved on. Oh, I hugged her and pushed her, I hope, out of that mindfuck. What would I do without all if you and your struggles and experiences? You take good care. Good for you!

        • OMG – Giddy Eagle. Exactly the same thing about his mother’s death. I thought his lack of visible feelings meant he had not processed it.
          This past year his father was diagnosed with cancer. Again, I saw no feelings except annoyance and an excuse to let out his rage.
          I kept thinking, “Everybody grieves differently, don’t judge.”
          Then I noticed he never expressed sadness except for the times it justified his terrible treatment of me.
          His favorite line became “How could you do that to me? My DAD just died!”
          I believe he overplays the “dead dad” card. But it’s hard to believe there are people out there that simply don’t care.
          I am starting to believe this is true and that he might be one of them.

          • I forgot to include his dad died quite suddenly. Post makes much more sense with that bit of info.

          • What a thing, giving so much benefit of the doubt. Mine’s father died? Mother died? Sweet decent people. I saw NO emotion from him. Kept fine tuning a list of puzzling characteristics over the years. Wondering wondering what it WAS. Got an adrenal condition. Had to stop working , which enraged him. Got sores all over my arms ( stress. Gone now) , gained weight ( gone as soon as he sicker from cancer and reduced gaslighting ) . As he got weaker, I got stronger. So puzzling. All my fears evaporated the day after he died. Huh. A week later, with DD? I got it. All that lack of feeling. NO interest in anyone . Never asked anyone a question. Everyone projected sainthood onto him, such a nice detached guy w an adoring wife. So grateful we can wake up from this crap .

        • Weird! Mine also left all his family trinkets with me that he put so much emphasis on when we moved to Canada from Israel. His dead father’s watch, his grandmother’s wooden sculpture, family photos… I think he was too much of a coward to come back for any of them. I ended up throwing them out. I know some people were horrified that I got rid of his “family history” that way, but I eventually realized that I was projecting my own values on to him by keeping this stuff. I’m not the guardian of his family history–he is. And if he can’t be bothered to do it, that’s not my problem.

      • Same thing with “My home was a hotel to him.” It was my home for 11 years before he came into it and just like others have said, he never respected it. He sure had time to criticize it though. He would leave cigarette butts all over the back yard, he would break my things and furniture, holes in my walls and doors during his rages, and he never truly contributed to making it “our” home. Oh, and I never got the garden he promised me either, not even one seed planted!

      • They are the very model of the Modern Major General…

        And from what we’ve all seen and heard and felt …we could, and can, all live without.

        Say “Buh-bye” to the Modern Major General. A lonely life has he!

    • Damn straight – “My home was just a hotel to him.” I was the concierge. Seriously. This hit way close to home for me. It is no wonder X never cared about it’s appearance, where we were located, if it was a dump or not, clean or not, anything. That sentence seems to just sum up everything.

    • OMG!!!!!! Birdie-Me too! Never in a million years would I ever thought that someone else would have something similar to me. Mine is bringing his now Mistress(her nickname is Birdie) of 5 years into my Home while I sleep. I am so sorry for how you feel. I know too well that gut wrenching twist, shaking all over and trying to breathe as you discover more and more. I live it everyday. Damn, sweetie, at least he is gone, do me a favor and stop looking. I put out Voice recorders and got proof but I had to listen to them to know for sure-you die inside. You change and you get so angry, it just hurts so much more. See, they get off on the secret. You don’t know do you? Its fun to do it right in front of you. Its more exciting to almost get caught. These women are just as sick as he is. They go along with it. They know clearly, who you are. Be glad you don’t have children, it wouldn’t matter anyways. It changes you inside because it hurts so much more. I get the violation you feel, the comfort and peace that was your home. Its like you are being stalked on one of those Lifetime movies. The thing is, what kind of person would go along with such a thing? If these women were at all unstable, and lets be honest oh hell to the yes they are! Like I said, who does that-could have hurt you at anytime. At least you are not trapped and have a way to calm. What a BASTARD! Hugs to you and I am so sorry.

      • “These women are just as sick as he is. They go along with it. They know clearly, who you are (…)The thing is, what kind of person would go along with such a thing?”
        x 1000!!
        There are a lot more of these deviants out there than we suspected.
        Living a Nightmare, why are you still stuck in that situation? Can you throw him out or move out away from this abuser and his accomplices?

        • Unfortunately, no, just not yet. He messed up my car- $2000 to fix, I have no job-have to work for him, he remodels homes (no pay, only what little I can siphon but he swears I can have it anytime I ask….yep and asks for it right back) because he needs the 1 vehicle we have, no money and no where to go as I lost both parents in 2008. Yeah, I have a story just not ready yet to let it out. He is operating on the “She don’t know”, or does know I know and likes using it against me. Yep they suck and this sucks trying to pretend to keep “going”. Getting some Video Cameras soon ($20.00 at Walmart) and the last piece of evidence I need to drop the bomb. Do I need it? Yes-for me. I don’t want the sex, just the coming in and out of my house so I can press charges against her….YEP! Looked into it and I really do owe this bitch an ass whipping. Never said what kind now did I? Hey Chump Lady-thanks for being mighty. Thanks for letting me know that I still can be.

          • Living nightmare

            I’m so sorry you are having to deal with these demented individuals. They are both as sick as each other.

            Some of these OW are truly warped and psycho.

            Take care

      • Living a nightmare- I’m so sorry . every story here at CN hurts my heart. You didn’t deserve that, and as difficult and shitty and horrifying as it was, learning the real TRUTH has got to help to some degree? I mean you know for sure and can feel/act on that knowledge? I’ve been asking sporadically what kind of voice recorders other chumps have used and where? I don’t know anything for certain and i hate it and it gives me nightmares and I’m on a ridiculous rollercoaster of doubts. Idk if it would help me to know anything for certain, except it still seems to be the thing i cant let go of – and i want to – i really want to let go and get on with and feel ok about doing so. I should by all means, like every chump, be able to let go and move on without solid proof, but I’m really struggling profoundly with that. It’s not something i want to do, yet if i do try recording, i want to know how/what/where bc i am just that stupid. And it would feel like another failure or worse to just catch something but not be able to really hear anything. I keep waffling about doing it or not doing it.

        My heart aches for you Birdie, bc i thought the same as you – that my husband adored me. I feel awful saying so, but 2 things CL said stuck in my gut and one was “…and now he’s dead and justly so, ” and “thank you Jesus.” and all I could think was amen to that! It doesn’t hurt less for you at all, yet I felt in your words you’ve got a helluva lotta mighty already and you know more than enough for certain to want to put it behind you. You can do it. And there’s a 3rd thing CL said that resonated w me, “you don’t have to do one damn thing you don’t want to do.” May we all not do one more fuckIng thing we don’t WANT to do. Im so sorry for your hurting. We all understand to some degree and are here for you. The cheater Asshat I’m still tied to isn’t dead, but he sure destroyed our marriage and family (and as much evidence as possible of his cheating when things first started to unravel & i was uber stupid). There are others here that have similar experiences to yours and I’m sure they chimed in (or will soon), i just haven’t gotten to read all the posts yet. Take extra good care of yourself💜 I’m angry and sorry your ex/dead husband was so disgusting and cruel to you. Obviously so was God and the universe! He can rot in hell, but I sure hope YOU go live in total peace. I know it comes slowly, but i wish that for you and for us all really.

        • I can tell you what to do if you want. Be prepared because it is not fun. You are going to hurt like no other. Listening to the one person who you love more than life itself pleasure another woman for hours is going to kill you. You are going to have to act like you don’t know. Your anger will not recede. Let me know if you are ready. I can even tell you how to find where to put them, where to get them and then talk about the next level. You are going to go through hell. Really think about if you can do this. No, it is not wrong to dig. You have every right.

        • Hi Living, I too would be more than happy to help you out with voice recorder info. I spent a LOT of time researching them, trying different ones until I found the model that worked best and the best rechargeable batteries with the longest charge times so as not to miss anything and about how to have multiple devices so you can have some recording while you are downloading or listening to others. Most important thing to know though is that it is illegal in some states to record without their knowledge and whether you can or want to risk the chance of being caught doing it. I lived in Illinois when I was looking for info, it is illegal there. I didn’t care, I was very careful and was never discovered. Let me know if you want to discuss it all privately as I don’t want to expose CL’s blog to any ramifications.

      • Mine tried to fuck a good friend of mine, in our home while my daughter and I were asleep. She wanted nothing to do with him and left in the middle of the night.

        She let our friendship go because she didn’t want to deal with him. I kept asking him what happened and he was steadfast in his claim that nothing happened. Ok, technically nothing happened because she refused the rat bastard.

        We are now friends again and the knowledge of what he tried to do that night fuels my rage.

        She regrets not telling me since it took 10 years for me to wisen up. She didn’t think I’d believe her…

      • My second husband of 11 years who I thought loved me as much as I loved him was a cheat and a liar. The day after he died suddenly I got into his phone which was top secret from me and found messages from her saying how much she loved him. I dig deeper found out he had been giving her money for at least 18 months. He phoned her at every opportunity.
        He was 77 years old ( Funny eh?) I am 15 years younger than him, I keep myself slim and attractive his mistress is fat and ugly.
        He also probably had another woman on the go, there are signs of this
        On telling his sister, I can tell nobody else, she said “what again? “ turns out I am his fourth wife not his second and he was unfaithful to all of us. Basically he lied all the time. How can I ever get over this and move on?

    • I feel exactly the same way about MY house. Nothing in it reminds me of him (except that is, the garbage he has left behind or the repairs that he failed to address.) Divorced 11/16, he starts off with three pages of items he wants…. fast forward August 2017, I give him 30 days to get his junk, he does not respond. I am finally done with him! He was to afraid to come back.

    • Yes. That always confused me. That I couldn’t really see him anywhere and I are home, or our marriage of 40 years. A week after we tend really took care of him while he was dying, shit hit the fan. All the cheating. All the sneaking around. All the mindfuck. All the gaslighting. I began to notice that I couldn’t see him in the house. Except his nice Italy photographs and other photographs of his, that I carefully put up , Figuring he was limited and didn’t know how to be present here. But he wasn’t really here at all. And with chump ladies help, I realize that the 13 year affair, and all the sex messaging, there’s a huge probability there simply was much more. Growing stronger and finding peace one month later. Bless you.

  • THIS! This is exactly what happened to me…except the bastard didn’t die. Quite by accident, I uncovered his double life and then discovered he’d done this in every other relationship he’d ever been in. Took me 4 years to wrap my head around it and leave. I never knew these types of people existed. Still makes me ill.

    • Yep ….. Discovered the double life, the emailed photos of our kids she had sent to him, the gifts he had given her that she wore in front of me…. And then the lies when I confronted her (in a non-angry way) about it.

      There are different levels of cheating, for sure, and the power trip, secretly in your face/fuck you actors who never actually leave you are probably the worst of the lot. They secretly suck you dry and then boast to their fuck buddy about it. Classy. And borderline sociopathic.

      • I then dated a girl after the ex – she emailed a photo I took of her on hols and sent it to a guy she went out with two days later as a “hey look how sexy I am in a bikini” pre-cheating appetiser. So yes, they are out there and yes we all need to fix our pickers after being with a narcopath to avoid repeating chump history.

  • Oh, Birdie, I’m sorry you’re having to process huge levels of betrayal without even being able to rage directly at the person who caused it.

    I’m with you–I refused to give up anything I loved just because it had been associated with X. Kept the house, kept all the furniture (except the bedroom furniture on which X had probably screwed numerous women), kept the paint colors, kept the jewelry, kept the vacation to my favorite city. Even wore my wedding dress to the opera because I liked it (more an evening gown, in pale yellow, than an actual wedding dress). I didn’t throw out any photos because I inherited my father’s love of genelogy, and photos are family records.

    Don’t let cheater have any power of you. However, you could re-claim your space by adding or re-arranging furniture/pictures to your taste (esp. relating to things cheater may have influenced). E.g. my X was a minimalist, but after the divorce I started adding tons of plants–real ones in front of sunny windows, pretty silk ones in dark areas. I also swapped out staid rugs for more colorful, whimsical rugs. You don’t need to alter your living environment, just turn it into MORE you.

    It will take awhile to adjust fully to the emotions that will roll out as you remember memories that are now tainted, but you’re off to a mighty start.

    • Today’s column proves there is no greener grass in being chumped. While in some ways, I have greatly improved in my acceptance of chumpdom, I am having an extremely rough time lately as the horrible legal process of divorce is heating up. Reading the documents is reliving the experience over and over and it doesn’t seem to get easier.

      This weekend, I head plenty of thoughts of I wish he would just die(I know, such ghastly thoughts but it is how I feel) so I don’t have to go through this. I was struck by Tempest sentence that “your cheater isn’t even there to rage at”. My cheater is there to rage at but it doesn’t help me- there is just no good way to be chumped. I never raged much at him after he left. I was too busy pickme dancing. Now, I am as no contact as possible but am realizing he is triangulating through the children and I haven’t figured out how to combat that.

