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Dear Chump Lady, Do I believe him or the proof?

assunicornDear Chump Lady,

Four years ago I found out my husband was interacting with women online from a sex website. He was active on the website for 3 years before I found out. He swore to me none of the women meant anything to him and it was all merely sexual.

We went to couples counseling and began to rebuild my trust in him and our marriage, or so I thought. Recently I was given copies of messages between a woman from that site and the pseudonym my husband used at the site. The messages were sexual and personal, not to mention emotionally intimate. It was not simply sexual gratification.

From what I can tell the online affair lasted for 2-3 years (possibly longer). That means my husband lied to me for all those years I thought we were rebuilding, (he also lied during counseling and to the counselor), and to this day he will not admit he knows her and he sent the messages. He claims he has no idea how his name got on the messages, but he did not send them. My trust in him is gone. I feel as though I am losing my mind. Who do I believe? The biggest pain for me is the fact he will not be honest with me. Don’t get me wrong, I despise him being on sex sites, and knowing he formed a bond with another woman is gut-wrenching, but seeing the truth on paper and him continuing to lie is the worst.

We have a young child. If not for my child I would be gone already. My questions for you are — do I believe the papers in front of me or his adamant denials of not knowing this woman? Do I stay in the marriage for my child, so she will not come from a broken home, or do I give her the best life I can as a single mom? Is an online affair enough of a reason to bag a marriage and start anew with myself and my child?

Betrayed Online

Dear Betrayed,

Where to begin? Let’s start with the “broken home” nonsense. Your child already lives in a broken home. You’re married to a man you cannot trust, who lies to your face, and continues to cheat on you after discovery. What do you call that? Wholesome? Happy? Healthy? You think Norman Rockwell is painting that shit?

Quit with the single mother shame. Single mothers rock. Of course it’s hard work, but it’s a hell of a lot easier than staying married to a gaslighting, cheating fuckwit who doesn’t respect you.

Next question — do you believe the proof in front of you, or his “adamant denials”? That’s the Richard Pryor joke on being walked in on while he was cheating with another woman. To his wife: “Who are you going to believe? Me, or your lying eyes?”

Trust your eyes. If you believe him, it’s going to take a ton of spackle to convince yourself that some guy using his identical handle just happened to communicate with a woman on a sex site he admits to being on for three years. Hell of a coincidence! Whoever this strange woman is, she’s determined to invent entire YEARS of communication. The nerve of her! What a hobby she has, incriminating total strangers.

Betrayed, you believe the proof. Even if you don’t want to believe it. I’m sorry the fictitious alternate reality was nicer — he was busted, got clean, and kept his promise to never do that again. That’s not the truth — he DID do it again. (And again and again…) Despite knowing how much it hurt you and how much it destroyed your trust in him. He put his desire for sexual gratification with strangers over your marriage.

His actions are sending you a clear message — learn to tolerate his online affairs, or divorce him.

You want to be a unicorn and reconcile? He’s given you nothing to work with. You went to counseling. That was his price of admission for cake. He continued to lie to you and hook up online and he continues to lie to your face about it.

Oh, but it’s “just” an online affair.

Is an online affair enough of a reason to bag a marriage…?

Let’s unpack that.

First off, it’s a sex site. Call me crazy, but people who meet on sex sites probably want to have actual in real life SEX. Sure, they can jerk off on camera, or send each other racy notes and sexts. But chances are after years of this, your husband has met some of these strangers. Get an STD test today, okay?

Sex sites are run for profit. They are not benevolent societies for the hard up and horny. They make money. “Monica is nearby and ready for adventure!” Enter your zipcode here! People pay the membership dues not to have pen-pal chats with new friends, but to have sex. To meet hookers or affair partners or both.

Even if it’s just, shall we say, interactive pornography that ends with a sticky keyboard, he’s lying to you about it. He’s having fantasy relationships with these women, emotional relationships — that’s time and attention (and money) that he’s taking from your marriage. You are either okay with that, or you’re not.

I’m going to assume you are NOT okay with it, because he’s hiding it from you. He knows that if he gave you the actual truth about what he does, you wouldn’t stick around. Now people like Dan Savage might argue that a few lies won’t hurt you, be monogam-ish, and look the other way. Let me ask you — do you trust him to protect your health? Your finances? Are you okay with a wink, wink, nudge, nudge I’m not going to guess what you’re doing right now, carry on! kind of marriage?

Some people are. I’m not one of them, FWIW, and you asked my advice. I think you deserve a full partner who respects you and your health. I think people who live double lives are creepy and disordered, and feel shivers of delight getting over on chumps. The most generous interpretation I can give for your husband’s behavior is “addiction” (if you believe in sex addicts…) — that’s he’s helpless and broken and needs 12-step to not whore around. Addicts lie. Addicts like substances and objects over real people because they don’t have needs or make real demands on them. Addicts are escapists.

I don’t recommend a marriage with either the disordered or the addicted. You’re already alone. Start living in the truth.

This column ran previously. 

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  • Betrayed Online, so sorry that you have had to go through this. All of here on CN have, at one time or another, gone through the lying, cheating, devastation and complete disregard for our feelings, promises made, and future. Welcome to this shit club…what I’d like to offer you is not advice on how to deal with your horrible husband, but to say that…you will get through this. Although this is a tough time, mine was the toughest ever experienced, the other side is a decent place to be. Reach out, we are here to help.

    • This letter is the same script over…and over….and over. Different names….Same plot.

      Cheating, psychotic fucks not only need to be kicked out the front door, they need to be put in a fucking laboratory and studied. There has to be some fucked up genetic mutation that keeps getting transferred through surface contact or airborne.

  • More proof that we have been subjected to the children are better off in an in tact 2 parent home at all costs. The key is it needs to be that not just the facade of an intact home.

    All families have problems but lying and cheating are beyond normal problems and it is abuse. 100% the lies to the faithful parent trickle down to the children. I do not for 1 milisecond believe the cheater is only cheating on his/her spouse, he/she is cheating on his responsibility to the children as well!

    • Agree 100%. I bought into the “intact” family for eleven years. It resulted in my sons watching their father model bad behavior, and their mother pretending it was normal. It wasn’t.

      Now older, they are watching me be mighty; but the years of watching me pretend being treated like shit was normal really took its toll, especially in how they treat women.

      Great line from the JLo movie, “Enough: “You have a divine animal right to protect your own life and the life of your offspring.” Start by leaving a cheater and gaining a much healthier life for yourself and your daughter.

      • Agreed. When I think of the bad behavior both my STBX and I modeled to our daughter it makes me sick. She is sad that her family is not intact anymore, but when she gets sad I ask her to remember what it was like when we were all here and if that was a happy environment. She knows it wasn’t. She knows our home is much happier and less stressful now. There have been times in the past few months that I have heard her say “I love my life”. She never said that before.
        I don’t mind that she sees me break down sometimes because it’s part of life. What I did mind is that she saw someone try to break me down.

        • Cancer Chump,
          let your heart feel a rush of happiness when your beautiful daughter says ” I love my life”
          It is because of you, because of your strength, that she feels that way.
          Your post is inspiring!
          YOU are Mighty!

      • It takes awhile to realize this. The first inclination and push (even from my own mother) was to stay with cheater wife because it is “best for the kid”.

        You’re right. If you don’t leave the cheater you are teaching the kid that it’s ok to be treated that way. I don’t want my daughter living like that.

      • One issue many chumps don’t think about is how kids learn to disrespect the parent who is being lied to and deceived. Some kids might rally around the Chump because the Cheater is a bully and cheating is “wrong.” But even those kids may secretly wish that the Chump would draw set boundaries and mean them. The endless hits of hopium and spackling terrible behavior can look like weakness and lack of integrity to kids. Worst case scenario, the kids respect the Cheater more for being stronger or the one in control.

        Leaving a cheater means you can reboot your life to have integrity, honesty and reality-based thinking at the center (not to mention kindness, respect and reciprocity). Having an “intact family”–that is, a broken marriage where the two people lives in the same house with the shattered pieces of trust and respect–means kids are LEARNING that marriage is not reciprocal, that there’s no need to consider the health or well-being of other family members, that cheating is fine because there are no consequences, that it’s way more fun to be a cheater and a bully. An old saying in addiction circles is “a family is only as sick as its secrets.”

        • Lundy Bancroft refers to this behavior in abusive marriages as weaponizing the child against the abused.

        • LovedaJackass,
          A good friend was visiting me recently. Sometimes she confides in me that her two adult children are so disrespectful to her in private, “they treat me like a piece of shit”. Her husband left her years ago and is now married to ow. They live in the gorgeous new estate that was to be her home. She says, and I believe her, that she does not care about that house but that her children’s lack of respect for her is heartbreaking.
          In this family situation I see money as the lurking devil. The father owns a large successful company, employs the kids, bails them out of bad character dramas, whatever they need is readily available. Of course, except a loving home example, a safe place for children. I think because the affair happened later in he marriage, after this family was such a tight knit group, did everything together, seems so loving, until Daddy decided he wasn’t happy and exited.
          My words aren’t well constructed, but, sadly, what I am trying to say is that, in this case anyway, the children rally around the cheater for money.

