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Dear Chump Lady, Should I confront the affair partner?

Dear Chump Lady,

I found out about 6 months ago that my husband was having an emotional affair with my cousin. (He denies a sexual relationship.) The affair went on approximately four years. I was told they played pool together and met for dinner. Due to his affair with the whore, I had a breakdown and drank rum and took pills. I never thought I would ever do that. Because of the breakdown my children, his parents, and my Mom found out. My husband and I decided to try to make things work (married 34 years). I know that he has cut off all contact with her. I suspect he cut off contact because his dirty little secret came out. He was horrified that our children found out. We are working on the marriage.

I am having trouble getting over the fact that he not only had an affair but he had to have an affair with my cousin. I know he is at fault, however, she knew damn well that he was married. And she should have told him from the beginning that she did not want to get involved. My anger towards her just not seem to go away. Who cheats with their cousin’s husband? What husband cheats with their wife’s cousin?!

Do you think I should contact my cousin and tell her what I think of her? Should I rub it in that as soon as my husband’s dirty little was exposed he dumped her like the trash she is? Or should I just ignore her and let her rot?


Dear CuzChump,

I generally advise against the futility of confronting affair partners. My husband says there’s an expression in the law: “If It Feels Good, Don’t Do It.”

Stomping on her smug-self-satisfied-cousin face? Don’t do it. Losing your shit in a public place? Don’t do it. Writing a nasty name-calling letter, which the OW (or your ex) can then use in court against you? Don’t do it.

Catharsis comes at a price. And disordered people are ALWAYS looking for that price. Any way to flip the narrative to the false equivalency (“Why you’re just as bad! WORSE even!”), or to paint you as the aggressor and Crazy Person. Any way to take the heat off of them, and put it back on YOU. (At CN we call this phenomenon “It’s Not What I Did, It’s Your Reaction to It.”)

The wise play is to not give the cheaters any ammo. Just remove yourself from the triangle and practice meh.

But! But! But!…. Homewrecker! 

Just don’t, CC. It’s the pick me dance.

Should I rub it in that as soon as my husband’s dirty little was exposed he dumped her like the trash she is.

Rub what in? That you WON the sparkly turd? That she was a Dirty Little Secret?

CC, being chumped means YOU were the dirty, little secret. Your humiliation, your health, your well-being, your suffering at the excuses and the disappearances, and the devaluing — were all INVISIBLE. They didn’t care! For FOUR YEARS you were the person whose Name Must Not Be Said lest you find out. They conspired against you, and chances are, others did too. Don’t tell CC, but I think her husband is cheating with her cousin… man, they spend a lot of time playing pool… cough, cough…

Of course the OW was a dirty little secret too. These are the ingredients for CAKE, that delicious confection of having it all that your husband enjoyed for FOUR YEARS.

THAT is where your fury needs to be directed. HIM. That human fuckstick you’re married to and think you “won”. That guy who is lying to you right now.

(He denies a sexual relationship.)

NO ONE has a four-year “emotional” affair. I’ll eat my hat. Setting aside the whole-emotional-affairs-are-damaging-too argument, this EA crap is bullshit. If he’s close enough to touch an 8-ball with her, he’s getting his 2-balls touched.

The affair went on approximately four years.

That you KNOW of. It takes a tremendous amount of sociopathic panache to conduct a double life for YEARS. That’s bazillions of lies. It’s deceit as a lifestyle choice.

I was told they played pool together and met for dinner.

Uh-huh. This guy lied to you for FOUR STRAIGHT YEARS — why do you think that nugget is true? The cue-dust on his collar?

Why do you want this man back? So your cousin can’t have him? Their lies NEARLY KILLED YOU. You had a suicidal breakdown over this.

CC, your rage and grief is like a loaded gun you’ve been pointing at your head. Now you’re swinging it around and taking aim at your cousin. But the puppet master fueling this war is your husband. Don’t fight for him. He isn’t worthy of you.

I know he is at fault, however, she knew damn well that he was married. And she should have told him from the beginning that she did not want to get involved.

Yes. And sweetheart, you’re still stuck with a man WHO NEEDS TO BE TOLD. It’s not that she wouldn’t refuse him (although she sucks), it’s that he is OFFERING involvement.

Stay married and enjoy the eternal game of marriage police. (After 34 years of faithful service, you get a sparkly turd!) Or leave and get a new life. Then you won’t need a script, because there’s nothing to say, it’s been done. Buh-BYE.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • Oof, my sympathy on it being a cousin. I can’t imagine how painful that was.

      • Family fuckers are a thing: my first cheater tried to screw my gay sister and then sexually molested my baby sister who was 9. When confronted he said “but you were too busy at university to have time for me” ala you MADE me cheat! 30 years later, cheater husband behind door 2 is caught by the kids red handed and said “blah blah fuckity blah” you MADE me cheat!
        These sociopaths care nothing for bounds of decency – it’s all about opportunity to get their sick jollies (cake).
        So glad I’m divorced, and completely no contact with the both of them. Life is infinitely better without a cheater ball and chain.

        • OMG “You were too busy at university” brings back memories – the exact words out of my cheater’s mouth. Apparently me having goals of my own justified fucking around with an unemployed cokehead #standards

        • *Raises hand* I agree, what’s with cheaters and siblings?
          I’ve had 2 boyfriends cheat on me with 2 different sisters. The first was when I was 19, she was 17 and boyfriend was 20. When I found out about it, I dumped his ass and told our mother. When mom called sister on the carped, sister was all “but mom, you always said KenderJ has to share!” Mom was completely dumbfounded, ” I meant her clothes and music and stuff, not her boyfriends!”
          The second one was worse, I was 24, second sister was barely 18 (this was the summer after she graduated HS), and boyfriend was 26. Unlike the earlier boyfriend, this was a sexual relationship. The first clue was when boyfriend send sister flowers at work. His excuse was that no one had ever sent sister flowers before and he wanted to do something nice. Well, no one ever sent me flowers including him. Towards the middle of summer, I got a call from my mom asking if boyfriend and I were still dating. I confirmed that we were. She told me that for the last several weekends, boyfriend would pick up my sister early in the morning to “go to breakfast”, but they wouldn’t come back until her curfew at midnight. He had told me that he was busy with his hobbies on the weekends, so we usually just saw each other during the week. They both insisted to mom that they were “just friends”. Not a full week after I walked away, sister moved in with him until she left for school that fall.
          I do not have a close relationship with either sister. 2nd boyfriend became a local politician.

            • Thank you. This all happened many years ago. The first incident, we were just kids and we were still virgins. Now, it’s more of a funny story than a painful story. As for the second incident, my son was just a toddler (boyfriend was not the father) about the same age as my grandchild is now. I discovered I have a “type”. Almost every boyfriend I’ve ever had has been a drug addict, cheater or both. After the last addict and cheater, about 15 years ago now, I gave up on finding a partner. That turned out to be the best decision I ever made. There is a lot of talk about finding a real, loving partner. If that happens for some of us, that’s great. On the other hand, life can be full and fulfilling as a simpleton. I have a job I love that makes a real difference in people’s lives, I volunteer, I have my kids (son, daughter-in-law, grandchild, niece and two grandnephews), friends, cats. I am learning how to sew, speak Spanish and just started ballet lessons. I’m living life on my terms, which is pretty awesome. No, I have no relationship with either sister, which breaks my mother’s heart. I can’t say that I’ve “forgiven” sister number 2, but it has faded so much with time that it’s more like a blurry old photograph than a raw wound. I can be in the same room with her during those rare family gatherings without stress, we just have nothing to talk about.

    • How about this one, my husbands HOworker came clicking in her spikes into hospice after he died. She was such an unclassy HO that she came in there like she owed his ass and not once but 5 times! and had the nerve to pull the curtain back to look at him. Was she about to climb on him again like I found out she’d been doing for 17 years. And get this, someone in his family called her to come there, how else did she know where to come to. She did that on purpose to show me the wife that SHE was his woman and I was only the wife and the OW I guess. Everyone I told surmised that she did not want to be hidden secret anymore and she wanted me to see her to rub it in my face that she was screwing him all these years and that they were something special and that it was meant to hurt me and make me feel like I was nobody. I want to write to that skank and tell her what I think about her. He’s dead so I can’t say anything to him. She thought they were going to get married. I know this because the big hole posted a youtube video about her company and she was showing off a big diamond wedding ring. It looks exactly like mine, so I know he gave it to her to make pretend they were married because of all the trips he took her on while she lay spread out in hotel rooms while he pretended to me that he was on business trips. That was her always calling him, keeping the playboy on a short leash, calling him while I was with him (I didn’t know he’d say it was work) (it was work alright, she was the howorker) then he would listen intently while the madam ho worker would talk to him probably instructing him not to go near me, etc.) So, I want to write to this skank and say you think that you were special and whatever you told yourself that you were the classy professional fooling everyone at work, you still really were just a HO that was admiring my husband while he was using you for an easy piece and that makes you unclassy and not the professional you fool everyone into believing. YEs, professional in your services that you offered a married man,….I never stood a chance because she was there in the background every step of the way…

      • Mine had howorkers before he died. I texted one just to casually mention his death. I asked one what his narrative was but never got a response. I wont be contacting either of them ever again but if they ever tried something like Duped above suffered, I might say something like “Oh you were his side piece…I was his wife, the spouse listed on his REALLY BIG life insurance policy”.

        • Thanks Unicornnomore. I debated for one year now If I should call that bitch or send her a letter. She won’t answer the phone I’m sure but I did drive by her house in my husbands SUV a few times so I could torture the bitch a little bit. I doubt it did anything. I did call the bitch up a month after he died and called her a whore. Now I wish I had had a script. Who lets you call them a whore and keeps the line open and doesn’t even defend. WELL, the WHORE of course, the one that really really is the Whore and climbed on my husband my entire marriage because she wanted money and nobody else wanted her. My husband probably did not want her either she was just a dumb hole. NO matter what she tries to tell herself. They thought their big deceitful secret was so great and look what happened,He died and her house fell in on her . All her hopes and dreams. Stuck remaining the side piece forever more. I’m sure she’s climbing onto the next married man for money. Thanks for your comments. Loved what you said. I was so devastated over his death, I wish I had said something to that bitch, I really wish I had. I still want to send her a card for valentines day…with some choice words.

          • Yep. Climbing on them for money. My stbx moved in with young coworker 2 years ago and spent so much money on toys, etc., that now he can’t buy his house that he kept tell me he was going to buy so he could take our child and dogs away from me. So they still have to rent. His mom told me his debt ratio is too high for him to buy a house now. Of course he will have to buy in the expensive part of town, not the lower part of town where we purchased our home 10 years ago. But that’s ok. That made it so I could buy him out. And I love my little slice of lower priced part of town – which isn’t actually so low price any more with the housing market the way it is!!

            Oh, wait…. I’m the one who has a house, our child (who doesn’t want to see or talk to him anymore) and the dogs….. not him.

            Funny how that works.

            • Well this old Hag is only two years younger than me but she puts on this high pitched voice to pretend shes the ultimate sex goddess. I saw her on youtube with these sheer blouses trying to turn on my husband and more executives at the company on. I found an email after he died that she said she was going to make more frequent vists *(she was a consultant) and that she needed room “to spread out” in the conference. I read that and thought yeah,you old clam, you were speaking in sexual innuendos because she knew it was a company email. Another email said, bring your laptop and we will work on this together. Yeah, she was working on it alright. The nasty Ho. And her youtube video said, “oh, everyone is watching my videos and they like it, and they get some engagement from it, and I’m getting more business and they call me and say “what can you do for my process” I saw that and I thought Wow, this HO thought she was really something special..she was luring in all the top execs. I know now how she was getting her payments and her money. She had a good thing going on that she pretended she was some big sparkly professional when she could hide the fact that she was screwing a married man and thinking nobody was smart enough to figure out the two of them working closely together was having a big secret affair.

        • Thank you so much Violet. I am trying to pull through this. I lost a ton of weight and at first did not know how to go on. I was always fit and took care of myself. It wasn’t bad enough that he died but his HO walking in…who would do such a horrible thing with the wife standing there. Obviously she thought she was more than just a side HO. She was in fantasyland, either that or she seriously wanted to make sure my life was ruined knowing that her whore self existed. I hope she’s happy with herself. I really really hope there is Karma. I guarantee she never skipped a meal or lost sleep. She got to have fun all these years and I was deprived. I was working like a dog and didn’t have to. I had a career and while I’m at work this HO is rubbing up to him in the conference room, etc etc

          • dupedforyears – Sorry you had to go through that. They have no conscience. Believe that what goes around comes around. It will catch up to her one day.

    • PreyingMantis cheated with my oldest adopted daughter, which pretty much blew up my family. This article is amazingly spot-on. PreyingMantis and my former daughter used to “go play pool” a lot as well.

      • Good grief, Sunny. I’m so sorry you went thru that. I can’t even imagine. There’s a special place in hell waiting for them both.

      • That is horrifying. Has you seen the open letter from MiaFarrow’s daughter about the horrifying sexual abuse she suffered at Woody Allen’s hands? Chilling and heartbreaking. And he married his own daughter!

  • Exactly. Your cousin didn’t consciously promise you fidelity, I’ll bet, but your husband did.

    Resist the urge to be distracted from the actual point, which is that the person with whom you share a life and home deliberately harmed you. It’s tempting to redirect your attention for a bunch of reasons, but it’s truly fruitless.

    Do you have your own individual counselor? If not, please consider it. You need someone strong on your team who can’t be distracted from supporting you.

    • I am happy to point out that the cousin SUCKS. Epically sucks. But she would just be a creepy inappropriate cousin had Fuckstick not enjoyed a four-year affair with her. I don’t find APs blameless, but I do find them besides the point often. If that that creepy cousin, it would be another. The problem is this guy is a cake-eating cheater who is okay with his wife nearly killing herself from the grief of the pick me dance.

      • The only “blameless” AP is the AP that doesn’t know they’re an AP. I know someone this happened to, and that person–even after a couple of years–is still emotionally damaged as a result of being deceived into being the AP.

        That said, yes, the cousin sucks. APs suck because in the vast majority of the cases, they know they’re fucking other people’s spouses they do it anyway. Oh, they can rationalize as much as they want–“the marriage was in name only” or “they’re staying married for the kids”–but the fact is that they’ve made the choice to screw someone else’s spouse.

        But as bad as the AP is, the Cheater is worse. All the Cheater has to do is say “no.”

        The fact that the Cheater doesn’t say no shows that they are total users. They’re using the AP (the AP is despicable, but is used to provide Cheater with a sense of power, control, etc.). They’re using the faithful spouse as a Plan B Spouse Appliance.

        If you Trust that They Suck, you will stop trying to Pick Me Dance for your sparkly turd Cheater. Focus your anger on your Cheater for his choices and actions.