      I started reading Bill Eddy’s book ” Don’t alienate the Kids” this weekend and I am now somewhat freaked out because I saw myself in his examples of alienating the kids in my responses to STBX. Now, I am feeling guilty and going through the “stbx is right, I am awful” thoughts. I feel like I am too weak to be this super person that does all the right things in response to his lying, deceitful behavior and maybe we are both disordered.

      I have all the depositions coming up and the lawyer needs me present to fact check. The first one will be his mistress followed by him and his parents. If those don’t kill me, I think you all can call me Hercules.

      Birdie, all I can say is I get your pain. I think it takes a special person to have deep empathy for a chump if they have not been chumped. I get how reading all that is beyond horrible. I see it on my screen and know what I have is just the tip of the iceburg that cheater is still hiding and my heartrate increases, my stomach drops, my muscles tense; it goes on and on. I try to give it all to God but I am not there yet.

      Thankful that chump nation is here to give some too!

      • Don’t get too hung up on what a so called expert says on parental alienation. It’s normal to have some less than lovely things to say about abusive people. You did your best and protecting this asshole is
        no longer your job. Give yourself a break, you’re going through an enormously painful experience.

          • And truly disordered people don’t worry about their BEING disordered. They don’t care. Please get yourself with a counselor who specializes in trauma to see you through this.

          • Me too! I feel really bad when I say anything remotely bad about the ex to the kids. I know I do it out of frustration. He won’t spend a penny hardly on them outside of sending child support . I’m going in to debt, meanwhile he’s Disney Dad. I remind myself that I am the one that they come to for emotional and financial support. I really don’t want them to feel bad about it. Then I remember ‘trust that he sucks’. I’d probably be more confused if he was being a super duper.

      • Feelingit, hang in there. I was where you are 10 months ago — all the horrible depositions. I thought I would die of the pain and grief of hearing the lies and trickle truth under oath in a room full of strangers. I didn’t.
        It all turned out in my favor: full custody, all real estate, 70% of all assets, max child support. I’ve been divorced 6 months now, all financial transfers complete. I’m completely no contact. I’m healing and it all seems like a distant bad dream. The ability to forget and heal is a blessing. Meh is indescribably wonderful.
        Huge hugs.

      • Read ‘Divorce Poison’ instead; a much more balanced view of parenting through a difficult divorce. I love Bill Eddy’s stuff, except the alienation book – too one-sided.

      • Feelingit–the process of settlement before divorce is excruciating. Sending you huge hugs and emotional crutches to get you through.

        And Bill Eddy is not a parenting expert. Nor has he been chumped (that we know). I have taught parenting for over 20 years, have been chumped, and advocate telling the children the truth. You don’t need to embellish, and you can let the kids’ questions guide how much detail to provide (they won’t ask unless they want to know, and will stop asking when they’ve heard enough). But this “don’t alienate the kids from the other parent” bullshit has to stop falling on the abused parent. The abuser him/herself is the one who alienated the children with their actions; telling the truth is a matter of not gaslighting the children (because we all know the ill effects of gaslighting).

        Keep us posted on your progress (and the Private:General forums are a good place if you need specific advice on negotiation).

        • Amen, Tempest. Thank you.

          I wanted to share that I read a memoir where this happened to the author. Uncannily similar and the entire story is told by the author.
          The book is called Perfection by Julie Metz

          • The fact that society expects you to play nice with someone who instantly without warning fucked over their whole family ….including spending kids actual savings…. it is inhuman to expect a robotic response interms of the behavior of the disordered parent .fuckwits

          • Sharylk, thanks for the book recommendation. I downloaded it on my Amazon Kindle and read it in two days. Julie Metz is an articulate, introspective writer who perfectly captured the PTSD spiral of going from her seemingly normal life to absolute insane hell in a hearbeat. Even though most of us didn’t experience having our cheating spouse die, so much of what she says rings true about the process of coping and acceptance of learning our life was a lie, because our spouse was a serial cheater.
            She also deftly chronicles her healing process, and that is helpful and inspiring. Although I don’t necessarily agree with her having pursued new sexual partners as quickly as she did (that isn’t for me, I’ve got to heal first), her process of accepting that her husband was broken, a fractured mess after compartmentalizing his life for so long, was something I deeply relate to. She doesn’t use jargon though she did mention NPD once, after meeting with her deceased husband’s shrink, who’d diagnosed him with it. Instead of popular catchwords about narcissism, she speaks from her own experience and analysis. Great book!

        • I could not agree more with this. The parent doing the harm hides behind the PAS defense and shrieks when their kids figure them out. The reality is called “Realistic Estrangement.”

          My daughter figured many things out on her own, and doesn’t need me piling on, but when she would come home and ask me why I did something that I either didn’t do, or did the exact opposite of what was alleged, you are damn right I set the facts straight. She has known since a young age that I will tell her the truth and will accept responsibility for my own mistakes, and she also sees the opposite with her other parent. As she gets into her teens, her relationship with her father is suffering because he won’t stop the bashing, so he is digging his own grave. I try very hard not to help him dig, but I am not taking away the shovel anymore, either. I’d rather she have a good narcissist detection system!

        • Gosh, I want to thank you all so much for all these great responses and suggestions. I was feeling inspired by all the responses and in the middle of reading, I took a call from my lawyer which kind of got me worked up again (not lawyer’s fault, just the topic) so I am reading and calming down again. I had told lawyer something cheater said and she said: “I am not surprised at all. These narcissistic personality types believe they are above the law.” I hope that means she gets it as best a lawyer can. I know that is what I need but I still want the whole world to see behind his mask. When that want goes away, is when meh will come.

          I think you must be an awesome therapist tempest. Just your paragraph posts help me so much so I can imagine you must work wonders in hour long sessions. I imagine you being a lot like a very wise friend of mine. Unfortunately she lives six ours away now but after talking to her, I always feel better.

          • I’m glad it made you feel better, Feelingit. (though I’m a research/cognitive psychologist rather than a clinical psychologist; but I do like to tell clinical psychologists when they get it wrong ; ).

            • You probably have a lot of opportunity because there seems to be a shortage of good ones (at least in our area). You seem to have the bedside manner that they lack.

      • Mentally prepare yourself for the shitstorm. Get support from friends to help you through this. All of what you are about to go through proves once again that HE SUCKS and HE doesn’t matter. Repeat often

      • Once again, Feelingit, it seems we are living the same life. I often wonder if I am messing up where my kids are concerned. Except, almost every time I relent and open the door for him to do or see the kids at other times, he doesn’t. My 18month old has a seizure disorder. I gave him a list of what he would need to do to get trained so he could take her (which makes me feel sick to my stomach). But you know what? That was in April…and he still hasn’t bothered to get trained. It is not us…it is them.

        And I am in legal hell, too. He accuses me of dragging out the divorce. I then start questioning if I am, but you know what? We had a settlement conference on Friday. We both had 3 months to get accountants to have a business valuation and estimated income done. I brought mine and he showed up with NOTHING. My attorney requested a trial date since these conferences weren’t getting us anywhere. January 11th…this feels like it will never end.

        • And stick to the visitation order. That’s not a bad thing. That’s a very good and positive thing. You can make very occasional exceptions for important events (family reunions, etc.). But day to day, week to week, follow the court order. That is your default and protection.

          • I have gotten much better about sticking to the parenting plan. It’s hard because he doesn’t use the majority of the time he is given. If I look back to the last few months before the parenting plan was ordered and I was just letting him in the house to visit with them when it fit into his schedule, they got to see him more often but it was at a significant cost to my emotional well-being. I then started setting boundaries and he kept crossing them until I finally kicked him out and haven’t let him back in the house.

            It just feels like my kids are the ones losing. But I guess they lose anyway because they have a father who will always choose other things over them.

            • GetMeFree I understand where you are coming from. My daughter is 6 months old. POSH left when she was 2 weeks old. In between him leaving and getting the temporary custody order I let him come and go as it fit into his schedule. I was on maternity leave and wanted my daughter to know her father. Well now that we have a strict schedule he regularly finds excuses. I have him caught in several lies where he blames work thinking that will make a difference in court. But I have proof he was other places. He isn’t allowed to take her because she is so young so he has to come into my home for 2 hours to be with our daughter. It’s an emotional rollercoaster every time he rings the doorbbell. But it beats the alternative of him taking her away from me. I know he will get to eventually but for now he can’t. And he doesn’t want to either. The closest he has ever come to even asking is “my parents want to see the baby can they come in the house or should we take her” I feel like it is her that is losing but then I know it is HIS responsibility for what type of relationship he has with her. Not mine.

        • GetMeFree, my husband is dragging out the divorce too. We seperated on 11th January 2016. In Australia we have to wait one year and one day before we can divorce. We could have been divorced on January 13th this year, instead we are still in settlement over a year after he put it in motion. I had a big bash on Saturday which I wanted to be a post divorce party, but as I am still married I called it The Burning & burnt a symbol of what I wanted to let go of, and I burnt a symbol of what I wanted to attract. It was fantastic. Hang in there. I feel I will have to go to court too. They shoot themselves in the foot wanting revenge against us for their own actions and the fact we won’t let them chump us in the divorce.

        • I feel like I am almost looking in a mirror reading your posts. Let me guess, you are being forced into trial because of his actions and he will or is accusing you of causing all this unnecessary expense and making the lawyer’s rich. None of it is cheater’s fault.

          I feel lucky not to have a parenting plan yet. He won’t say what he wants other than dual custody and the children to have access to both parents- no explanation of what that means. What it really means is he doesn’t want me to have full legal custody because that would be a win for me. At the same time, he doesn’t want the responsibility of taking care of the kids. He wants to be able to send for them if it makes him look good.

          I am sorry you have so many more years to deal with custody although he doesn’t really want it anyway.

          I am right behind you getmefree- can’t wait till we are on the other side.

          • Feelingit, exactly!!! Email just a week before our settlement conference (where he came with nothing that he had been ordered to bring): “Nothing is impossible except for the items your attorney is asking for in disclosure. It is a clausal waste of time and money. You are costing yourself and the kids money by dragging this out longer.” Meanwhile he has depleted his business of 80% of the cash and his business income dropped 121% in 2016 compared to the previous 4 years. All so he can lower his child support payments…and I am the one costing my kids money.

            As my dad said…”If they will cheat on their wife, they will cheat on their kids.”

            I can’t wait to end this, but not enough to give up what my kids deserve.

            • Your dad is exactly right. My Mil is helping Stbx in his quest to hide money from me and the thing that gets me the most is that any money I get goes to the benefit of her grandchildren. My full time job for the past 24 years has been caring for and homeschooling her grandchildren. I do not have expensive hobbies or habits. I keep cars for 8 or more years. I shop at overstock stores and when I vacation, I take my kids.

              This is the same loving grandma who stopped sending them birthday checks because they don’t want to be around their dad.

              So let the money go to lawyers because I won’t see it anyway.

              • Totally this loony MILhas taken charge of her little boy again (47 years young) and made sure he has all the essentials to carry out his affair and also insist that a lump of money she ‘leant’ him would come out of the financial settlement as debt incurred. So like others money that would benefit her grandkids. ..i even wrote a pleading letter laying out the hardship her grandkids have already have had to go through without her taking her cut. Disgusting. But it just editorialises their real persona.

      • No, you aren’t awful or you wouldn’t be reading books about how to deal with the kids. You are learning. Be gentle with yourself. Now that you know more, you will do better.

      • Some of those books are wrong, wrong, wrong. You should never intentionally alienate your children (the so-called parental alienation syndrome), but hiding bad behavior is never a good idea.

        I know a woman who took the “high road”. Her X did not.Her now teenaged son has been so brainwashed by his “Disney” dad that of course, he wants to live with his dad. This asshat has never paid a dime of support, has never told the boy ‘no’ and gives him everything he wants. He also constantly tells his son how terrible his mom is.

        Guess who is now testifying in a custody battle that his mother is unfit? Meanwhile, dad is unemployed, selling and using drugs and trying scam the system to get permanent disability payments. But their son thinks his dad hangs the moon, and is angry that he can’t live with his dad! What happened to this woman can happen to any parent who agrees to the cheater’s narrative without considering its consequences.

        Please find a way, perhaps in therapy with your kids, to let them know the truth. They deserve it.