    • Yes! Can’t say how many nights, before I had proof but suspected, one of my girls would ask where her dad was, and all I could answer was that “he said he was working.” In my gut, I knew he was out with the whore. And it’s sad to think of the fact that he was choosing the whore over not only me, but his daughters. Choosing to spend time away from his family, his daughters, over some shallow, fucked up relationship.

    • Guuuuhhhh! I hate sharing this…but…I’m gonna…

      My dil is a teacher…she said she had training about this very thing last year…so…ok…

      The Ted Talk video is very enlightening…please also watch it.

      https://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2017/11/the-invisible-war-zone-5-ways-children-of-narcissistic-parents-self-destruct-in-adulthood/

      …scares me silly bout my children…

      …and I was raised in a horribly dysfunctional home…my mother and little brother died within 2 years of each other 13 years ago…

  • You don’t stay for the children. You leave for the children.
    By modeling strength in the face of adversity you show them this behavior is no OK. You show them there are dire consequences for horribly hurtful actions. What do you model to your children by staying in this marriage? You show them it’s OK for one person to promise their fidelity and then cheat. You show them it’s OK for one person to create a power imbalance. You show them that it’s OK for them to disrespect you. Be strong and put your kids first. Teach them what love is. Leave.

    • Exactly! Never, ever think that the children are not watching and learning. This woman has a daughter. Would she want her daughter to accept this type of treatment from her future husband? If the answer is no, and it should be, Betrayed should leave, not only for her sake, but for the sake of her daughter.

    • @ Alloutofkibble Amen! So well stated. You teach people how to treat you. By extension, kids learn how to treat others (and learn how others should treat them) by observing the dynamic between their parents. They will learn crap life skills if they are subjected daily to the effects of infidelity.

    • My STBX was angry that MY dad was angry at him. I asked my cheater, “Wouldn’t you be angry if someone treated your daughter the way you have treated me?” He said he didn’t know. WTF.

      • Same for me and when we fought he would tell me to go fight my dad or I was like my dad, this was even during our brief wreckonciliation!, zero respect, even during wreck he was an asshole. They can’t stand not being liked even for a legitimate reason. In there mind it’s all justified. Their wirings all screwy.
        I think as well its about driving a wedge between us and our family as we are easier to abuse when there is distance, they can get away with more bullshit.
        This is why you see couples often move away to start somewhere fresh, it’s the narc moving their victim away from their support network.

        • This! The exhole was FURIOUS that my friends and family had caught him on the dating site and told me. He couldn’t BELIEVE that all these people knew and believed he was a cheater!

          I just looked at him and asked him how he would feel if he’d found out his sister’s fiance was cheating on her. He was deadpan and said that he wouldn’t trust anything he saw on the internet because internet relationships weren’t real. *face palm* Guess who must have had HEAPS of these “not real” relationships over the years?

      • My fuckwit Xhole is chasing a 25YO, a person our oldest daughter’s age. I asked the fuckwit if he would tolerate a 50YO creeper guy chasing after his daughters, is this what he would want for them? His reply was to lie. Go-to problem solving strategy for this self-absorbed asshat. He simply denies that he sent hundreds of texts to this woman in front of our daughters for months, and spent weeks giggling while trading emojis with her (again, all indisputably in front of our girls). He denies that she means anything as he sends my used love trilogy books to this Sparkletwat. He denies that he is trying to move to her country (in Europe) when he has admitted he is pursuing exactly that on other occasions, can’t keep his lies straight.

        So even when pure logic is applied and a serious appeal is made about our daughters participating in a similar, pervertishly gross relationship with a guy who is the fuckwit’s age, he simply denies it. Nothing to work with. Our daughters see it and have gone NC on him which I do believe the fuckwit would decide is worth it. Running from his mortality and the promise of young strange is enough for him to lose it all (at least for now, till one day when he is old and alone and regrets that he doesn’t know his daughters anymore and never met his future grandchildren—he will have to invent some lies about exactly who did that horrible thing to him—betcha he declares it was me, the Controlling and Judgmental wife appliance he escaped from).

    • I don’t watch Dr Phil much but my wife does and I heard a line once that stuck with me: It’s better to be FROM a broken home than to LIVE in one. I can only say ‘amen’ to that.

    • AllOutofKibble,
      You are an inspiration in how you are a no nonsense, stating the facts, poster. When I see your name I know I will respect what you will say. I know that your words will guide newbies to the way and to the light.
      There is no luck in being a newbie in CN, but I have to tell you, AllOutofKibble, that there is good fortune in newbies reading your words and hopefully taking your advice.
      In my time of betrayal there was no CL, no CN. I was in first trimester pregnancy, our child was barely three. I confided in no one, did the pick me dance, he stayed, changed jobs, we moved away. To this day my children do not know of the affair. I know it would only hurt them for me to tell them.
      BUT, the other traits of a cheater’s character are not easy, or a good thing to live with, for the Chump or for the precious Children.
      I believe I am trying to say, my purpose in CN, is to reinforce the words that such wise, experienced posters, as AllOutofKibble say:
      LEAVE.A.CHEATER.GAIN.A.LIFE.

  • “His/her actions are sending you a clear message — learn to tolerate the online affairs (deception, gaslighting, mindfucking, …) or divorce him/her.”

    This is the toughest part for all us I think.

    How many here have counted the years until the kids graduate high school and thought: “Maybe if I can just hold things together until then…”?

    That’s choosing to be disrespected — and NONE of us deserve that for ANY period of time.

    • I did it. For years. Since I’m not nc yet (waiting for papers to get through courts) I still find it happening because that’s what they want us to think.
      I think you need to know too, that where there smoke, there’s a lot more smoke and fire. This is why I had some very clear boundaries set regarding lying that if violated in reconciliation, would result in me filing. I caught her in “1 small lie” which really was the tip of an iceberg so big, I can’t believe it at times. What this person does ultimately is her call. For those of you in renconcilliation though, please make lying a boundary you won’t tolerate the breaching of. Please.

      • So true. Someone said on here the other day… where there’s smoke there’s fire. And eventhough you haven’t found the fire (the physical affair), the smoke can still kill you.

        • In fact, smoke kills most people before they ever get hit by the actual fire. Inhaling smoke is more deadly than the flames in most cases. I like this analogy!

    • Mine pretty much gave ME that ultimatum (the nerve..) saying brusquely: well, this is me, you either accept it (he meant his abusiveness) or there’s no relationship. Curled up nose and everything. The nerve…the nerve!!!!!

      The. NERVE.

      • About 10 years ago my Xhole and I were at a pool tournament. A female team-mate of his asked dickwad to ‘crack her back.’ SO – he picks her up, cracks her back, puts her down and they kiss! Nice, right? We get home from the tournament and I told him that I didn’t appreciate him ‘cracking her back’ and she can get her own fucking husband to crack her damn back. His response: “Well you’d better get used to it cuz it’s gonna happen.” (Verbatim). Yep – that was another RED FLAG that I just dealt with like an idiot for the next 8 years….

      • Fucking NERVE! I’d like to pretend I’m the Nazi Dentist in Marathon Man, drilling a hole in his front tooth like they did Dustin Hoffman. He would deserve a NERVE treatment like this.

    • If only it was that simple UX. Regardless of the reasons why a chump stays while the mounting evidence screams RUN, many stay.

      “That’s choosing to be disrespected — and NONE of us deserve that for ANY period of time.”

      And it does seem to be a choice, doesn’t it. It took years for me to get out. After questioning whether I could ever be a normal person living with a narcissistic father and spending 41 years with a malignant covert narcopath I learned to stop accepting the shame associated with living with abusers.

      While there are many things unique about this nation the draw for me was recognizing I wasn’t alone. The hopium balloon was deflated and the humiliating pick me dance ended.

      Trama bonding is an illusionists dream and a victims nightmare. It’s hard to fathom the shock I expressed when my therapist told me he never respected me. I didn’t know.

      I felt like my therapist knew him personally when he explained his actions as being those of a narcissist. Finally, I was validated. Someone knew c

  • Betrayed, you found evidence and your husband first told you it was just sexual and only online. Then with more evidence he is saying it was not him and he does not know. If/when you uncover more, don’t doubt for a moment that he’ll come up with more gaslighting aimed at messing up your mind.

    Let’s see. When 6 years into our marriage I discovered a hotel booking for two ahead of his solo trip to Mexico, he told me “all hotels have double beds”. When I found messages on his phone (another 6 years later) indicating an affair he told me it was a strong emotional connection with his ex gf that he absolutely had to re-live to figure out but now he was done. They “never saw each other after we got married and it was all online.” When (5months later) I discovered it was also physical and lasted throughout our 12year marriage, he (macho alpha type) burst into tears and asked me to not leave him and sustain an intact family for our 9yr old son. He told me details of their affair and meetups and asked to stay and work on our marriage. I did. A month later I discovered a Tinder account on his phone (didn’t even know what Tinder was, just clicked on the unknown icon during my marriage policing) and found out his communication and setting up dates with other women. He told me it was all pre-reconciliation and he was now done. He changed his password on the phone, I figured it out again and snooped again and found him communicating with his best male friend about “needing to see a doctor because whores went astray and he found some spots on his penis.” He said it was just guys talking and raged for snooping into his phone. A few months later I figured his password again and it was a “new siren” he was with, his former colleague that I teceived in my home many times with her 2 husbands. This time I told him I was done. He told me “nothing happened between them.” I said it does not make any difference any more. Done. And he gave me this gem ” Can’t I love somebody in my heart? You want to control my penis but do you also want to control my heart???!!!”

