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Dear Chump Lady, Why is the OW calling our house?

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Dear Chump Lady

My husband told me about his affair 3 years ago. (Which lasted 5 years.) He cut off contact with the other woman at that time. We are still together and have 2 teenagers.

Today was his birthday. I was busy making a gourmet dinner and dessert for him, when our home phone rang. I couldn’t get to the phone in time to answer it. My teen did not answer it, but brought me the phone and said it was [insert OW’s name]. I looked at call log on our phone and sure enough, there was her name and number! I was in shock! I did nothing. I did not say a word to my spouse about this evening.

I do not know what I should do next. Do I tell him she called?? Do I ignore it???

Why was she calling our home? What does she want?

1. I do not think she knows that I am aware of their affair.

2. While they did not work together, their offices were in close proximity.

3. He left his job a year ago and got rid of his cell phone altogether.

4. I do not think she knows where he is currently working, but I’m not sure.

Again, why would she be calling our home after 3 years??? She is divorced and was divorcing her husband when she met and cheated with mine.

Should I tell him she called or keep it to myself??

I just feel so set back and am wondering if they are in contact.

Amia Dimwit

Dear Amia,

You’re not a dimwit, you’re just suffering the noxious effects of a three-year hopium habit. You’re deep in the spackle, huffing the hopium, wanting to believe all your husband’s self-reported no contact with his mistress. You’ve put a lot of faith in some really flimsy “transparency”, but we’ll get to that in a moment…

The OW calling your home could mean a lot of things, but the most obvious is — she’s never been out of contact with your husband. She’s probably getting sick of waiting in the wings, (especially on the night of his birthday), and thought she would voice her displeasure by fucking up the family celebration with a phone call. It’s a shot across the bow to him, and a nice little effort to terrorize you. SHE’S BAAAAACK!! (Cue the chainsaws.)

While you’ve been cooking this man gourmet dinners, he’s been enjoying cake of more than just the birthday kind. Fuck them both. Take back your power, Amia.

Let’s UBT your evidence of his no contact, okay?

1. I do not think she knows that I am aware of their affair.

Amia, why do you have DOUBT about this? If we are to believe that your husband DUMPED HER ASS three years ago, WHY would you think she doesn’t know you know? OW are dumb, but they’re not that dumb. For FIVE YEARS she fucked him on the side, knowing he had a wife. Suddenly she gets dumped (forever! it’s over!) and somehow she can’t connect the dots to “The chump found out”? You think after a five year investment, she ceased her pick me dance?

Not only does she probably know YOU know, she’s probably tired of whatever lies he’s spinning keeping her sidelined. In any case, on the off chance you don’t know, she’ll call your house on his birthday to confirm her existence. Hi! Mistress Fuckpuppet here! 

2. While they did not work together, their offices were in close proximity.

Uh huh. And he maintained that proximity for another TWO YEARS after your D-Day.

Anyway, proximity is a minor thing. People will travel across oceans to surreptitiously fuck. If he wanted to be in touch, he’d be in touch.

3. He left his job a year ago and got rid of his cell phone altogether.

See point above. A new cell phone means NOTHING. Did he get unlimited data with that character transplant?

4. I do not think she knows where he is currently working, but I’m not sure.

It’s pretty easy to Google where someone works. And after a five-year relationship, they probably know some people in common she could ask. (If she didn’t know, but she’s probably always known.)

Amia — you’ve framed this as “What Does She Know”? Demonstrably missing from your list is what sort of remorse and recompense your cheater husband has committed to. I read a lot of doubt. Did you get a post-nup? Does he go to therapy? Is your reconciliation one perpetual reassurance of his commitment?

I see a woman doing the pick me dance, cooking this ungrateful bastard a nice birthday dinner, and another woman doing a pick me dance (I AM YOUR SPECIAL SCHMOOPIE, WHY IS SHE BAKING YOU A CAKE AND NOT ME?!) And I see you BOTH maintaining the silence so Ungrateful Bastard can enjoy the cake. You stifle what you know, (or what you have questions about) and she waits in the periphery of his life. Shit sandwiches for everyone! (Except him.)

Again, why would she be calling our home after 3 years??? She is divorced and was divorcing her husband when she met and cheated with mine.

Did you ever speak with her husband? You sure about that timeline? How do you know she didn’t divorce her husband to be with your husband, and she got thrown under the bus?

Look, I read a LOT of stories here. You probably think I’m extrapolating a lot from the thinnest of outlines, but use your commonsense, Amia. She’s either never been out of touch, OR she wants to be back in touch. Both of these things suck for you.

If you feel rock solid about your decision to reconcile with a man who deceived you for five years (pause for a moment to consider the level of deceit required to hook up with OW repeatedly and lie to you about it for 1,825 days straight…) then confront him. Mention the phone call. See what he does.

But what’s the point? Either, he’s such a practiced liar at reassuring you It Means Nothing (see your flimsy transparency above) OR he’ll play dumb OR he’ll get a little panicky and go further underground. You can’t trust the man. He deceived you so well for so long. If you keep huffing the hopium pipe ignoring the crisis, assuming it will all blow over, you’re going to be fucked.

This is very risky for you, Amia. My advice is don’t say a word and let them think you’re still a chump. Meanwhile, lawyer up, and run the finances. And run a credit report on him. You’re approaching empty nest life, and I’d hate to think he’s moving money for a new life. (I read a LOT of stories here, Amia. This shit is so predictable. Even if you think you’re exceptional, PROTECT YOURSELF.)

It always comes back to — Is this an acceptable relationship to you? Do you want to live with anxiety and mistrust? Waiting for the next Schmoopie to drop?

If you’re cool with that, then enjoy the shit sandwich while your husband finishes his cake.

The art is copyrighted, Tracy Schorn, from “Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life.”

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    • My thought exactly. Either she had the house line all along or she Googled him. BOTH options are unacceptable. They had an affair for 5 freaking years… It’s been “over” for 3 years… now she calls the house line? On his birthday. That is no accident. No one calls to apologize (lol apologize) 3 years later on her married affair partner’s birthday. If it was over she should have moved on already and have nothing to say to either one of you after 3 long years. My gut tells me that he’s told her to wait until the kids are older but she got sick of waiting and threw a wrench in the spokes. What’s the difference to him… He’s got a side chick and a wife with delicious baked cakes and chicken parm in the oven. He’s living the dream just like my husband was. After I left my cheating narc disaster, he’s baked himself a cake every week. No joke he’s baking cakes. My advice start photocopying everything and call some layers to see what you’re up against. Take the reigns… you’re being dragged behind Prince Charming’s horse.

      • “My gut tells me that he’s told her to wait until the kids are older”

        Bingo. I’d bet everything that he’s telling the OW that he’s not in love with you (his wife), but is staying for the kids. Hurtful stuff.

        • LiningUpDucks first of all great name! I agree… I’ve first hand heard it from an OW (I called her 😁 I called them all actually because I needed to see it to believe it). She sent me the screenshots of him bashing me… I’m apparently a rare breed of miserable woman that writes love notes and puts them in my husband’s lunchbox. Cookies shaped like hearts… only miserable bitches bake those! Pfff. They keep these women by playing to their egos that they are better women than us. Another OW told him in the very beginning of their relationship to buy me flowers or something to try to fix me. I was a newlywed on cloud 9… nothing to cheer me up about… I was in love and happily married. The lies take your breath away. I had no clue the smear campaign he was waging or that he was lying about me to collect whores. This ass has kept this home-phone-calling-freak on the hook for 7 years. You don’t do that by speaking highly of your wife. There’s so much disrespect on so many levels it makes me sick.

          • Yes to all of this. After talking with my x’s ow I learned that apparently we traveled across Europe together because “he felt sorry for me”, that whenever he was late for meeting up with her it was my fault because I was yelling at him (reality, we were probably laying in bed too long together, lol), and that he’d needed for he and I to stay living together since we’d just bought our home and BILLS, etc. Yes, they tell tall tales of hopium to the OW and the OW believe them even more than we do! Crazy stuff.

            Amia, I’d also recommend staying stealth as you watch his actions – along with the practical precautions mentioned here like getting yourself as financially independent as possible and finding a good support system (lawyer, counselor, steady income, improve your physical health, etc).

      • “My gut tells me that he’s told her to wait until the kids are older”

        Yup, that was my first thought too…

        Amia Dimwit, do you know what happens when you let people disrespect you? They get used to it… Your “husband” and his “ex-“OW are probably having belly laughs about how smart they are being able to “live their love” while you’re still playing a game you don’t have the full set of rules for… If you are strong enough, read some threads on the reddit/adultery board, where cheaters give other cheaters advice on how to dupe, gaslight, and disrespect their spouses…

        It turned my stomach but also opened my eyes about what to watch for and how to best move forward with my divorce.

        Cheating is like labor, the fact that it happens every day does not change how painful the experience is for anyone going through it…

        Please Amia Dimwit keep reading here, and line up your ducks. Use locate my ipad app to track where your husband drives to and from. If it’s legal, install a keyboard tracking device on the family computer (check with your lawyer), and make copies of all financials, credit card statements and others.

        If you find anything that does not add up financially, start a Sunday money chat with your husband so you can monitor his spending, ya know, with two teenagers time to get even more money saved for college… If he becomes defensive about money and your finances, there is probably more there than you uncovered.

        Take good care of yourself Amia Dimwit, and put your kids and yoursel first!!

    • More to the point – why is she still with her husband??!

      Take CL’s advice and lawyer up without him knowing. I agree – you’re reaching the empty nest stage, and he could up and leave you high and dry. Protect yourself before he f**ks you over. And stay strong! Put down the hopium pipe and don’t pick it up again. Best wishes!

      • Left him
        I agree that part of what she needs to think about is what she wants.

        Amia Dimwit
        Half of your problem is of course your cheater and the affair he has probably not stopped at all, in other words, how much he devalues and disrespects you.
        The more important half I have learned for myself after pretty much living on this site for a year (now happily divorced after 23 years of marriage) is what do you want your life to be? Who were you before this awful man played you for a fool? What do you want in your life? I’m thinking that if you reflect a bit on who you have become, what you do for your family, how hard you work and put your heart and soul into everything for little return especially from your cheater, then your decisions about what to do will change.
        This is not about the OW or him. It’s about you. You get to decide who you are from now. You get to decide what is acceptable. You get to model ‘I’m not eating your shit sandwich’ for your children. You have the opportunity here to be your own person and model good choices, respect, strength and you get to impose consequences for being treated so badly. Being lied too.
        We already know what kind of people they are. What kind of person are you? Who do you want to be?

        It’s not an easy path to divorce but it’s so fucking worth it I can assure you. The fear is almost overwhelming but it’s better on the other side. A lot better. I promise. There is nothing better than owning your own life.
        You can do this. You already know you have no option really. A life lived on your knees under the thumb of a cheater and his side dish is no life at all.
        I would suggest you take aim at his wedding tackle (metaphorically of course) bring that knee back as far as possible while you line up your lawyer and then let fly. Boom.
        Good luck. Hit him where it hurts.

            • Sayonara
              If you had told me how much better my life would be a year ago I would not have believed you. Then I had just been through multiple ddays. It took 3 months for me to file, 9 more for the divorce. I was a mess for months. But gradually I got clear. My anxiety is so much better.
              My real joy though is finding myself again. Giving myself permission to be who I want to be. Making my own decisions, being a good enough parent, being kind and gentle to myself. Valuing myself.
              I am now so much better. I had settled for so little. It is a hard blessing to be sure but a blessing. I’m not making myself very clear but I am more at peace than I have ever been. My life is mine and I like it!
              You will get there and it is so much better and so much worth walking through the pain to get there. Trust yourself. Let go of the fuckwit and all things past. Just look to you and what you want, what you need, what you can do. This is your time.

              • Capricorn – so great to hear you are doing so well!!! I am new to this so your words give me hope! I am doing pretty well but only 10 weeks out it’s tough at times for sure! Can’t wait to get through the divorce proceedings!