    • I almost think it’s better that he’s dead.
      He can’t hurt you anymore and raging at him would do nothing. We think that raging in the face of our abuser will make us feel better, it doesn’t.
      If he says he’s sorry, you’ll know it’s bullshit because he isn’t sorry. He’s not capable of real remorse.
      If he just looks at you like a deer caught in the headlights, it just infuriates you to the edge of your sanity, because you just want to shake them till they u derstand the damage they caused. They don’t care.
      My kids and I are NC with my ex. We live in the same town and we never see him, but I decided early on it was good for me to conduct my life as if he were dead…..because to me he is. I dont want to know him anymore.
      I moved my furniture around thinking I could purge the ex, but it still looks like it did when he lived here. I did my house myself and liked it so I’m leaving things for now. I’ve brought in some new things that weren’t here before…..calm, happiness, love, friends of my kids and mine that never wanted to be here when he was…..and the yummy, shedding, giant labrador he wouldn’t let me have.
      My house is covered in dog hair and happiness, he and his lovely mistress can live in dysfunction and try to build a life on their lies.
      Not my problem. I may go to hell for this, but I wish mine was dead.

              • Doesn’t he have to maintain life insurance that equals the spousal support?

                I wish mine would have his heart attack before the divorce is final. I’d get 100% of the marital assets, his inheritance, plus life insurance.

                But best of all, he wouldn’t be around to disappoint my daughter, which he’s sure to do, over and over again.

            • We aren’t going to Hell, we were honest, monogamous and obeyed all the Commandments, not just the ones we liked. Our couch will be in an air conditioned room with your choice of: a) large hairy dogs (or other pets) that love you; b) your family and friends that loved you in spite of your humanity; c) all the chocolate/mangoes/wagu beef/name your favorite here to eat; and, d) all of the above.

              The cheaters get their own special circle in Hell. Preferably next to the phone scammers and telemarketers. And they can not turn off the ringer on their phone. BWHAHAHA!

              • Love it her blondness and by the way, as for hell, my priest told me tat he has always liked C.S. lewis’ quote “The doors of hell are locked, from the inside.” It is a great one to ponder and I grow to like it more and more everyday.

          • OMG
            Reading further I see it is a warehouse of sectional sofas,
            I’ll bring pies!
            🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
            I love CN,
            You save my very heart and soul!
            Thank you!

      • Me too. Me freaking too. I feel like it must be bad karma to wish such things too, but the really angry part of me doesn’t care.

      • A lot of us wish they were dead. It’s an ongoing/recurrent discussion here at CL. Confronting them does no good and just layers on more bullshit. And even if we know they are experts at impression management and therefore may not be as blissed-out as they seem in all the info that trickles back to us, willingly or otherwise (chat from the kids after a visit, social media pix, etc.), it would just be easier to not have to worry about running into them while buying baklava at the local Greek Festival this past weekend (I didn’t seem him/them, but even three years later, I thought about it and had a little chill at the thought).

        It’s one thing to wish they were dead because they’re evil heartless bastards who deserve to be dead, and another to wish it just for our own convenience, as a way of shouting “Enough already! I have to suffer this indignity and pain and STILL have to interact with this asshole?” — Sometimes I wish for both, but mostly for the latter.

        • Hear, hear, NWB. I wished I had died before finding out, when I was “blissfully” ignorant and still believed in him and in our relationship. Then, I also wished, and still wish, he had died. Simple, practical reason why: not having to divide assets with someone who has been robbing me and the relationship for years. Someone who robbed ME of 10 years, and it’s not over. He’s still robbing me every time I have to make more mortgage payments to afford the settlement.
          Birdie, I am sorry your belief in your marriage and your husband has been shattered. I am sorry he was a psychopath who found plenty of others to abuse you with. Yes, you don’t get to rage at him for what he has done, but he wouldn’t care anyway. He would only care about having to split the assets, and with such a level of deception and betrayal, your life might have been in danger after DDay. These people are greedy on every level, who knows where their greed will stop. Can you be certain that someone who put you “in a fish bowl” for his and others’ enjoyment would never have killed you to keep his money?
          Thank goodness he died, you get to keep the spoils and do whatever you want with them.
          If you want to stay in the house with the same furniture, etc. I suggest doing things to exorcise the evil and reclaim it all as yours. And enjoy! He lost, he’s dead, he got nothing and the whores got nothing. I hope he had a good life insurance, that will help pay for adoption or fertility treatment costs for YOU.
          Has he been cremated? I’d invite a couple of the whores you know about to a flushing his ashes down the toilet party as an exorcism, with some of your good friends there to support you and explain to the whores that this is what THEY are worth too. Champagne and caviar for you and your friends, after the you kick the whores out once the flushing ceremony is over!

          • If his cremains are still around,dump them on a dung heap !

            I’m curious…how did this sociopath die ?

    • I would gladly take a dead ex then to have one to rage at. Raging at him never gets me anywhere. He just spins everything to shoot daggers back or file away anything I say to use it in the future. I never win a point or manage to “get him to see the light.”

      I have kids with him so no contact is impossible…

    • Oh Tempest,
      How could any Chump ever not just love you girl!
      I can just picture you at the opera in your lovely pale yellow dress!
      ( hell to the wedding part of the dress, but wow to the fun, full living spirit of a beautiful lady in a beautiful dress)!
      Thank you for making me smile and for always telling Chumps exactly what we need to hear.
      I will always admire you Tempest!
      🌼

    • Tempest-thank you for your words. I’m one month out from my lying cheating serial cheater husband‘s death. Completely devoted to him for 40 years, more so the last three years he had cancer, just deciding to put my life aside to do anything I possibly could. One week later? Or use all of his very private very secret devices, and the shit hits the fan. Thank you for your evenhanded wisdom. So far, I have the sense that the millions of photographs and videos and slideshows I created, of the millions of kids birthdays and holidays and get together’s, that I was always there. With integrity and love and honesty. That my kids are always there. Now I realize he was just kind of on the size, waiting to go off and text somebody, waiting to go off and fuck somebody, needing us to be his homebase. So he could triangulate and get off on it. May your happiness in your home and life florish.

  • Oh, Sweetpea, you were married to a sociopath. They are dangerous people. During this horrible time you are mourning a man, a marriage and can’t even feel grief properly. I am so sorry. Get rid of everything. He was a hologram.

    • Be glad you did not have a child with him.
      These women he “enjoyed” were things to him too. Sociopaths don’t love because they can’t. That part of the brain never developed. You wonder how he played you. That is how good they are at con jobs. They are glib, charming and have the emotional,depth of an oil slick. Someone on here has made a suggestion to donate his body to science. Do it. You will not have to tend a grave, keep an urn of ashes or pretend grief. Be loud and be proud. Gather up info and if questioned about your lack of mourning just show some emails, texts or pictures. They won’t ask again. If you know his lovers are married then have at it. Their BS need to know.

  • I’m so glad this awful man is dead. The world just does not need more sociopaths. I wish you healing on your journey.

    • I am a Christian but I also follow my own path in life.
      Try a safe and cedar smudging stick ( or whatever appeals to you ) and do a cleansing in your home.
      Keep it simple.
      Go on line for ideas. Or bring a priest in for a blessing. Make it a new home – reclaim your space!!!

  • Birdie – To make your space feel clean and “your own” again try this: http://www.thesacredscience.com/the-art-of-smudging/

    Just be sure to think of only the bright, shining future (not the last you had, or the one you thought you had) while you are doing it. You can get the simple materials online or at many bookstores or ‘new age’ stores.

    Enjoy your home and your New life.

    • I did this after XH left, then repeated it a month later. Whether it helped metaphysically or not, it helped heal my mind a bit, and that’s really what this is all about anyway.

    • Also, if you are of a religious persuasion (like me), you can have a Catholic priest come and bless the home. Then keep a little bottle of holy water in the house. I have a little font by the front door as well.

  • As you tell the mistresses, share what you know with their husband’s first. They deserve a chance at getting out or preparing to.
    Sorry for your pain, happy for your gain.

    • If any of them are married, yes. Also, if any of them were thinking of going to the funeral, I’d be very clear that “you aren’t invited – on account of the fact that you fucked my husband.”

  • CL,
    Thank you for saying this: he was a BAD PERSON. This is what I still struggle with years later. People still frequently insist that my husband was a “good guy.” This is true even of some people who know exactly what he did to me. They have said “Other than that, he was a really great guy–so friendly, always willing to help people do stuff like move, fun.” I want to scream at the top of my lungs ” There is NO ‘other than that.'” THAT is who he is. THOSE moments when he used me, endangered my life, stole from me and our children ARE his defining moments. The fact that he once helped lift a couch and carry it to your truck means nothing (except maybe he was trying to look good for your girlfriend, who he was probably trying to fuck). The fact that he brought beer over that time to watch the football game doesn’t preclude the fact that he left your house early and used you as a cover for a seedy parking lot blow job. This is the part of the cultural narrative I would give anything to change: That cheaters are just like you and me that they are essentially good people who can’t be faulted for wanting a bit of extra sex. That it is no big deal. Thank you for starting this new narrative (cheaters are abusers who like power and our pain) on a wider scale. Someday I hope people are as shocked and offended to find out someone screwed around with your gardening friend as they currently are when someone punches you in the face. More so, I’ve been punched and I’ve been betrayed by a double life leading asshole. Both are abuse, but at least one of those things is open and leaves proof of the damage.

    • Your story reminds me of a sarcastic quote: “Other than that how did you enjoy the play Mrs. Lincoln?”

      It’s just as absurd to say the same thing when it comes to cheating. The narrative really needs to be changed!

    • >>”There is NO ‘other than that.’” THAT is who he is. THOSE moments when he used me, endangered my life, stole from me and our children ARE his defining moments.”

      Exactly this.

      • Agree 100%.

        Cheaters LOOOVVVEEE secrets. It is their “power” over all the honest people in their lives. It’s like the rich people who shoplift; they just want to get away with something.

        • Yep! My cheater really enjoyed pulling the wool over my eyes and hiding in plain sight, enjoying what he felt was his “cleverness.” Well, I at least stopped the charade and divorced you as soon as I found out, so now the joke’s on you, mother fucker!!!!

    • People react to cheaters as to movie or novel characters. Cheaters achieve the status of super sexy adventurous protagonists. People see something of Brad Pitt or Monica Bellucci. Instead of filthy cowards who abuse trusting partners, people admire the cheaters’ courage to go after the thrill of extra sex or the lightness of a frivolous lifestyle.
      Yes, cheatersuck, the narrative needs to be changed.

    • I havent told many of the people (who thought he was great) that my nowdeadcheater was a serial cheater…either Im concerned it would get back to his parents/my kids (unecessarily hurting them) or they have already disappeared from my life.

      When this crap goes through my head, I say to myself…”fine with me if they want to miss him since Im not going to”

    • Jojobee
      Yes! I run into the same nonsensical BS from people too. My monster psychopath helped Everybody move too. Oh he’s such a nice guy!
      It’s a common strategy of the manipulative freak to be “nicer” to everyone but you! It’s sad but true. It’s all a manipulation tactic used to bolster their fake persona, their public image, their supply sources, and if it gets them free pussy/dick all the better!
      I don’t quite get why it’s such a difficult concept for people to get: if you habitually cheat on your spouse, you are a POS, lying person. Therefore, you aren’t a nice guy, a good person. There’s no such thing as an honest cheat. I mean really! Wtf! Oh so and so is so nice. So and so just likes sex. He can’t help himself. If so and so treats the most important person/people in their life like shit, this says it all. They are the epitome of a horrible person, period.
      I’ve been told to keep my mouth shut from others and not speak badly of him. Fuck that nonsense. I will scream it and write it and speak it every single time I want. I know my pain makes unempathetic folks uncomfortable. So sorry to reveal the dark side of humanity.
      Sadly, our civilization is in a moral decline. It has nothing to do with religion. It has to do with integrity, honesty, character, and having BALLS and backbone to do what’s right. We are a rare bread, the honest folks. Rare indeed.

      • Honest people are a rare breed. It is sad but I am wondering if you are right. A few months ago I was telling a good friend about a lie stbx had told me and she said “everybody lies” and I can’t get that comment out of my head. I wanted to shout , I don’t lie but I just let it go in stunned silence. The comment has caused me to distance myself from her.

    • Joj0be I am Catholic and did this every room with holy water felt very spiritual and cleansing and gave me a sense of peace.

    • Preach it Jojo! Ex Coward ploughed the neighbors driveway when he did ours free of charge what a guy! Need something large moved? just ask the coward he has a truck and never says no. This includes never saying no to any woman you might be with either. Need help with anything, just ask the coward He will never say no but will bitch about it later behind your back. Quiet, mild-mannered nice ex-coward that he was. Likes all the women, oh well nothing to wrong with that now. He is a good guy. Yes, and the sad thing is too many people actually think this way

  • Im happy you don’t have to fight for anything. Im sad you have no one to yell at. I can’t imagine the mindfuck of ‘do i just let things lie and not expose this all to mutual friends, or do I just lay it all out” because both would have repercussions. Keep us updated. I also had the outwardly perfect relationship. Its incredibly hard to navigate. Much love to you. Keep it all the same. Its a fuck you to the man who took advantage of you being a catch.

