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Dear Chump Lady, I wish I would’ve pressed charges

Dear Chump Lady,

I have been divorced for several years. I found out during my marriage that my husband was a voyeur (taking secret video tapes of unsuspecting people without their consent in showers, bathrooms, etc). During this time I also found out he was having affairs, hooking up with random strangers on Craiglist, and advertising on Ashley Madison. I kicked him out immediately (literally…that day), changed the locks, and divorced his sorry arse before he could say “why”. I still haven’t bothered to tell him all of the evidence I’ve found on him. No contact = no effing contact in my world.

Now looking back, I feel guilty. Guilty that I never turned him into the police. I feel like he could be (probably is) video taping people still. He’s a predator and I know what that feels like having been victimized by him. I was in some of the tapes. I still wonder if I’m floating around the internet. I can’t stand the thought of others being subjected to this. I think at D-day, having a newborn, I was so tired, shocked, scared, (did I mention SHOCKED??) and hurt that I couldn’t think straight. Pressing charges never crossed my mind. I just. wanted. out.

I have no evidence. He destroyed the tapes. I’ve asked law enforcement and legal counsel if I should file a police report. They feel that without proof, it’s pointless and will just anger him (and make me look crazy since he will deny everything).

I feel like I was weak and that if I’d been in a better state of mind, I would have pressed charges. Should have pressed charges. Should have had him locked away so he couldn’t hurt anyone else. I feel like it’s my fault a predator is still roaming our streets and it makes me feel awful.


Dear Guilty,

Please don’t beat yourself up. You ESCAPED, that’s the important thing. It’s not your fault “a predator is still roaming our streets” — it’s HIS fault that he’s a predator! Don’t wear that blame!

I think it is a very common chump fantasy to think that we can Warn The Next One, that we have some control over the sick shit they do — or worse, that we’re responsible. Listen, you exercised a tremendous amount of mightiness getting out as quickly as you did. Most people don’t react that decisively. So give yourself some credit here. You aren’t “weak.” You reacted to a terrible crisis.

Reading your letter, my immediate concern is not police reports, but your child. Is Mr. Creepy still around? What is your custody situation? Because THAT is where I would blow a fucking gasket. When you say “no contact” I hope you mean for you and your child as well. Please ensure that your personal experience of his criminal contact is heard in any custody evaluation.

I don’t know this part of your story. But I do know what it’s like to long for a different outcome. The part where you get to rewrite the ending, and your pain has some meaning.  Okay, you suffered, he preyed on you, exposed you to God know what, but now you speak out and save the others. Guilty, that’s why I write this blog. Learn from these mistakes! Save yourself! 

I get the woulda-coulda-shouldas, but exposure of criminal wrong-doing is a very delicate thing. Please don’t think I’m arguing against telling — I’m all about speaking our truth here — but this is the sort of matter you need legal counsel for. Anyone reading this in a similar situation — please get professional help. Get protection. You don’t want these wingnuts retaliating, and you’re there all vulnerable and out of your mind with grief.

I’m publishing this letter because maybe someone IS still in that window where they have the evidence and they can use it. I hope more chumps have the courage and foresight to come forward and expose these motherfuckers. Running this blog has given me a terrible education of just how dark and predatory the world can be. That’s why my head explodes when I read people like Esther Perel whitewash infidelity as Exuberance Acts of Defiance. Really? Then how do you explain the hooker habits? And the sex tourism? And the kiddy porn?

Oh, but that’s extreme. That’s a one off. That’s the fringe.

Is it? You found this guy on Ashley Madison and Craigslist. Common cheater sites. What’s that Venn diagram where serial cheater overlaps with predator or john or happy, paying customer of the sexually trafficked? These creeps write REVIEWS! Billions are spent on this shit. Someone is buying it. There are a lot of ugly double lives out there.

Wouldn’t it be nice if more chumps alerted law enforcement?

Guilty, you did the best you could. I’m glad you’re safe. Let’s hope the next crop of chumps who find themselves in your shoes learn from your regrets. Big (((hugs))).

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  • Guiltyin seattle, stop beating yourself up! From my perspective you are a hero who showed incredible strength. You were the victim of a sociopath and you got yourself out- something that is extremely difficult to do- read this blog and you will see. You cannot expect now to be the one who rids the world of your perpetrator. You need to heal. It should not be the rape victim’s responsibility to preserve the evidence and prosecute the crime. You can’t control him or the world. Love yourself and your child and move forward. You did an amazing thing when you got out.

    • I agree with Feelingit’s perfectly worded post.
      Guilty in Seattle, you are an amazing, brave, strong person to do what you did to protect yourself and your infant the very day you found out.
      Amazing and Mighty.
      You should harbour no guilt. That is totally on him.

    • Please stop beating yourself up. I discovered photos and videos of him having unprotected sex with other women, and I emailed myself some of the evidence. I found out later they didn’t know the photos had been taken. It turns out that the SpinDoctor, a real medical doctor, also knew he had HPV 18, which I now have. Although I didn’t see any photos of myself, he threatened me with exposure.

      I am not ashamed that I had sex with a man with whom I thought we had a loving monogamous relationship. If I ever find he posted pictures of me, a will prosecute and do everything I can do get his medical license. I doubt that he’ll try, given that I outed him to all his other partners. It might have been good to prosecute, but I needed that energy for me.

      I’m mighty and he’s scared of me, especially since he has no power over me.

  • Speak up, chumps! I wish I had. Exhole was using his position as singer in a local band to prey on 15/16yr old girls in the audience. Super creepy. I have no idea if it ever led to sex…but that’s what the messenger apps were suggesting they do….in my car specifically. Yes, I was a super chump. I have no idea if the proof he was praying on underage girls was legal or not. I never asked, but I should have.

  • “Warning” is a tough concept.

    My XW did nothing as bad as your ex, but she did cheat with a man who shared a son with his ex-girlfriend. Or was it his current girlfriend? My wife was never clear on that detail while she was cheating on me.

    During a non-meh moment, about six months into my divorce, I found out online that the OM and his ex-girlfriend got married. It appeared they’d gotten back together. I considered reaching out to tell her about her husband’s history as an OM. But…was that really my place? He’d clearly confessed, ditched my STBX, and he and his wife were moving forward with their lives.

    So I left it alone.

    And it turned out to be worse than I thought. He was still with my STBX the entire time, while he proposed, got married, and had his wife quit her job and sell her house and move 1,000 away to be with him.