              • Thank you 😊 to a newish chump like me you have no idea how much your words help. ❤️❤️😇

            • How Much better does it get? Insanely better! I can hardly stand it. I wake up happy, no angry south person there to say things like “what are you smiling for?” My days are filled with my son and my awesome job. I am financially stable. I did the hard work of therapy and I’m now confident in my abilities, my decision making and my social skills. I fixed my picker and found a man who values me and is reciprocal. I sleep in peace, no worrying or wondering. Like you I never could have believed my life would be better than ever (I had a lot to work out in therapy) but, here I am, living it every day. Do the work and invest in yourself. And, stay No Contact, the path to the truth and the light!

              • Thanks I’ve been in therapy and will continue it’s been so helpful I don’t think I could have filed without it. I also blocked him on social media and all phones and unfriended his family and friends etc. Your advice to newbies like me is very much appreciated!

  • He never finished with her. Hate to say it but it’s clearly true. He just went deeper underground and got better at lying. Keep your cards close to your chest, and follow chump lady’s wise advice. These people who can deceive us happily for years never change. Ever.

    • “These people who can deceive us happily for years never change. Ever.”

      I will second this. Even though technically HE confessed to me, what he had done (intermittent hooker use) had gone on for years. I thought, hm, maybe because we have our daughter now he doesn’t want to lose his family and he came clean in an effort to make things right going forward. Despite going to counseling, he exhibited the same behavior (secrecy, entitlement) that he had the whole time. Was I going to stick around and teach this man how to be a responsible, decent human being? Or was it more likely that any effort I put it would have been for naught and he going to take his behavior more underground? The absurdity of it all eventually broke me and I knew I had to divorce him or I was in for a really disappointing life, to say the least (not to mention how the tension of that relationship would have affected our daughter as she grew).

      They are in these patterns because of who they are, not just mistakes they’ve made. Changing who you are takes a lot of effort, and it has to come from within. Not many can do this — particularly not cheaters, who prefer the whimsical pleasure of cake to the pain of looking inward and feeling anything resembling remorse for what they did.

      I would say just trust your gut — if she’s calling, it’s likely he’s been doing at least something behind your back to encourage it. I agree with CL — confront eventually if you want to see how he’ll react, but keep the information to yourself as long as you need to in order to get things ready for the next step, which is important for your well-being no matter you choose to play it. In addition to it being a practical move, you will also have some time to digest what is happening.

    • That was exactly what I thought — an affair of five friggin’ years with one person. He devalued, disrespected, degraded, and humiliated his wife and kids for this one person for five years …. or 1,825 consecutive days. The sheer entitlement and utter lack of giving a shit means NO, he didn’t stop. He just learned to hide it better. Because, cake.

      I’ve told this story before, but I think it’s worth repeating. More than a decade before the implosion, I caught my STBX in a lie — because I had started noticing a pattern of his mouth getting thick and dry when I was pretty sure he was lying. The last time this happened, I called him on it. I told him HOW I knew he was lying (super bad newbie move — I showed my hand).

      He felt so bad that he had lied — tears, apologies, professions of love. And he never had a thick mouth again. He was being honest, right!? He learned how to be a better person and husband, right?! NO — instead, this asshole somehow managed to control his physiological “tell” when he was lying.

      They are exceptionally good at processing and then adapting to “what works” and “what doesn’t” when it comes to maintaining cake.

  • I agree with CL!!!! Don’t say a word and lawyer up! I know it’s super hard, but you deserve so much better!!! This is a toxic relationship that you need to get out of!

    “If you’re cool with that, then enjoy the shit sandwich while your husband finishes his cake.” Love this and it’s so true!!!!

    Please leave him! Stay strong – hugs

  • “Did he get unlimited data with that character transplant?”

    Laugh out loud moment for me this morning. 🙂 Thanks, Chump Lady!

    • UNM (you know our global arrangements), I have just discovered semen stains on the mattress of my bed of our main home. Even though we are nearly divorced, this stuff never stops affronting. That means he has brought a woman into every single one of our properties, our marital beds.

      They never change.

  • He NEVER got rid of her in the first place. She’s getting fed up waiting on him and wants to get the ball rolling. She doesn’t give a damn anymore and wants to let it be known. Your husband is still fucking her. Be prepared for when it all comes out cause it will and you’re gonna be hurt all over again. Trust that he’s a piece of shit and let him go be with his fuck buddy.

    • I found that the truth is usually the path of least resistance. This never ended. Bet OW threatened to out him and thats why he confessed. Then he worked double time to keep OW quiet and satisfied. For that gut feeling alone I’d keep this a secret until you do a deep dive into your finances and prepare for the worst. No harm in that. Sure there are numerous scenarios that could be true… oh he ended it but she’s just still obsessed. Ok but Amia feels something in her gut because she wrote in. Not Today Satan is right in my opinion. If it quacks like a 🦆… And after reading her letter all I hear is loud quacking.

  • Amia D–and what do you think he has told the OW about you? Nice things? What a wonderful wife you are, but he just likes a bit of strange p***y on the side? No, that would be truthful. They lure in these gullible (stupid?) OW/OM with tales of their loveless, sexless marriage, that you are a hapless harridan who doesn’t let him eat Cheetos while he watches Monday night football, that you wear granny panties and hold your nose during the 10 times you’ve had sex since the children were born.

    A five-year affair requires a substantial amount of intimacy and violation of privacy well beyond the bumping of body parts. He has betrayed you in every possible way–emotional, sexual, financial, by revealing very personal and quotidian details of your family life. Think long and hard about what kind of interactions are necessary for an affair of that length; consider the number of lies, the number of decisions your H had to make–all of them in favor of her and against you. Once you engage in this painful thought endeavor, you’ll realize the kind of man you are married to, and only one option remains–line up the financial ducks as CL outlines above, lawyer up, and divorce his sorry ass before you end up a destitute middle aged woman because he drains the accounts and leaves you for the OW once the kids are graduated and he won’t have to pay child support. Think this is a slim possibility? Spend a week reading the stories here.

    He is not the man you think he is.

      • AND, Tempest and CL usually teach us all new words to look up: quotidian. Love it and will use! =D

    • Yes, me wonders if the promise to OW might be “just wait until the kids go off to college”.

      Deadcheater (today would have been our 31st anniversary) told me once that OW considered him “fair game” nevermind he lived in a house with his wife/kids…so what lies did he tell her to believe he was available?

      • My cheater’s OW met him on Match.com. His profile listed him as divorced. That would have been good information for me, his wife of 23 years, mother of his 4 children to have. She stated that she thought he was single “at first”. She found out pretty quickly through a mutual friend that he was married and living with his wife and children. She should have dumped him and told me and never had contact with him again. Instead she doubled down! That’s how messed up his wifetress is. In my opinion OW are none too bright, pretty gullible, and get exactly what they deserve, the cheater!

        • Same here. OWife thought he was single at first. Then thought he was divorced as his driver’s license said his parents address instead of ours. Then, when she stopped over at our house, found out we were not only still married but were definitely still living as a married couple. IE: I had no idea what was going on.

          Still wouldn’t let him go.

          She ended up a divorced (again) mom of 3 (one with exhole, 2 from previous) after she caught him cheating on her too.

          Marry a man who cheats on his wife….

        • wasband hooked up with the neighborhood party girl meth head.. .. . right across the street from our house. so she KNEW he was still at home with a wife and kids.. .. of course she was only “helping” him with his marital problems by drinking with him and ultimately turning him on to meth to make him feel better.. .. .. when shit hit the fan, she “stood up” for him and called me (his wife) to yell at me and tell me that i wasnt “treating HIM right” .. .. hahaha

          currently she is protecting him and she is “not going to let me control or manipulate him anymore”.. .. because i had so much control over him before right.. that is why he was in her pants after having a few beers. poor little guy was terrified to go home to his wife and kids.. because i never let him do anything fun.. ..

          the twisted shit they come up with to justify their wrong doings. both of them knew it was wrong. she even went thru his facebook profile and all his pictures, she knew that i still loved him and that i and his children depended, relied, trusted, supported, loved and needed him. it did not matter to her because she wanted a man and set her sights on my loser wasband. she saw all that we had and foolishly thought it was because of him.. ..

          now they are both miserable. badly hooked on meth trying to get that feel good feeling they had at the beginning. fighting everyday, cant keep a job and homeless 10 months out of any given year. karma in its finest.. . unfortunately my ex is literally too stupid to realize that karma has ran his dumbass over (repeated) because he is forever the victim. it is never his fault. waaa waaa waaa..

          meanwhile. i finally have peace and happiness living in mehland on a tuesday… 🙂

    • Tempest, very well put together response. Rather a short or long affair, this is exactly the effort they put into it. Especially how they decided in favor of her and against you and the kids.

    • The lies…yes. I saw that cheater X purchased a book on abusive relationships, no doubt to be used as a pity prop…like all of the other “self-discovery” literature that he purchased to sort out what seemed to be his relationship with his narc father (at least that’s what it was when we were married). He somehow managed to obtain new pussy — er, a new girlfriend — pretty quickly after the divorce was finalized. I wonder…I mean, I know there are people out there who would date a freshly divorced person, and there are plenty who would ignore/overlook flags in general (as I seemed to have done), but what story has to be told to make them seem like a suitable partner with the whole divorce thing hanging right there (or in the case of still-married chumps, an established home life)? Most likely it’s something of the “my awful wife/husband” variety.

    • Amia D, my dear, this fellow dimwit exhorts you to listen to CL, Tempest and Fellow Chumps. Cheaters are so predictable, no crystal ballet needed. Just the address changes. I found out more shit about my cheater than I will ever bear to know. It still makes me feel physically sick. 40 years of marriage to a parragon of morality who was making a fool out of me. Get rid of this evil in your life. Your story makes me furious.

    • “and hold your nose during the 10 times you’ve had sex since the children were born”

      Dead on! And this particular complaint was SO freaking bizarre, in our case. He whined that we had only had sex like 3 times in our kid’s first year of life. Which was an insane exaggeration anyway, made especially insane since the reason we didn’t have much sex is because HE was having performance problems (due to wonky hormones). What the what?!

  • I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. He’s likely still with the OW.

    She could be like my XW, who apparently claimed she wanted to call her AP’s wife to talk with her…to do some sort of sick “explanation” of how the AP was/is hurting and devastated over the fact that he’s a piece of shit cheater and home wrecker (just like her!). Not devastated enough to end their relationship or take responsibility for their actions, of course. Just devastated enough to want more drama.

    Alternatively, she could be calling to honestly and openly apologize for the destruction that she helped to cause. She’s gone through years of therapy and self-reflection, and now she’s an OW unicorn who’s seen the error of her ways, and this is part of her 12 steps. It’s possible, but not probable.

    • If OW were truly sorry, they’d stay no contact with you. Wanting absolution, dredging up painful shit (purportedly in the past), making their drama central in a chump’s life — is about THEM. IMO that’s not consistent with a moral inventory. Just stay away.

      • and if OW/OM were truly sorry, they’d deliver all the evidence–hotel receipts, text messages, photos of them with the cheater on vacation, that would allow the chump to leave the cheater & get an excellent settlement.

    • Considering that she called him on his birthday, it’s unlikely that she did it to make amends. Most likely she’s calling to say happy birthday because she thinks that they’re still in a relationship and he and the wife are separated or some bullshit, or she’s trying to fuck things up because she’s angry that he’s not spending his birthday with her.

      Either way, she is definitely still in the picture and wifey needs to call a lawyer.

    • Given the lower level functioning of the average cheater is it also possible that he called her from the house and she did not pay attention to whether she was calling him back at the home or cell number.

      • I’ll second this. Perhaps my XW cruelly wanted me to see the evidence, as some passive-aggressive ploy. Regardless, she sucked at keeping secrets and being disciplined about her deception. I was “lucky” that way.

    • Read carefully steps 8 and 9 of any 12-step program.

      Make amends to those you have harmed (with your abusive philandering behavior) except when to do so would injure them. In my opinion, this lunatic woman is hoping to stir up some sh*t and harm the wife even more. What a kook !

  • Yeah this asswipe lied and let a double life up for 5 years and now we are supposedly to believe he’s changed his ways? Take CL’s advice and get yourself protected and GET OUT!!

