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Dear Chump Lady, What if I leave and he really loves me?

Dear Chump Lady,

I am unofficially in purgatory. I have been 22 months in wreckonciliation with my cheating husband who cheated with an ex coworker for three-plus years. We have been married for 25 years and have two awesome sons. D-Day was via cellphone accidental discovery. He was angry at me that I had found out and deleted evidence of their affair from my cellphone. I took a picture of the text as I knew he’d deny it. I was on vacation with him in another state. A vacation I was reluctant to be on because I felt that I had lost him. That our marriage was over. He was mean and distant to me and I had felt alone for years.

Yes, I read every book I could find on how to be a better wife. I even texted him old photos of us together when we were dating. I knew I was losing him, but he would always tell me he was happy and there was nothing wrong. I was so unhappy and tried desperately to make myself happy. I read books, wrote in journals, took classes, got a job, but it didn’t work. I never looked quite good enough, or was happy enough, or appreciative enough, or tidy enough, or accomplished enough. He, however, was king at work, the great breadwinner, in control of his life, his looks, played competitive sports and I felt that he looked down on me. I have lots of friends, but he never wanted to socialize with anyone. I had to drag him to things and had about two dinner parties a year. He always shone at these parties. Everyone loves him. He would then avoid seeing people as much as possible. He had work, or sport, or his music to play.

I was always making excuses for him, which I hated. Anyway, he could be helpful and funny and not too demanding so it was easy to live with him, but I don’t think I have ever been truly happy. He has also attacked me physically a couple of times, enough to scare me enough to leave for a couple of days, but my friends encouraged me to go back.

The point is, I am still here, 20 months after D-Day and I am unable to leave. He begged me to stay, swears that he will make me happy, buys me flowers, calls and texts, which he never did before. He says he loves me, that he made a mistake, but he took 6 weeks to tell me the name of his affair partner as he didn’t want to hurt her. He stopped seeing her as far as I know and he threatened to leave me if I told anyone. Eventually I did and was terrified he’d find out. I don’t want to break up the family and I am scared of hurting my sons, in their twenties. I think my friends are useless except for a couple who have been in a similar situation. My mother is dead and my father died in June. I feel so alone and don’t know what to do.

I realize I sound pathetic, just reading this to myself, but all the books and blogs I read said I should reconcile and make my marriage better, but it seems to me that it doesn’t get better. It’s surface clean and shit on the inside at least for me. My husband seems happy and just tells me to get with the program. He wants to look after me and be with me forever. He is sorry. But he still lies about little things that don’t need to be lied about and I need honesty and integrity and love. How can this be love.? One friend says I should tell my sons but how can I? How can they respect me if I stay with him? How can I respect myself?

I have spent 34 years of my life with this man that I thought I knew inside and out. I moved continents for him, and gave up my career to support him and this is how he repays me! Counselors are useless. He won’t see a counselor and yes, I have read everything on this site. Why am I so scared to leave? What if he does really love me?

Advice please,

Worthless

Dear W,

“Does he really love me?” is the wrong question. How much do you love yourself? Would you want your sons or anyone you care about to endure physical abuse, mental abuse, threats of abandonment, and infidelity? Would you wish this kind of partner on ANYONE?

Why would you tolerate it for yourself?

I know, I know. You’ve got 34 years of sunk costs and he’s not all bad. He can be helpful sometimes, and not too demanding. Except for:

I never looked quite good enough, or was happy enough, or appreciative enough, or tidy enough, or accomplished enough…

And then you sign your letter, “Worthless.” Jesus, no wonder you’re depressed. You’ve set your entire worth on “Is The King Happy?”

Oh hey, HE is happy. That is, until he’s hitting you, or threatening to abandon you if you tell anyone what he’s done.

His response to your terror?

He wants to look after me and be with me forever.

Welcome to the cycle of abuse, Worth. (I refuse to use your screen name.)

The point is, I am still here, 20 months after D-Day and I am unable to leave.

You ARE able to leave. Call a lawyer today. We will hold your hand and walk you through every step of this shit storm. Get over on the forums.

You have AGENCY. Let’s not set our sights on “happy” right now (however, you can absolutely be happy some day soon) — let’s set our sights on “escape the abuser.”

He begged me to stay, swears that he will make me happy, buys me flowers, calls and texts, which he never did before.

It’s called “love bombing.” It’s part of the cycle. He’s trying to avoid consequences and eat cake. It’s also highly possible (judging by my mail, probable) that he’s moving monies and screwing you over in ways you’re not privy to, trying to keep you off his trail. That’s why you need a lawyer, pronto. Start collecting all your financials. DO NOT TIP YOUR HAND.

He says he loves me, that he made a mistake,

A three-year mistake. That you know of. That’s one hell of a singular “mistake.”

but he took 6 weeks to tell me the name of his affair partner as he didn’t want to hurt her.

He’s putting her “feelings” above your well-being. When you find yourself begging to know who the affair partner is? You’re doing the Pick Me Dance at the masked costume ball.

He’s protecting her and himself. At your expense. Are you okay with that? Does that feel loving?

He stopped seeing her as far as I know and he threatened to leave me if I told anyone.

He is abusive.

My advise to you is call his fucking bluff — leave him and tell anyone you damn please what he did. It’s YOUR STORY. He doesn’t get to put a gag order on your life.

Eventually I did and was terrified he’d find out.

He terrifies you. Is this relationship acceptable to you?

And don’t answer that with what he might do, you hope he’ll do, or wishes for his eventual improvement. Are you OKAY being with a man who ROUTINELY TERRIFIES you?

You get a vote. YOU MATTER.

I don’t want to break up the family and I am scared of hurting my sons, in their twenties.

This isn’t a family, this is a hostage situation.

I’m sorry — you’ve already hurt your sons by modeling an abusive relationship dynamic to them for 20-plus years. You can FIX that, by getting mighty and modeling resiliency and badass life building.

You’ll find that you have a family — you and them. Minus the fuckwit, and the abuse, it will be a much happier family.

I think my friends are useless except for a couple who have been in a similar situation. My mother is dead and my father died in June. I feel so alone and don’t know what to do.

Abuse can feel very isolating, and abusers work hard to keep their chumps feeling alone and needy. All the better to manipulate you! To counter this, you need to REACH OUT for help, from people who get it. Not those idiot “friends” who told you to go back to a man who HIT YOU. But real people who CARE about you. Get on the forums here, call a women’s domestic abuse agency… That’s NOT over the top — stop minimizing this. Yes, I’m in your head and I know you’re thinking I’m Not That Woman. Yes you are. I was her too, and now I’m not. Come on over to the sanity side. You’ll love it here. (Skooching over… making room on the bench.)

You DO know what to do. You just don’t want to do it.

To stop the pain and unhappiness, you must leave him.

I know that seems like it will be MORE painful, and it might be in the very short-term, but think of it as one big labor pain into your new life.  PUUUUUSSSSSHHHH! The way you are living now is infinitely more painful. A hundred chumps are going to tell you this in the comments.

What if he does really love me?

He doesn’t. You’re of use to him.

Whatever he considers “love” is not what healthy normal people consider love. Pedophiles will tell you that they “love” children. (They’ll also tell you their abuse was consensual.) Maybe it feels like “love” in their head. It’s twisted and sick.

I need honesty and integrity and love.

You can have it, right now. It lives in you. Not in him.

Please leave.

We’re here for you.

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.
  • CL your response is on point! Really love the encouragement (moving over on the bench).

    Worthless- CL is right. You can tell your sons. They are adults and will be fine. Trust me they’d rather have their mom safe and eventually at peace rather than living a half life with an abuser. They have a right to know who their father really is. Let his mask drop!! As CL said get your ducks in order and then drop the bomb. But just be in a safe location please. You are just cake to him and if he lies about litting things you can bet he’s lying about a whole shitload of bigger things…

    • Dear Worth

      I relate. Married 35 years…

      The only way out of purgatory is for you to leave it. (And I’m not sure it’s purgatory you’re in, so much as hell).

      You want integrity, honesty and love. These are things your husband will not give you, ever. HE NEVER HAS.

      I think one of your fears is that he will change for the NEXT woman, and you want to be HER! Boy do I get that!

      After putting the DOCTOR thru so many years of study/training/residency and doing without a mate/companion or co-parent for thousands of nights, I definitely had embraced the “sunk costs” theory. Leaving meant I had wasted those years.

      I sort of forgot to really look at how that theory also applied to me staying…

      Here’s the deal. He won’t be that great guy/partner, for YOU. I don’t think he will be like that with anyone, over time.

      And history shows he cannot do that for you. Period. Sorry, but that’s just true. It sucks, but it’s reality.

      You do have a chance to model healthy and happiness, honesty/integrity and love, for your sons. It’s absolutely not inside this terrible “marriage.”

      In fact, I believe with all my heart that you staying in the marriage is far more harmful for your sons and their marriages, and their children down the road, than leaving. I wish you could see this.

      Get a GOOD therapist. Get a GOOD Lawyer. Check the monies big time with a fine toothed comb and over the past few years.

      We are all on Team Worth, and rooting for you.

        • I believed the exact same thing. I thought he would change for me (eventually). He got another woman pregnant while we were together. He now lives with her and their son (“happy” family) and cheats on her too. I see a lot of my old self in her, sadly. Situations don’t cause cheating; the character flawed person cheats.

          The truth is, even **if** he changed and didn’t cheat again (or on the next partner), look at your relationship to this point. Can you undo all of the damage? Could you ever really trust him? And why would you want someone who has treated you so poorly?

          • This post hit a little too close to home today. My mom has been in almost the exact same position that Worth is in for about 6 months now. I’ve pointed her to this site, and she’s read dozens of posts and hundreds of comments. She’s going to counseling, she’s acknowledged who she’s married to, and yet she is staying with him.

            For my mom, there are two things more powerful than CL’s logic and the undeniable wisdom found in the comments here. First, her fear of being alone at 70. Second, that the OW will ‘win’ him if mom divorces him, and they’ll ride off into the sunset with a fabulous life as she is financially ruined at the end of her days. The terror at what’s behind door number 2 has made door number 1 look downright delightful. Behind door number 1 (staying) is ‘only heartbreak’, whereas door number 2 (leaving) is loneliness, financial destruction, AND heartbreak. This is her present thinking.

            He has told others he wants to leave the marriage, but can’t afford to. So he stays, but goes off and does whatever he wants like a single man would. The other woman is almost 20 years her junior, and he has claimed over and over that she’s just a friend. A friend that he spends all of his time with, goes to meals and events alone with, texts over 100 times a day (many times right in front of my mom), and travels with for classes, marathons, and 5k’s. He has a history of inappropriately close ‘friendships’ with other women, but this is the first time my mom had any confirmation of anything (even though we still lack proof they are having sex). We have powers of deduction and substantial circumstantial evidence. Short of hiring a private investigator, that’s all we’ll ever have.

            My mom is not ‘allowed’ to complain. Her husband has told her that what he does in his free time is none of her business. Others have tried to ask the OW to back off. She also claims they are just friends but that she could never leave his life because ‘he inspires me.’ So, screw my mom’s 30 pound traumatic weight loss in 6 months, her trembling, her depression, her desire to die. So, one obtuse narc found another obtuse narc and they shore up each other’s delusions about this all being ok. My mom doesn’t even enter into the equation for either of them.

            He’s pleasant and friendly as long as Mom doesn’t mention her heartbreak. If she cries, he screams at her or leaves the house. If she complains, he insults or dismisses her. So she keeps the peace and stuffs it down, and it’s taking a huge toll on her.

            Since I’m the one who outed him (I discovered the 100+ a day texting and the races that she didn’t know were happening), I am now banned from entering their house. Her daughter is banned from her house, and she’s going to (theoretically) allow that to go on. I’m trying hard not to take that personally, but I risked a lot and even lost my job to get the truth about him into her hands. I know it’s not about me, but having gone through my own discard/abandonment by a covert narc, it’s really hard to watch this unfold. I just want her healthy and safe, but it’s out of my hands.

            Really at a loss for what to do, as it’s getting harder and harder to watch her go home to cook his dinner and then watch him head out the door for the ‘gym’ at 7 and not get home until midnight.

            I love and support my mom. I don’t know what else I can do or say to get her to the point of deciding that she is worth being treated better than this. That what she wants matters, and that staying is going to mean way more heartbreak in the long run than leaving. At least with leaving, there can be healing. How can she heal when she’s right in the middle of a living nightmare every single day? I’m deeply worried this is going to take a toll on her health, beyond what has already happened – which is a lot.

            Anyone else experience this with a family member? What did you do?

            • If this were my mom, I would take her to a lawyer. Collect the financials and try and walk her through what she could actually expect in a divorce. She may find that she can live on it, that she’d have enough Social Security, or half his pension, or whatever it is they live on.

              As for alone? She’s already alone. She is WORSE than alone — she’s being emotionally abused. And people get widowed every day. Chances are, she’ll be aging without him anyway.

              And if she insists on staying (and waiting for him to just die) than I would stop emotionally investing. Tell her to get her OWN life, she can leave and play single too with her interests. Then they’re roommates. But to pine for the man and cook his dinners and pick me dance? Fuck that.

            • I hope you can somehow get your mom to read my post. Because I was in exactly the same place as her last year before D-day, in a miserable, loveless, 25 year marriage, but stuck with the illusion that it’s better to go on with the devil you know than face old age alone. But here’s the 2×4 that changed my thinking — the reality is that if life NOW is that bad with narcospouse (whether he is cheating or NOT, just because of his selfish, terrible personality), it’s going to be that much WORSE when the two of them are in their 70’s or 80’s, and she’s either stuck being his nurse, or even worse, has to depend on him to take care of her. I’m in the elder health care business, and believe me, I see that play out all the time, and it’s not pretty!! The best thing she can do is LEAVE NOW, and actually ENCOURAGE him to marry the OW 20 years his junior, since HER eventual karma will be to wipe this dude’s ass when he’s old and senile (and it will never fall on either your mom or you to do so).

            • Honeyandthehomewrecker,
              This happened to my Mom when she was about 60. My father wouldn’t stop seeing a neighbor woman who was my age. I also begged my Mom to leave but she didn’t. It destroyed her. And when she was dying at 70 she wanted nothing to do with my father, and now I understand that feeling of betrayal. Your mother is stuck, like my mother and the way I feel now, but for me there is a light at the end of the tunnel because of CL and this community. She may just need time to adjust her thinking and if you are there for her, at some point she will make the leap.
              I wish you and her strength and courage.

            • If your Mom can’t face divorce then she should do what he’s doing. Be a room mate and have her own outside relationship. It really doesn’t sound like she can. It sounds like he won’t LET her. I am so sorry but she still thinks she loves him. Gotta break that or the rest won’t sail.

          • Dear Much better off now,
            I think you have hit the nail on the head. Why would I let someone else treat me so poorly? There must be a part of me that thinks I am okay. That this is enough and that I don’t deserve better. I also have huge guilt at having confessed here and keep thinking of all the good things about him. That I am only showing the worst side. But it’s true, I will never forget the betrayal. It haunts me. I don’t know how anyone can forgive and truly forget.
            Thank you so much for reaching out to me!
            Worth ( new name) 😁

            • CL has a great saying, I’m going to butcher it, I know, about just because the Cheaters do a nice thing now and again doesn’t forgive the cheating and other bad behaviour. Most aren’t complete, evil demons, but it’s a false equivalecy to say, “Oh, they tended the garden, that offsets betrayal and abuse”.

        • Yup. Me too. In my case I think my worst fear is that she will make him happy where I couldn’t and it really was because of me that he turned into such a beast those last few years before DDay.

          That doesn’t really make sense. I would have to have been trying to make him that miserable and I wasn’t, but sometimes those thoughts slip past my filter.

        • Me too. I thought the exhole would be better for the mistress as she actually made him happy. Hahahahaa. Nope. He cheated on and left her too. She has to regularly sue him for child support for their kid. He’s on kid #2 with wifey #3… And we all have money on that going up in flames too.

        • Thanks Saora – that is a priceless article for me. I’ve been on C/N almost since she started and it’s amazing some of the great lessons you forget.

          This woman captivated me from the very start, and as much as Tracy may have felt it’s taken over her life when she may have had other plans….well, I’m so glad she’s stayed with us. And, I hope she gets HUGE in this world of infidelity disasters. She is the only voice. Very unique.

