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Dear Chump Lady, He loves me, he’s worried about me… he left?

Dear Chump Lady,

I don’t know why I feel so compelled to write a complete stranger at 3 a.m. about this. I pretty much know the answer to my problem, but am having trouble facing the demise of my marriage.

My husband of 6 years (together 12) recently came clean out of the blue that he has been having an emotional affair with a woman that lives 2,000 miles away. They met online 10 months ago. They have spent countless hours on the phone and finally met and spent three days together two months ago to take it to the next level. This woman is also married. In fact, married one month after she became involved with my husband.

My husband says he is deeply in love with her and they had discussed leaving their spouses to be together. When he finally told me, he said he was not prepared to stop talking to her. He felt something I never gave him in all our years. He said he never considered that it would end our marriage. He hoped he would never have to tell me, but the guilt became too much. However he did not want us to end. He loves me, our life, our home and had even petitioned to adopt my adult children (a month before affair started) because he is the only dad they have had and wanted to make it official.

When my husband confessed, I was blindsided. I honestly had no idea he was even unhappy. He prided himself on making others jealous about how amazing our relationship was. Constantly making other girls jealous of me because I had the perfect hubby. He had been putting a lot of energy into his double life, but he has a high stress job so I thought thats why he had been withdrawn and never suspected otherwise when he said that’s what was going on.

The day he confessed, 1.5 weeks ago, he left. Said he had to figure things out on what to do about everything. Everyday since he messages me, calls me. To check in on me says he loves me and is worried about me. He says he knows what he needs to do. He wants to work out our marriage. He came by a couple of days ago (our wedding anniversary) took me out to dinner and asked to come home, but couldn’t say when. He had made some moves to prove he wants to try, like blocking her number — but refuses to give up Snapchat because that’s mainly how they communicate. He confessed to me yesterday he is still messaging her, but only to tell her that he is working things out with me. He lies to me again. When he should be building trust, he doesn’t. He says he doesn’t know why he can’t stop.

Now he is moving out officially, said he needs more time to make sure he isn’t trying to work things out with us for the wrong reasons. mainly he feels guilty for what he did and keeps doing. Or because he feels bad for me and is worried what will happen to me after. (He makes a lot more money then I do.) He does love me, but is not sure if he wants to be with me. Our sex life always sucked because he has had performance issues. He then confessed he was never really attracted to me. But still wants to work on the marriage???

Am I so completely stupid that I still have hope we will work this out?? This man I was so in love with, played me for a fool for 12 years and I still can’t believe it. Everything he says contradicts himself literally in the same sentence. I love you, but love her. I want you, but want her. I know I want our life, but not sure I can anymore. I was happy but not fully happy. I asked him just to let me go, but he says he doesn’t want to. He doesn’t want this to be the end, but he can’t come home to work it out?? I am so lost. What’s crazy is I think he is too. This isn’t the guy I know. He would have never done this to me. He has been battling depression for a few years now but refuses to get help. I just always thought if we ever had problems, we would work it out, give our marriage a chance.

Why can’t I just let him go??

Christy

Dear Christy,

I’m sorry, you’re going to have to protect yourself from this cake-eating, sociopathic bastard. You have a crucial defining moment before you — you can be a chump, or you can be mighty. I vote for MIGHTY.

Let’s first dispense with what you think you know about this person. He isn’t “lost,” he isn’t depressed. No, he knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s toying with you, getting a contact high off your grief, exulting in his indecision and goading you into the pick me dance. This guy doesn’t want a wife, he wants a hypotenuse. I beg you — step away from the triangle!

I have a strong suspicion he’s snowing you so he can financially fuck you over in a divorce.

Oh no Chump Lady! You’re a bitter, cynical person who reads too many sad stories, and it’s jaded your perspective! He Would Never Do That!

Learn from the gazillions of sad stories I’ve read, and don’t assume you’re exceptional. Your husband isn’t a sad, confused man who needs greater love and understanding while you go through this crisis together — your husband is a narcissistic asshole who is playing you. If you’re lucky, he’s only playing you for kibbles, (“Tell me again how shattered you are!”) — but I doubt it. People who will fuck you over sexually, will fuck you over financially as well.

Here’s what you do next — let him think you’re confused and considering his generous offer of retaining all the advantages of marriage, but still fucking around on you. MEANWHILE, you go retain the services of the most bad ass divorce attorney in your town. MEANWHILE, you gather ALL the financial information you have on him. MEANWHILE, you run a credit report on your husband. (Not entirely legal, but while you’re still married it’s in the gray zone — and could reveal a lot of hidden debt, P.O. boxes and other things he’d rather you not know about.) MEANWHILE, you save all the physical evidence you have of the affair. Do you know who she is? Have you seen those messages? Get him to confess in email to you about his cheating — if you live in a fault state that considers adultery (most don’t), this could be useful leverage. Please note, I am NOT a lawyer, and this is not legal advice — this is advice from one chump who’s lived it. And you’ll get a lot of similar advice from Chump Nation who’s lived it too.

As we say here — line up your ducks. Then, Christy, go on the offensive and FILE.

Do NOT stay stuck in paralysis — that’s precious time you cannot waste. You can mourn him later, right now you need to kick self-protection into high gear. Get ANGRY.

I love you, but love her. I want you, but want her. I know I want our life, but not sure I can anymore. I was happy but not fully happy. I asked him just to let me go, but he says he doesn’t want to. He doesn’t want this to be the end, but he can’t come home to work it out??

You are NOT a consolation prize. You are NOT going to fight for the honor of his ambivalence. FUCK his disrespect. FUCK his pick me dance. FUCK HIM.

Start judging him by his actions, not the self-serving nonsense he’s spewing. He LEFT. He won’t commit to repairing the relationship. You have NOTHING to work with. Do not ask him to let you go — YOU GO. Stop giving this fuckwit your power.

Christy, one telling thing about your letter is that this jerk really loves the pick me dance.

He prided himself on making others jealous about how amazing our relationship was. Constantly making other girls jealous of me because I had the perfect hubby.

Yeah, normal people don’t do this. Narcissists do this. Healthy people do not care or want other people to be jealous of them. Manipulative people, OTOH, love this impression management shit. It was nice while you were on the inside, insulated as I’m sure you thought by your commitment — but now you’re on the outside. The Other Woman is Ms. Awesome and you’re supposed to be jealous at how amazing their relationship is.

Is that acceptable to you?

No?

Call that lawyer. TODAY.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Chrissy – Please go back and read 9/12 – the mindfuck only has three channels. He is using your desire to “fix” and help people by turning on the “pity” channel. You are nice – he is not and he is using your “niceness” against you.
    I heard almost everything you did and gave my STBX “time” to come to his senses. The end result: he solidified relationship with his affair partner (27 years younger) and I went from capable and confident to a self-doubting mass of insecurities. Also – mine gave the “performance problems” excuse which just meant, at 56 I just don’t have energy to f#@! you both.
    NO MATTER WHAT – focus on just yourself! Get up every day and decide that you want to be confident/calm/happy and joyous to be alive. Take a class/ do a new activity. It is hard but you can do it. Every minute on him is a waste of time that you will never get back.
    STAY MIGHTY

    • Mine had performance issues too for years and years.

      Now that I’m no longer in the chump trance, I realize someone committed to the marriage and relationship would have sought medical help early on.

      Whereas someone who fucks prostitutes, massage parlors and run-of-the-mill APs has little left over for the legitimate partner. It is a chump prison sentence.

      Never in my wildest dreams did I think my ex could be as evil and gross as he is. I refused to believe the full truth sitting in front of me and only starting really ‘seeing’ him for who he is after the divorce was finalized. (He too liked it when people were jealous.)

      Initially i was ashamed to be divorced with a broken family (chumps are also guilty of impression management and control). But over distance and time, i can now say I’m ashamed I stayed married to him for as long as I did!

      Listen to CL’s sage advice and start making moves towards separating from him. Get away!

      • All of this!
        -performance issues too for years and years. someone committed to the marriage and relationship would have sought medical help early on.
        -someone who fucks prostitutes, massage parlors hookers and run-of-the-mill APs plus being a porn addict has little left over for the legitimate partner. It is a chump prison sentence.
        -Never in my wildest dreams did I think my ex could be as evil and gross as he is. I refused to believe the full truth sitting in front of me at the time. He loved it when people were jealous of our perceived perfect marriage
        -Initially I was ashamed to be divorced with a broken family and a husband who preferred hookers & porn over me (chumps are also guilty of impression management and control). Now after distance and time, I can now say I’m ashamed I stayed married to him for as long as I did!

        Christy-RUN! Save yourself!
        Your husband thinks he’s a special snowflake but around here at CL/CN-your husband is a perfect specimen of the run of the mill disordered cheating fuckwit.

        Leave him NOW & make the rest of your life the best of your life!!!

        • Oh, yah. Woody had performance issues that he chalked up to low testosterone due to natural aging but I later found out were attributable to wearing himself out fucking my 19-year-old niece. He’s 49, I’m 56. Meanwhile he continued acting the part of the World’s Best Husband that other women wished they had, and several married women tried to get him resulting in emotional affairs that I discovered during the trickle truth that unfolded due to my marriage policing. Until the day I left he continually proclaimed his love for me, held my hand in public, and deftly hid his secret life of betrayal and lies.

          I lawyered up today, got the paperwork started, and then celebrated in my fancy gown drinking good champagne with a friend who truly loves me, unlike the man who has a hole where his heart should be and tries to fill it by using other women’s adoration.

          When I started reading around in Chump Nation I didn’t want to believe that the common pattern applied to my cheater. Oh boy, were they right. Hard to find a bigger flaming piece of dog shit.

          Trust that they suck and you don’t.

          Leave a cheater, gain a life.

    • Haven’t been here for a few days because I have been in depositions and before that feverishly preparing but I thought I would get a quick fix of chump lady. After a 2 hour deposition of stbx’s whore who like him is invoking her fifth amendment privilege on the adultery issue, and then 6 hours of disposing stbx(still not done), Styx is on the rage channel. He lashed out in text to my adult daughter who is no contact with him. She told me she had to break her silence and give him her yearly dose of kibble. I know it fell on deaf ears but I am proud of her anyway. She was very direct- no name calling just the facts.

      Without going into detail, after all it was 8 hours of questioning over two days, we made great progress in proving my case. I walked with my head up and looked the whore in the eye and occasionally my stbx the entire time. She could not look at me and it was obvious that I was making her very uncomfortable. At one point stbx’s attorney asked my lawyer to have feelingit stop staring them down and he responded she has the right to be here and she can look anywhere she wants.There is a lot I would have liked to say but she is not worth the trouble. Nothing could makeup for the pain they have caused.

      Enough on me, Christy I just want to say and I am sure others will too, the comment that he made about not being attracted to you is beyond horrible. Abuse beyond measure. Be strong and get out! Anyone who would say that is evil. Chumps get it. Most that aren’t chumps don’t get it. You are in the right place. Get out of the fishbowl and keep reading here. With time you will see and understand from your new perspective. It is clearer everyday!!!

      • Feeling it,
        Well, you certainly did have the right to be there, but HE was the one who caused you to be there.
        Good for you to look him and OW in the eye.
        YOU were being yourself, one terrific, classy lady!
        I am so proud of you.
        You and your Daughter are mighty!

        ✂️ Keep on cutting him a new ass, he is gonna need it!

      • You go girl!! Keep at them. I soooo hope you get a good settlement and the judge “sees” all the crap he is trying to hide.

      • beenchumped,

        I assume you meant “porn” issues?

        Yep. Same story here.
        How could I possibly compete with such a endless variety of ever-willing, have-no-needs-of-their-own, nothing-is-ever-too-degrading-or-painful people on the other end of the webcam/screen?

        He got to the point where he couldn’t get a sufficient erection unless it was porn-induced (in one way or another.) “Lovemaking” (hahahahahahah!!! 🙂 ) basically was him masturbating in my presence and using my body as a visual/tactile aid. (Sorry if this is too graphic, it’s just what happened.)

        Once he got porn streaming on his smartphone, he COMPLETELY ignored me. Spent hours in the bathroom. It took me a long time to catch on, I’m a bit slow on the uptake sometimes.

        At least I knew that the last Schmoopie he had required the use of “performance enhancing” drugs, something which he never stooped to using with ME, even though he knew he had a problem. Ya know, because *I* was the “problem”. 😉

        Even though Schmoops was thirty years younger than he is (and I’m ten) he still couldn’t get it up. Turns out he was doing the porn thing with her, too.
        When I found the hotel reciepts, there were a lot of film rentals for their afternoon hookups. (And I’m pretty sure they didn’t check into a hotel in the afternoons for a few hours to watch Disney Movies.)

        Also in evidence were lots of sex-shop purchases.

        Tigers don’t change their stripes.
        Whoever gets him now gets him at his WORST.

    • I get fired up every time I read Chumplady’s responses, they’re so spot on! She gets out of the fairy tale, unicorn bullshit state and comes into reality. She maily brings us into reality, even if it’s kicking and screaming. Folks wake up! There are so many sociopaths and narcissists, it makes my head spin! Listen to Chumplady, she knows a thing or two!

  • Many of us here have been there, the point where you have hope that you can make things better, move on like it never happened. You love the man who did this to you. Make no mistake this is something that was done to you, without your consent and without a single thought to your feelings, or the consequences. Is it acceptable that he acts this way? He does not care about you. He does not respect you. He is not looking out for your best interests. I have an acquaintance whose husband cheated on her. She found out at a prenatal appointment that she is HIV positive. Should she have stayed, with someone who literally cared so little for her that he didn’t care if he killed her? I hate to tell you there is no difference between her cheater, my cheater, and your cheater. He simply does not care about you….or he would never be interested in leaving you for someone else.

    He bought you a pretty pair of dancing shoes to do the pick me dance. Leave them in the box and go find a good lawyer.

    • “I hate to tell you there is no difference between her cheater, my cheater, and your cheater. He simply does not care about you….or he would never be interested in leaving you for someone else.”

      It’s not even that. He simply does not care about you… or if he did he would have left you ethically, had honest conversations, got counselling.

      Even people who leave can still care about the other person’s feelings, wellbeing, financial solvency etc.

  • Get on with your life!!! GET RID OF HIM!

    I went through this exact same scenario, only to get fucked over financially, physically, emotionally…EVERYTHING.

    Protect the ounce of sanity you still have left.