  • The HOPIUM artwork says it all. It remains my favorite image and, given Tracy’s immense talent, that’s saying a lot.

  • He never stopped seeing her. He just became better at hiding it. He has obviously been reaching out to her without your knowledge. Please trust my advise on this one. Also, if it wasn’t her, it’d be someone else. He may act dumb and place the blame on his affair partner to manipulate you into forgiving him but he chose to be with her and continues to be in contact.
    If he was with her for 5 years, why did you allow him to stay in your life? Someone who is able to live a double life for that long has serious personality traits issues.
    Save yourself from wasting what is left of your youth on this cheater and find someone who will respect and dedicate himself to you.
    Read the replies on other stories on here where the betrayed spouse spent 40 years and now realizes that dd1 after 10 or 15 years of marriage was just the beginning of his life of cheating. Be smart and don’t waste anymore time with your cheating husband. Time to see a lawyer. You really don’t need to discuss her call with him. He will just lie to you about it.

  • I cannot stress this enough Amia: DO NOT confront him with this. Go about as if everything is normal and begin digging into your financials. Call his work and see if he has drained his 401k, call brokers and see if he has liquidated stocks or mutual funds, call the post office and see if he has set up a P.O. box. Call his payroll office and see if he has his check being split and money being sent to non-joint accounts. Put a keyloggger on his personal computer (if legal in your state for jointly owned property. You don’t need the keylogger to confirm the affair (CL and CN did that!), use it to get account passwords, find out if he has different emails to conduct shady financial dealings, or, if he happens to have a safety deposit box with a hoard of cash. My ex took out credit cards in my name whch he ran up to the tune of 40,000 all the while squirrelling cash away for his and schmoopie pie’s escape. Please d’t think,”He’d cheat, but he’d NEVER do that.” YES HE WOULD.

    • Yes — especially on the financial infidelity.

      When I started reading here, I really thought this wasn’t a possibility with my STBX. We had NO money for him to take …. I thought.

      Then I discovered that since day one of our marriage, he had been skimming his checks, not telling me about bonuses, etc. For more than two decades. Even when we didn’t have money for groceries to feed our kids and I had to borrow it from friends and family during a particularly rough time (due to a family medical crisis) … he STILL took money.

      Never, ever underestimate the sliminess within these assholes.

  • Chump-aholic: Part Two.
    Second verse, same as the first.

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, even a brain dead Labrador Retriever (is there any other kind?) eventually catches on.
    Oh honey, this is just sad.

    OTOH, what’s for dinner?

    • Even the most dense of Labrador Retrievers has the ability and desire to be honest and loyal. More than I can say for a lot of humans.

  • Get an attorney with a good PI. Always, always follow the money. Unless you have total access to his income you have no idea what he does with it.
    He kept the ow so tied up that she quietly let him go after FIVE years?!!? I don’t think so. You have several bad scenarios here. One, he has never stopped. Two, she is a lunatic. Three, I am going back to he never stopped. Yeah, that one. The man lived a LIE for five years. What a charming, loving, precious, moral person you married.

    • I agree 100% with the above. Follow the money. Before you let him know your plans, collect as much financial info as you can. Even if it is hundreds of pages as your lawyer will want a few years of financial information, if you don’t want him to know, copy it or take photos of it. Cheaters will hide stuff and affairs and schmoopies cost money. Chump lady has done great articles on this. I was too trusting of a cheater and I am paying for it. Put your emotions aside and protect yourself because you can bet your cheater does not have your back. Wishing you the best.

  • Great advice from chump lady.

    Make sure you take special note of the empty nest section. These cheaters all take their cues from the same play book. When my cheater left he said that he had been going to wait until youngest munchkin was out of the house. Youngest was 11 years old at the time. In one of his hate speeches, he told me that he could not take the abuse any longer and he was leaving to be with his cheater partner. Cheater partner’s nest had emptied two weeks prior to his exit.

    The abuse as he termed it was family responsibility. He deserved to be free from that like schmoopie so they can go bar hopping at a moments notice and ride off into the sunset on his Harley without a care in the world.

    Because they worry about public image, it makes them feel better if the kids are grown. So you having teens, I would agree with chump lady that is a factor in his disordered thinking. Take note!

    Hugs! Sorry you are in this position! It sucks.

  • He had an affair for FIVE years….and you are baking and cooking. I’m also not sure why you are surprised that someone he had a relationship with for five years knows his phone number. This was not a drunken night in a bar…he shared his life with her for five years. This speaks volumes about his feelings for her AND his lack of feelings and respect for you. Get a lawyer and kick him out before he leaves. Surprise is always a good strategy.

  • I will jump on the bandwagon here and say…GET OUT!! Trust us all, especially those who have had the experience firsthand, he likely just took it further underground. When DDay hit for me, he had already been with her for 4 years. One of my uncles who is a minister that specializes in marriage and family told me to get rid of him. He said that his actions pointed to massive character issues and that I was better off kicking him to the curb. Sure enough, 1 month after DDay, he took out a cell phone with a plan….not a burner phone, but one with a 2 year contract, lol. All while telling me he ended it with her. Little did he know that on the phone plan we shared, I could still see that he was texting her…dozens of time a day. It’s been 6 years since, I divorced him, and guess what? He moved her in with him. I thought they were done? Shut that cake down and lawyer up…

  • She called the house because she wants YOU to know that she is not out of the picture at all! She is so brazen as to call you at home because she is trying to “mark her territory”, which happens to be the place that is most sacred to you.

    I speak from very personal experience. OW came to my house one time and, even though I did not know about the affair, her presence was so disturbing I told X she was never to come to our home again. She even began lecturing my daughter about wearing her running shorts at the dinner table (daughter had just gotten home from track practice).

    I have not posted here about many of the details of what happened to protect my kids but after that encounter OW knew there was no way X was going to “pick” her, not because he is such a great guy, but because he did not want to lose his reputation as a devoted family man (haha).

    So how did OW ramp it up? First, unknown to X she filed for divorce herself. Then she began a extremely elaborate and downright crazy scheme to very publicly out their affair, the same day as our wedding anniversary! This effort was so insane that if I describe it here even CN would think I was nuts. It also was so successful that the outing of the affair was splashed all over the news. I later learned her divorce was to be finalized the day after their affair was outed. From beginning to end, OW’s actions were methodically planned.

    My family was traumatized and it took my kids years to recover, Some of them still have major trust issues because of it. X refused to believe that OW was capable of such outrageous behavior, until one of OW’s friends let it slip to the press what her friend had done. I never believed people were capable of such conduct until I saw it with my own eyes. X dropped OW like a hot potato, but the damage to our marriage could not be repaired. I was done being the marriage police.

    My point here is that you can never underestimate the darkness that lies within the heart of these people. OW has concluded that she is the “rightful” owner of your husband and that YOU are the interloper, keeping her from her “true love”. No matter how disgusting or despicable her conduct, she has found a way to justify it. She isn’t going to change and, if her last tactic doesn’t work, she will find other ways to harass you.

    What you have to decide is have you had enough? Is her invasion into the sanctity of your home enough to make you take a very hard look at what is really going on? Did you tell your husband what she had done? Did it down play it or was he outraged that she would do such a thing? If he brushed it off or in any minimized it, making you think you are overreacting, that is your tell.

    Only you can know whether you want to stay in this marriage, although I do believe CL has very accurately set forth your best course of action. The purpose of my post, though, is to tell you that any woman who would act so disrespectfully of you and your family, is sending you a very strong message. The message is that she isn’t going anywhere and that she is going to continue harass you. She is attempting to assert her dominance over you.

    • Violet, you have some serious street cred to speak to this crap….Im sorry you suffered in this way. Your story always leaves me curious but I deeply respect your right to privacy here, so I don’t ask questions.

      I’m proud to be your homegirl here.

    • Wow Violet- I am sorry you went through this with the crazy OW/your ex. How horrible!!!! I am a new chump -threw out my STBX and filing for divorce – the OW called me to out their affair bc she knew he would never leave. She did me a favor! He acted the part of devoted husband/family man – sick!

      He is still with his AP bc he is co-dependent and can’t be alone. She is a horrible person (supposedly recovered drug addict, supposedly ex-escort with a still current online ad/naked pics of herself). She is also a complete psycho – broke into his phone a few weeks ago and sent me 30 messages some claiming that she was pregnant w his twins(who lies about this?). My STBX put a stop to the harassment, told me they were all lies and apologized (whatever). I do not want to be with him, but I am terrified he stays with her and she could be around our son in the future.

      Everything she has done would be a deal breaker for any normal person. My STBX obviously has severe mental problems now. He said he knows these thins are wrong and is analyzing the situation (discussing that she is toxic for our son).

      Why the hell are some of these AP’s so nuts?

      I am so sorry about what happened to you and that it got out in the press and the impact it had on your kids! Hugs

      • Mil23 – you should document every single thing about that crazy B, what she’s done to you, print all of her online junk before she removes it, and print all the harrassing texts or emails, and use them to take out a protective order for your and your child. That way her disorder and the necessity to keep her from your child will be established in advance of your dbag actually marrying that whore, and you might have some ammo to KEEP her away from your son, like (in my case) having zero overnights, and zero contact with her. Your dbag will have to figure out how to have visitation that keeps your son from being around that B. If the first lawyer you talk to doesn’t understand the value of a PO to protect your son’s mental and emotional health, get a different lawyer. Sorry you’re dealing with this, chick.

        • Thank you!! I have done exactly what you are saying. Everything printed/screen shots, etc. and given to my lawyer. In our state it is hard to get a protective order unless the child is already physically hurt by the person. Ass backwards but I am doing other things to keep her away from our son with my attorney. She is so dumb also that she sent all these messages and I have it documented now how bat shit crazy she is 😂. And the online mostly naked escort ad of her all those pics are printed in color w the ad. Let’s not forget her drug posession arrest 9 months ago for ketamine posession with mug shot. She plead guilty to a lesser charge. These things will be great to use against my STBX!!!! And he thinks she supposedly changed – no longer a drug addict or escort – supposedly she stopped before they met. Yeah ok – why is her ad still active online. But he does know that her harassing emails to me were psycho and she’s crazy – but he’s evaluating things 😂.

          These people are just gross and crazy!!!!!!

          • Ummm, yeah. I believe she’s changed like I believe he’s not a cheating douchebag. 🙄 We’re not all that dumb, all the time…

            The only other thing I had on my side was months and months of my daughter having had counseling sessions with an amazing counselor who was willing to go to bat for her in court not to see him. Maybe that could help your son, too.

            Good luck!! You’re a smart cookie already doing all of that. (((Hugs!!)))

            • Thank you!!!! Yeah going to take him to a counselor soon who I’m sure would go to bat for him if needed.

              What disordered jerks!!!!

        • Document everything!!

          I got copies of the paperwork for the house exhole was trying to buy with OWife. I got police reports from her trying to break into my house. Pictures of ” was here” written in lipstick on exhole’s car in our driveway.

          It helps in court, for the judge to see color photos of that shit.

    • Yes, OW is out of line. But in my experience, it’s usually because the cheater has given them reason to believe they want the attention. In the movies it’s a bunny-boiler that is truly unwanted by the cheater. BUT In real life, 99.9% of the time, the cheater is stringing them along, giving the OW/OM hope and reason to stick around, telling them things like “I don’t love my spouse, I’m just staying for the kids”….”I really love you, OW” and maybe even doing the occasional hookup/meetup. Your husband is probably the driving force behind this, not the OW.

        • The Others are often freak shows themselves. Rarely are they innocents. Yeah, maybe some ow is lied to for a short while, but the vast majority of them get a rush off this shit too. Fuck them all.

          • True, OW/OM knowingly engage in deception that hurts families & children, and violate a social contract. They don’t get off the hook just because they may not have taken the specific marital vows being dirtied.

            • The grampdouche borrowed my car, took money from me, came over my house, my made my kid cry trying to make me look bad. Nah, some of them are fucking evil.