  • I am sorry that you were so terribly betrayed but not sorry that you found out. Now you can protect yourself medically and secure your home. As you process this, you will also become smarter about people. (And for everyone out there, if you are on a romantic “date” with your spouse and he can’t put the phone down and the computer is off limits–red flags.)

    Your husband is an example of how cheating is about power and control and advantage over others. So many chumps get caught up in the “what was wrong with me?” idea when the answer is that this person loves power over others. Hence the triangles, the gaslighting, the defiling the home with random sex partners, the elaborate con of the marital romance, the “I know something you don’t know,” the sharing of your intimate details with strangers. That’s about power. And that tells you that you’ve experienced psychological and emotional abuse. I hope you get some therapy to talk with an expert as you recover.

    Linny beat me to suggesting smudging. I did this after Jackass decamped. He had painted my whole house. He’d even suggested color for the living area. I liked it, though, so smudging helped. I added a house blessing. I also walked the perimeter of the property with salt and sage. But please buy a new bed or at least a new mattress. That’s a powerful symbol.

    • Here’s a prayer by Marianne Williamson. I modified it a bit to make it about YOUR home. I’ve suggested alternatives to religious language. Prayers don’t have to be to a specific God; they can be calls for the Universal energy of love and peace and joy.

      “May this space, my home, be a sacred dwelling for me and those who enter here. May those who visit feel the peace this house has received from you. May darkness not enter. May the light of God shield this space from harm. May the angels bring their peace here, and use my space as a haven of light. May all grow strong in this place of healing, my sanctuary from the loudness of the world.”

      If you aren’t religious, you can call on the universal spirit of love: “May this space, my home, be a sacred dwelling for me and those who enter here. May those who visit feel the peace I have received from the power of love and peace. May darkness not enter. May the light of Universal love shield this space from harm. May that love bring its peace here, and use my space as a haven of light. May all grow strong in this place of healing, my sanctuary from the loudness of the world.”

        • I do it every Winter Solstice. While I am Catholic, I appreciate the old ways of nature in marking the movement of the seasons. And the winter solstice is the season of protection and renewal. I use sage and put a tray with a candle and other important symbols in every room as I go. I use this prayer and several others and do each room. Then the outside with sage and salt.

    • I dont know if I am really in a position to give advice- kind of like a drowning person trying to save someone who is also drowning but my gut is telling me don’t keep digging for more information. You have enough to know he sucks. Trust he sucks.

      I would like to be there but I have now realized cheater’s strategy is to get a pass saying he was having an affair but it was only after he left abusive, horrible feeling it that it took off and is wonderful, committed twu luv.

      He has been extremely careful to cover up the previous schmoopies that he told me about but would never put it in writing. I think his phone would tell a much more sorrid tale. Now that I get more and more information, I have instinct telling me based on his comments and rethinking spackling I did, this went on many years longer than I thought. I don’t have concrete proof though. I don’t want to keep digging though because I know the pain I feel with each revelation. I just want to trust that he sucks because he does, not have to produce more evidence for the court.

  • Birdie Im so sorry this happened. I know this sounds macabre but be glad he is DEAD!!! Death is preferable to the endless drama of custody battles, divorce lawyers, court, etc…ad nauseum. Enjoy your home if you like it. My XH also just used our home as a hotel. So I don’t have very many memories of him in the house even though he had 3 children there. So when he left me, I changed a few things but I mostly like the furniture. At least now he can no longer abuse you with his sick twisted jollies. And yes….he sounds like a sociopath….they look like us and talk like us but they are straight up monsters….Be glad Birdie.

  • Birdie, I am so sorry this happened to you. My X was living a double life with prostitutes, porn, and who knows what or who else. He did not die, but his conscience(?) finally made him confess to me. Even hearing it from his lips, it took me months to get out. He pretending to want to reconcile, all while continuing to exhibit the same selfish, entitled behavior. I wish he would have dropped dead before I found this all out so that I could move on with my life without him in it (we do have a child together, and it’s a nightmare having to parent with the person who would hurt me so badly). I know what you are going through is so shocking — you are going right from “we loved each other” to “what the ever-living fuck?!” and to top it off you have no one to turn to and be righteously angry. The matter of unresolved emotion aside, he is GONE. You are free. Free to do (or not do) whatever you want. Free to acknowledge this fuckery however you want to. Use your friends, family, and/or a good therapist to work out the emotional stuff. But that part is yours too. You had a horrible, terrible experience for which you will receive no answers. Do the answers even matter though? I will tell you that I am receiving no answers either, and I have to deal with that heinousness being alive and “thriving” (using all of his free time to immediately find a new chicky-poo and parade around like he has his shit together, claiming he is sorry and then turning around and meeting my continued and justifiable discomfort/anger with him with entitled pissyness and pettiness). I know it is hard, but please try to see how you escaped and take comfort in the empowering feeling of being alive and free with no fuckwit in sight. I wish you all the best as you work out all of your thoughts and feelings on everything that has happened. I am a year out from DDay, and a couple of months out from my divorce being final and it’s still very difficult for me at times to know that I will never get any answers from him. For better or for worse, it’s on me to move forward. Try to focus on the “better” of that though — we are more resilient that we know, even though we never wanted to have to be…and certainly not like this. Peace and hugs.

  • Birdie, I am in shock. He treated you horribly, and enjoyed his game. As CL says, he was a sociopath. None of this is your fault, it is all on him. Take the best care of yourself that you can, and know we are here behind you. Hugs!

  • Birdie, welcome to the dead cheaters club, a special subset in cheater land. You are in for an emotional roller coaster. My cheater is dead too (died at 40 years old), I had literally just divorced him after final Dday and he was trying to woo me into wreckconciliation and then he killed himself a few months later, and while I thought I knew the extent of his affairs, once I had access to himself precious phone, I COULD NOT BELIEVE THE DEPTH OF HIS DOUBLE LIFE. The hook up sex sites, the number of women, the sick pornography, unbelievable. You have only uncovered the tip of the iceberg. You will go thru rage and anger and the worst part is they are no longer there to have to face it, you will never get to confront him, he will never face the consequences of his evil. It is the most infuriating thing I’ve ever been thru. Still working thru it almost a year later.

    As to your house, if you love the house stay there. I repainted, redecorated and got rid of every bit of his belongings. The only thing I still have is his wedding band (why I kept it I still don’t know). I turned my house truly into my refuge. There was something empowering about turning what was once a place of deception and abuse into a place of light and calm and love.

    The good news is he can no longer hurt, manipulate or torture you ever again. His death has literally set you free. Good luck, keep coming here, this website kept me going during my darkest days. CL Andy CN are truly some of the best people I have ever encountered. Keep going, it gets better.

    • Beachgirl,
      Could you expand a little bit about your cheater’s suicide? Do you think he was a narc because I heard that narcs do not commit suicide. It would be very helpful to me to know more. Thanks!

      • Kathleen K, narcs do kill themselves. This has been confirmed to me by both therapist and psychiatrist. Its the ultimate “F U, you won’t control me, I’ll take myself out before I face any consequences, I will not be controlled”. They most often see it in people who get caught in crimes (think Aaron Hernandez hanging himself once he knew he was going to prison for life). The therapist that saw us in counseling for the last several years of our marriage, once learning of his double life, seems confident my cheater was a covert narc. The abuse he heaped on me and his total disregard for other people confirms it, my ex was one that when a child died and he saw people crying or whatever (even people who didn’t know the child but understood the sadness of it) would say things like “what’s the big fucking deal.” Oh yea, he was a narc in every sense of the word.

        • Thanks Beachgirl, I’ve heard conflicting things from different therapists so I really appreciate your insight. He is a covert narc as well and is obsessed with his image. He is VERY angry that I have told people the truth (double life, porn, craigslist hookups) and says we (kids and I) should only tell therapists. When I told a mutual friend of ours he said, “how could you go and ruin someone’s day like that? You are the real problem here.” Unbelievable.

          • Kathleen K

            “how could you go and ruin someone’s day like that”

            OMG, after he ruins your life!

            Unbelievable, Unbelievable, UNBELIEVABLE!!!

            Continue to hold your head high Kathleen K!

            YOU, dear Lady are mighty to have survived him with your dignity intact.

            Xxxxx
            Peacekeeper

            • Thank you Peacekeeper! This is why I love spending time on this site – people like you who get it completely in 1 second. No long conversations – you just get it immediately. People who haven’t been there can be so slooooow on the uptake. Peace to you Peacekeeper! xxoo

        • Also a member of the dead cheater club here. In my case, cheater ex kidnapped and murdered our youngest son before he committed suicide. In some of the cluster”B” disordered, homicide is very close with suicide. Since in their evil little brains, their ownership of their families is so total it is just an extension of the own suicide…..if that makes sense. They are beyond clueless about boundaries.

          As Tempest said, be gentle with yourself. It’s going to take time to wrap your head around all of this.

          I’m glad you are safe, and I am sorry he was such a monster. You didn’t deserve any of his malicious deception. Thank goodness he IS dead. The world is a better place for it, evil twit!

          • Tessie,
            Did I read that right? Your ex murdered your son?
            That is horribly sad. I am so sorry! I hope you and your other children are doing okay & healing
            The difficulties I have faced are nothing compared to what you and others have suffered & are dealing with…And here you all are encouraging & lifting each other up! Amazing!

          • Oh my God Tessie – I don’t think I knew this part of your story. I have always appreciated your posts. I truly have no words after reading your horrific story. Sending you love. xxoo

          • Tessie,
            For you to come to CN to help others is beyond mighty.
            I am so sorry for the sad loss of your precious son.
            I don’t know of anyone in this world Tessie, who deserves more respect than you do.
            Thank you for your strength, for your kindness and for your generous heart.
            Bless you Tessie and each one of your cherished children.

            ((((Mega Hugs))))

  • Oh hey Birdie one more thing!… If you haven’t already gotten around to planning his funeral? DONT!!!!Have his body donated to the local university so that they can study the criminally insane or something. Or have him cremated but please don’t feel obligated to give him any burial. You don’t owe him anything. Funerals are for the living anyway. He doesn’t deserve to be honored. He should be put on blast for the dick that he was. Don’t waste your money or insurance policy buying funeral services, casket, burial, newspaper ad. Take that money and buy whatever makes you happy. New sheets and comforter? Sleep number bed? A housekeeper? Bottom line… do what make you feel good.

    • I agree. And by the way, tell people what happened to you. Don’t perpetuate the secret. It’s very important to tell the truth about this. You don’t have to post it on Facebook, but tell your family and his family. Let them plan a memorial if they want to remember this sociopath.

      • Yes, I agree abut telling. I did the Facebook thing, and anyone who asks gets the real story from me. But the circle of knowledge can be as large or small as you feel comfortable (more things you now get to decide for yourself!) I think cheaters (either consciously or subconsciously) expect that because what they have done also damages you (your sanity, your health, the superficial appearance of your intelligence for having picked someone who would do this to you) — and you have the morals/standards/regard that they lacked — that you will feel shame and therefore not want others to know, allowing cheater to keep his “pristine” image mostly intact. But you have nothing for which to be ashamed. You loved a man who seemingly loved you back, and it turned out that he did not at all based on the blatant disregard for the sanctity of your marriage and you yourself. That shit is all on him. Letting others know (or at least have some peek at how utterly messed up he was) would definitely be an exercise in reclaiming your life and ameliorating the mindfuck this asshole was able to create before he died.

    • Let the oh so lovely neighbour sort the funeral out – they were sooooo close after all.

    • I would have to assume since he died about a month ago a funeral has already taken place. I certainly hope this jerk had a life insurance policy that will take care of you for a long time. You deserve at least that. I wouldn’t concern myself with not having him to rage at. Raging at a deceased cheater is most likely the same as raging at a cheater that is alive. You get you the same results. Cheaters don’t care how you feel.

      • This. Here is hoping that he kept up appearances by having a heft life insurance policy to help you through the transition from two incomes to one income.

        At the end of the day, whether as a result of death or divorce, the bills have to be paid, and having some buffer to use for immediate expenses as well as a bit more cash for retirement will be a godsend.

        • Im certain that the life insurance policy was part of the window dressing of “setting me up” so that he could leave for Susan of Seattle and not look like a bad guy…he picked one that was cheaper than the military “survivor benefit”. It was the only decent thing he did for me the year he was fucking Susan. He died, I got a pile of money and Susan got nothing. Neener neener.

  • I didn’t change anything when exh2 moved out. I added. I re-arranged. I re-created MY personal space.