  • Please listen to CL, Christy

    Do not tell him what you are doing. While he is out “meditating” start making copies of all the docs, bank stmnts etc. He is just trying to know what are you are planning to do so he can tell the other whore. Do not be naive, start doing all this before he spent all the money on him & helping the whore to divorce. Please act now!!! You already did a good reflection of your life and situation and it is not going to get better. It will hurt at the first but it will get better. Please starts working now almost begging. Use your head not 💜‼️ PLEASE

    • This was the hardest stage for me pre divorce- every morning I had to psych myself up to pretend everything was fine, emerging with a broad smile and loving words while I copied financials and tried to crack account codes.
      However, the look on his face when he realized the forensic accountant had everything they needed was almost comical.

      I remember being in the same shoes as the original poster, sitting there listening to how much history and love were between us but he needed the special sauce the other woman was dishing out so basically I could suck a bag of dicks because there was no way he could stay away from her.
      My advice is the same as everyone else’s – smile, collect evidence, file, run.
      If you look in your rear view mirror in about 2 years you’ll see his stunned face and the other woman attached like a indestructible relationship barnacle to his side, while what he can’t have anymore moves out of his reach.
      My ex was all about what he once had and lost, or the potential of things he could get in the future, never what was right in front of him.

      • “If you look in your rear view mirror in about 2 years you’ll see his stunned face and the other woman attached like a indestructible relationship barnacle to his side, while what he can’t have anymore moves out of his reach.
        My ex was all about what he once had and lost, or the potential of things he could get in the future, never what was right in front of him.”

        I’m 4 years out, and I can vouch for the truth of this. I’ll never forget the stunned look on my ex’s face when I told him, an hour before his bd party, that I was moving out. That party was the most fun I’ve had in a very long time (after years of his gaslighting and blameshifting), and he sat there the whole time with this ridiculous vacant expression. I know it’s not MEH of me, but this memory still gives me great delight and probably always will. These fuckers LOOOOVE to pull the rug out from under us–how does it feel when it happens to them?

        @Ugh no, my ex also is all about “what he once had and lost, or the potential of things he could get in the future, never what was right in front of him.” Sux to be them, I guess! 😉

        • Should say, “the most fun I’d had.” Emphasis on the past tense. Since I left that cheating POS, I’ve had tons more fun–REAL fun–than I ever had when I was with him.

        • That is just it. I have come to realize that I would rather be the thing “he once had and lost” than let Schmoopie be the thing “he once had and lost”.

        • The stunned face is priceless. DDay was when I was 7 months pregnant with our first child. I did the pick me dance for months. Baby was about 3 weeks old, he had finally moved out but came to see the baby for about 30 minutes each day. One day I was nursing her, and he was standing in the kitchen yelling at me about who knows what now but I remember this part the POSH said “You do not know how close I am to calling my lawyer to file for divorce. ” I said “Tell me what to do to get you there because I want the divorce.”. HIS FACE DROPPED. After that everything became my fault. and two weeks later he filed stating in the paperwork that “she doesn’t want to try to work it out”.

          I knew then he was narcisstic because he wanted the divorce and did everything in his power to drive me to want it to ONLY so then he could blame me.

          Maybe I’m closer to MEH than I think because I’m laughing as I write this…..

          • That’s some serious restraint on your part. I was a hormonal super fund site for months before and after the birth of each one of my kids and easily could’ve used an industrial staple gun to nail someone’s chode to a barn door without remorse.
            How you dealt with that pregnant and post partum is nothing short of saintly.
            I tip my hat to you.

            • Ugh no….. and Peacekeeper please don’t let me fool you. I don’t have much strength left. Baby is now 8 months old and we are almost done with the divorce proceeding. I have wonderful parents who have stepped in to help me with the baby. I have had my days of complete and utter breakdowns. I have had my days of sheer hate.

              But CL & CN has helped greatly! No only have all of your words of kindness and encouragement helped, but to finally have an outlet where I can express what happened, what I’m feeling, and if I can help someone else in anyway helps get me through it.

              We are ALL MIGHTY!!

              • My dday was at 7 months pregnant too… dear daughter is 2,5 yrs old now, she has never met her father! In the end worked out better to have dday before she was born… even with all the pain

  • CL is right. He’s planning something. Not only that, the double talk is often brilliant shmoopie insights. This is the type of shit they talk about in all seriousness.
    Your Asshole: She wants to work on our marriage
    OW: But you don’t want to stay for the wrong reasons.

    Or she got cold feet and won’t leave her marriage and he’s looking to keep you hooked so he has a place to fall on.

    Walk away and file before he starts earning less. Our system often fucks over guy chumps but if it fucks over a scumbag too then it bothers me less.

    • Christy – the “plan” is, screw this newly married whore as long as possible, while you provide the facade of “normal family” for him. Then when she won’t leave her new husband, he always has you to fall back on. But only now, he knows what he’s capable of, and can modify those behaviors to not get caught by you again. The lies and cheating do not stop. This is who he his. It’s his nature.

      Please read “The Sociopath Next Door” or “Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight.” This is the person you thought you had a life with. They learn behaviors that make them appear and sound somewhat normal, but they ARE NOT NORMAL, not even in close range! The douchebag in my tale would say for decades, “I know what it’s like for other people. I can put myself in ANYONE’S place. I have so much empathy for people.” Do normal people actually even need to say that?? No! And empathetic people don’t serial cheat, and then abandon wives and children. I mean, wouldn’t he know the extreme pain, and like, empathize?? Fuck no!

      The adoptions? That was because he felt he could get some long-term mileage from it and brag about it to get kibbles from women; he doesn’t “love.” Love is action, and he’s screaming at you and the kids to fuck off – but not just yet. He needs your cover for normal.

      Research. Collect. Document. File. There are billions of men in this world. Chances are, there’s ONE with integrity and character, and who would be honored to love you. I’m so sorry you have to be here, but I’m also so very glad you found Tracy and Chump Nation this soon. I wish like heck that I hadn’t waited and watched the dbag fucking around right in my face for 8 months before filing.

      • One more thing – after you file, notify the other husband with some of the documentation. That poor man just began a life with someone who is a lying, cheating WHORE. Let’s save him the life of being a Chump. He needs to dump that bitch quick!

          • I can say honestly I hate the old fuck’s wife for not telling me. She got to save herself and her kids without letting me know what was going on.

        • Yes please do tell the husband. It was Schmoopie’s husband who told me. STBX tried to tell me that her husband had his own motivations for telling me and didn’t do it for my sake. I don’t frickin care what his motivations were. He did me a favor. Knowledge is power.

        • Makes me think of Eric Nederlander who was promptly dumped by wife Jessica within the first and only year of their marriage when Jerry Seinfeld showed an interest in her.

          • In fact, Jessica and Eric had just returned from their honeymoon when jessica left with jerry, who she met an exclusive gym (her Chump husband was paying for all her membership fees, of course).

      • My soon to be X loves Facebook and began liking all these pages that she was an Empath and I was a Nacissit. She only came to this conclusion after starting an affair with a guy I told her to stay away from the day I met him. Four months after DDay I filed. Is hard, I have lots of mixed emotions but she has done nothing to show any hope. No apology, no remorse, didn’t even ask me to stay, said I should move into the basement for the kids sake.

    • This!! The only reason he hasn’t asked for a divorce is because she hasn’t either left her husband or hasn’t moved out and he is limbo because he is waiting for HER.

      Christy, I am so sorry this has happened to you.

  • This guy is a loser.

    There’s a major difference between wanting to *stay* married and wanting to *be* married. The latter requires not fucking another person (unless you agreed to some other arrangement beforehand). It requires not abandoning your spouse and keeping her/him in limbo. It requires taking personal responsibility for your actions.

    He wants to stay married, not be married. Dump this guy.

  • He prided himself on his ability to make others jealous of his never having intimacy with you?

    That’s some world class impression management there. And some Olympic level sparkling.

    Chrissy, see this is why if folks chasing the Unicorn look at my life now, and feel pity that I dropped Prince Harming and haven’t found Prince Charming, I’m okay. I would agree wholeheartedly that my life is far more financially unstable these days, but my life is not a sham or a lie. I would take no pleasure or pride if it were in getting one over on friends and family anyway.

    Chrissy, I don’t believe you would either. I believe you put your all into your family and believed you had an equally invested partner. You now know you were the only one committed. There’s no shame in that. Ask yourself what YOU want. You don’t need permission to let go from someone who thinks you’re possibly expendable. Maybe. Here’s a crumb. Really? That’s the kind of marriage you deserve?

    The fact is, you could recommit like a tapdancing motherfucker and he might still walk. He’s already shown hurting you beyond imagination is a vaguely troubling pittance to him. You cannot wish away his ambivalence. If you could, your faith in him would have prevented the first time he sent a text or message that crossed the fidelity boundary.

    FMT said something simple and clear in the forums a while ago that has stayed with me.

    “It never fails to amaze me what some will put up with just to say they are in a relationship”

    What are you willing to put up with, Chrissy? Is the financial comfort worth the cost to your soul?

  • Christy, I’m really sorry about this. It hurts and it sucks. But here’s the thing: your marriage is already over. He ended it when he decided to arbitrarily change the rules of your agreement. Your seeing a lawyer and protecting yourself is simply making it official.

  • It must be so hard when he is being so “nice”. Do not impart your values and your way of behaving on this person. You would never do this to someone let alone your spouse, so him being nice is just one big mind fuck. He is “concerned” so he can judge your reaction and thereby your action…”is she gonna dump my yummy yummy cake in the trash?” is all he cares about when it comes to you. He is not concerned or worried about you. He is worried about himself and consequences he will have to deal with if and when you decide to get angry. Line up your ducks and appease him when he fishes for responses for “how you are dealing” with his abuse.
    Embrace the anger Christy! It will help you to do what you must do. You are mighty!!!!

  • His ACTIONS are telling you everything you need to know:

    – He moved out.
    – He continues to have Snapchat contact with her.
    – He didn’t adopt your adult children.
    – He has not offered you post-nup that financially protects your future.
    – He can look you in the face for YEARS and lie to you.
    – He can develop a RELATIONSHIP with another woman 2000 miles away and still sleep like a baby in your bed every night.
    – He wants to work on the marriage, but has done nothing to PROTECT YOU.

    His actions are telling you PICK ME DANCE, BITCH… FASTER… FASTER… NOPE, NOT FAST ENOUGH.

    I’m with CL 100%… start documenting everything… screenshots of texts; email confessions; credit report; bank accounts. And, for heaven’s sake… go see 5 of the best lawyers in your neighborhood. You only need one, but the other 4 won’t be able to represent him if they’ve already met with you.

    Put your lipstick on, shoulders back, smile and stay silent, crown on – this is fucking war. Know your worth.

      • He won’t adopt… ‘cuz then she could get child support, healthcare and education from the fuckwit in the divorce.

        • The children are adults…he waited until they were adults to petition for adoption. Impression management at its finest without the cost of child support to worry about.

    • Listing his actions is exactly what she should be doing. I would add one caution for the letter writer:

      Christy, don’t read the list of his actions and then start excusing each of them in your OWN head. (Don’t spackle for him.) “Oh, but he only did that because …. ”

      Only look at the action itself. This is where your reality is. Don’t look to him to provide “what’s real” and “what’s not.” He’s a liar.

      Call a spade a spade. Anything else leads to more pain for you and more kibbles for him.

      • Yes, yes, yes, YES. I also think it’s important to ask ourselves, “if my best friend told me her boyfriend/husband did all these things, what would I tell her to do?” Then we need to do those things.

        Just make a list of all the things he has done. Just write it down. It is still really hard, but seeing it written down makes it real.

        • I started a List around D Day myself. Boy was it helpful during the dark times (two years ago). I was very specific on my list. (ex: bragged to me about how many times he’d had sex that week: 4, twice with me twice with her). Every horrible, cruel, selfish, fucked-up, bat-shit crazy, entitled and unfeeling thing he did, I wrote down. I add to it over time, when something new happens, or when I remember something old. Whenever I would slip into unhealthy feelings (I miss him, this is my fault, etc), I would take out the List. Usually I would get to item two or three before I would start laughing at myself for forgetting what a horrible person he is. The list is several pages long. It includes plenty related to the affair and divorce, but also things I had spackled over during our twenty years together. I needed the List a lot during the first year or so. Now I break it out once in a blue moon. There are so many things on there I would have forgotten about if I hadn’t written it down. Every time I look at it, I’m surprised yet again at what a Giant Asshole I was married to. And all I’m doing is reading facts.

          I can’t recommend the List enough. It’s a very valuable tool! It really helps you mourn the right things: i.e. the dream of what you thought your life was, not the actual horrible person.

    • And, for heaven’s sake… go see 5 of the best lawyers in your neighborhood. You only need one, but the other 4 won’t be able to represent him if they’ve already met with you. THIS!!!

  • You’re not stupid. You’re devastated and grieving.

    Feeling stupid is one of the hardest things to process. How could I not know this person was lying to me? It’s soul-crushing to be where you are in this process. One day, all of a sudden, you found out your whole life isn’t what it seemed. It’s the emotional equivalent of finding out you have agreed to a thirty year 500,000 mortgage a house that turned out to be built entirely from very convincingly painted cardboard. You’re grasping at straws trying to figure out how to avoid losing everything in your world, this huge investment, the foundation that supports everything you thought made up your life.

    What I mean is, don’t blame and shame yourself for having a broken and confused heart. It’s reasonable, and I promise you, it’s not as permanent as it feels.

    You do need disinterested third party support, though. My biggest regret (and the root of all of the dysfunctional choices I made that slowed my recovery) was not reaching out for just that. A lawyer will help protect your financial and legal interests and steer you toward the right behaviors from that perspective. A counselor (don’t settle for one that isn’t on your side, compassionate, smart, and able to help you process trauma at your speed – keep changing if necessary until you find the right fit) will be instrumental in helping you put your pieces back together into their new shape.

    I am so sorry you have to go through this. That said, CL is right. More things are likely to trickle forward — you almost never really learn it all at the beginning — so the truth of her advice will probably become clearer with time.

    You have my deep empathy. Try not to beat yourself up for feeling your totally reasonable feelings, but try, too, not to let them stop you from doing and admitting what’s painfully real and doing what’s necessary to protect yourself.

    • Amiisfree,
      You always give such good, clear advice.
      I wish there had been an ami when I needed someone.

      Christi,
      Is is fortunate for you to have CL and so many intelligent, knowledgable, kind chumps to guide you!
      Keep strong Christi, you can do this!