      • That is usually the case, but there definitely are bunny boilers out there. Are many of them encouraged by the asshole cheater? Absolutely, but never, ever, underestimate what a deranged person can do when they set their mind to it. They just don’t think like normal people and any effort to understand their mindset will fail. Unfortunately, a portion of these folks are very, very conniving and manipulative, and have a justification for anything they do.

        My comments were not directed at who is to blame. Clearly, it is her husband, who has broken his vows, and that is 100% on him. I was speaking to the why of the OW’s call. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to recognize that this woman is disordered. As extreme as my example seems, it is a matter of physical safety. But once you and your family (including your then 12 year old daughter) have been stalked by a crazy person, you never see things the same way again. I am a “tough cookie” and there were times I was truly frightened about what OW was capable of – and that was on her, not the cheating asshole I was married to. There are shows out there about how affairs can turn deadly for a reason. Sometimes, there really is a bogey man at the door.

        I also agree that she should not tell her husband about the call. She should immediately begin interviewing lawyers. Most offer free or low cost consultations. At the same time, she should hire the best PI in town. Yes, he will obtain proof of the ongoing affair (no one calls like that unless the relationship is ongoing). Equally important, though, he can run a complete background check on OW, obtain her criminal history, where she lives, the kind of car she drives, even who her associates are. This information can help you protect yourself against a danger you might not fully understand.

        My comments may seem extreme to some here, but there are many others who understand exactly what I am talking about. There is no step too small and no action too outrageous when it comes to protecting your family. Anyone who brazenly calls your home is telling you who she is. Believe her.

        • “my comments may seem extreme” key word seem. Our family seemed like the last family cheating would break apart. Appearances are deceiving. I had no flipping idea. But, even the best spackle doesn’t seem to last forever.

          Take heed, Violet’s comments are not extreme. While narc cheaters may seem good at compartmentalizing, the lies are in every compartment. Narc can speak freely of all his sins but he is very careful in his efforts not to leave a paper trail. You must unfortunately become a detective. Believe me it is not fun.

        • I agree there may be some true bunny-boilers out there, but I think they’re the rare exception, not the rule.

          Cheaters want chumps to think the OW is calling because she is a hopefully bunny-boiler (aka “bitch be crazy”). But really he’s been talking to her and stringing her along. Cheaters love the triangulation.

        • Violet

          I agree with everything you have said. You do have to protect yourself and believe that this person is capable of the worst kind of acts. If you have the slightest gut feeling about something, even if it seems nuts, you must act to protect yourself. Since becoming a chump I have met other chumps and two of them in particular have been subject to the most persistent acts of stalking and harassment by an OW. Often the police are not really set up to deal with this kind of thing before things have turned tragic. Some people are truly dangerous with off the charts dysfunctional thinking.
          To assume the worst is the only way sometimes to protect yourself and your kids.

        • Violet

          I agree with never underestimating the level of disordered the OW can bring forth into both the chumps and children’s lives.

          After being stalked and harassed for two years I finally put and end to her level of crazy after she ran me off the road. They ARE knowledgeable enough to lie under the radar covertly. Yet they ARE dangerous.

          I knew what I was dealing with the minute she spoke of having a granddaughter (mine) and having him move in with her within months of sleeping with him.

          No one fucks with my granddaughter. I applaud you for protecting your children in the aftermath of being stalked and raising awareness of their level of evil. These are very disturbed individuals.

          There is no doubt in my mind he enjoyed this from the sidelines.

        • It’s funny you mention this type of OW/OM behavior today. My kids keep expressing concern over the odd thieving magpie tendencies of my ex husbands affair partner. She was also a fan of calling the house during their affair because she’d had enough waiting in the wings. My favorite is when she called from the grocery store right next to her house- from a very well known town that she consistently bragged about living in.
          Apparently she did this to another guy (also married, also with younger kids) whose wife wasn’t as trusting as me who asked if they both wanted to spend eternity together on the bottom of the east river.

      • And there’s that intermittent reinforcement again! The Cheater is using a powerful tool to get the OW addicted to him, and the idea of their future together. I think OW are usually crazy, just my opinion, and they end up working so hard for this turd of a guy, who tosses them tidbits of Luv to keep them hooked!
        Amia, honey, is this really a mess you want to be around? Better things are out there for you, you deserve better. A partner is out there who who be excited you care enough to plan a birthday dinner! You’re so sweet!

    • Violet–your story is evidence that we should never underestimate the duplicity or crazy. Cheaters and their OW/OM are not normal, morally functioning people. Whatever you know, it’s much worse.

    • This isn’t necessarily true. Doubtful she is trying to place her dominance over you. She simply fell in love with your husband just as you did when you first dated him. Your husband is the dirty dog that lead her on to believe she was more important to him. If you could hear what he probably told her about you to make her think she was the one he loved and not you, you would better understand why she called. I don’t understand why you don’t have enough self esteem or why you don’t love your self enough to realize you deserve a better man.

      • Blaming the victim of infidelity is not what we do here. Why SHE “doesn’t have enough self-esteem???” and “She SIMPLY fell in love with your husband just like you did…” Sounds like cheater speak to me. Are you one of those OW who like to lurk here? Your comments certainly sound like it. OW knew this man was married. While asshole husband is the certainly at fault, this OW gets no pass either. She is morally at fault, no matter her excuse.

      • Live-n-learn….
        Really?? Maybe you’re the one who needs to examine her own self esteem. Isn’t that the reason cheaters cheat??… DO NOT JUDGE THE VICTIMS!!!
        Do you have any idea what we’ve (the cheated on) been through and for how long?? The pain/memories of betrayal are with us daily. Many of us were brought to our knees because the pain was so bad, and then to deal with years of being married coming to an end!! Don’t dare blame the victims here!! It’s very disrespectful, and we’ve already had our share! If you are the OW, grow up and take some responsibility for the mess you helped to make and the lives you’ve hurt. And he’s just as bad, if not worse.
        Keep your diluted comments to yourself.

      • Who CARES if she just fell in love with chump’s husband!? Like the OW’s love was better than the wife’s love?! Live-n-learn, you obviously have no idea what you’re talking about when you say that you cannot understand why the wife has no self esteem. Why don’t you just bash her some more?! Make her fell even more inept, why don’t you?! Make her doubt herself even more?! So glad Amia has the rest of us to show her support and not a loser like you, Live-n-learn.

  • Do not mention it to him. None of it. Not your suspicions. Just remain calm. Do not tell anybody and go to a lawyer. Get a consult. Go to a few. Figure out what you should be doing to get out. All of this done with a smile on your face every morning, every time you say goodnight. He cannot know. Honestly have fun as she starts fucking with him. He’ll start to break down btw. This part if almost fun. Good luck. Honesty on your part in a dishonest relationship with a dishonest person would be silly. Don’t be silly.

    • DunChumpin, I agree. Give him no more honesty. He does not deserve honesty, and Amia will not get honesty back from this guy just because she is honest with him.

      “Sometimes, when you’re not getting the love you want, giving makes you think you will.”
      -Mitch Albom

  • Moments like these are a sharp kick in the solar plexus that leave you reeling. I am painfully sorry that you have to go through that.

    When I wore your shoes, I would not have been ready to cut ties instantly. Maybe you are having similar feelings. Even so, the advice to not react openly and take this as a literal warning call to (a) start paying more attention (lawyer, research, taking note, etc.) and (b) getting your own affairs (and any kids’ affairs) in solid order is good advice. If you never end up needing it, no harm done, and if you do end up needing it, thank goodness you did it.

    Also, start documenting now. Print and stow important communications. Get a notebook that’s not perforated and keep a dated log in pen and if you have to cross anything out, only is a single line (so it doesn’t look like you are hiding anything). Start with the phone call and go forward. Stick to facts, no insults or editorializing. And be aware of your social media/public behavior.

    Good luck, and my heart goes out to you.

    • Amiisfree is giving you solid advice. You wrote to CL, so clearly you are starting to see or at least feel that there is something very wrong.
      1. Listen to that instinct. You first thought is to focus on the OW and there’s nothing wrong at all with keeping an eye out for her. Check the phone call record, etc. But turn your spidey sense toward your husband, not to be “suspicious” but to pay attention to how he behaves, what patterns you see, how he speaks to you. Rather than confronting him, or worrying about what he’s doing or not doing, study him. Study the quality of your interactions and how he treats you.
      2. Of course get copies of all paperwork together and keep them in a secure place. Secure your own sentimental valuables.
      3. But more important, become an expert on the family money. For sure, run a credit check.
      4. If you have a home security system, use it. If you don’t, they are a lot cheaper now than they used to be.
      5. Essentially, imagine that your magic 8-ball told you that your H would be gone in 6 months. Get ready. Prepared as if that’s so. Can you afford the house? Where else could you live happily and productively?

  • Sounds like the OW had plans that had to be canceled because of your Birthday plans so she was ready to let the cat out of the bag and cause trouble. She’s been in the background an extremely long time and she’s starting to get brazen. Now your eyes have been opened. Start searching for truths quietly, you’ll find them. Begin with that new cell. Good luck

  • Amia Amia Amia

    Odds are your husband never ended the affair and wacko OW is desperate.

    Odds are your husband has been moving the red line on when he’s going to dump you because we all know how much cheaters care about the kids. He’s been telling Wacko that he’s waiting for the youngest kid to get into college.

    Odds are your husband likes the arrangement of a double life and the red line might be moved and he’s telling wacko OW he’ll dump you after the youngest kid gets married and then maybe when his youngest grandchild gets into college.

    Aria keep making those gourmet desserts for your cheater, perhaps you might add an extra ingredient such as Exlax.

    Wacko OW and cheater husband think you’re stupid. You could prove them wrong by not saying a word and play dumb and meanwhile get a PI and see a lawyer, get your finances in order and get smart mad. Get smart mad…..repeat it to yourself as often as possible.

    Good luck

  • Your kid handed you the phone and the OW was calling.

    Please read that sentence until you feel physically ill. It shouldn’t take long.

    You may want to be a Chump on hoping, but what does your child deserve?

    Please be mighty… put on your WonderWoman granny pants.. line up your financial ducks and file. You are worth the world and so are your kids.

  • Amia~
    My best guess, based on my past experience with my cheating ex-husband, the OW has never left the picture!!! Your husband has more than likely continued his affair with this woman. My ex-husband had a five year affair as well. I caught him with this same OW five times. Each time he told me he had stopped contacting her. Once I was even present for the “break up” phone call he made to her. After I began divorce proceedings, he admitted that he had NEVER really stopped talking to her. They just got more creative in the ways of communication and meeting. It then took me longer to catch them, which obviously I did. Clearly, I was puffing from that hopium pipe! I spent those five years working as a detective in my own home! I never trusted him. I found it harder to love him. I became bitter and hateful. I was full of rage. I looked in my mirror and HATED myself for not getting out! My former highschool sweetheart of a husband was a complete and total asshole! My life was a sham. I no longer liked myself. That is when I called it quits!

    Listen, even IF (and that is a huge IF) your husband has ended the FIVE YEAR affair with this woman, your life will NEVER be the same! Your marriage is forever changed. The chance of this twat calling your house again will always be there. YOU deserve a man who loves YOU and only YOU! Do yourself a huge favor, don’t waste any more of your time here on earth on someone so undeserving of your love, friendship, kindness and trust. FREE YOURSELF! I did just that nearly four years ago and I LOVE MY LIFE and ME now!!!!

  • That nagging feeling in your gut… yeah, that’s doubt! I don’t recommend staying in this sham of a marriage, because as much as you hope that nagging feeling will “go away”… it won’t! Do you want to live the rest of your life that way? The Reconciliation Industrial Complex would have you believe that giving your spouse the benefit of the doubt is the mature and healthy thing to do. It’s not like we are talking about giving this guy the benifit of a beneign issue that, when all said and done, can leave you with some incurable disease, penniless, and/or starting a new life at 50, 60, 70? If he were to load a single bullet into a gun, hold it to your head, and play Russian roulette, would ANYONE tell you to give him the benifit of the doubt? No, no they wouldn’t, yet that’s what he’s done with your marriage and your health! If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that people who can live double lives DO NOT change. They have the masterful ability to keep 2 lives separate without guilt or remorse. Out of sight out of mind! Cheating is not a marriage issue, it’s a character issue, and unless he’s undergone a lobotomy he’s still the same character.

