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Dear Chump Lady, Is this my fault?

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Hi Chump Lady,

About 10 weeks ago my soon-to-be-ex-wife had been staying out later than usual at the club that she manages. I didn’t think anything of it, seeing how she runs it and works hard. I trusted her that if she needed a ride she would call. Well, it continued and on Halloween, I went to bed around 10 and she was not home. She went to meet a friend of hers for a drink. I spoke with the friend who had left at 10 o clock. I woke up at 1:30 and she was still not home. I panicked and called her phone and she didn’t answer. I called the club and no one answered. So I went there.

I found her in a jeep with another man, who turns out to be her emotional affair partner. Luckily when I got there, there was nothing physical going on. (It could have happened before I got there or it was just getting ready to). The nights that she had been staying out late, that’s who she was with. I got her home and confronted her. She denied doing anything wrong and she was belligerently wasted. She walked out of the house and I followed to get her home to talk. In the meantime, she had called the AP to come get her. I got her home once again and she dropped her phone. I found it and checked and found a text message from him: “It’s so hard to sit here and not touch you.” I can’t honestly remember what her reply was because I was so shocked. That was my wife, who swore up and down in our 8 years together that she would never cheat.

I confronted her about it and she just shut down. She walked out of the house again and went to stay with the AP. She came back the next day saying, “I’m sorry, you must hate me.” She also gave me the line of “I don’t know who I am outside of our marriage.” We decided to take some time to figure out what we wanted. She continued to stay with the AP and within a week she told me that it had turned physical. A few weeks went by and we talked again. I asked her if she thought our marriage was worth saving. She replied, “I don’t know how we go back from here.” I told her we couldn’t go back from here, we had to move forward and I would do whatever it took to save our marriage. I got “I am not in love with you anymore.” I believe in the vows I took, apparently she didn’t.

I told her that if she wanted a divorce, I will give her one. We are currently in the process of getting stuff ready to file. She now has her own apartment. We met last Saturday to discuss the house and some financials and she told me stuff like she hasn’t been happy with anything for awhile. That she thought when we took our anniversary trip, it would rekindle our relationship. Apparently I never got that memo.

In two weeks since D-day, she moved her stuff out of the house and had her AP come to our home to help while I wasn’t there. That’s ballsy!

Her job is quite stressful and does take a lot of her time. I would always try to check and get an idea of where she is at mentally. I would ask her if she was happy with our marriage. She would always tell me yes she was. Apparently she’s a really good actor. I wasn’t happy with how the marriage was playing out either, I was doing all the housework and taking care of the dog, cooking and cleaning. But, I was never unhappy with the woman I married. I was unhappy with the circumstances of our marriage at that time.

Lastly, she told me that she never cheated on me and I explained that if you are talking or sharing information with another man that you should be sharing with your spouse, you are already on your way there. She also told me that she was sorry for “wasting my time”, and told me that she thinks she’s a failure. So I texted her the other day as a last ditch to save our marriage. Poured my heart out and all I got in return was “I am so sorry, I don’t feel the same way.” Now I realize that she was already checked out and there was nothing that I could do to save my marriage.

My question — is this my fault for not picking up on her unhappiness? I am not a mindreader and we weren’t the best communicators. Things kind of got into a rut in our marriage, but that is no excuse for stepping outside the marriage.

Is there more I could have done? It’s really bugging me.

Sincerely,

Neversawitcoming

Dear Neversawitcoming,

I was going to lead with “No, her unhappiness is not your fault.” Add some hugs, and a few words of uplift. But I doubt some strange blogger on the interwebs is going to convince you of your innocence with a platitude. So, for the sake of argument, let’s say her unhappiness IS your fault. Let’s say, you’re a horrible ogre with a unibrow who only wears pilled sweaters and smells of sauerkraut. And every time your wife tries to build a little block tower of happiness, you knock it down. BAH!

And let’s say that happiness is the greatest virtue. It’s more important than keeping your word, or integrity, or protecting orphans, or the rule of law, or getting free shipping on your next order. No, her happiness is THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS. (Not your happiness. You’re an ogre. You only enjoy destroying block castles. Just HER happiness.)

Now let’s look at this.

Your cheating wife has a whole decision tree of available options.

She could make a clean break. Eight years with a joy-sucking monster is a long time. What gives? That’s an awfully long investment in someone who fosters such misery. Maybe she’s a masochist?

But hang on, happiness is the greatest virtue! If she wishes to maximize happiness, why would she seek pain with an ogre? That makes no sense.

She could communicate her values and her expectations. “I’m sorry Ogre Breath. I need constant joy and an ever-rotating display cart of desserts.” She could keep you apprised of her happiness levels. “OMG, the German chocolate cake made me happy, but then Oreo pudding turned a corner and I’m confused.” She could tell you in clear language what she needed to be happy. “STOP knocking over my block castles and fetch me some chocolate!” (Instead of dealing in vagaries like “I don’t know who I am.”)

Or whoaaa — she could act responsible for her own happiness.

Because even if we accept that you suck, and that her happiness is The Most Important Thing, there is still nothing in the bylaws that says her happiness is YOUR responsibility.

And so we come back to what she did. She cheated on you. She bullshitted you. (Dude, it wasn’t an “emotional affair.” She was having sleepovers and late nights long before you caught her. You really believe that timeline?) She called her idiot affair partner to “rescue” her (you meanie!) instead of behaving like an adult and leveling with you. She let you continue to invest in her. When you repeatedly asked her what was wrong, she let you keep investing in her. (So she could keep extracting value from you.) And when you confronted her, she got “belligerently wasted.”

We decided to take some time to figure out what we wanted. 

She was living with her affair partner. Is that what YOU wanted? Around here we call that cake-eating. What’s with the “we”? Do you see how you’re taking ownership of her bullshit?

When you questioned her about why all of this was happening, and made a heartbreaking offer of grace, she responded with “I am not in love with you anymore.” Which is a total non-sequitur. Your lovability (or hideousness as the case may be) did not make her cheat. Her character did. Her lousy choices were made with full agency. To reply that she doesn’t love you, is to imply that you compelled her to do this. One has nothing to do with the other.

The IRS: Tracy, why did you not pay your taxes?

Me: I’m not in love with you anymore.

My mom: Tracy, why did you eat the last of the Christmas cookies?

Me: I’m not in love with you anymore. 

My husband: Tracy, why do you keep stealing the covers?

Me: I’m not in love with you anymore.

Fact is, I’m a cookie-eating, cover-stealing scofflaw and my inner warm fuzzies don’t make me any more or less guilty of my offenses.

Put another way — our faults, real or imagined, do not drive others to abuse us. You cannot make anyone do anything. You tried your best. Moreover, you offered to try harder where SHE had failed (cheating).

All of which to say, this is not your fault. This is not on you, it’s entirely on her.

Please take good care of yourself and get a kick ass lawyer. Best wishes for a new and improved life in 2018.

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  • I spent half of yesterday watching season one of “Divorce” series with Sarah Jessica Parker. I LOL’d a lot for most of it and cheered for most of the decisions of the betrayed husband, although he appears to lean towards a revenge thing towards the end of season I do not personally agree with. (spoiler alert!) I do recommend it though as a therapeutic watch for a mightiness fix to the newly chumped. Hugs to all Chump Nation and may 2018 be filled with strength, joy, good people and ecperiences for all of you! 😊

    • Thats funny, because my STBXW seemed to be trying to be Sarah Jessica Parker’s character in Sex and the City.

      • Both characters SJP portrays in Divorce and Sex and the City are selfish, egotistical jerks.

        Sex and the City perpetuated women as needy, whiny women who needed men to be gratified at all times. The City was more evolved and interesting than any of the other main characters!

        • Looking back, it all seems so obvious.

          When I met my ex, she was a Master’s student who had run up something around $50,000 worth of debt basically on going out and casually lunching with her female friends, buying Manolos and Jimmy Choos, etc. When she got with me, she got that under control and paid off her debts (I didn’t contribute!), & she confessed that it had been foolish and that she just had wanted to fit in with her friends. She also at the time had an ambition to live and work in New York city (she was living in Copenhagen, Denmark, at the time) for no obvious reason.

          I knew she was a fan of S&TC but i’d never watched it more than the odd passing episode, so I didn’t put 2+2 together.

          About 4 weeks before D-Day, around the time when the affair started, she began a binge rewatch of S&TC. My unease grew with each episode, but I didn’t quite know why. There was just something about it that was ringing alarm bells within me. When SJPs character started cheating, I told my wife “Wow, she’s really horrible and immature – what a nasty character”. My wife made a comment, with a sad face, that will stick with me, about how it’s so different to watch this back being much older. I asked her what she meant but she deflected.

          I figured it out after D-Day. I think by STBX basically grew up watching S&TC and seeing the glamour in living like that (rather than seeing the more adult lesson that these characters by being woman-children were basically unhappy and unfulfilled). She had borrowed money she didn’t have to mimic that lifestyle with her friends. She thought she could have it all. And she clearly was playing out that ‘professional modern woman who has it all’ fantasy when she slept with her boss.

          Turns out that reality isn’t nearly so glamorous. Oh well, she traded in her 6ft3, toned & handsome* 31 y/o husband for a greying 50+ guy with a heart condition. I’ll be fine. She needs to grow up.

          *just let me believe it, OK?

          • LOLing at the asterisk.

            Totally choosing not only to let you believe it, but simply to believe it.

            Thanks for the grin.

          • MightyChris, you ARE handsome. People like your STBX (and my ex) marry for the kibbles. She married you because you are attractive. My ex wanted a smart, attractive woman with blue eyes. So HIS kids would be smart, attractive, and have blue eyes.

            The one she traded you in for gives her different kibbles. Money? Unceasing admiration? I don’t know and don’t care and neither should you.

            • “The one she traded you in for gives her different kibbles. Money? Unceasing admiration?”

              Daddy kibbles, probably. If she’s reluctant to grow up, that would make sense.

          • Chris, you are might indeed! It seems like these narc cheaters all live in fantasy land. My ex clearly didn’t think, and didn’t want to hear, what it would be like once he got his fantasy life with Shmoopie. Yup, hard to maintain two households on the same incomes that used to just maintain one, never mind all that travelling back and forth to Shmoops. Ooooooh, there goes ALL your retirement savings! Yup, hard to maintain that relationship where your kids love you and want to spend time with them, when you become just a peripheral figure in their lives, seeing them for a total of 3 days a month. Yup, all those family friends? Your 15 year relationship with my family? The little relationship you did have with most of YOUR family? Gone, gone, except his own parents (one a violent cheater sociopath, the other a covert narc). Yup, loving, affectionate relationship, lots of sex? Gone! Now you get to be with someone who destroyed their OWN marriage by cheating, and who was happy to hit on you, a married guy with kids! That’s a quality person, for sure! Oooooooh, she still lives in that other city? Lots of time alone for you, and lots of frequent flier miles ….. Oooooooh, she dumped you for another man? Ouch? Twice?

            They don’t live in reality, and then are pissed at US when our lives together don’t live up to their fantasies.

            I spent way way too many years trying to show him that reality can be amazingly wonderful. Our relationship, our beautiful, loving kids, our increasingly prosperous and satisfying life, after years of so much hard work? None of that was of value to him. He was eternally dissatisfied.

            At least with the cheating I finally figured out that he needed to head to fantasyland on his own, and that this was not my problem any longer.

            • My fuckwit actually said ” he can afford to get divorced.” (he is special that way lol) We will see about that. If I get half, I will live better than I ever did because when we were together, I always let him use the money for whatever he wanted and spent little on myself.