    I felt guilty about it, as if I could have saved the OM’s wife from the devastation that the OM had wrought.

    But, I eventually made peace with it. I was not the one who caused any of this mess. And I acted on the best information I had at the time. Moreover, I had to deal with the devastation of my divorce. However selfishly, it’s all I could handle at the moment (and I clearly wasn’t doing well, given I was online searching for the OM!).

    We didn’t create these assholes. We can’t be expected to prevent the destruction they cause.

    • JC, I have full faith in your character and hold you harmless for what our exes did. I tend to be more the pragmatic type than the sunshine-and-rainbows type, but as a result of the way it played out, I got to spend a year with very little responsibility, which allowed me the freedom to focus on my own healing; I landed a job that has been the apex of my career in a place I’ve always wanted to live; and I have zero room to look back and wonder “what if?” because I LIVED the “what if?”. There was no easy path forward for either of us after what they did, and nothing but a Ebenezer Chump and the Ghost of Marriages Past could have changed that.

      And anyway, what is it with chumps seeking redemption from the misdeeds of others? I remember when I first realized who you are here, the first thing I did was to apologize on behalf of my ex, and you told me (more eloquently) not to be ridiculous. I’m no fan of Jeff Foxworthy and his “you might be a redneck if…” schtick, but it makes me think “you might be a chump if…” (Tracy, maybe that should be our next Friday challenge.)

      GuiltyInSeattle, you’re going to have to let this go. You DID reach out to law enforcement and get legal advice, but your ex was one step ahead of you by destroying the evidence. You lived to fight another day. Yes, it’s creepy as #&%* that he’s secretly taking videos of people, and yes it’s emotionally harmful and illegal and every flavor of gross. But he’s not out there waiting behind a door with a knife for someone, so you’re going to have to put the level of physical threat he poses in perspective. Perhaps your day will still come when you’re asked to testify in court. Until then, you’ve done what you can, and you’ll have to leave it to the universe to sort things out.

  • Guilty, hang in there you got out. That is key! He will have his day.
    The law is different around the world. When my ex started abusing me I went to court, got a restraining order for two years. Do you know I later realized that piece of paper meant NOTHING! Only after he abused me in any way could I call the police and believe me getting them to respond where I live is a miracle. I could be dead before any action is taken. And yea all the threats of suicide etc. meant nothing to them. I was forced to go into “hiding” for a while.
    Leave him alone, take care of YOU.
    Hugs and may you find tremendous inner strength.

  • Hi Guilty,
    Please read The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. Your ex is dangerous. The fact you got yourself and your child out of harm’s way is a miracle. Abusers are most likely to kill their victims when they leave. If you had poked that hornet’s nest you may not be alive today.

    You have since consulted with the law, they can do nothing. Please move on from the guilt and continue to take measures to protect yourself and your child. Look into revenge porn laws in your area. If your ex does post any of the videos, or stills from them, he may be able to be prosecuted for that. So sorry you went through this. Best wishes moving forward.

    • Kimhopes, my sense from your comment is that there is a whole other column lurking in there somewhere. I hope CN continues to get the full benefit of your experience here and on the forums. Thanks for introducing me to the whole concept of ‘revenge porn’ – my head exploded a little

  • That’s a lot of “should”ing on yourself. I don’t recommend living in the “should”s. And I agrew with CL, the experience of wanting to protect others from our cheaters is a common one.

  • My D-day in September two years ago was the discovery my STBX had assaulted one of his teenage students, been fired and charged by the Police. I only found out by accident when his lawyer sent a letter to our home address, six months after he was fired and a year after the assault. He begged me to support him through Court and I was so shocked I did. I believed it was a one-off due to his heavy drinking- AND WROTE A SUPPORT LETTER TO THE JUDGE! This carried some weight as I had previously worked in justice. Could I have today’s Chump Trophy?
    He is now ‘flatting’ with another of his former students, a girl half his age. Part of me would like to warn her what he is really like but I know better than anyone how manipulative he is and I doubt she would believe me.
    I removed myself and my children from his poisonous influence and looking after us is all I can manage for now.

    • If it makes you feel any better, I know someone else who went through nearly the same thing, only she’s still with him and supports him financially since he can’t get another teaching job. He refuses to do any more than piddle around with odd jobs, and why would he when he has a chump to do the heavy lifting? She works full time, he still refuses to marry her, she never got to have kids because he didn’t want the responsibility, and he spends a lot of time traveling on his own. She claims to want all of this, and that he never did anything wrong. SHE definitely wears the chump crown! You had the sense to get out eventually.

  • I would be concerned about leaving your child alone with him. Your X is comfortable with his perverted lifestyle and what he considers entertainment.

    As my son got older X began introducing our son to questionable “jokes” and disgusting images on the internet making our son visibly uncomfortable. X laughed when I objected telling me that’s what men do.
    I bought this up in court, and was dismissed by the judge apparently in her opinion I was being vengeful.

  • Guilty, you are not to blame for his actions.

    You are assuming that you would be believed. I wouldn’t have been. In my case, cheater X went around smearing my good reputation for many years before the shit hit the fan. People were snubbing me, even in church. I had no idea why. If I had tried to blow the whistle on some of his behaviours, no one would have believed me. It’s one of the ways they use to try to keep control of us.

    They fight dirty. Sometimes it’s enough just to get away from them. I’m glad you and your child did get away.

  • What I learned from living with a “sex addict” (a bullshit term I desperately clung to over the course of my marriage to try to explain some really fucked up behavior), is that the more you subject yourself to their fucked up excuses you build a sort of tolerance to it. Just like someone who loves a drug user; they are horrified that they can’t control the addict, wanting to save them from themselves, save others from them, and live anxious and pissed off that they can’t control that.

    Reacting to your initial horror and disgust saved you years of mental gymnastics. I don’t think my ex was doing anything in the criminal realm (disgusting yes), and I’d like to think that if he had, I would have reacted by gathering evidence and pressing charges, but when you are in shock you don’t always do what you think you would. Exhibit A… reconciliation with a cheater. I know I said if my spouse ever cheated I was done. Yet here I sit… it taking 2 d-days for me to listen to what my horror was telling me “get the fuck out of this marriage!”

    One of the biggest lessons ass-hats cheating taught me is, save yourself first! Just like putting on the oxogen mask in the event of a loss of cabin pressure, you can’t help anyone else if you don’t save yourself.