    Oh I was once in your shoes, smoking hopium and trying to push that nagging doubt aside, because that’s what good marriages are built on right… pushing aside those nagging doubts as to make way for the good??? No, good marriages are built on openness, honesty, reciprocity, and RESPECT! It sounds to me like you are doing all the heavy lifting here (as is usual with chumps)! Why didn’t you say anything? Because you are looking out for your best interest and plan on further investigation? My guess is because you didn’t want to ruin his birthday celebration by bringing to light his own fucked up behavior that has your heart racing, wondering WTF is going on! Let’s be clear, this situation would not exist if not for his behavior! I think we’ve all known people who “kept score” and brought up past mistake – yes, that is exhausting, but infidelity is not a mistake! It is a calculated, cruel and void of any respect for the chump! Luckily the 5 years I spent post D-day one, I also spent learning about disordered/ abusive behavior and self-respect, so when d-day 2 rolled around I had no doubt in my mind the only thing I was losing was the illusion of a marriage and a man (if you want to call him that) that did not really exist. I highly recommend the following books

    Leave A Cheater, Gain A Life (of course)
    In Sheeps Clothing
    The Gift of Fear
    The Gaslight Effect

    • Great thinking, Got A Brain!
      Unfortunately we have to learn about underhanded people, but we shouldn’t stay with them, they mess up EVERYTHING.

    • Got a Brain – your post really hit home. People don’t realize the serious repercussions of staying with a cheater. The risk is so high that you end up with an STD or penniless and having to start a new life, when it’s the last thing people want to be dealing. Why give the benefit of the doubt to this person, when the consequences are so grave. That’s what people don’t realize.

  • There is something about a birthday. My STBX supposedly ended his affair 6 years ago and yet, this year, he was nevertheless compelled to wait and wait until the clock struck midnight on OW’s birthday so that he could be the first person to wish her a “Happy birthday, Baby!” I do not know if my STBX and OW have been in touch for the past 6 years (they probably have, but the OW lives far away and so I don’t think they’ve seen each other much, if at all), but what that midnight birthday text told me is that, at a minimum, my STBX is still thinking about OW. And based upon her response to my STBX’s birthday text, it is clear to me that she is still waiting in the wings for him.

    In an attempt to defend himself, my STBX told me that he was just wishing an old friend a happy birthday. I told him that I have many friends, and I don’t call any of them “Baby.”

    Lies, lies, and more lies.

    • Ew. Mine called two of his OW’s Baby. Also Honey Pie. For most of our marriage I had no nickname, not even my name. When he was mad it was insults like bitch and cunt. After we had kids he only called me Mama, even when the children were not around.

    • Thank you! Intent counts! Sometimes it’s easy to say he didn’t do anything but hold hand/text or “shop” (in my case). That shows intent and priorities. Plus it becomes difficult to believe that it doesn’t go further if they did show intent.

      • Actually, one of the most deeply painful (to me) things X did, was shop for groceries with OW, while they were holding hands. And he confessed this to me, because drama, and trying to cause a cat fight, as always. It felt just like a punch to my guts.

    • Hey the “Baby” thing should be in the “cheater warning sign” thread! My husband always called me (and probably every other woman he’s ever had sex with) “Baby” — it’s a habit cheaters learn so they don’t get busted calling out the wrong name during sex…

      • Mine used to call me “pumpky” but stopped with the pet names around the time I first suspected infidelity.
        He started calling me pet names again after his “return” and all I can say is- what was once a reassurance (or so I thought) of the strength of our union, was now just a reminder of the affair. Everything I held sacred has been decimated into ashes, lost in the final exhale of my broken spirit.
        I continue to recover what’s been lost but I fear the void will be permanently occupied by anger, rage, and pain.

  • Another vote for not saying anything and instead be smart and self-protecting about this. Get a private investigator if you really don’t know what to believe. Then secretly get a lawyer. But as everyone else has said, five years of treating you and your children as game pieces is something only the most fundamentally flawed interiors could be capable of. You seem too smart to be oblivious to this traumatic fact. You appear to be looking at his actions and seeing them as wrong, as mistakes, almost as an anomaly within his person, but not letting yourself really accept what they prove he is. He is not who you love. That person does not exist. That person is largely a projection of your own goodness. Strip away the emotional color that you alone imbue him with and you have nothing but the superficial parts of outward personality – mannerisms, demeanor, interests, voice, habits, appearance, etc – that say nothing about what’s actually present inside. You have inferred and projected what’s inside. And for five years, day in and day out, through good and bad times, through big and small moments, throughout it all, you were wrong and he was intentionally deceiving you. The emotional abuse of that is almost too much to accept – so you choose to see things differently and in a way that almost says they weren’t quite so and it didn’t quite happen that way. We all get that. It protects you. But it leaves you stuck in this year’s long semi-numbed state where you don’t quite live and you don’t quite breathe. Yours is a very subtle denial. It doesn’t outright evade truth, it just doesn’t accept it fully for what it is. So given that, you can receive a fact bomb like this phone call land in your lap and you don’t quite know how to view it. It’s his Birthday. It’s his Home. It’s a giant middle finger from someone who ISN’T gone. It’s a brazen territory marker from someone who clearly feels righteous entitlement. Now why do you suppose that is after no contact for three years? It’s because that’s just another lie. The total isn’t 1,825. It’s 1,826 and counting quickly. Find your anger. Your basic human rights are being trampled by people who aren’t good enough to look upon you much less mock you this way. Find out the facts privately. Protect yourself and your children!

    • I agree, don’t say anything. Get smart to him by playing dumb. I found my anger by doing this. He let his guard down and I continued to check his phone calls, iPhone locations, and emails. I KNEW he was cheating, but I didn’t really understand how disordered he was until he would come home and lie, lie, lie right to my face. I could see how easy it was for him; how he would spin his stories; how cool he was when he lied. This is where the anger started to build. It became impossible for me to feel sorry for him when I could see how deceptive he was being, how he got a hard-on from lying to me, and triangulating with his girlfriends. It didn’t hurt anymore. It just made me sick, and a little scared…and finally, angry. I asked him to leave, and there was no going back. I’d seen too much.

    • TKO,

      “The emotional abuse of that is almost too much to accept – so you choose to see things differently and in a way that almost says they weren’t quite so and it didn’t quite happen that way. We all get that. It protects you. But it leaves you stuck in this year’s long semi-numbed state where you don’t quite live and you don’t quite breathe. Yours is a very subtle denial. It doesn’t outright evade truth, it just doesn’t accept it fully for what it is.”

      ^^^ Brilliant

    • Anyone who is questioning what to after discovering their partner’s infidelity should read this comment! It is profound, and absolutely captures the emotional abuse that is part and parcel of infidelity. Afraid of righteous anger, many victims of infidelity become numb to it and unfortunately, to everything else. They also begin to question their own judgement and their abilities. There is a way out, though, and whatever the circumstances, when you leave a cheater, you do gain a life!

  • I used to think that old adage “Once a cheater, always a cheater” was some old wives tale thing. No, there is a reason this is a saying. Like CL says here a lot, cheaters have to have meaningful consequences leveled against them to have a true change of heart and at that, you’re still taking a gamble that they will change. The ONLY meaningful consequence in my opinion now, is divorce.

    I stayed with my cheater for 3 years after DDay too. In the end, I don’t know if he was in contact with the MOW or not. Let me just shake my 8 ball – some signs pointed to yes and some signs pointed to no. But he was planning to leave me anyway after he had received yet another college degree off my hard working back.

    I’m not saying that your husband is the same as mine Amia, but in all honesty, he sounds just like my husband. You haven’t even told him that OW called on his birthday yet because…. you’re afraid? He might still be in contact with her and if you just don’t talk about it ever again he’ll have a change of heart, see and remember how much that hurt you and the kids and put an end to this forever? Like the RIC would have you believe, isn’t your relationship so much better now that you’ve gone through this whole affair thing, but yet, you can’t bring yourself to tell him that his “former” mistress called? On his birthday? I hate to say it, but your still dancing! Get thee to a lawyer! Stop asking why she called and ask yourself why you stay.

    • Let me edit to add that my husband is now my X! Yay! Only a couple weeks divorced and can’t think of a time when my life was better – all because I don’t have him in it ruining everything and making me doubt my reality everyday! Yay!

        • Why thank you! I’m over the moon about it! Never so happy to have a resigned a full-time position. My dark humor is coming out to play when I say that I had excellent on the job training. Ha ha! #canlaughaboutitnow

          • Marriage detective, I have a job for you if you find yourself missing the old one. I don’t have to look past your name to know you would be perfect fit!

    • Also, I would say that even though I asked the rhetorical questions of why you wouldn’t confront him about this phone call, knowing what I know now, I would second what most have to say here and not confront. My X could twist a tale like no other and I would just eat. it. up. The reason I wouldn’t confront is because the evidence really does speak for itself if you take a step back and look at it from the viewpoint of CN. The affair never ended. Believe the actions, not the hollow words they speak.

      I’m sorry this isn’t over Amia. Truly, my heart broke when I read that you had been in reconciliation for 3 years (me too!) and it just hit so close to home. Thinking about you and sending out virtual hugs.

      • Mine lies like a rug though she’ll insist “I’m a terrible liar, it’s just that you were too (inaudible) to see it”

        See, they don’t lie, we are just too (inaudible). Fuckem

  • This one hits really close to my broken heart. 💔Same story except instead of OW calling it was my H butt dialing me while with her. It was their day off but it was also mine. He would rather spend time with her on our days off ☹️. I would rather know the truth even if it stings.

    • Maybe Amia’s husband’s OW butt dialed the home number by mistake. I do think the affair never ended though. My DDay was a butt dial when they were both in his car. Their lie about being “only friends and coworkers” was obvious once I heard them calling each other pet names and talking about sneaking away to have sex that afternoon. It was an excruciating 15 minutes for me but I got the information I needed to know the truth. Although my gut already knew, it took hearing them talk to each other to make it crystal clear. It was brutal but necessary for me to move forward. Well, move forward after I pummeled her unconscious and kicked him in the dick, of course.

  • She knows exactly what she’s doing. He has a cell phone; she didn’t have to call the house. A woman that worked for xh and I called our home phone at midnight crying, and asking about him, as if she were deeply concerned. It turned out they were cheating. At the time I thought maybe her concerns were real, but now I can see that she wanted to let the pussy out of the bag, because he had been hiding her in the wings, and she was sick of it. It was the beginning of my worst days, but also a great blessing.

    • Yes, she was tired of his promises, so she decided to take matters into her own hands. This call was a very deliberate and premeditated act to show Amia that the affair never ended. It is a classic power play move, one that designed to leave no doubt that she remains in a relationship with Amia’s husband. There was simply no other reason for the call.

      • Violet, I agree. I got the power play phone call from more than one OW after the cheating husband died. Disguised as concern for my well being, those calls were definitely made to show me their status. One even asked me to return the friendship ring that she had given him. Even if all they gained was witness to my misery, they had to make the phone call.

  • If the OW called the house on H’s birthday, she was looking to start trouble. That’s it. No other explanation possible. She’s inserting herself directly into his home life.

    There’s no way to know right now whether she’s tired of waiting, looking to hoover him back or he dumped her for a different OW. Lots of possibilities. But Amia, you need to act to protect yourself. You either hire an investigator, run a credit check and GPS his car, or just decide you’re done with it. If your kids are teenagers, he can walk out before the college bills hit the mailbox and leave you and the kids stranded. Or he can sweet-talk the kiddos and make you the bad guy. But think carefully about how he treats you. You were fooled once for 5 years. Either you didn’t recognize the signs or he is very, very good at lying. I’m better on the second.

    • Speaking of college bills, as a practical matter, chumps should know that deals can be made through an Agreement Incident to Divorce for non-minor children and their college costs. It is a separate document from the decree, and specifies who will pay for what. Much better to get this info completed during settlement than to trust that a cheater will fulfill his/her monetary obligations on his/her word alone.