              • Feeling it may you get a generous settlement and enjoy spending on yourself in the future.

                Similarly DX earnt much more and felt entitled to get things be wanted in a way that I didn’t.

                Take home message: Lack of reciprocity and entitlement = big red flag.

              • Feelingit,
                That is so familiar! My STBX made me feel so guilty all the time for “not pulling my weight” financially that I spent the last 10 years of my marriage trying to live like a starving student on my own income (God forbid I touch his), so he wouldn’t complain. It turned out he was hiding most of his own money and spending it all on Schmoopie. If you get half, you WILL live better then you ever did while married, if he’s anything like mine!

              • Feelingit, my STBX threatened me with with same thing…he can afford to rack up legal fees and fight me in a divorce. He doesn’t know what’s coming to him.

                If I get what I am asking for I will be in better shape that I have ever been in my 12 years with him. He doesn’t know how to save. I do.

              • FeelingIt,
                That’s is so callous of him.
                Shortly after DDay the jerk I married said, “I don’t want to be financially responsible for you anymore.” Which was ironic since I have always worked and managed the home and bills. I just didn’t make his six figures. Guess he didn’t think about the spousal support…..karma’s a’comin

            • So very true!
              My entire marriage was spent, being the submissive wife, giving up my career, moving from one place to another. He was never happy with the new fantasy job or location for long. After a few years, I’d literally have to pack up the house and kids to move across country to join him. He’d be unrealistically giddy about everything in the beginning while I’d be struggling to make a home & settle kids into a new environment. Once it became home for us & I found my groove again, he’d suddenly be discontent & start pursuing another job (fantasy) 1000’s of miles away.

              Was he running from the reality of the responsibilities that come with being a grown up! Everything was his & it was always about him.
              Trying to raise a family & live a normal life with Peter Pan certainly wore me down & out…

              • Keeping that up for so long sounds exhausting. You must be quite the champion to do that with little or no appreciation for so long.

                When my wife left after I found out about the affair I remember the first thing I told her was “it doesn’t matter where you go or how far away it is, you will never be able to escape yourself.”

                It was the same thing for her. Just avoiding any responsibility involved with having kids, being a wife, or just a grownup in general.

                Lucky for my kids they are left with one sane parent.

              • Thanks, OC Chump! 😊
                I’ve never been called a champion before. I sure never felt like one!
                When the kids & I arrived at our new location after I packed us up for the second to last move as a family, I remember telling X how totally exhausted I was & that I didn’t know how much more of it I could take. He was furious & retorted, “Is it that hard living with me?!” I did not answer I was shocked speechless & bucked it up …again.
                “I’m free,” was the first thought that went through my head when I finally discovered that I had Biblical grounds for divorce. I was not broken hearted like many here because I never felt loved or appreciated in 30+ years.

                I am so happy that your kids have a sane & loving father. It’s something mine missed out on.

              • Nyra! Your story is very similar to mine. He made us move 5 times in 9 years. All over the country! My kids were 5 months and 21 months when the moving started. They were 9 years and 11 years on the last move! Ridiculous! Peter Pan explains a lot! Thanks for helping me see that. We were only together 22 years, so obviously it took a toll. I think cognitive dissonance is the correct term.

              • Me too! Same thing—- The places were great for him in the beginning, then they were my home, then he hated them and needed to move—-

            • same here.. .. i spent way too many years trying to convince him that we had a good thing. i thought we had a good marriage, a good life. i made so many excuses for his behavior (poor widdle sad manchild had a terrible unloving abusive childhood with alcoholic parents). it literally took me YEARS to figure out that wasband KNEW what he was doing was wrong and he was doing it on purpose because he just DID NOT Care if he hurt me or our children.. .. it took me YEARS to figure out the pattern of happy/unhappy; he loves me/he loves me not; and even a few more years for me to get tired of chasing my husband down and dragging him home to try to convince HIM he had a good life.

              so the last time he ran off (new years eve, 2014) and ended up cheating on me (his story is he never cheated on me because we were “broken up”) i let him go. divorced in march 2014. i was so sick and tired of trying to convince him that he had a loving wife, wonderful kids, a nice house, a great job, and a bright looking future. so after 15.5 years together, he left me for the neighborhood party hood rat who bailed on her own marriage and abandoned her own 4 kids.. .. but she lets him drink as much as he wants and doesnt mind his meth use. in fact, she was the one who got him hooked on meth in the first place and she drinks with him.. ..

              from what i hear their relationship is miserable and toxic. she beats him, throws bottles at his face, steals his car and leaves him stranded, and had her teenage boys beat the crap out of him. but he stays with her, all because she supports his drinking and meth use.. .. crazy me wanted him to stop drinking or at least cut down on it. and there is no way i would put up with meth use in any shape or form.. . he (and she) cant keep a job or an apartment. he doesnt work at all unless it is under the table and side jobs so that he doesnt have to pay child support. she works where ever. they jump from house to house, sponging off anyone who will let them stay. if they do get an apartment, they dont keep it for long.. . .. he has not seen his 2 boys since january last year (after i foolishly reached out to him oct 2016 after his suicide attempt because i stupidly thought he was suicidial because he lost his boys… haha i was wrong. he did visit every other weekend all of nov, dec and jan, then his thing convince him to move out of town so he just disappeared with no word at all). i know where he is at but i refuse to chase him down and beg him to give our sons attention. my children are over it. they love their dad but know he only cares about himself.

              it has been 4 years today but the boys and i are doing much better without his self centered, eternally dissatisfied, make everything miserable because he is unhappy ways. he is still miserable and of course that is ALL MY FAULT but at least he is making her miserable and not the boys and i anymore. he takes zero accountability for the break up of our marriage. like you said he is not my problem anymore.. .. my life is good.

              • PS to this day, he STILL does not know how good he had it or what a good life he had while married to me. he never knew what he lost because he never knew what he had in the first place. i quit trying to understand how he could just walk away and act like the boys and i dont even exist.. .. then live with some thing that beats him and treats him so badly.. . my mind just could NOT logic that crazy.. ..

            • After ex moved out, he would sent hurtful emails I called nastygrams. I finally went NC but ended my last email to him with quote from Alex Haley: “Either you deal with what is the reality, or you can be sure that the reality is going to deal with you.” I’m sure it meant nothing to him.

            • Long distance relationships are rife with infidelity, but some people prefer the sexual excitment that distance and “not knowing what your mate is up to” thing. It’s difficult to stay faithful at a distance.

              My X was in fantasyland too. He got his cake and now it’s making him sick. It’s difficult to understand why someone would throw a stable, loving, successful relationship away for something mysterious and unknown. But it happens all the time. You could say in a way, cheaters believe in unicorns and are chasing after a beautiful rainbow idea. They perceive the existing relationship as tired and boring. Like Ester Perel says, sex with strangers, coworkers, spouses bf’s, etc. is stimulating, and for the likes of her, someone who doesn’t find physical commitment sexy, it’s true. She has the mindset of the polyamorous community. She’s definately a spokes person for people who are stifled with monogamy and who enjoy giving into temptation without regard for how it will effect the feelings and change the dynamic of the relationship with there real, existing family.

              Some people will always believe that new is better. But thera a saying, every solution comes with it’s own set of new problems.

              Some people prefer the comfort of established relationships. I think it depends on the person and also it depends on the dynamic between two people and also it depends on external forces. Temptation is a real thing that some are more susceptible to than others.

              One thing, about my X is that throughout our 20 year marriage, he always chose fantasy over reality.
              He chose his current lifestyle over me and the kids.
              Some
              People need to loose before they value what they have.
              Good luck rebuilding.

          • It seems to be true that cheaters always trade down, never up. I can’t fathom why they do that other than that only a downgrade would sleep with someone else’s SO, so that’s really the only option a cheater has. Why they want to cheat on such awesome partners in the first place is the real mystery.

            • YES to this. My ex’s whore is a complete and total downgrade who had no problem actively pursuing a married man.

              • My Ex’s whore actually sent me a meme that Divorce means it over for me, love the Upgrade.
                Upgrade????
                I have had people message me and tell me how shocked they are when they see her…she looks like a man.
                But then again, like Bruce Jenner did to Kris…mine sat to pee. Bruce Jenner as Caitlin opened my eyes to why….he was identifying with being a female before he came out. So maybe my Ex is going to transition to a female. He might as well….Dude looks like a lady…NOT

              • My cheater’s whore is a complete downgrade too. Older than I am, skin the texture of shoe leather. Tattooed on eyebrows (that looked like a child did them) wears bright blue eyeshadow. Unkempt hair…the works. Husband says “she has a six pack” so I guess that’s why she’s a keeper. Too bad she doesn’t eat. She is as tall as a giant so of course her malnourishment would cause her to have a flatter stomach than I.

                I’ve seen the bra and panty pics she took for my husband in her closet….she doesn’t have ABs showing, she has RIBS showing. Big difference.

            • I think they cheat on awesome partners because they’re weirdly jealous of us! They can’t comprehend how we succeed at a loving, positive life, so they go the opposite way. In my X’s case, the more responsible I became, the more he persued the dark side of life. I know he regrets it now, because I held absolutely everything together towards the end of our time together. He spiraled down really fast once I left!

              • FreeWoman I think you hit the nail on the head. I think my ex cheated on me not only because he is an entitled Narc, but also because he is pathologically jealous of me. It took me a very long time to ‘get it’ that he not only didn’t want me to be successful (better then him), he actively sabotaged my efforts. He cheated on me also to prove to me that I was worthless and I wasn’t so high and mighty. To crush my inner light. I still cringe at begging for basic respect, love and affection. It all but destroyed me.

                But whose laughing now?! Me. I have a fab new job, friends and loved ones. I’m happy literally every day now. While He is now making slightly above minimum wage and living off a very ugly 300lb “friend”. He met her on Tinder, She has money, and only recently he admitted to having sex with (5x, when she took him to Hawaii, Vegas, a cruise on my bday…). Now I picture him fresh from his bodybuilding and catering to her! I feel no attraction for him anymore. He once called me fat to my face and then explsined he wasn’t sexually attracted to me. I’m less than half her size and there is no comparison between us physically! I smile at the thought of him Pretending people don’t think they are a couple when she’s buying him dinner. We all know his rent isn’t free!!!! Despite his impression management he better pay up or be tossed in the street. He never had it so good nor ever will again. Sadly for him.

              • Trading down is the norm. No healthy woman would find his justification for cheating acceptable.

                Happiness is a vague substitute for the truth. Yet cheaters use it as a go to explainatioon. My description wouldn’t touch on happiness. He was toxic.

              • Freewoman~I’ve thought the same, that in some weird way X is jealous of me.

                Doingme~an intelligent, mature women wouldn’t find their justification for cheating and deceit acceptable.
                X’s new wife is a school counselor, evidently not very intuitive or a good one. Both in their mid fifties and recently got married, Hawaiian Beach wedding, she’s wearing a white wedding gown with a long flowing train. I could be biased, clearly they’re not renewing their vows, not the first wedding for either of them. They’re not the picture I have in mind when someone mentions going to an Hawaiian wedding.

            • They definitely do trade down. This is also the case for me. My stbxh’s reasoning: “She needs me and you don’t.” Because I don’t need the person I married to be my partner, husband, and protector? My SIL also mentioned to me that the OW gave him a promise ring (devoting all her love and trust to him) about a week ago and has been sharing it on social media. My first thought: “A ring is not going to keep that man. He asked me to marry him and gave me a ring.” Obviously a ring doesn’t mean a thing. It made me roll my eyes and laugh. I don’t get cheaters and their APs.