    See, there are always reasons, justifications and at the end when they are cornered, you get “You are not the boss of me!”-or “I deserve to by happy”-type answes. Nothing to work with, Betrayed. Listen to CL. Get out.

    I don’t want to model weakness to my child. I want him to grow into a healthy, responsible man who will honor his relationships and cherish his family. I keep telling him that if he discovers that he like his dad likes variety, then he should not commit to marriage and have children. Period. But if he wants family, it’s committment. I want this ingrained in his head. And I also want to model strength in case his partner does this to him. I want him to be able to see abuse, recognize it and get out. Like his mother did.

    Hugs to you.

    • Longtime Chump,
      Hope you send him a can of spotted dick every year for the holidays. A nice reminder of his misdeeds. Hope it fell off.

      • It’s so crazy that he would think of it like YOU were trying to control his penis….AND his heart LOL!! He reveals so much about his mindset in that sentence, but they have to understand on some level that is not a normal way to view marriage, b/c they only throw that type of stuff out there when backed in a corner. And it’s doubly shocking for us b/c they are backed in a corner when they are caught doing something shady you are shocked by (such as explicit texts, learning of an affair, etc.), and THEN that’s when they throw out something about “Marriage just isn’t for me” or what your ex said, and it’s like a double punch to the gut. Not only are you cheating, but you don’t think this whole marriage thing is working out for you?? These people…..

      • Tracy, maybe a spotted dick in a can with a list of ingredients in your witty CL-lingo could be in the CL merchandise? Like when we chumps shop for Christmas/Hanukkah/Ramadan/Chinese New Year gift ideas for our cheaters?

    • Yup. I cringe, now, to think of all the excuses I glossed over.

      Yikes.

      Looking back now, seems pretty clear he lied and cheated from day one of dating, even.

      So 34 years of cheating.

      And after dday, he begged my patience so he could sort himself out.

      Hah! Lack of patience is clearly not one of my issues.

      • OMG Cashmere,
        Cheater requesting patience to “sort himself out”
        Do not leave this out of your book!

        Dick spray just reported as SOLD OUT!

    • Exactly right, Longtimechump. I got so many similar statements and rationalization. Nothing to work with. Problem is that until you stop trying to save the marriage and put up boundaries, you can’t see it. You first have to stop trying to put all the pieces back together and simply give that job to them to realize they won’t.

      • Yes. Pause. Stop. And then see how it unfolds.

        While we desperately try to control the situation to prevent more hurt, we don’t “see” them yet. We still believe they are those lovely ones we married and they just lost their minds (and body parts) temporarily. Once we stop, it all starts looking like an X-ray sheet. All see through.

  • Leave! Go! Run now! This could have been me… I found my then bf websites and emails and not only did I get ridiculed for violating privacy I was convinced that I just wasn’t being supportive enough to the fat f*ck sitting on my couch who wasn’t working and who I was taking care of. Fast forward about 3 or 4 more years and I stupidly married him! 6 months in to our marriage the not so big deal online romance and friendship was now the love of his life and so much better than poor me! I also found out after the divorce that it had been going on for 8 of the 11 years we were together. The eventual discard and gaslighting, the abuse I can’t help but think I could have avoided it all if I would have sent him packing the first time. I might still believe in marriage and families then… I might not be so jaded now. Oh btw the “just friend” is now his wife who he married 2 weeks after the divorce was final and within the same week of leaving my home. Move on no one deserves to be treated this way.

  • Need to vent today. Fuckwit and his shitty treatment of the children is on the forefront today. No doubt you have to judge actions not words.

    Last Thursday, fuckwit had my 18 year deposed. It was awful but son did Awsome! My lawyer was very pleased. Some Highlights: fuckwit didn’t show up because he was taking his boat to Florida for the winter and when fuckwit’s lawyer asked son what needed to be done to repair their relationship, he answered fuckwit needs to man up and be the adult; I am 18 yo in high school, why am I here? I am missing 2 tests today.

    Yesterday we had a scheduling conference and assistant lawyer told me that she has worked in this law office (local high profile divorce attorney) for 13 years and that is the first time she has seen a parent subpoena and depose a child. It has been threatened but never actually happened.

    As a result of yesterday’s conference which was the attorneys behind closed doors with judge while we waited in the hallway, we now have a trial scheduled for 5 days in June. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall to hear what was really said.

    My lawyer said his lawyer did say his client had done things that were not honorable and admitted his client had done little concerning the relationship with the children(understatement of the century). But I am still writhing from his statement that I did not do enough to promote the relationship. Wtfh?! Cuss cuss cuss!

    #protectthechildren!

    • Oh, I feel you on this. The cheater clearly thinks I am entirely at fault for the fact that the kids have zero respect for him, want nothing to do with the cheating relationship, and prefer not to talk to him much.

      Because, must be me. What else could it possibly be?

      Deposing the DS, though, is truly sick. No depth they will not sink to, it seems.

    • Feelingit, your son rocks!!! How I wish that my son who is almost 10 now would get it. He still thinks that if I just closed my eyes and pretended I don’t know anything about his dad’s cheating, life would get back to normal. He wants us to be friends. He wants us to take him to places together. He wanted to go trick or treating together. He is now flying with his grandma to spend christmas holidays with his dad. He wanted me to go as well.

      I realize it’s too much for him to take in. The hurt of betrayal is not something he can understand now. But will he ever? Will he realize that his father betrayed not only me, but him as well? Will he get that his father is an irresponsible egoistic person caring for instant gratification for himself only? He is being gaslighted by his dad who constantly speaks of “responsibility and perseverance” in relation to his school and brings himself up in examples of responsibility. The kid thinks he has the most responsible father! I wonder if he’ll ever get it or will I be the villain that chose to disturb the illusion of an intact family he had…

      • Yes longtime chump, he really did well and it helped me in the process. And this is the son that has tried the hardest to have a relationship with his father. But, because I am not sparkling, fuckwit is showing his true colors and sadly, even his biggest supporter sees it. I don’t have to say a thing, fuckwit’s actions do all the talking.

        Your son is so young. It is so hard to watch but the best advice here is to make sure your son pays attention to actions and he will see on his own.

      • “Almost 10” – Your son is just 9. It is, therefore, unreasonable of you to expect any clarity from him on who your husband is, and frankly, we should all check ourselves on any part of us still needing our elementary-school-aged children to see things from our
        point of view, instead of forming their own views gradually as they grow up. You’ve commented a lot recently on your wish that your 9-year-old would “get it” about his dad, and I hear you but— seriously now— What’s up with this fixation of yours? It sounds like triangulation. I implore you to seek therapy, and shift the focus to your own recovery from what was no doubt a very toxic marriage. Don’t misunderstand me, ok? Your husband is in the wrong. But you will be in the wrong eventually if you pressure your son to turn against his dad. Only you know whether or not you are pressuring the kid. I’m just someone on the internet who has read a lot of your comments and I can sense a real intensity from you on this issue that makes me uncomfortable, to be perfectly honest. Can’t imagine what your son senses. It’s a fine line. Talk to a therapist. Be well.

    • What exactly was he hoping to gain by disposing your son? Did he think that your son would state that you have influenced him? Disordered doesn’t even begin to describe him. It boggles my mind that they just keep going without trying to settle.

      And the courts do not help matters. Setting a trial date for 6 months out. I understand that they are hoping that a couple settles things on their own, but there are some cases that will never happen. Dragging it out is just torture. And costly. I hope at the end of all this, feelingit, that he is ordered to pay all your legal costs.

      What a stupid shit. He has absolutely no concept of the relationship damage he just did with his son. Just proves that there is no emotional depth to him at all.

      You will have to let us know when things are finalized so we can all celebrate with you.

      • I have no idea what he thought he would gain. My lawyer is convinced that he is calling the shots and not his lawyer which makes total since. He has been a tradesman his entire career and so that is like being one breath away from passing the bar exam, right? Surely he knows better than his lawyer. His narcism is working in my favor here. I asked my lawyer afterwards if she saw any benefit to his case from deposing my son. She said absolutely none but it helped our case. She looked like the cat that swallowed the canary.

        They had a court date in March and one in April but my lawyer had conflicts. It is harder to find a date for a 5 day trial. The judge yesterday was the one who decided it needed 5 days because of the number of experts they need to call. We will have a pre trial again in May to see if the trial can be reduced or avoided.

        My lawyer has said and I agree he will not make or accept any reasonable settlement offers. She said the top lawyer on my case would rather fire a client than let him/her accept an unfair settlement. His lawyer even said that fuckwit wants to give me as little as possible and that extends to the kids.

        Typical chump, I keep questioning if this is all my fault- should I have tried to talk it out with him without a lawyer but I know it wouldn’t have mattered. From the start he has said his business is not marital property and that I would not get one dime from it. Well, the money to start that business came out of our joint checking account and I even signed the check. The experts have good evidence that I am entitled to a dime and a few more. Without this legal case, he would never give me anything.