        • In total agreement kb. “But as bad as the AP is, the Cheater is worse. All the Cheater has to do is say “no.”

          Yet, I found the cheater to be the one who was always on the prowl, looking.

          • At the end of the day, the typical AP doesn’t break any promise to you, they just break common human decency. The cheating spouse breaks both.

            • I don’t consider that a “just” common human decency, treating each other with respect is what makes us a functional society. We see it breaking down all around us right now. There is no “just a break from” about it. Srsly.

  • It is amazing that when we are in the “I must win!” part of the skirmish, so many of us simply could not see that the prize stunk. The person who did those horrid things to me, that is who he really was ! He was not confused, in a fog, a victim of aliens kidnapping his moral character…he was a selfish, mean, unfaithful, manipulative cheater.

    CC, I also bought the “Emotional Affair” story for 5 years until after he was dead and I found all sorts of truth markers in our house which indicated that there was something to hide. He went to his death denying sex…the hotel receipts I still have indicate otherwise.

    Take CLs advise and while you are at it, never let another human push you to the point of self harm. (I know about that first hand but my self harm came in the form of the Chump diet turned eating disorder to the point of wasting away).

    • Uni, “So many of us could not see that the prize stunk”. I needed to read this today. I’ve been ruminating about Doughboy and the OW and not knowing why. Now, I see the underlying issue was the “skirmish” and feeling not only betrayed but the humiliation of losing. Ha ! Losing a sparkly turd, quite funny really! Thanks for your wise words!

      • I cant believe the change in me…now I only WISH that I had the opportunity to see nowdeadcheater and Susan of Seattle together…I wish they were annoying guests at graduations etc…I wish they had gotten to see me thrive. I wish they had gotten to see me and my new H…he is a gem

        • Uniconomore, Happy to hear you have a new husband and that he is a gem ! I thought I had a gem and was so in love. But found out he had his clingy hole right at his fingertips at work. So now, I am hoping I can meet a real gem, someone who isn’t into deceit and lies and their own self gratification. Someone that is truly a gem.

      • At one point, I was 113 pounds, my hair was falling out, & I had hives…stress much? I DO NOT recommend my method of crawling out of dysfunction because I did it alone. I woudl seriously advise professional help. Im healthy today and at a reasonable weight.

    • Oh you know what My husband was SO meticulous in his HO worker affair that I never saw one clue. Why, because the whore moved to my town 5 months after we were married. She set up shop in a beachhouse, irresistible to my husband, he loves the water, and to top it off, was introduced by his disgusting pig male friend, who I now realize invited my husband to the Ho’s beachhouse party when we were newlyweds and at that party was where the ho deal was sealed. After that he hired the ho to work alongside him and they have been screwing for years. This insecure HO with the big degrees and the big beachhouse (oh she has a different beachhouse now in a different town , that he probably bought with her) and she finally is not moving around from town to town. No, after she started working with my drop dead gorgeous, intelligent, fun, charismatic, exciting, successfl husband, she kept one address, the current beachhouse in a different town because she knows my husband likes the water and had a boat. after he died, I have been through hell. Not only did the HO walk into hospice into a private family gathering,but I found out everything about her. The jewelry he was lovebombing her with, the sleepovers at her house, the travelling for work and having her there in all the hotels, etc Oh yes, I found out all of it. Now I know why he never wanted kids, now I know why he started devaluing me and trying to destroy me (and he did) and would never tell me the name of the hotel he was staying at for work, etc etc. And this HO appeared on a youtube video with a diamond band on. She was so giggly and happy …the slut. And this was published 3 weeks after his death because she knew she was loved and pampered by my husband and was able to advance her self employed job from my husbands smarts. But seemed happy 3 weeks later because she came into a haul of money I believe that my husband had a private trust for her that she received after his death. He was hiding assets. THat’s how good her ‘prostitute’ services were for the Narcissist husband. SHe knew what she was doing, she was after money and she knew he was married and cared only about herself. But she still thought she was something special and her dream was to get me dumped & be his wife. and get this, I know his whole family was In on it. Cuz she had something to offer ALL of them. Really Sick.

      • Listen. This woman is one bitter, angry whore. Your husband never divorced you and never married her. Why not? He didn’t have the kids excuse. He tormented the both of you, he was one sick bastard and I say good riddance to the POS.
        If she received marital funds your husband hid/stole you may have a potential lawsuit, not sure as I am not a lawyer. Personally I think she is just screwing with you as she is so angry she spent all those years as a side piece and for whatever reason he refused to divorce you to be legitimately with her. I wouldn’t be surprised if she was the one buying him all the gifts to keep him and he was spending monies elsewhere.

        • Yes that shameless Ho knew exactly what she was doing coming into hospice. She was definitely into the excitement, the lifestyle, the jewelry the money. The HO knew how much he made because she was a consultant and his boss told me they worked very very very closely together. There is so much evidence without their being anything concrete if that makes any sense. I have truly been suffering. That bitch sent him a text while he was dying at home and it said (he had her listed as Joe) to pretend it was a man, we told each other we would tell each other everything, I have a sick feeling in my stomach” Also she staked out my house because his sibling told me that someone was sitting in a blue car outside the house. This was after he went out to talk to her. Brother knew about it? yes, probably. The bitch was so desperate to get at my husband because he got sick and died within 3 months, so while I’m taking care of him, she was outside desperate to get in my house. I guess the ho had not heard from him, this was around Christmastime. He did not want anyone at his job to know he was ill and would not be back. Now I know why. Yes, I do believe that he hid assets. There is money missing
          after the HO waltzed into hospice, I turned around at one point and I see this slickhaired rat with her head pulled into her neck. She had the nerve to draw back the curtain surrounding him, he had just passed. I did not know who she was. In hindsight I wish I had demanded who she was. She had major league balls to come into hospice with the wife there in utter grief. Who does that? Since she wanted me to see her, I found out her name and looked into her. Things like she closed down her PO Box 5 days after he died. I guess she knew the gravy train was shut down, or she got a trust fund paid out to her. . I was sickened to know that the man I loved and wasted, yes wasted my life on and deprived of a family, would continue to have this easy piece that was two years younger than me. I would say that Ho never bought him anything she thought she could destroy my life, and screw her way into his life, she thought she was something special because she will never get a guy that looks like that or is charming, etc. to look her way again. And how come she has never had a man all these years?. And who buys a beachhouse with 5 bedrooms and two kids when you’re youngest is 2 years old and she has no husband? Fishy.

          • Feeling for you Duped. Sending a strong virtual hug to you! May you get stronger each day and your world a little brighter.

            It certainly blows to have shit hand dealt to us when we didn’t even know we were in the game.

            Be strong Girl!

  • Emotional Affairs – I don’t even know what that really is other than a description for a relationship where the guy hasn’t successfully made it physical yet. And like CL said, there’s no way in the world your husband had just an emotional affair for 4 straight years – because if she was really holding him back for that long, then he would have moved on to somebody else.

    As to the AP, you might as well go yell at your pet. The pet will at least have an idea that something’s wrong.

    • I hate that people try to make a difference between an emotional affair and a physical affair. In both they were taking away energy, interest, time, and usually money, from the person they are chronically lying to. And afffair is an affair. It does not matter if he is lying through his teeth, or telling the truth, your husband robbed you. What a gold plated son of a bitch.

      • My ex-brother in law had an “emotional affair”. He had an excuse though that driving the 2 hours to see his AP was too much effort for him .

        His wife took him back after he found out that she controlled all the money.

        And to think I went to them for advice after his sister Mme YogaPants cheated on me on how to “rebuild and save my marriage”.

        BTW – Most quotable blog post yet CL / Mr. CL

        • the cheating runs in the family. During the course of my 17 year relationship the info trickled in that cheater wife’s brothers had cheated on their spouses. In the end she cheated on me. A whole family of scumbags.

          • Agree that cheating runs in some families. X’s brother and sister both cheated on their spouses. I always thought I had the good sibling – found out that wasn’t true after 30 years together. Whole family of scumbags is correct. Anytime I wonder if I should try to find out how my nieces and nephews are doing I remember that I really don’t need contact with ANY of that family. It’s really too bad.

            • I also thought I had the “good” sibling. And he was so happy to just let me continue believing that projection. His father, his step mother, his brother, his step sister and his sister have all cheated on their spouses. As a teenager when he would leave the house to go out, his father would slap him on the back and tell him to ‘go get you some son’. I tell my son to drive safe and be careful. How I spackled over all that is just mind boggling.

              • Cheater ex screwed around in his mother’s vacant condo with his subordinate just like his father who screwed around in his aged mother’s apartment with her caregiving. Both blew up their families and treated the exes (me and my dear mother-in-law) like crap during and after divorce proceedings. Both are married to schmoopie and it doesn’t seem like bliss. I’ve tried to make sure my son doesn’t develop the same lack of character as his father and grandfather.

            • Sell and Peachy
              I agree. I always wondered why my ex was so “normal” compared to his addict, cheater brother. Turns out even the golden child is a loser. His brother, over, him covert cluster B. So sorry you had to go through this.

      • I agree. An Affair is an Affair. The moment a 3rd party enters the picture, there is an affair happening. There are so many decisions leading up to that moment that the cheater could make to NOT have an affair, yet they decide to live by their stomach flips and go after the fantasy. I’m not saying the physical part didn’t crush my soul, but the emotional connection of my X and MOW was harder to get over than the physical. Granted I wasn’t gifted an STD, so that could change my mind, but physical manifestation of what was already there emotionally just killed me. I thought that was mine! Nope.

        • Ex cheater didn’t have an affair or an emotional affair as he said, it was a ‘mental connection.’ He had a ‘mental connection’ with someone he exchanged naked photos with and explicit emails.
          I did confront the Whore and she proudly told me she knew ex was married and had a baby, but she had won. She actually told me she won.
          Yes sweetie you won a cheater.

          • That was mental alright. I hope that they both live a good long time and drive each other crazy on the way. Winners.

          • He had a ‘mental connection’

            OMG – you will be able to laugh at that someday.
            I fell over laughing at the absurdity….That was a new one but now I think I’ve heard them all!

    • “a description for a relationship where the guy hasn’t successfully made it physical yet.”

      Or the woman. Cheating is an equal opportunity fuckup.

      • I came to believe that for some cheaters,mthe chase is the high. The minute it becomes physical and/or real for Jackass, the the devaluation begins. So sometimes the fact is that the point isn’t actual sex. It’s the pursuit of what is outside the rules, the chase, the secrets, the “you aren’t the boss of me.”

    • I agree in this instance, something stinks to high heaven about it being an “emotional” affair only.

      Here’s the rub — I have indeed in my past, back 30 years ago when single, had male “buddies” that I NEVER slept with, yet enjoyed their company going to concerts, restaurants, playing pool, hiking, etc., sometimes just the two of us. I had many friends who did the same, and never thought a thing of it.

      I remember one such friend who had recently been divorced. On one occasion, he told me his ex-wife was angry with him because she had assumed he was sleeping with me. I was floored! (That’s how naive I was). I can honestly say this gentleman never made a pass at me, and we in fact remained platonic friends for several years, until he moved out of state. I have no idea what the circumstances of his life are today, but there really and truly NEVER was anything romantic or sexual between us. (And he was in fact really and truly divorced, as far as I know).

      Maybe I’m the exception, but I do think it’s possible that folks can have platonic friendships with members of the opposite sex, even when spending a fair amount of time with that person, because I’ve done it. However, I suppose a real cheater would pressure the other person to make it something more — certainly in STBX’s case, if the other party was female and had a pulse, it’s more than likely he at least tried. Just sayin’ — not everybody he hangs out with would necessarily have taken him up on that offer.

      • you are not an exception, most of my closest friends are men, there is nothing sexual about it.

        • I agree, but you both know you have strict moral reasons for keeping it just friends. You don’t get drunk and start dancing with these guys, etc. Nice to share a meal..

          Otherwise, go back and watch Meg and Billie in ‘When Harry Met Sally’.
          They pretty much cover the topic, in a classical way.

        • I have lots of male friends because of various athletic pursuits, but I don’t take time and attention from theormpartners or families or allow them to disrupt my relationships. For years, the most important adukt in my life was a male colleague. And we never used our first names. And no one ever thought we crossed romantic lines. Because boundaries!!!

      • My Serial Cheater had multiple sexual affairs and one emotional affair (She lived in another State which is the only reason it was an emotional affair) This was her high school girlfriend whom he dated over 30 yrs ago and said she was crazy, as per his sister. When I saw the emails, we had a verbal fight and he made plans to visit his mom without me. I was okay with it until a day before when my instinct tole me something was not right. He is not going for the whole weekend without me. I begged him to take me a long and after a long talk, he agreed and we left very early Saturday morning. We reached at his mom’s house by 10 and found his sister had also visited. We were sitting in the kitchen talking when we heard a vehicle’s horn blow. My Serial Cheater just walked outside and his mom peeped through the window and guess who it was……You got that right….the OW he was having an emotional affair with. I did not even say anything to his mom and sister. I wish I did. I covered for him.

        I have no problem with my H having women friends but I have a problem when I do not know about them, I am not allowed to see what they are always talking about or the conversation when I finally see it, is inappropriate.

  • I am one who ‘lost’ her sparkly turd to a family friend. I had one confrontation with her right on D-Day. I ranted, and she stared at her feet. Her response: “I don’t know what to say. I never intended to hurt you.”

    Well. Shit. Nothing to work with there. It’s not that they don’t see, it’s that they disagree. Save your breath. And walk away from your turd. He’s no prize.

    • Dear Dee and CC,
      I am sorry that your cheater’s affair was with someone you knew and had trust in, extra pain there.

      “I never intended to hurt you.”

      I know, I know, I know, it is best to walk away from the AP, but I never even knew her name, I knew a big fat nothing about her.
      Only that she enjoyed orgasim after orgasim with my husband, my child, and child-to-be’s father, and that makes her pretty damn rotten to me.
      Whoever she is, wherever she is, I wish she knew that.

      I know, I know, I know, walk away.

  • CC – I get it. I get what you’re feeling. I tried to tell the OW at least a dozen times that she was participating in adultery… even charged her with it through the courts… guess what… SHE. DID. NOT. CARE. And, I suspect your cousin will react similarly… and it will make you even angrier.

    Take that self-righteous, and fully understandable, anger and go see an attorney TODAY. The first hour is free. They are not a therapist, but you can lay it out for them:

    – married 34 years
    – detail shared assets (house, savings, retirement accounts, everything)
    – detail the affair (determine if you live in a fault or no-fault state)
    – do the math… what would you walk away with WHEN you divorce this lying whore (you’re husband)
    – and then get your ducks in a row and FILE

    Do you really think you can spend the next 34 years of your life laying next to a man who cheated on you with your cousin and drove you to attempt suicide? (And, don’t think for a moment she was the only affair he has ever had, they’re not faithful to anyone.)