              • oh my giddy aunt.. .. the thing wasband left me for, got his name tattooed on her chest 2 months after our divorce. he was so impressed. of course she had to cover up the last boyfriends name and put his name under that.. .. . haha he thinks it somehow proves how much she loves him but seems to miss the fact that she had to cover up the name of the last man she loved so much to tattoo his name.. . so twisted and sick.. .. and stupid

            • My ex actually said that it was kind of relaxing being w/Shmoopie, since she didn’t ‘judge’ him, being a cheater herself (she broke up her first marriage, w/three kids, by cheating).

              Gag!

              Of course, then she went on to cheat on him and dump him for another man. Twice.

              @notanupgrade

            • it is mind blowing that they trade down, especially since the reason they most give is that they just want to be happy.. .. i did so much for wasband, i tried so hard to make him happy and to show him he had a good life. (who knew that all i had to do was let him drink himself into a coma without complaining about anything for him to be happy) i paid all the bills (with very little of his paycheck, he needed his paycheck for his bills and for his happiness), i cleaned, fixed, and maintained the house, vehicles, yard and garage (with very little help from him because he acted like i had to worship him when he did half the dishes or put in a load of laundry), i took care of the kids, took them to school and after school activities, i dealt with all the homework, talking to teachers, parties, friends and discipline. i planned vacations and holidays, parties and gifts, groceries and school shopping. plus i had to help HIM with resume’s and job applications, bail his ass out of jail and make sure he got to court, probation appointments, doctor appointments, etc .. … all he had to do was show up and be there. (of course he couldnt even do that in the end)

              and then he left me for someone who does NONE of that!! plus she actually hits him, verbally abuses him, steals from him, throws bottles at his face. and treats him super badly.. .. .

              right!!! that makes NO sense. you left me because you just wanted to be happy and i complained to much (because he wasnt coming home or helping pay the bills or spending time with the boys and i) and you hook up with someone who makes you miserable and complains more then i did.. ..

              i gave up trying to figure out the crazy in his head. .. . all i know is my life is much more peaceful and happy without his constant whining, crying, selfishness and bullshit. i dont care what he does with his down grade.

            • Downgrade? Drug and alcohol abuser who has difficulty holding a job? Or short and chubby 26 year old? Yea probably a downgrade! My faults are I work, took care of kids while she was out of town 5 days a week. Cooked and cleaned. Always came home to dinner and a clean house. Oh also did laundry, kids homework, extra curricular activities. Very seldom did take out food. I was what one would call boring. Didn’t go to bars, snort coke…. have tats all over. Just wasn’t any good!

            • In their eyes and mind, they are trading up, as if we created such an unglamorous life for them that they had to escape.

              • ¡Qué pasó, Cheated On! Welcome, Bro.

                Let her stay lost and die out there in that desert. She doesn’t deserve a high-quality dude like yourself.

          • Interesting… CheaterEx used to binge-watch super “girly” shows or sappy movies on Netflix. And I suspect that it corresponded with the times of his infatuations and/or affairs, and the shows had female characters who I suspect reminded him of his flavor of the week.

            At the time, I just thought it was weird that he’d call in sick from work to binge-watch “Parenthood” or “Grey’s Anatomy.” LOL.

            • His AP, who he left me for was a triathlete, very masculine in appearance, her body language and behavior. Not all female triathletes look like men but this one did.
              He recently got married to GF #2 who he dated while still seeing AP. GF#2 is tall, skinny, flat chested and blonde. She isn’t as masculine as the AP but she looks like a Kaitlyn Jenner, trying too hard for a look that doesn’t fit.
              I often wondered if he was Gay, his body language, he’d sometimes purposely talk and act Gay, “joking.” Almost everywhere we went he would wear sleeveless shirts to show off the muscles in his arms. If another man would make a complement him on the size of his arms, he’d be giddy, it would be all he could talk about for the rest of the day sometimes days later he’d still be talking about it. I thought it was a little weird that a straight guy would not only feel comfortable but flattered that another man (complete stranger) made comment about their appearance. Which reminds me, when X left he would have dinner and go shopping with one of our neighbors single male friend who they had known since high school and never had a girlfriend and was in his late 40’s. There are other incidents which made me stop and think. Something I always suspected and wouldn’t be a complete surprise to me.

              • Brit and Kaycan. You both hit some nail on the head about suspicions of our X’s being gay. There were SO many little things…..
                Kaycan – I bought a puppy from a fellow who was gay and went to his house. He lived with another man and I was surprised to see all the ‘family’ and ‘chicflick’ movies in his library. Things that were even too sappy for me. Those were the only videos I saw.
                Brit – mine was always a bodybuilder for most of his life…always wore the short-arms and he was nicknamed the Hulk – by all the guys, which he loved. Of course, women were always all over him hugging his arms and ooing. But, he certainly attracted a lot of men and he sure didn’t mind.
                And, if this doesn’t give it away, the first 1/2 of our early and mid marriage, all he wanted to do was go to gay bars instead of regular places that offer music – we live in a great city for all kinds of jazz, etc. He was perfectly comfortable there. I didn’t mind, cuz there was a good piano player and the crowd was pretty interesting.

              • Question for the straight male citizens of Chump Nation…Would any of you dare to wear hot pink singlets (sleeveless shirts) ? Calls some things into question

            • My very first eyebrow raise came from my cheater Xhusband staying up late to watch Grey’s Anatomy. I couldn’t figure it out. Him watching a night time soap opera was SO out of character. It came on late where we live and he would stay up watching it while I went to bed. I asked him why he was watching it and he said ‘because EVERYONE at work is watching it’ and I asked who is everyone? and he replied ‘EVERYONE.’ Uh huh, it was schmoopie’s favorite show…I figured that out later. This was one of the first clues that he was having an affair but I didn’t catch on until much later.

          • I think I watched S&TC once or twice maybe 10 plus years ago, wasn’t impressed. (Don’t get me wrong, I like occasional brainless TV fantasy. I used to be fascinated by Gossip girl and pretty little liars.). I looked at it as an escape. I hate reality TV.

            So back to your post, I am reminded that while I was doing my sleuthing to prove adultery, I saw references to S&TC on whore’s Facebook and Twitter. She made reference to watching it on her laptop. She was married and cheating on her hubby too. Is adultery a part of the fantasy on S&TC. Just more confirmation that they are both delusional and can’t separate fantasy and reality.

            • Mine couldn’t get enough of Mad Men. I’m sure he fancied himself as Don Draper. Even drank the same martinis. (I didn’t care for the show) .

              • Leaving a dude just because he wears sleeveless shirts is totally justified, in my straight-male opinion.

          • I have always hated that show with a passion, especially SJP’s vapid, selfish Carrie character. Now I understand why!

  • Neversawitcoming, This is so very close to the letter I wrote in almost two years ago. Down to the timing and everything, including me thinking it was my fault that he was a cheater. I got the same lines of him not being happy “in over ten years” but he “just didn’t know it.” Absolutely no evidence in those tens years of him being unhappy (I actually thought the last ten years were significantly better then the first ten years). I too had asked him many, many times if there was anything I could be doing better as a wife/friend/human being as I used to read a lot of personal growth/self-help books and I wanted to be a better person each day. He always told me I was “perfect” and a great wife, etc. I was a great wife! Not perfect, but I was trying.

    Trust Chump Lady and all of us at Chump Nation — your wife cheating on you is not your fault! It’s her character. It’s who she is, but she wants you to believe it was something that you did or didn’t do. Chump Lady has said many times on this blog that if someone is truly unhappy in their relationship, they should be an adult and be honest with their spouse. Exit the marriage with honesty and integrity. But like my ex-husband, your STBX wanted cake. I have no idea how many times my ex had physical affairs, but he for sure had emotional affairs even before we got married. And when I caught my ex out on a date with a newly divorced whore (he’s a predator of vulnerable women), he was just getting ready to have another affair. I was going to continue to be the blind wife appliance at home doing what I did best — adulting, wife, mom, housekeeper, cook, dog keeper, and 100’s of other things I took care of. He was going to have his cake (me and our family) and eat it too (whore). If I didn’t catch him, I have no doubt that’s what would have taken place. And I felt his distance for almost two months while he prepared for his big date night out with the just days divorce whore. He had it all planned out that he was going to email her to “support her in her divorce” and “be a good friend” — I saw all the emails. He’s just such a gentle sheep (wolf) and just had all the best intentions. Not! But if I didn’t catch him, I would have felt the emotional distance grow larger and he would have started the affair mean/cold/angry cycle all over with me like he had done in the past.

    You are not to blame! You did nothing wrong! Don’t believe those lies! (((HUGS))) to you!

    • So right. Being a chump and doing the dance I wanted to believe the best about the person that I married. So I just assumed that her unhappiness and the affair must be my fault.

      It took me a long time to realize that she is who she is….just a cheater.

  • I was happily married for 30 years and I never saw it coming either. Oh, I knew something was up and I kept asking him if he was happy (I’m fine), if he was upset about something (everything is okay) or if he was upset with me about something (should I be upset with you? – all right, that one really pissed me off. Talk about passive aggressive. I was truly concerned about him and I got that response). Anyway, after he decided to leave me and our marriage, with his only reason being “I’m so confused. I don’t know why I’m feeling this way” (insert whiny voice), and I continued to question him day after day, he finally let me have it with ALL of my many imperfections and marriage infractions. But the big clincher was his cries of being unhappy FOR YEARS – and I recalled all those times I asked him if he was happy and he said that he was. Ultimately HIS happiness was more important than ANYONE else’s happiness. And right there is a person I’m frankly glad to have nothing more to do with. Talk about lack of empathy and compassion. So Neversawitcoming, welcome to the “my happiness is more important than anything else” club. The good news is without her, YOU will be happy one day – it’s very unlikely that she will EVER be happy. Sucks to be her.

    • I agree, Peachy. My ex will never be happy. Oh, I’m sure he’s “happy” right now, but he’s not or never will be content. He will always be on the prowl looking for more attention and admiration from women. He’s been this way since I first met him almost 30 years ago and divorce didn’t give him a character transplant. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that he is seeing women “friends” behind his whore’s back, just like he did with me. I’m sure she thinks she is dating this perfect guy that seems just too good to be true. Well, he is too good to be true, because a big fake and phony.

    • It has been about 5 years since D-Day and cheater ex married the OWife. Recently, I heard that the ex is going on a trip without her and plans to be gone for a few months. I’m sure the ex is “not happy” again.

      It was exhausting listening to him complain he wasn’t happy, so now it’s OWife’s turn. Guess who’s happy? 🙂

    • Oh yeah that’s totally me too! I asked my ex if he was happy regularly, and he said he was! Also, during the relationship, I told him it was ok for him to get his sexual needs met elsewhere, as due to injuries and illness, we were only having sex around once every 10 days. He said “I can’t have sex with someone I don’t know and care about”. LOL. Casual sex was ALL the serial cheat turned out to be looking for. I mean, if you have an open pass to go outside the relationship, and you STILL lie about it, then you really ARE a true loser!

  • This was almost my letter I sent in a few years ago. I swear cheaters MUST have a playbook as the stories and excuses and lame ass retorts are always the same. Sounds like you don’t have kids with her, that’s a huge plus. Believe me, don’t waste another second of your life in unnecessary contact with her. I made the mistake of wasting almost a year doing that shit, time that could’ve been spent detaching and clearing my head. This isn’t anyone’s fault but hers. Now almost 4 years out my adult kids spend the holidays with me and I get to enjoy my new grandson while me ex wife is in her shitty apartment with her cheater partner and only sees her grandson from Facebook posts. Cheating has consequences and quite frankly she lost big time.