  • Chrissy, please listen to ChumpLady. I didn’t find ChumpLady before my divorce was final and I had already put myself in a position of inferiority with my ex-fuckwit. I lawyered up after that, yes, but it was more reactive-damage control, than proactive-line my ducks and file. ChumpLady kept me sane through division of assets nightmare, getting and staying no contact with the bastard until I finally saw him for the narcissistic-manipulative ass he really was and parallel parenting my children. I am forever grateful for finding her and the community of fine people on her site. But YOU ARE AT THE BEGINNING of this shitstorm that is infidelity and all the lies and abuse that go with it. And although all of us here know how hard and horrible this is for you, I can tell you that ChumpLady is RIGHT in EVERYTHING THAT SHE SAYS, and the sooner you will get her advice at heart and action upon it, the better chances for your swift recovery (emotional and financial) are. Hugs to you!

  • I highly recommend the book “Leave a Cheate, Gain a Life” by Tracy (CL). it puts so many of the feelings you are having in perspective. It will give you permission. to get angry and steps to move on.

    I went through something very similar with my ex. He never admitted to continuing the affair that went on for 2.5 yrs. I had 4 D-days. Every d-day was a complete mindfuck, he LOVED me so much, he was so messed up, so sad, I was alk that mattered…etc. He was so worried about me! All of this was done as he kept his “special friend”..Being a chump took him back 3 times. #4 was the final straw.

    I stopped giving him the power. I moved out, got a lawyer and divorced him. it was not easy, it was hard, he made so much money and was very connected. I
    One year later I am calm! No more panic attacks, shaking, or fear! Take your power back!

  • If he has a hard time deciding that is fine. You make your our choices and after a 12 year relationship he should know for sure. You decide for him. If he doesn’t know then the answer is no. No he doesn’t care about you enough to be faithful. This was the epiphany that helped me get mad and kick my ex out and go NC. It’s much easier to cope if you don’t have to see them or talk to them.

  • Christy, my story sounds exactly like yours, and all I can say is listen to CL and all these fine people here! I waited him out, and after months of “indecision” I decided for him that we were done. I was able to get through the divorce process while he was still feeling guilty about what he’d done to our family and got a decent settlement. Line up those ducks and file while he’s still feeling guilty!

  • This might seem dramatic but time is ticking… the window is closing for you to play it cool and get your documents money and finances in order. He’s leaving and coming back so you have alone time to copy everything and make phone calls. If he’s anything like my stbx he is completely underestimating you and thinks he’s still in control. Use this time wisely. There are no do overs. A spouse who lives a secret life cannot be trusted with any part of your life. He is a self serving dickhead. He’s saying he is concerned about you. This is a lie. He’s checking on you making sure you’re still on the hook cloaking it with faux concern for you. It’s opposite day everyday in NPD land. You had no idea until he confessed. That is scary. What else don’t you know about a man that makes more money than you and has the time to carry on a secret relationship and take things to the next level! He’s slick. Like dog shit in wet grass. Be wary of his slick-ness Christy. My stbx used to tell me to wear provocative clothing to make his friends jealous of him. It’s a huge red flag as CL said. Normal people don’t use their partners to make people jealous. I wish I could go back and kick naive 26 year old me in the ass. Holy hell. Call your ducks to order and play it cool. If you didnt see plane tickets or strange purchases on your accounts then he has set up a slick operation. In my opinion if he felt he could tell you about her then he feels “safe” for some reason. You know him better than anyone. Get your wheels turning and figure out why this is.
    Strength and hugs to you. I’m sorry this has happened to you. I feel your pain.

    • >>”He’s slick. Like dog shit in wet grass.”

      Hahaha … thanks for the morning laugh. Such a perfect description of these entitled jerks. 🙂

      • >>”He’s slick. Like dog shit in wet grass.”
        Hahaha!! Lucky for me I have two dogs and know exactly what you are talking about! Diet Pepsi about came out my nose. Thanks for the laugh.

        • Glad i could make some CN friends laugh today!🤣😆 I was typing my response when I took a break to pick up dog poop. Grass was wet. Landmines. Very dangerous. Just like Narcs. It just popped in my head 😂

  • Crissy — if your daughter wrote this exact letter to you at 3am in the morning, what would your advice to her be?

    My guess is you’d say: “This invertebrate isn’t NEAR good enough for you. I don’t care how much time you’ve invested in him. It hurts and it stinks and it sucks, but you need to understand that you deserve so much better than this.”

    You need to follow your own advice.

    • Brilliant UX!
      I am going to bring that one to my “loving” wife!
      What if are son came to her with evidence of misdeeds in his marriage…..what would she say?
      One thing for sure it wouldn’t be,” Oh, they are just friends.”

        • I said that to my cheater…” How would you like if your daughter grew up to marry someone who lied about everything and led a double life for 10 years?!”
          His response…”How could you throw that in my face?! You are so judgemental!”
          They really do not think like normal people.

          • Agreed. Normal logical arguments done work. I can explain or argue about stbx behavior because it’s pointless. His rational was ” I was in a dark place”. That doesn’t mean anything.

            • Ah, the Dark Place! Well, that’s totally reasonable. I was also once in a dark place. I turned off the light and was like: “woah, it’s all dark and I can’t see anything,” and then I tripped and landed on someone’s dick! Can happen to anyone.

          • I posed a similar question except referencing how the stepdad of the OW might feel. His response was that “you have to hope that you have raised them with good values and that they will grow up to make the right choices.” I couldn’t help it, but I laughed in his face. That statement was the one that finally got me to see just how incredibly messed up his brain was.

            Not only was he dillusional about how a 23 year old hooking herself up with a 45 year old man with 4 children to support from 2 different woman was not a “right” choice, but he honestly thought that he was somehow raising his daughter to have good values. mentally.not.right.

  • Hi Christy,
    You are capable and intelligent. He is manipulating you emotionally. Use it to your advantage. Start gathering evidence – all the financials, the evidence of adultery, see if you can find the other email account (my cheater was too lazy to log out of his gmail account (one I didn’t know about), thank you for passwords and all the evidence that he was a cheating arsehole). Get tested for STD’s. Buy condoms in case you cave, I hope you don’t, but it is hard to turn off the love. You MUST use condoms if you have sexual activity with him. Find a forensic accountant and a great lawyer. Divorce him & find someone worthy of you. All the best. Welcome to an incredubally supportive family of fellow chumps.

  • I will tell you the same thing I told somebody else yesterday. Right now he is making a show of trying to decide between his two loves. You can wait around anxiously pick me dancing or you can make the decision for him. The OW wins by default because you refuse to play the game. If you wait for him to decide he might pick you and he might even give her up, but then he will forever resent you for the choices not made. He will act as if he did you a huge favor by not leaving. You will have to pick me dance for the rest of your marriage. You can never disagree with him on anything or not give him his way on anything because if you do he will know he has other options and can go run off to be with “somebody who appreciates me”. You will pick me dance for years trying to convince him that he made the right choice by sticking with you, but he won’t even notice because he will still be stuck in the fantasy of what might have been. Eventually he will end up leaving you for somebody else blaming you for not trying harder to be a good wife. He will act as if you are the one who didn’t care about him. You were the one not meeting his needs, etc.

    Everyone on this site who gives you advice is speaking from experience. My experience was that STBX had an emotional affair. He told me about that one before it went physical. I told him I didn’t want him to have an affair but trusted him to do the right thing. Eventually, I had to end it by telling him I didn’t want him to spend any more time with her or be in contact with her and he complied. During that period, we had a tiff over some other subject. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but he implied that I better be nice to him because he had other options. I thought it was a wake up call for me to be a better wife. I spent eight years pick me dancing, trying to please him so he would never have a reason to stray. During that time I let him spend retirement savings on an airplane. I let him quit his high paying job because it didn’t make him happy and he wanted to pursue something else. I got a job half way across the country so he could live where he wanted to live. I also did many smaller things to make his life more comfortable and to show him that I loved him on a daily basis. Did he appreciate any of that? No, he had two affairs and left me for slut #2. He told me he didn’t’ feel loved. He told me that before the first physical affair he was regretting not having gone physical with the original emotional affair partner. In spite of all of my efforts to be the perfect wife, he still resented me for the choices not made. Now he has chosen to go find out about those other possibilities with the latest Schmoopie. I have come to understand that the only way I can win is to let him do that while I go find out about my own possibilities. You need to do that too. The best revenge you can get on your STBX (we at chump nation hope that will be the case soon) and his Schmoopie is to let them have each other. Go gain that life.

    • Let me add to this drum beat, Christy. This was my life, too. 9 years between OW#1 and his abandonment of me. And I danced beautifully in between, he just changed the tune. In the end I was screamed at that I was the source of all evil in his life, despite me doing EVERYTHING to please him.

      You have already lost your marriage, you just have not gathered your strength to admit it yet. Lean on Chump Nation, and absolutely trust those 3am mental wake up calls. Your soul is telling you what you need to do. ((hugs)) for your journey, we will be right here. You will find complete strangers on this board have more compassion and genuine concern for you than the husband who was supposed to love you forever.

      • This >>>”You will find complete strangers on this board have more compassion and genuine concern for you than the husband who was supposed to love you forever.”

        And there will come a time and it will come quick where you are told to “get over it” and “I don’t want to hear about this anymore” and Chump Nation will be there for you as long as you need help or to vent. I love Chump Nation!

      • Soon to be ex, one week from today if all goes according to plan. I may need some extra support on that day. I shouldn’t care anymore but I know I will.

  • Just a few thoughts (everyone has covered it well). So your sex life sucks- this is likely NOT a performance issue but the fact your husband has been screwing around on you for a LONG time. Similar issue here, my ex would say its his meds or he’s depressed and can’t get in the mood. Oh no he was just fucking AT LEAST two other people that I know about. I’m SURE he was cheating on me the entire three years of our relationship now that I can look back objectively at the weird stuff that would come up. He was REAL good at explaining this away and I fell for it because I’m a good person. I’m very sorry you’re here with us but Chump Lady saved me and I finally saw the light for who he is and not the word vomit he would spew on me daily to keep his underground shit in tact.

    • This. Sex isn’t a damned stage show. A healthy adult understands that. If I couldn’t “get there” I would not consider that a reason to end all physical intimacy with my now-husband. If a healthy adult is fully with you and only you in relationship, “performance” might be a stressor, sure, but it won’t be a total intimacy bomb.

    • Yes! Hubby left me after 16 years of marriage and I thought was midlife crisis/first affair. years after our divorce I find out he cheated on my the entire time!!!!!! Explains a lot in the bedroom department.

  • Christy,

    We were all in your shoes once.

    Just like you, we all got something along the lines of “I love you but I’m not in love with you.” It’s so common, it even has it’s own acronym that you’ll find on any infidelity website “ILYBINILWY”.

    Just like you, our spouses all lived double lives and took advantage of us and the advantages of being married while having someone else on the side in secret. We all had spouses who were “trying to decide” whether they wanted us or the lovely person they met in parking decks.

    It’s early and you’re very emotional – we all were. It’s perfectly normal and understandable. But once you step out of the emotion and just look at what he’s been doing, you’ll wonder how you ever ended up with somebody like this in the first place.

    It took me almost 2 years after finding out to finally step back and look at what my spouse was doing from a pure non-emotional level. The level of disrespect that I was accepting was mind-boggling. I wish I had acted sooner.

    Please, please, please, do not waste any more months and years from your life waiting for this guy to change. He won’t. He’s no different from any of the others we discuss on here. He won’t change ever. And even if he came back, you’d be spending the rest of your life watching over your shoulder. Is that how you want to live?

    Read thru these comments, there’s A TON of experience on here. We’re not just a bunch of bitter whiners, we are people who experienced a boatload of shit and want to help others avoid the same mistakes that we made. People on here have truly seen it all.

    Good luck and I hope you stick around here for support.

  • Oh Gawd! This sounds so familiar to me. I had his identical twin! Please listen to CL and CN. You are wasting precious time on this turd and you will regret it. I guarantee you that Schmoopie is pulling strings in the background to secure her a soft place to land when her marriage breaks up. Same thing happened in my case. But I was lucky enough to find CL and regroup so I didn’t lose my butt financially. Trust me when I tell you that this guy is just making sure he has a safety net in case his affair crashes. Do you really want to be plan B? These assholes act as if it is their choice whether the marriage survives or not. Ummm…. NO! Exercise your right to choose if you want to put up with this BS or not. Be the captain of your own ship and sail away from this storm. Hire a kick ass lawyer and let “Mr. I Can’t Make Up My Mind” go pound sand with his Schmoopie. It will shock the shit out of him knowing you have made the decision to dump his ass, but who cares. Let him be Schmoopie’s problem.

  • It is critical right now, the sooner the better that you go completely No Contact on him. Like you, I fortunately didn’t breed with the Cheater, and that will help you immensely as you don’t have to share custody or info about kids.

    Chump Lady and the other posters are right, you need to accept the fact that this man is NOT your friend and every single communication w/him is opening yourself up to further manipulation, gaslighting and harm. It is hard because you are a loyal person, and it’s hard to internalize this person you loved for so long is not only not your friend but he is trying to destroy you. Once you are no longer of use to him, that is.

    So the pick me dance is exactly that, to keep you as an option, in case the OW doesn’t work out. Mine flat out told me that and I wasted six months hanging on his words, every time I talked to him he told me he was about to break up with her, and that if I “played my cards right” (seriously wtf) we “might” be able to get back together again if it didn’t work out with OW. It took the 2 x 4 of my adult daughter and my two best friends to get me to lawyer up, block his number, and go scorched earth on him. There is only one way through this hell and that is straight ahead, right through it. Please, for your own sanity, stop communicating with him. Better days are ahead, when you are free from this abuse {{}}

  • “Start judging him by his actions, not the self-serving nonsense he’s spewing. He LEFT. He won’t commit to repairing the relationship. You have NOTHING to work with. Do not ask him to let you go — YOU GO. Stop giving this fuckwit your power!”

    ^^^^^^THIS^^^^^^^

    Mine too did the double speak, and I held onto those words for dear life! I completely ignored what he was telling me “I love you in an agape sort of way, but I love her (a stripper he had a two week fling with) with passion! There’s always been something missing in our marriage” …. blah, blah, blah! Translation – I love you because I have to I guess, because I married you. Really it’s more pitty because I think you are beneath me. That fuckface wouldn’t know what love is if it hit him in the face!
    Stop smoking the hopium and listen to his actions! Stop seeing him through your own moral lense and look at him through fact based judgments.
    – He started an online affair
    – He knowingly petitioned to adopt your adult children when he knew he was having an affair. Sounds like an impression management ploy to me! Or possibly some other sinister ploy that my brain has no capacity to produce.
    – They met and spent 3 days together. Premeditated lies? I’m guessing he had a whole story cooked up about where he was going.
    – Refuses to give up communication
    – He is moving out
    That pretty much says it all!