    How can that option be better than divorcing him and creating a new life for yourself?

    It’s a hard slog ahead, but to be truthful (from experience) the worst is over… the D-day was your reckoning… it can only get better from here if you leave a cheater, you gain a life.

    • My husband spent 12 months grooming his much younger neighbour; stay at home married mum. They claimed the groping and manual stimulation was an emotional affair. BS!! He has erectile dysfunction and can’t get it up for a monkey. So this 38 year old love of his life (all about his happiness he told us); has to give him an hours notice so he can drop double viagra for one feeble attempt! He is 61! I did not know any man is that stupid! Her 11 yr old daughter was reading the 80 sexting messages that she was love bombing my husband with so she passworded her phone. Who is this disordered! WTF! I still find the logic so reprehensible. I still find it incredibly hard to believe the inherent stupidity. They have thrown hand grenades into 2 family’s lives and no matter the outcome, it can’t end well. Meanwhile I will thrive. My adult daughters despise him and he will never win back their respect. When they could have used dignity and respect, they chose humiliation and complete disregard. They both thought my discomfort and pain was hilarious. I am so burned. 36 years of relationship and 27 years married. It is 12 months now. I am still working in our family business because I am a financial director and I do control the assets. There will be no mercy spared in divorce, if she is still around; her prize is a worn out limp dick workaholic who will shortly be a pensioner.

  • CC,

    The only time cheaters have “emotional affairs” is when geography is a factor. As in they’re too far away from one another to make it physical. If they were close enough to have dinner, then “playing pool” is their code words for fucking.

    I stayed with the ex for three years after dday. We were married for 24 so I felt like I had already invested too much time to walk away and I didn’t want the “bitch to slip into the life we had worked forever to build and were just starting to enjoy.”

    CL is right though. I only won a spot on the marriage police force just so I could win the sparkly turd. He lied to you for four years. There is a lot of disorder here.

    What this comes down to is not if you should put your cousin on blast. She’s a distraction and she takes your focus off the real questions: “What is acceptable to you?” and “Why don’t you believe you deserve better?”

    I think you deserve better.

    • I stayed for 3 years after DDay too! I was on the marriage police too! Yay! Additionally, I would like to add that distance can be an obstacle but doesn’t mean they aren’t banging each other anyway. X and I lived in another state from MOW. We were barely living off of nothing. We shared a vehicle. I thought there was no way he could an affair. I mean, he needs money for that and we had none. Oh not so! Why, she would come here as often as she could! As they say, where there is a will, there is a way.

      • My cheater’s shmoopie was on another continent. We also had no money but he and she found a way to hook up for a week while he told me he (at the time, unemployed) had a gig that wouldn’t pay money, but might get him other gigs. Nope, he was off banging her, while I was standing in line at the food bank with my toddler son.

        When I finally found out, I got strong and ended it. Best decision ever. He’s on relationship number, what, five? Six? With a woman probably 25 years his junior who will learn like all the others that he’s a hot mess. Seven years later I’m in a stable relationship, own a house, happy, and healthy. I would never have been able to heal with him in my life. I’d have spent far too much time trying to ensure he wasn’t cheating again (spoiler, this wasn’t the only time he cheated).

        There was a time when I wanted to write an email to the OW, but a good friend talked me out of it. I’m glad now I didn’t do it. It wouldn’t do any good and wouldn’t make me feel any better. I’m so far on the high road he can’t even see me. Heh.

    • I think you deserve better, too.

      Divorce from a cheater is a dreadful experience. But there comes a day – even during the aftermath when you’re struggling to make ends meet and parent heartbroken teenaged boys – that you find yourself feeling like a badass for no longer taking his runner-up prize to a skank.

      I’ve never once spoken to his bimbo, even after she reached out to “coparent” my sons. She is less than nothing to me. And her day will come, too. My ex-husband is nothing if he’s not predictable.

      Leave a cheater, gain a life.

  • CuzChump, your letter could have been mine. Except, I called him and let him know I had taken the pills and drank almost a bottle of wine. Know what he did? He was with Cracker Barrel Whore and they discussed it and decided I was just being “dramatic”. He didn’t come home that night until 4am. Never checked on me. Thank God I came to my senses after calling him and made myself puke it up. The next time, after a huge fight and the incessant belittling, he was in the same damn room and was texting her and never noticed that I was getting loopy.

    The point is, I felt so broken and worthless that I was desperate for the pain to end. AND HE DIDNT CARE!!! When he would feel that I was finally getting uppity and getting strong enough to leave, he would ramp up the abuse and talk and talk about all I had ever done wrong, my FOO issues, my “not thinking right”, until I’d be broken again. Then I’d be ignored while he openly compared me to her, texted and called her right in front of me. It was pure evil.

    What I’m trying to tell you is this; neither of them are worth 2 more seconds of your life. He hasn’t stopped it with her, they’ve just gone underground. Get out now. Build a much better life where you are respected and valued. And the respect and value comes from YOU first. You must care for and heal yourself . Leave those two jackals to their unholy union and save yourself.

    Much love, hugs and peace to you. It will only get better once you’ve saved yourself and kicked him to the curb.

  • Buy Chumplady’s book: Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life — and buy this book: You Are a Badass.

    Annotate, laugh, underline, highlight, cry. Then get back with us.

    • QueenMother is right. The Badass book helped me pull my head out of my ass, and Cheater pointed out, with wit, humor, and sarcasm, what a fuckwit Mr. Dickhead was to me. Although I never confirmed with evidence that he had multiple affairs, I learned enough information from the book to realize that Mr. Dickhead is a serial, sex- addicted, entitled, narcissistic psychopath who is extremely talented at deception. 64 years of practice. The blameshifting and lack of any apology or remorse cinched it for me. If I was truly the love of his life, don’t you think he would have at least tried to apologize? Cheater helped me recognize the incongruities for what they were: lies intended to conceal his bad behavior.

      Good riddance. Tuesday was meh day.

  • If I had to do things all over again – I would spend every minute thinking about ME and what I wanted to do with my life going forward
    It’s what chump lady tells us to do – but it is HARD
    Why -because WE HAD OUR FUTURES PLANNED – with our spouses and kids and homes and finances intact — even retirement destinations and future vacations mapped out
    But those plans are OVER – and focusing on the CHEATER AND AP is a distraction to help you avoid the pain of TERRIBLE BETRAYAL

    SO:::::::Who cares about the AP or the cheater? they are despicable creatures lacking in empathy and decency
    Please please please BELIEVE there is a better life out there waiting for you – head in that direction and KNOW CN HAS YOUR BACK


    • Right on, TiredChump, Right on!!!

      And it’s never too late to start right now spending every minute thinking about YOU, CuzChump, and what you want to do with your life going forward.

      Yes, the bad man and the bitch are pieces of shit.

      I hope for you that you can believe that there is a better life out there — we’re pulling for ya, CuzChump!!!!

    • This talks directly to me!!!! All the future plans, hopes, dreams, etc. fucking gone!!! He is very financially stable and is living all of those with the twat (who was a friend of mine). I am struggling financially and worried about paying bills. I can’t take tropical vacations once or twice a year and look forward to relaxing, enjoyable future. This is soooooo hard to let go of.

      Reading over what I wrote, I realize that it is not losing the turd, it is about losing the financial stability and security that he represented. I could care less about him. It seems more like I can’t get past the fact that what I thought I had was never real. I would get upset thinking about the twat living what was to be my life and my future. But she has to live with him. Although I guess if they both have cheater personalities, they may be very happy together in their own selfish, shallow, unfeeling way.

      • WoM, it doesn’t matter if they are happy in their own selfish way or happy in their own happy way. What matters is you. Keep the focus there. I think you may have just had a bit of an epiphany about what it is that you actually miss and what is important to you. This can be transformative.
        It sucks to think you had the finances in place but now they are shaky. Focus on what you can do about it. Accept what is. I had to dial my lifestyle way down, and while I didn’t mind all that much about myself, it infuriated me that my children had to go with less because of their father. But you do the best you can.
        I actually accepted a lower paying job during all of this because I wanted to make my life work. And then I found a sense of pride and peace with my lessor lifestyle (it was about 5 years that I didn’t get on a plane because I couldn’t afford to) that led to greater overall happiness.
        Then I partnered up and I’m back to even fancier vacations – I appreciate them more but I know I’d be fine with out them because I was.
        Easy to say in retrospect, but truly there is more to life than money and security can be found in many forms.
        Good luck – none of this is easy and I’m just trying to share my experience, not to minimize your concerns. Remember, you never know what life has in store – aren’t we all examples of that.

  • CC I am sorry for the horrible health effects this has had on you. It seems to me that your real focus needs to be what is acceptable to you,
    winning’ that pick me dance with the first ‘EA’ cough cough did not turn out so well for me. After wasted years marriage policing, I found out, disordered X had cheated again and at DD2 changed his lies and it became apparent he had lied at DD1. Not just an EA. it seems to be one of those cheater handbook lies.

  • Thank you chump lady for sharing my post. I do not believe my husband that they did not have a sexual relationship. My husband does not want to talk about his affair and becomes upset when I bring it up. I am not sure if he really knows how much he hurt me. Every day is getting better. I no longer cry in the car driving home from work. However, I know it will take a very long time to recover.

    • How are you supposed to recover when you’re still being lied to? How can you reconcile when you don’t have the truth?

    • He doesn’t want to talk about it because he doesn’t want to acknowledge he did anything wrong. His upset is to deflect and make it your fault. That’s a classic tactic of abusers.

      Make no mistake: he’s refusing to talk about it and lashing out at you and getting upset when you do is abusive. Full stop.

      He knows exactly how much he hurt you. He doesn’t care.

      You aren’t recovering, you are spackling until the next time. There will be a next time.

      I have seen people recover from affairs and have a good marriages only rarely. In each case, the cheating partner did a lot of talking and contrition in therapy.

      If he’s not willing to talk about it, and he doesn’t want to own it. He doesn’t want you to feel better. He doesn’t want to fix things. He want you to pretend it didn’t happen.

      I’ve seen this is affairs, in physical abuse, and in child abuse. It’s the tactic of someone with no remorse and who wants to continue on.

      -divorce attorney

      • 100% agree. He doesn’t want to talk about it because he will never admit what he did was wrong. That right there is your tell.

        • Completely agree here. He does not care! My ex refused to talk about it even in counseling. As far as she was concerned, they did nothing wrong. And when pressed about it, she became enraged.

          Listen to what others are telling you. This is no way to live. Yeah it stinks and isn’t fair but staying with someone who would abuse you like that is even worse.

          I am a little over 18 months divorced and still trying to get my life and finances in order again; live paycheck to paycheck: do without a lot of things; and could not be happier. My life is so calm and drama free it is amazing. Oh, and I tell people I have adopted a “minimalist lifestyle” which is why I don’t have a lot of stuff around the house. LOL.

      • 100% agree with you, StopTheDenial! CC, He doesn’t care. He just wants the comfortable life he has always known to continue without any consequences. Been there, done that. The cheating doesn’t stop. They just take it further underground. Get out as soon as possible. It’s much better on the other side.

        • Absolutely. I had one indication that the asshat was having an affair early in my marriage — massive denial and gaslighting ensued, even with a marriage therapist (who sided with him). I invested 18 more years only to find out the asshole had ALWAYS cheated. During three pregnancies even.

          After the initial suspicion I had, he just got a LOT better at hiding it. And better at lying.

          The fact that the letter writer’s husband refuses to talk about it + the fact that he is still (actively) lying about it = I am certain he will do it again. It may not be the cousin next time, but APs are interchangeable parts to these assholes. There will always be a willing hole for someone looking for it.

          –He didn’t care about hurting his wife — as a wife, but also with her family (a cousin? holy shit!)
          –He didn’t care about hurting his kids — or their maternal extended family.
          –He didn’t care that he drove his wife to self-harm.
          –He refuses accountability.

          This man is causing (and has caused) direct harm to his family — the one he swore to love and protect — and he does not care. This is abusive. This is a horrible person. I sincerely hope the letter writer finds her strength (which she DOES have), listens to CL, and gets away from him.

    • CC, you write: “I am not sure if he really knows how much he hurt me.”

      If he doesn’t know then something is terribly wrong with him.

      After such a long relationship it is very painful to have to admit that under the pleasing sparkles there is nothing but a stinking turd. That you will be alone (maybe for months, maybe forever). As me how I know (42 years between dating and marriage).

      Why, just 15 minutes ago I signed a document and someone asked me when I was going to change my name. I felt a slight twinge of embarrassment, sadness and hate, but it feels much, much better than than being cheated on and disrespected and swallowing this poison to keep up appearances.

      To change and after 42 years start living with respect is a huge step, but it can be done. Your life deserves more than disrespect and abuse.

      Cheating with a cousin or even a sister makes no difference to me about what I feel for my turd and HIS actions. They are unacceptable. Be free and mighty. Chump Narion and Chump Lady are my daily food for strength. Take care CC.

    • I think the point is he doesn’t actually care how much he hurt you. He thinks the hurt is because you found out, not because he did things wrong. He is still lying. He is trying to minimize your right to know what was happening in your marriage. I think you need to cry in front of him. He becomes upset when you bring it up? Oh. That’s precious. Poor timid forest creature doesn’t like consequences and actually being held accountable for his behaviour? Boo. Fucking. Hoo. Why does his need for silence (which has already had at least 4 years of winning) matter more than your need to process? Go make him sit in the car (with no windows cracked, in summer heat or winter cold) while you cry, in the house, under a blanket, with wine and slipppers and a dog to cuddle. Seriously. What makes you think he’s actually working on the marriage?! Because he hasn’t left? Many hugs. Think about this. Be strong.

      • Yes I completely agree with you Creativerational (and love the bit about a dog to cuddle. Aren’t they such a comfort?)

        Shortly after my DDay when I was totally numb, trying to find the truth and feeling so confused and broken, we went out for a meal (sounds crazy now). As I picked at and shoved the food around my plate fighting back tears, I watched as he hungrily ate every morsel. As I tried to explain to him the rollercoaster of emotions I was feeling, he looked up at me with a big smile and jokily said, “Yes, that’s fair enough but whenever you’re finding things especially tough can you get through that on your own and not be around me. I don’t know what to say to you anyway.” The stone cold selfishness chills you to the bone.

      • Totally agree. I’m so sorry to say that I think your prize of a husband knows how much he hurt you, he just doesn’t care because…you seem to be okay with it. If you weren’t you would have ended it already.

        No judgement here. I, myself, had more than 1 Dday. Just trying to save you some additional heartache.

        Take care.

    • Chumped by Cousin – huge hugs to you.

      Do not believe a word he says any longer, he’s lost any credibility- or even benefit of the doubt.

      Mine walked out – abandoned – a 38 year marriage and then refused to speak to me. At all. He immediately moved in with an “old work friend,” who he married 6 months after our divorce was final.