        Slowly his covert narcism is being exposed and it is becoming more overt. My friend told me yesterday when you are going through hell, keep on moving, don’t look back. She said I picked the right lawyer. She is right but it is still hell. Thanks for your support and I will look forward to the celebration. I hope we will be celebrating your divorce soon too Getmefree.

        BTW, for anyone who remembers that fuckwit took the small boat that the kids enjoyed so much and wouldn’t give it back (all kinds of excuses but it was really spite). Well we found out, he sold it back in August after we had given him the title to the trailer to replace the tag along with a letter that we were doing this with the understanding that he would return it to the kids. His lawyer was not aware he had sold the boat. Anyway, that is going to come back to bite him in a big way. Hopefully a little bit of Karma.

        • Also your judge sounds like a weenie who is afraid to make the obvious call here and take control of their docket. Jeez. A good judge would rip the crap out of your husband’s lawyer for deposing a high schooler.

        • 2018 will be our year, FeelingIt.

          I have a 1 day trial set for Jan. 11. Depositions of STBX and his girlfriend on Jan. 4. I doubt that 1 day will be enough, but I am hoping that after the depositions, his attorney will simply ask him what the hell he is doing and try to convince him to settle. We’ll see…

          I hope for a fair and honest settlement, but am prepared (in my head, budget-wise) for the worst. That way I know the kids and I will be okay no matter what.

      • Thanks, I have to take the opportunity to brag one more time for him. On the ride home, I told him the lawyer had passed me a note during the deposition that said he is doing great. His response: “Once I got comfortable and realized Dad’s lawyer was being a dick to me, I gave it right back.”(and he did)

        I got an email later from my lawyer which said “your son has a future as a lawyer if wants it.”

    • My Xhole wanted to ‘invite’ my kids to the trial…. You know – a lesson for them to re-think ever getting married or having kids….

    • JUNE? I just can’t with these jerks. Why do you have to wait six months to get this behind you? I’m so sorry FeelingIt. My heart goes out to you and your kids.

  • Lying… by definition… committing perjury, deceitful, deceptive, delusive, delusory, dissembling, dissimulating, double-crossing, double-dealing, equivocating, false, falsifying, fibbing, guileful, inventing, mendacious, misleading, misrepresenting, misstating, perfidious, prevaricating, shifty, treacherous, tricky, two-faced, two-timing, unreliable, untruthful, wrong…

    Are these the words we want to describe our spouses with? I love my tricky two-faced unreliable hubby! I don’t remember saying I Do to “double-crossing” or an affair of any kind. You didn’t either. Lies for over 1000 days of your life. Them looking forward to us going grocery shopping for their favorite foods… them skipping special events… so they can log into their disgusting accounts. F@ck this shit.
    I too got the print-outs of the online convos. I read it to him. There were pictures shared. Clearly him! He said “it wasn’t me” (Shaggy voice) and “and so what if I did… i never touched her… You don’t wear skirts… I wouldn’t chase whores if I had a whore at home”. But he clearly asked her for drinks numerous times in the messages. So he just sucked 50% of the time at actually bagging the whores.
    My life was basically trying to prove my worth, policing him, and crying. No way to live and you’ll go insane. My therapist said imagine you are giving advice to your daughter and this is her huband… what would you tell her to do. I’d tell her to leave. Love doesn’t crush your soul. Love isn’t unsafe and you deserve so much better.

  • “You think Norman Rockwell is painting that shit?”

    Years ago, as the stressors of orchestrating “picture-perfect holidays” with extended family were exacting a toll me – who always had to consider how the “mandatory” (because of X’s FOO demands) festivities would affect my autistic child – my sister dropped the best one-liner:

    “Norman Rockwell was an asshole.”

    I’m reminded of that truth whenever this time of year rolls around and my sons still HAVE TO show up at their father’s house for the mandatory Christmas Eve photo op.

  • One of the things that convinced me in the end to divorce my wife was the absolute exhaustion that I felt every day after I found out about her affair. This letter writer (if she keeps him) will have to go through this forever, just like all of us that hung around. Every day I’m thinking over and over about the following (as she kept the A going strong):

    – always wondering “where is she?”
    – “why is she the only county worker in history to have to stay after work every night – especially Friday?”
    – “why does it take her 2 and a half hours to jog 2 miles?”
    – “who is she texting all night?”
    – “if her phone is never more than 6 inches from her, how come she’s never able to answer it when I call?”
    – “she has enough energy to workout before and after work every single day, but is too tired to spend any time with me”
    – and again, the ultimate question over and over “where in the $%&* is she?!”

    Once I decided to divorce (unfortunately it took months), it was like Mt. Everest was lifted off of my shoulders. I just didn’t care where she was or who she was with. But the biggest thing was the return of my energy and my sanity.

    That’s one of the biggest things I can pass on to new chumps. You’re in a hole, you feel depressed, and you feel exhausted – but once you decide to stop living like that, it’s like a brand new energy fills you up. You’re positive, optimistic, have energy, way less stress, you get your short term memory back, you become productive at work again, you become a better parent, and instead of playing marriage police 24/7, you get the time to focus on the things that interest you and your kids. Your ex becomes an afterthought. It’s a wonderful place, it’s just allowing yourself to get there.

    • Amen, Blindside. I spent 2 years in wreckonciliation. Even though there were some good moments, I can honestly say that every single day, I had moments of sadness. I felt weighed down. The truth is somewhere in your gut, you know that trust will never be restored 100% and if they were capable of it once, they are capable of it again.

      Life does get better…for you and your kids.

      • Your statement about broken trust is very true. I recently saw a comment on FB: Trust, once broken, is like a beautiful porcelain vase that is mended. You always can tell that it is broken and you can never forget it.

    • Blindside, your list was mine. And this is spot on: “Once I decided to divorce (unfortunately it took months), it was like Mt. Everest was lifted off of my shoulders. I just didn’t care where she was or who she was with. But the biggest thing was the return of my energy and my sanity.”

      Ultimate truth here.

    • YES to this list!! At the top of mine was “Why on the days he has to pick up our daughter from school does he wait until after 5 pm to pick her up (when he can anytime after 3:45) but on days he does not have to pick her up he can be at the bar no later than 4 pm?” It wasn’t just me he disrespected, it was the family as a whole.

    • Blindside, your post brought me to tears. That is me everyday for what feels like the entire 14 years of my marriage which I am still in. The anxiety is paralyzing. The fear of what next is debilitating. There is no peace, no comfort in my marriage. On top of being an abusive serial cheater who has fathered 2 kids by his white, he is a compulsive gambler. He has put our home and everything we own at risk. I want to have that freedom you describe so well. I want to know what a good night’s sleep is again. It is exhausting policing someone else’s morals and behaviors. I have been married since I was 21 so I don’t remember feeling that type of peace in my entire adult life. Your post gives me hope.

    • Oh, the freedom of not having to care IF he’s telling the truth or not!
      About his work schedule, his cell phone use, his time, etc.
      That is priceless.

      He thought I’d forever be concerned with his whereabouts, so I might as well hang around (??)
      He didn’t realize I had the choice to not care!

      • I’m hearing you. Mine went on about wreckonciliation and couples councilling. I thought no way I don’t have the energy for that shit. Sitting in a room and turning the tables on me.
        He is free to manage and muddle through, he has shit life skills and is doing pretty crappy being single, is in debt and complaining about working too much. Soo negative, sure as shit don’t miss his whiny bullshit. Lovin this no contact as I’m not his emotional dumpster anymore.

  • I want to know what good fairy gave her the receipts on this asshole……and where he/she was when my ex husband was on match.com while I did the dinner dishes.
    Just an FYI….my ex used his middle name to go undetected but had his messages come to his REGULAR email. When I asked he said he must of been hacked…..and by hacked he means had a secret match.com profile.😂😂
    I post shit he did and wonder wtf I was thinking.

  • “Is an online affair enough of a reason to bag a marriage…?” Maybe it was on-line this time, but eventually it will be live with someone somewhere. You can bank on that. Why wait.

    • Or conversely is online sex talk worth losing your marriage over? Narcs never look at it through the right lens.

    • And even so, it’s always about the lies and deceit.
      Hiding something makes it automatically shady and creepy.

      I feel many of us could have, rightly or wrongly, justified or forgiven a lot, as long as there was transparency, mostly about motives. But there’s never going to be that, they can’t ever tell you the real reason is control or the game itself ceases to exist.

    • They’re online because that means they’re looking. So even if it hasn’t gotten to the point of actual physical meetings yet (very unlikely anyway), getting involved with people online means that if the opportunity presents itself in person, your spouse would be more than willing to take that plunge. They’re basically announcing that they’ll have an affair if the opportunity presents itself – so like you said, why wait?

    • Umm yes. Mine was online 1,5 years at first thinking she lived in Germany, nope turned out she had lived in Singapore for some time and flew over to Aus to be with him! Yup doesn’t stay on line, his was online for 5 months before it was physical.