    Here’s what I’ve learned;
    – they will bait you into reacting
    – your reaction will be used to complete their narrative about who you are.
    -their further actions will be a symptom of the false narrative they create in their heads. “You’re too needy, don’t have a backbone, they don’t respect you” …. whatever helps them twist their fucked up behavior into being okay. They need to justify what they’ve done, and what better way of doing it than to drive you mad.

    • Or, they say and do things which make you so frustrated and crazy you start to lose your marbles and act like someone you’re not.

      Then they like to point out how “irrational” and “angry” and “dramatic” you are.

  • The way I read him, he could be doing one of three things:
    1) What ChumpLady said – he’s a narcissist goading you into a pick me dance for his own twisted gratification; or…
    2) He’s trying to get you to make the decision to end the marriage because he doesn’t want to be the “bad guy”; or …
    3) He’s keeping you on a string as Plan B because the OW has not fully committed to divorcing her husband yet, and he doesn’t want to be left high and dry with neither of you in his life.

    All of the above scenarios suck. Is that what you want for yourself – to fight for a man who clearly doesn’t value you or your marriage? I agree with CL — get angry! Wallowing in sadness keeps you paralyzed. Anger puts a fire under your butt to take action.

    • Christy – also, if you’re worried about “what will I tell the kids/family/his family/friends, etc., you tell them the TRUTH. It will free you, and why protect a fucktard who discarded your and your family anyway? When they ask what happened you say, “Well, it turns out that he’s a compulsive liar and cheater who actively destroyed – and continues to destroy – this marriage and family. My kids and I deserve a million times more real love and respect.”

      Whatever anyone thinks after that is inconsequential. That’s the truth, this is your life and pain, and you don’t need to worry about it afterward. If they try to reason with you about waiting it out, second chances, etc., just say, “Yeah. Again, he’s a compulsive liar and cheater. But you’re welcome to live a long, anxiety and doubt-filled life with him if you’d like.”

      Sorry, girl.

    • DeeDee is right on, although I say he is doing all three of those things simultaneously, along with a fourth: this man who makes “a lot more money” than the OP is almost guaranteed buttering her up right now because he is moving finances and taking steps to screw her in the divorce he is expecting her to file.

      Wait and see — his “concern” will fall away and turn to viciousness the moment he no longer needs to play nice to get an advantage.

      • Hey Glad, nice to see you here! Please give us an update on the new marriage. Some of us who followed your saga of triumph over the years would love to hear what you’re doing and how it’s going.

  • How is it that cheaters all do and say the exact same things? Is there a standard cheater script that they’re all working from? How can there not be a single shred of originality among them?

    • Because they’re stupid and lazy. People who believe life is a zero sum game are stupid and lazy. Why do any kind of self assessment when you can just say what Fred said?

  • You’ve already been given the best advice so I do have one little bit to add.

    Once you are safe and everything you need is secured. Once the court proceedings have started and you are in no danger of losing anything precious to you, do the other woman’s husband a favor and tell him.

    He deserves “real” too.

  • Sounds like hubby is inspired by similarly shitty people and by bad 70s pop (keep barfbag handy)

    Under which of the following categories? Social Sciences

    Has this person spoken publicly before? If so, where? Yes, presentation at the University of Texas at Austin, October 2014 & November 2015

    Links to online video: [videocast] http://www.vidoyen.com/profiles/tracy-schorn

    Please provide any links to articles or web pages about the speaker: [instead of just chumplady.com, pick one of your favorite HuffPo or archive posts so that we have a variety of webpages being sent to the Ted Talks nominating board]

  • First, I think it is really important to point out that he already made a decision … a life-long decision to marry you. He fully understood what the vows stated and what they meant. NOW he’s trying to decide? Six years later and he’s trying to decide if he should RE-sign up for those vows–after breaking each and every single one of them already?

    He unilaterally decided that those vows didn’t mean shit, but that you should uphold yours regardless. He unilaterally decided to engage in a secret relationship with a complete stranger (he met her online!). Please don’t think that this woman fell out of the sky and onto his computer screen. He was LOOKING. I’m willing to bet if you dredge up the computer histories, you’ll find many more cheating behaviors (dating sites, porn, web cam sessions) from even before he met this woman.

    He did all of this while maintaining the illusion of being a married man … he did this to keep you in line as the wife-appliance.

    Then he unilaterally decided to plan a sex-scapade weekend with this woman he met online. I will go ahead and assume that he lied to you about all of this at the time. It also seems likely that he used marital money to fund this secretive adventure … hotel, meals bought, etc.

    Has he had sex with you since this bullshit weekend of his? If so, please, please get tested for STDs. This was not something that occurred to me in the early days — until I started reading here and realizing how many Chumps were given STDs by their cheaters. The sad fact is that almost all of the cheaters proclaim that they wore protection … and almost none of them do.

    He keeps making unilateral decisions with YOUR LIFE. Regardless of his pretty words, the reality is that he keeps tossing you around as if you were a rag doll to be toyed with and tossed aside whenever he gets bored. Only truly horrible people could even think to do this to a person he (or she) professes to love.

    Please search on this site for CLs post called “Real Remorse? Or Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse?” Given your cheater’s proclivity for smooth-talking, this article will help you to cut through his bullshit. This site, the people here, and posts like the one I just mentioned not only helped me to finally see things clearly — they saved me and my kids from the prolonged, often subtle abuse my STBX was dishing out.

    Please take CL’s advice. Talk to an attorney — see what your options are. You said your cheater is “worried” about your financial situation since he makes more than you. I’m willing to bet that one day, you’ll look back and realize (translating Narc-speak) what he REALLY meant was, “Oh, shit. I make more than you and may have to keep giving you money (alimony) when I leave you. You really should make more money — because if you made more money, I wouldn’t have to give you any of MY money.”

    Christy, you kept your vows — you loved your spouse. YOU deserve the same in return. Reciprocity. It’s a thing. 😉

    Wishing you all the best as you navigate through the shit pile he’s created.

    • “what he REALLY meant was, ‘Oh, shit. I make more than you and may have to keep giving you money (alimony) when I leave you. You really should make more money — because if you made more money, I wouldn’t have to give you any of MY money.’ ”

      yes Yes YES

  • Dear CL/CN,
    Are there any benefits to filing first other than being on the offense? For several reasons I feel it’s best for me to stay married for the time being but it’s looking like he’s getting ready to file.
    He’s got some debt that he incurred during our marriage eventhough I never signed anything.

    Tldr is it better to file first?

    Bummedout

    • BummedOut – I filed and listed adultery on the actual document, even though I live in a no-fault state. They’ll just deny it either way, but if you live in a fault state and have documentation/evidence of the adultery, it could be beneficial for your case against him. Even if he files first, you can list all of this in your initial response to the petition for divorce. Good luck!

    • The first step is to talk to a lawyer and find out.

      From an emotional standpoint, it gives you back some of the power. You might not have any control over whether or not you divorce, but you can at least have control over the timing.

      The sooner the better because if he has any feelings of guilt at all you will get a better settlement. That won’t last. If you wait, he is more likely to fight for every scrap. Even if he doesn’t have guilt, if you can catch him off guard, he will have less time to finish getting his ducks in a row.

    • Yes, the petitioner gets to set the pace of the whole thing. I wanted him to do it since I never wanted to be a divorcee, but true to form he was too lazy to do that too. This however I believe worked in my favor.

  • All that so called concern and worry my cheater supposedly had for me amounted to zilch when I was in the hospital getting half my lung removed because I had lung cancer! Not one inquiry or phone call to anyone about my well being! So much for caring! Your cheater is in and out the door to do recon for the divorce! These are nothing more than fact finding missions to see what you know and what you are up to. Keep your mouth shut and don’t entertain the BS! He’s a snake slithering around to gather info. Keep him out of your house if at all possible.

  • Dear Christy,
    Right after you call a lawyer, go to a super grocery store, grab a cart, head to the cake mix isle, throw every kind of cake mix you see into that cart. Next, throw in the needed ingredients, eggs, oil, milk, whatever. Oh, almost forgot, back to the cake isle, this creep deserves frosting, he reallllly reallly likes his cakes sweet.
    Next time he comes to take you to dinner throw the bag of cakes in his face and tell him he owes you, $ the amount of your purchases.
    Plus he owes you a lot more. Go for it, like CN says, line your ducks up, etc.
    Meanwhile he can eat cake, grocery store variety. He doesn’t even deserve that.

    Shop early, cake isle is crowded!

    Geeezzzz, your post got me going.

    Christy, CL, CN they can save you!
    LISTEN!

    • Forgot to add, he can bake his own damn cakes,
      Just throw all the ingredients in with the bags of cake mixes,
      He already has the baking methods all figured out,
      He is such a cake eater!

  • Girl you have got to get angry. Now. Really fucking angry.
    I have a feeling you are a lot like I was, once upon a time. I never got mad, I was the most understanding, patient, tolerant, glass half full, try to see it from their point of view person you’d ever meet. I swallowed and denied and stomped on my anger. I turned it on myself, and it made me sicker than I’ve ever been. It damn near put me in the hospital.
    Getting angry was an act of pure self preservation, and it saved my sanity at least, if not my life. Getting angry was, at first, an act of will. I had no idea how to be angry. I had to practice it. I felt foolish and scared to fall into it. But then it lifted me and carried me through. I was scared that I’d be angry forever if I gave in, or I wouldn’t be able to control and direct it. It turned out the opposite – anger gave me the focus and strength that was missing, and now looking back, it has left me more in control of my emotions and decisions. I’m not “still angry” but I still have the power.
    You have all the facts in front of you, all you are missing is the anger. When you find that, you will have the control and power you need to save yourself from this clusterfuck.
    Here’s how you start (well, how I started – I think it could work for you, too). Get off somewhere by yourself because you don’t want to scare anyone. Scream. Just scream. It hurts, it feels wrong and stupid. Keep screaming, yelling, cussing, punching the air. There’s a lot of raw, hot emotion to clear out of the way, until the anger turns cold and hard and you can hold it it your mind rather than your body. Then you welcome it like your best friend, because it is for the next however long you need it. It’s yours, it belongs to you, you own it, you need it, and you’ll be grateful for it.

    • Arlo, you are so right. My daughter was my strength to help find my anger. She was incredulous that I worried so much about how my XH was feeling through all this. I was an emotional wreck, just shattered, but not really angry. I felt utterly inadequate, and somehow to blame for this too. Getting time away from XH’s total self-absorption and utter sense of entitlement helped with some clarity. THEN I started to feel that good old Righteous anger and indignation start to form. Reading Christy’s letter, I see there is no righteous anger yet. My daughter jokingly said I had Stockholm Syndrome. It could be true. My ex-narc spent many years telling me something was missing, maybe if I did this or that, tried harder to make him happy, blah, blah blah. So I did, until I could hardly remember that I was more than an extension of him. Looking back, it seemed like systematic devaluing until I was so brainwashed that I didn’t even give my own happiness even a passing thought. Christy you are still in this phase. Be furious that your prick husband actively searched out someone to have an affair with. Be disgusted that he can be so callous as to tell you he wasn’t really ever attracted to you. Anyone with a shred of empathy would have an internal filter and know that would be a devastating thing to tell their spouse. He doesnt. He is likely thrilled to be so desired and loved by two chumps. If you reconcile, accept and be ready to have this gut wrenching drama happen again and again, all for his pleasure.
      I wrote out a list of every shitty thing my XH did throughout the whole time of infidelity, divorce. It helped stop my making excuses for that arrogant a**. The longer the list got, the more disgusted I became with him, and eventually with myself as well. I decided to stop defining myself as a “nice” person who was desperate to save my 29 year marriage, and began to want to make myself a Mighty person who deserved much better than what I was getting.

    • Amen amen amen. My anger made me the smartest, most powerful woman in the world after 22 years of being a pleaser. I used that fuel to craft one of the most brilliant strategies for winning my freedom and I used my plan and a bad ass divorce lawyer to f**k up my ex and his latest piece of trash. I can not even begin to express how satisfying it was to absolutely outsmart him and his attorney. I walked out of that court with absolute satisfaction. I may not have the lifestyle I once had but the happiness that rushed in to fill up the giant hole after the anger finished burning is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received. Righteous anger is like a gift you didn’t think you wanted but find after you start using it that you can’t imagine how you ever lived without it.

  • I did not read every response, so please forgive if this has been said.

    Take the advice to seek legal counsel. Seek more than one opinion. Financially, you may or may not be in a state that provides alimony for a period of time. Some consider cohabitation as “years”, some do not.
    This can apply to training or tuition for you.

    Social security requires at least 10 years (I think) before you can claim his benefit amount — but I don’t know — it is vital that you check before he files.

  • We’re not going to lie to you. This will be one of the hardest things you will ever do. Follow the advice of Chump Lady and the Chump Nation have mentioned. We may be strangers but we’ve been there. Trust us, we are on your side. Pay attention to his actions, not his words and you will see that they are nothing but words. After you complete all of this and divorce his cheating ass and go NC. Others will be jealous of YOU on how mighty you are. Get Angry, Trust that he sucks and throw him to the curb and move on.

  • Sending hugs to you Christy. I know it feels like you have you head in a blender right now. We all did at this stage.

    One thing that helped me see him clearly was to totally ignore what he was saying and pay attention to his actions. Cheater ex’s actions were the exact opposite of the lies that came out of his mouth. The truth lies in their actions. Cheater ex’s actions, like your cheaters, told me what was really going on and who he really was. Love? Nope! Utter lack of respect, betrayal, dishonesty, gaslighting, distain, theft of everything from time to gobs of money from our marital assets, smearing me behind my back to everyone, emotional abuse, manipulation on an epic scale, a gigantic love of control, and in my case out right hatred of me.

    As So Done observed, they are all cut from the same cloth. Time to protect yourself and your assets, Dear Christy. He certainly isn’t going to. Trust me, all you are to him is a commodity.

    Also go back and read the thread on the three channels of mind fuck. You are seeing charm right now because he thinks he can still extract some value from you. Once he realizes he no longer can control you or the situation, be prepared for the other two channels …..self pity, and if that doesn’t work,…… rage. They are the manipulation tools of the disordered.