          Thanks C/L for EVERYTHING!

      • Dear Worth,
        You are not ‘Worthless’, you are ‘Worth a lot’and an absolute angel who deserves to be loved for who you are, properly loved.
        We are all here for you, and as with the consensus,leave the toad and be happy, as you WILL BE, just start loving yourself, not a cheating fuckwitt, and the right man will come along for you
        Good luck fellow chump!
        We’re routing for you

      • >>>>>I think one of your fears is that he will change for the NEXT woman, and you want to be HER! Boy do I get that! <<<<

        Word.
        I posted on this site a long time ago that I may think and feel a lot of things about his OWife, but one thing I will NEVER think or feel is "I wish I was her"

        That sentiment still rings true for me, because I WAS her. He's frequent job-switching, the screaming and yelling cuss word out in public at the mother of his child, the malignant Narcissist that he is.
        She can have him, the steaming dog pile of shit.

        Honestly.

        I did feel one pang of sting the first Christmas he was with her. A friend spotted him buying her a $40.00 pink Columbia jacket on Christmas Eve…never in 13 years did he ever spend that much on me. That's about it.

        • They don’t change for the AP. If anything, I think they treat them worse than they treated the Chump, because they scream at them, “I gave everything up for you!”. My ex’s AP/now wife gets stuck doing EVERYTHING. I thought I did everything when he was living with us, but my kids report back he’s taken it to a new level with the AP/now wife. Their dog will crap in the house right in front of him, and he screams for her throughout the house, points to the dog shit, and commands her, “Clean that up, NOW!”

          Even with all of the abuse I took from him, he knew I would have ripped his face off if he did that to me.

      • Team Worth we are here for you. My story is similar as well : 30 plus year marriage , 2 sons and years of thinking I could wait out cold isolation . It hurts like nothing else but I keep going because my sons told me no more of covering up for their dad. They asked me to get a life , that it was my turn to be happy. Hang in there, this sucks but go it a day at a time and stick with CN and CL.

    • Oh Worth-
      All of us seasoned chumps have often wondered “What if” when it comes to their cheater at one time or the other.
      What if is dangerous because it keeps you caught up in trying to untangle the skein of fuckedupness and distracts you from the most important thing-ditching the cheater and gaining a life.

      CL has always pointed the way through the fog & timid creature forest to remind us that this is who our cheaters are-morally bankrupt and emotionally bereft CHEATERS. They are not going to be better for someone else-this is who they really are. There is no character transplant or transformation that happens after the mask is off revealing the true monster underneath. They don’t morph into somebody wonderful-they suck and they can only masquerade as a wonderful person to a new, unsuspecting kibble supplier who doesn’t know them.

      I know it will take some time but you will eventually admit to yourself that there is no marriage without trust, respect & love. Your husband has broken your trust and does not treat with you with love or respect. Those things cannot be recovered once lost and your husband appears to only want to pressure you to keep up the appearance of a marriage for his own image management. Ask me how I know……

      Please remember that your worth is not tied to the crappy actions of your husband. The cheating & poor decision making is his shame to carry-not yours.

      You are wonderful, worthy, and deserving of love.
      Big Hugs!

    • Thank you Chumpy. It seems so clear when it’s in black and white and so murky when I am alone. I needed to hear this.

    • Your sons are grown-ass men. For you to say nothing to them for whatever reason you think you have, and to make no decisions for your own emotional etc health, indicates that you will be teaching them that they can cheat on their (future) wives and said wives will suck up the shit sandwiches because after all, their most important female role model (you–their mom, did). Don’t you think your sons want to see you stand in the truth of what is unacceptable and witness that you act accordingly?

  • Dear Worthy,

    Please listen to CL. Its the only way out of more years of purgatory. Its not easy I know but you’re worth so much more than this. Once you take the plunge bet you’ll never look back and we’re all here to support you.

    Much love and strength to you 💐 xx

    • Yes !!! Listen to Chump Lady. I wish I would have read her book on day 1 instead of 4 months after Dday. Big mistake reading a whole of bunch of relationship/infidelity books trying to figure our cheater wife’s mental state, relationship repair, reconciliation blah blah blah all while doing the pick me dance.

  • You are married to a bully.

    The 2 ways to deal with bullies is to either stay away from them or pick up a stick and slam them right in the face.

    In this situation….you have the opportunity to do both.

    • Oh yes he is a bully! And Bullying is extremely narcissistic behavior. It puts the bully in the power over position.

      I hope super duper meant the stick in the face as a metaphor 😄 but she is right because he will not change!

      “I knew I was losing him, but he would always tell me he was happy and there was nothing wrong. I was so unhappy and tried desperately to make myself happy. I read books, wrote in journals, took classes, got a job, but it didn’t work. I never looked quite good enough, or was happy enough, or appreciative enough, or tidy enough, or accomplished enough”

      I could say this exact same thing minus getting a job which I was contemplating when he left. I homeschool so I don’t have a job outside the home. You are right it is never enough, you are never enough and nothing will never be enough for him. He is entitled and entitlement is never satiated.

      I just gave a deposition in my divorce case yesterday. It was horrible! What an unpleasant experience. I was nervous the whole time and now I am suffering from the typical chump experience of replaying the whole thing in my head and thinking of all the should have saids. My lawyer was encouraging and said I did fine. Nearly 6 hours of questioning with only bathroom breaks and there will be more. I am trying to give myself grace because I have never been in a situation like that so of course I am not going to do a stellar job. It would take practice and learning.

      Once again I am in this position because of the never good enough syndrome. STBX won’t make an offer to settle because he doesn’t know what he wants other than power and control. I know that I want custody, 50% of assets, alimony and child support. Stbx just wants to hurt me.

      Once again, I do not want my children to have to go through such a horrible experience but he is going to subpoena my adult children and one is only a sr. In high school. It is all about him and asserting power.

      We still have a long battle ahead but at least there is hope if you leave him. If you stay, there is know hope with a person like him.

      • FeelingIt,

        Hang in there.

        Looking back, those horrible depositions remind me of how strong I was and am!! I am so proud of that strength and resolve.

        My sons had to go through the same ordeal as yours and one even had to sign the divorce agreement. My lawyers told me how amazing my kids were and how much they loved and respected me.

        My sons and I have an amazing relationship and he has nothing.

        Fight for every single thing you want – no one ever looks back and say “Gee, maybe I fought too hard and took too much of what was rightfully mine”. 🤣

        • Thanks Rebecca, so glad you made it and have your sons ❤️. You should be proud of them. The true test is their ability to interact and live their lives. You just can’t show that on a piece of paper or quantify it.

          I have a lot of people reassuring me that I have been a good mom and have great kids who are thriving in spite of this twisted situation. It is a shame I need that and have so much doubt.

          • P.S. to my original post. I hope I am not belittling PSTD, but today after going through my deposition, I think I know what that feels like. Waking up after a bad dream in the middle of the night and not being able to sleep, feeling so out of it to day physically and mentally. It is the pits!

      • Ugh! Divorcing a narcissist is unbelievable. I have yet to start the deposition process. It has been almost a year since I filed. All of this is beyond draining, both emotionally and financially. And why? Because these disordered assholes cannot be honest and fair in settling.

        I hope you get a fair settlement, Feelingit. I am holding out hope for you. And in a selfish way, looking to see someone else in a similar situation come out okay. You will have to let me know what you end up feeling were the key pieces to success.

        • After hearing your story, surprised you haven’t been through depositions yet but I guess every state is different. Thanks for your support! We will both make it and it will be good but hold on for the ride-because you NEVER know what’s next with these narc fuckwits!

          • We had two court ordered settlement conferences that were 3-4 months apart. They were a waste of time (STBX always came empty handed) and the court wouldn’t set a trial date until we attempted to settle. They finally gave us one and it was 5 months out. I also wasted 8 months at the beginning trying to get a dissolution before I filed, which in hindsight was stupid. Just gave him more time to do creative accounting. I had no idea just how much he truly sucked.

      • I am in a similar position…how did the homeschooling go over in court? Are they (the other side) trying to get you to stop and work? In a long court process too…I am wanting the same as you basically…he wants me to sign off of spousal 😒

        • Yes, they are trying to get me to stop and work but I have history of his agreement to homeschooling working for me. Also, though, since are others went to traditional high school, he may have more leverage there but he has always let me choose so that works in my favor as well as he has so little contact with the kids.

        • Fighting chumpiness, I don’t know how long you were married for, but if it’s a long marriage – Don’t cave in! about spousal support.
          The x also tried all the tricks in the book – rage (lots of it), charm (oh, so charming! – it threw me totally between the rage episodes and it was designed to keep me off balance) and poor, pity me (oh how hard it would be for him to live a normal life if he paid me) . My lawyer laughed at what he offered me instead – $300 for 3 years. I seriously considered accepting his offer as I didn’t want him to think badly of me (eyes rolling and cringing at the same time). I was with him for just over 31 years and my lawyer was horrified when he realized I was seriously considering this.
          I have received spousal support for the last 7 years and I am serious when I say that if I was not receiving this, I would be in deep trouble financially. I am Canadian, so I don’t know how long I can expect to continue receiving the amount. There is no “end date” stipulated in the divorce decree. Any Canadians know anything about this?
          I bless my lawyer twice a month when spousal is sent to me.
          I thought I would manage financially, but rents have risen so high in the last few years, that I would not have coped, even though I have a fairly good full-time job.
          You don’t know what the future holds and if you were together for a long time, you deserve to receive that support. If you cohabit with a partner, or remarry, then that spousal support usually falls away. Until you do that, take the spousal support as you just don’t know. On paper, I thought I would manage, but really, my lawyer and the judge saved my ass big time. I can make ends meet. In the meantime, mr. Cheaterpants goes abroad on vacation every year and can afford his hobbies and toys. I can’t. I just make ends meet.

          • @Lynne – I’m from Canada and on the other side of this and am waiting to sign the agreement.

            What my understanding is that unless it is explicitly stated in the agreement that either party can go back to the courts and ask for an adjustment in spousal support. The courts will consider this if the circumstances for one or the other spouse changes materially either up or down.

            Each time you do that though there will be fresh costs and fresh pain which is one of the reasons I negotiated a fixed amount for a fixed term.

          • I think you get it until you re-marry or he doesn’t earn as much. Consider yourself lucky. My cheater ex planned well,working only part time during wreckonciliation and not at all( oh excuse me, working hard just not earning a living–SMDH) in the last year of the marriage( but he had to bring schmoopie out for expensive steak dinners to the tune of $250-300 per week in the love bombing stage–I know because he was using our line of credit to do it. So, no spousal support–I am ok because I actually ended up being the bigger breadwinner in the end–he gave up making good money to screw me over. Fun times!

  • Worth–Other people will add to this list but here are the immediate things you need to do:
    1-sock away a nest egg NOW in a separate account, and/or buy LOTS of gift cards with the grocery money so that the cost of them stays fairly hidden on the bank statement.

    2-call a domestic abuse shelter NOW and get tips on leaving an abuser. It takes most people 7 attempts to leave an abuser, and each time they go back they are in more and more danger. Make it 1 attempt.

    3-Copy ALL financials (account numbers & balances, tax returns, credit cards), take passport, social security card, etc., and put them in a secure location not at your house (a p.o. box, perhaps). Have electronic copies sent to one of your emails, or on a thumb drive–any location that you can access from outside the house.

    4-Have a “go” bag with some clothes, toothbrush, toiletries, etc. so that you can leave at a moment’s notice.

    5-Move any heirlooms, scrapbooks of which you’d like to keep ownership, into a storage unit or to the house of a trusted friend.

    Think this is overkill? Your H has already shown acts of physical aggression. If he thinks you are withdrawing or planning to leave, he will ramp up the ugly. There are plenty of battered women and men who thought their spouse would never harm them. Your case is high-risk; do not underestimate your danger.

    You are worth more than to be treated with emotional and psychological abuse. Once you’ve escaped, tell your sons. It is not guaranteed that both will side with you (just a warning), but chances are at least one of them will and can help you with the logistics of divorcing this one-step-from-a-domestic-abuse-citation husband.

    Hugs; this is rough to wrap your head around (but sign up for the forums–top Right on this page) and head to the Private: General forums for the best support from CL veterans.

    • Worth

      Every word Tempest said! You are in physical danger so I think the order is important. Get your ducks in a row, call a domestic abuse shelter and leave. You can tell everyone when you’re safe. Be so careful not to let him know you’re thinking about leaving.

      Please go to the forums and get more advice there.

    • Yes…Follow what Tempest has said. Do not tell him what you are planning…I repeat….DO NOT TELL HIM!!! You don’t owe him any explanation. I planned my escape long before I physically left the house. Every time I got groceries I would ask for cash back. I also rented a storage locker and moved items I wanted to keep. I bought extra non perishable groceries and household items and stored them until I was ready. He went away for work and I made my escape while he was gone. I called and told him after I was moved in to my new rental. It’s not about what he wants anymore, it is now about you and what you want and need.

    • I will add my echo to the numerous voices of support for Tempest’s advice.

      More than two decades with my STBX and when shit hit the fan, he acted eerily similar to Worth’s cheater. And, yes, I had experienced his rage a couple of times prior. In my state of self-blame (abuse over time will cause this) — I minimized the heck out of his rage issues. That was a really bad idea.

      As I’ve mentioned before (sorry for the redundancy), my STBX flipped out. When I was warned by police and mental health workers that he “flagged for homicidality” …. I was floored.

      But, in hindsight, I shouldn’t have been floored. With every lie, every devaluation, every dismissal of me and my feelings, every rage, every act of violence he showed me WHO he really was. Under all of his short-term apologies, his professions of undying love, his dreams of growing old together — underneath it all was the same character-less asshole who had zero respect for me, our family, and our marriage.

      Worth: He’s shown you who he is. Believe him. The only way to protect yourself and your kids is to get away from him. You never deserved this … it may be hard to believe that right now, but I can unequivocally promise you that you did NOT deserve this.

      (((Hugs)))

    • I considered buying gift cards in the 6 months between his abandonment and final divorce decree. I just couldn’t do it, chumpy me would feel too guilty. But….he was giving me no reason to, he had left our joint credit and debit cards on the kitchen counter when he blew town. In his F-off e-mail to me he demanded half our credit union savings and that is all he took before the final split. I know it is absolutely not that way for everyone though and if I were in any kind of threatening situation I would not have hesitated to pile up Amazon and grocery cards. Must protect yourself!

      I did, however, not mention a peep to remind the fuckwit that I was having HUGE tax withholding removed from my paycheck and had for years. Our combined income was big –I made a bit more than him and had to hide it to protect his fragile ego. I was always the chumpy one to claim 0 and then also had an ~additional~ $850 PER PAYCHECK withheld. For years I had been the one to cover us for taxes so the wittle baby’s paychecks would for-sure be bigger than mine and he wouldn’t get his wittle feewings hurt, and we wouldn’t have to write checks at tax time. Therefore I was very eager to get the final decree before this year’s end so all of that withholding is mine when I file as single in the spring.

      He will have a HUGE tax bill because he always claimed 1 or some such bullshit and was always under-withheld (of course I am the one who did our taxes). In the spring he will probably have to write a check for $20K and I am hoping to get that size of refund. And he has no rights to any of it, I can prove I made zero changes financially after I filed the petition in May, per the court’s temporary orders. Fuckwit always had his head up his ass about financial stuff and this whole thing never occurred to him. Considering he got hardly any cash in the final split of assets this will be a very painful check to write. I expect to hear from him asking why it turned out that way- he has already started asking me all the adulting questions like why some account is this way or that, where are the cat’s immunization papers, shit like that. Ignore, ignore, ignore. It is hard to be all grown up and I, Ms. Controlling and Judgmental doesn’t give half a shit about the poor baby.

      So maybe this works for those out there in the pre-file twilight limbo time, I realize Worth’s situation doesn’t include a job and I realize often the biggest possible paycheck coming home is needed for those striking out into the wilderness alone. Just a chump-share for lining up your ducks if it works for your situation out there, CN.