    • It is so freakishly and sadly validating how similar our experiences are. Yikes. #relatable x 1,000,000. Peace to all in 2018!

    • To this day I find it strange how similar most of the stories are.

      Is there on big forum full of cheaters where they all get together and come up with excuses and blame together.

      Maybe kibbles.com Ha Ha.

      • There are so many similarities, I’m convinced there’s a secret society of cheaters, and a handbook or app. with chapters to include how to train your Chump, vocabulary, phrases to use, a 12 step guide to lying.

        It’s really unbelievable how much alike they are.

    • 4 years out here also, and i just spent my christmas with all my kids (2 adults, 2 teens), my 16 month old grand son, and my 3 month old grand daughter while cheater is in his shitty apartment fighting with his drunk meth addicted party girl and hasnt seen his sons since january last year. .. .. .. only wasband is too stupid to know what he lost in the first place. so all he is doing is drinking his sorrows away and blaming his misery on me.. ..he will never understand or take accountability.

  • This is really heartbreaking to read, because it shows what a kind hearted person you are compared to the horrible character shown by your thankfully soon to be ex-wife. She took no regard for you or even your health due to her sleeping around.

    I remember the routine as well – asking my cheater if anything was wrong, asking if I could help him in any way, asking even if he thought he needed individual counseling or if we needed couples counseling. Every question was answered with, “No, we are all good.” We were ‘all good’ until d-day and then all of a sudden he needed to find his own ‘happiness’ and he was searching ‘for himself’.

    Okay, you are a forty something year old man trying to ‘find yourself’ while I am sitting here raising three kids, who should actually be the ones trying to find themselves at the moment. Cheaters suck. They are 100% selfish and don’t care about anyone other than themselves. They will do and say whatever they need to in order to get their way in life. Absolutely nothing is off limits to them. As Chumplady says, “Trust that they suck!”

    • Thank you for those words of encouragement! I am a kind hearted person, and It’s sad when good people get hurt.

      • Neversawitcoming,

        I having nothing but respect for how you handled yourself through this whole sorry episode. You showed a dignity and strength which can elude us when facing such shock and heartbreak. I’m so sorry you had to go through this but as a person of such character and integrity you will get through this and I’m sure go on to enjoy an amazing life with a woman who deserves you.

        Wishing you every happiness in 2018

    • Well said! Our teenagers are the ones struggling to find themselves. My 40+ man-child said the same thing – everything is fine and accused me of being so insecure to think something is going on! But he tells our teen that I am a horrible person and his girlfriend coworker saved him from me. I asked our teen – when did you see me be ‘mean’??
      Our child said: never – because you did it behind closed doors – dad said so.
      Two years later she sees him for what he is.
      An asshole

      • My asshole cheater triangulated with our teens as well. These assholes will stop at nothing (even harming their own children) to make themselves appear to be the victims when they are the abusers (proven, if nothing else, by triangulating their own kids … such a mindfuck for kids).

        Very sorry you were forced to endure that, but super glad your daughter sees that he was feeding her BS.

      • I can totally relate to this, Nomorecamping. Ex told our teenage kids I was ‘mean and did horrible things to him’. When they pressed him to elaborate, he could not articulate any details. Since they saw absolutely no evidence of my meanness or horrible actions, they could only determine that he is an unhappy man-child asshole who does what he wants and with whom he wants. As such, he can’t be fully trusted as a partner or a father, and they know it.

        This really struck a nerve because, today, I am with my oldest daughter as she starts a brand new life at a university a long way from home. And Ex has the sadz because she did not want him involved in the move at all. Seriously?!?

        Teenagers who witness infidelity can be wise beyond their years. I strongly believe chumps need to be upfront with the kids about what really happened, minus the gory details. (“Dad had a girlfriend while we were married, and that’s wrong.” ) and let the kids negotiate their relationship with the cheater from there. Cheating dysfunction in a marriage usually means that the relationship between cheater and his/her children is somewhat disordered as well. Because cheating is ALWAYS about character. And poor character impacts every part of life.

        Kids are smart. They figure it out.

      • It’s disgusting to witness how they use our kids as weapons against us. Mine were teens at the time of our divorce. After spending visitations with their father, they would come home to me and ask why I was being so mean and unfair to him… He shamelessly lied to them and played sad sausage – tears and all. (I never saw the man cry once in all of 23 years together until I filed for divorce!) He would tell them that I was the “love of his life” and I wouldn’t forgive him and give him another chance to prove it. He claimed I was “taking” all the money and the house and he would be left with nothing. He didn’t know how or why I could be so cold… It was such a LOAD of garbage.

        I don’t know how I mustered the strength, but I maintained my composure and refused to stoop to his level. (The kids saw how he treated me before our divorce – I was a glorified housekeeper. He didn’t fawn over me or go out of his way to do anything special for me. He often was off doing his own thing while I was at home being the good wife and mother. I was the responsible one!) I simply told the kids that their dad and I were following divorce laws and we both had to agree to a divorce settlement. I explained that it was very upsetting for all of us – emotions were flying, but I wasn’t dictating anything. We were splitting our assets down the middle and I was paying him for his share of the house, so how was that unfair or mean? It made them think…

        That was years ago. They are adults with careers and lives of their own now. They both have told me that they realize their father used them as pawns during our divorce and feel badly about how they treated me because of it. They know he’s an idiot, but still maintain a relationship with him out of a sense of obligation – he’s their dad. I think they still hope he will change on some level and be the kind of dad they deserve. Sadly, they are often are disappointed.

    • Cool Breeze (and other blindsided chumps),
      Sounds like all these liars/cheaters were cut from the same mold as the same factory as mine.

  • Neversawitcoming, my husband told me three years before he cheated that he was unhappy. I asked him what he wanted to do: quit his job, join a sports team, take up a hobby, re-train, go to marriage counselling, meditate etc. He shut down all suggestions. I looked at him and said I can’t make you happy. Two years after that he decided he would go on-line, spend thousands of dollars of our money, do less around the house, and treat me like shit because: HE WAS TOO LAZY TO LEAVE. When I found his poorly written love letter to another woman in January 2016, he said I’ll go. I said, I didn’t ask you to do that. I didn’t know about the on-line activity then. I found out over the next six weeks and had to force him to leave.

    You don’t realise it now, but your wife has done you a favour. She left. She showed you who she is. Someone too lazy, entitled and immature to take responsibility for her own actions, her own happiness, her own life. You sound awesome. Change the locks, heal your heart, get massages, try new hobbies, hang with your friends, spend some time deciding what you want. Get a great lawyer, go no contact, maintain your integrity. You are a complete human being who will one day realise how much easier it is to clean up after one adult instead of one adult and a diaperless toddler. Best of luck.

    • Kimhopes – Yes! Too lazy to leave. Ex wasn’t coming home. Said everything is fine and I am insecure and stupid for questioning him. He told our child at the dinner table that she would never know a broken family. But I knew it wasn’t ok.

      Then he wants a separation. I’m in no mood to plead with him. I went through this with my 1st husband. Here we go again. Crap. I know where this is going – let’s get it over with.

      He says he’s moving out!

      But doesn’t do it. Just comes home to sleep on the couch. One Monday morning after waking up to him on the couch after coming home late after being gone all weekend – I’m livid. I want to know why hasn’t he moved out?! Our child and I cannot live this way!

      He reminded me of Richard Gere from An Officer and a Gentleman:
      “I have no where else to go!” All crying and pathetic while the rain pours down his face.

      Ugh.. He cries …. he will take his things and go!

      Like a child having a tantrum.

      Which disgusts me as he has big job making more money than ever – partly because he’s a bully.

      I’m yelling: Get out – you’ve been threatening me for weeks that you are leaving – do it!!

      He grabs some stuff. Leaves.

      And then I called the locksmith

      Then the lawyer.

      Ooooooo he was so mad.

      Now he cries how I got the house, his money, and our child.

      Barf.

      Oh – and I am a bad Christian for calling him on his B.S
      I’m a hypocrite for calling him on his crap. Christian doesn’t equal doormat.. I had a Christian tell me that it goes both ways and I should have been a better forgiving wife – maybe he would have changed.

      Lol is all I gotta say to that.

      • My simpering mother told me after I broke a bad engagement: A good woman can change a man, don’t throw your life away (WHAT BULLSHIT!)

        THEY NEVER CHANGE (sorry for shouting)

        The claim that if you are a ‘perfect’ person, the other person will miraculously change and love you is not only just fantasy but also sets you up for more abuse: Still being abused = it must be your fault for not trying hard enough.

        Guess what ? no matter how hard you try, it will never be enough because it’s not you, it’s them.

        The week donkeyarse married MyLittle Pony, my mother hissed: you idiot, she’s living your life. When I heard a few years later that she had escaped the country leaving her child behind all I could think was that MLP had got my life, and the poor bitch was welcome to it!

        Unfortunately, after leaving a physical abuser I went on to marry an emotional abuser.

        But rest assured, they never change!

        • Gracie,
          I thought that I was the only one that was married to a physical abuser (overt narcissist) and soon aft e separation got together with an emotional abuser (covert narcissistic).

    • So well said, KimHopes! If they claim unhappiness, take the cue and SHOW them the door! So often they forget where it is….

    • Mine also claimed he was “unhappy” because he has a 9-5 office job… (what do you expect being a public servant?) I asked what can “we” do to make his career more interesting? His answer is always “I don’t know”. Then he change his tune to “I don’t want to get promoted because the work pressure will increase”… I was honestly shocked when the answer changed to “why do I need to be successful? Why can’t I just be a nobody?”

      He made his work “exciting” by sleeping with his junior co-worker and he will never go anywhere with his job (he was working for the ministry of foreign affairs when he started the affair they will ever give him another job since all extramarital affairs must be reported). He will be stuck with his 9-5 office job as a nobody for the rest of his life, minus the wife but he “gained” dramas with the OW.

      I also asked myself if it’s my fault… but how can it be my fault that he has no ambition in life? I guess the best way to move forward is to leave him behind… as painful as it is… enough is enough.

  • Look at it this way. Your wife was working long hours leaving you to do the work of taking care of the household. I’m sure there were times you were lonely and frustrated by the situation. YOU didn’t cheat. YOU tried to work on your marriage. SHE walked away. You both had choices. It is NOT your fault.

    • newdaydawing, this is a great way to look at this. I’m still in the middle of figuring out my mess (because we have two young kids and she now wants to work on things), but this is great perspective. My wife cheated on me twice with “fitness friends.” While I was home with the kids most nights frustrated and lonely that she goes to the gym so much, I never once thought about cheating. Sure, I had fantasies of being a single dad (since I felt that way a lot), I never would have acted on it.

      • Fitness friends. Fucktard left our marriage to be with his racquetball partner. In the beginning, we both went to the gym. Even with three kids in tow, most clubs have childcare, and working out together, even if just at the same place, is great for a marriage…. As time went on, I grew busy and less interested in spending time at the club, at a point though Fucktard actively, but subtly, discouraged our attendance. He would start arguments over crap things, was overly competitive against me, was disparaging, and seemed embarrassed when I showed up…it took me a while to figure this out. I guess it’s hard to cheat when the wife/entire family shows up.

    • There is a bright side… you will not be lonely as like me, you were used to being left alone! Sad to say.