    I did get rid of a sofa he had purchased.
    I did give away his desk I had bought him years earlier.
    I did put away pictures.
    I did burn our marriage certificate.
    I did several “smudges” (burning a dried sage bunch) to “cleanse” the house.
    I did start cleaning the house with bleach, vinegar, and baking soda because *he* didn’t like the smells.
    I re-claimed my space as my own- I planted flowers, I tried the here’s the height and shape I want.
    I’ve done all these these in my time, as I have recovered.
    I have spent my time these last couple of years building a life.
    I wish you all the best, Birdie. The choice is yours- after the grief process is complete, go forth in peace and hope…go forward as you rebuild.
    Either way you look at it, you will be grieving, either the husband you *thought* you had, or grieving the life you had with him.
    One thing I suggest is find an ibject—- for me, it was a tree– I know, sounds crazy, but hear me out. I have a mighty oak tree.out back, probably 100+ years old. I spent many nights out back talking to that tree, as if it were exh2…I even took a ball bat out there a couple times and beat on that tree until my knuckles ached and I couldn’t breathe from crying. After doing that, I didn’t need to talk to the tree as much.
    I know, sounds nuts, but that’s what I did— I got it all out, and the tree is still there in my backyard, he is not.

  • Birdie I just can’t imagine. I had 2 Ddays and asshat had him a little porn habit going on. I wasn’t completely blindsided. I’m envious yours is dead. I know that’s awful! It has to be horrible to not be able to confront him and tell him the jig is up, you’re not his chump anymore, and to fuck off. This seems good in theory, but they wear an armour of douchery and it bounces off of them anyhow.

    As for the neighbor, I don’t think I would give her the satisfaction of knowing she helped make you a chump. She has to be disordered too to be willing to go along with the evil one’s plan. I think I’d have to say something to make her think she was a chump. “The evil one is gone now to a place where he is free to fuck all the weak women he wants. It’s so sad how he always had to have a harem of crazy women to screw around with….”.

    Both my ex’s schmoopies were damsels in distress (aka weak and crazy). My attorney told me I needed to confront the latest young schmoopie in the hopes of ending this thang they had going on for my daugther’s sake. My daughter’s 20 something y.o. assistant soccer coach. I sent her an email about how humiliated and devastated my 14 y.o. daughter would be that she’s messing around with her father. Schmoopie sent back she was surprised by his interest in her. I quickly let her know this wasn’t the first time he’s done this so she would realilze she’s really not all that special. Just another piece of ass for a middle aged, bald old man that looks like a rock star since he has MD at the end of his name.

  • Let me chime in with my sincerest condolences for your loss. I can’t imagine not only loosing your husband but learning the truth and loosing your memories around life with him too.
    Bad enough to find adultery, but the constant orating of your private life to these hangers on is yet another level of mind fuck that may take you a long time to deal with.

    It may not seem like it now, but you were given a great gift and help by learning the truth. You can now take steps to protect your health, finances and home from these affair partners. What is he DEAL with the chippy befriending you at your husbands request? What could possibly be in it for her? I would have some short words and long shade to throw that scuzzbags way.

    Even if you decide to leave things or change things up, give yourself some time before anything drastic. I found things I hated, (new mattress he bought before moving out) I now really like. It took a year or so, but I’m very happy I kept it.

  • Birdie, I don’t know if it’s just me, but you sound numb.

    You talk about things ‘stinging for a bit’? Either you are very phlegmatic, or the full reality hasn’t hit you yet.

    You are dealing with a MASSIVE thing here – a series of things, actually. You need good help – are you getting some good therapy or counselling?

    This may turn into a roller coaster of rage and grief for you, so I guess the thing is to expect the unexpected. You are always welcome to debrief at Chump Nation.

    • Yeah, I thought the same thing. Perhaps in the interest of brevity, she simply chose to focus on her point (Must I change my household?) in her letter.. But the first thing I thought is, Oh, Sister, you are gonna need a good therapist….

    • Yes, I suppose the tone might read a little understated…to be sure I am feeling all the feelings (rage, sadness, numbness, even pity) and am taking it for granted that I don’t need superlatives to indicate how bad this all is to this savvy group! When I initially made the discovery on his computer my hands went tingly and numb and I got light headed and fell – sort of nearly passed out. Then I felt angry yet oddly pretty normal, as if a veil had been lifted and I was ‘free’. (Not sure even how to explain the feeling.) I knew I was in shock and planned then and there to see someone for help.

      • Birdie, I am so glad.

        There’s a thread on this site called Cosmic Signs You’re a Chump.

        https://www.chumplady.com/2014/03/cosmic-signs-youre-a-chump/

        It’s probably one of my all-time favourites, because it’s full of stories of chumps who had a sixth sense that something was not right. Sometimes they didn’t even know they had that sixth sense – it came out in bad dreams or mystery illnesses.

        These were people in apparently happy marriages like your own, who didn’t even know what was bugging them until the veil was lifted.

        When you describe feeling pretty normal and now free, I was reminded of this – the missing piece of the puzzle that falls into place, and it’s almost as if on some level you knew all along.

        This blog doesn’t subscribe to the myth that ‘Of course you MUST have known’, because it’s not true – there are plenty of chumps who had the same kind of horrible wake-up call that you did.

        I just find it amazing that so many chumps had cosmic signs they were picking up on, and they didn’t even realise it until afterwards.

        I am so glad you’re here.

  • Birdie, my husband of 42 years died. He had been an ass with all the bullshit you see in other post. I did all the heavy lifting, he took all the credit. After he died I found his double life. Like CL said they love the game of it. He would say things like ” Nothing feels real to me until I tell you” or ” Not many have ever shared the special bond we have” . Of course I now know it was his carrot for me, when I was noticing his shitty behavior. Since I was having a Real life, everything in the house was to my liking. Every improvement was what I liked. I realized, one because he was a lazy ass and two because he didn’t give a shit about any of it. I have never had sex of any kind with anyone but my husband but I had to get STD tested. When people hear my husband died, they say “I’m so sorry for your loss” . While I’m think, I’m not sorry. Fuck him, I’m free. CL pushes no contact for a good reason, the longer he is gone, the more you will realize, mr terrific, was not terrific at all. They mess with your head distorting reality. Do what you want, when you want, how you want. Be free. If you fall into feeling you were dumb for being soo duped. Remember Ted Bundy, fooled many, educated, reasonable people. Our brains are wired to the true sociopath channel.
    Unicorn no more had the same experience and is thriving.

  • Birdie,

    I’m so sorry, I lived this life, but my cheater is still around to blame his behavior on me; I made him unhappy, I was a bad mother, I was x,y and z. My STBX texted his stripper buddy pictures of fireworks on the 4th of July as I laid with my head in his lap. He texted her on Father’s Day morning as my kids and I were in the kitchen making him Father’s Day breakfast. This is truely devastating, knowing the memories you once cherished are all now tainted with the stench of betrayal. You go over and over every memory you cherished and wonder if they are all tainted with lies, deceit and beytrayal. Was any of it real?

    I know you can’t see it now, but it is a blessing that he will not be able to spread his narrative by dragging your character through the mud – and trust me, they do! I can think back to those first days after finding out, and recall the shear devastation and powerlessness I felt over my life. Luckily, I can recall them, but the pain is no longer attached to them! Why? Because I decided he would no longer control the narrative of my life!

    You are grieving the life you thought you had, that’s normal… living a double life, not normal! I know I had to grieve the loss of what I thought my life looked like, the dreams I built up in my head; the old couple holding hands, having built a life together and coming to that place of truely loving another person, feeling a life was well lived and the purposes of your love revealed. I think we all have that dream, but it precisely just that… a dream. Letting go of that is hard, especially when you find out the person you were with was not at all who you thought they were.

    Recovering From the Loss of a Dream. By LEIGH PRETNAR COUSINS, MS.

    One’s internal reality is the “realest” thing we have. We do, truly, live inside our own heads, and we experience the external world through the lens of the Self we construct. So, when a dream dies, it’s just as painful and “real” to us as when a flesh-and-blood loved one dies. And that same mourning process needs to take place. The denial, the bargaining, the anger…all of that…until, finally, acceptance sets in. Our dreams exist, for real, in our brain’s circuitry. An important dream is built up through lots of repetitions of a cherished idea, which makes for very strong and sturdy neural connections. Those connections don’t then easily disconnect as soon as we realize that our dream won’t come true. The disconnection and rerouting process is long and painful. Tim Hardin wrote How Do You Hang on to a Dream?…because, of course, the desire to hang on is so powerful and the letting go is so agonizing. We often don’t have sufficient respect for someone who is suffering dream-death. We wonder why they don’t just buck up and move on. After all, it was “all in their head,” right? But that’s exactly the point: “In our heads” is where we live. That’s where the pain and suffering come from. When someone loses a dream… a career aspiration a home a relationship …it doesn’t matter whether that dream was “deluded” or “impractical” or “a mistake.” Dream-death is real death, and the sufferer needs sympathy and patience, along with the gentlest, most consistent support towards rebuilding a new reality inside their heads.

  • I love CL’s advice that you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. It’s about agency.

    Wrapping my head around the long-standing betrayal, the humiliation, the infinite amount of lies, the purposefulness of it all, etc. … has been so difficult. Once I got a grasp on the situation, I too began to look around me, wondering what to do.

    I did make some changes, but they were directly related to me re-asserting my agency for my particular situation. My STBX wanted beautiful things — but didn’t want to work for them, so he expected me to. When I did the extra work so we could have the money to buy nicer things, I was bashed for not being attentive enough. Finally, the no-win situation paralyzed me and I stopped really caring about improving anything. My only goal was status quo.

    After the implosion, I repainted the house — fresh and bright. I purchased some new furniture to replace the rattiest pieces of old furniture. I pitched a TON of stuff. For me, these acts were a part of reclaiming something in me that he had nearly destroyed.

    While you work on wrapping your head around all of this and healing, remember that the manifestation renewed agency — the path to a stronger, healthier life — is dramatically different for each Chump. If you like the paint, then definitely keep. And know that it was your decision to keep it. It is yours now.

    • This is one of the many reasons I love CN! Reading that you had the same exact experience I had-
      ‘ My STBX wanted beautiful things — but didn’t want to work for them, so he expected me to. When I did the extra work so we could have the money to buy nicer things, I was bashed for not being attentive enough. Finally, the no-win situation paralyzed me and I stopped really caring about improving anything. My only goal was status quo.’
      It’s so comforting, to know that others survived this no-win situation, and now we are the winners! We saw through that piece of trickery and escaped. To me it felt like being a servant, in my own home, with almost no rights, so glad it’s done and over.

      • I can so relate to that feeling! I consider it my life sentence of “indentured servitude” in my own home, with no agency or appreciation shown for anything done. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. They constantly change the goal posts so that you run yourself ragged just trying to survive. I hate what was done to me, but I try to look back on his exit affair as my early release from a life sentence! Freedom is a beautiful thing.

  • I cant imagine the dicodemy of emotions in your mind and heart. My husband led a double life and I was able to lash out at him about it. Punish him in a way. Your pour soul is left with the pieces of his double life. Take heart in that you do not have to worry about accidentally running in to him at least. You are real though! Your love is real! Your life will get better. Focus on your future. The past has nothing for us other than education so no need to linger over it. Much love and prayers Birdie

  • I’d be tempted to ask for a private last viewing at the funeral home. I’d place a big fat turd under his nose and close her up. What a “mind game” he played. Hopefully the good Lord will show him how the game is played. These types are the “Walking Dead”. No hearts, no souls. Just a undying hunger to abuse others for their own gain. You got to appreciate it when they meet up and fall for one of their own types. Usually they are the first to cry and moan and call “foul”. I can’t imagine wrapping my head around this betrayal. Spray Roundup over the grave site.

    The house is your place. He never really LIVED there. Yes, I’d get rid of the bed. Here, I’d throw it on the fire pit and have a “Good Riddance” party. His death has set you free. Your best revenge is living well.

  • Birdie,
    He was a complete shit. Cluster b, sick in the head, hurt as a child, doesn’t matter…he was a completely awful person.
    I want you to know that my situation (about the husband with a double life) is very similar. My ex shit is still alive. There is no “closure” with these types though. They don’t offer explanations other than “oh well”. So, if you were wishing he was still be alive so you could confront him and he would “get it” or you would at least be able to tell him how he hurt you, that doesn’t happen-at least in my experience and everyone
    here at CN. I did tell him what an awful person he was the day I found out but there was never any real accountability other than some vague regret that he spouted because he knows that is how is “suppossed to feel”.
    Other than all his bits/clothes/electronics or gifts he gave “the family” I kept all the furniture and house decor because I bought it all anyway. (I actually had to pack all his childhood pictures that his mom gave him when we married-he would have never missed them!)
    I refuse to let him taint my life in that way plus I don’t want my daughter to think that I want to “start over from scratch” like him. I lived authentically albeit with a conman…
    Bottom line is, he was a fucker but now you are free from his abuse. Please keep coming back here! Educate yourself about these monsters that hide in plain site. It will baffle you for a long time-I know I am still baffled-but it helps immensely and is necessary to move on.

    • >>”(I actually had to pack all his childhood pictures that his mom gave him when we married-he would have never missed them!)”