      And Worth- the advice you receive here is spot-on. When you think of how you have poured yourself into this and he has dared to threaten you in response (while jingling his keys with flowers and bullshit to distract you), please know you are being manipulated. That ‘shine’ he turned on for party guests that gets shut off when they are gone? Believe it, and now you are in the spotlight because you are of use to him. I would be very certain he is still entertaining at least one side dish fuck, too.

      I am so sorry for you, be strong- CN is the best. (Hugs)

      • Now I.C., I had the same situation with taxes even though I made less than him. I was the one who had extra withheld to pay his self-employment taxes (he was a pastor). My divorce has been final for two years now. He will now text me to let me know that alimony is unfair because he owes taxes – for 2 tax seasons now. How the heck did he not figure out his taxes? So yeah, it happens and I sit over here and smirk a little knowing that he and his now wife can’t keep their financial sh** together.

        • Morons…makes me chuckle. I used to think about how he is going to regret it and come to appreciate all that I took care of. Now, I realize they just use it to play the victim and place blame on us for their woes. There will never be any insight or growing up.

      • My taxes will be a mess. My ex and I own a certain % in 3 businesses. Due to his DUI in 2011, the shares are in my name. But I will owe him 37% (difference due to me paying full taxes on this income) till the businesses ‘go out of business’ or a buyout is offered (one was offered from the primary owner, but due to the divorce I didn’t entertain the idea- I’m not sure if ex and I have to agree on a buyout… I’d like to and never have to deal with him forever)

        So, come tax time- it will appear that I earned x amount taxed and he gets extra money, like it just appears?
        This could hurt my daughters financial aid. Ex sucks and doesn’t care.

    • Great advice!
      Don’t forget to get copies of any type of retirement accounts and passwords. If you have an itemized list of belongings like for insurance make a copy.
      CL and CN is right he is an ABUSER don’t soften it or play with it.
      What would happen if your boys had to go to the hospital or worse to see you!!!
      They’ll get it eventually YOU ARE WORTH IT! YOU ARE SOMEBODY!
      Please do the above and get out safely!

      • My ex actually punched himself in the face resulting in a black eye around the holidays….ya guess who the family/friends think hit him? Me……Do I care? not a bit I wish I would have

        • Hopefloats80, Exasshole punched himself in the face trying to get me sent to jail for domestic violence. You are the first person I’ve heard from whose asshole did that shit too. Thanks for sharing.

          Jedi Hugs!

    • I WISH CL HAD A LIKE/LOVE BUTTON TO CLICK

      Do everything it says above TODAY. I wish I had this website when I was trying to get out of the mindfuckery love bombing. Stay strong WORTHY chump!!!!

    • I would add to this. Make copies of all health insurance cards, Dental insurance, get copies of you birth certificate, copies of any and all disability policies you may have, house insurance, car insurance. Get copies of bills he has routinely paid. You can put this stuff on a flash drive or keep copies in a storage unit. Also…think of something in your home that may mean the most to you. i.e, a quilt your mother or grandmother made, something your father gave you. (Think of what you would most miss if your house burned to the ground ) Put all of your good jewelry (gold, silver, diamonds) in a grab bag somewhere. If you need to leave- take it with you. When you are in the corner financially, you can get a Pawn loan if necessary and he tries to shut you down financially. I have done this with my husband’s gold wedding band he doesn’t know where it is or care about… It helped me when I was really in a pinch. The interest rate is insane on Pawn loans BUT if feels kind of therapeutic. He devalued our marriage but at least I have something symbolic of him when he tries to put me in the corner financially

  • Worth;
    Yours is one of the most heart wrenching posts from CL I have read. Please listen to CL, get on the forums, find some support. I’m truly sorry you are having to go through this.

    So many things trigger for me: loved in social settings, having to make excuses but by far, the one that rings for (besides the abuse which is awful and terrifying) me is the lying about stuff that doesn’t even matter.

    Please get a lawyer, line up an exit strategy for yourself. Your children likely have an idea about the abuse and the affair, even if they are unwilling to admit it to themselves.

    I hope for the best for you.

    You are worthy.

  • Worth

    He brought you to purgatory. You described my 36 years of living with my abuser. Deep down you know this isn’t love because people who love you do not make you feel worthless. They don’t hold you hostage while living their life.

    Your freedom will feel like climbing a mountain. The view at the top is spectacular.

    Gather all financial doccuments consult with three or four top attorneys in your area and pick one. Get hold of all the cash you can and file. Have a forensic accountant review finances. It’s not your job to protect him. Put all evidence in a safe place .

    Stay in your home. If he threatens or hits you call the police. Know he will move assets. Document everything. Damn, hire a private investigator to gather evidence.

    Get out. See a therapist. Tell your sons. He’s worthless.

    • “consult with three or four top attorneys in your area and pick one”

      Excellent advice. Do it soon so you get there first. Once you’ve consulted with a lawyer, your husband cannot hire him or her due to conflict of interest. By consulting the best of the lot, you can prevent him from retaining the best of the lot when he decides to go scorched earth on you.

      Listen to CN, Worth. You can do this, and you won’t be alone.

      • Happened to me. My lawyer notified me when my ex retained his attorney. I wrote back immediately and told her the date and time I had consulted with him. A couple hours later she contacted me with his new attorney.
        The first choice is apparently a really good lawyer, but honestly gave me the creeps: grinned just like my ex-father-in-law! Of course that consultation went badly: he listened, but wasn’t impressed by the high-debt and low-asset situation, and shuffled me out the door without requiring me to pay for the consultation. I left there feeling utterly hopeless and poor. He didn’t bother to keep records of our meeting, because he took my ex’s case. But then couldn’t because of that confidentiality conflict of interest.

    • DoingMe – this was perfect.

      Worthy – we’re all here for you. Please listen to the advice of the women who’ve been through this with a physically abusive STBX. They suck, and when cornered or caught off-guard, they get physical. See if you can pay in advance to store things off-site of the home, and set up a living opportunity with a trusted friend for when it’s go time.

      You can do this. In one form or another, we’ve all been you and we’ve done it, or are doing it, and we’re all moving forward with a f-tard free life. I hate that you had to find us, but I’m so glad you did. (((Hugs)))

  • This has been the most emotional post I’ve read in a while. What CL says is true. My ex tried all of that with me. Threatening me to keep quiet, berating me for speaking to him disrespectfully in front of the children. Telling me when he wanted them and giving them back to me if it’s not convenient. See what these fuckers will get away with is you LET THEM!!! Wow!!! I put up with so much and there’s no way he could try that shit now.

    Everything that was said on this blog came true and I never would have thought it. At the beginning I thought “yeah he’s bad but he’s not as bad as some of these other guys” and guess what – he was exactly the same!!!!

    Don’t waste any more time!

    I’m in an exclamation mood today!!!

  • Worthy, it’s hard to leave but even harder to stay. I’m so glad I didn’t stay. It took me about 2 years to get up the gumption to leave. Looking back, wish I had done it a lot sooner.

    You might have a few years of sorting things out and getting back your feet. But then you’ll be thankful you are free of the abuse. And you don’t see it as abuse yet. Once you have some counselling, it will all become so clear.

    Take care of you. There’s nobody more important. Your kids will be so proud. Stay connected to CN – everybody is here for you!!

    • Agree!

      I think most of us will tell you that once we left, our biggest regret was that we didn’t do it sooner.

      Every day you continue to live in that hell is a day less when you can be happy and feel safe..

  • Could have written most of your letter myself.

    If you think your adult children don’t know how screwed up your “marriage” is, you are kidding yourself. Tell them your truth – hold nothing back – and they will be relieved and supportive.

    Being alone with no family or real friends sucks but that does NOT give you an excuse not to stand up for yourself. And show your kids what a strong woman looks like. Do not let them go another day thinking this is OK.

    You are enough and you are worthy.

    Get a great therapist and the best damn lawyer you can find. Ask for help from CN or CL in finding a great lawyer! A long-term marriage has its own specifics when it comes to divorce and you need to protect yourself.

    Collect every shred of paper you can (bank statements, tax returns and especially credit card statements which are harder to find once the legal process is rolling).

    Throw yourself into protecting yourself and your future.

    And leave this guy ASAP!

  • “A vacation I was reluctant to be on because I felt that I had lost him. That our marriage was over.”

    And that’s awful, and frightening, and scary, and devastating. But your next sentence is:

    “He was mean and distant to me and I had felt alone for years.”

    You know what my therapist said to me once, that rocked me? “LISTEN. TO. YOURSELF. LOLA.”

    And I did, and I realised that I had the answers all along, and that underneath all the spackle was the reality. And the reality is: freedom and peace and light and contentment.

  • Worth,
    Please take CL advice! She is spot on even if it doesn’t feel right to you. Your story reads exactly like mine. You have spent decades surrounded by a man and a community who deny your reality. It is abuse and brainwashing. This man will go off the rails when you separate from him because, in his sick mind, you are blowing his image. Please be careful. I did not take this advice because I thought the manipulative abuse tactic of love bombing was genuine love for me. That choice almost got me killed. I’m so so sorry you are in this position, but your life will flourish when you are no longer oppressed by this man. Surround yourself with people who affirm you, value you, and don’t minimize your experience. Glad you found CN, WORTH!

  • Worth – I was in a similar situation. The relationship wasn’t acceptable to me, I didn’t feel loved and cherished, I couldn’t trust. If the relationship isn’t acceptable, if it’s damaging you, end it. Chump Lady is right and Chump Nation will give you the same advice. LISTEN TO YOUR GUT.

    If you don’t feel relaxed, cherished and treasured around this guy, he doesn’t love you. Don’t let fear of the future and perhaps being alone stop you. Tell your sons. Do they know he physically attacked you, enough to scare you into leaving? You are putting their (false because based on a false premise of a happy family) happiness above yours and your physical, mental and emotional security. Don’t do that.

    Much love to you, Worth, many hopes that you will soon be happy again XXX

  • It has been a while since I’ve commented here. But this post breaks my heart.
    Leave.
    Leave.
    Leave.
    It will suck for a while. You will need to ditch those “friends” who encouraged you to go back to/stay with him.
    But you know (and it’s not even buried that deeply) that it already sucks. And will continue to suck if you stay. In fact, it will suck worse as your spirit dies.

    I am 4+ years past D day #1.
    I threw away all my wreckonciliation books. I upped my meds. I realized who my true friends are. And you know what? I REMEMBER that it sucked. But it doesn’t suck nearly as much now. I still have to deal with bullshit about the kids, but I no longer deal with bullshit about me.
    Last week would have been my 21st anniversary. I told 1 person, a fellow chump friend because we recognize “crapiversaries.” I didn’t cry this year. I wasn’t even fucking sad. I no longer know or care where my wedding pictures are.
    I am fine. I am good. I am happy.
    I would not be any of those things if I had stayed.
    God speed on getting the hell out.

    • Louisvilleflower,

      I was happy to see your post. I am new to CN and it is 4 months from DD#1. He cheated on me for 5 years with one person that I know about. I have been married for 24 years. I have been in the emergency room with anxiety/panic attacks. As well as put on depression and anxiety medication. I know the decision to leave him is right because he is with the other woman posting provoking things to me on social media. I have recently uncovered lying about costs of certain things that cost way less than what he said. I can’t even go into all the lies, but only to say I was involved with a narcissist.

      Worthy,

      My advice being only 4 months out and have a lawyer retained, No Contact in place, Chump Nation as an app on my phone, and the book Leave a Cheater Gain a Life (just arrived yesterday). GET THE HELL OUT OF YOUR MARRIAGE. There is no way he will change. Through the years he has been showing you the person he is. I saw who my STBX was over these last five years. There were signs before but I ignored them. I needed to take control of my life. He has been trying for years to control me. Yours has been controlling you for years. Do you really want to have someone for the remainder of your years that terrifies, abuses you, and makes you feel like SHIT. Take ownership of yourself and GET OUT!! This is a very sad and scary post. I wish I could help you. Post here because all of us are worried.

      • No Regrets, CN was my lifeline. It took me a while to find it so you are way ahead of me.
        You will get through this – and the chumps here will help you.
        Sending love. ❤️

  • One afternoon, as I walked to the laundry room, my husband (who was on one of his daily “text and walk” outings in our neighborhood) had accidentally left his browser open on the computer in the basement. Our internet service was down. As I was starting the dryer, I kept hearing pings from the computer. Turned out that the pings were emails from his bimbo from earlier that morning. I opened a veritable Pandora’s box when I clicked on one of those gooey, disgustingly juvenile emails.

    His response? He threatened to have me arrested for “hacking [his] computer.” The computer in my HOME. The computer my sons did their HOMEWORK on. The computer in our BASEMENT.

    You’re husband sounds like my nasty X, and is probably in his planning stage of discarding you for good. Protect yourself and get the hell out of there before he leaves you with nothing. Not gonna lie; it’s going to be awful. So get yourself a pitbull lawyer and a good therapist. You’re going to need both to survive it. But you CAN SURVIVE. I promise.

    Hugs,

  • Dearest W
    I spent 47 years with a similar creature.
    Divorce took 18 months and was agony. Of course, I could write at length describingvthe utter desperation and misery I felt at the time, but what would be the point ?
    Just hold firm and see it through, or die in the attempt. No half measures, don’t listen to the dark threats and manipulation. My daughter, who was more aware of the situation, was an absolute brick. Whilst, my son, who was less aware, sat on the fence and I felt I had lost him – that was the most terrible sadness.

    Now, two years post divorce, I cannot begin to tell you how happy, relaxed and utterly at peace I feel. In fact, I read posts like yours to remind myself of how awful it was, so that I appreciate my freedom now.

    … oh yes, both children see their father, but, I now have a good relationship with my son …. what more could I want in life ?

    Go for it girl, or live the rest of your life in the shadows … being frightened … being manipulated like a string puppet.

    Get the best legal advice, keep calm and see it through and you will get there.
    Very best wishes,
    Sadbutnotcrushed ….
    And to anyone who remembers my sadness, terror and confusion – much against the odds, I even managed to keep the marital home.

  • It takes a lot of fortitude to see your situation for what it actually is, as opposed to what you think it is, or assume it is, or want it to be.

    And it takes a lot of guts to face that reality and say “NO! I don’t deserve this, and I will not allow myself to be treated this way.”

    Please stay here, get on the forums, lean on Chump Nation. We WILL help you through this.

    (“…think of it as one big labor pain into your new life.” CL dazzles once again.)

  • The fear immobilizes you. I know the fear….we all know the fear. If you stay nothing will change. The fear will grow and you will become smaller and smaller. I am 10 months out from D day with a very powerful and financially successful STBX. Get to an attorney. Find the best one you can. Super lawyers publication has lists of the best in your state. Make sure the atty practices family law exclusively then you know the level of focus and expertise. My husband continues to support me fully as he knows he has no choice. He would not do so if he did. I gave up my career to raise our kids 20 years ago. I live in limbo still awaiting a court order from a hearing 16 weeks ago. You must be tough and strong. It’s brutal at the beginning but it gets so much better! Are you ready to get rid of that constant pain in your gut? I hope so for your sake. There is goodness and joy in your future. Please value yourself. He never has and never will…

  • Worthy –

    This bit …

    “But he still lies about little things that don’t need to be lied about”

    I lived this for 27 years. I also thought she loved me. And perhaps she did and maybe she even does still in her own way even though we’ve been apart for almost 2 years now. But it’s not the sort of love that you need, nor what I need. It’s a selfish love, not a giving one. She had and presumably still has a habit of selfishness and entitlement that made me and everyone else, even our children secondary to her wants. We all had to cater to her and make sure she was happy, walking on eggshells and trying to guess which way the wind was blowing. When she decided that she was entitled to “be happy” with another man with a larger bank account and discount priced yogurt (true) she went for it. Sure, she kept looking back and even after I found out, she kept me hanging for a very long time. Even though she will be the one filing for divorce, even when directly asked she “never” said that she wanted one.

    I was right there where you are. After almost 27 years together I discovered that she had been having an affair for about a year. And I learned that there might have been others earlier.

    I was lucky. A lot luckier than most. Despite my best efforts, she still chose to leave. I “pick-me polka’d” like a hero for nearly a year.

    YOU need decide what you can and cannot accept. There are a lot of women – and yes men in a very very similar situation. They accept the lies and the affairs and the cheating and the stealing and the abuse and and and – because they are kind, giving people and because they are AFRAID.