    • Not your fault !!!!! Grieve your broken marriage and take all the time you need. One day you will not even think about her anymore. You have said all you need to say to her. Say no more because you will just beat yourself up about it later. When your able to not be emotional anymore work on your divorce and think of it as business and not revenge. Somebody better is coming into your life next. This was a learning experience of what you don’t want or need in your life. Four years I ranted over a similar situation. I am finally at peace and realize none of it was my fault. She has a flawed character and does not define anything about you. You deserve so much more and never settle for less. Prayers for a quicker recovery than I had. Purge and let it all go.

  • Yep there is a playbook, I also read the “how to fix your marriage books”. During the 20 year marrage. confused about the cycles of distance and anger while he blamed it on the kids, my housekeeping, his work and his mother (multiple affairs). I was always working on making him happy, skinnier and stress free. Meanwhile I was doing all the adulting, parenting and maintenance in the house and was a stress mess that developed an auto immune disease.

    I realized how mighty I was as a wife (not perfect, just mighty) when my councilor ask me what I wanted and I said I would loved to be loved as much as I loved EX. I would cherish a man who loved me like that. How could this be my fault when I know I loved him and did my best to be a good wife. That is all anyone can ask for in a mate.

    Now I am working on reading character better so I can develope relationships based on mutual love, all relationship. I found I was the chump with friends and family too. The first relationship I am working on is with myself. 🙂

  • oh geez – where is that cheaters’ textbook – cause I too know a bloke who took that course and followed the book to the letter. Just like everyone above. Kimhopes – your note resonated with me. I had the same thing – he let his life stagnate as no hobby was right, no job was good enough, no course was what he wanted. And then apparently he’s soooo unhappy and he regrets the 20 years he spent with me, and he doesn’t owe me an apology for anything, etc etc I’m hanging off the coattails of your note to Neversawitcoming – he is lazy, entitled, immature – doesn’t take responsibility for his own life or happiness. Here I am reading books, going to therapy, going to meditation, looking for a new job, doing volunteering, getting massages and I am gonna make myself happy!
    Neversawitcoming – I understand – it happened to me – out of the blue one night after dinner and perfectly normal day. and poof! he ran away from home, never to be heard from again. It’s confusing and heart breaking and really really tough. Go well and be strong and enjoy your own happiness again one day soon I hope

  • Mine “tried” to make a clean break, by telling me the marriage was over one day, out of nowhere. I pick-me-danced for about a week or so, before I couldn’t handle the emotional abuse (he was giving me the silent treatment, acting totally normal with our son and cold as ice towards me), and I kicked him out. I almost certain his affair became physical the day before I kicked him out as he’d groomed himself in the shower before meeting up with a “friend” (which he did meet up with but not for the whole time that he was out, I had an audio recorder in his car). But sure, he thinks he got out of the marriage before he had his affair. Right. Those few months leading up to the “I want out” speech, where he was visiting antique shops on his lunch break with the Ho-Worker totally don’t count as an affair. In mediation he told me that she had “nothing to do” with the break up of our marriage. And yet, 1.5 years later – they are still together? Even though I told him how it devastated me and that he should end things with her and at the very least never bring her around our son (that’s happened now, too). They believe their own lies – they are terrible, awful, shallow character-free assholes.

    • They really do believe their own lies! It is absolutely mind boggling to me! And they do run from the same playbook. Like “honesty and integrity” is original song that some people sing and cheaters just play covers.

  • Standard cheater playbook, don’t take any of what she tells you to heart. I know that’s easy to say but hard to follow when this person is your chosen life partner & it’s all still fresh (10 weeks is pretty fresh). But emotions are the thing that will fuck you up right now & only make you make bad decisions. You formed a normal, healthy, human chemical bond with this woman so you can’t be blamed for feeling like you’re still tied to her, that maybe there’s still something there worth saving, etc. So you need to try to ignore your emotions and think rationally and logically about all of this until that bond weakens. No contact helps speed that up.

    As far as rational thought goes, you have to read between the line and question her every motive; she is no longer honest with you by definition, and you have to assume she’s looking out for #1 rather than for the two of you. I mean, she didn’t even consider that you might be worried about her at 1.30am – it seems like she didn’t give a shit about you. There’s no consideration there. She ain’t your partner. You don’t owe her loyalty. You need to think 100% about looking after yourself, because she isn’t going to.

    What are your boundaries? I think she’s clearly shown you disrespect by moving in with the AP – look at just that bit of information completely rationally and that action is bat shit crazy. Are you prepared to accept that, or does it cross your boundaries? Have a serious think about what you are and aren’t prepared to accept in a partner. Here’s a thought experiment that is useful; imagine you were to be starting from scratch, having never met this woman before. You’re having ‘the talk’ where you both express what you want from your relationship. She says that she wants to be able to stay out late and screw other men while you do the housework. And she doesn’t want to have to tell you about it. Do you go into this relationship, or do you say “thanks, but no thanks”. I’d bet a dime to a dollar that not many people would take her up on that wonderful relationship opportunity in those circumstances. What’s different now? You’re emotionally bonded to her, so you’re not seeing clearly. See paragraph 1.

    Consider that her primary goal is probably going to be self preservation right now and that largely means throwing you under the bus, either by conning you back into the relationship where you accept joint blame and “work on things” together (but in reality she’s still checked out – it’s just about image management), or by splitting up but accepting joint blame via wishy-washy statements such as “we grew apart” (also about image management). By self preservation, she is trying to protect her own image of herself, she is trying to protect other’s image of her, she is trying to minimise and deflect from her actions. She is trying to manufacture justification, hide the worst details, deflect onto you, control the message that is going out to the world (my stb-ex-wife would have had nobody ever know). A cornerstone of human psychology is that we tend to act according to our value system, and then come up with a justification for what we just did so that we look good. That’s well studied and just how we work. It is possible, nay probable, that she is even lying to herself & actually semi-believes her own bullshit (otherwise, if she sees herself as a good and kind person, her self identity would collapse). Either way, it involves trying to make you believe that you were at fault, that you own some of the blame.

    You can do her a favour and play along, take a share of the blame & allow her to justify it, in which case you allow her delusion to become reality & she gets to absolve herself of responsibility. Or you can look after yourself, & force her to be an adult and suffer the consequences of her actions. Please please look after yourself. There is no reason to do her any favours, to sacrifice anything further for this relationship, when you’re effectively already in it alone. Nothing is more important now than maintaining your own self respect. Do what you need to do so that you can in good conscience say that you offered her an out, an olive branch, but don’t let her walk all over you when it’s clear that she’s not looking out for you. And clearly, she ain’t. I also got the “I don’t love you any more” BS (that she since retracted, but only since I declared that she didn’t meet my standard for a partner anymore & walked away), I also got the “I haven’t been happy for awhile” thing, and like you I did regular check in’s etc. In my case, I had cards and love letters where she was expressing just 8 weeks before D-Day how much she loved me and (ad verbatum, caps included) “I’LL GIVE YOU EVERYTHING I HAVE”. So trust me, this is standard cheater fare; get caught, try to deflect onto you and minimise own exposure. She chumped you once. Don’t let her chump you twice by letting her make you believe that she was never happy, etc.

    • You are absolutely right. I know my boundaries. When she walked out to stay with the AP, that was one boundary broken. The dishonesty and lack of remorse or even care for hurting me and destroying our life, another boundary broken. These are no go areas for me. Lying and cheating are Enders. I know I did everything I could to save my marriage. I can only imagine what’s being said about me for self preservation. I will not allow this woman back into my life. She doesn’t deserve me. Karma will give her what she deserves.

      • MightyChris – excellent post.

        NeverSawItComing – go easy on yourself with all the imagined stories she’s telling him. It’s worse than you can ever imagine. But you can’t fight it right now. That chemical bond is strong and it will eventually lessen – but not without a lot of pain. You got this.

      • My NX s a covert narc, he just wanted to do what he wanted to do and I wasn’t to question anything. Smile and be happy when he came home and gave the dog and the kid an enthusiastic greeting and me bare acknowledgment of existence. Never, ever to speak about the things he did that hurt me, to express any dissatisfaction, or negate anything he said or did. He bitched constantly about bills and how he wanted me to pay as many as possible, though he made 3x’s what I did (and I had no benefits). He did not share his money with me and spent it as he wanted (guns and man toys, trips without me, whatever). He isolated me from friends, family, and opportunities. He never supported me and covertly sabotaged me at every opportunity.

        When I expressed dismay at his lack of respect, regard, and affection I was told “you know I love you, but I’m just not demonstrative”. Then he accused me of having affairs. I was so busy trying to be perfect for him and defend myself against all his accusations, prove to him I was worthy, I didn’t realize he that all he was accusing me of was what he was doing. He constantly put his wants ahead of his kid and my needs. For 17 years I did this – the last 3 the worst with increasing emotional abuse, gaslighting and projection.

        I finally left him and went immediately no contact when I found out about the OW. She was in the house with her kid 3 months after I left. She left less than a year later and now contacts me to tell me how crazy he is. The validation is nice, but I keep her at arms length because – damn, what did she think she was doing moving across country with a vulnerable teen to live with a man who wasn’t even divorced yet ?

        Next week is my one year anniversary of my divorce. I got robbed in the divorce, he got the house, a good deal of my personnel possessions and 1/2 custody, no spousal support, but I did get 1/2 the value of the property and the retirement, and I have what is most important, my freedom. And the opportunity to show the kid that mom isn’t crazy, and is capable of having a calm, drama free, happy household. And while I don’t know that I will ever meet anyone that I can have an equal partnership and loving relationship with, I would love to show my kid that they can and do exist.

  • I am still in total shock that Mr. Chump Lady has no covers. That poor man. It was 18 degrees last night where I live and I was all snuggly with my warm blankets. That poor man.

      • I don’t love you anymore.

        Not really, that little “skit” is so hilariously powerful! I can’t even come up with the right words.

      • I am impressed how Chump Lady dissected and destroyed the dumbest statement in the cheater playbook.

        I heard it, too.

        • I divorced before CL/CN existed. When DD#2 occurred and I finally had reached my breaking point, I hired a lawyer and filed for divorce. As many of you have experienced, a narcissist when faced with harsh consequences will often tearfully cry and beg for you to give them another chance… It felt SO good for me to say to him after all that had transpired over those long painful years of abuse and pick-me dancing, “I’m sorry, but I’m not in love with you anymore.”

      • I imagine Mr. CL has Tracy draped all over his good self. So even if she does have all the covers (😂)… I am sure she is keeping him warm.

  • That’s a really great answer to Neversawitcoming’s question. Cheating is a choice. Period. If you have trouble in your relationship or marriage, get help, but if your partner is cheating and refuses to do anything else, then you may be dealing with someone who has a psychopathology. If they won’t address the core issues, then get out. I’ve had a similar experience with the “I don’t love you any more” thing. My wife was a full-blown narcissist, took on a cheating partner, and was planning to frame me for domestic violence. I struck first, however.

    • The two things that jumped out at me were that every time he asked her a straight question she never actually answered with a straight answer. And the doozy for me is that when you are taking time apart to think about where you want your marriage to go from here (as a woman) you go stay with our parents, with a girlfriend, to a damn hotel, but you don’t move in with the AP to think about it! Over and out as far as I would be concerned. Oh and Hugh, my ex was violent and when I finally filed a complaint with the courts he claimed that I was the violent one. Judge asked me for my thoughts on that so I just said “well yeah, I kinda do remember hitting his fists with my face a few times. Sorry.” I of all people know it’s not a funny subject (he was violent for years) but I won my case with that comment.