      I knew he’d been friends with her since they’d both left that company, 10-15 years ago. I TRUSTED MY HUSBAND. She was older, she was alone, she needed help and felt sorry for her. He’d tell me he was going to her house to help with roofing, electrical issues, etc., because she couldn’t do it and he felt sorry for her. He’d tell me he’d gone out to dinner with her, that he’d helped her with her old car, old tractor, because she was older and alone, etc….

      And I trusted him.

      And they lied to me, gaslighted, stole from my married, smeared my character to friends and family, plotted behind my back. FOR YEARS.

      “She’s just a friend.”

      Run. Don’t listen to him, don’t buy his stories or excuses. It’s the most pain you will know, but it leads to an honest, rewarding, happy, good life. Run.

    • “I am not sure if he really knows how much he hurt me.” He knows. Of course he knows. He. Does. Not. Care. I’m sorry CC but you have nothing to work with there. There is no marriage to save. 4 years? That’s at least (I’m with CL, it was going on longer than you know) 1,460 consecutive DAYS of lies and deceit. How could you ever trust after that? You know what will speed up your recovery? Kick his lying, cheating, ass out of your house and go no contact. Are your children adults? If so, you have no reason to need to communicate with him. Give yourself the gift of AT LEAST 60 days of no contact to clear your head and your heart. Get yourself a good therapist and when you’ve recovered enough to realize that your life is better without the weight of that cheating fucktard dragging you down, get an even better lawyer.

    • “I am not sure if he really knows how much he hurt me.”

      If nearly killing yourself with booze and pills in a suicide attempt didn’t get his attention, I think you need to conclude that he doesn’t care.

      You ALMOST DIED.

      And he’s still lying to you. This isn’t sustainable. This shit will kill you. Slow soul death, declining health, or in one I-can’t-take-it-anymore dramatic act.

      All for a turd. Don’t let it. Please see a lawyer.

      • Hope I’m not being insensitive given the moving content of CC’s letter but so loved today’s cartoon. The steam so had me laughing.

    • CC–I accessed a lot of websites on infidelity shortly after D-day. One of them was by a woman who had reconciled with her cheating husband. She had to go on anti-anxiety meds, anti-depressants, and would detail her feelings as she tried to recover. Her blog eleven months out said that she was still on medicines, but for the first time had had a week with more good days than bad. Eleven months out. That was a deciding factor in opting for divorce. There was no way I was going to feel awful for 11 months to give my cheater another chance.

      Because I opted not to reconcile, 5 months after D-day, 1.5 months after the divorce, and with no-contact for most of that time, I felt true happiness. It didn’t always stay; there were days of pain and grief I still had to work through, but that day or two of happiness gave me a sense of how a life of integrity was going to feel. Hugs to you navigating this.

      • I spent almost two years–two marriage-policing, pick-me-waltzing, mind-movie-looping, trust-smashed years!–trying to reconcile. I knew in the first week it wasn’t going to work. I wish I had those two years back…

        • Right there with ya chump-pin! I knew too. I KNEW!!!! That gut reaction that said I should get out now. I just stuffed it down and kept going. I wish I could have those 3 years back.

          • How about 20 years wasted on an asshole after first DDay. Altogether 39 years married! I have no more time to waste so 2nd Dday last April I told him to get the fuck out, got a lawyer, sold the house, bought a new house and moved to another town. Got half of everything and will divorce hi in April. My advise once a cheater always a cheater don’t waste another second on these assholes! Hugs to all and I’m doing great to boot!!

            • I wasted 9 years.

              And that was after a confrontation with OW#1. Initially I felt victory because the sniveling worm immediately backed off but it left the poor sad sausage fuckwit in a state of “confusion” and he just sat there, not pursuing me and not pursuing the OW. So I danced harder. And the problem sort of went away (not).

              I saw the idiot OW#1 at the airport about 6 months after DDay and told her off. She shrank from me, she was scared of me, all she could say was that she was “so sorry.” But it was meaningless, and very unsatisfying. She was not the problem, he was. When I told the fuckwit about the confrontation he was actually turned on, I could clearly see he was really jazzed at the cake and super-centrality of imagining two women doing battle over his awesomeness.

              So 9 years later he poofed after spending tons of time working away from home and charming every woman at work with little micro affairs and chummy closeness while I was ignored and lied to every single day. In those intervening years I was direct with him and was always taking the temperature of the relationship (yup, I danced motherfucker!) and he simply lied and said we were fine, he was happy, no problem. After he abandoned me he made it really clear that it was 100% my fault and he wouldn’t own a single shred of his deceit.

              CC can do as I did and waste time, thinking that with 3 decades of marriage there is no way he would blow things up so she is ‘safe’ and has a victory. But as you can see here there is no safe zone with these self-absorbed idiots (and if I recall lyndaloo had something like 4 decades going). They will act like things are all good and lie to you that everything is peachy, then one day they will rip your heart out, stomp on it, and tell you it is your fault and you made them do it.

              We all wished we were the unicorns but there is really no such thing, only ticking bombs. The years in between are not worth it–you are not buying time, you are buying resentment and the ultimate blame from the cheater when they pull the pin. I am so sorry for your pain.

    • Dear CC,
      He will NEVER NEVER TALK about the affair,
      He will NEVER NEVER KNOW how much he hurt you.

      You sound like a very strong person and you will have to remain very strong.
      When you wonder about what happened, when you try to figure out what happened, you are entirely on your own on that one and you will remain entirely on your own.
      I do not want to sound mean to you. I try to be a peacekeeper.
      My DDay was years ago. I pick me danced, my cheater stayed. I told no one of the affair. I kept it all inside and went on with a busy life, a rewarding career. Even though he stayed, I was the present, sane, loving parent. I have to say that I pretty well put the affair on a bottom shelf, ignored it, I didn’t think too much about it.
      For me, it was years later that it started to knaw at me. Knowing not one thing about the AP I would occasionally ask him questions. His response? Nothing, Crickets. Denial. “That was so long ago. It is a figment of your imagination.” And some figment it remains to be!
      CC, no one can tell you what to do. Your head and your heart will know. Listen to what your brain is telling you as well as what your heart says in each beat. YOU will know.
      But, do not struggle all alone, like I did, CC, get a good therapist to talk to. And finding CL, CN, well, you have already found the world’s most caring, most knowledgeable, BEST in all catagories, therapists-friends in the while wide world.
      Try to eat healthy, get sufficient rest, ( that is no easy feat – talk to your Family Doctor, get support from him/her for all your medical/emotional needs).


    • CC,

      You want to know why he doesn’t want to talk about it and gets upset?

      Because….they are still communicating with each other. In some form or fashion.

      Not wanting to talk about it, yet being in reconciliation is the dead giveaway. Trust me on this.

      Part of true reconciliation is cleansing the soul and beginning the long process of building trust. Reconciliation is a GIFT to, not a right. He doesn’t see it that way because HE IS STILL IN CONTACT WITH HER.

    • It’s not that he doesn’t kniw how much he hurt you, it’s that he doesn’t care.

      Ask me how I know.

      And the reason he doesn’t want to talk about it is because it’s still going on. Plus, he wants you to feel bad for “pestering” him about it. I mean, your pestering is just SO MUCH WORSE than his having an affair with your cousin, and he owes you nothing, right?

      If he is not down on his knees crying and begging for your forgiveness all day everyday, then he doesn’t care.

      Ask me how I know.

      Do yourself a favor. Get out now, ask questions later.

    • For the love of all that’s holy–don’t believe a known liar. They lie. It is not just what they do; it is who they are. If you aren’t ready to leave at least protect yourself:
      1. Go get fully tested for STDs. He fucked her and likely was not careful (cheaters almost never are).
      2. Get a handle on all your financial stuff. Know everything, make copies and put the originals somewhere safe.
      3. If you live in a fault state put your proof together and keep it somewhere safe (by the way, this is the only reason to talk to cousin: if you think you can get her to confess-try email).
      4. Go see a lawyer and see where you would be if the marriage ends. As that same lawyer to draw up a post nup based on a more than fair settlement for you.


      5. In conversation one day ask him if he would be willing to sign a post nup agreement so you can feel safe. If he says no, or, deflects with anger or other tactics–That is your answer. If he really loved you and cared about the marriage working he’d do whatever he could to make you feel safe. I can almost guarantee that he does not. He is being “good” for long enough to lull you into a false sense of security. Then he will:

      1. Buy a burner phone so you can’t track his calls.
      2. Schedule his dalliances during the day so you don’t suspect.
      3. Start draining/hiding marital assets so he is financially ahead when HE leaves you.

      I know you don’t want to hear this, but at least prepare for the worst case scenario in case he isn’t a shiny unicorn, but just your average jackass. Many of us chumps here were left completely financially bereft because of our cheater’s financial infidelity. Many also have incurable or even lethal diseases because our cheaters believed whatever whore they were screwing was “clean” because she was so “nice” to him. Don’t say to yourself “Well, he cheated but he’d never_______.” See above note: Liars lie.

    • Doesn’t know how much he hurt you?
      Knows, but Doesn’t care how much he hurt you?


    • “He becomes upset when I bring it up.”

      That’s right out of the cheater script. It’s not what he did, it’s that you (YOU!) are making him feel bad about it. My X would tell me I just wanted to shame him and he felt bad enough – how I could I do this to him? Making him talk about it and suffer the shame – that is too cruel! And I fell for that for a while before I found CL and a good therapist who said if he wants to make amends he HAS to talk about it and answer my every question. And that’s when we got into the Trickle Truth… just enough truth to make you feel like he is trying to be honest and so you should make an effort too – to forgive and continue the marriage.

      And no, he does not know or care at all how much he hurt you. My X’s narrative now doesn’t include anything about “hurting” his family. It’s all about how bitter and unforgiving I am. Continuing on with someone who does not have empathy and who does not care about you the way a husband should care about his wife is a horrible way to live your life – I know, I did it for 2 years. I encourage you to find a therapist so you can process what happened and make good decisions for yourself. It takes longer for some people than others (it took me a loooong time to wrap my head around it all). Just consider the possibility of ending your marriage and living a life of peace and truth. Just consider it. It’s so much better over here!

    • Cheaters don’t reform, they regroup. They go underground. But the whole point of reconciliation is to recalibrate their chump to better accept the same bad behavior in the future. Because by taking them back, they’re assured that cheating is not a dealbreaker.

    • Honey,

      Please STOP this crazy-making ride. You don’t cry in your car on the way home any longer?
      I know exactly what you’re talking about. I used to drive home with apprehension and dread. You wanna know when that stopped? When he left.
      I’m sorry it was your cousin, but if he’s capable of going after your cousin… anyone’s fair game to these disordered fuckwits.
      “My husband does not want to talk about his affair and becomes upset when I bring it up.”

      This ^^^^^^ right there is your answer. He. Does. Not. Care. That he hurt you.

      I wish you peace, but fear that peace will not come until you get clear of him.

      Please heed the advice of Chump Lady and us fellow Chumps.
      Get clear.
      Get free.
      Get peace.

    • CC,

      I agree with everything above and would just add to not make the mistake of projecting your thoughts and feelings onto your husband. Don’t make the mistake that he feels the same about what he’s done as you do. Don’t think that just because you would never do this or that, that he would feel the same. When you do what he did, with who he did it, and for the length of time that he did it, he absolutely has WAY, WAY, WAY different values than you do. These are foundational aspects of his character. Please don’t expect them to ever change.

      And trust me, the stress of living a new life after a long term marriage is significantly less than the stress of having to play marriage police and having to live with this guy for the rest of your life. I wish you nothing but peace and good luck!

  • CC
    I was married for 34 years also. Went through red flags that I ignored, denial , humiliation, etc . His affair was 3 years before I discovered it. I had no choice but to divorce him. I loved him all that time & still do. However I would & could not trust him ever again.

    My health & mental well being was at stake. You should put yourself first & dump the cheating loser.
    How much time are you going to waste with someone who doesn’t love you? Words are nothing.. it’s his actions that tell the truth.

    You should get your self respect back & let the whore cousin have him! He’s a piece of crap!

  • Ha!

    Just get a few years out. Any fantasies of confronting will die.

    I can’t even imagine what I’d say to my XWs OM (she’s still with him). It’s so…Meh. As CL says, he “won” that prize (because I chose to stop competing).

    That’s all I need.

    This will, someday, not be central to your life anymore. Remember that.

  • I don’t think you ever get the truth of a affair, just their version, I think your expecting too much of your cousin, she didn’t respect you then, why would she respect you now. From personal experience they change their minds, a lot. You deserve better.

  • Well, I do have contempt for the AP—I think they do deserve that, particularly since they knowingly hurt a ton of people, including children, and had all of the information required to make better choices—but that’s only when I bother to waste precious mental energy on her, which is increasingly seldom. I am just glad to have the both of them mostly out of my world. The damage they did to our children will last a long, hard time, and I sure don’t love being the one left to attempt to heal wounds they inflicted, but very grateful to be free of the day-to-day cruelty and craziness of their sick little world.

    It’s so hard to envision, at first, but that getting a life deal does happen, and it is flawed, messy, amazing, and blessedly normal and free of cheater ooze.

    Big shrug to them. Don’t care to know a thing.

  • CC–absolutely do not confront your cousin. However, nothing is preventing you from telling EVERYone–Grandma, distant cousins, neighbors, her own mother, that she was the partner in your husband’s affair.

    P.S. He absolutely fucked her. Four years of just flirtatious glances? Puh-leeze. When I found evidence of my then-H’s affair with a graduate student, he claimed it was “just kissing.” What was it really? Months of sordid sex, racy emails, and a plot to divorce me so that they could be together. The deception is mind-boggling.

    • Thank you, Tempest…this is exactly what I was thinking.

      CC: Maybe Grams and the Aunties should know. The other cousins (that you get along with) should probably know as well…Cousin OW may be on the prowl.

      • I’m all for public shaming. People need to be informed of a person’s true character-liar,cheater,thief

  • ‘He was horrified when our children found out.’

    It’s not about what he’s done. It’s about what people know. Actions aren’t actions when they are invisible and just feeding his ego. He believes your needs matter so little. You talk with all the buzz words. ‘We are working on the marriage’…. I don’t hear a thing in your letter where ‘douche nozzle has had some real remorse, over his actions and their effect on me and is now in therapy to understand how to communicate effectively with his chosen partner, and repair damage and build trust. He has actively participated in a disclosure and sends me copies of all money statements, lojacked his phone and car on an app he sent me and made sure I know where he, his phone, his money is at all times. He has owned the damage by telling our families HIS choices and taken responsibility for the fact that they made me so bereft I became mentally unwell.” No. He gets mad at you when you want to talk, he lies about what happened, and he makes you save your cries for the car. Boo boo, your kids know who he is. That’s actually called fairness. Now they can adjust their trust level.