    Other than those very very few rare cases, people don’t fundamentally change who they are. Despite his promises you can’t expect him to change. It takes a lot of work and requires him to go through depths of remorse that most people are not capable of.

    There will probably be a lot of people who will chime in and tell you to dump his sorry ass right now. You need to give some hard thoughts to what YOU want. You may also realize that what you want isn’t what you are likely to get. You need to look at yourself hard in the mirror and ask yourself if you are happy with the woman you see there. In this distorted reflection I see through your letter, I see a woman who is kind and loving but aspires to a level of perfection that isn’t attainable. Be honest with yourself. BE yourself. If that’s not “good enough” for your husband, well that’s just too bad for him. He’s going to miss out on a pretty darned awesome woman.

    Your homework off of this is to start planning an exit. Even if you don’t walk out that door – and yes – it’s a big bright world out there – you will know what your options are. Consult with a lawyer or two. Many of them will give you a free consult. Gather copies of financial documents like tax forms, property appraisals etc and store them somewhere else. You are now a secret agent. That way if you do choose to leave of your own free will, you will know the path.

    One thing that I’ve told a lot of people and know to be true is “You don’t know you are living under a cloud until you walk in the sunshine”. Me – I’m doing OK. I have good days and bad days. She eventually filed for separation about 6 months ago after being gone for about a year. The divorce will probably happen by the New Year. I’m 53. Grey haired, a bit wrinkly and a more than bit heavier than the usual swim-suit model. Perhaps a bit past my “sell-by” date but I like me and am hopeful for the future.

    Best of luck.

    BT

    • I missed the physical abuse part.

      I agree with everyone else. Get out as soon as you can prepare. Start preparing yesterday.

      You are not alone. Sadly this happens every day to hundreds of people. We all stand together with you. You are not alone. WE are Mighty!

    • Bow tie, I always enjoy your thoughtful posts and I am sort of dumbstruck by the fact that a male can be so introspective as my Stbx husband does not have that ability at all.

      Your comment today about your wife maybe loving you in her own way really has me thinking to day. I am thinking more in terms of what to tell my children when they ask me why their father doesn’t do things they see as indicators of love or why he does things that they associate with not loving them. I have feebly tried that- he loves you in his own way but what I really think is he is disordered and not capable of our definition of love. To me, that is not love. If someone tells you beating someone with a stick is his way of showing love can we really say he loves you in his own way or do we say he does not know how to love?

      Again, you are one of the many chumps who I am so grateful to for helping me to see the light and that better things are out there!

  • Couldn’t agree more with the others. Re-read your own post. It’s time to get out.

    “I have lots of friends, but he never wanted to socialize with anyone. I had to drag him to things and had about two dinner parties a year. He always shone at these parties. Everyone loves him. He would then avoid seeing people as much as possible. He had work, or sport, or his music to play.”

    I wonder whether this was actually him trying to isolate YOU from friends and family.

  • CL gave great advice. Please, PLEASE also read the book “Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” by Lundy Bancroft. It will help connect dots you didn’t even know were there and will change your entire perspective. I hope it helps to change your life and leave the abuser mascarading as a husband.

  • Worth,

    Please, please listen to what everyone is advising you to do. My story is somewhat verbatim of yours except for I had multiple DDays & no physical abuse…that came later (after the divorce) when I went to retrieve the last of my things that I had left in our marital home. XH was raging at me over a set of golf clubs that my father had loaned him & XH felt he was entitled to keep them. When I demanded that I was taking them, he shut the door of his pickup on me & then tried to drive off with me still caught in the pickup. Luckily, I only had a couple of bruised arms to show for this little fiasco.

    Tell your story to whomever. Don’t let him give the “we just grew apart” version of his. He’s going to want to play the victim & that you’re the bad guy…don’t let him. As far as your sons, they are absolutely old enough to know the whole truth. Actually, I’d place bets on the fact that they already know way more than what you think.

    Get your ducks in a row NOW. Don’t wait. You’ll be grateful that you did.

    I’m not going to sugar coat anything. This shit is hard. It hurts…hurts to the point that you might crumble to your knees in uncontrollable sobs only to find yourself puking up your guts in the toilet purging out the pain…at least that’s what happened to me. But you’ll pick yourself up & each day will get easier & easier & you’ll finally realize that you deserve better. And better will come…I promise.

    Hugs to you…

  • Please focus on yourself Worth! He will continue to be his sparkly self but always know that he is all smoke and mirrors. Leaving is so hard and you will feel that pain in the divorce and rebuilding process. Trust me though, in the long run he will pay for his nasty ways. I would be willing to bet that you shore him up with relationships in his life, most specifically with your sons. When your calm steadying force is removed from his life and he is left to his own devices his mean bullying ways will catch up with him. Since your kids are grown go full no contact as soon as you begin the divorce process. An impenetrable wall of silence is what you need to heal. I promise that in the end you will be thrilled with your peaceful life and he will be wallowing in his own shit. They never change, get better, or grow a heart.

  • Please listen to CL and CN. I stayed for an extra 4 years of abuse( a36 year marriage) and the abuse escalated. He stole half of our life savings, money that would have helped me buils my new life, and did it AFTER reconciliation. That’s what it was all about, that and quitting work so he wouldn’t have to pay me spousal support. He is not your friend. Please leave.. (((hugs))))

  • “I realize I sound pathetic, just reading this to myself, but all the books and blogs I read said I should reconcile and make my marriage better, but it seems to me that it doesn’t get better.”
    It’s not your job to fix what you didn’t break. If your husband genuinely wanted to fix the marriage, he would’ve been completely transparent about the affair instead of insulting your intelligence with flowers and text messages. He doesn’t get a gold star for doing something he should’ve been doing all along.

    “What if I leave and he really loves me?”
    What if you stay and he unlovingly continues to betray you?

    • Surfer girl, Truth, we are not loved when the person who should have our back is instead the one holding the knife.
      Worth, a lot of your story is mine but never lose sight of your value. You have one shot at this precious life and you are wasted on the disordered. I have been away from the disorder now for eight years and I can’t tell you how awesome life is, even if I am momentarily financially poor! We have no control over others but what we can do is “fix” ourselves. My guess is that you have been competently gracing his life with everything perfect (it gets harder for the disordered to balance their lies the older they get😝). I too was raising kids, working hard, volunteering. X’s crap behavior I attributed to stress, work, life challenges, etc. I was such a Pollyanna that I couldn’t see that his actions and words never quite lined up. When the pattern fully emerged with Mr. Sparkles-isolation, devaluation, questionable financial decisions, disengagement, belittling comments, and spending copious amounts of time away from family “at work” or “at the club”- he was knee deep in his affair and oblivious to anybody’s needs but his own. He was sure to dissipate assets on his way out though long before I figured out he was fucking someone else, so be careful here. Cheater was in a great profession, he stole money from savings, college funds, walked from our mortgage, abandoned our kids, like WHO the fuck does that?!?!, and I still thought I could save it. 😂So, my advice. Leave. Give yourself a chance at happiness. Do meet with a lawyer. Know what you can expect and what is fair. Do advocate for yourself. Copy financial records (W2s, tax statements, retirement info, etc) get numbers that accurately value big assets (property) and hunt down info that is pertinent to your standard of living. Be sure to include on your team someone who is financially literate, a CDFA, who can sit down and tell you what a good settlement looks like five, ten, or fifteen years out. You should familiarize yourself with info on pensions, QDROs, and language that addresses financial responsibilities (who pays what in the time it takes to finalize dissolution, kids’ educational expenses, etc) for motions filed in court. Freeze assets if you believe they are in danger. Very best of luck…

  • Go to an attorney and draw up a postnuptial. That will determine how much he really loves you. Make it as if you are getting a divorce. If he doesn’t want to sign it, you have your 2 by 4 slap that he’s still cheating, and he doesn’t want his ” perfect” life to come crashing down. ( note: the perfect life is not as a family man( as you want to see it) but a cheater that wants cake!)

  • “He doesn’t. You’re of use to him.”

    Exactly. And there’s a million other self-serving motivations for him to love bomb you to keep you under his control — alimony, impression management, maintaining the facade/his reputation aka not looking like the bad guy with family/friends/the kids, etc. It’s not love, it’s use.

  • Where are these forums you refer to Chump Lady? I have tried to find them and failed. I need them!

    What you said in your answer are so many of the things my one smart Friend has been saying to me the last two years. It is hard to leave and let go but now, looking back and it’s only been a few months this time, I see him so much clearer and can’t believe I put up with it! I hope she finds the strength to leave!

    • There should be a “log in” link at the top right hand corner of the screen that once you set up a password will allow you access to the forums.

      They are behind a password to protect them from google searches and to allow for the moderators to boot people out. Sometimes trolls show up.

      I do caution people who are still sharing a computer with their cheater to not have the password remembered and to use the “incognito” mode on their browser when they access the forums.

      BT

    • Please check out “Out of the Fog”
      It isn’t a forum about infidelity per se, but for those struggling with someone who is disordered. Many, you’ll find on this site have been cheated on by their narcissists/BPD/bipolar, etc. partners. It’s a safe place to go when you need an empathetic ear. (much like CN!)

    • Right on top of the page, above the cartoon of the Chump Lady, there are links. Home, Archive, etc. One of them is Forum. You need to register.

  • Worthy, your last comment says it all ” What if he really does love me” ? He doesn’t love you he’s a BIG STUPID FUCKWIT BABY I had one just like him for almost 40 years. I’ll bet he throws temper tantrums like a 4 year old too! Get the hell out and make a life for yourself, he’s wasted enough of your life. You know, no amount af ‘pick me dancing’ will be enough he’s a BIG STUPID FUCKWIT BABY ! You already know this marriage is over so leave while you still can and salvage your self respect. Don’t keep playing this teenage romance shit game with the BIG STUPID FUCKWIT BABY. You can do it! Be brave!

    • >>”BIG STUPID FUCKWIT BABY”

      This, along with the temper tantrum reference, is the perfect description.

      Recently, I had the revelation that in order to deal with STBX, the “BIG STUPID FUCKWIT BABY,” my best approach is to treat him like a teenager. He is less likely to throw a tantrum when I do this. And, he’s almost 50. It’s surreal.

      • The BIG STUPID FUCKWIT BABY I lived with was 68 that’s right 68! I am in good health, and fortunately I had a good career so have a decent pension plus I got half the assets. This was only, because I looked after my own interests immediately after DDay 2. But just think about the fact I could have been that senior with no pension, no assets and poor health! If you stay in a relationship with a BSFB who cheats, you could very well end up living in social housing with no money or maybe poor health! There comes a point in your life when your have to start thinking about the real hard facts and realize what’s at stake! These BSFBs think its a game; but, it’s YOUR future and just what kind of a life you WILL be living at 65 and older. Forget about memories and grief, you might not have enough money to buy food or meds while the BSFB is boinking Schmoopie and trying to figure out if he’s really happy! These FUCKING IDIOTS, never grow up!

  • First clue is “I made a mistake”. That’s just excusing bad behavior while not taking responsibility. Mine made 5 years of mistakes….. it takes a lot of time and money to plan these things out. Maybe and it’s a huge maybe…. I got drunk and nailed a bar whore. Full disclosure etc might (big might) be a mistake. 3 years is pure and simple choice. They choose to destroy us and our families. It is not a mystery that adultery wrecks and destroys people. No one can say I didn’t know this was a bad choice! With full knowledge of what they were doing and with intent to destroy they chose to commit what I call a crime! Theft and murder of a marriage.

    • Yes! They know its hurtful. My cheater wife said “I was never going to tell you because I didn’t want to hurt you”. She had rationalized in her brain that as long as I didn’t find out- then she was doing me some sort of favor. And thus if I didn’t know then it was ok to do it and keep doing it. Cheaters are self centered scumbags.

  • Dear ‘You are worth it’ (sorry L’Oreal)

    Apart from all the advice on leaving the cheater which I obviously agree with – and yes, you have to get away for your safety and sanity. I also know how hard it is to deal with grief and betrayal.

    You say your father died in June- which is very recent. I left my XH in 2013, my mother died in 2014 (then the divorce came through) and finally my dad died in 2015. Grief- all on its own is a motherfucker, but combined with the emotional trauma of marital betrayal is a fire-storm. You say ‘counselors are useless’ – well you certainly don’t need MC ones but you might want to consider a good bereavement counsellor who gets’ complicated grief’. I’m four years post D-Day and two since my dad died and I feel much better. It’s possible for you too.

    Mikky x

    • Yes, I had forgotten that detail. My mother was in the late stages of dying of cancer when my ex announced she was done with ‘us’. Over the course of one year I found out my wife wanted out, my mother died, I moved out, my car was stolen, and I made almost no progress on my Ph.D thesis.

      On the plus side, I had already put a downpayment on another car, and insurance paid me more for the stolen one than I was going to sell it for (to a friend of my ex), and I did meet (after the divorce was final) my new wife, so it wasn’t all bad, but still, I wouldn’t want to have to live through that year again.

      Worthy, think about a therapist, not for couples work, but just for you. You deserve it. You need the help, and a good therapist can make things much more manageable for you, given all the difficult stuff you’re juggling. At least the kids are grown, that should make all of this a bit less challenging.

      Hugs. Strength. Peace.
      aeronaut

  • So sad to see anyone refer to themselves as worthless.. But unfortunately when you’re in an abusive relationship that’s exactly how you feel. I spent 15 years of a 17 year marriage being told I was worthless, stupid, no one would ever want me and I was better off dead… The physical abuse started during year 16 but the mental, verbal and emotional abuse were prevalent most of the marriage… Please take CL’s advice and leave… I can’t even begin to describe the feeling of freedom and elation I felt the day I walked out the door and told that sorry piece of shit to rot in hell… You do have worth, you do have value but you’ll never see that until you get him out of your life….

  • Hi, Worthy. YOU DESERVE BETTER!!! (And that does NOT mean another man, another relationship at this point. It just means FREEDOM from being treated like garbage.) You are WORTH IT.

    {{ Skooching over… making room on the bench }} As usual, CL nails it again!

    All of us other Chumps felt like you at one time as well. But it’s a big bench, and we’ve saved a seat for you, because WE know you’re worthy and we’ll tell you over and over and over again until you start believing it for yourself.

    You’re safe here! {{ pats bench }} Come have a seat with the most WONDERFUL group of Chumps. <3 Right after you call a lawyer. 🙂

  • Hardest thing to understand is after all these years together, is that they do not love you! They may need you. But it has zero to do with love. I got lucky enough to see her tell others that sad truth. Never loved, never wanted, used him. Eye opening experience!

    • Yes, David your right they don’t love us. Because they think love is fantasy. They are just aging adolescents looking for drama and excitement . They think this life is going to go on forever and consequently don’t realize the spouse and family they threw away was the best thing that ever happened to them.

  • Worthy,

    Add my voice to those here saying you need to get out. Much good advice above. I’ll add the following to help you make smart choices.

    If you leave (please do), you will miss him. Not the actual him, but the him that you’re in love with, the him that didn’t cheat, isn’t abusive, and loves you the way you loved him. That him only exists in your mind. The actual, flesh and blood him, is the person your brain knows him to be, cold, manipulative, abusive, self-interested. When you leave, you won’t miss that person one bit.

    The first step is to get your heart and your head on the same page. He is no longer the man you’re in love with, he’s someone else, someone much more dangerous. You need to get out to protect yourself. It will hurt, but over the long haul, it will hurt less than not getting out. Be brave, see a lawyer, and set up your exit strategy. Be careful.

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.
    aeronaut

  • @Worthless–NOT! Let’s get that name changed! Maybe SomeoneOfValue?

    I kept my husband’s dirty little secret that he was fucking my niece for months while I foolishly attempted to protect them from their own perfidy and salvage my so-called marriage. Telling my family and friends the whole truth was the start to my regaining my personal strength and integrity, setting me off on the Road Trip to Meh. I left him at the beginning of August, and today I am happier than I’ve ever been since I first got love-bombed by the flaming dog turd 15 years ago.

    Please, set yourself free from this abuse. You won’t know just how much it has warped you until you are out of it and breathing your own air again. Wrap yourself up in the love of others, people with real hearts rather than fake masks.