  • This hair splitting about what doesn’t actually count as sex or doesn’t actually count as an affair is a ludicrous distraction from the point. When friends tell me things like “he said it was just online chatting and it was never physical” I respond with things like “ok, do you feel compelled to hotchat other people online?”

    The friend inevitably gives a reluctant “well, no…” And I say “what would it take to make *you* do that?” And “what behaviors *would* it be ok for him to lie to you about or hide from you?”

    The thing people so often miss is that it’s not the thing the person deceived you about that is the real problem, no matter how ugly that thing is. The real problem is the character flaw that is behind the deception itself. It’s the choice to monopolize a person by committing to things you don’t really want then moving heaven and Earth to deceive that person to maintain the secrecy that’s so sinister in my eyes.

    Learning that a person can deceive a partner like that is a”whoa, does he molest children, too? Are there bodies in the basement?” moment for me.

    • EXACTLY Amiisfree.
      The horror that my husband and my daughters’ father would so flippantly completely fuck us over in SO many ways will simply never subside. Even though I’m making headway toward ‘meh’ and making slow progress toward gaining a life, that staggering loss of the ground beneath my feet and the air being sucked from my body, the realization of who this man I was loyal and faithful to for 17 years and trusted with my life actually IS, still messes with my head and even physical body. SO sinister. It is so scary to still wonder what he is capable of. People who would hurt their own children are truly terrifying.

      • I’m in the EXACTLY club too.

        I just can’t get it out of my mind that he could do those things to me and all I get when I ask why is the dead … black… shark eyes.

        Who was that person that I slept beside all those years?

        It truly is mind blowing.

        • Yes the feelings of sheer violation is so hard to cope with. You feel like showering a hundred times and scrubbing your skin raw when remembering all the intimate things you did with what was obviously a total stranger – a cold hearted and mentally disordered stranger at that. Urgh! Sickening.

      • JerseyChump,

        This exactly. The adultery was bad enough, but everything else is so much worse. Especially what he is willing to do to his own children. My father says…”a man who will cheat on his wife, will cheat his children.”

        But it is those acts that are direct hits to the kids that still have the power to knock me out for a day or so. Thankfully, the recovery for those hits are getting shorter. You would think that after 2 years (4 if you go all the way back to dday#1), I wouldn’t be surprised by anything he does anymore. Still working toward Meh…some Tuesday, it will come…

        • Yes getmefree on nothing should surprise you anymore but yet it does. I think it shows that we live in a reality where we should be surprised by those things and it is good that we are not numb to it.

          Also, maybe it isn’t surprise so much as here we go again Ahhggg!!!

      • 17 years for me too. Been with him since 18 and finally just had a beautiful baby by ivf..it was his problem too. Just when I thought our lives have finally turned a new chapter and the wonderful family life I worked and sacrificed all my life for has arrived.. my world has collapsed. We were the best and most solid couple everyone knew. He seemed so good to me each day, Only in hindsight I see all the signs. It frightens me to know how I believed 1 million lies and I was so engrossed in that state that I still what to believe him, no matter how incredulous his lies are. Over the years he has gotten away with so much due to my full trust and love in him, now he is so brazen he continues the affair in my face while making promises of reconciliation, just assuming that he can enjoy his slut for another few months to “get it out of his system so that it doesn’t happen again” (his words). The manipulation, lying, crying, acting, tactics, blame shifting, arguing, pretending to be insightful of his issues, pretending to be mentally ill and “unable to think because I am still the same, because I haven’t changed and I’m still nagging him.” On top of serial infidelity he has lied and blown my entire life savings on luxury with other women. Even falsified documents and emails so I would give him money to “invest”, and trust him on his “business trips” where he vacations with some young slut he meets online that claims she is a virgin. To go to such extreme lengths to scheme to deceive and betray.
        It has been months since we separated. He has not seen his baby during this time but claims to miss her, even though he can easily make an effort to do so. To be honest I am still confused.
        It makes me wonder how much of this life together was real. What kind of human being can be so insidious to destroy the ones who trust and love them and gave their lives to them? he yells and cries that all I care about is money and I never loved him.. then he says he wants to “recover” and become a good husband and father, and I discover for the 5th time he was on vacation with the slut whilst he was sending me all this. the insanity and mindfuckery is endless and he is tireless. I am exhausted and destroyed, while the person I trusted with my life talks the talk and does the opposite. Having been with him my whole life and truly loving and trusting him, this crashed so suddenly after the birth of our baby that I’m still in denial and catatonic each day. I think of the future and can’t imagine how A baby we wanted so badly, this family we talked about all our lives… will now be without a father. I had a whole life to look forward to with him and he leaves me with a new baby and robbed me of my wealth and claims he loves us. When I say divorce, he flips it back on me saying that it’s what I want becasue I never loved him, and he never wanted a divorce. He never wanted it to be like this, he is sorry.. but continuing the affair and scrambling to fund his crazy affairs.

        How do I carry on? I miss the husband and best friend and soulmate I thought he was. 17 years growing up and a life together… and a new baby to raise together. I can’t believe someone can be so cruel to play with their family’s lives in this way.

    • Amiisfree:

      Exactly… “The real problem is the character flaw that is behind the deception itself. It’s the choice to monopolize a person by committing to things you don’t really want then moving heaven and Earth to deceive that person to maintain the secrecy that’s so sinister.”

      I guess my question is – purely rhetorical of course, since no answer would be close to satisfactory – why would anyone, including a disordered fuckwit, want to expand the time, energy and brainpower to do this? Wouldn’t be so much easier for them to be free as a bird, carry on with whomever they wish, and ultimately, avoid ending up in a disastrous marriage with expensive attorneys, child support issues, etc. being put on the table?

      • Because they have shifty life skills and need someone nice and hardworking to do the adulting for them. Somewhere in their tiny reptile brains they register that they don’t have the wherewithal to get themselves in the position in life that they would with you as their Man Friday, taking care of the boring but necessary bits so they can indulge themselves without the wheels coming off. I guess that’s the price they feel they need to pay on a daily basis is pay lip service to your life together so you’ll take care of it. Parasitic.

        • Stigofthechump – I could not agree with you anymore. You are spot on with your post! These cheaters are like parasites. Unable to accomplish or adult by themselves. They need a host to latch onto. And what happens to the host, they give 100%, while they get ZERO in return. Great analogy!

    • Exactly, it’s stealing your reality from you.
      Instead of creating an exclusively shared one. That’s what makes it so disgusting.

      And so pointless. Why would anyone *like* doing that? I guess I’m lucky I should never know.

  • BELIEVE THE PROOF! Say nothing else to that LIAR. Get the biggest bulldog lawyer in town, go for a consult, include the proof, serve on his ass. Get loads of child and spousal support. Put a clause in that he has to leave the home AND continue paying all the bills. And say zero to him until he’s served.

    I was seeing a man 9 years ago. He presented as a religious, divorced man with kids he took good care of. Two years in? Something happened that sent my antenna up so I did some simple searches. What did I find?

    – he wasn’t really divorced
    – he was seeing a second woman, telling her the EXACT SAME GARBAGE and I had Innocently introduced them
    – he was on NUMEROUS interactive sex sites
    – he’d had sex with a bunch of women from the site
    – he also was into year 6 of a relationship with a high end brothel. Thousands of dollars worth
    – he posted on sites for people who frequent brothels where each hooker was rated. Like steaks on Yelp.

    To this day his smear campaign against me continues. He’s out of my life. His wife? Has had open heart surgery to repair damage done by a parasite one only gets from sexual contact. Doctor can’t figure out where she got it. I sure can

    Get you and your child away from this predator. Send the message that being cheated on and disrespected is a deal breaker

    • Glad that creep is out of your life. I hope you did not pick up any nasty’s from him and that you are protecting your health. Does the wife know about his double life? Her life is clearly in danger and she needs to know even if it is an anonymous tip. I hope she recovered from her surgery.

  • Dear BOL,

    You have a big choice to make, leave now; leave later; wait for him to leave you for someone else. But know that you DO NOT have a future that ends in happily ever after with this man.

    Like you, I first discovered my husband’s online fantasy world (and subsequently his Craigslist real world) when our son was 4. I refused to leave and “break” my son’s home and so off to counseling I went with his Dad.

    The next 5 years of our marriage were similar to a hostage situation. My love for my son and a desire to keep his family “whole” kept me in an abusive cycle of lovebombing and gaslighting as well as financial abuse, and arguably sexual abuse as Mr. Sparkles withheld affection and sex from me as “punishment” for catching him and confronting him.

    The thing is… now that your husband knows that you know, you will NEVER have that intact fantasy family again. It didn’t exist then and it doesn’t exist now.

    I know shared custody sucks. It is the biggest shit sandwich going. BUT, raising your child in an abusive household is 10000000x worse. As your child gets older, they will see the abuse and think it is normal… and the cycle continues.

    For what it’s worth… I stayed. I stayed through 5 years of his lying, cheating, and abuse (the last two years being sexless). And guess what. HE. LEFT. ME. for an OW (and then cheated on her).

    So, I guess what I’m saying is don’t do what I did. Be mighty… get out now. You and your child deserve more than this fuckwit is capable of giving.