    • “One of the biggest lessons ass-hats cheating taught me is, save yourself first! Just like putting on the oxogen mask in the event of a loss of cabin pressure, you can’t help anyone else if you don’t save yourself”….

      The perfect analogy. Thank you.

    • Yes, yes, yes!!! Love the oxygen mask analogy! Guilty, don’t feel bad that you had the right priorities–getting yourself and your child out of harm’s way is definitely number one. I don’t know which law enforcement agencies you contacted, but I get you. In my own situation (trying to report a STBX who’s “in business” with a hooker patient) there are so many legal roadblocks to even reporting him to the medical board, let alone the police (because my evidence comes mostly from his email and computer, and then YOU are the criminal for unauthorized use of his password) that I resorted to filing an anonymous complaint with the Department of Justice. I’m not going to hold my breath that they will investigate, but in your case maybe it’s something that’s an option as well.

  • Kudos on just leaving his sorry ass! In today’s world, adultery should be illegal. It is a crime with actual harm that goes unpunished! Makes no sense that on top of mental abuse, there are debilitating and deadly diseases out there…. that no crime is charged!

    • David B.,
      I LOVE your train of thought here. Brilliant, my Chumpy friend.
      Adultery USED to be illegal, but *hmm, I wonder WHO repealed all those laws?*
      It IS: abuse, fraud perpetrated in the legal bounds of the contractual business of a marriage (if you doubt this is the case, you probably haven’t tried to get a divorce…yet. It’s legal AF! Binding? Indeed!), assault with a deadly weapon (part of me has to laugh at this – for inside joke reasons, use your imagination, CN!), theft by taking, misappropriation of marital assets, alienation of affection (chumps & our progeny), breach of promise…AND they used to be shunned socially. Not now. They have their skeevy little redemption scripts and what do we have? Well, we have each other CN!
      GuiltyInSeattle – CHANGE that handle, sister! You are guilty of SURVIVAL in the first degree. Your instincts were fantastic and crystal clear! You achieved what most of us chumps fantasize about: surgical removal of the cheater tumor! You are in remission and could use some aftercare, I’m sure.
      I KNOW it can’t feel good, especially as sick, thick and murky as his swamp is (Trust that he sucks – AND that he backs up! that was a lot of kibble and they don’t last long without). But it IS HIS swamp. HIS sickness. HIS crimes. You are NOT a conspirator, but a victim. It sounds like you tried and that’s a lot. Trust that they are dangerous and the farther away you are, the safer you & your little one are.
      Put down the club – you’ve been through enough. They acclimate us to abuse and we can internalize it – I heard it in myself recently and it was pointed out to me that what I had been through was abuse – torture – like so many other aspects of our “happy” (puke) marriage were, but couched just so to midnfuck me into taking ownership. BLEAH!
      Thank you, GIS – change your name – for you are MIGHTY!

  • I am with CL — especially with her concern for the Guilty’s little one. These truly disordered creeps should NOT be around children without supervision. But, preferably they will be kept away from the children all together.

    Unfortunately, the courts often ignore behaviors that don’t directly impact the child (for example, video voyeurism — while horribly perverted and illegal as hell — wouldn’t necessarily be enough to get a court to agree to void parental visitation (or enforce supervised visits). And that’s with solid evidence (the letter writer said her ex-freak destroyed the tapes … not too surprisingly).

    Only IF the child in question was video-tapped in such a way (voyeuristically) would the courts necessarily act to protect the child from the offending parent. But the fact that it’s a roll-of-the-dice in many jurisdictions is terrifying.

    My biggest pieces of advice to Chumps dealing with disordered fucks like this are:

    1. ASAP – Call the Domestic Violence Hotline — get recommendations for lawyers, learn the laws of your state regarding child custody and visitation.
    2. Speak with an attorney — one with experience dealing with high-conflict divorces against an abuser.
    3. Get whatever evidence you can (under the radar) and get it to a safe place.
    4. Get OUT. You think you can protect your child 24/7 from the freak parent. You can’t. (Ask me how I know …). If you stay, there is inevitable damage to your child. If you leave, you have a strong, fighting chance.

    Sending a big (((hug))) to Guilty and the rest of my fellow Chumps who’ve had this horrible shit sandwich to deal with. It’s so confusing and terrifying and shocking and … well, it’s its own kind of living hell. It’s so damned hard to navigate. BUT, for our kids — and for our one, precious life — it’s worth it. Keep fighting. Keep pressing forward. We will get to the other side of this.

  • Let them take care of their issues and you take care of yours. Free yourself from codependency. He’ll get caught eventually.

    • Amen! I had the struggle of wanting to tell his new victim about his exposing himself and masturbating in public- because she had a tween girl. I knew she would never believe me, so I have passed the burden onto his family. They can smile at her at holidays KNOWING.

      • Cactusflower –
        WOW! Way to put down the bag of shitshame on the right porch!

  • I could have written this post. My STBX was doing something similar, not in bathrooms, but definitely stalking women in public places, videotaping up their skirts, their body parts – yet insisted he was “still a good guy.” Sigh. I got evidence – and he erased it from my phone. I still have the text messages of me accusing him of doing that and him admitting it – saved those and sent screenshots to myself after he destroyed the evidence on my phone – and we’re both lawyers, so he knows that tampering with evidence is at best spoliation, at worst, illegally tampering with evidence. I guess he’s depending on Chumpy me to keep silent – like I have for the last 17 years. It’s the worst place to be in, I know in my gut he’s still doing it. I wait with baited breath to hear that he’s been caught and put in jail – even though he argued me up and down that what he’s doing is not illegal – he’s delusional. Like you, I was shocked, I never say never, but I swear to God this NEVER occurred to me that he’d be out in the world doing this. We have a daughter. One that’s with me 99.5 percent of the time – the only time she sleeps over with him (and it’s only been three times) is when I have to go out of town for work – and I don’t feel comfortable even with those few and far between overnights. He just got a new apartment – it’s a studio, so that signals to me that he’s not interested in making a home for her – just as well, I’d like to limit the time they spend together until he realizes he’s a sick fuck and gets some help…sigh!