  • I agree with comments that the affair might still be going on.
    I will say in my case, one of the OW was disordered. She tried to continue contact my ex when she had word of our separation and pending divorce (not sure if it was an emotional or physical affair), then when he found out he had another OW (the one he left me for) she called the OW husband to say who knows what. This is the same woman who went out once with a colleague of mine, then told everyone they were dating. I was a bit nervous of what she could do. so I kept a sharp instrument in my desk at work!
    And she continues to be disordered– last year we literally ran into one another going through a door; later that day she emailed me and asked if I wanted to talk to her “about things.”

    In today’s situation, it might be that the OW is the one smoking the Hopium pipe and just can’t let it go.

  • He told OW he would be with her on his birthday and changed his mind. She called to let him know she wasn’t happy with the change of plans.

    10 to 1 the kid was aware of the continued affair and had the opportunity to let mom in on the deceit by giving her the phone showing OW name and number.

    Save your family continued grief with this asshole.

  • Amia

    Your husband was able to pull off a five year relationship with another woman. FIVE YEARS!

    Why did he tell you three years ago? Mire than likely she gave him an ultimatum. He didn’t pick you Amia, he told you because she was going to expose him to you.

    Stop believing anything he says. My advice may not be popular however I’ll give it anyway.

    You believe he loves you and you are doing everything in your power to prove your worthiness (gourmet Birthday).

    You have a set plan about your teenagers future. You want them to go to college and come from an intact home.

    I’m pretty sure you are clinging to him because the fear outweighs the truth that your husband is a deviant pathological liar. It’s true.

    Make a plan for your future. Review all assets and debts. Speak with an attorney in your state to determine where you will land financially when you file. Are you working at a position that will allow you to live independently. Get your own credit cards and begin saving a nest egg for yourself (cash) in a safety deposit box.. if you can’t support yourself take classes to make yourself marketable.

    This is how you protect your future. If you have enough resources presently, file after liking up your ducks. If not plan, save, and put the focus on your skills and earning a living independent.

    I’m not suggesting staying for a prolonged period of time. Just enough to live independently and to support your needs once you file. Right now you are in the power seat and have a window of time to prepare and plan. Use it wisely.

    Do not stay for your children. You are living with a self centered ssshole who could care less about your future. Take the reins.

  • Once they start cheating, they don’t stop. This is who they are. My XH cheated for 3 years before I found out. Then he spent the next 3 years telling me it was over when it was not. He flew her in to places he worked, took her on vacations, talked to her daily for hours. Our marriage deteriorated. We didn’t fight but I knew his mind and heart and dick were elsewhere. At year 6 of their romance, she issued him an ultimatum and he left, moving 1000 miles away just before our youngest child’s final year of high school. He then spent the next 3 years fighting the divorce, failing to come to collaborative divorce meetings or provide needed paperwork. Finally, at year 9 I discovered that while he was in fact still living with AP1, he had been having another affair with AP2 on the opposite coast. Then AP1 found out about AP2 and all hell broke loose. 1 year later I was successfully divorced. In the process I discovered that XH had secret bank accounts, secret credit cards for the APs, of course other cell phones. Tracking him financially was difficult because he had 8 different jobs in a 10 year period. But once it was over, it was over. I could laugh at the AP1 vs AP2 pick me dancing. I do wish I had gotten out sooner, but I too was hanging in there for the kids.

    The most important thing I learned is that XH is incapable of loving anyone.

  • The phone call should be a huge wake up call to you, so you can SEE what is going on. He either never stopped contact with the OW or he rekindled contact with her. If you are no contact with a person for 3 years, you don’t just pick up the phone and call his home line and on the person’s birthday. Your husband is such an asshole. You should have taken the gourmet meal and dessert you were making for him, and thrown it in his face when he came home. You should definitely hire a PI and get to the bottom of this. You are on very shaky and unstable foundation, it is all false. But that phone call was a gift from someone above protecting you and wanting for you to know the TRUTH. Please LISTEN.

  • I’m guessing the reason the cheating hub ‘told’ Amia about the affair after 5 years is that OW said “If you don’t tell her I will!”.

  • Oh, Amia–This is not a good situation.

    Let’s look at the phone call. Unlike other Chumps, I’m going to suggest that she didn’t call the home on purpose. Instead, she called his google number. Google Voice integrates with all your devices AND can be forwarded to pick up on all the phones you have. Dollars to doughnuts your husband is using Google Voice for a lot of his business AND his schmoopie.

    How do I know this? Well, when CheaterX decided to get Google Voice, he linked our home phone so that if he missed a call on his cell, it forwarded to our voicemail. Schmoopie would get angry if he didn’t pick up on her calls right away, so she’d keep calling and calling. It used to ring to our voicemail. Good thing I knew about the affair by then and was finishing lining my ducks. At that point, I could laugh about his idiocy instead of feel kicked in the gut by his betrayal.

    On the other hand, she may be calling your home on purpose. You did say that he confessed the affair, right? Usually that happens when the AP gets pissed off at being the side fuck and threatens to tell the faithful spouse. The Cheater exercises damage control by confessing first, but spinning the narrative. Cheaters never tell the whole truth. They tell trickle truths–the truth that they think you already know.

    Anyway, I advice NOT confronting him right away. Go digging instead, and if you can afford it, get a PI to help you out. Follow the money. Bank statements tell a lot. If you don’t recognize a payee, or if there are payments on credit cards that you didn’t know he had, well, there’s an issue. Schmoopies are expensive. There will be a money trail, or at least evidence he’s hiding money.

    If you live in a fault state, your PI may be able to help you gather the evidence you need to show fault. If not, at least the PI can help you find proof positive about the amount of contact he has with Schmoopie.

    A 5 year affair is a long time to live a double life. Confessing to one doesn’t mean he was remorseful. Go read the classic CL articles on Reconciliation and Entitlement as well as Real Remorse? Or Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse? In your Hopium induced state post-Dday (and we’ve all had at least a small whiff of Hopium), you may have ascribed effort on his behalf where there was none.

    Once you get the financial information and results from the PI (if you can afford one), then go see a kick-ass family practice attorney. You’re going to need to get your ducks lined up so that you can toss him out with the trash.

    Good luck!

  • Get busy fast on gathering financial information. Make copies of everything. Along with a good lawyer, hire a forensic accountant. Lawyers are good at lawyering, most are not good at digging deep into finances. That’s where your accountant comes into play. Realize that for five years he was, and I believe, still is, spending family money on her. And I can almost guarantee you, skimming some for later use. An accountant will find all his funny stuff. He’ll, more than likely, have to reimburse the skimmed money to the estate and also an estimate of money spent on her whoring ass. He probably has a secret credit card where all of his whore expenses went. The accountant will find it. The accountants aren’t cheap. Mine found some financial dealing that were “left off” of ex’s financial discovery report required by every divorce court. My lawyer missed it. I think most lawyers would. My loving ex ramped up the ugliness big time when he found out I hired an accountant. Why? Because he knew it was game over.

  • Mine lies like a rug though she’ll insist “I’m a terrible liar, it’s just that you were too (inaudible) to see it”

    See, they don’t lie, we are just too (inaudible). Fuckem

  • Amia Dimwit,

    (No, you’re not a dimwit. That’s why you wrote chump lady.)

    KB nailed it. You’re in a game of high stakes poker (the stakes are way more important than money), and you’re acting with very limited information. Start digging on your own, looking at bank statements, phone records, and such. Hire a PI and let them know your suspicions.

    Once you have more information, the right things to do will become clear.

    Things to consider:

    1) Is this acceptable to you? I mean, if hubby does it, and you don’t care and want to have an affair of your own, then that’s fine. But I strongly suspect you’re not that kind of person. Do you feel he has honored the agreements you made when you married, or not? If not, what do you want to do about it?

    2) What kind of behavior do you want to model for your kids? One who lets a loved one deceive her and brushes it all under the rug, or one who stands up for her rights, doesn’t take any crap, and demonstrates how a strong, resilient woman behaves in situations of adversity. Do you want the kids to grow up thinking that dad having a fling now and then is all right, or that there are severe consequences to that kind of behavior.

    Now, you might argue that staying together is better for the kids. Most of us here would disagree. When your teen brought you the phone, without answering it, and saying it was , that seems to me that teen knows exactly who she is, and has no desire to get in the middle of that mess. Do not think for a minute that your teen isn’t watching your behavior with regard to this situation, and learning about what you do under these circumstances.

    Separation and co-parenting are not fun, and are difficult for all parties involved. But staying together when one partner has disrespected the other, cheated, lied and hid things, and used family money and family time to be with OW (or OM in other cases) sends a horrible message to the kids. They know a lot more than you think they do. They probably know more about OW than you do.

    It’s a crappy situation, and I wish I had better advice for you. Good luck.

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.
    aeronaut

  • I wasted 34 years living & loving my ex narc. I wish I found out much sooner. He cheated on me for 20 years
    & now he found his “try wuv” …gag!
    At age 68 he left our marriage so cruelty & walked out never looked back. No apology.. Laughed at me with whore.
    Please kick him out of your life! He’s a liar, cheat & a coward! Your self respect is at stake..as well as your mental & physical health.

    We’ve all been there., you can do it. 👍🏻

  • I can imagine what hope the OP is clinging to….that the OW is all to blame, and that her poor repentent husband is as much a victim as she. OP probably thinks that OW is just an evil stalker who has to twist the knife even though she supposedly was dumped three years ago.

    I remember blaming the OW who stalked me because I had the life she wanted. She was angry at Cheater for sure, for not leaving me to fulfill her agenda. I too did not want to admit toall the ed flags; family life was too precious to give up; the kids needed their nuclear family; every excuse in the book.

    The advice here is right. DO NOT reveal your hand. Do only as much detective work as you must, OP, only enough to prove to yourself that he is still cheating. Once you have even one shred of proof, then spend your energy on planning your separate future. The goal will be to get as good a financial payoff as possible, since it is YOUR future at stake. Let go of him emotionally, because from now forward, he is your adversary. He has disrespected you long enough and it is OK to hate him now.

    My advice is to not make yourself crazy with too much detective work. You will never get the full details of the affair, nor do they have any value in the long run. It’s so much better to focus on walking away with enough money to be comfortable, rather than getting any digs in at the cheaters.

    Why you took him back in the first place is a mystery to me.

  • Amia,

    You had me at “affair that lasted for 5 years.” As CL points out that is a lot days in a row that he actively deceived you. Think about the kind of person that you have to be to lead a double life for that long. (Sociopath, party of one)

    You ask the question: “Should I tell him she called or keep it to myself??” That’s the wrong question. What is acceptable to YOU? That’s the right question. Is being lied to for 5 years really okay with you or is the Hopium pipe telling you that you’re doing it for your children? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It is better for children to be FROM a broken home than to actually LIVE in one. If they live with a father who lied to their mother, spent family funds on his extra curricular love life and exposed their mother to STDs, then they are already living in a broken home. Standing up for yourself and getting out of that horror show is modeling something better for your children.

    I’ll leave you with this. I smoked the old Hopium pipe for three years past my d-day. I stayed and attempted wreckconciliation for those three years. I could never put my finger on it (until I started reading chump lady) but it just never felt right. When I finally got the nerve to say it wasn’t working out for me, we got divorced. During the entire 3 years of our wreckconciliation he supposedly had no contact with the OW…..yeah not so much.

    Not even 5 months after I left was she living in the old homestead and they were married within a year. Cheaters can’t give up their plan B, C, D or F. They don’t have the character to ever be alone for 5 minutes so there is always a back up plan.

    I won’t prognosticate what’s happening in your life but let’s just say the cheater handbook is real. They all do the same stuff. None of them are original. Keep that in mind.