    Sorry, I know this is hard to hear. He doesn’t love you. His kind aren’t capable of love. People, only have value to them if that person is useful to them in some way. If you can’t give them what they think you should provide for whatever reason, or they think they can get a better deal somewhere else, or if they just get bored with you, they will discard you in a heartbeat. Worse, since their distain and lack of respect for us is so great, they will try to do so as cheaply as possible. In their mind, all the marital assets are theirs, and they actually don’t care if we and our children wind up starving and living in a cardboard box under a bridge somewhere. Yes, they are actually that selfish! Plus it plays into their love of control. So, I will repeat what everyone here is telling you. He is NOT your friend. Someone who cares about you would never do this to you. His actions have proven he is someone you need to protect yourself from. Get your ducks in a row and lawyer up with the best meanest pitbull lawyer you can find. We have bee where you are and are here for you Honey.

    • ….under a bridge in a cardboard box. THIS from my disordered fuckwit was beyond what i could have ever dreamed. Afterthe fact that he was having an affair surfaced he had no qualms about stopping paying the mortgage and me and the kids were weeks away from foreclosure. Added to that i lost my job and he cared less whether we had anywhere to live let alone help us move out. In fact all he did was complain to everyone that i had left the house in a crap state even though i had pictures to prove it was fine. No shame that is the enormous red flag that hides behind the “over confidence” before i became the enemy

  • Oh, and PS, they have been known to steal or destroy beloved possessions of ours for the sake of revenge or to try to maintain control. It’s a good idea to stash those things somewhere else safe so he can’t get his slimy hands on them. A good way to save ourselves a little grief.

  • “People who will fuck you over sexually will fuck you over financially as well.” Amen!! Christy, copy that quote of CL’s somewhere in your phone where you can look at it often. Take her advice on this one — get a good attorney on the sly, then play detective on the finances for a month or so before you serve those papers. Photograph any evidence and send it to your attorney. Definitely see if you can secretly get OW’s name and address (if you have access to his email passwords, don’t forget to check the “sent” box — people forget to delete those). It’s painful, but worth it when he tries to fuck you over by secretly transferring assets to her. (Mine I just busted for buying his professional hooker sidekick a $26K car in 100 dollar bills from his safe, rather than having to declare the assets and split with me. It helped that I’d researched her and had her picture from a brothel newsletter from 3 years back). Also those cruise and airline ticket email receipts may not be admissible in court, but might give the attorney needed ammo when it comes time to depose her.

    Hugs to you, Christy. It sucks, but you’re gonna be so much better off without him.

    • Wait, ChickyNot – a “brothel newsletter??” Just so many questions:
      Those hoes can read??
      What news and updates are in a whore newsletter?
      Is there a “Hoe of the Month” spotlight/feature?
      Who’s on the email and/or mailing list?
      Do they get the U.S. bulk rate if they send to more than 200 addresses?
      Is this a quarterly? I mean, with so much hoeing, who has the time to produce this project?

      Wow. Just…wow. I’m sorry you had to find it. Puke!

      • Lol! No, this is real. Google “Bunny Ranch newsletter 2014” for example, for any given month. Yes, they do feature pictures of different “girls” every month. Shitbox’s fave was in at least 2 of these.

  • He is lining you up to screw you over. That is what the flip flopping is about. He’s playing you and he’s playing the OW too. Stop talking to him, get the best lawyer you can and get what you have earned in this long term relationship.

    Btw don’t believe that you’re not attractive. Narcissists have performance issued because they are messed up in the head. He is an addict who needs constantly rising levels of stimulation to even feel ok.

    • >>”Narcissists have performance issued because they are messed up in the head. He is an addict who needs constantly rising levels of stimulation to even feel ok.”

      I agree. In my STBX’s case, it’s also the fact that he was … (how to put this delicately?) … self-pleasuring … multiple times a day on porn/cam sites. And, I’m sadly pretty certain that the letter writer’s cheater has been doing the same with his AP via the internet. It’s kind of difficult to be stimulated when you’ve run the well dry for the day.

      I am so irritated with myself for thinking I had a great sex life with STBX. When he had performance issues, it was easily (and, at the time, reasonably) excused as exhaustion, stress, etc.

      It wasn’t until shit blew up that I learned what the real problem was (cheating/porn). And, the final nail in the coffin was discovering that he would view this crap (or see his APs) just before sex with me. In one of his rage moments he informed me that he fantasized that I was them …….. I absolutely hate him for this.

  • I concur with what everyone else has said and get thee to a lawyer ASAP while also “playing along” until the lawyer says they have everything they need and then drop the bomb on him and go no contact !!
    Also make sure the lawyer knows you were together 12 years and married 6 years. If you lived together during that time, you might be able to be considered “common law” married or eligible for Palimony.
    Get this through through your mind — you are plan B at best and at worst he is setting you up financially to get screwed !! The hardest thing to face though that rips at your soul is that he is NOT the man you thought he was and he never was ! Protect yourself now and mourn later !!

    I will also say that after your ducks are in a row and you finally leave and you and your lawyer have all of the financial and affair proof necessary, you will see that “nice guy” mask drop and a demon pop out !! Trust me and so many of us on here –it has happened to all of us and it will as well to you !

    This is one of the hardest times in your life–we know. During my divorce I even contemplated suicide as my World came crashing down. You will soon find out the painful truth that many who you thought were friends really aren’t and how important the love of your close family is. Just a word of hope, for me — 5 years after the divorce I met a fabulous woman who had been chumped be her Ex too. We hit it off and are now married and for both of us have never been more happy. I wouldn’t trade my life now for my old one for all of the money in the World !! YOU are in an abusive relationship only you don’t know it yet but someday you will. Chin up and as CL says “Be MIGHTY” !!

  • Christy,
    We all have been where you are, with pretty much the same guy. He is a Cake Eater and I know the dissonance is crippling, but he DOES NOT LOVE YOU. Look at his actions. Please protect yourself by documenting and leaving this jerk.
    I know how it hurts. I’m almost 2 years out and still dream of (what I thought) was, and still have to wake up and remind myself that it wasn’t real. Reality is a narcissist psycho who still wants to cling to me, but I refuse to go down with his ship.
    Exercise your right to refuse. Be Mighty.

  • Do not buy into his confusion and need for time. He’s playing you.

    Do not let yourself feel sorry for his sorry ass. He’s playing you.

    Do not feel bad for believing in him up until he showed his true colors. You were supposed to believe in him.

    You did the right thing then. He did not. Now, you do the right thing for YOU.

    Get your ducks in a row, and get away from him as fast as you can. He’s no good for you.

    Repeating others’ advice – Be MIGHTY!

  • Chrissy, I’m so sorry you’re going through this. My ex also made my head want to explode with his contradictory statements. It’s so disorienting! It feeds your hope that the relationship is salvable. One thing that drew my attention was your husband says he’s depressed but refuses to see a doctor. My husband did the same thing. I even contacted his mother and told him how concerned I was about his depression and asked if SHE could encourage him to see a doctor. Later I found out when she approached him he told her I was a big ol’ meany and he wanted out of our marriage. Of course he forgot to mention the affair he was having with his married coworker. So…I suspect your husband is playing you if he refuses to get help for his “depression.” Telling you this is a way to garner your sympathy and keep you in your place a little while longer while he decides what to do.

    Make his decision for him. You will never be able to trust him again. I hung on until the bitter end hoping mine would come to his senses but he left. They aren’t as confused as they’re pretending to be, they’re just making plans.

    My heart goes out to you!

  • Christy, I could have written your letter, three years ago. I may have even done so, my mind was in such a spin I honestly can’t remember all the things I did after XH came in, sat down, and laid it all on me the same way yours did on you.

    Your paragraph about not even having realized he was unhappy, and his high-stress job? Yeah, me too, sister. Me, too. 100% blindsided.

    I have a slightly different take than some on CL, which is that I still can’t see XH as the mustache-twirling dastardly villain, cackling as he revels in all the attention he was getting! (though I do think he enjoyed it) I do think XH was sad and confused and genuinely stymied that we could not remain friends after he shit all over my life. I was just remembering the other day how he said he had enjoyed traveling with me and hoped we could still do that, while I was shrieking and sobbing to discover my husband of sixteen years not only didn’t love me now but in the best “Take Backs!” move of all time, claimed he NEVER HAD! Ouch.

    Some of these guys (and gals) just drift through life doing whatever the fuck they want, and their defense is that they can’t control it. Like Tourette’s. Only of their sex organs. — How would it be if you or I lived our lives exactly according to our ungoverned impulses? “Hmm, I really like that guy’s car, I think I’ll just take it.” — “I am so warm! I’ll just take all my clothes off.” — “I really really have to poop, so I guess I’ll just do it right here in the middle of the shopping mall, and use your pashmina to wipe afterwards.”

    NOBODY DOES THIS!! Well, that’s not true. Infants do. — And your husband. And my XH, as well. We married infants, who not only want to continue to drift through their entire adult lives without growing up (it’s part of what made them so fun to be married to, right? I admit, I enjoyed XH’s whimsy sometimes, until it sent me to the ER with multiple panic attacks).

    You don’t want this guy, Christy. You don’t. Whether it was malice or neglect or infantile behavior, none of it is good. Nor does it make for a solid foundation upon which to build a solid reliable life. Trust me, years from now, when you’re looking in your rearview mirror at this, you’ll see how widespread this sort of behavior is, and all the ways you picked up after him for all those twelve years.

    Stay if you want, but the sad truth is, this is the guy he is. And even if you win (?) him back this time, he’ll just do it again some other time. Ask me how I know.

    • I can second a lot of this. I also sensed that STBX was unhappy, I just didn’t realize he was blaming me this time. Every time he made some new move to facilitate his happiness I went along with it hoping that this time he would be happy. This one takes the cake, however. I told him that he is responsible for his own happiness, but he needs to find less hurtful ways to work on that. At least I can take comfort in the fact that he is still unlikely to be happy with her either and it’s not my problem anymore. He also refuses to see a councilor about his unhappiness.

      Also, unlike many of the others here, my STBX was not terribly financially unfaithful (a little, theater tickets a few dinners and probably a whole lot of drinks at the bar, but no major hiding of assets). I am pretty sure of this because his finances have always been transparent. If there is something I don’t know about than I don’t miss it because I never knew it was there. He also didn’t do anything about divorcing me. Too much effort. I initiated the divorce. We went through a mediator. I did most of the work gathering documents, information, etc. I laid out what I needed and he gave it to me. I think there really is such thing as an affair fog and he is still in it. He can’t concentrate on anything but her so just went along with everything so he wouldn’t have to think too hard. He might also have been feeling a bit guilty and didn’t want to screw me any worse than he already had because guilt is unpleasant. I see the child support as blood money. This is another reason to act quickly. If the cheater is like STBX, it gives you more control over the actual divorce part while they still have their head’s up their asses and aren’t really paying attention or are inclined to be generous so they can move on with Schmoopie without too much emotional baggage.

      I will say he is motivated to pay attention to and work at some things. Right now most of his energy is going into image management and trying to convince friends and family including his kids that he isn’t an asshole and Schmoopoie”isn’t that bad”. As much as that gets my goat, it probably also has a lot to do with why I got a reasonable settlement.

      • CIR, your situation sounds a lot like mine. XH was just sort of blundering along. I did everything, all the paperwork, even his part (we had no kids so were able to file dissolution instead of divorce). I, too, think XH went along with almost everything I suggested because his image-management would have conflicted with his Sad Sausage had he fought me for things. I am not embarrassed to admit I realized this and moved as quickly as I could, so he didn’t “wise up” and ask for more. In the end, though (in fact, the day before the court hearing, thereby sending me into another panic attack & doctor visit), I could feel Schmoopie and/or his parents tugging at his ear, encouraging him to ask for more money (I am the bigger wage-earner), so it appears I barely slid under the wire before he became a bloodthirsty bastard. Whew!

    • Also, the sex stuff? Mine, too. “Problems in bed.” I blamed it on his strict religious upbringing teaching him sex was dirty and wrong. But either he’s lousy in the sack, or he just was never that attracted to me.

      But I was fortunate in having been confident in my sexuality prior to having met him (yes, I slept around, so sue me), so I knew it certainly wasn’t ALL my “problem.” But, y’know, XH never wanted to address it, kept promising to do so but never did (just like everything else around the house). So my sexual ego took a big hit in that sixteen year marriage. — About a year after Dday, I met a wonderful tall Irishman (I’m from the US) on a cruise around Scotland, and, man! that guy demolished any doubts I might have had lingering in the deep corners of my mind! Even if I never have sex again, I am SO glad my last sex wasn’t the wimpy quick excuse for sex I’d been having with XH all those years! — Get out there, girl, and find your own Irishman!

      • A TALL Irishman?? Are you trying to gaslight us……..? LOL
        Married to an Irishman from Dublin for 42 yrs, and unfortunately the alcohol consumption near the end resulted in sexual dysfunction issues. I was very understanding until he started looking elsewhere for some “strange “. Could never admit to what the real cause of his problem was, and it certainly was NOT me!

        • Yeah, it was funny because he kept talking about how skinny he was, but he was XH’s height (about 6’2″) and easily had twenty pounds over XH, so he was nowhere near as “skinny” as XH is! — Sorry your own Irishman story didn’t work out. Just goes to show you, they’re everywhere. :/

      • Did you get a name and number for said Irishman and are you done with him yet? If not, does he have a brother?

        Just kidding.

        • Ha ha, CIR! I broke it off with him, as I started to realize he maybe wasn’t a great match for me. But it was sure fun while it lasted. 😉

  • You say he’s worried about you. He sure is. He’s worried about you…getting mad as hell, and getting an attorney, and suing his ass for what you are entitled to.

    Make his dreams come true.

    Just do it before he clears out his accounts and hides his assets. This is why you need to make nice until you have all the financial records in your possession. Take care of the most important thing…YOUR financial future.

  • Christy,
    Sadly your story is all too familiar here in Chumpland. I’m so sorry for the pain you’ve been through, and for the pain you’re still going through. You’ve been discarded by the one person who meant the most to you. It’s excruciating. The only way to begin making the pain go away and find relief is to cut him out of your life. Entirely. Face this situation head on. Lawyer up and bite down hard. Make it your goal to leave with everything you can, right down to the switch plates on the walls. Act mighty. Be mighty.

  • We are all called chumps here for a reason. We were loyal, loving, bonded, trusting, attached, etc…

    They are cheaters for a reason. Self centered , kibble eating, entitled.

    As chumps, we want to believe the spouse we have invested in and loved has the same feelings and values as we do. We all need a 2 x 4 with the truth. For you, he went looking for something else online. He didn’t just happen upon some twu wuvs.