    • PutAFork, I don’t know how old your daughter is, but please please consider having her stay with relatives or at her friend’s house instead of her Dad’s. She is not safe with a predator like him. He will videotape her-she is easy access.Your post put a pit in my stomach. I was molested from the age of 8 by my Mom’s second husband. This was back in the 70’s before discussions of such things. He took any opportunity. My Mom didn’t know and I was told not to tell or I’d be killed. Your ex will not realize he’s a sick fuck and he will not get help. Please protect your daughter.

      • MovingOnChump – I swear if I could, I would. The problem is that we live 10 hours away from family, both his and mine. It was just the three of us, now it’s the two of us (daughter and me) and him. I rely on friends to the extent that I can, but don’t want to be overly burdensome and I try to plan my business trips so that I spend no more than a night a way – I’ve even come back at 11:00 at night and went and picked her up so she wasn’t with him overnight. And then I question her gently – “did anything upset you at Daddy’s” – she’ll usually tell me everything he does, like trying to make her watch a Key and Peele episode and then getting upset because she told him that she thought it was inappropriate (sigh!) and thanks me for letting her tell me everything (she’s a sweetheart, my girl) and I let her know that no matter what he does or says she can always come and tell me and I will deal with it. But to say that I’m not uneasy would be a longshot – and from what I’m reading and my personal experience as an attorney, this uneasy feeling isn’t enough to sway a court to order supervised visitation – my mind is constantly in overdrive trying to figure out next steps and what to do. Ideally, I’d like to move back to Chicago with her and leave him here – but then I’d be worried about the few weeks in the summer that he’d get her and she’d be 10 hours away.

  • My Ex came over one day with his sister and her boyfriend and tried to “talk” me out of asking for any assets in the divorce. I had just found out he did not quit seeing his EA at work in fact it was a PA not an EA so I handed him divorce papers I had already had drawn up because his behavior was too blaming after I found the emails originally so I was able to just hand him the info right away.

    So I ended up bruised and injury (ribs) after the encounter and in the ER room. He and his sister went to the local police station and claimed I started it and pressed charges. So I had to get an attorney and had him contact the police. The stress was unbelievable, I really worried that he would win and I would end up in jail and lose the kids. I was in pure survival mode. Once they seen the condition I was in, the charges were dropped and I did not press charges against EX or his sister. He had just got a new job and I was afraid if I pressed charges he would lose the job and I was a SAHM and had no means of support. So I dropped the issue but every time he came over there were police officers standing on my lawn, so he learned I would call and not to come by my house ever. I was granted an emergency divorce three days later so I did not have to fight my cheater in court but walked away maybe with less but with peace.

    My sons are still mad at me for not pressing charges, they feel like I should have and maybe he would not have gotten away with so much. But I think supporting my children and just getting away was enough. But I do worry about the woman he is to marry soon, so I get your conflict it is hard to know what they are going to do to the next victim.

    Prayers for you and your baby.

    • I’m sorry you were injured. When my ex attacked me I had no bruises or cuts, he set me up and I got arrested for DV, it was a nightmare.

  • The problem is that our social “norms” promote the idea that these cases are the extreme fringe, and that somehow the victims are responsible for what happens to them. In a way, we are chumps because we did not even conceive that another human would act like these dysfunctional creeps act. It was hard for me to believe that the X’s would devote the amount of time and energy into perverted activities that they did — and were still able to appear “normal” or “nice” to strangers who did not know them.

    Use our current Poster Perve of the moment, Anthony Weiner, as an example. He was a successful politician, married, new child, always in the news. Why would he go online as Carlos Danger, and do the things he did? We know a lot, due to media coverage, but my guess is it is still the tip of the ice burg. He’s been doing this stuff for a long time — and he is a relatively young man. I saw an interview with the latest 15 year old victim last night — she said she wished she had not exposed him sometimes, even though she thinks he is very sick and disgusting, but the effect it has had on her life has been almost unbearable. Yet, she wants to forgive him. What kind of message does that story convey about our society at large, or the support given to a victim? Is it any wonder that we end up concentrating on protecting our lives, and our children, and escaping? How can we warn others, and would they believe us anyway? I tried to discreetly warn a few potential future victims when they were in the “new, dating” stage, and they usually thought I was just a vengeful x-wife. The X’s used it as fodder for the “see, my x was crazy and doesn’t want me to be happy,” or “see, she still wants me” delusions.

    I am reminded of that famous line from A Few Good Men, when Jack Nickelson told us all that we couldn’t handle the truth. Sadly, he may have been right. The truth about these pervs is that there are a lot of them around, the industries that feed off their perversions are doing very well (are profitable), and that the majority of the world tries to pretend they do not exist. The legal system tells chumps we should have known better, we should be adult enough to protect ourselves, and if we tried to reconcile, we had, in effect, “forgiven” the original sins we discovered. It has proved to be impossible for me to forgive, if forgive is interpreted as to condone or accept as reasonable. I will never, ever think that any of the perverted behavior I found out about was “normal”. If it was just the types of things that “all” men do, and if it was “acceptable” — then I would rather live by myself on an isolated island waiting for the sweet oblivion of a hurricane to carry me away. I may not be able to change their behaviors, or protect others from them, but I will never believe that these Type B pervs are anything but entitled, selfish, lying misfits who should never be allowed to live in a decent world once their disgusting behavior is exposed.

    I also believe that while we cannot control the behavior of others, and we cannot save all the potential victims of the world, we can continue to share our experience. We are like the beachcomber who walks along the shore picking up random starfish who have been beached, and throwing them back in the water. We cannot save all the starfish, but it matters a lot to the ones we do save. Sites like CL, and the stories of chump nation may save a few chumpy starfish. Accepting that, and finding a way to lead an authentic, peaceful beach combing life may be all the MEH we can hope for.

  • GIS, I don’t believe for one nanosecond that he destroyed any of his precious trophies/videos.

    And further, any action you witnessed to make you believe evidence was being destroyed was completely staged.

  • I’m in Seattle as well – would love to talk with you. My x is a child molesting asshole who has spent the last ten years (at least) web-camming child prostitutes in the Philippines (among other unsavory sexual activities).

    I’ve turned him in to the FBI, local police, and our state’s CPS – but nothing has changed. He’s still working, drinking, and whoring. My family says, “Just drop it, not your problem anymore.”

    I’ve also joined several organizations who fight to stop child sex-trafficking. I would like to do more and at the same time I would like to walk away with the knowledge that I’ve done all I can.

    x should be in prison – he’s way worse than Weiner. I should be at Meh – but is it possible when children are being harmed?