  • Here’s another possibility. Maybe it was not the OW calling at all. Maybe it was her husband calling to tell you what HE knows about the happy couple. Either way, i agree with the majority here who are advising you to turn the tables on him, as it appears he trusts that you trust him, even when you are faced with direct proof to the contrary. I get that, been there myself. Dr. Skankenstein described me as “oblivious” to his Craigslist honeys. In fact i was, until i wasn’t. I learned from him how to go into stealth mode, how to wait until he grew smug and careless. The most satisfying day of my life was when he responded to my personal ad on adult friend finder, an ad I tailor-made just for him. He sent an invitation to meet up with the imaginary woman i created for him, complete with a leering, shirtless bathroom pic…on the way to our first mediation meeting. Proof of cheating and motivation to go all Django Unchained on his ass all in one. And to think that the very night before he had been bawling, begging me not to go through with it, telling me he had changed. Nope. Lawyer up. Protect yourself.

  • Amia, you’re breaking my heart. Sounds like you need to hire a PI so YOU will KNOW the answer. Do that.

    Don’t tell him about the call, if he notices it and spins it, act like you believe him I’m assuming your son doesn’t know who OW is and won’t spill it). But do know; if he’s aware, that PI may find nothing. My biggest mistake was hiring the PI after confrontation, cheaters get very careful once they are aware you are suspicious.

    FWIW, I forgave and reconciled with ex for 10 years, then discovered he was cheating again (never stopped?). Don’t be me, don’t wait until your in your 50s to discover the sham.

    Jedi Hugs Amia!

    • “FWIW, I forgave and reconciled with ex for 10 years, then discovered he was cheating again (never stopped?). Don’t be me, don’t wait until your in your 50s to discover the sham.”
      My story exactly. The cold comfort is that my DD told me a few years ago that she was glad I stayed with Crapweasel for those ten years, as she had “a good dad then” and was glad to have him in her life. 7 years after DDay, not so much. So goes the life of a narcissist.
      FML. He was/is rather a besmirchment, but imagines himself bon vivant, albeit with a sour AP/wife who, at 42, wanted a big wedding.
      They are so unhappy that DD dreads visiting them.

  • A 5 year affair that was supposedly over 3 years ago? I am sorry, but your marriage was already over eight years ago.

    What I, and many others, have had to come to grips with is the fact that as soon as someone cheats on his/her spouse in any capacity (EM/PA/Financial/Porn/Alchohol) the marriage is already over. At that point the cheaters have already reneged on their vow to “love, honor and cherish” their spouse. They have proven that they don’t care enough to even avoid let alone resist temptation because their spouse is no longer that important to them and at that point there is really no turning back.

    We also have to recognize that we are not the cause of the wandering spouse’s loss of capacity to “love, honor and cherish”. Many of us have made the mistake of thinking that they stopped loving us because of something we did wrong or didn’t do right so we pick me dance in an effort to correct our perceived faults and/or poor behavior so that the wandering spouse will love us again. This doesn’t work, however because it has nothing do with us. It is a flaw in the cheater. Those who realize this sooner rather than later are the ones who get away with the least damage in the end.

    In my case I should have realized the marriage was over when he had the emotional affair. At the time I was traumatized by the fact that he could even be tempted by another woman, but I still thought he was noble for resisting the PA. I thought I must not have been an attentive enough wife to have allowed him to be tempted in the first place. I unwittingly pick me danced (I thought I was fixing my faults) for years to please him only to have him regret not having had a PA and then going on to have the PA’s anyway (different women) eight years later because he still saw me as a neglectful wife despite my efforts. At the very least, I should have realized after the EA that he was the one who had a problem, not me. I should have confronted him then and made him prove his loyalty to me instead of pick me dancing to win him back. Our marriage might still have ended, but it would have happened a lot sooner and I would not have the humiliation of having tried so hard to please someone who didn’t even notice at best and resented my efforts at worst because I obviously wasn’t doing it right.

    • So can relate to this Chumpinrecovery. Your actions speak to your goodwill and loyalty. It is a painful realisation that these Edgar suits do not have that reciprocaty,

    • “as soon as someone cheats on his/her spouse in any capacity (EM/PA/Financial/Porn/Alcohol) the marriage is already over.”

      Applause, ChumpinRecovery. That is it, exactly. No further analysis needed. Run.

    • That was me. Bummer! The gaslighting and me doing the pick-me dance. But I am finally at peace. My marriage ended about 1 month shy of 30 years. I dreamed of having a 50-year wedding anniversary with all my children and grandchildren around. Ain’t going to happen now. Oh well. Life goes on and I’m no longer trying to make someone happy that cannot be made happy. I’m only worried about me. I’m still erecting boundaries but it’s certainly easier these days.

  • I’d agree that the phone call was intended to mark territory and cause havoc. Maybe generate an argument to justify the cheater leaving the meal uneaten and heading out the door to spend his birthday with the OW.

    I received one of those phone calls on Christmas Day with the house full of relatives. I did not understand why a student would need to call her professor on Christmas Day, or why she would ask for him by his first name, or why he would have to talk to her while we had guests to entertain. Being older and wiser, I now know I was speaking to my replacement part, who was probably unhappy that the cheater ex was not free for the holidays.

  • Amia, I get where you are. It’s a horrible way to live. I know, because I spent so many anxious moments wondering what to believe in my marriage too. You want to trust this person you love, but they’ve already proven they’re untrustworthy.

    Just so you know, my ex dumped me when our kids left the nest. Apparently he’d been planning it for some time and it was brutal. It could be that your husband is biding his time.

    My recommendation would be to have him followed by a PI and find out once and for all what’s going on so you can start making decisions about your life. It’s the not knowing that makes you crazy.

    I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. You deserve better.

  • One more thing, the OW doesn’t matter. Don’t make her central to your life. Your husband is the one you need to be concerned with. Concentrate on finding out what’s going on with him, but don’t ask him. You know he’ll just deny it.

  • Amia I too was a hopium addict and believed the DD1 howorker affair EA had ended. After too many years of gas lighting pick me dancing I got more information and eventually wised up. at DD2 when he let slip DD2 was more (I had just been investigating another EA’ ) he said how unbalanced OW1 was. She too phoned our home before we had caller ID. It was scary because of the huge sunk costs and because when you live with gas lighting and the accompanying lack of reciprocity you start to doubt your ability to manage alone and second guess what’s best for your beloved offspring. Along with many other in CN I will tell you that life outside is so much better. Authentic. Peaceful. Hopeful. Mighty. The disruption from leaving a cheater has to its moments but they continue to dimish in severity and frequency. No contact really helps with that.
    In addition to the wise words about lawyering up secretly, putting aside some $ , can you start to connect with trusted family and friends?. My displaced loyalty had kept me isolated and silent. as I gave up on hopium. No longer keeping some of the more discordant betrayal facts secret anymore resulted in some loyal supporters. Oh and don’t beat up on yourself. You expected love and loyalty like you gave. Cheaters suck. Now you have agency, I didn’t choose this path but in the situation that I found myself leaving was the best choice. ‘Leave a cheater gain a life’ works.

  • I believe there’s about a 0% chance that she called out of the blue, 3 years later, just to wish him a happy birthday. She would have tried it in year one post D-day, and if your husband is indeed being faithful, he would have ignored her or told her to get lost, and she wouldn’t have tried it again year two. So here it is, year three, and she calls. That means that, at a MINIMUM: a) he engages with her when she makes contact, and b) he has never told her to go away and meant it. That’s the minimum that you’re dealing with, which is deceptive enough after a 5-year affair that I would exit the marriage. But the minimum is never how these stories end. I would venture that they maybe took a little break and then went deeper underground. Either she called on purpose, or she hit the wrong number under your husband’s contact in your phone. Oh, he got a new cell phone? Do you have full access to it? If so, I would bet on a burner phone somewhere.

    Bottom line: the affair probably never stopped, they just got better at chumping you.

  • When I realized that most of what I knew about what haemed was based on what Cheater told me, I realized I didn’t really know anything.

  • I think the key thing is this:

    If they are so obsessed with each other, why are YOU involved?

    If you were 12 would you humiliate yourself in this way? no.
    Children are better at dealing with this shit than adults. Its just NOT ok.
    Walk away.

    • Don’t walk away…..RUN! Make sure you have all the financial information in order. At this point…..that’s the only thing that matters.

  • Oh Amia…, You GOT to listen to Chumplady. Mine cheated for 11 years! Yes! 11. And when I found out, he also got rid of his old cell phone number and called her on the phone in front of me to say that he would never speak to her again. She was also married and got a divorce so my turd of a husband and her could be together (as he had been telling her that he didn’t love me anymore and wanted a divorce.) When I found out after those 11 years of his lies (that’s 3985 days), I decided to divorce him ONLY FOR HIM TO WANT TO STAY MARRIED TO ME. So because we didn’t get a divorce, the OW sent me an email (pushed through the UBT https://www.chumplady.com/2015/11/ubt-ow-i-just-want-to-reach-out-and-help-you/) in an effort to sabotage any chance of our marriage from working out. I SO proved HER wrong! (That was sarcastic humor at my own expense.) We stayed married only for me to find out 4 years later (that’s 1462 more days) that he was still seeing his skank. Amia, just like Chumplady said, the OW is getting tired of waiting in the wings and by her calling your house, she has decided she’s going to move along your divorce because your weenie husband won’t do what he’s been telling her that he will do, i.e., get a divorce. When the day comes, you’ll be devastated! BUT!!! Someday you will be really, really grateful that she won your loser turd. You will be free! Now do what Chumplady said, lay low, get your finances in order, make copies of everything (his salary statements, retirement accounts, taxes, bank statements, etc.) and get a lawyer! I almost didn’t get a lawyer. I almost believed my turd husband when he said ‘we can do it ourselves over the Internet’. I am SO, SO glad I got a lawyer. Get a lawyer!

    • I don’t know what this says about me, but sometimes I daydream about getting a letter from Schmoopie just so I can make fun of her. So far no luck. We have both been avoiding each other like the plague. Probably for the best really.

  • Amia- my soon to be ex cheated on me for a year and a half…at least that’s the length of time he confessed to. It destroyed my world. I begged him to stay with me and his daughter- he agreed and a week and a half later he started the affair again. I didn’t know. I found out a month later later. In that month, I turned myself into a pretzel for his love. I ignored our daughter so I could “be the wife” he always wanted. We made back up again….I continued to pretzel. He went back to this woman again. This time I found out a day after we went to counseling…this time I saw them together with my own eyes. After discovering CL and CN, I didn’t look at it as “he cheated on me for a year and a half” no….I saw it as two Christmases, two Thanksgivings, two Birthdays, two Summers….this bastard sat around the table with his family and mine and lied to ALL of us. What kind of human being does that? The level of deceit that goes with that double life made me sick to my stomach. I hurt like hell but I had to wake up and face reality. I was married to a man I no longer knew. A man who turned into a monster probably right before my eyes. But I was only able to see this when I went no contact. My cheater also admitted to me that even though I was checking his phone if he wanted to get in touch with her- he could and he did. None of us signed up for a broken family. All of us chumps love our kids to death…but there comes a time when the only choice is to walk away. As painful and sucky as it is, we have to be the ones to end it even though they blew our world apart. It is true that time and distance helps this process along. For me, I was lucky that my cheater gave me sole custody of our daughter and I was able to move out of state….it still hurts though…last night I watched her as she slept and thought to myself “How could he give up this beautiful, sweet girl?” I wept like a baby…but I always remember chump lady’s words….the disordered Don’t feel the way we do. Your husband never gave up his affair just like mine never gave up his. Your husband was more than happy to keep you and her just like mine would have had I not caught him. I realized that I was worth more and hopefully you will too and leave his cheating ass….I did and everyday it gets a little easier. Good luck!

  • Amia, I think your husband staged a D-day, possibly with the collaboration and pitiful hopes of the OW. BTDT, got the divorce. Godspeed to you!

  • 1. Get finances in order. 2. Expect the worst. 3. Get a PI. 4. Look at phone logs. 5. Get a good lawyer. 6. Dont give him the benefit of the doubt.

  • My 2 cents get a voice activated recorder or your iPhone has this feature, leave it somewhere he is likely to sit and chat, repeat until you have the info you need. Yes sneaky but so what, these shady fucks need to be exposed. You won’t get the truth from their mouths. Mine could hold my gaze and tell me no it was just an online affair, total bs.