    Begin by telling your sons, assuming they aren’t little apples from their father’s tree. Unless they are disordered too, they are going to be furious with Dad and rally to help you do all the things that Tempest and others are rightly advising for you to do. Leave a cheater and gain a life.

    You got this. We’re here.

    Love and hugs,
    Meht

    • Meht, great to hear you’re doing good! Yours is an unbelievable story and it takes a lot of courage to come through this shit.
      You are mighty!

  • Worthy (not worthless),

    Except for Jesse’s story I haven’t cried reading a post to Chump Lady for some time. Please don’t make us cry.

    Your sparkledick is the worthless one here. And he sounds like a clone of mine. Believe me and believe Chump Lady: he is a narcissistic, dishonest abuser who does not deserve you or his sons. Please leave him.

    When you divorce him his true colors will show up even more. Ask me how I know. I was married for 38 years when D-day arrived and gave me some unsettling hindsight. Wisdom, inspiration and guts came to me from Chump Lady and Chump Nation.

    I know how lonely you feel and it is awful, but there are ways out. Chump Lady explains this very well in her book: you weed out bad friends (losing them is a blessing in disguise) and get new and better ones. My entire ex’s huge family, except his cousins (whom I am friends with and who know their narcissistic and entitled cousins very well), dropped me like I had the plague. I thought all of my in-laws’ were my friends and I was always generous to them, from lending $ to cleaning ill mother-in-law’s shit. But they are not good people and now I am glad to be rid of them.

    I am also glad to be free of my ex’s financial craziness. So I don’t dwell and cry over the waste of both of our incomes on his prodigality, I have a new program for my income that keeps me busy.

    My grown sons support me, but they live far away; my beloved father is dead, but my mother and my co-opted siblings do not speak to me because I ruined their plans to swindle my father (and my mother cheated on my dad). But I have good, old friends and I have an exciting job. This helps me.

    Good luck Worthy and leave your cheater and gain a life.

    • >>”I know how lonely you feel and it is awful, but there are ways out.”

      This is such an excellent point! Particularly for the Chumps dealing with aggressive/prone to violence types. Becoming isolated is one of the hallmark traits of an abusive relationship … one I completely overlooked with my marriage.

      When shit hit the fan, I was stuck in a very small town (one in which he cheated multiple times with multiple people … and most of the town knew about it before I did) … with no car, the wreckage of his financial infidelity, just two friends who lived hundreds of miles away, and only one relative I could count on. And, of course, I had three wonderful kids to worry about (one minor, two young adults).

      I was absolutely shocked that I was so completely isolated. Not once did that thought occur to me during the marriage. The subtle (and not-so-subtle) abuse had ground my sense of perception into the ground. I couldn’t see what was right in front of me.

      This is where CL and CN was extremely important in my process — this place was the best friend I could count on to understand my situation, be honest with me, and to get genuine and kind advice from. I also used the Domestic Violence hotline for some solace and, particularly, for advice regarding the potential for more violence. I tried not to overwhelm my two friends and one relative … but, when I really needed human interaction, they were there for me and my girls. So, even being as isolated as I was … there were ways for me to reach out and find support.

      It also helped when I finally got righteously pissed (on behalf of myself AND my kids) — that’s when my determination kicked into high gear. 🙂 So, even though I’ll be struggling for a while financially because of STBX’s financial infidelity, life is wonderful. My girls and I are making it — and we are living much happier and more peaceful lives.

  • I agree with what everyone has said. Sounds like hes buying time to move things around. The disordered hate consequences for their actions. Dont tell anyone worthless cause then he will look bad. Image management. They are all the same. Ask us how we know. All have been there done that. Im slowly finding my way back to me without that piece of shit pod ex creature and its glorious!! The road is hard and scary but coming out of that tunnel is FREEDOM!! this site saved my sanity. We are all here for you! Line up those ducks tell him nothing!!! You got this!!!

  • Worthless,

    “My husband seems happy and just tells me to get with the programme”

    (says it all)
    That would be HIS programme!

  • He will have to care for you-financially
    YOU ARE WORTH HAPPINESS
    FREE YOURSELF
    Many in your life will come back once the king is gone. If not, fuck em.
    The ones that drifted away might have felt helpless that you were married to such a scuzzball.

  • Worthy,

    To me, the thing that comes across most in your letter is how seemingly conditioned to abuse you appear to have become. It (very sadly) has a resigned tone to it as though you still know the things being done to you are wrong, but they no longer feel as wrong as they should. You describe things as taking place over years…I wonder do you even remember what it felt like to be truly and normally happy and reasonably care free day to day? To be optimistic? Abuse and isolation over an extended period can change all emotional reference points. And I would bet this guy was subtly conditioning you for outright abuse from the day he met you, making you believe he and his needs and personality were preeminent, however good the humour and seeming kindnesses may have felt. Every key action of his which you describe is abusive and manipulative and contains the prerequisite that you have zero rights or dignity. And while you seem sad and defeated, you don’t seem outraged.

    The point is, if this is accurate, you’re thinking about this from an abuse-conditioned and likely clinically depressed mind. If you don’t follow the sage advise here to take practical steps to free yourself immediately (and this would be best) then get help. Break the isolation and reset your reference points for what is normal. A good therapist and being around people who can remind you who you are and what normalcy is. Currently you seem like a POW camp prisoner who has become invested in winning scraps of relative non-abuse from the commandant. The war has ended, the camp gates are open and you’re free to go. You need to rediscover that the commandant in fact isn’t central anymore. You are. There is a normal life outside of this where “this” will feel foreign, odd and even enraging. I think when you think things like “what if he does really love me?” (As he threatens you, won’t go to counseling, etc) you need to consider just how far your perspective may have been harmfully altered by this lonely abusive environment.

  • I’m tearing up at this.

    It resonates so very deeply in me.

    Miss Worth. Do not give another minute of your precious time, love, and energy to that horrible man. He is so not worthy of you.

    There is something better for you. Truly.

    (((Hugs)))

  • I can’t say much as I’ve got to go to work…

    PLEASE don’t let him talk you into co-mingling any inheritance funds your parents may have left you. Initially, my then-husband had me invest my mom’s money in a joint account. Then, he spent a bunch of her money on himself, and was so cheap I had to use some of it for everyday expenses.

    You’ll need any inheritance money for yourself, and your parents sure wouldn’t want him to have any part of it.

    (Hugs)

    • Yes this. Mine went against our cottage mortgage thus turning it into marital assets ( would have been worth about $160000 by now). Biggest mistake I made

  • GET OUT NOW!!! Your story is my story and so many of us here. Once I left and started on my own I found so many people who are my real friends and family. Get a lawyer and find out how much money you both have in any and all accounts, house and anything else you can think of. Meditate, seek out divorce groups you can join at your church.

    I found out that my EX can’t even talk to me on the phone to settle a few leftover items. He and his new victim make up. break up and make up again. If she wants her kids to see her in that manner than that her problem.

    Hold your head up and be strong. It’s the hardest thing you will ever do but it will be the most rewarding.

  • Worth(less) listen to CL and reread what you yourself wrote.
    1. He was angry with YOU for discovering HIS affair of 3 YEARS!
    2. He has always been critical and you have done everything within your power to make him happy.
    3. He refusing to even go to counseling
    4. He buys you flowers but lies about little things and refuses to be accountabe for his action’s.
    5. He expects you to lie about his indiscretions. Like I said to my ex when he said that me talking about how he treated me made him look like an as hole. “If me speaking the truth makes you look like an asshole maybe you should stop acting like an asshole.”
    You have spent 20+ years trying to be the woman he is happy with.
    Time to ask yourself “Is this a man that makes me happy?”
    It is never too late to be all that you can be and find happiness living true to your core self. We never feel confident when we try to live up to others standards.
    Start living up to YOUR standards and what feels right in YOUR gut and you will find you don’t need his approval to feel worthy, valuable or loveable.
    I believe in you, we all believe in you.

  • CL said everything so well, read and re read!!!

    I have one point to make, I did not want to tell my sons (15&17 at the time) and hurt my sons about their father, but what came out when we started being honest with each other is that he was abusing them also. He went as far as to tell them he would kill them if they told me. We are two years out from my finally stopping the abuse and divorcing him. It hurts and I am very lonely at times but my sons have blossomed and I am slowly finding myself. Worth the pain of getting out of that abuse.

    You are going to lose friends, (dead weight) and find new authentic ones who get the new you. A lonely process but worth it when completed.

    You are mighty and ready, you wrote CL because you are looking for guidance you know in your heart you will find it here. Lean on CN they are great.

    • >>”He went as far as to tell them he would kill them if they told me.”

      That is truly evil. I’m so sorry you and your sons had to deal with that.

  • 1. Get out now

    2. “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” – Anne Lamott

  • A lot of today’s column resonates with me. Especially the part about attaching my feelings of worth to his happiness. It was a constant challenge to make him happy by doing everything for him and his kids. Hell, I told myself that I was happy making his life as easy as possible. While he was a bottomless pit of need, I told myself we made a great team. I remember telling my counselor, “I want him to see my value.” She said anyone who meets me knows my value. I was the only person who doesn’t see it. She was right and I was so wrong. I realized that my ex actually did see my value. That’s why he wanted the affair and his happy home life facade with me. It was about getting what he wanted at any cost to me. One day I realized I don’t deserve to be treated poorly and I didn’t need to fight for a spot in his life. Worth – it’s about YOU not him. You are worthy and don’t deserve to experience the devastation of another d-day or any abuse.

    • Mindy, your whole post resonated with me but especially this line: “While he was a bottomless pit of need, I told myself we made a great team.”

      So, so true. I told myself we were a great team too — turns out we were a great team to endlessly shovel kibbles into that bottomless pit.

      You’re right — anyone who loves us already knows our value. We don’t have to keep proving it.

  • You are WORTHY! I had a very similar situation (don’t we all). 33 years of marriage and 7 years together prior to marriage. I gave up my career aspirations to support him and move to all of the jobs he held (none for more than 3 years) covering several states. CL is right. Start planning your exit. I had never seen my ex as angry as he was when he discovered I had been telling people what he was doing – it was doubly bad because many of the people we knew also knew the OW. His standing with many of those friends has been completely destroyed by HIS behavior not mine, as it will not be your behavior destroying anything. Your kids know that all is not well. Mine were in their 20’s and the only comment I heard was that I should have done it sooner. Neither my kids nor I were as happy as we deserved to be because we always had to cater to him. My kids do have a relationship with their father but it is not like the relationship we have. They know with absolute certainty that I will be there for them no matter what. Neither of them take things to their father because he is likely to berate them for anything that is currently bothering him and doesn’t listen to them. Please start planning your exit strategy. And do see a good counselor – if you aren’t happy with the first one you find, check out another until you get someone you can work with. CN is here for you.

  • For the years leading up to the discovery; I bent and changed to accommodate reasonable requests for the good of the family. I thought I was happy and maybe I was for a number of years?

    The Stress grew! I wasn’t doing enough, I felt like a stranger on a vacation in Hawaii with my family, felt like a stranger in my own house and in bed. I really thought I was losing it… and began to get counseling.

    It was 12 months later I discovered the affair…?

    *The big question here is whether you decide to stay or go?

    Remember: this person knew what your ups and downs were and wasn’t treating you as the person you were suppose to be in the marriage. They watched you decline in emotional and physical wellbeing, you made sacrifices in your LIFE so they could be with someone else (and you didn’t know the truth).

    They never told you the truth, you discovered it! They will bend their stories around what you belive is the truth and not what actually occurred! They will bend their stories around friends and family too.

    I believe it’s hard to stay just as mush as it is to go!

    I’m two years out and I’m realizing little by little life can be better!

    **I wasn’t thinking rationally at the time of my divorce; in hindsight-its best to have an advocate in court should you divorce!

    Take CL’s advice!

  • I’m all teary-eyed because someone came along and called herself worthless and CN is calling her Worth and Worthy. You guys are the best. Throughout my journey here I’ve been shocked that strangers on the internet are kinder than the people who swore to love us for all our lives.

    Worthy — you can do this. Take the advice here.

  • Worth,

    Your story sounds very similar to mine. I tried to be perfect as I have for virtually all my relationships and ended up just feeling exhausted, dejected, and wondering why my partners did not appreciate me. If you associate with someone who cannot be pleased because he is selfish, then being perfect doesn’t matter. I sometimes wonder if they just value us LESS because they know we try this hard for them!

    By lying and using the ‘mistake’ excuse for his terrible treatment of you (I’m way too familiar with both these behaviors), he is showing you that he cannot be trusted and refuses to accept responsibility for his behavior. He is not three years old, and you are not his mother. Thus, only he can help him progress out of his arrested moral development. Based on his history, which sounds a lot like the histories of my exes, I don’t see any indication that he will make any effort to build up his character.

    I stayed for the abuse because I wanted to protect my young children and didn’t think that I could get supervised visitation of my husband if we separated. I was also a grad student who was making next to no money toward the end of our marriage. The abuse got bad enough that I took my kids to a safe house when my husband left. Police came to our home several times. Your children are grown! If you stay, you may face some of the drama my family faced.

    Sending you a giant hug!

  • Worth,

    “I was always making excuses for him, which I hated.” I can relate to almost everything that you wrote (except for the physical part). But this statement, hit a chord with me. I had 20 years of this. People would ask where he was, and I was embarrassed because either I didn’t know or what he was doing was so obviously less important than being with his family (yet he prioritized it ahead of us).

    Getting out is painful. Getting divorced is ugly and frustrating. Getting free from this behavior will bring the inner peace you have been lacking for sooooo long. It is worth leaving. And your kids will learn that there are boundaries in relationships and that it is healthy to not let someone walk all over you. If your sons are in their twenties, I am sure that they have sensed the messed up dynamic for a long time.

  • Oh this one hit me right in the feels. It is what I imagine my life would be like had things not turned out the way they did with LAM, because he would have eventually. The never ____ enough is killer. Please leave. I understand the sunk costs, but you will never believe your own worth until you can take tiny steps towards acting like you do.

  • Dear Worth,
    Well, I’ve been reading this blog for some time and feel the need to post for the first time. Reading what you wrote hit home for me. “I was so unhappy and tried desperately to make myself happy. I read books, wrote in journals, took classes, got a job, but it didn’t work. I never looked quite good enough, or was happy enough, or appreciative enough, or tidy enough, or accomplished enough.” Yikes, you’ve described my life with the ex. I couldn’t accomplish enough to ever please him, be it work, volunteer, support system, home life, nothing was as important as saving lives, after all, he’s a doctor…one time when dressed for a gala, hair up, nails done, gorgeous dress, the ex responded to my question of how do I look with “You’re with me, aren’t you?” Hahahahaha…who else in chump nation has heard that one?! What a shit show, anyway, I digress.
    Ahem, my ex wrote prescriptions for “my” depression. Nothing worked, and I tried every last antidepressant available. And then it hit me (thanks, in part, to my incredibly patient therapist), it wasn’t me, it was the situation. Once I removed myself from the situation, the abuse, the mind fuckery, I found myself and found my happy place. It didn’t happen over night, nor was it easy, but it was worth it. I have me back, the me who was only depressed, because I was in an abusive relationship for seventeen years.
    You’ve got this, take CL’s advice, get all of the financials, hire the attorney, and don’t say a word to your STBX until he is served.
    We’re here for you,
    Happy Me

  • “I’m sorry — you’ve already hurt your sons by modeling an abusive relationship dynamic to them for 20-plus years. You can FIX that, by getting mighty and modeling resiliency and badass life building.”

    Truth. I did the same thing (married 30 years), but I’m working hard now to set an example to my sons of someone who respects herself and can take care of herself. One year and one week since D-day. Almost three months since the divorce was final. What a relief!
    It was not easy, but I persevered. I tell myself, when something seems too daunting, “I can’t do this, but God can,” and I keep putting one foot in front of the other. That thought might help you, too, Worthy.
    And also as Chump Lady says, “be the sane parent.” Be steady, and model self-respect. Keep reading here. I’m glad you found this blog. It saved me. Thank you, CL! 💗
    Worthy, you can do this!

  • “you’ve already hurt your sons by modeling an abusive relationship dynamic to them for 20-plus years. ” I did this for 35 years and am now paying the price of my son’s disrespect for me. Get out now!