  • CuzChump, I know this isn’t the answer you were looking for, but as everyone says, please do yourself a favor and ditch him. You’ll never trust him again; do you want that kind of marriage? No one will blame you.
    And yes, after 4 years, that emotional affair wasn’t just emotional. And don’t be surprised at all the betrayals cheaters will make. They’ll sleep with your best friend, your sibling, your kid’s preschool teacher…and they’ll do it in your house, in your bed, etc.
    My own ex had a “date” with her affair partner on our anniversary.

  • Be strategic. That’s the only way to deal with these scumbags and come out the winner.

  • I agree. That whole “emotional affair” façade is their way of trying to soften the blow…as if that’s a thing. First off, all betrayal is emotional, so … redundancy. Mine called his that…after the dead shark-eye stare & silence, then the “those gifts were inappropriate” line and then the “she’s like a sister” ploy. WTAF? So, that was an emotional vibrator he gave her for Christmas? That emotional thong selfie she sent to him (the only trace of their affair he couldn’t bring himself to delete from his old phone)?
    Yeah. “Emotional affair” my emotional ass.
    CC, listen to ChumpLady. Is that what you want? He lied to you for 4 years (that you KNOW of)…every day…in tiny ways…in big ways…about who he is & what he’s clearly comfortable doing to you (that you KNOW of). Did someone wave a magic wand and he’s all of a sudden honest: presto-change-o? Trust that he sucks. HIS betrayal is what matters. Sure, your cousin sucks, too. But he broke the vow.

    Can you ever trust him again? That was my bottom line, after 30 years married. He had had 2 affairs when we were newly married: 1 “emotional” before he gave himself permission…within weeks and over Christmas…to start a sexual one with a more available skank. That was 26 years ago. I “won” that sparkly turd and we wreckonciled and I eventually took him at face value because he seemed contrite and present and committed. Right up until the day after my birthday last year when I discovered the 3 year “emotional” affair with a married skank who worked for him. I was blissfully ignorant thinking I had this solid, loving marriage. Granted, with a grumpy guy who had been distancing himself from me, but I couldn’t see that clearly until the puzzle pieces came together.
    CL helped me stop toying with the nauseating fantasy that I could stay & make my marriage into the image that I had in my head of it. It was nothing like I imagined it. And never could be. That realization set me free. I now KNOW my truth and my life ARE what they are. Fuckwit doesn’t get a vote or another chance to set me up & deceive me again. I am free!
    What’s acceptable to YOU, CuzChump?

  • As I have learned from reading and observing life — no family member is “off-limits”. They are actually easier, because they have proximity and plausible deniability. Think about how many fathers, uncles, brothers, and cousins have been the abuser in child cases. I’m sure mothers, sisters and aunts are also involved. Think about the jokes that family reunions are great places to pick up a date — not really funny, I know, too real.
    People who have no boundaries will do whatever pleases them. They pretend to be someone who cares, someone who has a moral basis. They are not who they appear to be. They try to control the narrative, and chumps are gullible because we want to believe. Think about the facts you know. When you eliminate the parts of the stories they tell that can be proven, whatever is left, however improbable, or disgusting is what really happened. They did play pool. They did go to dinner. They didn’t tell you they were seeing each other, on the sly (WHY?) for four years. Use reason. Seriously, you already know. People who do this don’t change. Ask me how I know.

    • I have relied on the concept of Occam’s Razor–all things being equal, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one–when my desire creeps in to want to believe her unbelievable and convoluted explanations. Occam’s Razor works for detectives, and certainly hones my mind.

    • My little ol’ Okie Mama used to tell me “A stiff prick has no conscience”. She hasn’t been proven wrong in my 70 years. Keep that slogan in mind.

  • In this terrible time and place, you have convinced yourself that nothing could be worse than “throwing away” a 34 year marriage. I’m sorry, this is scary and painful, but you are wrong. The marriage is already trash. The worst thing that could happen is happening to you right now, while you are eating yourself on the inside with the puck me dance, the wreckonciliation, the poison your mind and body have to keep inside so that you can be “the good wife” on the outside. You cannot think straight when your head is wrapped up in his bullshit and this bullshit marriage. Sorry, there may have been some good times, kids, a home, but everything is different now. Give yourself the gift of some time to think your own thoughts, be in your own body and mind, make your own choices. Some time, at least, dammit! Right now, you are a boiled frog and it feels fucking normal to you. Get out of the pot for a while and see what you really truly actually think and feel and want.

    • The best thing I ever did for myself was to dump all of the toxic people in my life. People who love you lift you up, they encourage you, they make you feel safe and secure, they care about your feelings and want to see you happy. Anyone who doesn’t value you and does things he/she knows will harm you (physically and/or mentally) is NOT worth keeping around. That includes APs, Switzerland Friends, and Flying Monkeys, too.

      There is so much more to precious life than wasting your time and energy trying keep a man who has shown you who he really is. He won’t change and you don’t need him in order to have a good life. It’s scary to think about divorce and starting over again later in life, but so many of us have been there and done it and are living proof that it was worth it!

  • Best feeling ever: Said goodbye to his angry, petulant, silent face early one morning before he left for work, and after 2 months of grey rock. An hour later my posse backed up a truck and loaded 50% of marital property (I picked) onto a truck and drove to my new residence. Left over 40 decades of marriage and never looked back. Never spoke to him again. Communicated through attorney. And fantasy conversations and confrontations were just that. Fantasies. Never as good as the real thing. Because the real thing is the best revenge. Walk away. Nothing to see here.

    He, of course, was frothing at the mouth. Whatever.

    • I love your story!
      I still have pre-teens, so I have to be in contact with their idiot dad. But if they were grown, I would have loved to do it the way you did. If he fell off the earth, I would not miss him one bit. (I had a lot of D-Days and had decided what I needed to do long before I got up the nerve to divorce him.)

      • Truly. Discovery + still raising children. The stuff of nightmares. On the other hand? I raised children in a constant state of confusion. Mine and theirs. Who IS this unknowable creature? Why is he randomly unhappy? And finding out his happy was the random occurrence. Unhappy was his norm. I mean, gross. Family life. He suffered so. Who knew? Not us.

    • “Left over 40 decades of marriage.”

      Forty decades?! 400 years! Are you a vampire? 😛


  • It takes a long time to come to grips with the fact that there are such back stabbing selfish people, and coming to grips with that reality is painful.
    The thing is your spouse was the one responsible for being faithful, he’s the one that made an agreement with you to be monogamous. Your cousin didn’t, she just used the fact that she made no such commitment to you as a justification for her shittyness. Sure good moral people know that common humanity implies married people are off limits (especially a family members spouse) but you aren’t dealing with such people.

    As far as reaching out to her goes, consider the fact that you are dealing with someone who, for four years, conspired to deceive you, looked you in the eyes with no guilt and maintained the lie. What do you honestly think you will get from her? A breakdown of pure remorse? The truth? A crisis of Conscience? No, she will bask in the glory of the pain she’s caused. She will feel a sense of power that she has, yet again, infiltrated your life. If she can’t be sure your spouse is sitting around thinking about her, well at least she knows you are … kibbles! That there are people like this on earth is one of the shit- sandwich realities chumps get force fed against their will. Life becomes easier when you stop expecting the selfish to behave with a sense of common humanity. If four years of boinking your husband wasn’t enough to jog the morality button in her brain, it’s safe to say nothing will. Just trust that they suck!

    Chumps lose a lot of things on d-day, but in my opinion, one of the hardest things to lose is the loss of innocence that comes with accepting the loss of believing the world is fair place, and that there are the disordered who love to pray on those who think that it is. They don’t understand the concepts of reciprocity, fairness or common humanity. All they understand is it is about them. Yep, that’s the stinky shit sandwich chumps are left to swallow, and if you refuse to eat it… well it will keep being served over and over again.

    I imagine you (as many of us at CN have done) will have to go through years of false reconciliation, repeated deception, and having your love, and belief in hope, used as a weapon of manipulation before you begrudgingly eat that shit sandwich.

    If you take anything away from what I’ve said, please let it be this. Start lining up your ducks NOW!
    – Start secretly putting away money in an account in just your name. (Note: this will be a marital asset but will fund your survival when the walls come crashing down). Hey, if that never happens you’ll have a wonderful wedding gift for your kids, or the ability to take that dream trip, or whatever.

    – PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE Insist your spouse sign a post nup agreement that gives you the upper hand should any more cheating occur. You get the house, the car, 75 percent of the bank account, etc. I started the process but never completed it because my spouse insisted “he would do anything to save the marriage, including signing a post nup.” Silly Chump … I felt guilty and never completed the process. I took his willingness as proof he’d never do it again! 7 years later, here I am, in the middle of a 2.75 year divorce. He’s spent almost every penny in our stock and savings accounts, and I am most likely going to walk away with about 10 percent of what we built over a 16 year marriage. You can’t give what’s already gone!

    Protecting yourself of course goes against the fairytale narrative of the reconciliation industrial complex. You can’t have a good marriage without trust. And if you are protecting yourself waiting for the other shoe to drop, you can’t have a good marriage. Bullshit! Protecting yourself is the mature and responsible outcome of being in a marriage with someone who doesn’t honor agreements. Putting your head in the sand is believing in fairytale endings! Don’t be like me, the woman who beleived in fairytales and ended up getting stabbed by the prince (read turd) repeatedly!

  • Confronting the AP does NO good. NONE. It’s tempting, but the AP is just as disordered as your cheating spouse. People who engage in boundary-less behavior have real personal problems, regardless of whether or not they are sociopathic. Believe me they know they cheated but they don’t agree with you that what they did (or are doing, it’s not over!) was wrong. They have all sorts of justifications and all of their justifications are that YOU are horrible (you aren’t though!). They probably talk about how the chicken you made last week was dry and when you were dating your husband 3 decades ago you once said something stupid, or when you registered for your wedding he didn’t like the silver-ware you chose (true story!). Disordered people have disordered thinking and the response will not be satisfying, may be surprisingly hurtful (she knows a lot about you that you would rather her not know), and it won’t fix your life or marriage. Let her have him, take the lifelong alimony and half all the assets and retirement.

  • Dear CC: I, too, made a suicide attempt that sent me to the ICU for three days, right after I found out that Two-Legged Rat was screwing his cousin. And not only his cousin but a collection of hookers, strippers and co-workers from the very first day of our 30-year marriage. I sent a tearful email to the whore (15 years older than TLR) demanding an explanation in person, and she replied that I was the product of old-fashioned catholic education and didn’t understand a thing about modern sexual relationships (not true at all, but imagine my humiliation). I pick-me danced for 2.5 years after D-Day, until I realized there was nothing to work with. I kicked him out on January 12, 2008. I was scared to death for a couple of years, lost my lifetime friends and almost lost my two sons, but slowly picked myself back up. Last Friday, January 12, I celebrated ten years of freedom with a party for the ten new girlfriends that I’ve made along the way. We started at 8:30 pm and the last ones left at 4 am!!!!! We laughed, we cried, we sang, we shared. Believe me, CC, you don’t need this sparkly turd. Getting rid of TLR was a gift that allowed me to start a new life, to do things I never thought I was capable of. My kids are proud of their mom, and I am proud of myself!!! These turds do not deserve us, CC, you deserve better.

    • I forgot to tell you that I’m 63 today, feeling still young and full of plans, projects and dreams.

    • If having morals and keeping your promises is “old fashioned” fine. Sign me up for the old world. I hate the cloaking of deceit and malice in the “modern, sophisticated” lie.

      • You know the best part, Jojobee? My kids, aged 24 and 29, agree with me that infidelity is a deal breaker.

      • Same here, he kept saying I was unevolved. Thanks but I will stay that way because that’s my moral frame work. I don’t consciously hurt people.

  • Confronting the OW is a waste of time. Confronting your cheating spouse is a waste of time. Telling the truth is NOT one of their strong personality traits. You will never know the truth about the affair, but you do know it was an affair and a long one at that. That’s all you need to know in order to make a decision about YOUR life going forward. Someone here at CN said it well, “If you have to tell an adult how to BE an adult and act like a decent person then you are wasting your time and breath.” They are cases of arrested development. Don’t waste your precious time. I know it hurts terribly, but your life is worth much more than playing marriage detective to a couple of oversized toddlers who have discovered their genitals for the first time! Dump his sorry ass and go live your life with pride and dignity!

    • “If you have to tell an adult how to BE an adult and act like a decent person then you are wasting your time and breath.”

      This. When the marriage therapist asked me what I wanted, I said I wanted to be married to an adult who didn’t find a need to test boundaries like a two year old. Cheater’s response? “I need to know where the boundaries are before I can stay within them.” In other words, “how much can I get away with?”

  • Egads. The lows that Cheaters sink to only get lower and lower. So sorry, CC.

    The pool ball line made me snort coffee through my nose. A Friday challenge, perhaps? What Cheater said they were doing versus what they were actually doing, in the same context?

    Cheater: We were shooting pool balls!
    Truth: She was fondling his balls.

    My (Ex)Cheater: We were working on her house’s faulty plumbing!
    Truth: He was laying pipe, that’s for sure.

    We were workout partners!
    He was repeatedly planking above her.

    and on and on, ad nauseum

  • Every time I thought about confronting the OW(and for a long time it was daily), I remember how many times I have thought about what I’m going to say to a person and how it will go, but when I actually talk with them, it’s not what I imagined it would be. That’s what has kept me from confronting her all these years.

    • Why bother yourself? She has made it plain what she thinks of your marriage. Nothing.

      DTMFA (Dump The Mother F**ker Already)

      You’ll be so-o-o much happier when you don’t have to carry all that anger around.

  • I agree that you never ever get the truth, yet that is something that to this day (18 months or so out) I want to know.

    • Cheaters can lie on a level of believability that boggles the mind of a normal human. Sometimes I thought my cheater wife was even trying to convince herself by saying some of the BS she was saying.

      • I think she came to believe some of her own lies. She was very convincing.

        It was very scary at times. Twilight Zone scary.

  • I really identified with this letter writer’s situation. My husband too said it was “just” an emotional affair (and it took a lot to wring that confession out of him) … an affair that lasted nearly four years. It was with an old girlfriend and former colleague who lives about an eight-hour drive away from us. But that long distance isn’t much of a deterrent for two reasons: (1) She lives in his hometown, which he has visited without me when my workload prevented me from going on trips to see his family. And (2) she works for a children’s museum, and she has taken work trips to a large city adjacent to mine. So they’ve had opportunities.

    So much for trusting the man I’ve been married to for decades. Like you, CL, I have zero faith that they didn’t bump uglies since it went on so long and due to the nature of some of their nasty texts and photos that I found. I went through a suicidal phase during the worst of my grief and trauma, too.