  • Run! GTFO! And be grateful that you discovered who she really is. Every day you continue to be married is another day of your life wasted.

    The things you discovered, the things you’ve witnessed, the things she’s told you are only the tip of the iceberg. There’s more. There’s always more. Thank goodness you’ve been spared the added hurt of not knowing how many times she’s laughed about you with her AP behind your back. Count your blessings you don’t know how many times she came home after a roll in the hay with AP and got into bed with you for a little added excitement. (Get tested for STDs right away if you haven’t already.)

    It takes considerable energy and effort to pull off an affair. For the cheater, the planning and sneaking around are the most important parts. They are the necessary ingredients to generate excitement. The greatest “high” for cheaters is the rush they get from you not knowing. They need you to play your role as the unknowing chump. Once you walk away, you compromise the recipe. You disrupt the euphoria. It’s no wonder that discovery and filing for divorce often result in their rage.

    For your wife, your marriage became all about her needs and it probably always was. Leave. Heal. Move on. Be mighty. Surviving is winning.

    Best of luck!

    • Very well said. We “disrupt the euphoria” when we discover and file for divorce. I’ll add that escaping and getting a finalized divorce is the only way chumps can finally begin to experience true healing.

  • Bro so sorry. My stbxw had her first “emotional” affair 8 years into the marriage. I wish every day now that I had gotten the fuck out of this then. My only hope is that maybe, maybe my presence has in some way helped my kids.
    She, like your wife is a fucking pig. Has always been and will always be. The reasons for the cheating will always change too depending on what they think will have the greatest on you. I know it hurts but please believe me, you’ll be fine and she’ll always be a pig. Good luck man. You’ll be ok.

  • I’m beginning to think that marriages should be like contracts with an end term.

    First marriage: total time maximum is five years. Can be terminated at any time up until the fifth year. At end of fifth year it will be terminated w/o prejudice for no fault reason. May be terminated at any time during that time w/o prejudice unless children are involved, at which time alimony (based on total marital term) and child support will be levied until youngest child of union should achieve majority. If no children are conceived within the marriage, there will not be any alimony levied on either party. Community property rules will apply.

    Any renewal of marital vows will be done for the term of five years only, with appropriate care for alimony and child support if needed, and may be renewed for five year terms thereafter.

    This would take care of long-term marriages that fall apart after thirty years or so. It would also protect any partners who are subjected to domestic violence or financial malfeasance by their spouses.

    Plus, it would keep the cheaters from having to come up with lame excuses.

  • It’s just brilliant. It’s perfection. This is sheer genius:

    She could keep you apprised of her happiness levels. “OMG, the German chocolate cake made me happy, but then Oreo pudding turned a corner and I’m confused.”

  • Neversawitcoming, cheaters LOVE to tell you they’ve been unhappy for a long time. It’s a way to excuse what they did and want to do. “Well, if I’m unhappy, then leaving my perfectly good chump for that alcoholic bartender that works for me can’t be THAT bad, right?” The best thing you can do is to not believe ANYTHING a cheater says.
    Hang in there, buddy.

  • My wish for 2018: that every chump, in every country, will kick their cheater to the curb (after collecting whatever paperwork & evidence are necessary for a good settlement) immediately after D-day. No wasted energy, no pick-me dances, no tormenting ourselves with “what could I have done better?” Just a solid, “Bye, Felicia.”

  • I was always asking my then husband if he was happy or okay. His answer was always yes. Then he blindsided me with his affair with his married GF from Facebook! I look back now at our nearly 41 year marriage and I NEVER recall him asking me if I was happy or content! We Chumps are always the ones who are monitoring the fuckwits “temperature” in the marriage. They could care less about our happiness! We do all the heavy lifting. Thank heavens those days are over!
    Every decision I made in my marriage was weighed upon his contentment even right down to the food we ate and the laundry detergent I used. I was a VERY good Chump, but he didn’t care if I was happy. Turns out that his selfishness and aloofness in our marriage turned into a huge plus for me in our divorce and my ability to move forward. I was the spouse who knew where every dime went, what we owed and how it was paid. He had no clue when it came down to how to operate like a true adult and that became a big advantage for me. So ask yourselves, “Did your spouse ever ask you if you were happy?” Did he/she ever do anything beyond seeing to thier own comfort? I walked out of my marriage having the real life skills I needed to manage my own life because he NEVER did anything beyond mowing the lawn! He crashed and burned in record time once Schmoopie got a whiff of his laziness! She thought he was a “real adult”, but it turned out he just needed a “host” to keep him looking good. You have to ask yourselves if you lived with a full fledged adult or an over grown toddler. In some ways I am grateful for learning how to manage a whole life because now I have the skills he never possessed to make good decisions about my life and future. It’s a “win” for me!

    • Roberta, what you are saying echos so strongly for me. At one point when he was trying to hoover me back in, my ex admitted that he knew I had done everything I could to help him be happy, very consistently. He admitted that it had never crossed his mind to try to do something to make me happier, or the kids. Had never thought about that! That was one more step in opening my eyes to who he really was.

      Of courses, these flashes of insight and honesty disappeared soon after. Now I’m the terrible person who he ‘had’ to leave, and it’s my fault the kids want very little to do with him. Of course!!

      • I think you’ve hit on something very important. I’ve read that doing things for others is the key to happiness, helping others, doing unto others, etc. Call it what you like. In other words, you won’t find happiness in receiving but rather giving.
        Makes sense why these soulless worms are never happy.
        The only thing the worm was good at was earning and hoarding money…..

      • My NX said to me after I left, “how could you be unhappy after all the things I did for us”. Yeah, all the things he did for “us” things I never was consulted about, never had any control over, and be damned for and subjected to rages and/or silent treatment if I said anything against how/what/why of what he wanted. He did what he wanted to do and he just wanted me to be in the background cleaning up after him and cheer-leading the whole way. How dare I object or voice an opinion contrary to his?

    • Roberta I’m absolutely with you on being the one doing everything – and I mean everything. I worked full-time and still did everything. Hell, our neighbour always cut our grass just before I got home on a Friday because ex was too damn lazy to cut a lawn the size of a pocket handkerchief. After he moved out he still tried to come running to me for everything “cos you speak better French than I do”. Dammit, he had lived in France for 27 years, had lessons paid for by his employer and in work time but lasted about 3 months so he still spoke French like “a Spanish cow” as they say over here.

      Paying bills, knowing where everything was didn’t change at all for me. Well maybe yes, there was less work because I didn’t have to sort out his insurance stuff for DUIs, driving him around for a total of 4 years where he didn’t have a licence before the French finally cancelled it completely. So there was only ever less drama, less mess, less expense (money burned a hole in his pocket – my money in particular), less walking on egg shell and less work. What’s not to love. (Oh, and I finally hired a guy to cut my lawn so no sweat there).

    • Wow, I can’t believe I never realized that I was the only one asking the “are you happy” question! Puts things even more into perspective. He really was the problem with our marriage and I just didn’t comprehend that, not even as he was leaving.

    • Roberta, this is a familiar story. I was just wondering the other day if Schmoopie irons his shirts, buys his clothes, hand knits his socks. For 39 years I sent him out to work looking like he just stepped out of a band box! While I worked full time as an executive with a major bank. Earned more money than him, hosted countless parties, planned trips, raised 3 kids, and maintained a lovely home. I like you have all the skills I need to get on with a good life and I’m doing just that. He threw away a life time of happiness that we (me) had built. He is the big loser here, and frankly I’m beginning to see he’s done me a great favour by leaving. I was so busy organizing and worrying about his happiness I neglected my own. Life goes on and losing a cheating to gain a life even after 4 decades is an adventure.
      All the best for a cheater free 2018!

  • Neversawitcoming, NO, it is NOT your fault. This is one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves – and one of the hardest to overcome.

    My ex actually told me this: “Where you failed was that you stayed in the house all the time and you didn’t give me enough sex.” Never mind the reasons *why* I was in the house instead of out partying with him and his friends, or that my rheumatoid arthritis/fibromyalgia made sex not my number one priority (it’s not like we never had sex – just apparently not enough for him). Thanks to my being here at Chump Nation when ex and I had this conversation, I threw it right back at him and said, “This is NOT MY FAULT. It is not my fault you cheated.”

    These disordered people don’t want to take responsibility for their actions, so they come up with excuses to justify their crappy behavior. Don’t fall for it. As CL says, it’s not up to you to make other people happy.

    My ex said he “left to be happy,” but you know what? I don’t think he’s any happier now with her than he was with me. He doesn’t know what happiness is, but every time he runs away to try and find it, it becomes more and more elusive.

    You’ve got a good head on your shoulders and you will survive this. Trust me. One day at a time!

  • I was about to write about how much this parallels my own experience, but I can see from the comments that it parallels *everybody’s* experience. So many opportunities for the cheater to say what she really thought, seek counseling, communicate, do the right thing. But they never do.

    There’s a reason I use the name Notamindreader.

  • She did you a favor by leaving! Please do not let her hoover you back when the twu wuvs turn out to be dull and boring, she finds she’s now poor, and the AP doesn’t take care all of the things in her life like you did (because he is a selfish, greedy bastard too).

    My husband showed me who he was several times early on, especially when he left me when our kids were 2 & 4 years old for his twu wuv howorker. How I wish I’d finalized that divorce and never let him move in with the small home I bought for the kids and me.

    Here I am 12+ years later, another schmoopie, and finally have divorced him. Like you, I did the adulting and took care of everything so he could do the fun stuff in life he wanted. It’s just never enough for these types. And she is this ‘type’. I’m sorry you are learning who she is after 8 years of marriage. But please believe her and extracate yourself from her and the misery that is bound to follow her everywhere she goes!

    She will not come to her senses. You did not cause it. You cannot fix it. You can only make yourself happy and fix you. Please run to a divorce attorney as fast as you can. She is distracted by the twu wuvs and once she realizes what she has gotten herself into, she’s going to be hard to get rid of! Or she is going to need to complain about how awful you are and drag on the divorce to keep the flames going with her AP. He’s come into your home. Can you imagine what a tool he must be?

  • NeverSawItComing………. Her ’emotions’ are very shallow and superficial. They are unable to sustain connection or empathy. You sound like you are in pick me dance mode of thinking. Its better for you to get out while you can. These people have their own way of thinking and there is no way to have a relationship with someone like this. You didn’t mention any kids so this will be a little bit easier for you compared to others. More thank likely she had already been physical with this other guy. Strike while the iron is hot and get a lawyer and get EVERYTHING you want now because any sense of remorse for cheating on you will evaporate very quickly and she is going to refocus on ringing you out to dry financially.

  • So many here have had the same experience. What makes disordered fuckwits cheat is the same thing that ultimately ruins every other aspect of their lives. They can’t experience contentment. At all. Nothing is ever enough to fill their gaping voids. Every success is a disappointment, even if it comes with a tickertape parade, because that parade of adoration doesn’t last forever. They put all of their effort into the acquisition of whatever catches their attention. When that doesn’t make them whole, they look for the next thing that might do the trick.

    What they do realize on some level is that having a chump is a fine convenience. But they are still disappointed in life, so they are still looking for the brass ring of fulfillment. Over time, they delegate to the chump not only the chores they feel are beneath them, but also the responsibility for their inherent inability to find peace and contentment.

    The only way to win with these creatures is to leave the casino before you lose even more.