  • Worth – so many correlations that I read between your story and mine. Once you get out of the abuse and you can look back on what kind of relationship you were in with more healthy eyes, I promise you’ll wonder why you stayed for so long. Run. Just run. Think of your relationship as a life or death emergency situation and get out.

    Even if he does love you – does it really matter? Is that the way that you want to be loved? Is it acceptable to be threatened? Is it acceptable to you to be lied to? Once the crazypants cheater is gone, life is so much more clear, beautiful and peaceful. You sound like you are living the exact opposite of that. I totally understand. We all do. This is the abuse crazy making cycle. Get out and go start that new life. Seriously. It’s AWESOME over here and we all want that for you.

  • Worthy, I can empathize because I was once in your shoes. After DD#1, I was frozen and didn’t know what to do. My internal life got progressively worse over the next 5 years. And then there was the final 2 year period of limbo/purgatory when XH waffled about what he wanted/false reconciliation. My anger at DD#2 was the fuel to reclaim my life.

    We believe that love is rare and unconditional and to never discard it. But we never learned this very important caveat — “you can love a person, but that does not mean you can make a life with them”. Do you see that you have arrived at this point (e.g. you love him but you can no longer make a life with him)? Don’t ever consider this as failure but as reinforcing the same healthy boundaries you taught your kids.

    • As I was approaching the path to divorce, I realized one day that SHitler was someone that I loved deeply but ultimately was not good for me. It seems to so simple to say that now, but it was like waking up from being brainwashed. Yup, there are people out there that I can love, but they aren’t good for me to be with. Same as your “you can love a person, but that does not mean you can make a life with them.”

  • The first step is always the hardest! Take one today…start looking for an attorney to assist you in leaving the lunatic you’re married to currently. You can do it! I did, after 17.5 years of hellish married life…have never been happier than I am today.

    • True, true! Just take one step today. Then if you have to sit with that step for a day or two, make a plan to take another step in a few days. That is exactly how it was for me. I just had to take each step a day at a time.

      Also, it’s worth noting that you can go, meet with an attorney and have them draft up papers to file for divorce. It doesn’t mean that you have to file that day. But you can make a plan to file on a specific date in the future, when all your ducks are lined up. I had to do that. Having the paperwork drawn up was great and easier when I had to deal with the drama he delivered when I bluntly told him I couldn’t do this anymore and wanted a divorce. I had already made the decision. I had already drawn up the paperwork. I stuck to my guns and filed only a few days after I told him. Hard, but it was worth it.

  • I am get a strong reaction when anyone says they are staying for their children. My mom stayed with my dad because of her kids. I found this out much later as an adult after she had died. Us kids always wondered why she stayed because we saw how unhappy they were. Without a doubt, my life would have been different had they divorced, but maybe I would have had a happier mom? I will never know.

    I think at best, children already know their parents are unhappy together. At worst, the parents are modeling dysfunction and/or unhappiness as the norm in married relationships. Women who stay after cheating are showing their children that it is acceptable to cheat on the people they “love”.

    Don’t make your children the reason to stay. It makes me sad that my mom stayed together for us kids.

    Dear Worth, there is so much good advice on this thread from others. Please protect yourself, stay safe, and get away from him. You are worthy of So much more than this.

  • What if he really loves me. I love a lot of people. I don’t physically and emotionally abuse them. I don’t cheat on them. You don’t either. Even though you thought your marriage was lost you still treated your husband with respect and honored your vows. That’s what Love looks like. Now love yourself. Respect yourself. He’s been making all the decisions in your life. What if he decides to hide assets and leave you for ow? Protect yourself.

    • Great point, new. Worth, could you imagine yourself physically grabbing your child or pet like your husband has you?
      A helpful thing I used to do while in reconciliation (to keep myself sane since I was still wanting to believe in “us” so much) was to reverse any situation that causes you unease. If he says or does something that is unsettling, reverse roles with him in your mind and see if you could do the same to one of your kids or even to him.
      Every single time I did this exercise I’d be sadly aware of the fact that his actions or words were blameshifting, manipulation, minimizing, dismissive, callous, demoralizing, meant to confuse me.
      Start to clear your mind about what’s really going on there and you’ll begin gaining desire to move forward.

  • Dear Worth.

    You sound EXACTLY like I did. Almost every single thing you relate was me to a ‘T’ — except that I wasn’t physically abused. Just because the bruises aren’t present on my face and body doesn’t mean I wasn’t beat up. YOU ARE ABUSED!! I spent 30 years married to my emotional abuser. He did NOT want anyone to know what a dick he was and so he was very, very discrete with his skank in the background for 11 years! And of course, it was my fault because I didn’t make him feel loved enough. I didn’t appreciate him enough. Do you think that maybe just ONCE in those 11 years that he was screwing around with his ho-worker that he could have told me that he needed more appreciation? Why did it take me finding out before he informed me of just how unhappy he was? Because he’s a DICK!! You are married to a dick. I’m so, so sorry. My head was just as screwed up as yours is. We have three sons together. He was just waiting till they were all out of college, etc., until he could inform them, “Your mother and I just grew apart.” Well, yeah!! Of course we’re going to grow apart when he has a skank in the background! IT IS NOT YOU!!!! Read the book “Private Lies: Infidelity and the Betrayal of Intimacy” by Frank Pittman. Your dick is NOT going to change. Not everything you love is good for you. And I’m sorry to say, he does not love you. He never did. It was ALWAYS, from the very beginning, ALL ABOUT HIM. It’s not because you are worthless, it’s because he’s screwed up in the head, and he’ll NEVER change. Get a lawyer and get out. If he TRULY does love you, then he’ll do whatever it takes to keep you even if you’re divorced. But my bet is that he’ll get REALLY, REALLY ugly once divorce is going through. Protect yourself and your future. He sure as heck won’t. It’s all about him. Like Chumplady said, he’s love bombing you. He’s doing image control. He’s showing everybody else just how much he loves you by these outward displays. But if you’ll notice carefully, these are outward displays only. As long as what he’s doing is visible to anyone outside of your house, he’s on his best behavior. This is screwing with your head because he’s nice and then he’s not. Believe Chumplady when she says, “Trust that he sucks!” Because he does… BIG TIME! I also gave my dick a second chance when I found out about his 11-year affair. He did the love bombing but it eventual pittled out. Within 3 years he was back to his old games and his skank, but like before, he made me feel like I wasn’t doing enough to make him happy. He was back to the poor sad sausage saying, “You and I aren’t happy. I don’t know if divorce is the answer.” As I was already experienced, I immediately went to find out if he was back with his skank. Yep! He was. Leave while you have the upper hand. And get LOTS of counseling by a counselor who knows all about narcissists.

  • Worth,
    Lots of love to you right now. Like all the other chumps here, my story is so similar to yours. Abuse changes your thought pattern and you come to believe that you can’t live without it. As hard as that is for anyone who has never been in an abusive relationship to understand. Those are the dynamics that are keeping you stuck. It’s dangerous, both mentally and physically. You have got to muster the strength and leave this situation. You can do this, you really can!
    I get your pain, I’ve lived it. For three years I tried to cling to my marriage. A marriage full and running over with every kind of abuse mentionable. After 27+ years my head was mince. And those two internal voices! Those voices constantly debating with each other, the logical one and the distorted one. That’s what your situation does to your thinking. Your situation won’t ever change! No matter what you do.
    Think of this. Let’s say you have a daughter and she was living the life your living. What would you tell her? You would be horrified at what she was having to endure and you would tell her to get her shit and run!! Nothing you do will ever change your situation with him because he can’t change. You will become weaker and weaker as the months turn into more years. Please don’t let this cut your life short. It will be the hardest thing you will ever do but your a strong woman. 30+ years of his disordered crap. If you can survive that you can survive breaking free. Find someone you trust and share it with them. Contact women’s aid, they will help you.
    Stay focused on the moment and don’t look to far ahead. As time passes and your mind has time to heal you will start to feel alive again, I promise you that!
    I wish you all the strength you need to do this. And you do have strength, don’t ever doubt yourself. You deserve a life with love and happiness. You don’t know it yet…but it’s out there when your ready xxx

  • Worthy

    Right now you are questioning whether or not he loves you. The answer is NO.

    The pain and paralysis you are feeling is typical as is denial. Looking back to when I was in your situation I realize my emotions ruled and I needed time to get out of the bargaining stage of grief. Yet everything you have stated proves the answer to the question.

    What you don’t know is what’s coming next. This is what we, with experience can predict with a fair amount of accuracy. This is why your post triggers such a response. So what does come next?

    You are dealing with a self centered entitled narcissist. Perhaps, a sociopath. He’s controlling and has stripped you of your power. He wants to control you r actions and will continue with this pattern.

    This is important: once you file and begin to take your power and control back he will RAGE. You will see the hatred he has for you unleashed. He will threaten and belittle. It will be as if you never existed as a person in his life. This is why it’s so important to gather all documents and personal things you cherish out of the home.

    Get tax statements going back years. Passports, birth certificates, mortgage statements, pensions,credit card statements, car titles, bank accounts, life insurance policies and safety deposit box keys. Do gather cash and account numbers. Do a credit report on BOTH of you immediately.

    Finding a therapist that understands trauma is very important. Do not let him know you are filing.

    Why all this, Worth? His image means more to him than anything. Also because believe it or not his goal will be to destroy you as a person and financially.
    Once a malignant narcissist no longer has use they are brutal.

    I’m big on staying in the home. However, safety is more important. This is where having a good lawyer works to your advantage. The reason you should consult with many top lawyers is because he will not be able to hire them once you have spoken to them. Many attorneys provide a free consultation. However mine charge $300 for the consultation and she was amazing so I hired her. Evidence of the affair or any other leverage you have, use it to your advantage.

    It’s scary, no doubt. But you will survive and thrive once you’re away from him. Don’t listen to anything he says go no contact.

  • I’m sitting here on hold with a credit card company and so haven’t read all the comments, but…DAMN.

    Here’s the first sentence that stopped me. “He was angry at me that I had found out and deleted evidence of their affair from my cellphone.” He cheats–and he’s angry at you. We call that “blameshifting.”

    Here’s another: “He has also attacked me physically a couple of times, enough to scare me enough to leave for a couple of days, but my friends encouraged me to go back.” Never stay with a physical abuser. Never, ever, stay. And you desperately need new friends. Any person (whether a parent, pastor, “friend,” sibling, or mailman) who tells you to stay with someone who abuses you does NOT have your best interest at heart. And let me say this more plainly: That person is more ignorant than a garden slug would be at giving advice. You can work on weeding these people out later or maybe just knowing what not to share with them. But stop listening to people who don’t care about your health and safety.

    Here’s a question for you: Would you want your kids–male or female–to stay with someone who attacks them physically? Cheats on them? Abuses them emotionally? Withholds love and support? Your answers here should not be automatic. What I’m asking you is if a CONTRACT (which is what marriage is, at bottom) is more important that the PERSON in the contract? And is a totally one-sided contract, where you don’t get what you signed up for, ever, more important than your “own wild and precious life”?

    Your first calls should be to identify a therapist who is an expert is working with abused women and who values people more than social contracts. You don’t have to explain yourself to your jackass abuser. Just do it and keep quiet about it. Then find the best divorce attorneys in town and interview 3 of them. That takes them off the board for him. Find out what you have to work with. If there is someone in your life who is not enabling your husband in abusing you, you can talk to that person but only if they are a vault and will not reveal what’s up. How to get the rest of your ducks in a row is a common topic on the Private forum. Go there and connect with people who know what you are up against.

    Somewhere in there is a woman trying to claw her way out of a grave. You are not worthless. He’s killing you, mind and soul. And maybe someday, in body, if you don’t get out. You can do this.

  • Dear WORTH,

    Count me in as another voice telling you how much happier you will be on the other side of this insanity! Take charge of your life! Your integrity! Your future! Your value as a human being! Show your sons how amazing you are! You can do it!!!

  • Just like the flu is contagious so is depression. I think your husband’s miserable attitude has poisoned you. It is like drinking slow poison every day for years. You think he’s happy. No one who is happy acts like he does. He is draining you very much like a vampire. It’s a wonder you can walk and talk. I see nothing redeemable in him or in your marriage. But I do see is a woman who is a good, decent person trying to force those good values into another person. All of us keep believing we can change another person. We can’t. All we can do is change our reactions to them. Your reactions have been to bend further and further over to keep him happy. All it has done is rob you.

  • I think it breaks all of our hearts to see someone sign a letter “worthless” because so many of us have been there and felt that way at one time or another because of our abusive spouses (and for some parents too). When we look at each other as we tell our stories it is so obviously not true however. We can see that so clearly for everyone but ourselves.

    Worthy, please listen to the rest of us when we tell you that you are worthy and it is your lousy husband who is worthless. Please get away from him so you can have a chance to see your own worth as he will never allow it as long as he is in your life.

  • My god you are being abused. This is abuse. Even if he does love you, do you really want to be with someone who’s so broken that their idea of love is to cheat and deceive the person who is supposed to be closest to them in the world? To threaten and emotionally abuse them? That does not sound like a healthy idea of love. Anyone would deserve better than this.

    You’re going to have to have a long and hard conversation with yourself, and figure out what your boundaries are. You’ve already said you need honesty and integrity and love, and that seems like a good starting point. Ask yourself on the flipside of that, what aren’t you willing to live with?

    Remember though; You are NOT worthless. Though I bet he’d love you to think that you are, because then you’d feel like you couldn’t do better!

  • Full of Worth,
    One of the beautiful things that awaits you after you leave this man baby and settle into your new life, is the validation that comes with watching his behavior with new, educated eyes. His story will change with different listeners, he will rage at you and he will play victim. By that point you will be able to reframe the story and so instead of you breaking up the family, you will accept that HE broke up the family. And you will watch and feel so secure knowing that you did the right thing. Your kids will watch you living and speaking the truth and they will be empowered as well. Tell your story. I’m so sorry – this next little while will be so difficult, but you will be astounded at the peace that comes with getting a toxic, cheating, lying, personality disordered fuckwit out of your life. You will never sign anything “Worthless” again. (((Hugs)))

  • If you stay, it will only get worse. Especially after you’ve known about the affair. Now he knows you’ll “put up with it” and it’s basically okay….cause you stayed, right? So it must not be so bad.

  • So sorry you’re going through this Worth, but you gotta get out. Get a strong counselor on your side just for YOU that will help you leave. What he is offering is not love, and how I know that for sure is that real love doesn’t make you feel worthless, it makes you feel good. Leave Mr Sparkles and yes it will be hard, but he is sucking you dry. Don’t be this man’s victim for one more day. Let me echo some of the above advice: Get a separate account. Your sons will get over it, they’re adults. What’s worse? Watching your mother wither away in unhappiness.

  • You are Worthy of so much more –

    When I think about the many years I spent with my STBX (25+years) I think of it terms of a him (and our relationship) being a used car. Sure, I paid in a lot, but at some point even a used car doesn’t deserve any more attention.

    Get out. It will be hard. He will tell you he loves you, but their just words from someone who hasn’t shown you that he loves you. His words mean nothing.

    Sending hugs, and strength.

  • “I never looked quite good enough, or was happy enough, or appreciative enough, or tidy enough, or accomplished enough. He, however, was king at work, the great breadwinner, in control of his life, his looks, played competitive sports and I felt that he looked down on me.”

    Except for the “played competitive sports” part I could have written this word for word. This passage really hits home for me as I have been having a rough week. I thought I had mostly been able to put the above thoughts behind me. I had moved on from sadness to anger, but I have been having relapses lately and it all comes down to Schmoopie. I feel like I am having it rubbed in my face that she is all of the things that I wasn’t as listed above. This time it hurts more, however because it is coming from my daughter, although it was not at all her intention to make me feel that way.