    Also like this letter writer, yes, I’m still with my sparkly turd. I have waffled for FIVE YEARS since D-Day about leaving him. Since the trust hasn’t magically returned (with his zero efforts), I began about a year ago saving as much as I can from my tiny income so that someday I will have choices. I estimate it will be another two years before I have enough money for a down payment on a small house of my own. Meanwhile, in my day-to-day existence I get lulled into the contented moments of a long marriage, and he is relaxed and relieved that the topic of his affair only comes up one or two times a year these days when something triggers the old wounds.

    Stories like this remind me that I thought we had a good marriage BEFORE D-Day too, and I can’t trust illusions.

    • Effie… I’m still here too after my husband swore to me there was no affair. Been trying to deal with it for two years now. Of course he tells me I was overly dramatic!

      I wasn’t. The circumstantial evidence was ridiculous. Trying to get the last kid prepared for college. It’s not going to be pretty and he’s going to try to defend his reputation for the sake of the kids. He’s also going to hate losing his money.

    • I hope you can consider that divorce might provide that down payment without spending 2 precious years in a dead marriage.

  • CC,
    I am sad that you got this huge S–t sandwich. An AP like your cousin doesn’t ‘do’ ethical, so talking to her will probably be only infuriating. You can try to win your turf (husband), but if he’s like my exes, I doubt that it will make you feel better. Staying with a partner I could no longer trust nor respect felt unhealthy and dissatisfying and traumatic. I have felt like you, suicidal when my last boyfriend abandoned me. Five months out, I realize that if I committed suicide, he either wouldn’t care (even notice) or he would believe that he was right to dump me, saying to people and himself that he was right to do so because I was a really messed up nut (probably one that he, ‘Mr. Good Guy,’ tried to save but, alas, could not). These turds love to give themselves credit where no credit is due. Please do not harm yourself through suicide or amy other ways. The world needs good people, like YOU, to balance out the turds.

    I also, until very recently, used to work kget very upset, thinking about why my ex-boyfriend treated other people, especially his abusive, adulterous ex-wife, better than me, his devoted partner who almost constantly did the Pick Me Dance. I thought, ‘ If he treats his horrible ex-wife so much better than me, he must think I’m awful/worthless (and.he was ‘my all-knowing God,’ I must be awful/worthless!’ (I unfairly beat myself up and elevated him.) Now, I think, ‘He thinks I’m awful, worthless, but his letting himself get abused and reconciling with her after her first affair was one of several signs of his poor psychological health, and I shiuldn’t believe that I am awful/worthless because he thinks so.’

    We, Chump Nation, are rooting for you!

  • Hi CC:

    Please get yourself into individual therapy. You need to work on you. Oh, and if you have to book the couples therapy for you and your Cheater, you know exactly how invested he is in reconciliation.

    34 years is a long time. I get that. I was married for a little over 15 when I discovered the affair, and we’d been together for much longer. By the time the divorce went through, we’d been married nearly 19 years. That’s a lot of sunk costs. That’s a lot of family photos of the two of you together. That’s a lot of shared child-rearing. The list goes on. It’s a lot to process emotionally, and the first thought after Dday is that you might be able to “fix” things to go back to where they were before.

    The problem is that you can’t fix broken trust. It’s that priceless vase that was broken. Oh, you can glue it so that the cracks don’t show, but you know it’s not the same. Once your spouse cheats, you can never, ever say “My spouse would never cheat.” They cheated once. They can cheat again, and deep down you know this but OMG! 34 years down the tubes!

    Don’t think of it like that. 34 years was not a total waste. But you can’t go into the next 34 years with someone you know you can’t trust. You even say that you don’t believe him when he says they had no sex! Go read Chump Lady on Real Remorse.

    Maybe you have been a stay at home mom. The prospect of divorce fills you with deep financial anxiety. I get that. Still, knowing will bring you more peace than not knowing.

    1. Go see a lawyer. Heck, see several. Find out if you’re in a fault state. Bring a picture of your financial situation. Learn what you can expect from your state. If you’ve been a stay at home mom, find out if your state typically grants temporary spousal support so that you have time to get the training you need to update your skill set for work.

    Remember that divorce is not only expensive for you, but very expensive for your Cheater. Assuming he makes more than you, he’s looking at losing a good chunk of his retirement, his investment portfolio, and his business assets, should he own a business. You may be looking at 34 years of sunk costs and financial uncertainty, but he’s looking at losing a LOT of money. That’s a powerful motivator for him to lie about having sex, breaking off contact, etc.

    I bet that if you GPS’d his car, you’d find out that he’s still sneaking off to see his Schmoopie, or at least a schmoopie.

    See a divorce financial planner to figure out a good post-divorce financial strategy.

    Once you clearly know where you stand, you’ll discover that you have a lot less anxiety and that you are in a better position to plan your next move.

  • Oh, how I wish I’d known about CL and CN earlier! I spent 40 years with a man who turned out to be a narcissistic sociopath with Cold War caliber military intelligence skills for maintaining a completely secret life.

    In the end, he ADMITTED to having 14 affairs, but I’m 100% certain there were more, perhaps many more. Thankfully, my cousin was not involved (because I love her like a sister), but the others included women whom I trusted, women I’d welcomed into my life, who by virtue of their complicity, voluntarily agreed to be the OW… like the woman who babysat our triplet sons, the woman we took into our home after her abusive husband beat her up, our sons’ soccer team mom (Hey, thanks for bringing those Rice Krispies treats), the 2 wives of couples we vacationed with… And let’s not forget about the 5-6 (at least) coworkers (all of whom I’d met more than once), including AP #14, who was also married for 40 years, had 2 children and 6 grandchildren, and worked in the office next to his; as soon as her own divorce came through, she and my XH got married and rode off into the sunset, with nary a thought about the carnage left behind. And their lies continue… while all of my family (including our 3 sons and DILs) know the unvarnished truth, the lovebirds told her family they were just “office friends” until her divorce was finalized, and then they “unexpectedly fell deeply in love” and “had to be married”. Hell, they’ve been sleeping together for 5 1/2 years! Thank goodness, that’s no longer my circus.

    My XH did such a professional job of covering up his emotional and financial abuse, I didn’t have the information I needed to leave him at 5 years, 10 years or even 20 years in. However, if I’d read blogs like this earlier, I certainly would’ve handled our 3-year separation much differently. First, I would’ve said “No thanks” to the 6 months of agonizingly futile marriage counseling with someone who had zero remorse and DID NOT CARE; he never told the truth about anything, except on the final day, when it all came tumbling out in spades. Once he’d verbally vomited up what he’d done (complete with names and dates), he calmly got up and left the counselor’s office, never to be seen there again. I promptly went home, took my wedding rings off (obviously, no token of love and fidelity here) and had my initial consultation with my divorce attorney… Second, I never would’ve agreed to a legal separation which ultimately led to a “dissolution of marriage“. He said he needed “time and space to sort out his feelings” (unfortunately, I didn’t yet understand what that BS lingo really meant), and he kept baiting me with seemingly sincere talk of potential reconciliation and a deadly combination of gaslighting, love bombing and hoovering. So I hung in there, perfecting my pick me dancing, putting myself last, not seeing him for who he really was, being too afraid to launch my own life at age 60. I was a total sucker for 3 years, and right up until the time we walked into divorce court, I was still hoping he’d change his mind. It’s sad that I didn’t think more highly of myself. It’s too bad I couldn’t envision a life without him, a life I’d known since age 19. But I didn’t know better, so I couldn’t do better. If I could hit the reset button, at the first mention of “affair”, I would’ve filed for divorce and been done with it.

    So, CC, please please please, believe me when I tell you, there is NOTHING left to work with here. STOP focusing on how long you’ve been married; that will not reinstate his loyalty to you. STOP believing that he’s now telling you the truth – he isn’t. He’ll simply take his deception underground. STOP looking at the life you’ve built; at least the last 4 years of it were built on sand, not on rock. STOP expecting him to change – he won’t because that would take hard work and he’s obviously not invested. STOP looking ahead to all the plans the two of you had made for the future; those are now mirages. I spent far too long thinking those plans and promises would actually make a difference to him. They did not matter one iota and they probably won’t in your case either.

    Do START setting healthy boundaries. Do START putting distance (emotional and physical) between you and your husband. Do START to know your worth. Do START respecting yourself. Do START planning your own life. It’s probably the scariest thing you’ll ever do, but it’s so worth it!

    • Wow Red Sandals I’m spinning just from reading the amount of betrayal you’ve had to face. I have so much respect for your honesty and pure strength which you’re now clearly using to help others with great advice. Really admire you.

      Much love ????


    • You’re a strong lady. This is a good story. It’s sad that you were betrayed for so long but I love your outlook and calm voice now… keep commenting and telling us your story because it matters. It matters a lot

    • “But I didn’t know better, so I couldn’t do better. If I could hit the reset button, at the first mention of “affair”, I would’ve filed for divorce and been done with it.”

      Thanks for this. I’ve been beating myself up lately. I said divorce the night I found out, but then recoiled and got pulled in for another three months of BS. Hated myself throughout the whole time.

      I applaud the strength that you have developed. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Also, Naugahyde Reconciliation can have horrible health side effects, and I’m not just talking about suicide or a breakdown. I’ve been reading this page a looong time, and seen tales of auto-immune diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic joint/muscle pain, migraines, depression…you name it. Then, there’s the meds we take for this stuff…and the money spent and time wasted on caring for our sick bodies. What a way to live a life.

    It seems to me that once Cheater is gone, most of our health conditions either diminish or go away. I can attest to this. I have a chronic condition (embarrassing) that is at least 95% better, and my literal pain in the neck is very rare these days! Gosh, I just feel so much better! And, I thought I was in for a life of pain! Ha!

    For what it’s worth, I was with my ex for 25 years…13 years of that was a fake reconciliation…and, that’s when my health went downhill. The only reason I got out of the marriage is that he did it again! With the same woman! After 13 years!

    I didn’t think I was physically capable of going back to work, but now here I am working nearly full time!

    You CAN get out of this and live a much happier life!

    • Good point about the toll that wreckonciliation (or staying in a bad marriage) takes on our health, without us realizing it. Raising my hand for the autoimmune disorder (hypothyroidism) that sprung up the last 3 years of my 24-year relationship to an emotional abuser/cheater. Other chumps have suffered much more.

      • I remember years ago a Mum at my sons school who was married to a drop kick alcoholic and probably a cheater. She looked worn out and old. I saw here 6 months after she left him and wow she was radiating health and glowing.
        I went from over weight and burnt out, having had many health problems, constant sinus infections, flus, hair loss, shingles, adrenal burnout. I am fitter now than I have been in 20 years thanks to yoga and not having to deal with his neediness. Considering doing Ashtanga soon as I am gaining great muscle and flexibility. When I was with him I just felt drained and tired. Days are hard but I have to keep the long term in mind and can’t go back although he is trying real hard for the possible second round of back stabbing. I need to be the captain of my own ship.

  • Each time I get hyped up about the whore AP, just how fucking repulsive, ignorant, cruel, freakishly ugly, shrill and her resemblance to a moldy stump growing in Mordor-

    I remember-

    And he liked her!!! He wanted to put his mouth on those thin, scabby lips! He gave her his phone number.

    Most men would run from her like she was Leprosy Linda with a side of putrid pussy.

    He’s the fucking devil. He’s the cockroach that brought that monstrosity in our circle of concern. The roaring rage must be directed at him.

    Also- APs have the empathy of a an alligator. She/he does not view you as human. To confront them is polishing brass on the titanic. Indeed- it would thrill her and provide gossip excitement kibbles for her disordered, stunted brain for years.

    • Wow Anthem don’t hold back now…..say what you really mean. I bet you felt so much better after that ???? You made my day. So funny

  • Actually I spoke to the affair partner, who confirmed a physical affair. I knew him. He seemed credible and ashamed.

    My wife denies it. She says that the AP only confirmed the affair to me to “please his wife”…because the AP had told his wife that he was having an affair with my wife.

    Circle of crazy.

    I am out.

  • Truth! Cheaters pick the low hanging fruit every time! It’s unusual for them to pick an affair partner who lives up to the hype. And even if they “look” better or younger or what the Hell ever, they are usually screwed up in some way! Reminds me of picking apples. Leave the ones that are on the ground for the vermin and such. Reach up and put in effort to get the prime apples in the tree. Many of the ones that are on the ground may look okay, but they also may have been peed on by some animal or they are rotten on the inside! Don’t ever be envious of an OW/OM. They aren’t people who have their heads on straight.

  • Oh yes, my stbx (woot!) husband had a four year emotional affair that ‘wasn’t physical’. He also didn’t sleep with that prostitute, he swears!
    CC, it took me a very long time to get away from him because I was a stay at home mom at the time. I lived with him for two years after asking for space. He refused to leave. I pretty much shut down during that time. I think he finally realized that I was too broken to give him anything. He found his new victim and then moved out. It pained me that he would find the most hurtful way to leave. I had to look up this new woman! The urge to warn her was very strong.
    But, I’ve also been learning and reading. Tracy is right; this level of deception and game playing is sociopathic. It’s gut wrenching to realize that the person you’re married to actively tried to destroy you. Yes, the urge to fight back is strong, but it will only give him more fuel to hurt you and your reputation. The longer I am away from him, the more clearly I see. He almost won, he really did. But being away from him has brought me back to life. I have a lot of healing to do still, but life is worth living again.
    Please, if you can, go no contact with him and your cousin (or limited contact like me if you have to share kids). Save yourself. You are more important than either of them.

  • Mr Fab was fucking our suster in law for ?? Years (at least four), so plenty of incestuous cake eating there.

    I too got suicidal but what stopped me was realizing he would see that as a compliment. I also tried to wreckincile: waste of oxygen.

    I know too about all of the sunk costs, two houses, 25 years. All snorted or pissed up against a wall. This is to say nothing of the effect on Kiddo.

    Fast forward five years: Kiddo and I relocated and she had a chance at a normal enough teenage life. Her relationship with him is her business, and I figured since I was doing all the work it might as well be in a healthy place instead of get getting “Oh you are the one whose dad fucked your auntie” on a daily basis. My career is shot from the move, unemployed and broke, but consider the alternative- raising your boy children to treat women like that and girl children to take it. THAT is your true responsibility here. If I had let my Kiddo stay within her donor (I don’t say father-he hasn’t behaved like one), I would be dead and she’d likely be a coked up club bunny.

    Run, Forrest, RUN.

  • After the initial catharsis, you might end up feeling a bit shite.

    On D-Day when my X told me about OW, and we were in tears and promised to make it work with me and sent her a showy sms to tell her he is calling it quits with her, I felt empowered to send her a message asking her to have some shame and dignity and to stay away from my X. I felt justified in doing so as in my mind, I was defending my turf (and I felt secure in the knowledge that my X had already broken it off with her).