    • I wasn’t trafficked as a child, but I was molested — repeatedly. What you are doing, trying to help, is absolutely fucking HEROIC in my book. Thank you!


      • So sorry to hear what you’ve been through, JessMom. I hope you’ve found peace in your life.

        • Thank you, Chumpiest. 🙂

          Due to being free of the abusive, serial-cheater STBX; the support and love of my wonderful daughters; an excellent therapist; and the fantastic support of this CN, for the first time in my life I am finally on the road to peace.

          P.S. Thank YOU for the work you do. I can’t imagine how hard it is to listen to the stories. But they need someone to hear them — and to care. They need people like you.

    • Roaring, I work with young adults who were sexually abused as children and now have suicidal ideation or have made suicide attempts. I cannot begin to describe the horrors I listen to everyday. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for what you’re doing.

      • I’m so sorry JessMOm. x fucked his little sister for eight years – beginning when she was six – and now, at 50, she has numerous “issues.”

        Also, his FOO never did anything except “pray” about the abuse. They did not mention it to me when I met x over 20 years ago.

        Chumpiest, is there more that can be done?

        I am so frustrated that nothing has been done to get x off the streets (and the inter webs). The CPS guy I spoke to actually said, “Do you have any additional evidence because I already spoke to your x last year and he said he wasn’t doing anything wrong?” The evidence I have now is a fake Facebook page and over 100 child “friends” with whom he “discusses” the “pleasure they provide him” and he comments on their hair, bodies, and “escapades.”

        Does anyone

        • Yes — the predators themselves do so much damage (my molestor was my step-dad). But, the familial response is often more damaging. My family largely wanted to shush it up because he “was such a nice guy” otherwise. Then my mom (married to the predator) called me a whore for it. It started when I was 10. Assholes. All of them.

          Law enforcement is a huge problem with child abuse … so much is overlooked; predators often believed over the kids; and then there’s the horrifying narrative (that seems fairly prevalent) that it just isn’t THAT damaging. Yeah, I have 32 scars to prove otherwise. Again — assholes.

          I’ve desperately wanted to help young women who’ve experienced similar abuses, but I am just not strong enough. It is very triggering for me, so I think I would probably do more harm than good by actively involving myself in the various programs. Instead, as a “better-than-nothing” approach, I donate to those programs.

          What else can be done? Hopefully Chumpiest will have some more suggestions. The best I can think of … I know there are rogue organizations that work to catch these guys. If you aren’t morally opposed to how they function (some people are concerned about the overtone of entrapment), then maybe you could search for one of these organizations to see if they could help nabbing your ex. Sorry I don’t have a better suggestion.

          Take Care,
          Jess’s Mom

          • I’m with you, JessMom,
            Thanks Roaring! & Chumpiest! You are fucking heroes! Thank you for the hard work you do. I wish that I could be on the front lines with you, but I know my limits.
            I became a therapist, returning to grad school 3 years after my flashbacks and the beginning of my own healing journey (& 1 yr post Ddays 1&2). Had several abusers between the age 5 & 10 yrs old, 1 family member. The worst damage was from the family member I told who told me it never happened – Mindfuckery-Dickory-Dock. Set me up for a passing acquaintance with truth & reality & loving checking out (addiction, dissociation, picking idiots).
            When I confided it, X raped me: said he wanted to show me “real love”. I couldn’t speak or stop him, shocked.
            I’ve worked with survivors – adults and children, but that’s not my strong suit and it can trigger me, so I work in grief & end-of-life arena. Grief – talk about preparing for Dday#3.
            Your stories touch me so deeply, my chumps. They can pick us out of a room of hundreds because they know what to look for, playing the long con, many of them. Redemption and freedom are our birthrights and breaking the cycle for our kids, those of use with them, is a huge accomplishment. Proud to stand with you ALL.

  • Guilty, I brought up the secret sex tapes (with my 2 month old daughter in the background) when I filed for divorce and my lawyer brushed it off. I also have tapes of him setting up video cameras in our bathroom. He would them invite the ow over….this was at the beginning of their now 11 year affair. I filed for divorce at year 7. There was an incident at my church years ago where someone drilled holes in the handicapped bathroom wall to spy on people going to the bathroom. After seeing these tapes, I knew even without concrete proof that he was the one who did it. My biggest worry is our now 10 year old daughter. She is starting to go through puberty, and I am petrified that he will start to peep on her. These people are sick pos.

    I had to make a choice between going under financially at the time caring for the kids and all the marital bills alone, or keeping silent about his sickness and getting child support. Sometimes I think I made the wrong decision by keeping quiet. And sometimes I am actually glad that the ow stayed with him as I believe it is a distraction from his peeping tom ways. Coming from someone who lives with these thoughts everyday, do not beat yourself up.

    One thing though, make a sweep of your house for spy equipment (I had to do that and found several things, ugh). And keep vigilant with your child with visitation. Let them know that anyone peeping on them or touching them inappropriately is not right and should be reported back to you immediately. Keep your head up.

  • Aw, honey, no. You were on a sinking ship that was on FIRE. When that happens, you get yourself and your children to safety. You don’t pause near the lifeboat and think, “hmmm, I really should go back and search the ship for other people who need rescuing.” Your first responsibility was to yourself.

  • I sympathise – I went through something similar. My ex was grooming child abuse victims and rape victims. He was also very violent.

    I spoke at length with my therapist at the time and he said my own safety was paramount. That still doesn’t sit well with me but I realise it’s outside my control.

    Hugs and good luck.

  • I struggle with this one too. While I never caught Mr. Sparkles doing anything illegal, let’s face it… I didn’t look that far or hard after the initial discovery.

    But, that said, I know in my heart he is a predator. He suffers (ha) from ROS… relationship overlap syndrome. Even though he cannot be faithful, he also cannot be alone. He is always in a “love relationship” as his front to the world that he is some kind of normal. The fact that he solicits sex with women, couples, groups and trannies WITHOUT full disclosure to his trusting partner makes him a predator in my book.

    He recently moved in with his latest overlap and she is a fragile flower. Apparently, she was sexually abused in her past and is working with a therapist on her issues. She loves that Mr. Sparkles is so understanding and patient with her (sexually). (NOTE: These are things she has told my 19yo stepdaughter… boundaries?) And, after knowing Mr. Sparkles for a whole year… she has moved him in to the home she owns.