    He made a decision over and over and over again to pursue something else no matter what the consequences would be. Now he thinks she may be worth moving up the totem pole ahead of you. He’s told you now that maybe she is, maybe she isn’t better. He needs to go decide which one of you will be his Plan B. And just now not only will he take his dick with him, he feels entitled to take EVERYTHING with him.

    I know you are stunned and grieving. But your ship is sinking and you need to get off with as much as possible right away. There will be time later to grieve.

    Even if you’re not sure right now you are done with him. If you were to reconcile later, if he did really love you, then the fact you were divorced and took care of yourself would not matter to him. Please take care of yourself first. Your kids need you to be mighty.

    Before others tell you the light at the end of the tunnel there is a train, it’s because we’ve all been hit with that train. I realize you have hope there’s a unicorn in there. But plan like there’s not and go from there.

    • It does help to move forward with the divorce when you realize that if there is a chance at reconciliation, it can still happen after divorce. There need to be consequences for his bad behavior however confused or misguided and not evil you think he is right now. During and after the process you then have time to figure out just what you want out of a relationship and what it would realistically take for you to be happy with him if you took him back and whether or not that would even be possible. The important thing is to recognize your own self worth and realize that it isn’t worth being in a relationship of non equals, especially if you are the one in the lower position. I admit to still having the occasional daydream about reconciliation, but in those dreams it only happens after he has jumped through quite a few hoops to make that happen and then I wake up realize he will never do those things. I just don’t matter to him that much. Take back your power.

  • “He prided himself on making others jealous about how amazing our relationship was. Constantly making other girls jealous of me because I had the perfect hubby.”

    This jumped off the page at me.

    Notice what he DIDN’T say: “I love telling other people what an amazing wife YOU are and knowing that they’re jealous of me.”

    Nope, he wants everyone to be jealous of what an amazing husband HE is.

    More confirmation that this is all about HIM. Textbook narc image management.

  • Christy,

    Like others, we’ve all been where you are. Standing, pick-me-dance, hopium. For me, we were married 15 years, have two young kids, I thought we were great (also had others who were “jealous” of our great relationship), I was totally blindsided.

    I think you’re actually lucky that he moved out. It can give you the space to clear your head and gain perspective. It is much harder when you start questioning your reality while living with crazy.

    So – a few thoughts that I hope will help you through this initial period, in addition to all the great thoughts from others. This is the really tough part, it will be really HARD, but it DOES GET BETTER.

    1. Your feelings are not your friends. Keep saying this over and over in your head. Please, ignore your heart. This is a time for your head to lead.
    2. Trust his actions, not his words. Don’t even listen to his words. What do his ACTIONS tell you?
    3. I advise you to go no contact. It is much harder to gain perspective and move on when you’re still interacting with crazy cheater pants.
    4. TAKE ACTION. Do not sit. Do not wait. Do not let him decide. YOU act. DO. Action will keep you moving forward.
    5. Shore up your support group, strengthen your bonds with your friends, your family. Don’t protect cheater pants. Reach out to others who love you, and lean on them to help you through this.
    6. Focus on YOU. Not on Mr. Cheater Pants.

    YOU DESERVE BETTER! YOU ARE MIGHTY!

    Sending you strength.

  • “…he knows exactly what he’s doing.”

    Please believe that.

    I had one that gave me the ILYBINILWY speech. He said he loved me like a “family member”. He was attracted to “all sorts of women, one in particular, but nothing happened yet”. I kicked him out upon hear that drivel and he stayed in a hotel. He came back the next day, telling me that while he was not ready to re-committ to our marriage, he would be willing to go to individual therapy. Chumpy me told him I would go out of town and stay with my dad as the hotel bills would add up. I happy obliged his request to get his head together.

    While at my dads, a week had gone by and no calls/texts/emails from him. On a Friday night, I called our home at 7:30. No answer. Called his cell. No answer. I knew in my heart he was out on a date. Left him a message that I was about to write on his FB wall that he was having an affair with a co-worker. Phone rings instantly. I asked him if he had seen his therapist. He said he couldn’t get an appt for 2 weeks. I got madder and told him to stop stringing me along. He yelled: “Quit making me do something that I”M not ready to do!! I have all of this turmoil in my head!”

    Turns out, turmoil was in his tiny, little head between his legs. When I finally gave up after his alleged therapy session where he claimed to tell his IC that he wasn’t ready to “take the steps to divorce” and went home, he had already moved out. Taken everything he wanted and moved into whore’s home (though he told me he was living with a buddy – but wouldn’t tell me where as he didn’t trust me in my “anger”. All I did by leaving, driving 5 hours in a leg brace (I had just had major knee surgery a few weeks before he left) and landing humiliated at my dad’s less than two weeks after we scattered my mom’s cremains, was give him a head start. He was withdrawing our cash to wine and dine whore. She cooked in my kitchen and slept in my bed. He knew exactly what he was doing.

    • “Turns out, turmoil was in his tiny, little head between his legs.” Bahahahaha! Thanks for the laugh NoKibble! I’m sorry he was such an ass.

  • I wonder how ok with staying together he would be if at every function with friends and such he had to wear a terrible neon shirt that said “Im seeing someone else because. ” if he isn’t willing to wear his authentic self on the outside (wants his wife and his lady friend too, poor punkin) and wants to maintain the image of perfect hubby… He should be honest about what that really means to him. That he and his wife are the image of perfection except dammit its still not enough. What a turd. What a turd. Ugh. People just suck.

  • I don’t think he’s all that confusing, Christy. I think he just wants to have a wife and a mistress. Keep you and all the good things about you, but have as much fun as he wants, too.

    That doesn’t sound like much fun for you.

    • Well, and it’s worse than that, right? I admit I have a bit of a loose attitude about sex, so what bothered me a whole lot more was that he really “connected” with OW in a way he didn’t with me. I mean (this is the sarcastic part), he LIKED me and everything, had very “fond” (hate that word now — seriously, WTF?? “fond”? after sixteen years? fucking FOND???) memories of our time together, really enjoyed traveling with me and was sorry we weren’t going to get to do that anymore…. So not only was there the whole “fucking someone else” thing but (to me) more importantly, he LOVES her, in a way he DOESN’T love me. Which, IMHO, is much much more painful to live with.

  • Yes, you married a person who is exceptionally cruel. This is who he IS. You have been blindsided for 12yrs by a skillful liar and manipulator.

    It will never get better and you will never feel OK being with this person. Heed all of the advice here. Get the info you need, interview all or most of the top lawyers in your area and then file.

    I’m so sorry.

  • This is perhaps the ONE AND ONLY OPPORTUNITY you will have to line up those ducks that CL is referring to.

    I know how hard this is, because I’ve been in your shoes. The pick me dance creates its own swirling hurricane vortex that can leaves us in confusion and despair. But please please please, set aside your confusion, shock, grief, sadness and whatever other emotion you might be feeling at this moment – if you must, resolve to dealing with them further on down the road – and RIGHT NOW, TODAY, GET BUSY protecting yourself from this man.

    As others have stated here, this is the time to put on your Sherlock Holmes cap and find out all you can about your joint finances, and in particular, HIS finances that he may be cloaking. Open every drawer, read every email, talk to your banker and see if any accounts have been opened in your husband’s name without your knowledge or permission, etc. Don’t rest until you’ve turned over every rock.

    Then make copies of every document or statement related to all of your financial accounts: bank checking and savings accounts, credit union accounts, mutual fund companies, 401(k) plans, IRA accounts, credit cards, income tax returns going back as long as you’ve been married… all if it! If you do any banking and/or bill playing online, go into each one of those accounts and view the transaction records. See if there are transactions – deposits, withdrawals, funds transfers, payments – that you didn’t know about. If so, print out the evidence and put it some place where it can’t be discovered (even if that includes storing it at a trustworthy friend’s house).

    In the meantime, don’t wait – see a highly-regarded attorney ASAP! He/she will need to see all the evidence you’ve collected.

  • One of the best things about reading CL everyday is that I get daily reinforcement that I am not alone and I will never have to be alone again. I was raised in a home and culture that taught me to never talk about my problems, especially to someone outside of the family, and never, ever, ever talk about any family problems to anyone, inside or outside of the family. This isolates a soul, and also keeps you very, very ignorant about the way people really are. I have learned so much from my fellow chumps, and from my decision to start talking and start researching whatever the hell was that was wrong with me and my family and my Ex’s.
    One of the things I hear consistently from fellow chumps is the biggest regret they have is the time they wasted trying to fix a person and relationship that was not fixable, and trying to untangle the skein of fuck-up so that they could understand it. Believe me — there are some things you will never understand, because they make no sense, and because you have values and a moral code, and you cannot conceive of the complete emptiness of those who do not .

    Another common comment is that in addition to all the completely fucked up actions the Disordered Ex’s did, there was sexual dysfunction from early in the relationship. I always found it interesting that mine thought they knew so much about sex and variety, but they really knew very little, and there were performance problems that could not be linked to medicine, an illness, or substance abuse. I came to believe that for my ex’s the poor ability to perform was linked heavily to porn, and to a need for sexual variance and a constant change of participants — their partners did not have the time or the commitment level to truly connect in a meaningful way. The ex’s wanted that “new” sex, without commitment or consequence — and it just doesn’t really exist. It is boring and meaningless without commitment, and there is always some consequence. So the new and strange they constantly seek is only interesting and stimulating to them because they THINK that they will finally find the PERFECT ONE out there, the one who will anticipate and fulfill all their needs, and have no needs of their own. A SexBot, with money, prestige, great possessions, and one who never has to go to work or take care of children or parents, or spend any time maintaining any of their fabulous properties. Complete Fantasy, and completely unobtainable — therefore the dysfunctional ones have to constantly search for that which does not exist.

    Please heed CL’s advice — lawyer up and protect yourself. Get out with whatever you can, and be thankful you didn’t waste any more time than you did. There is a line from a popular song that sums up Chump Nation’s feelings — “I just wish you could have been a better man.” (or woman) He isn’t even good enough, and he will never be better.

  • Chrissy, lawyer up! This numbnuts really isn’t offering you anything worth having. And what is this bullshit about never being attracted to you? Really? I’m sorry, but men don’t do that, marry women they’re not attracted to. It’s his subtle way of blameshifting, that if only you had been more of this or less of that, it wouldn’t have happened. Mindfuck channel set firmly to self-pity, alternating with blame and charm when he senses you getting out of his grasp. I know and WE know how hard it is, but there is simply nothing to work with here. You deserve SO much better girl! Be mighty, cut and run!

  • Christy, he’s already hiding money. He’ll screw you financially and leave you impoverished. Get all the info, get your pitbull attorney, file, go NC and
    let him go to the other woman. She deserves him and he deserves her.

  • Chrissy I didn’t find this site till too late. I did the pick me dance and lived in hopium. I look back now at his actions and see how he played me got all his paperwork sorted and then told our young adult son home from uni that me and him were not getting on and was planning to leave without a word at the end of the week. I found out on the Thursday- he was planning on going on the Friday. He has done me over financially and emotionally.
    Cheaters cheat, cheaters lie, cheaters suck
    I was with him for 26 years
    I am now in my 50s living in a country the other side of the world from my family
    His actions were all about image protection. He did not want anyone to know he was having an affair- Cos thats not how he wants to be viewed. When I discovered (3 months earlier) he did false reconciliation and I ended up with PTSD, lost 10kgs and am still struggling with the aftermath.
    Its good that you have found this site now
    Take the advice and action it.
    Sending you strength and a big hug

  • “He wants to work out our marriage. He came by a couple of days ago (our wedding anniversary) took me out to dinner and asked to come home, but couldn’t say when. He had made some moves to prove he wants to try, like blocking her number — but refuses to give up Snapchat because that’s mainly how they communicate. He confessed to me yesterday he is still messaging her, but only to tell her that he is working things out with me.”

    Christy, where I come from this is called talking out of your ass and your neck at the same time. It’s all self-serving bullshit. If your husband wanted to date he should not have gotten married. Dating is for single people in search of a significant other or a hook up. I’m assuming your marriage vows included the phrase, “forsaking all others,” and there was no caveat that stated, “unless I meet someone online.”

    I can smell your husband’s bullshit from where I’m sitting and that’s because I was once standing knee deep in the same bullshit. Take CL’s and everyone else’s advice and go stealth, get your paperwork together, see a lawyer, all of it. There is no scenario under which you will ever be safe in this relationship. He has gotten comfortable disrespecting you. It is impossible for someone to love you who does not respect you.

    I am so sorry this has happened to you. It may not seem like it now, but you will be so much better off without him.

    • Don’t forget, Christy (and forgive me if it’s already been said), people don’t just “meet online” for an “emotional affair” accidentally. Your husband had to be actively trolling the meet-up websites for awhile to have met OW in the first place. He’s a scumbag in sheep’s clothing. Run!

    • You know why snapchat, right? They should rename it “twatchat” or “snaptwat”. It’s ALL about the photos…. eeewwwww

  • Additional advice:

    1. secure everything related to your discovery (and his wrong doing) under key and preferably offsite. Don’t rely on his integrity (i.e., “He would never rifle through my things”) to keep your evidence intact. It’s a pain at times, but completely necessary.

    2. Don’t accept any advice from a therapist who doesn’t believe cheating is abuse. It’s a great screening question for your intake session. And can save you hours of misdirected and harmful bs in your quest for ‘a good fit’. If the therapist says, “well it depends” get up and leave immediately.

    3. Be wary of any advice on how to deal with a cheating abuser from someone who hasn’t been there. It’s too early days to fill your head with tales introspection and the joys of forgiveness.

    4. As you learn more about what has really been happening to you and going on within you (cake, gaslighting, blame shifting, emotional flashbacks, cluster Bs, narcissism, addiction, etc.) don’t share with your abuser. It’s natural to want to share your “Ah Ha” moments. But don’t. Just don’t.

    5. Keep coming back. It takes a long time to heal. It’s a process. Be gentle with yourself.

  • Christy-

    Everyone else has said it and I’m going to add just one more thing about lining up your ducks. You are in a very rare window of time which allows you to exploit this situation and get everything you should get with little to no fight. You have to move swiftly because this window doesn’t stay open for very long.

    Get your ducks in a row, get the evidence you need and file. He is still in the planning stages. What appears like “guilt” is the kibble high he is getting from both you and the OW. Let him continue to make his plans with her; let him stay on the fence while you collect your evidence and see a great attorney that specializes in family law to get a fair division of the assets. Then have him served.

    He’s still making plans. He’s probably waiting for schmoopie to leave her husband but you can hasten that. As long as his head is in the clouds with his twu wuv and reality hasn’t set in yet, you can pull this off even after you change the game and file for divorce. As long as he is stuck in the high of planning his new, awesome life (which won’t be, but he needs to believe that) then you’re golden.