      Wow … I did this too. And, likewise, he would never have missed them if I wouldn’t have done it. Funny enough, it kind of irritated him because it was “one more box” and his new abode is too tiny. (Somehow, I just couldn’t muster up any sympathy … imagine that! LOL!)

  • I am so sorry that you’ve had to deal with this, Birdie. You have twice the grief: the initial grief of losing your trusted partner and friend compounded by the grief on learning that he was neither. Your plate of shit sandwiches is piled high.

    Please let me reiterate the heart of Chump Lady’s advice: you don’t need to do anything you don’t want to. Your life is yours. Do with it what feels right to you. If you want the house the way it is, then that’s fine. I’d probably get a new mattress, but not because he brought his whores into the marriage bed but more because I like the feel of the new mattress.

    In fact, given that you like the colors, the house, the furniture, etc.–I bet if you started thinking about it, you’d find out that you were the one who really drove those choices. You might have thought that “we” chose those colors, but I bet that if you look back at it, you’d realize that your late sociopath agreed with you on the choices. You made the active choice; he went along with the ride in order to keep you feeling happy.

    Personally, I’d tell my family and friends about the discovery, but since you have to process your loss on so many levels, you might want to let your closest friends and family members know. Oh, and I agree that the spouses of any of his married APs should also know. Be aware that they may disbelieve you, but don’t worry about that. The point is to give the information out. What they choose to do with it is on them.

    And seek counseling. Your betrayal is on so many levels. Taking care of yourself first and foremost is the best way to reclaim your life.

    It’s a long process. Please keep us posted, either by writing to Tracy or via the forums.

  • Dear Birdie,
    I just read your story and CL’s reply. I have not read other Chump’s responses. I know they will be helpful and inspiring to you. CHUMPS. Know, CHUMPS understand, CHUMPS are there for each other!

    Birdie, your story blew me away. What a sick ass your cheater was.
    But, Birdie you tell your story with dignity and grace. It is not written in poor me style, no it is in tiger style! You are powerful, you know exactly what you will do and how you will do it.
    Exactly, Birdie, stay in your house, leave your home as it is. Hold your head high girl.
    It is not who you are, it is who he wasn’t!
    Birdie, this all happened so recently and already in CN ‘s eyes YOU are mighty!

    (((((Mega hugs to a MIGHTY strong Lady)))))

  • I did not expect such an influx of support in the comments…had I known, I would have got up really early today so I could respond to each of them (so I will come back to that later when I can give them justice – as there are so many good points made and words of wisdom).

    I have chosen to tell most of my close friends as well as his close friends. This decision has been very easy for me. If the person was peripheral to either of our lives, I often don’t tell because its nice to have some privacy/lack of pity in some areas of life and he has caused enough hurt so if I’m not impacted, I just let it go. If I am at all in a position where I may have to lie or look like the widow who isn’t doing enough, I tell. Its the truth and therefore I have met with and told his (small but close) inner circle. They were all shocked and feeling betrayed as well. His band for example came over yesterday and helped me sort through and start to price all of his expensive equipment.

    I am planning to remove all traces of him and have already started to make small changes that I had wanted to make (but he didn’t). His ashes are being sent to his family in the UK to deal with as they wish. I also intend to inform the two husbands of the two main mistresses because I would have wanted to know myself. I will sell his wedding ring, but for some reason, cannot settle on what do about my rings (I loved them so much, not just the meaning but the design). I might keep the engagement ring and wear it on my other hand (maybe, in the future), I might decide it hurts too much despite loving it and may sell it to replace with something from me to me, I might just let it sit in a box indefinitely.

    Finally, my mental well-being: Yes, I am numb much of the time (well perceived…obviously I am amongst those who know this stuff so so well!) Most of the time I am feeling visceral anger (and not jealousy, but a similar feeling of wanting to protect my dignity and feeling like its too late…frustration?). I also feel sad sometimes (not as often). Sad that he created a situation where I could not grieve him – sad and disapointed that he was an unworthy man. Sometimes too I feel sorry for him. I know this is sort of a motor-memory of emotions based on years of thinking of him in a good way. When I feel like this, I remind myself of the truth and the feeling gets replaced with the anger of feeling violated. Sometimes I feel light and extra alive because I now know something terrible has left my life.

    Anyway (for now – I have more to say) thank you Chump Lady for the supportive response to my letter. It is so helpful to hear the thoughts of someone coming from a place of clarity while I am still feeling like I am in a horrible, surreal nightmare.

    • I’m so glad you’ve reached out with the truth, and that you are getting support from his inner circle -that is huge! As many of us can attest, when they are spinning their narrative and justifications, those closest to him often provide empathy to the cheater, and you become the leper who should be avoided at all costs; your disease must be communicable because it was enough to cause the cheater such anguish that they had no other choice than to cheat. As horrible as it sounds, and Im not intending to be insensitive, his death was a blessing. You are blessed to be getting the support people often give when a loved one dies, they empathize with you, instead of casing you out. It sounds like you are mighty! Keep walking forward, your head will catch up with your feet!

      • Birdie, am so glad that you chimed in here today to get the support and validation needed to keep you healing and mighty.

        I’m wondering why you felt the need to “hacked into his super locked-down computer” if you didn’t at some level suspect something?

        Not saying that to challenge or aggravate you, but am just perhaps suggesting that deep inside you was a voice (gut) telling you to get to the bottom of something. That little voice is a great asset – one that many Chumps had to silence for years to get through our relationships with the disordered.

        If that was your gut that made you get into your fuktard’s computer, than I hope you melt down your engagement ring and make something wonderful to give to HER. She deserves a reward for keeping her voice true despite years of being told to be quiet.

        May all Chumps reward their inner voices that refuse to be silent.

    • For what it’s worth, if you decide you don’t want the rings, see if you can donate them to the local university, assuming they have jewelry design. They can probably use the stones and the metal.

      It is okay to feel anger, and as you pass through the numbness, you’ll probably feel more and more anger. That’s normal. Numbness is how we get past the overpowering emotions that occur with death and betrayal. Just find a way to channel that anger. I love the notion of having a tree to talk to, or maybe take up martial arts and get a heavy bag you can safely hit.

      Don’t worry about protecting your dignity. The shame is his, not yours. I’m glad that you have opted not to stay silent, but to speak the truth about your late Cheater. It is not up to you to protect his memory. He should have done that via his actions while he was alive.

      Big hugs to you!

    • Birdie, I’ve decided after a lot of time that the sadness I feel is for me and the anger is about what he cost me, the anger you feel is justified and, frankly, my anger is all that got me out of bed many days. Don’t let anyone tell you different or that you have to “forgive” him. People like to canonize the dead as saints, we unfortunately live with a different legacy they left behind. Feel what you feel, it is possible to feel rage and intense sadness at the same time. Hang in there, it does get better. Hugs!!!

    • Birdie,
      Your story is absolutely horrific and we are all feeling it along with you. The incredible shock you experienced is making everything feel surreal and you feel numb. I do hope you will consider finding a good therapist because when the shock and numbness wear off you may experience some overwhelming emotions and need to talk for months about this stuff to process it. Talk therapy has saved my life!
      Big hugs to you Birdie.

    • “Sad he created a situation where I cannot grieve him” — yes, this sums it up exactly and is precisely what you have in common with the rest of us. Though my own XH isn’t dead, I am similarly sad that I cannot grieve our marriage for what I thought it was had he chosen to divorce me in some sort of honorable manner.

      Good luck to you, Birdie. The forums here are an excellent resource as the feelings well up unbidden — a bottomless pool of support to be found here.

      Peace during your recovery.

    • Birdie, thanks for following up. Your post sounds incredibly sane and healthy. You’ve got great insight into your feelings and you must have been the island of sanity in that psycho’s life. I think you will handle this very well but it will take time.
      Since you said you’re 43, time matters if you’re going to try fertility treatment by yourself, so that would be your best area to focus on in the short term.
      In other aspects, it sounds like you’ve got this and you will allow yourself the time and space to process all this. He was blessed to have you and he didn’t value his blessing. Typical.

  • I don’t know what to say, I’m speechless – it’s just sick! I’m so relieved that you no longer have to put up with this treatment.

    As others have said, it’s your home, so keep what you want and throw out what you don’t. All the best to you, enjoy your new cheater-free life.

  • Grief is such a complicated thing and everyone does it differently but now you have to grieve over not only the loss of your husband but the loss of who you thought he was.

    Go easy on yourself. Hugs!

  • Hey Birdie,
    He did NOT destroy you…he destroyed himself. Where do you think he is NOW?

    All those years that he pampered you, gave to you, embellished your life, & treated you well…those years, and those things were and are yours to enjoy…because YOU were authentic.

    “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies”.

    God USED him to give to you IN SPITE of what he had been doing behind your back…because YOU were authentic…and now, the joke is on your dead cheater.

    Now he has gone to his “reward” and you get to keep whatever “spoils” you like. Look at it all as compensation from God. I sit among everything that my X gave to me while he betrayed me also. I do not blame the stuff, the house, the good times, the jewelry or the business that he launched me into. I enjoy(ed) all of it and see all of it as the provisions that God wanted me to have in spite of what the cheater was doing. God knew that it was just a matter of time before the HYPOCRITE cheater left…but before he did, He prepared for me a soft landing, and now cheater is on the outside looking in and feeling like Someone duped HIM. I am grateful.

    • Everything you said CL !!! This could have been me letter.

      And “Sweetz” I too am forever grateful …… and God will reward him. 😉
      Looking at the fake life I led for over 3 decades, I did enjoy the fruit, it was my labor as well. NOW Jesus cheater, liar, deceiver, betrayer etc. has the life he wanted so I can have the life I deserve. NO longer being duped on a daily basis. He lives alone, I enjoy my grown kids and grandkids. He pops in and out to see them but it has finally come full circle that HE made his own bed and now he is outside looking In.
      Good riddance and I am GRATEFUL.

  • I’m sorry you are going through this and found out who he really was soon after he died. It may sound horrible but I wish my ex died and I never found out about his infidelity. Then I could just grieve normally. He was a good gaslighter and lier. I didn’t find out about the women he was keeping contact with until after he left to live with the chosen OW. I doubt it would matter to her as she was his “Chosen One”. There were things on the computer that he forgot to delete, etc. And as he had a business on our property and was home all day while I was at work, I have no idea what women he had “dalliances” with, or if I even still see them. It’s funny how many chumps here decorated their homes by themselves. As I was reading here to get rid of the things that reminded me of him, I looked around and could count on one hand the things he had anything to do with. So my memories are of me shopping and picking everything out. I wasn’t able to have kids either, thank goodness but maybe they would have been a help to me as they would have been grown by then. I was with him for 38 years.

    • Yes — did most of the work, picked out most of the things, and now after the division of furniture, etc. he is surrounded by the things I shopped around for. Not that it would have any significance for him, but easier for me to not have to chuck a bunch of things that remind me of him since I can look around my apartment and see me in everything. Hope he’s enjoying showing off his (i.e. my) style to new chick-poo and everyone else in his new life. I think I’ve posted this to another topic, but they have no identity, no personal investment in life in general and so they take on our values, tastes, etc. Superficial is as far deep as they can go.

      • Yeah…and you know what? The new (or old) chick-poo will HATE that your X clings to or enjoys anything left over from the marriage…especially once she realizes that YOU picked it out. One by one, those things will disappear and be replaced cuz chick-poo does not want remnants of YOU hanging around and reminding her that he had another life with someone else who still exists in the shadows of his mind. Either that, or she doesn’t mind inserting herself into YOUR personal taste because she is fully aware that she has none of her own value. She is a vulture who feasts on the remnants of a rotting corpse. It is a win win situation for you on either level.

  • Birdie,

    I was divorced for years before the cheater ex died a slow and painful death, after completely destroying his life and alienating everyone remaining in it.

    Right now, you are in shock, trying to process the deception that co-existed alongside life as you knew it. In time, I hope you will see that you were spared the loss of even more years of your life, the humiliation of the pick-me dance, the pain of discard, the pointless hope of reconciliation, the financial devastation of divorce. Disordered people do not change, at least not for the better. Left to their own devices, they will blaze a path of destruction wherever they go. You feel like emotional roadkill just now, which is understandable. But you can heal. You can reinvent your life, You can and will thrive. You did it before in spite of a cheater. You can do it again, and even better, without one.

    • 100% Survivor…. you are totally right. I would trade his death over all the crap I was put through. DISORDERED people do not change,

      Birdie, I am so so sorry for your pain. ((HUGS))

  • I’d email some of those f*** buddies and let them know they will not be welcome at the funeral and tack on some of the more salacious bits from their emails

    And be sure to include all of them in the send of one email. Reminder them that STD testing is recommended.

    Then block any responses from all of them.

    That oughta take care of them “winning”

  • Aw, Birdie. I’m so sorry. All our hearts hurt for you. I do hope that when you read what is written here, you will feel the love, and begin to rebuild. I really look forward to the day when you can come back and post that you have received healing and are finding your mighty.