    Another hurtful milestone was hit this weekend when ex reintroduced Schmoopie to the kids. He took our kids to the Harry Potter festival along with her and her four kids. It was a bit of a blindside because initially they were going to be there at the same time but not really together, but of course it didn’t turn out that way. So it was one big happy group of kids/adults having a good time together while I was home alone doing laundry for four. I had told daughter to just not talk to me about her Dad and/or Schmoopie whether positive or negative. She of course has her own conflicting emotions and wanted to talk and I didn’t stop her when I should have. She hates what her Dad did, but she loves him and wants him to be happy which he never has been and she thinks Schmoopie will make him happy. She has been angry with Schmoopie in the past (I in fact had to diffuse some of that myself so she wouldn’t do anything stupid), but now she has met her and wants to like her because it will make her life easier and make it easier for her to enjoy the time with her Dad. I know this is best for my daughter but it still hurts. What was most difficult, however, is how she was saying that Schmoopie is “normal” and that’s why ex is so smitten with her because that’s what he wants. She says it is good that I am not “normal” and that she loves me for it and wishes her dad could appreciate it too, but he just doesn’t share her values. She didn’t mean it as an insult, but it still hurts when she makes it known that Schmoopie can make him happy where I couldn’t because everything I worked so hard at to please him just comes naturally to her. She wears make-up and has good fashion sense and I just don’t. She “always looks good enough”. Daughter also mentioned how “popular” Schmoopie is. This doesn’t make me feel good. I feel like I have been dumped back into high school and my nerd boyfriend has just dumped me for the cheerleader. It makes me feel like a failure and social pariah, left out while the people I care about most go off and have fun in a group that I can never be a part of. Marriage was not supposed to be like this. I thought I had left all of that behind years ago, but all of this brings it right back to the surface.

    I know I need to work on building up my own life, and I have been working on that, but I was blindsided by all of this and building friendships takes time and he got ahead of me. I got left behind to pick up the pieces and look after the kids, house and dog, while simultaneously trying to make new friends. I am heading in the right direction. I have joined meetups, connected more with former acquaintances and try to keep busy. I do feel accepted at the meetups I attend, but it isn’t the same people every time and that makes it hard to form anything more than friendly acquaintances at this point. Meanwhile I did not have close friends here when all of this went down because we had only recently moved half way across the country, and even the friends I did have were mostly couples friends with both of us. I feel like he is off enjoying his new life and now the kids are feeling included because he is letting them into that new life. Meanwhile I am left out in the cold to continue the slow plod towards meh and that new life. I think I will get there, I am determined to do so, but it is just going so slowly and it is hard not to resent his head start in that. I know it isn’t really true, but at times like this it is difficult not to feel like a loser.

    • Chumpinrecovery, I know how it feels when your family goes off to have fun together while you stay home alone. It’s brutal and it’s not fair. Do you have a close group of friends you could call to do something you enjoy during times like that? For me it’s a women’s “life group” at church. They are the kind of people who will step in and help during times like that. If you know early enough plan a trip to visit a close friend or see a place you’ve always wanted to see. It will help you get through the alone times to be really good to yourself. You have to become your own best friend. I’m sorry for what you’re going through, but I’d say it’s pretty normal in the circumstances.

    • Chump in Recovery,
      I feel your pain. Reading what you are going through is heartbreaking and unfortunately, fairly typical. It’s that last bit suffering you experience on the road to meh. Fight hard to resist the narrative of loser. I can tell by the way you write and your insights that you are an intelligent caring person. So if you are feeling a bit like you are back in high school, please know that in the popularity contest I would choose you!!!!
      (((Hugs)))

      • Thanks. That means a lot. In fact most of chump nation are people I would chose as well because you all seem to have similar values where it matters.

    • Chumpinrecovery,

      Oh how I feel your pain–times two! Both my ex-husband and my post-separation now ex-boyfriend, both very popular fellas, are living it up with my replacements! I cannot compete with these women (at least on paper) as they have impressive resumes, are younger than my ex-partners and me, ex-boyfriend’s new partner is childless (and thus fancy free, unlike me who has kids approx. 80% of the time), make more money than I do, have fancier homes, and don’t have scary, obnoxious exes (like my ex-husband)!

      I laughed in sympathy at ‘nerd boyfriend who gets together with the popular cheerleader.’ I sometimes shake my head at how my exes, who don’t look like anything special and who lack integrity, can so easily land partners left and right (maybe its their money, status, lots of time to socialize?), while, even when I kill myself (and I think that I’m friendly, well-educated, fairly attractive, and embody integrity), cannot get a date. I sometimes wonder if ‘middle-aged divorced mom of young children” just doesn’t ‘do it’ for the vast majority of available men my age. Ah well, what can you do? Where is my fairy godmother with her magic wand when I need her?

      I like to socialize but have not had much time to build up networks of acquaintances or many close friends as for years my time has been consumed with work, grad school (while raising kids, one with special needs, almost without help from ex-husband who was physically and emotionally gone most of the time), surviving multi-year long divorce, recovering from even more years of abuse, chronic disability, moves, etc. Now I feel very alone. I could tell you stories about my recent attempts to socialize and find friends that would probably make you laugh or weep, maybe both. I often feel like an abject loser. Then I tell myself that I am a brave human, who is first hand getting to know the ‘human condition.’

      I wish that I had lots of great advice on dealing with this painful issue. I don’t. However, I can share some things that I think may be helpful.

      First, Co-dependents Anonymous and similar support groups. I am not a big fan of 12-step programs as I am not religious and don’t like the idea of admitting that one must rely on a higher power to be healthy as I think that the answer to how to deal with our crises lies within us–we just don’t always carefully look within. Nonetheless, Co-dependents Anonymous (especially the process groups) provide an opportunity to talk to others about dealing with toxic people (and it’s not a hit you over the head with religion/higher power approach). Many members are smart, insightful, eloquent, friendly people who find themselves in situations that they did not deserve (kind of like chumps).

      Second, speed dating and ‘mingling’ events. I have never met a partner at one of these events, but I have met other women who have become dear friends! Their friendships have lasted far longer than any of my romantic relationships, even my marriage, and have been far more fulfilling and enjoyable.

      Third, introspection and thought about friendships. If I were in a contest based on the number of friends one had, my ex-husband and ex-boyfriend would beat me by light years. I keep reminding myself, though, that authentic relationships take years to build and quality cannot be created in a New York minute. I know that I will build more authentic relationships than these ex-partners because they lie and I don’t! They might not lie to their friends, but their friends cannot know the true them because they lie to, disrespect, and invalidate their partners, often behind closed doors. We might not get a ‘gold star’ for creating authentic bonds, but we have the gift of knowing that we are true to ourselves and others and consistently honestly represent ourselves. Feel proud of that!

      Lastly, you might consider watching the movie Bad Moms. Silly but I laughed my head off in sympathy with some of the characters.

    • ChumpinR, I want you to take a good long look at yourself in the mirror. My bet is that, however sad you may feel, looking back at you is someone whose worth shines through…and can be described as real, authentic, committed, honest, generous, loving, and trustworthy. The difference between you and X (and his AP, Sparkles mcSchmoops) is that you are the real Picasso (as opposed to the fakes). Remember, Cheaters always do impression management (it’s in The Cheater Handbook! A la Affleck😂). And their twu luv is still new. Cheaters are cons. Best thing ever? Both our Fucktards ended up with fakes, And we ended up freed, surely there is Karma in that. Seriously, trust they both suck…And know what else? Happy people don’t triangulate. As to your children, continue to be their sane parent, but set those firm healthy boundaries, and practice NC as much as you are able. Your children’s observations too will change, over time. They will grow wiser, Trust me on this. In a few more years you will be rockin’ your new life while all will not be well in Tinseltown. By then, they won’t matter.

    • Yes, this, feeling on outside watching while kids and Ex pick up new happy life while we do the lonely hard work of building a new life. BUT it is what we must do to reclaim our dignity and worth back. So good to know we are not alone and we will make it out to the other side .

  • Oh Worth, I’m so sorry to hear your story because it’s the same as mine. I agree with CL’s advice, and have discovered that my self-worth improved tremendously after I was no contact with my ex. It’s not easy, I’m not going to tell you that. But I’m not depressed any more, and I don’t feel useless. I’m not isolated. Most days I feel pretty happy and it’s so nice to be living an authentic life instead of pretending all the time. My kids see that I’ve survived and am happy.

    I would advise you not to tell your sons until you’ve spoken to a good counselor on how to go about it. I called mine hysterically crying and involved them too much in the beginning. It has created distance with my son who was closer to his dad to begin with. Even though he’s seen evidence of what his dad was doing with his married coworker, it didn’t matter. Once he told me “if Dad didn’t have me, he’d have no one.”

    • “Oh Worth, I’m so sorry to hear your story because it’s the same as mine. I agree with CL’s advice, and have discovered that my self-worth improved tremendously after I was no contact with my ex.”

      Can’t agree more, NC is the only way Worth to distance yourself from his controlling/threatening ways. I would use the advice from Tempest above to plan for your exit.

      Get documentation for everything… Financials, phone records, CC numbers and statements, phone statements, insurance cards, life insurance policies etc.

      And then plan for a safe place to move to, a friend or family’s guest room, or if you can afford it a small temporary studio for you to regain your bearings away from his dysfunction.

      It is a rough road, but NC is the only way you got to build a better future for yourself, hang in there and please head to the forums for support as needed!

  • Worthy

    We’ve all suffered deep cuts here. Imagine a therapist telling you that if you stay it will kill you? And at that the trauma bond still makes you want to hold on to a husband that robbed you of your very identity and soul? And my abuser did not once physically abuse me. Instead he undermined, gaslighted, and blamed me for his actions. I too could NEVER do or be enough. I still can’t discuss some aspects of how willing I was to please this covert monster sociopathic asshole.

    You are a battered woman. As Tempest stated it takes numerous attempts for most to get out of this situation. You are here! We’ve got your back with emotional support to help you move forward.

    I tolerated this abuse for 41 years. The man I loved HATED me. I didn’t know until he erased me and said horribly cruel things in an attempt to push me over the edge. He was sure I’d lose my home and would never date anyone.

    Three years and a half years later (lots of therapy and support here) I’m living my life on my terms and dating someone who treats me with the respect I deserve.

    What did I lose, the anchor that weighed me downs. What did I gain; an authentic life.

  • Hey Worth– as a reader of the blog you have seen CL relate her dramatic and awe-inpiring “escape” where she moved herself out of her home in a matter of hours through careful planning and the support of some courageous infidelity angels. She described being a fucking Field Marshal of organization and steadfast resolve leading up to that, and kept up a reconciliation facade for a long, long time with her fuckwit while she got that shit together. I hope you will post one day here about your escape and can tell how your monster was left dumbfounded at the level of your Mighty. I hope your sons are your angels, but if not please reach out to the true friends who can help. I wish I could be that friend for someone one day, and am in fact advertising those services by simply telling my story and not protecting the Special One’s image. Get advice from lawyers on the consequences and timing and take this asshole to the cleaners with forensic accounting and whatever the hell else is needed.

    I hope that you can develop the vision of what that day will be like, the day you wrestle your freedom away. Imagine it will feel to him exactly like it felt to you when you discovered his whore. Revel in the planning and feel powerful as you secure heirlooms and precious pictures ahead of time. Get high on the warm feeling of deception– YOUR rightful deception of him as you begin to un-chump yourself. There is no petition in place or judges orders forcing you to play fair right now; if the last act on that day is to take half of every joint account and deposit it into your own private accounts YOU GET TO DO THAT–you only have to account for it later and as the forensics reveal what he spent on his whore visits you may be due even more.

    And as you coil your spring, don’t forget that you are being shown more actual, genuine concern and affection from complete strangers on this board than you have gotten from your lying, cheating, discarding, entitled POSH.

  • Dear WORTH,
    I UNDERSTAND! I was you!! Not completely, because my STBX never hit me. But there were many nights I took my cell phone to bed in hand, because I felt fearful enough to be ready to dial 9-1-1.

    My STBX played mind-tricks on me, that even now, almost 4 months past hiring a lawyer, I am just recalling and realizing the fallacy of them. Realizing the manipulation of his words and actions.

    Your husband is manipulating you. And deep down, YOU KNOW IT. But 25 years of marriage is a really long time…it’s a really long time for him to have brain-washed you into believing his fallacies.

    Again, I’m saying this because I KNOW!! I’ve been with my STBX for 25 years, married for 20 (as of next month). And I believed a lot of what he said, allowed myself to diminish my own self-worth for the sake of his. Repeatedly. And mostly because it wasn’t all bad. We had a lot of fun times. He wasn’t one of those obviously horrible husbands you see in the movies, like Sleeping With the Enemy. He’d make attempts at being nice, being lovable, being a good husband. But not consistently.

    As for your kids…they’ll be fine, especially being adults. (My kids are 16 and up, and they’re handling it pretty well. My one daughter basically told me that she was glad, because she didn’t like the way he treated me.) And trust me, they know the tension that exists between you and your husband. Hell, they may even know about or suspect the affair. And don’t deny them that knowledge. Don’t stifle it within you, because your husband tells you to. I can’t say how much I aligned myself with being an “Edith Bunker.” (If you don’t know her, which I’m guessing you do, she’s a 60’s or 70’s housewife who’s husband repeatedly told her to “Stifle it, Edith!”) DON’T BE EDITH!! (My STBX conned me into not telling the true reason we were divorcing, but then the next day, I realized, he didn’t have that right. So I did tell the kids. And not for nothing, I don’t know what he was thinking because he’s now living with the whore. As if the kids weren’t going to find out anyway!)

    And I can’t tell you how many times in the past 10 years I had researched DIY divorce. Printing out the papers, only to pitch them, because I got to certain parts and just didn’t know how to go forward. And I didn’t have the money to hire a lawyer. Plus, making a decision that big? That was his territory. How could I decide something SO HUGE without his input? Hell, he’d get mad if I bought something that wasn’t on sale or BOGO at the store. I believed that I would never be able to make it on my own.

    Deep down in my core, though, in my soul, he disgusted me. I loathed him. So I am actually very grateful for D-Day#3 this past July. Because it moved me to action. I’m not settling anymore, and I’m not going to ignore my own self-worth anymore. And neither should you!

    Am I scared? Hell, yeah!! I’m going to buy my husband out of the house, and I’m not 100% certain I’ll be able to qualify. I’m praying like crazy that I can. And I’m scared about being able to get things fixed when they break, because he was able to do all of those things. And I barely make enough money to survive, let alone affording the “above and beyond” types of things.

    But what I’m over the moon about???

    Not having to walk on egg shells anymore!
    Not having to deal with his crazy lies!!
    Not having to watch the clock, wondering why he’s still not home, even though he’d confirmed in our last conversation that he was on his way, but that was two hours ago. (Oh, I didn’t hear him correctly. He had to stop off at a couple of stores for work first.)
    Not having to clean up his crap! (Seriously, the man is a pig!)
    Not waking up in the middle of the night, to find him asleep with the TV on, all the lights on, with food in his lap, because he fell asleep with a plate of food. Or maybe he was outside in his van, and me wondering if his whore (our neighbor) had been around.
    Not having to wonder where all the money is going, because it seemed for every $100 in the bank, $60-80 was taken back out.
    Not obsessing over trying to “run into” him and praying she’d be with him, so I could have confirmation. (Ended up he forgot to delete a phone call he’d made to her cell phone, plus a text he’d made to her burner phone, which was saved to his contacts under a guy’s name.)

    And WORTH, ALL OF THAT CAN BE YOURS, TOO!!!

    You got this!! You are MIGHTY!! You are FEROCIOUS!!! YOU ARE WORTH IT!!!!