  • The truth is, the marriage was over the day these fuckwits set their sights on us, for the vast majority of us. These people had the script written long before we met them. I KNOW that is true in my case and I bet you can see the shit show playing out in yours too.
    No, the first affair isn’t when the marriage died, it’s when rigor mortis started setting in. We were married to Bernie and didn’t realize it.

    • Sorry for the misplace message. That should’ve appeared further upstream but I’m technologically challenged today.

  • Amia,

    Everyone else has already given you good advice that you should really, really take under advisement. Being married to my Ex and being a crime show junkie, I have become a bit suspicious and I am no longer a believer in/fan of coincidences. A 5-year affair is a relationship – it is not some one-off piece of ass to which your husband availed himself. The OW considers their relationship the primary relationship and she views you as the inconvenient side-piece. I was married to my Ex for over 25 years and he more than likely cheated for the majority of that time. We have 4 children together, owned a home, did everything together. I know his social security number, his cell phone number, his address and his birth date. When his birthday rolls around, I don’t call him. Even though we have things that connect us – family – I have no reason to call him because our relationship is over. I wish my friends and family happy birthday – he is no longer either. If the relationship was over with this woman she would not be calling your home on his birthday. If it was over, it has either been rekindled or she believes the possibility to rekindle it exists. None of that is a good look.

    I will not speculate if your husband broke it off with the OW 3 years ago, but she called your home. She invaded what should be your sacred space on your husband’s birthday. I don’t think that is a coincidence. A friend once told me an OW/OM’s behavior is usually as egregious as your/our partners allow or encourage them to believe is acceptable. She is not respecting you or your space because whatever your husband has told her/is telling her has lead her to believe her behavior is acceptable. She might be crazy, but her goal is to have your husband. Unless she is a total psycho, she is not going to commit any offense which she believes might compromise her ultimate goal. This isn’t to say that some OW/OM don’t miscalculate, but they all do a cost/benefit analysis based on information received from the cheater.

    I would suggest in the strongest possible way that you leave this man. Anyone who is comfortable with the level of duplicity and lack of integrity required to have a 5-year affair (or longer) does not share your values and occupies a harmful presence in your life and in the life of your child/children. The only thing you should ever bake for him is one of those pies from Thinner or The Help. I’m not saying it will be easy – it isn’t. I am promising you that it will be worth it. I am so sorry that you are going through this. (((HUGS)))

  • Throw a voice activated recorder under the seat in his car. Check it later. There’s your proof.

    I’m so sorry your husband is a cheater. It’s just the worst. Run away and get a better life.

  • 1. I do not think she knows that I am aware of their affair.
    Of course she knows – she’s got your home number. Do you really think that she believes he lives there alone? It sounds to me like he’s told you that she’s not aware in order to try and prevent her from contacting you…

    2. While they did not work together, their offices were in close proximity.
    Maybe…this sounds like another lie to me. “Close” is a relative term. He wants you to think that they didn’t work together so you weren’t snooping around his work life…

    3. He left his job a year ago and got rid of his cell phone altogether.
    The first part is probably true, but the second bit is probably a lie. He’s told you he doesn’t have a cell phone so that you don’t go looking for one and, maybe, find things he doesn’t want you to find…

    4. I do not think she knows where he is currently working, but I’m not sure.
    She definitely knows.

    I might be wrong about all of the above, but I lived with extreme bullshit for years and have seen this particular variety before. What he wants is to stay married to you, fuck her and not have you both interfering with each other. As others have said above – I would bet that the OW is ringing your place on his birthday because she’s fed up with lingering in the background. They’re both fucked – if I were you I’d start getting my things in order.

  • It is very hard to accept that the man you love is a fraud. Sadly that IS who he is.
    Get a therapist asap who can help YOU realise that accepting being treated this way is not right.

    Why are you prepared to subjugate your own needs and desires like this? That is what you need to be asking yourself.

    You cannot make him a loving, faithful husband. He likes the way he is, he loves sneaking about, the duplicity etc. He does not care about you, and in the blink of an eye will be happily setting up home with her.

    Let him !They do not change, and then he can cheat on her . (which he will).

    Please please look after yourself and your children. He is soooo not worth it.

  • Who accepts a 5 year affair? Then bakes him cookies? My goodness. This man doesn’t love or respect you. Don’t need a man who doesn’t give a fuck about you. If he loved you he wouldn’t have cheated. You need to realize that. Why on earth do you want this man. Go no contact for 3 months and it might become clearer. Seriously… dont make yourself nothing to make him everything. He ain’t special. He doesnt give a fuck about you. Stop pick me dancing. Reading this letter hurt me.

  • Amia D, google ‘split self affair’ by Emily Brown.

    He wants both of you, you as the stable home maker and her for juicing his jets. He doesn’t want to give either of you up and so lies to both of you

    She rang (this is what happens in long term affairs) because she doesn’t understand this point any more than you do, after 7 years of this beautiful love she wants to force his hand by revealing herself to you.

    This isn’t about him, or her, this is now about you. You have two choices.

    1. To accept this, accept that this is who he is, someone who is split between ‘doing the right thing’ with someone who represents stability, long roots and history and showing his split off passionate side to another person. To make the cost/benefit analysis and decide that he treats you well and kindly enough, and that stopping your life together is just too much of an upheaval and that safety and stability is worth this hurt;

    2. decide that this is unacceptable to you and your peace of mind and self worth is paramount, and prepare to live alone.

    Those are your ONLY two options. You have absolutely no control over another person and cannot ‘make’ them do what you want to do or be how you would like. He is not going to address his split, which takes a lot of therapy and is much harder than ‘being torn between two women’.

    Both paths are painful, and I am not going to tell you what to do. They both hurt and they both suck. I decided on self respect and therapy, but to this day I am incredibly sad at what I have lost and how it was that I was not worth caring about (even though I intellectually know I did not cause his split).

  • First of all – all of this fear and trepidation? Why WOULDN’T you tell him she called? Oh right – the PICK ME DANCE! I’m mad and I’m mad at YOU for not calling him on his bullshit. Who cares what she knows and doesn’t know! Why are you analyzing it to death? CALL HER and get your questions answered – then tell HIM. All this cloak and dagger stuff. Grow a set and put your damn foot down!!! Regardless of whether he did or didn’t know about it – is or isn’t with her presently – the bitch CALLED YOUR DAMN HOUSE. No. Just NO. And if she gets pissed or he gets pissed – who friggin cares! I WISH the OW would call my house! Don’t let it go and allow either of them to run over you. Dammit! I want to shake you right now! STOP BEING SO DAMN NICE!!! You deserve better!

    • Just being angry about the whole thing won’t stop the affair. The question is – how can you harness that anger and use it as fuel to propel yourself out of this mess and move forward? I think that would make more productive use of the anger. It is a powerful emotion and ally.

  • I am really late to the party here, but I feel this is important. The OW’s usually have a screw loose and the Cheater strings then along for years till they “break” also. Cautionary story here: My aunt was married to a cheater. A real douche! He had a long term OW in Atlanta. Cheater lived in Miami, Fl. OW started calling the house and harassing my aunt and her teen daughters. The Cheater assured her that the OW was crazy and she shouldn’t worry cause it was “over”! The Cheater had to go on a business trip to Atlanta. Unbeknownst to the family, the OW had told him she would kill him if she found him in Atlanta again. Sure enough, she laid in wait at the usual hotel he stayed at and blew his head off with a shotgun! This shit can and does get serious. She murdered him and she got a light sentence because of the surrounding circumstances. How’s that for reality?

    • You know, Roberta, you’re right. These OWs, especially the long-term OWs, really are crazy. My ex’s skank has her master’s degree in psychology and works in the Family and Consumer Sciences Department at a major University as a family counselor. She threw away her 35-year marriage and waited 11 years for my ex to dump me. When he didn’t dump me in an effort to ‘save our marriage’, she sent me her infamous e-mail. I guess my ex got tired of ‘saving the marriage’ so he reached out to her yet again… and she was waiting in the wings for him. What an absolute loser! To think that I had no self esteem. She deserves him. So now I think that when he eventually finds something wrong with her (it has been 2.5 years since D-Day), she’ll go ballistic when he dumps her for someone else. She could handle being dumped for a long-term wife, but can she handle being dumped for someone else? She wants her long-term investment. I have to believe that some people go into the field of psychology because there’s something wrong with them and they’re trying to figure themselves out. Obviously, everything she learned she hasn’t been able to apply to herself. I picture a Lorena Bobbitt reenactment and the skank’s face posted in the local newspaper’s front page and all over the Internet. One can only hope…

    • OMG Roberta – how horrible!!!!! I am so sorry for the family! This is terrifying to me bc my STBX’s AP is nuts! Seriously scary stuff!!!!

      • Mil23, it’s been quite a few years since this happened, but the fallout was huge. My aunt died in abject poverty, her three girls went wild and after three decades they still have very tumultuous lives. None of them can maintain anything resembling a healthy relationship. Drug addiction follows one constantly. It’s truly awful the legacy he left behind just because he couldn’t keep it in his pants!

        • Roberta – I’m so sorry – this is horrific!!!! WTF is wrong with these cheaters and their crazy AP’s? I really hope things turn around for the girls!

        • I t never “turns around for the children.” Never! Only women think like that….not men! She needs to start stashing some cash, finding a good attorney…..and preparing to kick him to the curb (where he belongs).

  • Amazon Chump, yes, the long term OW are a breed of their own! My Ex’s Schmoopie would always e-mail or message on any special day like my birthday, his bday, our anniversary, and ALL major holidays! She knew more about me and our special days than I did! They will hang onto the thinnest of hope that we will kick them out so they can live their fantasy. They are a crazy bunch! But there is a thin line when it comes to the safety of you and your family. Never under estimate how far these nut jobs will go to secure your spouse! You have to assume that if they will cross every other border of morality and civility then taking you out is no big deal! Anything for the man of their dreams! And definitely take any threats seriously!

  • I guarantee you 100% he never stopped the affair and is waiting for your teens to reach 18 so he won’t be liable for child support. The OW is getting antsy about waiting, and sent him a warning shot.

  • Amia I keep thinking about you. You are still living a nightmare that ended for me two years ago when I “lost” the Pick Me Dance. (Spoiler: the winner was actually me!). For whatever it’s worth (not much, I know), you did something for me: I realize like a ton of bricks hitting me how much happier I am with him gone, how unhappy I would be if he was still here, how glad I am that the nightmare is truly over. You can see from my screen name that I am struggling, but my struggles center around not being able to completely eradicate him from my life (due to the kids), not around wanting him back (Ew!). There was a time I couldn’t imagine not wanting him back. Why in the world I wanted to treat myself so badly I’m sure I don’t know. Old habits, I guess.

    Amia, I know CL and the other ladies here did not say what you wanted to hear. Like many of us here have done, you are likely telling yourself that your husband and your situation are somehow different than the typical scenario. I do sincerely hope you will follow their sage advice and start doing some financial and personal investigating on the sly. And if it turns out all is well, no harm no foul. But Amia if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that the only human being you can truly count on in this crazy world is yourself. Please protect yourself as though no one else will. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a life filled with love and happiness because you can, trust me. Learn how to make YOURSELF happy first, then others can ENHANCE that happiness.

    I know how much it terrifies you that these ladies could be right. I suspect you could be in deep denial about what they are saying. I suspect you would do (and put up with) just about anything to keep your family together and protect your kids. I suspect you are terrified of loneliness. I suspect you feel like you are too old to start your life over (BS!). Let me tell you, these ladies are right who are telling you that you can be happy post divorce, happier than you are now, happier than you thought possible. Let me tell you that while your kids will have a hard time, they will not stop being the wonderful people you have raised them to be. You have a great deal you can teach them about how to value yourself, how to handle adversity. Let me tell you that for your own personal future, there is a whole great big world with wonderful people in it waiting for you. Let me tell you that when you stick with a man who has made it clear with years of deceitful disrespectful actions that he does not value you, you are not valuing yourself. And you are not doing your children any favors when you don’t value yourself.

    Hold on to yourself Amia, I’m afraid you are headed for some rough waters, but I promise there is a paradise waiting on the other side. Take care

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