  • Birdie, I just want to say how sorry I am to hear about what you discovered. Talk about complicated grief! What he did was just sick, it had nothing to do with what a good person you are.

    I can’t give you any advice on reclaiming your space since I moved out of our family home and bought a small place of my own. I think Chumplady’s advice of selling everything he had an putting it in a fund for yourself is a great idea.

    I also struggled with what to do with the wedding ring I loved and wore for 30+ years. For now I’ve put all the rings he gave me in storage and am saving them in case I ever fall on hard times. I’ve no idea what they’re worth, but probably not that much. Maybe I’ll give them to my granddaughter some day. It’s a good idea to just hang on to them until some time has passed and you can make decisions that aren’t clouded by grief.

    • I own a high end jewelry store. Once in a great while a woman will come in with her wedding ring to sell. I cannot give her the retail value for it because I buy wholesale and cannot afford to invest into something that brings no business profit and ties up my money waiting for it to sell…but what I do is offer to sell it for her so she can get a much better price, OR let her trade it for something new that she loves that is already in my store inventory.

      My own wedding ring is over 4 carats…very expensive. I can redesign it and wear it, or I can eventually sell it and use the money to get a new driveway and a three car carport built. I am selling it because whenever I look at it…all I can now see is the driveway and carport. 🙂

      • That’s funny, Sweetz! My own wedding ring wasn’t that expensive to begin with so I doubt it’s worth much. Of course, it seemed like a lot at the time to two very young people in the 1980’s, but considering what my DIL’s have on their fingers it was pretty insignificant. Most girls in my DIL’s group seem to get really expensive and large diamonds. Personally, I wouldn’t want to walk around with a big rock like that on my hand for fear of someone knocking me in the head for it. One of my DIL’s keeps hers locked up a lot of the time because she can’t wear it at the hospital where she works.

        Anyway, if I could trade my rings for a trip to Italy I’d do it!

        • My cheater didn’t give me an engagement ring, there was no money for it. We were both struggling students,
          If I did have a ring, no matter, it’s monetary value, it would have no meaning to me.

          I agree with everyone who has a ring, do whatever feels best with it.

          A ring is a ring is a ring.

          I often chuckle and say, “I do, I do, I don’t”

          CN, a sense of humour is often our best asset, better than a ring or any jewellery!

          💍

        • I hear you, Lyn. Selling my wedding rings might get me a plane ticket to Des Moine! (though to be fair, I did get a more valuable ring after 12 years of marriage; the stone chipped and fell out 3 months after D-day. Oh, the symbolism.)

          • Tempest exactly what happened with my engagement ring after a few years, had we only saws the omens in time,lol!

      • Laughing OUT loud, great visual Sweetz. Married over 30 years I took that ring off and put it away for later use as well. Ironically 😉 over those years I lost the diamond on the ring and XAH would act like a hero and take it to the jeweler for repair, each time the diamond got Bigger. I ended up with a 2 carat and three little diamond surrounding that. Its in my secret safe and one day Ill know what to do with it. I know so many gals that threw their ring away or hocked it for cheap and have regrets. “I DO, I DID, I’M DONE !!!

  • Birdie, so sorry this happened to you. I felt like you (but after DD#2) — like everything was built on a foundation of jello so I didn’t want to add more changes by moving.

    People will also say “thank goodness you didn’t have kids” — but deep inside you may be surprised to find that you will be mourning for that loss. I understand this well. My EX and I were also trying to have a baby in the final 3 years of our relationship (just before we turned 40). Age, unknown factors and his disinterest (plus his infidelity which I learned of later) were all factors in not having kids.

    Here are a few things that helped me:
    1) Please find a really good therapist. You’ve got a lot to process, grieve and heal from.

    2) If you can afford it, get rid of everything in your bedroom: sheets, mattress, pillows, bed frame….it must go. Refresh it with new paint, pillows, curtains, etc. Don’t think they are ‘winning’. Think YOU NEED a sanctuary.

    3) Exercise. You must get out your anger….It is going to come in waves. Get out and walk. Take boxing. Whatever.

    4) Eat good foods and go easy on the booze. Be kind to yourself.

    5) Come here. I wish CL and CN was around for me. This is an understanding place. This is a place that really gets it.

    • The kids aspect is definitely a multi-faceted thing. My cousin’s husband was a total borderline personality disorder — had multiple affairs and married an affair partner not long after their divorce and had a baby with OW pretty much right away. She is someone who wanted and still wants a child and he knew this was a way to hurt her for calling him out on his abusive nature and divorcing him. I love my baby girl beyond words, but wish I didn’t have to share her with her cheater father (see above thread about wishing them dead). Was always on the fence about having a child (obviously wanted to have a child in a safe and loving environment with a man I loved — was greatly misdirected on that whole thing) and now to ever even think about having her not exist for the sake of not having to go through the prolonged pain of having to deal with cheater X (i.e. rolling back time and never having had a child)…he has jammed me square between an emotional rock and hard place. But there is certainly mourning to be done both with and without children involved.

  • Here are some things I did to change the energy but not the space or the house. Maybe something will be helpful?

    A friend told me not to rearrange if I didn’t want to, but to move things an inch or two to adjust the energy, just nudge a coffee table, change the angle of a chair. It changes the energy in the room. Do a thorough cleaning, burn beeswax candles for the beneficial negative ions, buy houseplants to clean the indoor air (spider plants are good).

    I visited the Native Friendship Centre and bought some dried sage and did my version of a smudge throughout the house, especially over the bed. You can have someone in to do a real smudge.

    I put small dishes of salt in the northeast and southwest corners of my house, and in each room, to ward off bad energy.

    I changed the accent colour in my white and pine kitchen from lime green to aqua just by shopping in other rooms and in my basement for all things aqua! Nothing else changed except a few pots and some utensils and a tea towel.

    I pushed the beds into the corners, surrounded the walls with pillows, and started to sleep diagonally, like the Queen of Sheba. Found out it provides much better back support! I slept in the other bedroom until I felt like going back to the other one.

    I took one of the chairs off the front porch, leaving mine, as a signal to the world that this house belongs to me, there’s no room for him or the memory of him. It took a year, and I put the second chair back, not for him but for anyone else who might come along.

    I started going the other direction from what I was used to, to shop, discovering new little towns and farm stores, still living where I live but discovering new things. I started supporting local people who are trying to make a go of it, going to farmers markets, being conscientious of what I’m buying, where it comes from. I looked for meaning in everything I bought because I sure as hell couldn’t find meaning in what he did to me.

    I wish the best for you.

    • I love the symbolism in the removal and eventual replacement of your porch chair. I think doing things like this keeps us cognizant of where we are emotionally and the need to acknowledge the stages we go through post DDay/divorce so that we can come out on the other side having processed it all (and hopefully healthier for it).

  • This is one of the worst, saddest stories I have ever heard and my heart breaks for you Birdie. I don’t know how you ever reconcile all of this. It’s awful to say but maybe Chump Lady is right – it’s good that he’s dead. One, so that he doesn’t continue chumping you and another because now you can’t do that why how thing that we do, trying to make some sense out of something that makes no sense. For you – it just IS.

    As usual, Chump Lady brought up a good point that I hadn’t thought of in my own situation (which, in comparison really doesn’t sound so bad! Eeek!). She said that the sociopath gets off out of controlling all these women and his situation – just skirting getting caught. Forcing everyone into the pick me dance – and you didn’t even know you were DANCING! I felt the same way – I thought I had a husband who adored me. He couldn’t have done what he did if he didn’t have full knowledge of the fact that I was duped and wasn’t going anywhere! Sick. The hardest part for me has been trying to fathom something that is unfathomable to my way of thinking. That level of egomania, selfishness and pathology is something that I can never understand. And neither can you so don’t waste your time or your life trying to. We can’t. We’re good people. They’re not.

    • My X would make it out to be that he was the loving/affectionate/adoring one now and that I was a cold fish or mean or whatever. My personality was not as touchy/showy as his when it came to expressing love for a partner (love language crap, I suppose, ugh), and I tend to have a bit of an “Italian temper” when angry, so my role in the relationship and its destruction could easily be misconstrued by anyone who listened to his nonsense (we all know there are better ways to deal with your relationship issues than cheating). But, it seemed like he would have stayed and continued just doing whatever he wanted to if I didn’t call him out on it and see the underlying issue. Marriage is the perfect hideout for these disordered types — give the appearance of a normal, loving spouse and family man/woman and use it as a cloak to continue selfishly feeding the gaping void. I feel like he’s still getting off on being able to portray me as the villain despite his actions now having been exposed and while he is facing the consequences. It lessens the impact for him and whatever conscience he does have is soothed so he can continue living with himself.

  • My STBX has stated that he only wants like 5 things when he leaves (he’s moving in the Schmoopie, so they’ll have all her furniture and things). But yesterday, it sort of hit me…and made me wonder…only a few things? Why not want more? It sort of felt like a sucker punch. Our twenty-five years spent together, raising our three beautiful daughters, and the only things you want to take are literally just a handful of things?

    I know I should be glad I don’t have to fight over who gets what. And I am. But kind of sad too, that it all means nothing to him. Except his TV and surround sound. That, of course, means something.

    And Birdie, what a pig your Ex was. Glad you know the truth, even though it hurts. Good idea to change your locks. And good you don’t have to muddle through a divorce. Hope he had life insurance for you! Hang in there, and carry on.

    • Get that in an agreement and signed off quickly! Let his sorry ass take his 5 things then change the locks quickly. When the twu wuvs wear off he may circle back around. Then be angry about what he left behind – you and all his stuff!!

      My 2nd Dday I moved quickly while he was riding off into the sunset. Nothing left here for him as he realizes that sunset is burning his sorry arse!!

  • Hi, Birdie,

    I’m so sorry for the loss of the life you thought you had.

    I wanted to comment on your main question about what to do about the house, the stuff, all of it….. I’ll keep it short (or try):

    I live in a small city in which XH is a big presence (restaurant owner of a fairly exclusive variety, much lauded by wine magazines, etc.). We had a house together, a community of friends, we’d lived here together about twenty years, had hiked everywhere, dined everywhere, been to every theater and club together….. So after Dday, it was all triggery. I was encouraged to reclaim the town as my own, but even if I felt okay about it, especially hiking my favorite trail, which passed right through the field where we married (that’s why we married there, duh, because it was my favorite trail), it still jars my soul a bit. Each time.

    So after two years, I moved away. I sold the house, moved to another state thousands of miles away. New friends, new job, new restaurants…. But I missed my old job, as it turns out I actually get a lot of personal satisfaction from doing my job well and thoroughly, and my old job was willing to take me back. So I came back. I CHOSE to come back.

    As a variation of CL’s advice (You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do), I would say this: It’s all about choice. If you CHOOSE to keep your bedroom colors, or wedding ring because you like them, or whatever, that is the mindset that makes all the difference. If you are like most of us chumps, a lot of your house and home are your doing anyway, as these cheater-narcs are so poorly invested in anything that they don’t really take the time to nest in their homes by buying books or music or furniture — makes for an easier getaway. So if you have designed your home the way you like it, then don’t change a thing. It’s yours, now 100%, to do with as you please. And if, tomorrow, you decide to sell it all and move to Paris, that’s your choice, too.

    That’s the bottom line — This is YOUR life now, 100%, to do exactly as you please.

  • I can’t figure out how they handle a double life.
    Ok they’re good actors, expert liars etc. we’re so chump, busy, stupid etc.
    But how do they get to have so much spare time?
    At first I had some hints finding women at his job he doing favors, fixing stuff, but then I understood from the chats and pics showing the time: he simply started early in the morning. Instead of working, as soon as he went out of the house he already had arranged multiple sex encounters. So much effort. It was his first thought going out so quickly, disguised as a family man. Only that at the end of the day he came back late raging at me that I earned more and worked less.
    A “wish-evil-was-dead” club would help CN.

  • Birdie, your story is staggering. I am so sorry. I recommend reclaiming that space with a house cleansing ritual. Get a big ole sage stick and burn it, “smudging” each room. Grab your best girlfriends and get a bunch of noise makers and drums, go room to room and beat the bad juju out of that home. You’ll feel a lot better after that. It really works!

  • I remember having similar feelings, but I am not fortunate enough for my 2 ex”s or my malignant father narc to have passed. I still have to avoid them as much as possible, and when I am forced to deal with them, inevitably some bad moments slip around the cracks of the wall I built around my heart for protection. I also have tried to bottle up and throw away the bad feelings I had/have for the majority of the OW. Some were in fact clueless victims, but most knew they were with a married man, and I resented my life being shared with strangers almost as much as being cheated on and lied to in the first place. I always wonder what life they expect when they not only see but often participate in the deceptions necessary to be with someone else’s partner? It is beyond “hear but don’t care.” I have no mercy for anything life throws at them, even though I have plenty of compassion for other people in general. I have dealt with some hateful ex’s — who had no reason for anger at me, and often dealt with mean girls at school ( I was the new girl, a LOT!). But the lowest of the low were the knowing OW’s.