    And, I’ve struggled with this because (IMHO), I don’t know if she’ll be strong enough to survive what is to come when his masks slips and the mental abuse really dials up. Because if there is one thing I believe, his pathology has not and cannot change.

    But, I also know, she won’t believe me. The OW didn’t (until after 2 years)… and this one is a flying monkey with pink bows in her hair… I’m the bitter and angry X to her. Whatever.

    So, I pray on it. That’s about all I can do to ease my conscience. I’m too busy raising my kids to be Zelda Warrior Princess vs. Mr. Sparkles and his “loves”. She’s an adult. She can cut her own food and pay her own bills. Buyer beware.

    • I understand you are in pain from what the asshole did to you, but please do your other diverse but kind readers a favor and refrain from using the term “trannies.” It’s a hateful slur and there have already been 21 trans people murdered this year.

  • I am volunteering at my local women’s shelter. The kind of abuse I endured was emotional and mental, not physical, but it has left damage that is just as difficult to heal from. Maybe I can offer some validation and start other women on the path to healing as well. This does nothing to alert potential victims about my STBX’s disordered behavior but it may have to be good enough for me.

    • There is great truth to this. I sometimes feel like the great cynic of the world. Despite the fact that I do know that not everyone is a cheater, I also know that there are more in this world than we would all like to think. What is the latest advertisement…. nearly 50 million people on Ashley Madison? And if you think about it, these are the truly motivated men. If fifty million are paying and posting profiles, how many more are picking up women on business trips and stumbling into the local bar? MANY MORE than we would like to think about. Are there wonderful men in this world? Absolutely? But are there many, many, many men masquerading as wonderful who are just the opposite? Most definitely yes. The lesson that I have learned is to not be so quick to dispense trust. People earn that. And they don’t earn it by answering pointed questions correctly. Liars lie. That’s a fact. Pay attention to what they do, not what they say. And, as my father used to tell me as a small child…..believe none of what you hear, and half of what you see. It may be cliche, but it is also very true, as it turns out. One would hope that once you are burned by one of these cheaters, it would never happen again. Sadly, that is not always true. Rebound relationships are ill advised. Sometimes, you are hurting so much, you look to someone to take away the pain. Unfortunately, these types see those types coming a mile away. Slow and steady wins the race. A year after your divorce is not the time to talking moving in, or engagement. Proceed with caution……

  • Guilty–Don’t beat yourself up over this. The burden of his actions is his alone.

    When you discovered all of this, you were dealing with a newborn. No one sleeps when that baby is home! So here you were, sleep-deprived and then you get this shock and betrayal! The astounding this is that you were mighty enough to kick his sorry ass out!

    The only thing we can do is to do the best we could do at the time we did it. You did that. You protected yourself and your child. You distanced yourself from a sexual predator. That you want to go back and protect others is praiseworthy. That law enforcement doesn’t think that it’s possible to do so is on them, not on you.

    • I agree. Until your kids are around 5 years old, you are in the Cave of Motherhood. We barely have time to wipe our ass, let alone bring Justice To The World.

      You got your baby and yourself out. That was a giant act of bravery and that is the justice you brought.

      It is difficult to admit we are helpless over most of the evil in the world. We don’t want to see others hurt because it pokes at our wounds. But we can’t help everyone.

      Now let’s see if I can go out there and take my own advice lol

      • Differently Chumped – this is great! Cave of Motherhood! The image that had come to my mind was a mother bear or lioness when I first read GIS’ story. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and all that jazz – we’re fierce protectors!
        And I’m right with you – take my advice, I’m not using it.
        (well, not always)

        • “Take my advice- I’m not using it.” -love that. We’ll get better.

          Yeah, it’s definitely tunnel vision for a while there. I try to give myself grace whilst in the cave. After all, I would not shame or belittle another mother in my situation. So why do I do it with myself?

          *sigh* It’s a work in progress.

  • Guilty, I was in a very similar situation with my cheater, who was also a voyeur and secretly filmed and photographed women including me. I feel ya girl! When I made this discovery I was pregnant and miscarrying and too hormonal to save this information and act on it. I also regret this, but more importantly, I forgive myself for it. It was so shocking and my hormones and my baby loss so overwhelming, that I did not have the strength at the time. I didn’t even have the mental wherewithal to have the thought to do it! So none of us are superhuman, we cope as best we can. And Chump Lady is right; him being a predator is on HIM, not you! We can’t always stop this stuff even if we want to. Our first job is saving ourselves and those close to us from harm. I hope and pry my predatory cheater gets caught one day, but it will not be by me. I have had to make peace with that. Peace does come, just keep talking about your feelings and keep acting in your own self-interest. Sending hugs!!

  • They ruin everything!! NOTHING is sacred to them Im glad I got away after 3 decades. It is shocking what shit they think up and do to innocent people. No one would believe me anyway, he was the law. Cops, lawyers, doctors, etc. sadly they ALL are capable of every vile act imaginable. I take care of me now and only pray that anything he is plotting will be thwarted before anyone else is harmed.

    SICK SICK SICK people. Its so much worse than anyone would ever even believe anyway! ((hugs))

  • It took me four years to build up the courage to finally report my Cheating Ex’s pedophilia and high likelihood of possessing child porn.
    I’ll admit I didn’t want to do it while our legal battle over equity in the house was taking place. Like many, I didn’t have “proof” ie. a smoking gun but the last straw was a couple of months ago, long into Meh, finding a note he had written to himself to “remember to change the email address that the motion detection camera was uploading videos to.” Huh? I don’t really know what this means but he was extremely secretive about his computers and files, everything had a password and he removed 5 pcs from the house the very next morning while I was at work, after DDay evening.
    Why? There were other clues but I don’t want to get specific here.
    Suffice to say I decided to use the child safety online tip reporting page, but that didn’t work, so I wrote a letter to the local prosecutor who had received a lot of press coverage for snaring pedophiles. Maybe I had no “proof” because he erased it all, but I know with my own eyes, ears and body parts that he loved fantasizing that he was raping a 12 or 13 old girl. Since I reported it, my conscience is clear. I gave them enough information to find him even though I don’t have “proof” of where he lives now either but it’s mostly likely where I told them it was.

    As Chumps we are by nature very loyal.
    That was what stopped me initially and that queasy ‘what if’ feeling that maybe I imagined it. So all I listed were facts and where it was a likelihood I stated why.