    That night, we eventually fell asleep after many tears (this was on the last day of our holiday) . The next morning, it all still felt so surreal when we were about to fly out… and when he was in the shower I heard a notification on his phone. It was her again.

    A few days later he relented to show me the screenshot of her email ( he only showed me the last message in the thread thinking I wouldn’t notice or be able to translate her message: judging by the time-stamp they had been talking a long time so clearly he didn’t abide by his promise). From her message, she said a lot of horrible things about me, played the victim, and even questioned my sanity and was discussing with my bf whether I would make her message public if she responded to me.

    I was devastated, sickened. I felt I was defending my turf, but the truth is that my x-bf, whom I loved and trusted, had by his actions given her permission to enter our lives. Me confronting her only added to their impression that I was the crazy one. I’ve kept that screenshot to remind me what kind of people I’m dealing with, but everytime I look at it it’s a knife to the heart.

    So do yourself a favour, forget it. These people aren’t worth it.

    • I can’t advise you, but I can tell you what happened to me.
      18 years ago my x began an emotional affair with a near neighbour which lasted 4 or 5 years until her husband returned.
      I am sure, at that time, we had similar conversations to the ones going on in your household and my thoughts were as confused as yours. Pity is, the more he said, the clearer it became that he just didn’t get it. As far as he was concerned, the EA was all over and we should just pick up where we left off and carry on, but, of course, it really isn’t that easy.
      When I struggled through the tears to explain that everything was different for me now and I needed time to rebuild trust, he was angry and unkind, so I retreated.
      So, we staggered on. He went almost immediately into another EA with another married lady whose husband lived elsewhere. This time the OW was two miles away and eventually 3 years ago I divorced him … after almost 50 years of marriage.
      Now, if I had found Chump lady the first time around, I could Have saved myself a whole load of distress and at east ten years of head scrambling.

      Like I said, I can’t advise, but, I wish someone had advised me.

      … and, by the way, strictly NC is the straight road to peace and sanity. It takes a bit of practice, but saves your brain for more useful and, yes, eventually contented and happy thoughts. Confrontation will just create more questions than answers and you will find yourself going back for a second helping.
      For me, the advice should have been ‘dump the turd’ or spend the remainder of your life on an emotional rollercoaster. Maybe, you will be able to leave the past behind and gallop happily into the sunset of your lives together, with not as much as a backward glance … I couldn’t and I don’t think many people can.

      Good luck.

  • Confronting anyone other than your spouse is probably a waste of time. They have spent a lot of time together, and undoubtedly have rationalized their affair in so many different ways to make it acceptable to them. They don’t care what it has done to you, or they wouldn’t have done it in the first place. What would you tell her? That she was wrong? She won’t believe you, or she just doesn’t care because her needs are more important than yours. Your spouse is the one who owes you something in terms of commitment, but obviously he doesn’t care about that either. He isn’t a puppet, he chose to carry on with this person for years. He has demonstrated who he is, remember actions speak louder than words.

    It seems to me that the probability of the affair being emotional only are pretty slim. You know of his sex drive, is it likely that he wouldn’t want to have sex? Of course he would. In my case, my STBXW said her affair was an EA only. I didn’t buy that because I know her drives, and I also know that carrying on an EA for over a year is pretty unlikely. I also told my STBXW that even if it was an EA only, how could that really matter when the emotional connection and trust were really what make are relationship anyway.

    After years of lying and deceiving do you really think you could ever trust him again? I am trusting, but not stupid. I wasn’t fooled by my wife, I trusted my wife. Me being fooled by her would be me letting her do it again.

  • The toll this will continue to take if you continue to “work on the marriage” is one that can’t be emphasized enough here at CL/CN. They don’t change. They don’t suddenly have character transplants. They DO go deeper underground. They DO continue to control the narrative and they DO continue to make you crazy.

    I stayed for 3 years after finding out. I worked on our marriage. I was under the grave misunderstanding that X wasn’t in contact with married OW and that our love could withstand this. Not so. The ONLY thing that working on our marriage did was make me crazier. What with me doing all the work for “our” marriage, I didn’t have time to look at what was really going on. He was still eating cake.

    I believe Nomar once said something to the effect of: “Take a cheater back if you choose. I can’t say that you won’t find a happy marriage at the end of it, but your chances of crossing the Pacific Ocean in a row boat are better.”

    • Also, fuel your anger to your husband. I know that the OW is evil incarnate, but the real person at fault in your purview is your husband. It’s hard to wrap your brain around it now, but with time it’s so much easier to trust that they suck because they continually prove that they do. On every turn. EVERY TURN! There seems to be no length at which they will not go to prove that they suck. Sigh.

  • Don’t mess with that sparkly turd ew. Stay away from it. Honestly she already knows she is a loser and it really serves no purpose for you to tell her again. The problem is that your husband is a sparkly turd too so you need to figure out what to do about him.

  • CC, I’m so sorry… I and most of us on here have been where you are now.
    Please take care of yourself first !!
    Without trust you cannot have any relationship let alone a marriage. It’s like I told my Ex on Dday, it would be one thing if they went to a party, got drunk, they screwed someone else, were horrified and came home, confessed and begged forgiveness. That situation would hurt but could be forgiven. A long term affair however with its accompanying lying, blame shifting, gas lighting, etc is something totally different.
    It is like where in law where if you kill someone there is manslaughter if it was an accident all the way up to murder 1 where you planned it in detail. As far as cheating goes, your soon to be Ex’s affair is the equivalent of murder 1 and is marriage ending.

    Also as others have said, they know the pain that they have caused you and don’t care. In my case at the end of my marriage I was on antidepressants as well as 7 blood pressure medications supposedly due to my very stressful job. (Yes, my job at the time was stressful but really my Ex was 80% of my stress).
    I will never forget that she was in with me talking to the doctor and he told us that if I didn’t lower my stress that I would be dead in 2 years. What did SHE do ?? She went out and started shopping for more life insurance for me !! In addition when I was in my “Sherlock Holmes” phase around Dday I found emails between her and the OM hoping that I would drop dead and what they would buy with the life insurance money !!

    I hate to say that your “husband” and his whore may be discussing the same thing. He has shown by his actions that he doesn’t care about you. Go see a lawyer and a therapist ASAP.
    Good luck and I promise that it will be painful but down the road it will be World better. Five years after Dday I had my Tuesday, met my true love of my life, got married and have never been so happy.

    • YES to this. Affairs are no accident. In my case my STBXW said it was an EA only. Besides calling BS on that, I said it didn’t really make a difference. Cheating is cheating. She gave someone a place in her heart that didn’t belong. I know this is romantic thinking, but when we married my heart was no longer my own. It belonged to my wife, and I thought her heart was mine. That was a gift, not something to be treated lightly, and it shouldn’t matter how long ago that promise was made.

      I can agree that marriages may fail, and that maybe we would have ended up apart no matter what, but I would have liked to have reached that conclusion with my wife after working on our marriage, not by having it blown up by her and her AP. MFers

    • Gator,
      You give me hope (at least for good chumps in general). Sometimes I feel ‘abnormal’ (handicapped–‘What’s wrong with me?’) for not having nearly ‘gotten over’ my last break up (being discarded). Maybe in a few years I will be mostly ‘healed’ and experience happy days once in awhile.

      • RockStarWife,
        I’ll be honest that the pain never “totally” goes away. Even after Meh someone or something will bring back a painful memory and you get a twinge of pain. The key though is to live YOUR life to its fullest and replace painful memories with happy ones and negative people with positive ones.

        Also you must as CL says “fix your picker”. This takes time and a lot of therapy and/or self reflection. You need to set boundaries for relationships and tell a new boyfriend/girlfriend these boundaries and that if they are violated—goodbye. My big one is that I will not tolerate lying or deceit about anything. I went through so much and I MUST have trust in a relationship.
        Also, it took me 5 years and a handful of people that I dated before I met my wife, so it takes time.

        Work on you, work on being happy and don’t take BS from anyone !!

    • What a piece of work she was was, glad you are over the moon happy now, hope her life sucks.

  • This blog is gold.
    People in pain can find the best advice coming from people who went through pain and know what it means.
    Thank you CL&CN.

  • I’ve also deliberated about confronting the “Other Guy.” I have his phone #, I know where he works (she works w/him by phone across 500+ miles), so in theory I could screw both of them over by sending their corporate team or HR that there is an “office affair” going on. But now that I’m calmer, and am so over her stupidity and recognize that she’s a lost soul, I figure karma is eventually going to bite each of them in the butt bad one day.

    IMHO, there’s no more point confronting the OM/OW anymore. Let’s all have some dignity for ourselves, and just make sure that we’re doing fine, and that our children are less impacted than what they’re already going through. #maytheybothrotinhell

    • I agree with you. At bad moments I have thought there might be some joy in treating my STBXW and the OM with the same kind of disrespect that they showed to me and my family, but to what end? I want to maintain good connections with my kids, and provide as sane a life for them as possible. They do not know the details of why the family isn’t together anymore. They may never know. I don’t need to be “right” in their eyes, I need to be loving and caring for them. I know that there is a risk that my STBXW will be able to sell herself as a victim of a bad marriage and never reveal that her affair is why she chose to leave, but I know that my actions as a parent will speak louder than words in the long run.

      I am just sad that someone that I loved so much did not value that love and return it. We grew up together and built a wonderful life together. She has chosen to discard that life. I have anger over it, of course, but if I did love her (still do really), and wanted to be with her forever, why would that turn to anger or hate simply because she didn’t want the same thing as I do for our future. She made a very stupid choice in my opinion. Her choice betrayed me and our children, and has caused us more pain than any other event in our collected lives, but I don’t want revenge, I want meh for me, and a stable home for my kids.

      • Canadian Dad,

        You sound very loving, devoted, and well-adjusted!

        I often wonder why these cheaters/liars act as though they hate us, the chumps who love them. Guilt? Perhaps, but unlikely in many of these cheaters’/liars’ cases. Transference of aggression (Kicking a Chump is like people kicking their dog once home after their boss criticized them)? In the case of the narcissistic, sociopathic cheaters/liars, Predators’ contempt for prey? I wish I knew. Really wish that I had learned decades ago how to spot a guy who was prone to dishonesty, infidelity, and abuse before getting involved with him–not after!

    • That’s what I see when I look at my ex, someone who is lost and doesn’t know himself and is looking to things outside to validate himself. Lack of gratitude for the simple humble things in life. The greedy end up with little.

    • I don’t know How I am personally ever going to get over this. Don’t you feel like they have gotten away with it if you don’t tell that scum whore OW or OM what fucktards they are ?

  • From experience I can say confronting the OW is not worth your time or energy. I had to confront the first OW. She worked for the cheater as his medical assistant. She could have reported him to the licensing board and we would have lost everything. At the time the kids were toddlers and I was in survival mode. So I went and begged her to keep quiet and promised that I would not retaliate in any way. We even have her a very generous severance package. It was humiliating beyond words. I did what I had too at the time. No Chump Nation for support back then. With the second OW 20 years later, she was a friend, I went NC. It’s a much better feeling.

  • I am finding this very hard to deal with myself, but when a spouse betrays you and willingly lies to you and your kids and puts their needs before all else, especially over a long period of time, what do you have to work with? It has broken my heart that after almost 30 years I wasn’t good enough, my kids weren’t good enough, our family wasn’t good enough for my STBXW. I have for more than a year taken it very personally, but through a lot of help from CN, I am beginning to realize that that issue was more hers than anyone else’s. I know that this is true rationally, but emotionally it is still a struggle. I have fantasies occasionally about confronting the AP, but to what end? I know he’s a shitty person. He knew about my kids and me and went ahead with an affair anyway. Shitty people aren’t going to be swayed by a confrontation with a person they have already dehumanized. My STBXW was offended when I told her that my kids and I meant absolutely nothing to her AP other than inconveniences. “Not Schmoopsie, he’s a really caring guy”. Caring guys don’t have affairs.

    You don’t want to mess around with that shit. You want to get away!

    • And she probably told you he is a good guy because he feels “guilty” for tearing your family apart. Not guilty enough.

      I avoid confrontation with ex’s schmoopie at all costs because if I ranted at her the way she deserves it would just make me look bad. I did rant at ex a couple of times. I am ok with that.

      • Oh yeah, I got the whole conversation about how “we didn’t want to hurt anyone”, meaning STBXW and AP. My response was, “we were supposed to be the “WE”, how did you two become the “WE”?” Growing up together, spending almost thirty years together, having three kids together, planning a future together all up in smoke. I had been doing some pretty serious “pick-me” dancing but that comment, which came out in what I think was an unguarded moment, sent chills through my body. The way I was discarded by her was shocking to me.

        I have not had any confrontation with the AP, not yet anyway. He is not worth the sweat. He is obviously screwed up if he thinks messing around with a married woman is acceptable. Me yelling at him isn’t going to wake him up. I’m sure whatever I could say to him wouldn’t be the worst he’s been told about himself.

        • I got from last boyfriend, ‘I don’t want to hurt you more than I already have.’ Sounds nice at first glance right. A few weeks later, I realized that he had been hiding, gaslighting and lying to me about several things. These cheaters/liars love to sugar coat crappy behavior–as if by middle age they don’t know that what they did traumatizes/destroys others.

    • Right on bro.

      I know it’s hard not to take it personally. Because it is personal.

      Just remember that he’s an opportunistic predator. It’ll all unravel in the end but by that time you won’t give a shit.

      It’ll be a Tuesday.


  • This is my new favorite CL quote:

    It takes a tremendous amount of sociopathic panache to conduct a double life for YEARS. That’s bazillions of lies. It’s deceit as a lifestyle choice.

  • CC you are with an abusive selfish narcissist. It’s been a few months now and this man’s actions tell you he doesn’t have the ability to commit or love anyone.

    And I know how gutted you feel given it was so close to home. He’s an opportunistic sadistic malignancy in your life. He will not change. You have every right to be angry at your cousin. When we find out its hard to believe a spouse is responsible. He made a choice to not only do the unthinkable, he participated in conning you for years. And he’s been sleeping with her. No question.

    You are worthy of so much more. Reconcilliation keeps you stuck in the pain. Winning involves facing the pain, believing, looking at his actions and driving the bus.

    The way to get power and control is knowing you’ve had enough. Divorce this slimy excuse of a man. Gather up your courage, find a therapist who understands trauma, gather up your support system and file.

    Get out now. Do.Not.Waste.Your.Energy
    on him. Take care of your needs. Life is better on the freedom side. Take that step.

  • He didn’t lie for just four years, he started lying the moment they met. Cheaters don’t play by the same “integrity” rules that chumps follow. The deck is stacked against chumps. If you want to torture yourself even further, take a gander at various “How to successfully cheat on dumbassed spouse” forums.