    • Piggybacking on Go’s response, here’s a response from one chump I know:

      I HATE being single (as in celibate, no potential partner in sight for the next million miles), and yet, less than two weeks post-divorce, I sometimes think, ‘This means that no partner (no faux-partner) is going to physically, verbally, and emotionally abuse me, abandon kids and me for several days without explanation after having been gone on a business trip for two months, pretend to try to run over me just for fun, scare me into taking kids to safe house, falsely accuse me of committing criminal acts (child molestation and theft, although, according to our kids, he beats the kids, and he steals from me), demand that the Court prohibit me from getting within 100 feet of our kids, set me up to have police search me in our home, take me to court, cheat on me, try to impregnate an affair partner while married to me, then at the advice of the affair partner, find out whether he can be sued for getting a vasectomy without telling me his wife, because his affair partner wants him to get one, try to tell me how much better a lover his affair partner/ex-wife are, tell me intimate disgusting things about sex acts with his affair partner when I ask him to tell me a joke while I am in anguish, lie to me, gaslight me, accuse me of conducting affairs and trying to hire a prostitute (which, unlike him, I never did), con me, secretly withdraw money from our accounts that is supposed to go to the kids’ college fund, threaten to take all funds if I file for divorce my abuser, devalue me, daily grade me on a scale of 0-10 to determine whether I get to stay with him or not, tell me to get him a membership to a dating website (while we are still married), malign me, fail to appreciate me after I have spent years bending myself into a pretzel for him.’ Now why am I sorry that husband divorced me? Because we no longer have an intact family. Kids and I never had a fighting chance of that!
      Ex-boyfriend is not as bad as ex-husband, but do I really want someone, who was purportedly my friend for decades, who is comfortable lying to me, disrespecting me, and running away from me suddenly without discussion every few months as a partner, tells me I can stay with him if I relinquish any expectation of romance (because he wants to demote me to F–kbuddy), and tries to get me to feel sorry for him because he might possibly be alone for life (although he is already dating someone else) and he felt guilty for two weeks? With partners like these, who needs enemies?

      I should go out to celebrate–even if it’s with my own big, bad self! Oh yeah, I have work-related homework to finish and kids to keep company tonight. Somebody’s got to be the sane parent! Well maybe in two months when wanna-be deadbeat dad returns, I can go out to celebrate!

  • Worthy One; you need to follow the great suggestions of this thread. Get the paperwork to protect your future, get into counseling, put money away for yourself, get a cute little apartment and a dog, then get out.

    DTMFA

  • This has made me cry. I could have written a lot of this word for word. I felt worthless, not pretty enough, not thin enough, not sporty enough, not clever enough, just downright ‘not enough’ for years, it’s only now that I realise that ex had checked out of the relationship and was comparing me to OW every minute of every day. Hell, I couldn’t even give him a second baby. I was nothing, worse than useless. It’s only now, here on CN, that I see that it’s not me, I’m not the root of all evil, I just was unfortunate enough to pick a narcissistic cheater. Worth, I hope you get the strength to leave, CN really does have your back. (())

  • That’s a lot of months in purgatory. I’m 5 months in with my cheater wife and ready to claw out the inside of my brain. I too have been dealing with the questions of self worth, attractiveness, etc… and you have to reach a moment where you have to recognize that the cheater has abused you with their cheating and now they are continuing to abuse through the lovebombing which is pure 100% manipulation. Get a therapist to help you.

  • Dear Worthless, each day you spend with a cheater is one extra day that you feel rejected. Imagine that, someone choosing you to marry and then spending the rest of that time, 24/7, 365 days rejecting you. Because that’s the dynamic that occurs when you stay with a cheater. Is it any wonder you feel unwanted, unloved, not loved, when it’s the main person that should love you and care for you. Staying with a cheater is basically signing up for DAILY REJECTION from every aspect, which you will have to experience 24/7, 365 days a year. Is this how you envisioned your adult life playing itself out?

  • It was once I accepted that what was happing WAS ABUSE, let me say that again “ABUSE” that I really had the clarity to evaluate the situation.

    It seems to me, people do not want to accept this as abuse because…

    1) you can’t see any physical effects… how can it be abuse?
    To that I say: why do you think there is such a thing called psychological warfare, because it’s powerful and it’s covert! Yet, it still exists!

    2) only disordered people claim abuse when there is none, right? You Don’t want to be that person, because then you are just crazy!
    To that I say: disordered people claim abuse when it gives them advantage, not when they are making a choice in which they, by all appearances lose what they want to hold onto.

    3) You’re just saying that to paint yourself the victim, because you are vengeful.
    To that I say: Vengful is an I’m going to get you back attitude, self-preservation is not vengeful, it’s enlightening.

    4) god, you are so irrational and dramatic, gee you might be crazy!
    To that I say: what better way to show someone how sympethic you are for your conduct, than to call them crazy and dramatic. That’s real love right there 👎🏽

    5) this is perfectly acceptable behavior. Stop being so controlling, and just trust them! You better get over this or else…
    To that I say: if having a clear understanding of your own reality is controlling, guess your spouse is the controlling one then.

    6) we all hurt the ones we love the most.
    To that I say: No, people who love you don’t use that excuse to justify hurting you. They apologize and don’t do it anymore!

    7) no one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes.
    To that I say: sure, lots of people make lots of mistakes. And what constitutes it as a mistake is the fact that they learned a lesson from it. When you keep repeating it, it is no longer a mistake, it’s a choice.

    It’s amazing I fell for that crap, and a whole lot more. Once you recognize this as abuse, the gifts, the switching back and forth from loving to threatening, the attempt to deny you a clear picture of your reality… all of it, you stop doing mental gymnastics to make excuses for it.

    • I got a lot of Got a brain’s #4 (‘You are so irrational and dramatic! You must be crazy!’)–victim blaming at its worst.

      Whether you call the behavior abuse or not, do you find the behavior acceptable? If you are being dishonored, then you do NOT deserve to be treated as you are being treated. You have more than enough to justify divorce.

  • Worthy you are worthwhile. Please act on these CL and CN posts. So many people are taking the time to tell you that you are not alone, that they understand and get it, they have been where you are, and that is got better after getting out. Like many others I relate to many items of your post. Leaving a long term abusive relationship felt scary but even one year out I am SO glad I did and it continues to get better and better. You deserve better than he has given you. You can and will have a better life going forward without him and his lies and disrespect and abuse. So many of us are telling you we are so glad to be out of that situation now, and that you can do it too and it is worthwhile. Just like you.

  • Damn, Worth. He’s got you a walking shell of who you know you are deep within. Pull out your inner self, your true self, and walk into your future.

    Right now you’re living with two people who are denying you love and integrity and joy. ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE IS YOURSELF. You are enough. Once you’re away from his toxic tentacles, you’ll see this so clearly that your main regret will be staying as long as you have.

    Your situation is heartbreaking. Mostly because it’s the “not that bad” syndrome that you’re buying into. Please come over to the forums and start writing out your frustration, pain, fears.. and also what you want your life to be. I promise you that there is no better way to start feeling stronger than to write it out and let fellow chumps help you handle the details of moving forward. You are loved and worth so much more than what you’re allowing yourself now. Wishing you courage and strength.

  • I stayed too long. I was managing it, trying different techniques to avoid the rages of xh, making my needs and presence so small. I felt sorry for him, assumed he had a mental illness. I used to be easy to hook on the pity channel.

    I learned that I wasn’t managing it. I ended up feeling pretty “shell shocked” by the time I left. I hid where I moved to, had only a few trusted close friends I told my story. Got divorced and then he left me alone, I’m lucky.

    I wish I left a couple years sooner, pulled whatever money I needed for rent from my retirement savings and paid the penalty. Friends sat me down at least 3 times for “interventions”. I thought I was managing it, leaving with my finances intact.

    Choose your life. Trust that he sucks. His treatment of you is NOT personal, he would behave that way to anyone he was with as long as you. It will continue to get worse. No one else can save you, but folks can support you in the steps you take every day to get a life.

  • Hey Worthy, let’s bring up a point none of the others have yet. (It’s my specialty.) 😀

    I’m gonna assume you got married early 20s and you’ve got 3.5 decades into this extravaganza, so that puts you in the mid/late 50s range. Now let’s do a little timeline progression here. Let’s assume you decide to listen to the Reconciliation Industrial Complex, smoke yourself some serious hopium, ignore Chump Nation’s valuable advice, and stay. Here’s how I see it playing out.

    Age 65: You’re getting close to retirement age. So is he. Since it’s been a decade since D-Day and by staying, you’ve granted him not just tacit but explicit acceptance of his shenanigans, it’s only going to get worse. Not only does he go balls to the wall with affairs, moving money into secret accounts, and his mental abuse… by now it gets physical. Of course it can. You’re isolated from anyone who can help you. Those sons of yours? They’re married now, with kids of their own. Not only are they legitimately busy with their own lives, you never get to see those grandkids anymore… and maybe your sons have moved away because either they or their spouses are uncomfortable being around your husband. They feel bad about it, but they know their duty is to protect their kids first.

    Age 75: You’re both retired at this point and he has oodles of free time on his hands. You no longer have any respite while he’s gone. This decreases your repertoire, which has been degrading steadily over the years because of the stress anyway. If you’re not familiar with this medical term, it’s basically your body’s ability to repair itself after injury, lack of sleep, illness etc. Any illness or injury hits you hard and recovery is difficult. You don’t have your sons to help you. Husband was abusive and unhelpful even when you were younger, healthier, and of greater use to him. Now that you are physically vulnerable, need help, and are of minimal use to him, the rage will amplify. Nothing tweaks a narcopath like having to assume responsibility for something. If you thought he took his frustrations out on you before, expect it to double, both mentally and physically at this point. If you need medical help for an issue, like having to go to an emergency room, not only will he be completely indifferent, he will actively interfere with your attempts to obtain help. If you take medications to treat an illness or for an ongoing medical condition, like high blood pressure, expect him to engage in acts of sabotage where he “keeps forgetting” to pick up your meds or better yet, “loses them” somewhere in the house and never quite gets around to “helping you find them”. He will TOTALLY GET OFF on having this kind of power and control over you. It will give him an inner joy like none other to witness your torment.

    Age 85: You ain’t gonna live this long, so you don’t need to worry about this. He’ll get the remaining years of his life with whatever skeezy/gullible/desperate Schmoopie will put up with his shit, while he and Schmoops play the doting grandparents to the grandchildren you never really got to see, with all the combined family monies he’d squirreled away over the years, plus the generous insurance money payout from your life insurance policy. You’ve always wondered why he had such a large policy on you given that he made so much more money than you, but you figured he just wanted to make sure the boys were taken care of just in case anything happened. Yeah, you did turn out to be pretty useful, didn’t you? Guess he knew what he was doing every step of the way.

    And… this is why they call me Sunny. Guess I’m just a ray of f***ing sunshine. :/

    It’s your life, and your choice. Best of luck to you picking the right path for the rest of your journey.

  • I will not call you “worthless”, I will refer to you as “Worthy” Your letter could have been written by me!! I had 35 years with the same man, 2 grown children and the responses and behaviors are identical. The one big difference is I finally got the courage to leave. It took 4 d-days and 2.5 years before I could actually move out. BUT I did!! I truly want you to know that it gets better. My ex no longer controls my thoughts, behaviors and actions.

    With the help of a good attorney I am financially independent. I don’t want you to think it is easy, it is not. Your grown children will probably get mad at you, mine did. My ex went crying to my children about all the love he had for me and how I was so unreasonable and how sorry he was My children are adults and we are working through our relationships.

    It is not easy, but it is MY LIFE, MY STORY! You Worthy, deserve your story! Don’t let your controlling husband write the story

  • I’m sorry for your loss, Worth. Loving someone who is disordered and CANNOT love you back is something to grieve. Your marriage is dead. It will hurt like hell for quite a while. Give it the funeral it deserves. Stop trying to resurrect a dead relationship and go on living as the “widow” you are. Follow the excellent advice given here for the practical stuff. Join a support group if you have one available. (I go to AlAnon cause my cheater is an addict.) You deserve peace.

  • Dear Friends,
    I am overwhelmed by your support and love. I have sat crying reading your messages. I am listening and I am fearful but I will work towards an exit plan. It truly means so much to me to have your support.
    Thank you, Worth

    • Worth- the scariest lie to fall for is where you repeat that he said he will take care of you forever.

      He will not. New pussy will demand he cut you off. He does not value you. You will be seen as a burden. He will resent taking care of someone he does not extract “supply” from. You will become a hurdle to his new fabulous life- which as sure as water is wet- he is planning behind your back.

      You can wallow in this tea and sympathy another day. Get up in the morning and get deadly serious about protecting yourself financially. I’m not being cruel. If you think wallowing over hurt feelings is bad, try digesting it when you’re in a homeless shelter and have nowhere to go.

      This is not about love anymore. This is about your survival. If you don’t snap out of this and become grizzly bear aggressive about getting generous, lifelong support-your hurt feelings and ambivalence about his love ( he does NOT love you) are going to be the least of your worries.

    • Dear Worth,

      please take to heart the concerns about leaving someone who has already assaulted you. I was with someone who regularly raged, when I said the word divorce he escalated to physical violence, he got me arrested in his stead. Eventually he brought a gun to the fight. So do be careful, be a survivor. Don’t let him know you are doing anything. Make sure he can’t access your browser, this site.

      Jedi Hugs!

    • Bless you, honey.

      Remember: DO NOT DISCUSS YOUR PLANS WITH HIM. Just keep acting the way you always do. We can’t stress this enough. If you tip him off, he will escalate things.

      DO: get external and CONFIDENTIAL help. Get on the forums here. Get a lawyer – you will find really good advice here on not wasting the lawyer’s time, which is really expensive, and making the most of whoever you employ/retain to help you.

      DO: find a good therapist who will take your side, and help you through this, and who will keep your confidence. It’s essential you do all this privately.

      If you think it will help throw him off the scent, you can tell him you’re getting therapy to help you be happier. But it depends on how things are between you, and if you think he will later use this as a weapon in a messy divorce.

      There are a couple of good books on negotiating a high-conflict divorce that might help you.

      But above all, the book I recommend, and that helped me the most, is Lundy Bancroft’s Why Does He Do That? It’s super-helpful. Again, you will need to keep this private and confidential – buy it in Kindle format, for your eyes only.

    • Hi Worth

      I don’t normally check the previous day’s post but I so wanted to know you’d read CN’s replies- and what you were going to do. So glad I did and so pleased you’re planning your exit. Read- and reread (I still need reminders esp Trust that they suck!) everything on this site- it really is a life saver. Onwards and into your new life- take lots of care. x

  • Oh dear…LEAVE. I spent four years knowing he loved another woman. I fought it, begged, pleaded, spackled, denied. I tried to toe the line when he accused me of being needy, since the affection he gave her shouldn’t affect me. I encouraged him to move out, then back in, and then made him leave again. I turned down a great job offer 200 miles away when he said he would try to work it out, then moved back in and spent the next few weeks treating me like crap. It finally came down to one thing… I had to decide that no matter how he may or may not feel about me, that was not the way I wanted to live. So two and a half years ago I took a different job, also 200 miles away and I can’t believe how my self-worth has improved being out from under his shadow.

  • Worth,
    I think Chump Lady may be right on when she says he can be keeping you in this fugue state while he’s moving money around. The hardest thing in the world for our chumpy brains to understand is that these people are NOT our friends. They are our mortal enemies.

  • Tell your mother that there is nothing more lonely than living with a cheater. Help her get her finances in order. If he really loved her- he would not be abusing her like that. Cheating is abuse. An insidious form of domestic violence that slowly erodes self esteem, dignity and emotional well being. Not to mention STDs.

  • My suggestion….do what he did to you. Give him a sucker punch from hell- when he least expects it in the form of divorce papers.

  • I hope you are doing well Worthy and taking steps forward. A year ago today I moved out after 32 years. I love the man I thought I married but his actions showed me who he really was.I made my needs as small as possible to try and make him happy. I became invisible which created a deep loneliness . Dday involved discovery of his child with long term affair partner. He wanted me to stay and help raise child but I just couldn’t . CN and their advice and support is the gift that gets you through this. You are worthy of your own life, your dignity and your happiness. It’s worth the pain, the second guessing and being by yourself. You have the strength and the courage deep down inside you. You can do this

  • I’m new here and am currently pregnant with our first child. I have been dealing with NPD which has manifested itself in the form of infidelity, lack of empathy, disrespect towards me and my unborn child. I’ve had countless Days and am going to give it one more shot for the baby, but this time I am placing conditions on matters. 1) Marital counseling 2) Separation and 3) Divorce. Just wondering if I am taking the right approach.

    • If there have been countless Ddays then I think you probably already know how one more chance is going to go. But only you can make the decision in the end. Obviously a baby on the way makes things difficult. Someone once told me to not sacrifice my self worth. Eventually you will come to that decision crossroad and it is not an easy decision to make nor is the process easy to go forward with (I’m just at the beginning of the divorce process with my cheater wife- BPDisorder). Keep coming here and reading articles and sharing whenever you need to. It helps. Also read the CL book if you haven’t already. It saved my life. Keep your head up. Best of luck to you. Hang in there.

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