    As soon as things settle down to day to day dredge of every day life and cheater and schmoopie don’t have a hypotenuse to amuse them, he will drag his feet and hold his breath. Window shut tight!

    Christy, this window is so small. Please don’t squander it away. He’s given you the clues. Things are still in the early stages. You just have to move quickly and with a great attorney.

    Hugs your way and sorry you have to be here!

    • So well said. They really believe you are a chump and are so lucky to get the crumbs they are willing to give. They are so busy making plans with schmoopie they don’t realize you are making plans too.

      I was discarded once and knew the timeline until the twu wuv’s failed. I took him back.

      The second time I was discarded, I knew I had a narrow window of opportunity. Even though I didn’t truly know he sucked yet, I struck.

      Deal with the grief afterwords. Know that they suck and they have left you in the dust. Someone else has said ‘schmoopies are very expensive’. I’m watching my ex spend money like it’s going out of style with his young schmoopie now. Thank goodness it’s not on my dime.

  • When we go through this heartbreak ourselves, it feels new and fixable because we think we know the person we’re dealing with.

    But if there’s one thing I’ve learned since joining CN, it’s that cheaters are all the same. The details of the stories vary a bit: how long a couple has been together, who the AP is, how they cover up the affair, etc. But the basic story is EXACTLY THE SAME.

    CL gets it. That’s why she wrote her book. And that’s why this community is so helpful to us chumps. We’re all getting the same stupid excuses from our cheaters.

    My cheater dragged things out like Christy’s… trying to make the “right” decision. I know now that it’s total bullshit. He knew all along that he was leaving. He just was too much of a coward to do it right away, so he did the “I’m unhappy” talk and went through the motions of MC, never actually putting in an effort. I saw it even then, but I made excuses for him. “He’s just confused.” “He’s really a nice guy.”

    All the while, he was continuing the affair, hoarding money (his AP was his boss, and he conveniently got lots of extra bonuses in recent years, most of which I never knew about), checking out apartments, buying furniture, etc. No, you can’t be “working on your marriage” while also furnishing your new love nest. It doesn’t work that way.

    CL calls it what it is: CAKE. Cheaters are all the same.

  • Please listen to Chump Lady’s advice.

    No matter what your heart wants or believes at this moment in time, this guy is your absolute and total enemy from now until the end of time. Anything and everything he can screw you with for the rest of your life, he will.

    I’m not saying this in a lighthearted manner at all, having lived this all too well. I took CL advice, went into the stealth ninja mode, and kicked ass legally, got through the divorce in the best possible position, all because I accepted my ex-wife had become my life enemy and also my kids enemy.

    Play the stealth game, and legally kick his ass.

    You can feel a boat load of pain now, but beat him at his game, and I guarantee you that you will feel incredible further down the road.

    But if you let him win because your heart gets in the way he will kick your ass emotionally and financially for the rest of your life.

    You sound like a great person. Please don’t let this asshole ruin your life, and your kids life.

    He’s evil, destroy all evil.

  • Christy, one thing I have learned is to step back and observe the situation that people have gotten me in. Am I calling federal prosecutors begging them not to file charges against this person? (Yep) Am I researching another woman on Facebook because my husband is lying in the bed with her in a photo? Is my stomach in knots because I have called my husband over 100 times and he hasn’t answered over the course of three days?

    You are frantically looking for help at three in the morning. I have been there and it is the loneliest time of your life. But just step back and look at the situation your husband has gotten you into.

    You don’t know this other woman or her husband. I am not Trying to scare you but they could be violent lunatics who might show up at your house and try to harm you. You see what he’s gotten you into? You reference that he makes more money than you. Now you are experiencing anxiety about financial stability and your future. Do you think that someone who truly loved you would want you to experience one drop of anxiety?

    And for What. So he can fuck new pussy. That’s it. And feel the thrill of new romance. What these motherfuckers failed to grasp is that everyone misses that first stomach flip and that first kiss. But we are adult enough to know that there are other things that matter more: stability, a shared dream and being someone trustworthy who shows up for their family.

    So when your logic is hiding under a bushel and that love is overriding good sense just step back and look at the situation the person has gotten you into –

    Is it joyful safe happy and calm? Or is it like you swallowed a stone: frantic fright regarding their loyalty or your future? It tells us everything we need to know about staying with someone.

  • Everyone here has already given you really great advice. I will add that he’s not calling to check on your wellbeing or to see if you’re OK. He’s calling to take the temperature on your reaction. He’s hoping to mine for kibbles and checking to see if he has to pay the piper yet. As CL advised, play the devastated but understanding wife until your attorney recommends that you play your hand and exit. You need someone on your side. Sadly, it’s not your husband. Go find your advocate.

  • Omg, your husband confessed he was never really attracted to you. That is just awful. Why would he court you, propose to you, get engaged and married if he was never attracted to you!????? For the life of me, did he want to marry his sister or have a roomate for life?? This guy is an asshole. I would never ever do that to anyone, marry them if I’m not attracted to them. It’s such a cruel thing to do. You deserve so much more and that is a real man, someone who is attracted to you and wants to be with you, rather than a pathetic loser who is looking for a roomate or a servant to cater to his other needs, while he seeks sex elsewhere. I’m so sorry for you. Hugs.

    • See? This shit makes me volcanic. Why couldn’t he keep his fucking mouth shut. He was able to have sex with you, Christy, so i am guessing he was attracted to you. HE went looking because he is a piece of shit. She answered because she is a piece of shit. You don’t need to overthink this. You are married to a piece of shit. Get your ducks in a row and then tell him not to let the door hit him in the ass.

      I have done a ton of reading and these little romances have about as much chance as me winning a lottery. It takes from 6 months to 2 years for the honeymoon stage to be over and, by damn, if he isn’t going to wake up being the same piece of shit he has always been. In the meantime please move on from hopium.

      Please forgive this language but he has already done so much damage and then to discard you in such a ruthless fashion…..and you have to know he is moving on. He was online hunting another chump and found her.

  • (((Christy)))

    I would only agree with others in saying you’re in a vulnerable place, making it even more important to protect yourself. Emotionally and financially. NC if possible. As long as you let this cheater in your head, you will have no lasting clarity.

    Which reminds me of a meme I saw the other day, something to the effect of: “My ducks aren’t in a row. What I have are squirrels. And they’re at a rave.”

    We’ve all been there.

    Sending you mojo for strength, determination, and peace.

  • Christy, this is very similar my situation with my STBX wife. I’m currently 4 months down the line, separated, divorcing, and… though I’m not where I am by choice…. I can tell you that it does get easier. Be kind to yourself during the next few months. All you can do right now is try to protect yourself as best as you can. That means looking after yourself emotionally first and foremost, especially since your emotions will be doing their very best to mess you up, drag you back in, and to cause you to act irrationally.

    This may not work for everyone (i’m told it’s a very Male-orientated way of dealing with this), but my advice would be to try and take the emotion out of your decision making for a little while; you can do this by figuring out what your boundaries are, what you’re willing to live with, and how that chimes with what your ex is doing. You also need to start adopting an evidence based approach to dealing with the scumbag, because your emotional brain will help you into over-interpreting even the smallest signs as proof that you’re going to get an outcome that you want – something that he will prey off to keep you emotionally engaged, to your detriment. These people are like vampires, they want you for the nice validation, and they will string you along if allowed so that they can suck you dry. You are effectively now in an (emotionally) abusive relationship – he will abuse you to feed off your emotional engagement, and give you nothing in return. Notice how one sided your interactions are with him.

    What worked for me was this; first, to very coldly draw up the list of outcomes that I was prepared to accept – after jotting several possible outcomes down on a notepad and crossing most of them off, it boiled down to just two for me; full reconciliation with complete disclosure, or walking away and never talking to my wife again. For anything else, I figured out how it would cross my boundaries, and why it would leave me in a position where I would feel disrespected, not valued enough to fight for, and in a position where I would be sacrificing my own self worth to be in a relationship with someone who had just proven they didn’t deserve me.

    The second thing; I drew up the same list but from the view of what my STBX might be trying to get from me as an outcome – open relationship, ending up as friends, reconciliation without disclosure, to stall for time, etc. Again, I went through each in turn with the evidence infront of me, and, with sadness, crossed off ‘full reconciliation’ and ‘walking away’ from the list of possible desired outcomes. She kept up the same old nonsense about wanting to work on it/not wanting to lose me from her life, yet there was no evidence (actions, not words) that she really intended on working things out. I realized that the outcomes that were acceptable to me, in no way aligned with what I felt she was trying to achieve in her interactions with me; telling me she still loved me, she was confused, she hadn’t been attracted to me in awhile, she didn’t want to lose me from her life, she had feelings for him, she couldn’t tell me anything, she needed time to think, she just couldn’t tell me who it was with, etc – all similar to what it sounds like your cheating husband has told you. There was nothing that indicated she was prepared to let me walk away, yet nothing indicated she was prepared to give me what I needed to be able to stay with her. Actually, I concluded that the common thread through all of this was that she wanted the nice warm snuggly feelings she got from me being a loving, caring partner, without wanting to give me anything in return… like I said above – you are now in an emotionally abusive relationship.

    Doing this helped me distinguish between minimal gestures and actual evidence that she was pursuing full reconciliation as a goal. It instantly took her power over me away from her. Every communication I got from her, I ran through this little framework I constructed for myself. She’s messaging that she misses me? Well, that could be evidence that she wants to end up as still friends. She’s messaging that it’s so lonely without me? Well, that doesn’t prove she wants to meet my demands for reconciliation, it only proves she’s lonely. And so on.

    In your case, I would view your husband blocking the other woman’s number while keeping his usual communications channel open as a minimal gesture – but you tell me, do you think that’s stronger evidence as that your husband wants full reconciliation according to your needs, or stronger as evidence that he has some other outcome in mind (keeping you around for emotional fulfillment, for instance, while keeping up his other woman)?

    I can’t tell you what boundaries are right for you; some people are prepared to accept alcoholics, some are not. Some people are prepared to accept drug users, some are not. Some people are willing to accept cheaters, some are not. Only you can determine what you’re willing to stand for and what you’re not. But you need to start thinking in those terms.

    • Just to add to the above, since I guess it’s only implied. In my own case, I concluded that there was no evidence that my STBX wife would come to reconciliation on my terms (full disclosure, cutting off contact with the other man, joint counselling, etc) so I shifted myself to starting all interactions with her from a position of doubt, and went about walking away until proven otherwise. 3 months down the line and I haven’t been proven otherwise, and I know I won’t be.

      For the most part her reaction was to try and tell me that, by cutting her off, I had interrupted at the precise critical moment in time where she was about to come clean and tell me all the truth under the sun. You will probably get this BS a few times if you go down a route similar to mine. It’s just a hook to try and reel you back in. I still occasionally get messages along the lines of “There’s so much I want to say to you, but I know you don’t want to hear it…” which I know is a hook where she hopes i’ll reply “Oh, please, tell me, tell me”, like she still hasn’t twigged that I have her completely figured out. For awhile I’d reply “If you’ve got something you want to say, then just say it, otherwise stop bothering me with this innuendo”, but the last time I replied “You’re right, I don’t want to hear it, you’ve got nothing I want anymore”. I haven’t heard from her since, which is frankly, great.

      • Oh I get that sad sausage thing too. “I would tell you and the children about my life, but I know you don’t want to hear it”. Four-years later, and final disclosure of the eastern European OW secretary from work who he travels extensively with. Sigh. He still tries to create an image of “poor me” to us.

        • Sigh indeed. It’s amazing how they’re all the same at heart. Poor him travelling and sleeping with his OW secretary, it must have been so hard. Poor her (my STBX) for having slept her way into a 30k payrise and management of a team of 60.

          Their plans always come unstuck because they’re never as clever as they think they are, and they couldn’t have it all like they thought they could. And then they feel sorry for themselves. Boo effing hoo!

          I am certain that there’s more to this little pattern of interaction than feeling sorry for themselves though; that would be to take them at face value. I think it’s more of a soft attempt at trying to draw you back into emotional engagement. These emotional vampires have to find ways to feed, but it’s clearly a baited trap. Like that person at work everyone knows, who will tell you “I’m having a terrible day, I just don’t want to talk about it”, while obviously hoping for you to ask about just how terrible their day is. They can’t just come out and tell you what they want to tell you, because then they wouldn’t feel like you’re hanging on to their every word.

      • ChumpChris,
        Wow, I read your posts in awe of your thinking and reasoning the actions of a cheater out. That is exactly what it is, YOUR thinking and your reasoning. But the cheater does nothing, just continues on with her fairytale existence or whatever it is or should be called.
        I want to tell you, I think you were mighty from the beginning.
        ChumpChris, do you believe there are some cheaters who tell the whole truth to a Chump ever? As a Chump who was told nothing, name, happenings, etc.NOTHING, I can’t believe there is even one cheater who would ever tell the whole story, the whole truth. That part of a cheater’s life is a special, secret, far away land. In that lies a lot of a Chump’s pain. We used to be that special someone, that special place and whether we split, don’t split, life is never the same again.
        Stay strong and mighty ChumpChris,( great posts).
        I look up to you!

        • Thank you, that’s a very, very kind thing to say.

          In truth I sat on the floor and cried my eyes out, I wailed and I begged and I pleaded. I started to dance the dance. I always thought if anyone ever hurt me like that then I’d straight off walk. Infact, we’d talked about it during the ‘setting the groundrules’ stage of our relationship and I’d said as much. I don’t think there’s ever anything that prepares you though for what it’s really like. Like many others on this site, I was utterly blindsided; she was still writing me little lovenotes, telling me I was a wonderful husband, etc. You don’t count on the fact that you’re still in love with this person, who you feel like you depend on for life itself. I wish I could say I upped and walked straight away, like I always thought I would, but I didn’t.

          But, I was still very fortunate. In my younger years I had gone through quite a bit of Army Officer training. I never completed it for *reasons* but all those days spent on a rainy windswept hillside in the middle of nowhere, being conditioned to make good decisions under intense pressure kind of came through for me. When I was at my lowest, I pulled from some long forgotten corner of my brain a planning framework designed to be used to form battleplans even while cold, wet, tired, hungry and emotional. I never expected to use it 10 years later against the person who I thought was to be the great love of my life, but it did what it was designed for; it helped me make good decisions in hard situations, without being sabotaged by pressure or emotion. I honestly don’t know what i’d have done if that little toolkit hadn’t been there (I hadn’t found CL at the time), since I was an utter wreck up until that point.