    These predators fly under the radar. No one reporting them is one of the ways they succeed.
    They count on everyone else believing “That’s crazy! He would never do that!”

  • One of the hardest things for us to realize is that pedophiles can be in our families, in our neighborhoods, in our schools, churches, our playgrounds, parks and anywhere where children congregate. There are always scary stories about children being abducted by strangers but the overwhelming majority of children are molested by people they know. You need to be very suspicious if you have someone, particularly a male, who is interested in taking your children somewhere, babysitting or doing anything that is unusual for men to be interested in. As you know, from reading about Sandusky molesting boys, they are anywhere and they never stop. Pedophiles begin at puberty, if they can, and they usually can. The one thing that parents are completely wrong about is that they believe their children will never lie to them and will not keep secrets from them. Your children know you from the inside out and they know what you can stand and what you can handle emotionally. If they feel that they are responsible in anyway for causing you grief they will not tell. You have to be on guard, you have to watch, and worry. If you are married to a person who is narcissistic or actually anyone who is very self-centered you need to be aware. They may not be the molesters but they may have friends that are. I hate to be an alarmist but I know about this and I can tell you that your children are at risk until they are grown.

  • When there are children involved, one must act carefully.
    I myself had to bite my tongue and not disclose what evidence I had, in order to reach a reasonable solution for myself and my child. And my x is not even a predator, just the cliche kind of cheater.
    It’s a tough call to jeopardise the safety of the child, a good outcome from the divorce…
    I think the law enforcement and lawyers should be better informed on these kind of cases. They can get extreme.

  • Hey Guilty —
    This is what I did: once I was calm, I got dressed up and went to the police department. I told the lady at the desk what I was there for, and she arranged for a sergeant (lady) to meet privately with me. I told her about the voyeurism and the prostitutes (illegal here, I know, legal in Australia). I gave her a description of him and his car, photos and license plate.

    Here is what she said, about the prostitutes: “It’s only a matter of time before he’s caught. It’s only a matter of time.” Johns get their mugs posted on tv, they are considered law-breakers, along with the prostitute.

    About the voyeurism, she said, without revealing his identity, warn your neighbors. Tell them to keep their blinds closed at night. Tell them to call the police if they see anyone looking at the window at them, especially with binoculars. I did this.

    After I talked to the sergeant, and followed her advice, I felt a load was lifted off my shoulders.

  • You found out you had husband who was not only cheating but violating your privacy and the privacy of others in utterly disgusting and shocking ways. And you did the might thing: you left. You divorced him. You didn’t dither and suck up hopium or deny what you saw.

    Your obligation now is your child. You need to be sure he isn’t doing any taping of your kiddo or that he is capable of being alone with children without molesting them. That’s what you need to fight for–kiddo’s safety.

  • I have mulled over this column all day. I completely agree that we cannot beat ourselves up post-hoc about decisions we made in the heat of shock and trauma, and that our first responsibility in such circumstances is to get out safely & keep our children safe.

    But….once that is accomplished, do we not owe it to future victims to try and protect them? Especially when the potential victims are underage? Undoubtedly, one person armed with evidence may not be sufficient to bring down pedophiles or sexual predators because the system is rigged as much to inertia as it is to action.

    Don’t we have to try if there is the slightest risk another innocent person (esp. a child) could be irreparably damaged? Atrocities flourish because too many people, one after another, opt for silence.

    Just my two cents.

    • I think we try to do the right thing. The OP did so as soon as she was able. Law enforcement was not forthcoming, and it looks as if law enforcement is extremely problematic with respect to protecting minors from predators masquerading as trusted family members or friends or neighbors, etc.

      But it’s worth reporting, even if the police fall short. Over time, as long as good people continue to report what they feel is not right, that person will blip on law enforcement’s radar once more. Maybe that time, law enforcement takes note that the individual’s been reported before. At least you know you tried.

      If you have to deal with custody issues with such a deviant, then I think that it’s worth getting a very specialized lawyer so as to find out exactly what to do in these situations. People who prey on children are monsters.

    • Yes, I have been very uncomfortable with the conversations I am seeing. Cheating spouses is one thing, pedophilia is an entirely other issue. Men who abuse girls have an average of 54 victims over the course of their lives. Men who abuse boys have an average of 150 victims. I just can’t be okay with allowing known pedophiles to not be reported.

      My cheater was into porn and webcam girls. I scoured through everything I could find to ensure he never researched minors, had not minors on his devices, etc. Even in my pain and anguish – my first thought was for not only my children, but the children of others as well. I knew in that moment if he searched even one time for children – I was going to the police with that information.

      Taping anyone without their knowledge is wrong, but getting photos and videos of innocent women just walking around is sick. I want to vomit realizing so many people are out there violating us day in and day out and they are just allowed to continue on.

      This thread has just been too much for me. I am angry that known child predators are getting a pass from so many.

  • I believe in doing the right thing and I wish I lived in a world where turning these bastards in resulted in the perpetrators being punished, the victims being given restitution, and potential future targets being spared victimization. We don’t live in that world. When I talked to a lawyer about my reasons for wanting to leave the marital home with my children and was advised to stay in place during early stage of divorce in my first marriage, she told me NOT to include the fact that X had drugs in our home and in our car. Since this property was jointly mine, I could be held responsible, too, and the state could remove my children if we were being investigated! There was nothing X cared about more than drugs, so would have retaliated for sure if I had blown the whistle. Don’t ever underestimate a sociopath.

  • “We didn’t create these assholes. We can’t be expected to prevent the destruction they cause.”

    I needed to read this today. I sometimes wish I had prosecuted my ex for domestic violence; I had visible injuries. But I was very young and very scared.

    His dad was a cheater, the parents had been in false reconciliation with mom as marriage police for 10 years when I entered the picture. It was a hellhole. By the time they divorced, I was long gone, but members of his family still periodically try to troll me on Facebook (all blocked now).

    He married someone else, and apparently now cheats on her as well.

    I dodged an Exocet missile with that one.

    • Lola, off subject but I had to mention, I love your avatar! I was 8 years old when that album came out and begged my parents for it ceaselessly until they gave in. Then I promptly named my new kitten Zoso. ????????????