    • I always called it “chasing happiness externally”. They never get that happiness is internal and even a choice. I watch my ex chase happiness with new shiny things. Cars, gadgets, iphones, etc… till eventually it was me that needed replacing. I still don’t think he is happy because he still is acquiring new shiny things. he hasn’t discarded the OW yet, she still provides him with health insurance for the kids and thats expensive. 🙂

    • This is so, so true. They can’t experience contentment. My ex would tell me he was happy with life, but I knew he wasn’t – as he so plainly showed last year. (Side note: THANK GOD 2017 is over!). He would buy stuff, engage in dangerous behavior, act outlandishly, drink – whatever he could do to fill the void. He told me the other day that he no longer feels much emotion. And I can’t help but thank God for getting me away from that situation. He’s now the OW’s problem. Let her do the counseling and trying to “fix” him because I’m pretty sure she will!

    • It’s easier for them to fake “normal” emotions when they someone to take care of their needs. They lack the ability to reciprocate genuinely. They take and take until you can’t give anymore.

      • When I left (moved out) last year, I made it very clear to Satan that I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. That I felt he had emotionally abandoned me and left me with all the responsibility of the house, my 2 kids, his horribly behaved 2 kids, his trouble making ex wife and all the pets. I was in charge of everything because he just wanted to relax when he got hime from work and his job (as a butcher) was more important than my job (as a Psw). I was exhausted. We were in counselling. Even the therapist was astonished that ex wanted “more” from me.

        I moved out, but we continued to date on and off over the next few months. I remember a few days before our final 5th Dday, I asked him if he thought about what had gone wrong with us and what he wishes he had done differently.

        His answer: I wish that you would have cooked dinner more.

        I was speechless. He wanted to add more responsibility to my plate while he sat on his ass in his underwear watching The Young and the Restless while drinking his beer and talking to his Mommy on the phone about his hard day.

        That is when I knew I would spend my life giving to a man who would take and expect more and more.

        • I’m sorry. You were to do for his kids and yours and him and the household and all he could do was to call his mommy and whine? And watch his mommy’s soap operas? Lose that taker.

  • My wife said all the same things. We were married for 18 years, 2 kids, vacation home…none of that mattered. This is NOT your fault! I tried the reconciliation road. I did everything. I ate a shit sandwich of the Pick Me Dance and all out humiliation and rejection for 6 months trying to save the marriage and she loved every second of it, all the while she had moved literally next door to her AP. But of course “there was nothing going on” between them. I did it all-the save your marriage alone help program (DON’T DO IT!!!), threw her a birthday party, invited her to dinners, etc. She only accepted invitations when she was getting something out of it. My point is your wife is a narcissist. And so is my ex. And so is everyone else’s on here. They don’t care. My dip shit literally abandoned her kids, her home, and has lost her financial independence due to child support. She is in a terrible situation where she is forced to live with the AP because she cannot support herself. None of that matters. All that matters is the kibbles are better with the AP. Trust that your wife sucks. Go no contact immediately and take stop giving her power (YOU file for divorce). Take your self respect and dignity back. It won’t be easy but in 6 months or so you’ll start seeing glimpses of “MEH” and it is a beautiful place. In the meantime show no mercy legally. And tell your lawyer that.

    • You nailed it man…I did the exact same shit. After 24 years my wife pulled the same thing. She also lives about 3-4 miles away, can’t support herself and has told our daughter she’s only still with him for financial reasons. After 4 years I can finally chuckle and say You can have her pal! She’s gonna be 50 this year and still acts like she’s in her 20’s. It embarrasses the shit out of our daughter (daughters 21 this month so I stay out of it)..our son won’t even talk to her. So much better to just accept they suck and leave them in the PAST.

    • I can’t believe how similar everyone’s stories are. This comment and OP’s story are identical to mine. My stbxw cheated on me with a guy from work in Aug and I filed for divorce in September. She said she doesn’t love me, and hadn’t for years..blah blah blah. I moved halfway across the country for her job, and she cheated and dumped me two years later. Thanks honey!

      We have a 7 yr old daughter who is the sweetest girl in the world. I did all the school activities, and she did zero. I got 50/50 custody ( I may try for full since our daughter already hates going yo her house) and am keeping our brand new house, and she pays me support. My house is a dream now that her hoarding junk is gone.

      At first it was brutal, I was on meds, Xanax, drinking, crying, etc, but here, four months later, I can feel Meh coming on! She’s trying to get me to do the pick me dance, and wants to stay friends. We went to dinner last week, and I smiled and funny, just like my old self. Next day I told her to go fuck herself because in 2018 I’m going to be her side dish anymore. She can go whore around all she wants. She called me immediately, ranting and raving. I was the emotionless one, told her the truth hurts, she’s a cheater, and I gotta go. Hung up. It felt great. Her world is already collapsing.

      My point is … Meh really exists and I’m so happy to be getting there! Time does heal.

  • Be prepared for her rhetoric to ramp up. They don’t like it when they start to realise they aren’t getting everything their own way.

    Peace bro.

  • Every time I come to this site I am in awe at how similar all of our stories are! Reading today’s story was like reading my own biography with a different gender as the lead.

    Neversawitcoming-It’s not your fault. Like CL has said before “You didn’t cause it, you can’t control it and you definitely can’t cure it. Cheating isn’t about what you did or didn’t do; cheating is about the character (or the lack there of) of the cheater. Cheaters like your wife never pick the choice on the decision tree that takes any effort. They go for the lowest hanging fruit or even the one that’s rotting on the ground. It’s who they are.

    It’s hard not to blame yourself. I think most chumps do because it gives us a sense of control over a situation that is completely out of our control. The game is rigged and if you play it there is no winning; just different degrees of losing.

    It will take a while but soon you will realize that you are better off without someone who has such poor character.

  • My STBX never expressed his unhappiness, but I was VERY UNHAPPY. For years.

    I let him know I was. I asked him to go to counseling – nope. I tried to have adult conversations with him – nope.

    And even though I was not getting my needs met and was unhappy, I did not cheat. According to cheater logic I was completley within my rights to. But I have more character than that. It’s not your fault they cheated. They have a lack of character.

    • Cancer chump, I was also unhappy for years. It started when I discovered his uncontrollable temper within a month of our marriage – I mean extreme rages over nothing. Had I seen that before I would never have married him. We hadn’t lived together for the 9 months we were engaged because he was a marine and had to live at the marine house, so of course he was able to hide it. I tried explaining this to him, to ask him to get help but he would have nothing of it. That was made worse by the drinking of course, and the rest, as they say, is history. But no, I didn’t cheat either.

      • Meant to add, that his temper was only made worse by the fact that I would “not goddamn do what he told me to do”! I guess the marines have to answer for that to some extent, but hell I was a single young woman in a foreign country earning what to me was a small fortune. I wasn’t going to let some scrawny, pimply-face f…..ing marine tell me what to do!

  • Ah, we the chumpy ones were always willing to consider the ways in which we might have overreacted, jumped to conclusions, been jealous, said the wrong thing, folded the towels wrong, breathed in ways distressing to the cheater and so forth ad nauseum. Getting healthy and getting a life entails moving past all that. Difficult but essential habit to break.

    We actually get to breathe as we will every gosh darned day. And it’s quite lovely.

  • I was just stuck in another loop of “If only I had [fill in the blank]…then maybe I could’ve saved my marriage aka my husband’s happiness…” As Anne Lamott says, “My mind is like a bad neighborhood. I try not to go there alone…” I am so glad to know I am not alone and that you all know the territory and the neighborhood.

    So thank you a million times over for this post, Chump Lady and all of the comments I have read so far! Damn! How many of us got these lines: “I haven’t been happy for a long time…” or “I haven’t loved you for a long time…”

    Like many of you, I too checked in with my spouse of 23 years over and over and over again…”Are you happy?” “How can I make me/our relationship better?” I have been in therapy for years now trying to improve my relationships with my STBX, my kids, my friends…in fact, I am in both individual therapy and group therapy. I am committed to working out my stuff. Always have been…And yet, my STBX (who I discovered has been lying to me for 23 years) walked away and boldly proclaimed that he “doesn’t owe anyone anything.”

    I don’t want to be with him anymore but I am still grieving the loving and caring person he pretended to be…In fact, the man deserves an Oscar because his performance was so convincing…of course, I would then take the Oscar and give his covertly narcissistic self a big ole WHACK over the head but still…the strange mixture of sadness and anger is a potent cocktail that’s hard to stomach!

    Love to you all…Thank you for being here.

    P.S. Go watch the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel…there is a cheating ex and the best revenge in the form of brilliant stand up comedy! Whoever wrote the serious must be a chump because he/she gets us!

  • I’m so sick of these twat ticklers that makes the nice person feel like shit. Today would have been our anniversary but he imploded my world even before our first anniversary. They mind fuck us to death. I’m so grateful for my lifetime of no contact order from the court or I’d steal be dealing with his narcissistic bullshit. Onward and upward.

  • I needed to read this today. I am coming up to a year since d-day, on 4th Jan. I met up with a mutual friend of mine and cheaters the other day. This friend told me some of the excuses and reasons he is telling people. Ever since I have been questioning myself. He said to the friend that he didn’t love me, and so he didn’t feel it was right to stay with me. I have been concentrating so much on the not loving me part and trying to work out how I didn’t see it. This post has helped me to remember all the horrible things he did and just to trust that he sucks, no matter what he gets others to believe.

    • from your name I trust that he sucks. Impression managing ‘left pregnant partner’ must take some hefty
      spackle. Not sure about the merits of that Switzerland ‘friend’ either. So many chumps ‘didn’t see it’ because we were trusting and assumed our partners had integrity and character like ourselves. The bit about not happy – it is self justification after deciding to cheat imho. This excellent CL post is a great reminder that there are many other options if a partner is not happy such as honest communication. Not dishonest actions.

      • Yes he left when I was 18 weeks pregnant. Divorce was final end of September, schmoopie broke up with him in October.
        Thankfully the Switzerland friend saw through his lies and has said she won’t be seeing him again. I also made it clear that she had to choose between us. If she chooses him, then more fool her.

    • PregnantChump, remember that he lies. He gaslights you. He manipulates people. Of course he’s going to make the terrible things he’s done look as good as possible. This behavior is how we know THEY know what the did is wrong–because they have to rewrite the story for public consumption.

      And your subsequent post shows that in some cases, the moment there isn’t really a triangle, the relationship between Cheater and Schmoops crashes and burns. Same deal with Jackass & the MOW. She would have certainly left her H and kiddos for Jackass but he kicked her to the curb. Everyone wants karma in the form of the cheating relationship not working out. No contact. Go live your wonderful life. Once you are not supporting their dysfunction by being in their triangle, things will deteriorate. They may still “be together” but it won’t be the Nirvana you imagine.

  • CL,

    I can’t thank you enough for responding to this letter. If you changed the name and added two kids it pretty much the same story as mine. I got all the same BS from my cheating wife and blamed myself for a long time.

    Her unhappiness was a mystery to me until the affair happened and then she wanted to tell me all about it. Then her happiness was the only thing that mattered.

    CL’s advice is spot on. I now know that none of this had to do with me. Being a cheater isn’t a physical act it’s a character trait, a very flawed one at best, and I refuse to take any responsibility for her happiness or otherwise.

    Thank’s again CL and everyone at CN. I feel more free than ever!

  • I like how STBX’s think taking an anniversary trip will “rekindle” the relationship. My STBXH planned 2 anniversary trips in 2016. I thought he really enjoyed my company! They were nice trips – expect on the 2nd one he spent more time in the bathroom with his phone, than with me.
    Trips like that are for their image management and to fit their narrative. I later found out from my STBX-MIL he told her those were his last ditch efforts to rekindle our marriage!