          Making a list of what what I thought my STBX wife’s intentions were was simply a version of “What is the Enemy doing, and why?” from that battle-planning framework. Making a list of my own desired outcomes was a version of “What am I trying to achieve, and why?”. There are more stages after that, which I also used but haven’t described here, but those two things which I tried to put into normal language I think get you most of the way and give you some clarity, which is the hardest thing to find in our situation. My well executed little battleplan got me to realising clearly that my STBX had no winning moves to play; the only power she had was that which I gave her. I had total control of the ‘battlefield’, because I could simply ‘win’ (hah) as long as I was prepared to walk away as a positive outcome (which I see it as – to me it’s a positive statement of self respect).

          It was only after I did all of this that I came across CL, and this site is fantastic. So many of the concepts on here are just another way of expressing what I came to find for myself, but from a completely different angle. I put my own spin on things but it’s nothing that CL doesn’t say in another way.

          I tend to agree with you that a cheater will tell nothing. If they do tell you something, it’s given up as if it were a great sacrifice, but it’s always something you have actually already told them. Given I got into this whole framework where I was able to stop being passive and start being active, I deliberately went about exploring the boundaries of that. Where she knew I knew, she would admit, but only after carefully trying to gauge how much I knew first. There were occasions where I dropped part of what I knew on her, to see if she would admit the rest, and it never happened. She was always tightly constrained to exactly what I had told her. There is still some stuff she doesn’t know I know – she’s not aware that I know that she first slept with the guy on the day before our wedding anniversary. She doesn’t know that I actually have the guy’s name because he signed one of the damn hotel invoices which she missed when moving out. And so much more. There is even stuff where she says she can’t remember what happened, that I know the truth of. I kept all of those things back as a kind of control mechanism – I can objectively measure almost as checking these items off a list, that if she hasn’t told me these things, then she is by definition not being open and honest.

          Whoops – that became a long post. You shouldn’t be so encouraging 🙂

      • ChumpChris – what great advice. I am about the same amount of time out from you from kicking my STBX out and filing for divorce. I do not want him at all and realize now that he is a toxic POS but it is so painful!!!! I am not used to feeling like this bc I am usually happy/positive. I’ve been holding it together well for my son and am making myself go out/do things I love. I guess I am happier w/o his abuse but in so much pain. I hope it ends soon!!!! Sorry you went through this too!!!

        • I think that’s an amazing attitude to take. It’s so hard to be happy and positive sometimes, but I am certain you will get back to that point, particularly as you realize how much better off you are with your ex out of your life. You are also doing all the right things by keeping doing the things you love & by moving on. There are times for me where I still feel like I miss her and love her, though they’re few and far between now. I have almost a mental reflex now which is to tell myself off and remind myself of how little she’s worth as a partner to me, since I know she will happily deceive me. I focus on myself. Luckily in my case, we never had children. I immensely admire anyone in your particular shoes.

          It’s painful, but the way I see it is, if you were starting objectively from a blank slate, you would never pick someone like that as a partner (I presume)! It’s only the feeling of a shared history, and a shared future that makes that situation any different, but the shared future is over, and they crapped all over the shared history. I would never advocate killing hope of fixing things for the sake of killing hope, but from my own experiences and from everything I’ve read from people like us, if you go through an evidence based approach to this, the conclusion will almost always be that the cheater is doing nothing meaningful to fix things and that you’re best off walking away. Since cheaters almost always seem to not want to let us to walk away, that is our power, our winning move, and there is strength that we can all take from that. Sorry you’re going through this too, and hope things get better!!

      • ChumpChris you are brilliant in this approach and quite frankly it’s extremely logical and measurable…at the end of the day it’s what we see and can validate via fact of action that truly matters. Words mean nothing.

  • Why am I leaving a comment to tell you the same thing everyone else has?

    For the simple fact the more you see how many others this has happened to, you’ll hopefully realize your situation is not unique and you are that one rare case that proves otherwise because there is no such.

    You say:
    ” I pretty much know the answer to my problem, but am having trouble facing the demise of my marriage.”

    Guess what? You’re marriage ended along time ago. That’s the correct answer and once you face that harsh reality, the better you will be.
    When your husband made you the envy of other woman, that was in no way for your benefit. He basked in his own glory. You were the prop he needed to wow the audience.
    I know this sounds extremely harsh but once you can except things for what they truly are, you can begin living and enjoying the life you have.

    Like your husband, my XH did the same in and out routine. His “inner conflict” was all an act to distract me with hope and give him time to hide assets.

    Unfortunately, I didn’t find this website until it was too late. You on the other hand, have this amazing opportunity sitting right in front of you. Chump Lady and the wonderful people of Chump Nation are life savers. You will learn how to protect yourself in a divorce, understand the real reason for your marriages demise, how to heal and laugh again, and best of all…how to get your life back.

  • Christy, your jackass has moved out. He won’t give up the OW. But he’s back and forth because…

    1. …the triangle is delicious. He’s central to 2 women! He can get all kinds of attention, good and bad. You beg. She seduces. He waffles. It’s so much more exciting to sneak around and keep at least one of you in the dark. And even if you divorce he or he leaves, he’s still slither back and whine about how he misses you or life is hard or it’s all your fault he’s still unhappy.
    2. …divorce is expensive. He makes a lot more than you do? He’ll be paying spousal support. You can end up with the house. If you have minor kids, he’ll be paying child support.
    3. …he may like being in “love” with Schmoopie but if you stop being the hypotenuse, he’ll have only her. And there’s not fun in that.
    4. …he needs time to figure out how to drain bank accounts, secure his retirement where you can’t get it, make sure Schmoopie is locked down so he doesn’t end up alone.

    You wrote: “I asked him just to let me go, but he says he doesn’t want to.” What? You ASKED him to “let you go”? Do you have feet? Can you walk to the car and drive to an attorney’s office? Take back your agency, your power. What do YOU want? The most important thing for you to understand is that you can CHOOSE. You can choose to give him all the decision power and sit back while he moves in with another woman while keeping you on the line for reasons that will, absolutely, only benefit himself. Or you can decide that you don’t want to share a husband with another woman (and one wonders how, exactly, he got hooked up with a woman 2,000 miles away.) I think there is almost no chance that he didn’t cheat before, but somethings these online things get very heated because so much of those relationships are largely imaginary. Yes, there’s a person out there responding but you are largely making that person up, essentially hip deep in spackle.

    You can decide. It isn’t his choice. He doesn’t get to have a girlfriend and then say “he doesn’t want to let you go.” Getting a girlfriend? Pretty much letting you go in every way that matters.

    I think it’s important that you stop talking to him about his affair or reconciliation. Don’t let him know what you are thinking or planning or what you want in the divorce. You’ve been gaslighted and manipulated, so of course you are confused. “No contact” will help you get his toxic voice out of your head. He lies anyway. Even though he’s married to you he can’t decide. So decide for him. Why bother to talk to him? Get on with your life. Get a therapist to help you recover from the trauma and to help you see what “normal” is. Because you’ve lost all sense of that. All sense of what normal relationship is. Get your lawyer to get you a great settlement. You deserve a man who cherishes you and would never dream of getting involved with some newlywed bimbo.

  • Being an example for your daughter is what you need to do. Get the evidence, financial paperwork and the best lawyer and kick him out – just like taking out the garbage. It’s more important you show your daughter his lying, stealing, cheating behavior is unacceptable. Go NO CONTACT immediately! Hit him hard and do not let up. Get child support, spousal support and file for sole custody. Don’t negotiate and don’t budge. Take good care of yourself and daughter.

    FYI: I called the grunge’s husband this week. Now I patiently await for the retailation to begin as their money source has just been depleted.

  • Christy,

    Get thee to an attorney, ASAP.

    I played the game with exh#2 that CL describes.

    After DDay, I sat quiet on my knowledge. I never confronted, I immediately started circling my wagons, contacted insurance, life insurance agent, attorney, etc. while he sat there anxiously awaiting my confrontation…

    What I didn’t know on DDay (he was out with the boys), was that he knew I knew…

    I’ll try to keep it short:

    He went out with the boys, leaving money for.me and DD to get dinner and such, I came home and noticed he had left his laptop up and running. He was also IM-ing on FB his potential- OW telling her how attracted he was to her, how he would.be moving out soon, etc. I sat there, stunned then started laughing at how stupid he sounded trying to get lucky… I then copied and pasted the whole exchange for myaelf, called my bfs, etc. I then open up his Gmail account- nothing in his inbox incriminating, so I checked his “sent” folder and saw all the Craigslist posts he had contacted, with his picture and cell number looking for sex…I didn’t do anything with those…then a little while.later I went back to his Gmail and all his inbox had been deleted, hhhhmmmmm… He came.home the next day to me with business as usual. I said nothing, I had already started planning the divorce…

    Weeks later, we were in wreckonciliation, and I brought up that night I discovered everything and he started laughing. I asked him what was so funny? He then told me he had intentionally left the laptop up and running and had been watching me the whole.time using the remote access web cam in his laptop!!!

    I believe he was too much of a coward to stand up and say, “I’m out”, so he did that instead. He is a.malignant Narcissitic scumbag. I truly believe he thought I was going to pick-me-dance when I discovered the truth. Instead I went into action and lined up my ducks and was going to.file, but then he had OW by his side pick-me-dancing harder, so he paid for.our divorce but I got everything I wanted.
    Our divorce was final 5 1/2 months later. It will be two years this Saturday of.our divorce anniversary.

    He truly sucks, they all do.

  • Oh Fantastic Chump Lady! I’m guessing with the million messages that you receive you won’t see this, but I just have to say… This woman’s story is mine almost exactly! I was told by a therapist that I needed to be supportive of the Fuck Head because he is mourning the end of his precious love affair with his slut. AND I DID!! Oh how I wish I had known about you 4 years ago!! I’m divorcing him now (trying!) He is doing exactly what you just told her, trying to fuck me over in every way possible, including financially. He has drug our divorce out over a year now and my attorney warns it will be at least 6 more months. He is textbook narcissist. You do so much for so many! Thank you! Bless you! Please keep up your amazing work! We need you!

  • Listen to CL Christy. She knows stuff. He wants to nice his way into divorce rape. That’s how I read it too.

    He had performance issues because he was never attracted to you? Wtf? Why are you with him exactly? You enjoy getting beaten up
    and abused emotionally? Find a guy who is attracted to you, so he has no performance issues, they are out there.

  • The whole window of opportunity to get a fair and fast settlement is so true please listen to that advice. I thankfully made it into that window. I thought my ex was nasty before but after that window he turned a new level of nastiness. This from someone I thought was the nicest person best guy ever from a 20+ year marriage. Please listen though it is the hardest thing you have had to do. Hugs.

  • Love love love this post. This guy get off on people thinking he’s a good guy. He’s not. It’s smoke and mirrors. Run the other way responsibly OP and listen to CL!!!

  • This is what happened to me too. Our relationship was “perfect”. He met a woman online, met her in person for a few days. A few days after coming back from his “relaxation holiday” he goes in to a depression, saying he doesn’t know who he is anymore, how can he love anyone if he doesn’t love himself, “he became suicidal”. I find evidence of the affair 2 months later. He kept saying he doesn’t deserve me, he needs to work on himself, all while still in contact with her. Telling me he is destroyed and I am the perfect one yet telling this woman he loves her. I told him it is like 2 complete opposite people living in the same body, Jekyll and Hyde. He is a walking contradiction. His words don’t match up with his actions. He then told me I should watch his actions, not his words. So that’s what I started doing. He txt me 3 days before Christmas saying that he wants to apologize for the circus he created, apologize to me, our marriage and my family, apologize for the lies he told about our marriage, it is obvious he is not ok and he will get help for himself. I end up feeling sorry for him, then I find out he was spending Christmas with the Ow and her family! How fucked up is that. I txt him after Christmas asking where are you? And he never responded, we haven’t had any communication since. Whenever I feel emotional and want to txt him I just come on this website and read the book, it gives me a bit of strength to get through it

  • Here I am again. Almost one year to the day of writing this. I wanted to thank everyone who gave their helpful advice when I was in the very worst spot of my life. I also wanted to update everyone on what I did and where I am now. I did take all the advice and got the separation agreement immediately while he was still “feeling guilty” I got a pretty good settlement and purchased my own place with it. Then hunkered down to ride out the separation emotions that for a long time were overwhelming. Our divorce was finalized in May.

    My ex did find it in his heart to really want to still be my friend as my consolation prize of the end our life together so he could continue his mindfuckery, which I stupidly fell for. I only recently (2 months ago) got the strength to end that and cut him, our/his friends and family out of my life all together. For the first time in 13 years finally feel like myself. I have changed my life completely, doing things I never thought I would do, seeing things I never thought I would see and feeling happiness I never thought I would feel.

    I read the words I wrote and sometimes wonder how it took so long to come to conclusion of how awful of a person he really was during all the years we spent together. I sometimes still can’t believe I fell for his bullshit. Who lies to someone, gets married and settles down with someone when they don’t really care for, horrible people that’s who. I said the guy I knew wouldn’t do this to me and I was right the guy I thought I knew wouldn’t but my true ex would. Lesson learned and never to be forgotten.

    One last thing. For those who are curious, I did tell OW’s husband and turns out she never intended to leave him. In fact she was very rude to my ex for giving “me” enough ammunition to blow up her marriage. OW’s husband left her that day and their divorce became final 1 week after what would have been their 1 year wedding anniversary. I think my ex and OW still are involved but they are both emotionally abusive so they can have each other. It doesn’t even bother me any more. The OW ex husband and I still talk. He is an amazing person and we became great friends that leaned on each other to help the other through.

    At the end of the storm it was truly me that came out on top. The nice guy doesn’t always finish last!

    Thanks again CN for everything!!!!!!!!

    • Wow Chrissy,

      Thanks for the update! Re-reading your story again, I’m really struck by how much your ex behaved like mine (with all the indicisive shit), and how I behaved like you did (he’s indecisive, it means there’s hope!), and I regret it like you do now, ha! Re-reading Tracy’s response had me in stitches. “I’m sorry, you’re going to have to protect yourself from this cake-eating, sociopathic bastard.” Lol, yup, truly horrible, manipulative, selfish, dangerous person, who needs to be avoided like the plague.

      Anyway, I’m a couple years further down this road than you are, and I can tell you the happiness train keeps right on coming :). The more time that goes by, the easier it is to see him for who he is, and at this point I can’t understand what I ever saw in him in the first place. Oh well, my life is great, now! A brand new life that I only fill with wonderful people. It feels great, doesn’t it?

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