    • I have tried to stay through way too many relationships (including my marriage and my relationship with the guy I thought was my friend for 30 years who is now MIA) way too long (even when my gut was in knots because I ‘knew’ the truth and was sickened by it) in which the guy was lying, gaslighting, projecting, invalidating me, disrespecting me, and often cheating. Things got worse, not better, over time, usually with a disloyal jerk kicking me to the curb. The classic Idolize, Devalue, Discard cycle of the hostile disordered. I was hoping against hope that I could save the relationship (which looked amazing through rose-colored glasses, especially to all his friends–I’m a chump and a spackler who tends to align myself with guys who are conventionally very successful and are great image managers), like a gambler whose lost the house at the gambling table and tries to recoup his losses by throwing the dice just one more time (or a thousand more times). In every single case, I should have walked out at the first sign of bad behavior. I would still have lost the jerk, but at least I would have saved some of my self-esteem, hundreds of thousands of dollars, and decades of my life. Also, would have given my kids, if I had had them, a much nicer life, one with more money and the tranquility and support of a serene, healthy mother, not a depressed, physically sick mother who struggles to get out of bed 24/7. If I had refused to tolerate abuse/mistreatment, who knows? Maybe I would have met a REAL Mr. Nice Guy, not just guys who wear the mask of Mr. Nice Guy. At over 50, I think that it is probably too late for me, but I hope that other genuine chumps/would-be chumps will benefit from seeing my story (ideally, obtaining a happy, healthy life outcome that they deserve)!

    • “The thing is… now that your husband knows that you know, you will NEVER have that intact fantasy family again. It didn’t exist then and it doesn’t exist now.”

      So true. Finding out is game-changer for them, too. If you keep relatively nice and quiet about it, holding their hand while in couple’s therapy, he might simply resort to taking it underground. If you start asserting some boundaries as the marriage police, you can be guaranteed soon enough he’s going to resort to new ways to abuse you. I’d like to echo that: there is no happily ever after. It’s just a matter of time before it blows up in your face. Might as well be the one who detonates it. Grab that control while you can.

      • I agree completely— once he knows you know, it’s a ticking time bomb. Get out. Mine abandoned me weeks after I started asking in roundabout ways if he was having an affair (I did not have wise Chump Nation in my life yet, who would have advised me to line up my ducks, collect evidence, see a lawyer on the sly, and never to confront). Never had an official d-day, just a hunch, no proof— well, the “proof” was he got emotionally abusive for weeks out of nowhere, and then suddenly abandoned me and quickly filed for divorce. Classic cover narc cheater playbook stuff. Good riddance!

  • Im so sorry this is happening to you, its heartbreaking to read all the storys on this site

    Im really starting to wonder if there is a partner out there whom i can trust.

  • Betrayed online- this sucks for you and your child. But like all of us, we give our hearts and they get stomped on. My lawyer told me on d-day, he is 6 months ahead of you so emotionally he is already planning an exit. We have seen time and time again on here how the cheater has hidden money and caused financial problems behind your back. I suggest you start the covert work to protect yourself. Gather financial data, monitor accounts, set up separate accounts to transfer money to. They all become discoverable in divorce. Find a lawyer. You have a daughter to support and when you are ready, move quickly and Decisively. It sucks to have to be as secretive as he is but read yesterday’s post for a real eye opener of how conniving these people who “love” us can be. Remember “life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain”. For us chumps the rain is our tears and it is not dancing as much as stomping in anger. Just do it! He probably already is. Hugs!!

  • Pretend you are your own daughter. Do you want her disrespected, cheated on, lied to, her health endangered… etc? Or do you want her to know she has strength, integrity, morality, faith in herself to be “enough”? After you’ve done this, if you’re still tempted to stay, think about how you’ll feel if your kids copy him and start treating you badly too? THAT HAPPENS. Kids can learn to abuse the abused parent. I know you are suffering and I feel for you. It’s horrific suffering the grief and loss. But beyond that is contentment and self respect and joy. You can get there. Be brave.

  • I am sorry you are dealing with this. I have some real life experience to help you with..

    First, just like an email, those websites do not allow duplication of user names. It. Does. Not. Happen. He is lying. No doubt.

    Second, I stayed because of young children. They were five and six at the time. I left when they were nine and ten. Staying allowed them to be even more shattered when we left. It also left them very aware that their beloved father rarely calls and makes little to no effort to see them. The best time to leave is when your child is young, the younger the better. What they can’t remember never hurts them.

    Third, you know the truth. That does not mean that you don’t wish the truth was different. If you stay, you do so accepting that he is lying to you. If that is not acceptable to you, now is the time to leave.

    I have the default divorce papers sitting in my email right now. My biggest regret is that I did not leave sooner. I, me not him, am at fault for exposing them to a piece of crap for so long. I will never forgive myself.

  • Dear Betrayed Online:

    PLEASE trust this community when we say you have to trust what you see! Yes, it’s horrible, it’s unbelievable, it’s devastating. We get it! But you must set aside the shock and think about what your life – and the life of your child – will look like if you try to deny, rationalize and justify the proof that’s sitting right in front of you. Staying means a downward trajectory… leaving means integrity, self-respect, freedom and sanity.

    If only I’d been more experienced in life (XH and I met at 19 and married at 21), I would’ve torpedoed my marriage before it ever happened… 3 days before our wedding, as we were laying in bed, in the dark, talking about how our “Big Day” was just 72 hours away, he suddenly blurted out that he’d had a 1-night stand 18 months before (about 6 months into our dating relationship). He didn’t know “Margie”; she was in our university’s ROTC program, their military ball was coming up, and her “hometown honey” had to work. Poor Margie was so upset! So a mutual friend called him to see if he would jump in at the last minute and escort Margie to the dance. Instead of saying some version of No (such as “I have a girlfriend”, or “I’m in a relationship” or “I’m not available” or gee, how about “No thanks”), he felt “terribly sorry about her predicament” and just “had to help” by saying Yes. After the dance, they went back at his place and somehow, inexplicably, they ended up in bed.

    At that moment, I should’ve said “We’re done”, called everyone on the guest list, and called the whole thing off.

    But I didn’t do that… I forgave, I believed, I denied, I rationalized, I justified… and I got married that Saturday.

    As DunChumpin so eloquently said in his missive above, it turns out that one tiny lie back in January 1977 was the tip of the iceberg… D-Day took place in the office of an experienced marriage counselor whom we went to see because my XH said he was “unhappy” and he felt “disconnected” from me. This was news to me; we were living the life of carefree and happy empty-nesters, getting along famously and starting to have exciting conversations about our upcoming retirement.

    In short order, the counselor got my XH to admit that he was currently in a relationship with his married coworker, and it had been going on for at least 6 months. What?!?! That one stunning admission opened the floodgates, and then the whole truth came spilling out… for 40 YEARS, he’d lived a completely clandestine life! He’d lied to me, cheated on me, took irreplaceable time away from me and our 3 children, and spent our joint money on at least 14 other women (today, I’m quite sure there were more, but he’d only admit to 14). He readily provided details about each affair partner; these were all women I knew, trusted and considered to be friends, including our babysitter, our sons’ soccer team mom, friends we’d vacationed with, more than a few of his coworkers, and even the longtime female friend we took into our home after she left her physically abusive alcoholic husband. In every case but one, these women were all married with children (and in the case of AP #14, multiple grandchildren), and their loyal spouses, like me, were totally clueless.

    Needless to say, there was no coming back from that shitstorm. Do not pass GO and do not collect $200.

    I am now 62, have been divorced for 2 years, and expect to have to postpone retirement until I’m well into my 70’s (hard to retire on half the money we’d saved). But I am safe and so much wiser! I went Zero Contact almost 4 years ago, and I cannot recommend it highly enough; completely removing him – and what the thought of what he perpetrated on me and my children in the name of “love” – has enabled me to live a peaceful and authentic life.

    Betrayed Online, it’s never too late to set healthy boundaries for yourself and to demonstrate to your child what true integrity looks like. Please don’t settle for anything less.

    • I’m so sorry, MyRedSandals. I had a similar situation with my husband breaking off our engagement because he “thought he saw someone else.” Then he came back a couple of days later and begged me to take back his ring. I wish I’d have followed my gut and ended it then. We were 19 and 20 and I didn’t know what to do. I loved him so much, but I felt so confused. It had come out of the blue for me, and I kept thinking he just had cold feet. I never knew the extent of his relationship with the mysterious “someone else” or how far it went. Fast forward 31 years and several “we’re just good friend affairs” with coworkers, (or more, I don’t know). He ends our marriage by saying, “I just saw something else.” Eerily close to what he said when he broke off our engagement. It’s who they are.

      • Lyn,

        I totally understand the confusion of what you spoke. At that time in my life, I had no female mentor to disclose to, no one to share his midnight confession with. I believe if I did have someone in my life like that, they would have advised me to walk and I would have been spared the devastation. Too late now, but now that I know better, I will do better! WE will do better!

  • They are so good at lying. And the fear, suspicions, and eventual revelations plus mix in some gaslighting are so devastating to the chump’s brain that it puts you in disarray.

    Cheater wife lied and lied and lied. I knew something was amiss, but when she finally confessed it absolutely warped my brain and I began to even convince myself that surely it didn’t happen.