    The first rule of cheater-club is they LIE. About EVERYthing. They create a fake hobby that they know the dumbassed spouse won’t be interested in (e.g., working-out, jazzercise, derelict warehouse photography, midget rugby, legume spotting, Ukrainian country-punk line dancing, bra shopping, pool – but only on those “special” tables in that one bar across town that JUST happens to be next to the motel, “work,” etc.). This creates enough me time and space to get away from the dumbassed spouse and any family commitments (Ugh… Soccer practice. Again. Yuck.)

    The second rule is to always sprinkle-in just enough truthiness to create plausible deniability. That plausible deniability becomes the cheater’s tool so they can gaslight the shit out of the dumbassed spouse if she/he gets a little-bit suspicious. Turn everything around and blame the dumbassed spouse; deflect. Deflect. DEFLECT! Sprinkle in a dash of self-pity. Use the chumps’ compassion against her/him and F.O.G. the hell out of them.

    Third rule; when the cheaters do slip up and get caught (and they WILL), deny. Deny. DENY! Never EVER expose the whole truth because dumbassed spouses get uppity and hire divorce attorneys. The cheaters want to minimize the amount of damage (i.e., “settlement“). If the cheaters get lucky and dodge the divorce bullets – they can “learn” from their mistakes. The less the chumps know, the easier it is for the cheaters to go out and find more fuckbuddies.

    And the last – and most important – rule… Cheaters only have one life on this Earth, and they deserve to be happy!

    • I got from last boyfriend, ‘I don’t want to hurt you more than I already have.’ Sounds nice at first glance right. A few weeks later, I realized that he had been hiding, gaslighting and lying to me about several things. These cheaters/liars love to sugar coat crappy behavior–as if by middle age they don’t know that what they did traumatizes/destroys others.

    • Betrayed,

      Well said!

      I got on (both?) discard days out of the blue, ‘I just want to be happy!’ (strong insinuation that I was the source of unhappiness). Well, Dumper, why didn’t you tell me that instead of lying to me when I asked you in previous weeks and months instead of lying to me? Guess stringing me along was easier for him.

  • I tried to kill myself 7 years ago because my husband was treating me like the enemy, even though we had weathered DD1, I thought, and no sleep and the grief diet didnt help my brain chemistry. I spent 3 weeks in a very nice psych hospital( thanks, private health cover) and had the best psychiatrist- he basically said i wasn’t crazy, i was just married to an arsehole. In some ways it was incredibly liberating – I could talk about things that I had been desperately hiding for years because I didn’t want people to know about my marriage. During this time my husband visited me exactly twice, once for a joint psych session- after which my psychiatrist said ‘ have you considered divorce?”.My sisters came over to help with the children and a nice family friend volunteered a lot of help…. you know where this is going… nice family friend was OW 2.
    it’s hard now to remember that I ever loved him that much, and it’s REALLY hard to remember why I thought sticking around for DD3 was a good idea.
    I’m just going to echo the other comments- if you tried to die because you were in so much pain, but he doesn’t wnt to talk about the affair because it hurts HIM too much- cut him loose. He is a weight around your neck. Fly free without him. You are alone in this marriage already.
    once you step off the mouse wheel, life just opens will get so much better, I promise.

    • Moominmamma,
      I am sorry that you tried to harm yourself in response to your husband’s egregious behavior. Thank you for sharing as it helps, me, someone who is prone to suicidal ideation, to think that someday, we will wonder why we were so attracted to and tolerated these cheaters, liars, abusers and feel much better. Looking forward to Tuesday.

    • Cheaters and perverts definitely take a toll on your mental health. The mind games alone- are enough to make anyone feel crazy.

      When I fled from Dancing Dick (ex cheater/perv) ….I lost 1000 lbs of depression and anxiety.

  • Thank you CN, for being vulnerable and opening up about breakdowns and suicidal feelings.

    I joined CL’s amazing page 2.5 years ago. I left a few comments here and there but began to feel I didn’t belong here–I left the bastard then but my world had exploded. Everything I believed in, everything I thought to be true was now in question. I lost so much…I lost myself.

    I wasn’t mighty. I had a nervous breakdown. I was feeling suicidal. I was exhausted taking care of an infant, our baby…this wasn’t the way it was supposed to be.
    -It certainly didn’t help that the psychopathic narcissistic hooker lover has been trying to finish me off from the moment I left and still makes my life hell going on 3 years later. I’ve never in my life seen evil like this.
    And I can’t believe I’m still experiencing the psychological effects almost 3 years later but in the last few months a med change and a couple stern warnings to him from my lawyer, I finally feel like I’m coming back to being myself-something I never thought would happen, there is hope! I’ll never forgive him and my soul is at peace with that decision.
    I haven’t reached Meh yet. But I’m well on my way.
    Thank you CL and CN ❤️

    • Bel,
      How eloquently and poignantly you write, especially for someone who has gone what you have. Thank you for speaking for many of us chumps!

    • Bel,

      (((Hugs!))) You are making progress, and progress is a huge thing when facing this kind of trauma.

      I know that for some of us who are betrayed *hand up*, that death seems like a better option than the pain we are going through. It depends on the person how far that thought takes them. I remember driving down the road thinking how easy it would be just to drive into that pole and have the pain go away. Nothing in my life until that point had ever caused me that much pain.

      You are coming out of the abyss. It doesn’t matter how long it has taken. It matters that you are feeling better. Best wishes and good thoughts to you. You can do it!!

  • Wow, thanks everyone for being so honest and telling like it is. Very eye opening. I also forgot to mention that it was my cousins daughter who called me to let me know. I did suspect something was going on back in January of 2016. Found messages on Facebook from her. Sent him smiley faces with hearts for eyes. He of course said she sends them to everyone.And as soon as I saw those messages from her he all of a sudden stopped going out with his friends. My cousin is struggling financially and I suspect that she was hoping for the cash payout(our house is paid). My loss her gain . She did not care that I would be displaced from my home. My cat, horses, children and grandchildren would be displaced. My husbands excuse foe seeing the slut was I did not want to go away and he felt that I did not love him anymore. And that I lied to him about credit cards. What is worse lying about credit cards or cheating on your spouse?? Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement. I will not waste anymore of my time or energy on my whore of a cousin. And I will work on moving forward and healing.

      • Unequal comparisons:

        You bought towels at JC Penney’s without consulting with me.
        Therefore, it’s ok for me to spend money on web cam hoes and prostitutes. We both did something wrong.

    • “ he felt that I did not love him anymore.”
      Cheater 101. The lies the tell to justify the shitty behaviour.

      Leave the prick.

      • Hey CC- In your letter you noted that because of the attempt at self-harm there were family members that found out about his deceit. It made me remember something about my poof-day (briefly, fuckwit moved out while I was on a work trip, he sent me an e-mail informing me that my 28 year marriage was over- he came back a couple days later to scream at me how it was all my fault and that I am the one who destroyed the marriage, news to me, and actually OW#2 is a 25YO ho-worker).

        While he was standing there bellowing at me how our adult daughters hated me and that I was Controlling and Judgmental and an Angry Person, I remember thinking that “maybe if no one knows then he can come back and it will be OK.” I was sitting in my half-emptied house with every shred of him removed except for the husk of the monster standing in the kitchen screaming at me. And yet I was still thinking, “maybe if no one knows….”

        I look back at those thoughts now with absolute horror. What in the world made me think that this abandoner-liar-hider-cheater-coward deserved to be protected? Why in the world was I considering that there needed to be a way for him to save face and come back? It was the shock and my hysterical mind working in overdrive to try to fix it. I was trying to spackle over the nightmare in real time.

        Please consider how much of your efforts now are to somehow rescue all that sunk cost of time, to restore his dignity with the family members that found out, to get back to the “normal” you thought you were living. How much of your efforts are really just trying to spackle and polish that turd?

        I walked in your shoes, and now 9 months later and 3 months post-divorce I can see clearly now that my dignity and my health were the last things on my mind. They certainly were the last thing on my fuckwit’s mind.

        I am not to ‘meh’ but I will be OK eventually. You can be, too. So many of us are facing a life we never expected and we never deserved. Start looking out for yourself. ((Hugs CC))

    • CC: Read about blameshifting. I promise you, any cheater who has no remorse and no intention on ever being accountable does the blameshift. It is definitely basic non-remorseful cheater 101. It’s also a screaming indication that he will never come clean; and likely will repeat the behavior (so many of us have experienced exactly this … and, yes, after decades of marriage).

      DO NOT take on his guilt. Do not let him convince you that you caused him to throw away your vows, to stick his dick in a family member, etc. I guarantee he has a laundry list of faults … did YOU cheat? (Of course not — YOU have character and integrity!)

      And, I genuinely think he’s making up (ad hoc) the BS about not feeling loved. It’s a pathetic sad sausage play that many of our jackasses (regardless of gender) tried in order to worm their way out of the natural and foreseeable consequences to their shitty actions.

      Stay strong, CC. We are here for you. Keep coming back. Post in the forums. We all get it here.

    • Hmmm- please keep coming back to Chump Lady- keep reading the comments. I look back and see how deep I was in denial at 6 months out and it is frankly embarrassing. I feel lucky that my ex was so awful after discovery and never really made any effort- because it helped me get my head out of my ass. But in your letter and in your comments- you are still focusing on how awful they are. They are totally awful. No doubt. But, I hope soon you can get to a point where you are more interested in what you are going to do. That is what makes Chump Lady so wonderful. She isn’t just about bitching about our exes, but she puts the focus right back on us- We were chumps- now what are we going to do differently.

  • Why confront her? She doesn’t care how you feel.

    And why gloat over “winning” a cheater? You’ve only won him until he can sneak back to your cousin, or if she won’t have him back, until the next side piece comes along.

  • Working on your marriage?? I am so sad for you that this happened..but my immediate response reading this was one word…why?? Unicorns are merely a wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last.. that is reality

    • As hard as it can be to admit I think you are right Queen Bee. We cling to the notion of who we thought our spouses were and we think that we can rebuild whaf we had. The problem is that they have shown you who they really are. I don’t think it means they dkdn’t love us in their own way at some time, it’s just not so much fun for them anymore. In their shallow,selfish minds, we don’t really factor in anymore. Or otherwise they couldn’t do what they do. Their actions uncover the shittiness that their promises and lies try to cover up.

      • ‘Their actions uncover the shittiness that their promises and lies try to cover up.’

        ^^This^^ So simple but it is everything. Your whole reply really sums it up perfectly CanadianDad.

      • CD
        Our MT told us we did not have a marriage problem, the problems were his. That was the same week that I learned that his first marriage ended the same way. They put us in a bad place. Nothing to work with here.

  • As above.

    – likely it was a sexual relationship. Adults don’t do lengthy, emotional affairs.
    – most likely he hasn’t cut off contact with her.
    – don’t confront her. focus on making your life better instead. don’t give them fodder for building a case that you are the crazy one.

    take care.

  • One other thing to consider about confronting the AP is whether you have kids or not.
    If you don’t, you could tell the AP off and then you never have to see them or your Ex ever again.

    If you have kids — TOTALLY different story. In my case, the Ex married the OM after the divorce and he is now Step Dad to my kids !! If I had confronted him like I desperately wanted to at the time. it would have made things even more difficult today.
    Now I am Meh with him and the Ex and can nod my head and say “Sup” when I see him and that’s it. If I had confronted him, I’d have had to dealt with drama for the rest of my life.

    Something to think about.

  • The moment I realized my husband was having an affair was the moment I realized “our” marriage was over. I cringe when I think back over our last two years together. The time he spent checked out, absent, abusive, and dishonest. Then the discard and the two years it took him to drag out the divorce, deceitful as hell, and doing everything in his power to destroy me. He certainly had his narrative going. The disordered are always justifying their crap life choices. Cheaters lie to you about their affair(s), they lie to you about your marriage, and they lie to you about finances. CC, you are definitely at the right place. Read here and educate yourself re your states divorce laws. Please know that “unicorns are NOT real” and then get yourself to a lawyer immediately. (Do consult with a medical professional and a counselor if you need to do that as well.) You will need to get your financial paperwork together in order to protect your assets. IMHO, Financial dissipation should be addressed at your first hearing. Cheaters create drama to divert your attention from things of importance. Most “reconcile” to give themselves more time to screw you over and will dump/hide every spare penny in order to finance their future. Anyone capable of living a double life (some Cheaters here were extremely talented, snark font here) is always going to have a back up plan; one that benefits them. Creative financing too is an entire chapter in The Cheater’s Handbook. The more your Cheater can mindfuck you with those pretty little lies and promises, the more time he/she has to dissipate assets.

  • Confronting the AP is a waste of time. I occasionally bump into him around town now and again. Last time he clocked me he turned round and scuttled off in the opposite direction like the gutless worm he is.

    He’s welcome to my ex, she’s a total bitch. As it is they apparently are no longer together. I just laugh to think that he must realise he trashed his marriage and family ( his wife is lovely, bTW, any decent guy would love to be with someone like her), for a sneaky fuck or 100 with a vicious selfish sad middle aged tramp whose idea of achieving in life is having firm buttocks.

    You couldn’t make it up. Who laughs last laughs longest ????

  • Dear CuzChump,

    I feel your pain. The EXACT SAME thing happened to me.

    My ex-wife of over 20 years, cheated with my cousin.

    They began communicating on Facebook which I saw, but didn’t think it was an issue because we are all family.

    I kicked her out, became a single dad with my kids in the family home, and then divorced her.

    She eventually relocated and my cousin moved in with her.

    I have never seen them together in person. My kids do not invite him to any family functions.

    My cousin’s brother does however, post family event photos on his page which sometimes includes my ex and my cousin.

    I completely understand how you feel. I WANT TO beat the absolute living shit out of my cousin because of his role in what happened. And, I want him to live the rest of his life in fear that a beat down could occur again at any given moment.

    However, please consider this. My life post cheater has become phenomenal. My sons love me, and now I have granddaughters who love me. Divorcing the ex was the smartest thing I ever could have done.

    It’s not easy to manage the anger of the betrayal by your spouse and a cousin.

    I would love to apply some street justice to my cousin, however the law says otherwise.

    I just have to let it go.

    My life is a clean slate before and after my marriage, and my relationship with my kids and grandkids is perfect.

    My ex and my cousin as a couple have a horrible relationship with the kids.

    • When the cheating is “in the family”- there’s an extra layer of trauma and misery. The cheaters not only break up the marriage- but they send the extended family flying into a state of confusion/hell also!

      Never thought that anything could worse than cheating until you consider cheating with a family member.

  • I’m not buying it. No cheater can have a mere “emotional affair” for 4 years without screwing the trollop he’s “emoting” with.

  • The only person I can think of who “might” screw his own cousin is Jethro Bodine from The Beverly Hillbillies. Normal people don’t screw their own kin or their spouse’s kin.

  • My ex pervert/cheater/liar screwed his aunt Donna when he was a young man. Screwing people in your own family is off limits for very good reasons.

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