  • I felt guilty about not having alerted any adults about the shop teacher who was making lewd comments to me and rubbing my thigh when going over my work back in ninth grade. Back then “sexual harassment” was not a household word and there weren’t mechanisms in place to deal with stuff like that, or if there were, I was not aware of them. I found subtle ways to protect myself and it never went beyond what I described (Which was creepy enough). Anther student was not so lucky. Several years after I graduated from high school he was convicted of sexually assaulting another girl. I have to wonder, however, if I had said anything if anybody would have taken me seriously back then.

  • My 46 year old cheater wife is a school counselor. Her and her fellow female counselor were looking at the nude erection pics her 24 year old adultery partner was sending to her cell phone. They did this at the school during school hours while they were supposed to be working. It’s actually part of their job description/goals to discourage kids from doing this exact same thing. If anyone found out she would be fired immediately. Its mind boggling how reckless some people can become !

    • Is there any reason for you not to blow the whistle on her? Financial/other? If not, you should. You don’t need to protect her unless you are just waiting until after divorce and after all the settlements etc. are signed based on current income.

      • We have a 12 year old daughter. I would be destroying her end of the financial equation. I also work in the same school district (not the same school). This whole thing has been humiliating for me. It would be another thing for me and my daughter. We have been together for 17 years.

  • This is a very triggering post for me today. My twin brother and I were both molested as children. Ex knew this and used it to control me.

    Guilty, you absolutely did the right thing in getting your baby and yourself to safety. Now, the focus should be trying your damndest to keep the baby and yourself safe from him for life. You did what you knew to do, you reported him and were shut down and, basically, ignored. Blame that on our flawed legal system, not yourself.

    I worked for a time as an Investigative Unit secretary for a District Attorney’s office. We had a case in the late 80’s that still haunts me. A 4 year old female child and her 5 year old brother were left in the car by their drug addict mother so she could go prostitute herself for drugs. While she was gone, a 6’5″ 350lb man took the little girl out of the car, raped her repeatedly and then left her. Mother returns to the car and is so high she doesn’t notice that her baby was missing.

    The little girl was found wandering a very busy street at 6am the next morning, bleeding and in full on shock. She had to have a full hysterectomy AT AGE 4. Mother skipped out and can’t be found so Grandma is left to care for these children and the damage done to them.

    We worked for literally months to prepare this child for court. Back then there was no video from the jail, so she had to face her attacker in court. Poor baby couldn’t do it AND THAT BASTARD WALKED. No justice for her and a life sentence of never being able to have her own children. ( this occurred in Atlanta and was reported nationally-Ann Landers even devoted a column to the breakdown of our legal system to let this occur)

    That’s why, I believe, it is sites like this that are slowly changing the narrative around the actual emotional, physical, sexual and financial abuse suffered due to infidelity. It’s not just the spouse that gets abused by these monsters, it’s our kids, too. The courts routinely turn our children over to these deviants for visitation because we aren’t believed/have sufficient proof. And the flawed thinking that our children need both parents, when clearly, a disordered parent is not in the child’s best interest. They actually have to be harmed before the courts will listen and act.

    I firmly believe that each of us has the responsibility to keep sharing our stories with those that haven’t walked in our shoes. That is the only way we are going to change the “wink, wink..nudge, nudge….that’s what men do” bullshit prevalent in our society that perpetuate and, ultimately, rewards our abusers.

    Nope, real men are loving, kind, empathetic humans that nurture and protect those they love. It’s time to stop insulting all the good, real men with that bullshit. It’s also time to stop painting women as vindictive or hysterical when we rightfully report abusive behavior.

    Our judiciary needs to be better trained on all forms of abuse and the bias inherent in our current society. All we can do is keep pushing until the system that lets these assholes keep abusing us and our kids changes.

    Sorry for the disjointed rant, but, as stated earlier, this really triggered me today.

    • Special snowflake ha! “Real men are loving, kind, empathetic humans that nurture and protect those they love.” Damn straight.

  • GuiltyinSeattle
    I haven’t even finished reading your letter or Chumplady’s response but I have to comment.
    You see, I’m in the middle of this right now. I am divorcing my POS because I found he did videotape me for almost the entirety of our 27 year marriage.

    I have not found any evidence of him taping others, although since he moved out a year ago when I filed for divorce my therapist thinks he has probably ramped up his activity.
    He did not get help/therapy which in the end wouldn;t have worked.

    I too did not call the police. My attorney asked me why. I said i was in shock, and he gaslighted me so much I just went straight to therapy.

    I too am concerned he may do this to others, or god forbid, any women our sons may have in their future. They are 20 and 25.

    My divorce is taking an insane amount of time b/c my first attorney screwed things up and my SAH is still in denial and won’t begin to work on this divorce, he’s told his attorney that we are reconciling! and still texts me how we should “work on getting our FAMILY back together.”

    I can’t get this divorce soon enough.
    I would love to talk with you privately if possible because this is a special hell that not many people can understand.

    My SAH too had evidence of Ashley Madison and other online hook up websites as well as a massive porn habit.

  • Gosh. I thought I was alone with this one. My ex took secret videos of women in our home. I had no idea. He confessed and wanted me to watch them with him. I demanded he destroy the lot immediately. He said he did. I doubt it was true. It still revolts me to think of it. And they all think he is such a nice guy. Turns my stomach. No kids involved ever, mercy for that. Bleurgh. I tried to have another relationship but ended it after three years. I doubt I will ever trust another man.

  • I realize this is an older thread 2017 but really I can resonate it with everything that has been written here I have gone through. Newly divorced I too got out quickly on discovering my husband of 11yrs was a keyboard predator. He led a double life propositioning literally hundreds of females (and males in couples) for chats meetups group masturbatory sessions advertised himself & his genitals online in one ‘advertisement’ he posted a pic of himself ejaculating His preferences were video cameras cuckolding swapping waters ports fisting DOGGING also various other things . Each to his /her own you may say but THIS MAN WAS MARRIED WITH A WIFE & FAMILY & PRETENDING TO BE IN A LOVING MONOGAMOUS RELATIONSHIP. Paying customer of the sexually trafficked? As CL put it These creeps write REVIEWS! on the various CHEATER SEX SITES Billions are spent on this shit. Someone is buying it. There are a lot of ugly double lives out there. They endanger lives and spread diseases and noone is doing anything about it. We are told they are ‘Consenting Adults’ I am ashamed of what my husband did and what he is. A sexually addicted deeply unhappy dysfunctional man . The problem has moved elsewhere and I had a lucky escape. But the problem is still out there.

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