    As I sobbed buckets of tears of disbelief in front of her.

    Her words with no emotion: “you were trusting me again weren’t you?”
    Me: “yes”
    Her still with no emotion: “yeah, I could tell.”

  • First thing I thought to say in response when I read this post is exactly the first thing that Chump Lady responded to. PLEASE, please, please do not think you are preventing your child from growing up in a broken home by staying. Your home has already been broken by that pathetic excuse for a husband and partner with his lies and deceit. What you need to do to prevent a real “broken home” scenario from actually coming to be is to acknowledge the situation (that you cannot trust or even love this douche ever again) and create that intact home yourself by going solo and being the most sane, strong, and awesome parent you can be (given the situation that fuckwit dragged you into). Your child will see that you made the best of a bad situation (which you DID NOT cause) and your home will be very much everything you wanted it to be, minus one fuckwit. I did this (my daughter was not quite a year when all was revealed, and 16 months old when I resolved to divorce my X’s ass and forge ahead on my own), and you can do this too. It’s easier said than done, I know — I stayed far longer than I would have because of my child too (those fuckers really know what they’re doing, since I think they think they can pin you in place with your children — it’s sick). I had to find a full time job pretty immediately (it was either that or go back to school, which you better believe I would have made him pay for). It will be rough at first, but you will emerge a better mother and better person than you would have ever been if you stayed in and tried to keep up some illusion while seething and destroyed under that veneer of “normal” nuclear family life. Gather your strength and resolve by rallying around family and friends, and check back here often. {{HUGS}}

    • When my kids found out that there had been a dday#1 and I had stayed, they asked “Why?” One of the main reasons I told them was because I didn’t want that for my kids. I didn’t want them to be from a broken home. My 13 year old daughter said, “Mom, our home isn’t broken. Dad is just not part of it anymore.”

      I read on this site over a year ago that as long as kids have one loving, sane, and consistent parent that they will make it through all of this okay. It was that day that I made a vow to be that parent and that my kids would be okay.

      • Your daughter is wise. I was basically trying to say that “broken” is a subjective term. We might default to thinking of it the way society at large does (broken = divorce), but there are oftentimes people in those situations who themselves are very much not broken in any way (we may feel that way at the time, but we are not the breakers of families) and who have to perpetuate that “together” family alone because of defective/fuckwit partners. That same advice was definitely a beacon for me, and reminded me to try my best to keep my head even on those days when I felt like I was crumbling. We’ve shown we care for our children by modeling that some behavior is not acceptable, and removing ourselves from dysfunctional situations before they destroy us. I know I didn’t do this to my daughter, and that I will always be there for her, regardless. We will be okay.

  • In my experience, a cheater will use counseling as a tool to continue cheating. A good manipulator can manage this easily. It’s just taking the “lie” to the next step – “NO, I’M NOT INTERESTED IN HIM OR HER… I LOVE YOU… SHE(HE) AND I ARE JUST FRIENDS AND CO-WORKERS” My husband now admits that these words were all lies.
    When someone starts with a lie, unless he/she confesses it WITHOUT having been caught first, the lie will continue, probably getting more elaborate each time.
    We chumps all feel the need to explain the lie; give it some validity. There is none. as a result , the trust is torn apart. It leaves a huge hole in the relationship that is never filled. In my case, my husband has passed all the “true remorse” tests (30yrs later). Even THAT doesn’t erase the ugly residue left by the lies. It would have been easier to have found out when it happened, and dumped him and start over, even with a baby (at the time) Counseling only helps if both parties are playing straight. Otherwise it’s just another tool for the manipulating liar to use as a deception.
    Sorry, it’s just the reality.

  • The ease that they can look you straight in the face and lie for years and decades is what gets me.
    I had the dating sites (“I’m just looking, many married men do. I’ve never signed up or wrote to any!”)
    the condoms in the work case after a business trip. (“Japanese whores. You don’t know how aggressive they are. I never used any!”)
    Not until I got HPV that the facts overwhelmed the lies in my head.

    He lied up to and including today about his habits. Even moved in with the OW, he denied they were having sex.

    He will always be the innocent victim, I will always be the villain. You can’t make this stuff up.

    That he lies to me (or used to a few years ago before NC) is not surprising. He admitted in counseling that he “lies because he does not want to look bad!”
    The point that he STILL spins his tails to his children, though they have shunned him for his stories, still absolutely blows me away. He went from omitting facts, to fibs to outright misrepresentations to WHOPPERS should be an indication of his mental state.

    What a rip roaring asshole.

    • The now ex really does see himself as the victim. As much as a chump wants to change them and have them come to their senses, it just will never happen. I listened to his tales of mistreatment by everyone in his life and never knew he saw me as the enemy too until I saw his text with his young ho. Once you realize they are trying on other ho’s for a better fit, then you realize once they think they found her/him they will leave you.

      I now know this is who he is and always will be. He has the capacity to hurt me, knowing it hurts me and doesn’t care. Sure he may not intentionally inflict the pain, it may be more about what he wants than hurting me. But I am acceptable collateral damage in his pursuit. It really does come down to selfishness and entitlement. You will not fix that. They won’t all of the sudden put you before them at all costs. They can do it for a bit until they have you secured again, but not the long term. Simply because you do not matter more than they matter to themselves.

      Always another schmoopie around the corner. Walk away. Take your kids with you. They don’t come first either.

      • Twiceachump,

        I am Exhibit A of ‘Once they find someone they think is a better fit, they will leave you.’ In the outside chance that I ever date again, I will do everything in my power to prevent me from ever again being treated like a doormat.

  • My heart goes out to chumps with young children. The cheater gets to manipulate you by using them. I was lucky in that respect because my kids were adults with their own families by the time my world blew up. I did slop a lot of my emotions on them though and I do feel bad about that. But I must have done something right when I raised them to adulthood cause they shut “daddy and Schmoopie” down immediately and had no problems at all telling him just what they thought of his shenanigans! They drew a firm line in the sand and refused to give an inch to the disordered couple. God knows he and Schmoopie tried their best though. Schmoopie sent a mass e-mail letter to everyone on my husbands contact list (dead or alive) and swore he wrote it, but obviously SHE did. It was a messy, gooey missive about their undeniable “love” for one another and that their door would always be open for family that accepted them! Yuck! It was vomit worthy and she definitely got reply’s from his family! Unfortunately for her, they let her know in no uncertain terms that she could close the door to their lovely love shack because they would NEVER visit! My kids and extended family were fabulous to me and still are. I am so very grateful. For all the betrayed with young children I can only say, stand firm. Let your kids know without the editorial that dating while married is a deal breaker and so very wrong. Kids are very smart and they will figure it out in due time. Don’t underestimate their ability to recognize dis functional behavior.

  • Betrayed–your cheater admitted to being on the sex site for THREE years. What is the statistical likelihood someone else is now using his account rather than him.

    Right–zero.

    My X claimed that someone had used his work email to set up an Ashley Madison account out of revenge. Sure….and I guess that was true of his Adult Friend Finder account (which I saw open on HIS computer). Liars lie.

    • Tempest I think sometimes when we try to forget their breathtaking ability to lie the universe will step in to help remind us. I’m day 40 NC but shortly before although separated I’d had a chat on phone with my cheater. I walked in my sitting room as I talked to him and a true crime program was playing on TV. The detective being interviewed was named Paul Lies. I couldn’t believe it. Not only a very unusual surname but he had same first name as my cheater. I actually googled him after as was so stunned, and he’s a bona fide police detective. I think the universe was whispering to me and using it to remind me, “Don’t believe a word.”

      • Natalie.B–yes, it sounds like the universe was sending you a message!

        If you think about how many lies these cheaters must tell convincingly, day after day, about who they were with, what they were doing, who they were texting, in order to sustain an affair, we should not be surprised that they lie/omit the truth on so many other matters.

  • Just had to reply to this statement BetrayedOnline wrote: “We have a young child. If not for my child I would be gone already.”

    I told myself that one for 3-4 years. Truth is … I was scrambling for any viable excuse I could get my desperate chump hands on. This was the trophy of chump excuses I had, what better way for me to look all valiant while I was not being the man/father I needed to be .. just by taking it on the chin you are showing your children how to react when you are being betrayed (even by their own mother/father)

    The way I got past this was math … While together I was available 100% of the time but was only really present 20% of the time giving me a Father ratio of 20%. After I walked and recreated myself I have my son 50% of the time but during that 50% I am 100% in the moment raising my father ratio to 50% so its a MUCH better life for him, I am showing him how he should conduct himself and like the poster I refused to be defined by the lack of character my ex was showing.

    To further the math theme, I never spoke ill of her towards him (Note I am not saying I never WANTED to.. .I withheld thankfully after reading an article).. nor did I in anyway get involved in their relationship. I read earl on that children realize they are 50% of each parent .. so if one of them is off lying, cheating and stealing and we the betrayed spouse cast full wrath on that person publicly and ridicule them the child assumes that the 50% of that spouse they are mad up is is inherently bad … I made sure to not make that mistake.