    If it is helpful at all I am finding that the older I get the less I care about any material possessions. I had always been the primary nest builder, and had very little to get rid of or change after my break ups. A good and thorough cleaning was in order though, and the undoing of any changes I had made to please them., and some rearrangement for my own convenience. I loved more closet space and drawer space. I loved a more peaceful home. My homes were always mine — the ex’s were just thieves in the night.

  • This is like The Descendents, but much much worse. I’m sorry you have to deal with mourning a person who never showed his true self to you.

  • Birdie,

    Sorry you got exposed to all of that. What an awful thing to discover on top of the grief, and then to realize that you shouldn’t grieve him, but you are anyway. So sorry.

    One suggestion, if you want to take it. You can rage at him in a subtle way. A couple of weeks after the funeral, go visit his grave, preferably during a non-busy time. Wait until they have sod over it. Wear a long skirt or dress. Take your panties off in the car. Then go kneel on his grave, in a calm position, keep your dress out of the way, and pee on his grave. Literally. In broad daylight. Repeat as needed.

    Or not, if you would rather take the high road.

    And of course, you could always see a therapist. A good one can help you through all of the conflicting emotions and get you on the road to a new, happy life.

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.

  • Birdie,

    You can deal with the things in waves over a couple years. Keep checking in with your feelings about things and trust that you’ll know if something has too much “buzz” of your dead Voldemort to keep. It’s OK to not change much, and it’s OK to change your mind about any of it at any time. Good luck.

  • Birdie, What a shock to your system. First, you are grieving the loss of your “perfect” husband and now you are grieving who he actually was as a person. Processing betrayal and loss is so difficult. We all know how it feels to realize your husband is a hologram. My ex also appeared to be a loving, caring, and loyal man. I thought I had hit the partner lotto!! I never thought he was capable of the deceit, betrayal, and cold heartedness he showed me once the shit hit the fan. So thank your lucky stars that man is gone and not here to fight you over everything! The house, spousal support, savings, attorney fees, the list could go on! His reign of terror and inflicting pain on others is gone. Also just a friendly suggestion- get a good therapist. As you begin to work through your emotions, a professional will be able to help you heal properly, so you can enjoy your new life! This stuff is so painful and hard! Hugs!!

  • Oh my Birdie…I am with Beachgirl and a couple of the other widow/er chumps. While he was alive, I caught him in an emotional affair but couldnt prove more. After He died I learned his affair was worse then 2.5 years after his death, I learned he was a serial cheater.

    I REALLY feel for you having to process all of this at the same time. As much as I suffered from my deadcheater being a mean asshole to me, there was at least a little bit of integrity being a consistent bastard.

    I can’t tell everyone as my kids don’t know the ugly details…they know he “hurt” me but have been clear (that for now) they don’t want details and I need to respect that….and I don’t want them hearing it from some random person.

    Before I knew what he had been hiding, I gave him a hero’s farewell…I dont regret it, really…that had to do with my thoroughness.

    My biggest reaction to is has been to give his memory a giant “fuck you” whenever possible…I do what I like and bonus if it would have pissed him off. I started dating 6 months after he died and married someone cheater would have HATED.

    I also opted (for lots of reasons) to not leave my house…new husband graduated from a rival university so replacing all the rah rah football (etc) stuff in the house has been fun. I took down photos and changed my name with relish. Remarriage isn’t for everyone…it sounds like you are navigating your way through the river of stuff to be handled.

    Stick around here…there is like no other place for us and the other chumps are nice…widow sites are NOT for me…I can’t stand the “Oh I miss him he was so wonderful” stuff. I asked the organizer of the “Modern Widows Club” to start a sub group for us and she was SO not interested…we didnt fit her narrative.

    The long and short of all of it is that I am living the most kick-ass life I can … join me on this adventure that is grander than being married to an asshole.

  • Hiding in plain site, as it were. Trust should be earned and not just given. I would suppose that earning it definitely does not mean merely saying the right things. It has taken me many years to realize that PLENTY of people are not worthy of trust. Not all, but yes plenty. Just because you are given all the right answers does not make them true, and believing what you are told just because you are told is a recipe for disaster. A person who does not love their spouse would never go through IVF to have a baby, right? I know someone who married a woman for US citizenship and NEVER loved her. They went through IVF and conceived twins. Guess who has been a serial cheater their entire marriage….years long affairs, Craig’s list, Ashley Madison, adult friend finder, you name it. He’s been caught a few times and it continues. I wish I could say this surprises me, but the truth is nothing shocks me anymore, absolutely nothing. Sad but true.

  • Firstly, cheaters suck so bad.

    Secondly, if you like the house, keep it! It’s amazing how much a few changes make. I didn’t have a lot of money to work with, and my house is truly mine now. To outsiders, it probably looks a lot like it did before (so much was to my taste already). He didn’t take much when he left, and I spent a few months decluttering anything that reminded me of him or just made me feel yucky with memories or just thoughts of him. I also replaced things that I’d always wanted to change but never felt I had the support to change. Again, very minor, but overall, it feels massive.

    And so much clearing out of his crap, the stuff he took and stuff that meant nothing to me. My closets are clean now. Even my junk drawers are organized. I truly love my house. And I love that I was never displaced.

    My dog sleeps on his side of the bed now. Nothin’ but true love all around! 🙂

  • My God, that was heartwrenching to read. What an absolute nightmare. Sometimes, we never really know the person we are closest too.

    Whatever you decide, move forward with your head held high. I wish you all the best in life.

  • Save your rage! Mine was dying and still didn’t want to talk about his affair. He took it all to the grave. It wouldn’t make any difference anyways because you can’t really know if they are telling the truth or lying to save their asses. It’s your time now. Be glad you didn’t go through the emotional expense of pick me dancing and then the financial expense of divorce. I personally found the life insurance money very “therapeutic. I know some will think I’m crude for that comment, but i earned that and more after 41 years of marriage!

  • Sounds like the mother fucker I had the pleasure to spend 16 years of my life with, Birdie.

    I think of him as an disordered character in a book of a chapter in my life that is now over.

    The good news is that you can continue to write the book of your life and keep whatever you like while throwing whatever you don’t like crumpled to the floor.

    I am deeply sorry for your loss..

    of innocence.

  • Wow. It has been so uplifting to read the helpful ideas, words of wisdom and plain warmth coming from everyone in the comments to my sad tale (and some good humor…haha peeing on the grave or strategically placed turds. Love it!) I plan to get on over to the forums as I have a feeling that this group of strong survivors is really going to help. (Seriously: Chump Lady’s attitude was what I needed when I was feeling it the worst. Soooo glad I stumbled across this!)

    • Yes, he had life insurance and I will also inherit his 401K and get a better social security benefit upon retirement. The peculiar thing is that I paid the bulk of the mortgage because my grandmother gave me my inheritance early and it nearly covered the cost of our home and since I am a self-employed designer and also work for a non-profit, I earn peanuts compared to his three figure salary. He would complain that having to pay my health insurance was hard and pressure me into getting a 9-5 office job so I could contribute to the health insurance and so I would be working and not working the same times as him (But harder to cheat, non?). More or less, we both contributed equally but I had to work waaaay more hours than him and rarely splurged on myself in order to pay our bills and keep the house…me being on a fraction of what he was. In the thick of it I guess I never thought about how much he actually earned and as someone who likes to always carry her own weight, I never examined it that closely.

      • Good for you. I will have to start making up for my years of no social security earned. Thankfully, the government will allow me to use my STBX since we were married over 10 years. However, we have no equity in the house (he refinanced it without my consent) and he robbed his 401, so I will be broke. When they say divorce is about the money, it is. However, I would now suggest strongly that all women keep their eyes on the money throughout the entire marriage. Every last cent. Take care.

        • My grandmother told me from the time I was a little girl that her father told her (and his other daughters specifically) to always keep a savings account in your own name through your marriage. He wanted his girls to have autonomy – way back in the 1920s. Had things worked out differently I may have needed that it seems (so am glad I took her advice).

  • Birdie! I feel your pain. like so many here, I echo be glad they’re dead. If he was still here, he would NEVER own up to what he did bcz cheaters think they’re above everyone else.

    My serial cheater XH cheated before cancer, during chemo and once he was clear. He actually is so f’d up that he gave me D-Day on the same day he was given his all clear from cancer. Seriously. I had the best four hours of bliss, thinking we could start living again…only to be sucker punched by his need to disclose an affair.

    I spent 3 months pick me dancing and then filed for divorce. I’m divorced and free. Except that I have to co-parent with the fuckwit and he’s manipulating his family by bashing MY character. His family can have him, his new GF in an open marriage, his narcissistic lying ass. It’s hard to lose his family (25 years together) but they’ll have to be burned to learn. (He is so much like his narc father…it’s scary!)

    Live in peace knowing that you were true in your marriage. It wasn’t you. It was him. His loss. Write a new chapter and love again. You deserve happiness.

  • I didn’t get to read all the responses, but I thought about this post all night. I would never ever plan a wake or memorial service for this person. That would be the end of it. That I know, that he’s dead, and I wouldn’t want to memorialize him. I would cremate him, and leave the ashes at the crematorium.

  • Birdie-CL is right….you won! You have your freedom. You did not breed with a fuckwit & you have the second part of your life to live it any way YOU want to. My cheater was also one of the prostitute, Craigslist, “teen” porn, Asian massage parlor scumbags & had been doing it for YEARS when we were married. While my Dday was before he died unexpectedly, a whole trove of more disgusting stuff materialized after he died. Mr. Runswithhookers had a whole other life completely separate from the one he had with me our son. I truly did not know the man I married at all. The one thing that did bother me was someone’s house keys with hearts all over them were in his office stuff……..I was just worried that some random underage sex worker is going to show up with his kid. He’s been gone 6 months now and so far the coast is clear.

    Birdie-If you don’t want to change anything in the house then don’t. The point is that it is YOUR decision. Live your life the way you want. You are getting a second chance at life so LIVE IT. You can be as happy or as miserable as you want for the time you have left. And you are so lucky that you didn’t have kids with your cheater…….then you would have to deal with them crying for their POS dad.
    Ask me how I know…..

  • Birdie,

    Mourn your losses and feel whatever you feel.

    There is a memoir called “Perfection” by Julie Metz. She too lost her husband suddenly and discovered he had a double-life. It has been years since I read it (ironically before my marriage fell apart), so I do not recall what her conclusion was about the matter. But you may be interested in reading it at some point when you are ready.

  • Birdie, what an awful, horrendous discovery. I’m so sorry. Millions of hugs to you, and yeah, piss on the bastard’s grave !

    Chump Lady said; ”Or triangulating with your neighbor to befriend you, when he knows he fucked her? Inserting her in your life? Encouraging intimacy? He’s raping you. Your vulnerability and powerlessness gave him a big, raging hard-on.”

    Exactly. My stbxh attempted very much the same sort of thing. He got a flat, and moved his bitch whore in, telling me she was “just a good friend”, and that she would rent the spare room which would help with the bills. Believe it or not, I swallowed this, (although my gut was screaming at me).

    His plan was that when the flat was finished, we would rent out our static caravan, and live in the flat. All three together; cosy, eh ?

    Luckily I read her texts on her phone, and his texts to his mate about fucking her. My d day was July 14th, and it’s only just dawned on me, that if I hadn’t read the texts, and followed his plan, the two of them would have had a sickly thrilling situation, ” she doesn’t know what *we* know”, and carried on fucking each other whenever I was out of the way. Aaaargh!!

    Like you, I couldn’t believe the duplicity, lies, deceit, and gaslighting, although mine lasted only a few months, compared to your 15 **years**. Hugs, and more hugs. I know how horrible you must feel, but it **does** get better, I still feel awful sometimes, (emotional rollercoaster) but not quite as devastated as when I first found out.

  • Omg, Birdie! You describe my husband, at large. 10 years together and I had no f*ing clue what he was up to.
    Sociopaths!
    The problem is, after the veil lifted, I see them everywhere. I see red flags everywhere. It’s tiring to fend off as if the whole world out there is after me.
    Any ideas how to heal from this? I think the core issue is trust. Trust that was broken: in people, in myself.

    • The stuff doesn’t bother me. It’s the photos. The family photos with all of us smiling. I look at them and think “you son-of-a-bitch — you were fucking cheating when this photo was taken.

      Unfortunately, I think that even when I look at photos from when our daughter was merely 3 weeks old.

  • I kept what I wanted and tossed what I didn’t. Things that happened to be gifts from him I don’t associate with him, they’re just mine. Mine. It’s all mine.

    I disassociated him from every object. And if I couldn’t do that immediately but didn’t want to toss it, I packed it away to decide later.

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