    4+ years later, I will have to admit she is a much better mother with him … at least on the surface and I am all for it. As far as a better person .. not my circus any longer I dropped that rope long ago.

    • CaliGuy123 this really hit home to me “if one of them is off lying, cheating and stealing and we the betrayed spouse cast full wrath on that person publicly and ridicule them the child assumes that the 50% of that spouse they are made up is is inherently bad ”

      My daughter has been calling herself a bad or terrible person when she makes a mistake and I wonder if this is some of the reason for it! Note to self to work extra hard at not saying anything negative about the STBX.

  • I second the comment of never speaking ill of the other party. My ex remarried almost immediately, got his new wife PG almost immediately, and never participated in life with the kids unless I called and asked him to take them for a weekend at Xmas or something. Fortunately, his new wife was very kind to the kids and they seemed to enjoy the occasional times away, but the Ex just sat in the l/r smoking and watching football. Some things never change.

    (Infidelity wasn’t the reason for our divorce, so I wasn’t bothered by the quick remarriage. I was grateful;
    better her than me.) I found out after twenty years that she divorced him before she retired so she didn’t have to support his lazy ass!!

  • Who gets married hoping that their spouse will spend family money and time on sex sites instead of putting that money and energy and commitment into the marriage and the family? That’s not what any of us signed up for. Because if you signed up for that, you wouldn’t be here.

    • Yes LAJ. I have the funniest image of signups for helping out on back to school night in my head. It is the sign ups for marriage night and we are going around from table to table signing up for our future.

      Now my cheater is saying, I didn’t sign up for your female problems and hysterectomy, I didn’t sign up for kids with learning disabilities. I didn’t sign up for being an involved dad who cares. I didn’t sign up for negotiating and compromising and joint decision making.

      Well, I didn’t sign up for a lying cheating fuckwit. I guess I missed the signup table for the loving, caring to death til us part husband and accidentally signed up at the fuckwit who loves only himself until the end of time and if anything goes wrong it’s your fault table.

  • I think the one thing I sincerely regret, is on accidentally catching him in a lie that I didn’t walk away right then. It was very, very early dating days. It was a stupid lie. It had nothing to do with cheating. Turns out it was the tip of an iceberg of lies – he was sorry not sorry. Sorry I had caught him in a lie. Not sorry he lied.

    Right there was his character revealed – and I saw that, but didn’t dump his arse – right there, my character revealed.

    Betrayed, if you are living with a liar “There is just nothing here to work with.” Walk away FAST.

    • Morse,
      Thanks for writing this. I still struggle with the issue of ‘My ex-husband committed adultery and a variety of crimes, but my ex-boyfriend might not have had a physical affair while with me (just an emotional one (?)), lied to me, invalidated me, disrespected me, and left me twice to be with other women. Everyone (tons of friends we’ve known for years) think he’s a Great Guy. Maybe I am the one who totally destroyed our relationship. I must be ‘wrong’ and terribly flawed and ‘less than’/not good enough.’ Chronic mistreatment, even when interspersed with good treatment, and dishonesty (outright lying, fabrication, gaslighting) are unacceptable, too. I keep having to tell myself this!

      • RockStarWife so agree with you that disrespect and mistreatment and dishonesty are not acceptable. You are mighty moving on from those deal breakers. Also once you know someone is a liar and has been dishonest how can you trust it when they say it was ‘only emotional’ that it was not more? ( learning that sooner could have saved me years #betterlatethannever).

        • Thanks for your support, Onward. I wish that I were mighty. Both my husband and last boyfriend kicked me to the curb once they found my latest replacements.
          Regarding the lies, yeah, once I discovered the first lie from each of these cowardly dishonest partners, the ‘house of cards fell down’ (the other outrageous lies soon sickeningly became apparent.) In my fantasy, my ex-boyfriend and I permanently reconcile and live happily ever after. In reality, I could never look at him the same again (as I did while he was on the pedestal on which I unreasonably placed him). In fact, the last time I saw him he told me so many outlandish lies without any provocation that I could discern that upon the utterance of his last lie I could not even look at him, the guy I loved more than any other on the planet. I suspect that one reason he refuses to see me or even talk to me although we wefre friends (at least I thought so) for decades is I know that he is a liar and have proof of it and he is afraid that I might ‘talk.’ I know too much. Like in crime movies, the murderer has to get rid of (kill) witnesses because they know too much (have incriminating evidence).

          • RockStsrWife to me mightyness includes surviving, keeping on going, working towards thriving. With the understanding that many cheaters are shallow, and don’t seem to feel deep, caring emotions, rejection says more about them not you. Remember your many good qualities (as a caring person who commits in relationships) and hopefully the insight and kindness of CL and CN help as you move on from that curb.

  • Besides STDs and unwanted pregnancy online affairs are just like “real ” affairs. The cheaters chat all day long for months or years building an emotional relationship. They share nude pics and type out sexual messages, then they plan live skype jerk off dates. Just like a “real” affair you have the relationship and the orgasm, not much difference.

    • Exactly. There’s not much point in splitting hairs. Bottom line, the person is more into other stuff than s/he is into you, and you deserve better.

  • It astounds me how we can bury our heads and deny the incredibly obvious. A man who lives a double life for years… and then when caught, backpedals with a multitude of excuses is NOT sorry… he’s sorry he got caught…two totally different things…It was not a mistake, not a temporary leave of sanity, not anything that should EVER be excused. When you decide to ignore the abuse, to pick me dance, to believe any of the dribble coming out of their mouth about how much they love you….look at your child or children. Decide if your denial is worth modeling that sick behavior to your kids. If it were your daughter or your son, what advice would you give? Then follow it…..

  • “He swore to me none of the women meant anything to him and it was all merely sexual.”

    Why do they always say this? That actually makes it /worse/!

    Why would you want to be married to someone who was even /capable/ of having sex without emotional attachment?

    • HeatDeath,

      I’ve thought the same questions. When I discovered that my husband often hired prostitutes before and during our marriage, I felt sorry for the prostitutes he used as well as me and our children. (My husband covertly used some of the money that was supposed to be invested in our kids’ college fund for sex.) I was disgusted thinking I had married someone who routinely broke the law as well as our marriage vows, treating people as sexual objects.

  • Betrayed online –

    I am raging, reading your story. I am so sorry for the situation in which you find yourself for no other reason than the whim of a madman. Thank you for sharing your struggle. Sending my support and thoughts. I look forward to watching your evolution to meh. Please trust the CN when they say you will get there. Hold on, hold fast and stay strong.

    You said ‘My trust in him is gone.’. I say good. Because now you will trust yourself.

    My wish for you., my hope for all of us.

    We were Atlas. And then we shrugged.

    ((((Hugs)))

    Grendel

  • I see this column ran previously and hope Betrayed Online was able to get away promptly. Ignoring disrespect, betrayal of trust and believing gas lighting resulted in wasted years, pick me dancing and marriage policing, financial disadvantage and more betrayal before finding out it was more than an EA. More importantly – CL’s question is this acceptable to you?

  • Betrayed,
    I too didn’t want to (nobody really does) be a single mom,I took pride when filling out forms at school,writing “martied, child lives with both parents” …that all changed last September when I found out that my narcissistic fucktwat of a husband was having an affair. ..did the pick me dance ,and during this time of wreconciliation , my than 7 yo daughter literally yelled at me like a maniac one day and when cheater told her ( first time ever,being a parent wasn’t his priority )that she can’t speak to me that way she yelled back ” why not?? You yell at mom all the time,if you talk to her that way I can too” I started to sob ,the whole situation was beyond fucked up…after I finally kicked him out (after finding 3rd time he’s still with unicorn pussy) it was a daily struggle with my daughters attitude…the disrespect, not listening, mouthing off…on top of going through nasty separation, I had to deal with all that,as if I didn’t have enough on my plate..
    Fast forward a few months and my ,now 8 yo is SO much better!!!!! She listens, doesn’t disrespect me, she’s doing great at school…
    So don’t worry about the stigma of single mom,you will be just fine…sure it sucks at times,but it is NOT permanent ,so keep that in mind…
    Best of luck. .

  • Oh my God! This is literally my life! I’ve been with my husband for 25 years and I found out the day my Dad died in June 2014 that he had been using a secret account on Twitter and was posting pictures of his penis to other women. He’d been doing that for 2 years before I found out, and what a day to find out, devasted from losing my Dad, to finding out (by cat fishing him) that he was a devious, lying POS. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and all was ok for a while. A couple of months ago he started acting strange again and again with the arguments, the suspicion, the second-guessing, the lies, the feeling of I’m going mad. You know what he did, the day we got back from our holiday abroad with our 2 kids, he went to the shop for milk and never came home. A couple of weeks went by and I found his phone bill. There were THOUSANDS of calls and texts to one number, some woman he works with, a friend apparently, someone he could talk to….yeah right, pull the other one. I can’t believe I’ve been so stupid and that he’s hurt me and my girls again. And I believed it! What a mug I must be! I’m trying to pick up the pieces with my girls and we will get there, I’ll never let him hurt us again. Please don’t be so keen to accept his lies for the sake of your marriage, you are a wonderful person in your own right, someone out there will love you as you deserve to be loved, and I’ll find my prince one day too! Good luck xx

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