  • I knew the moment I saw the title of today’s post that this would resonate with me: X also blindsided me then blamed me and our 4 kids for “making him cheat because he hated every minute of our lives and family these past 10 years!” He screamed this in a rage at me and kids (then ages 10-27). He screamed he was “confused about what” HE wanted!

    25 years into marriage?!!!!! It’s absurd!

    During wreconciliation, which only lasted weeks because he kept getting caught contacting AP, we went to MC and the blame was abusive— his grievances, expressed for the first time— went back decades and ranged from not having any comfortable chairs in the house to how I “made” him feel inadequate. He screamed in counseling and threw things and stomped around and slammed the door. In.Counseling.

    After 6 sessions of this horror I had had it and so had the counselor.

    Divorced, completely NC, and pretty much at meh most days. I wish I had never met him, never married him, never given him a single minute of my time and grace after DDay 1. I wish I could go back and tell myself “You will be so much better off without this abuse in your life!”

    I tell myself that now.

    However, I’m noticing that my worklife has many of the same qualities: blamers, cheaters, selfish self-centered narcissists. Financial-fear driven. No spirituality there at all. I frequently am blamed and yelled at. I’m taking steps to leave and take care of myself. It’s hard because I depend on my paycheck and I’m scared. Just like I was in my marriage! Hmmmmm🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔

    • MotherChumper, I’m sending you many good 2018 vibes, that you find a much better job, with a much healthier environment. I can only imagine the relief it will be for you to have serenity at work, and only ‘work stress’ to deal with, not ‘working with assholes’ stress!

      BTW, there’s a GREAT book called ‘The No Assholes Rule’, about narcissists and sociopaths at work, you might find it illuminating!

      • I cut out 3 “friends” in the last year that all exhibited the same narcissistic traits that Satan had.

        No trust and lying are deal breakers for me. These friends did these things and I cut them swiftly from my life and instead of feeling bad or sad, I felt relief. Peace.

        Two of the friend actually text me angry rants that exactly matched what Satan used to text me. I figured that was a sign from God they were meant to end and I was on the right track. I hadn’t spent all this time and energy reading about covert narcissism for nothing!

        • And who cares what people think?

          I am surrounded by some toxic neighbors. I am in the process of selling my house thank goodness.

          However, someone dumped 130 pound Great Pyrenes In the woods. I have been feeding him for seven months. Today I went to the feed supply store and spent $100 on hay to build him a happy hay warm dog house. I have been slowly working with him to get him to gain trust of humans. Also buy feed for other very large dogs that live in my house. This adds up to money I don’t have.

          My neighbors have never contributed one sent to the care of this dog. When I asked them for any help I get blank stares and awkward responses. However they try and snap pictures of him and then they post on Facebook about this beautiful dog that they “take care of”. If he comes up on their porch they are miffed because he is dirty. My porch looks like a barn because I have built his hay a dog house so it would be dry and warm.

          To further stretch the bounds of incredulity, they send me a text about what I’m doing wrong with this dog irregardless that I’m the only person he will come within 100 yards of he sleeps on my porch and is delighted every time he sees me. Remember pushing the bounds of incredulity, they have not contributed one red cent to his care.

          I realized today how mad I was about all of these jerks. And so I just simply blocked them all on my phone.

          All the lying entitled disordereds can all go straight to hell. 🖕🏻

  • Neversawitcoming, I am sorry you are going through this – the pain is excruciating. Unfortunately, we get it. If you can, quiet your mind and heart enough so you can truly listen and believe what your fellow Chumps are telling you – your wife will not change and this has nothing to do with you. I wasted so much time (18 years) doing the pick me dance and playing marriage police, when I could have been living a good life. You got this… I promise it gets better. Tattoo CL on your wrist KNOW YOUR WORTH (and trust that she sucks – because she really does). Hearts.

  • I’m not sure where the “fault” lies anymore, because all the things that were considered immoral or illegal in the time of my childhood have become acceptable or legal, or no one cares anymore. When some states went to “No-Fault” Divorce I think it was because they were tired of hearing all of the golden oldies being rehashed over and over — He Cheated, She Lied, He Stole Money, She’s a Golddigger! On and on, never ending.
    No one is perfect. No one lives without making mistakes. We may be influenced by the actions of others, but we choose our own actions. Your spouse CHOSE to CHEAT. It doesn’t matter if you were a bad housekeeper, or made a lifestyle changing decision to become a vegetarian. Marriage is about compromise and accommodation and communication. I have no patience for people who choose to believe that the cheater is “driven” to cheat because there is no love or lovemaking at home. There is just not “strange and new” at home. There are adult responsibilities at home. Home is not a place of constant happiness and joy — home is a place to live an authentic life. There will be ups and downs, and faults aplenty. You work it out, you don’t step out the door and look for strange. If you cannot work it out, then separate, but do so with dignity and honesty. Don’t creep around being a jerk. That may not be a legal fault, but it certainly is a good reason to divorce.

    Don’t worry about being at fault. Concentrate on living an authentic life. It gets easier without a cheater lurking around!!!!

    • Portia, you are always a fount of wisdom, sanity and encouragement on this road to sanity after betrayal. And I’m no newbie. He left in February of 2012. Still on my way to ‘meh’. I come to hear everyone’s stories and comments at CL and day by day, month by month and year by year, everyone has been such a help to ‘getting there.’ It sucks that it’s six years, though, and I’m not completely ‘there’ yet. I know I’m not where I was last year, though, and the year before that. Getting used to being single. Helping my 19 y.o. and 16 y.o. sons and 24 y.o. daughter navigate breakups and heartbreaks. What do you say? I’m just trying to ‘be there’ and and stand as an example of surviving after betrayal and abandonment.

    • I read your comment multiple times because it’s so resonantly true. I knew that in the back of my mind, but I really needed to have someone else speak it (and you did it so well). Thank you.

  • Just for fun-I got these gems from The ClusterFuck B Sociopath:
    We have nothing in common (true-I’m not a dumb drunk whore sociopath)
    I haven’t been happy in years (cuz he is a miserable fuckface naturally)
    I owe you nothing
    Pull up your big girl panties and get over it
    Nobody will want you
    I did not believe his bullshit, but at the time it hurt so bad. And I still get triggered by the big girl panty shit cuz I know for a fact CockSlobber came up with that one.
    D-Day was 8/12/15
    Today I married Charles.
    I told him he is marrying a traumatized victim of sociopath abuse. I told him I will never ever accept any form of abuse from anyone ever again. I told him I will fillet him if he ever betrays me. He is 64 and I’m 51.
    Yay us.
    Newbies: the road is hell. The pain seems like it will never end. It does, and your life will be so much better without these puke face fuckers.
    Rock on CN!

    • Dear Ex-orcist…best wishes to you and your new life partner! Here’s to years of reciprocity and may you both be blessed by mutual support, commitment and encouragement. It’s good to know that some find a happy ending in all this crap.

    • @ Ex-Orcist:

      How wonderful that you’ve freed yourself from the abusive slobbering monster. Slobber tried to make you believe he was powerful, but I have a power nugget for you.

      Slobber isn’t original or creative enough to invent the “big girl panty” sneer. If you want a real laugh, google pictures of “Jack Black” and big panties. (You have to use the quote marks.)

      I’ve heard Big Girl Panties lots of times before. In particular I’ve heard it used by predatory “network marketing” pyramid schemes when they want to shame women for daring to ask questions. Just google Mary Kay and Big Girl Panties. You won’t have any trouble finding it.

      I’d also heard Big Girl / Boy Panties even before that, always associated with potty training toddlers. It just goes to show how un-creative Slobber is, that he can’t come up with an insult any more clever than potty training. But it fits his potty mouth.

      Anyway, congratulations on your new life. And next time you hear that nasty sneer, just pull up the Jack Black picture to replace the sneer with your laughter.

      • Oh yes, the Jack Black movie is called Shallow Hal. And shallow is a good intelligent word for most of the Slobber-ing sort. It’s the sort of word they have to think about to understand.

    • @The Ex-orcist,

      Perhaps we married the same sociopath? I got:
      “We have no common interests”
      “No one’s really happy”
      ” I can’t be responsible for your happiness”
      “Act like a grown-up”
      and this gem, “no other man would ever put up with you”

      Sadly, until recently, I believed that there was something wrong with me. After finding CL and CN I realize it wasn’t me after all.

  • Damn right it’s your fault! My fault! And everyone else on here’s fault! Just listen…. they will tell you! Cheaters are void of any character or morals. If pinned against the wall with facts, they will still lie! Ignore their words they have no meaning! These people have some f up genetics!

  • One of the first things I learned in therapy is that “people can’t make me angry/sad/unhappy.” Those are my feeling states. Those feelings may be perfectly appropriate given what someone else says or does, but those feelings? Mine. Same deal with my actions. Someone may cut in front of me on the road, but he did not make me give him the finger and chase him down the highway. The whole construction “you make me so….” is part of a bullshit feedback loop that starts with the idea that feelings are uncontrollable and that destructive and self-destructive actions are justifiable based on those feelings. When people say and do terrible things, we get to choose how to respond. We aren’t the prisoners of our emotions.

    But cheaters and other disordered types have, as CL has described them, “crappy life skills.” They can’t handle their own emotions and in fact spend their lives avoiding any real self-confrontation. That’s what kibble snarfing is all about, avoiding the black hole inside of them by draining life force from other people. They are big on blameshifting and gaslighting, creating a tolerable alternative reality where someone else is always to blame for what they do. If Chumps could “make” cheaters do things, we would have a 100% success rate on reconciliation. The whole blameshift tactic is just about not taking responsibility for what they do.

    Part of the issue with the “is it my fault?” question is that relationships, by nature, involve more than one person. It’s possible, theoretically, for both people to be well-meaning and trying hard and still not be suited for living together long-term. Think, if you will, of being raised with a sibling you love but could not possible live with. So there are really 3 variables here, at least: the two people and the way they relate. Reasonably normal people (not disordered) can recognize with the relationship (both how they relate as well as the “project” of being together) won’t work. They try counseling and agree to divorce. Likewise, it’s possible that big events can change one or both partners in ways that make the marriage or relationship problematic.

    I know one woman who had a terrible head injury after a car accident and ended a marriage and all her friendships. Her brain was different. In my own case, I finally got to the tipping point of my codependency and couldn’t do another day with my XH. We were just operating on different planes of existence. What held the relationship together was my drive to “fix” him and “earn” his love. Once I stopped fixing, nothing worked.

    Here’s a hypothesis: chumps entering into relationship with a disordered person without crucial information. Post after post here is full of us projecting normal emotions and motives onto a disordered person. We expect that reason and remorse and love for the kids and history and traditions will matter to them because they matter to us. The truth is a lot murkier. We got into relationships with people who didn’t WANT those things. They wanted narcissistic supply and the appearance of normalcy. They wanted to use our chump hopes and dreams and our desire to “fix” things and our ability to “adult.” In a sense, it’s a contract where one side went in assuming the disordered person was on the same page, while the disordered person went in expecting the other person to fill an endless black hole of need. The blaming comes when the chump fails to do the impossible.

    • LovedAJackass, so true. When Fucktard walked out, he said, “Everything about my life is perfect, except for you.” To be honest, it hurt. Then, in a moment, I knew that it was my truth. Just as, “Everything about my life is perfect, except for me/my actions” would be a truth for most of our exes. Several years out and X’s perfect life has changed. He drinks more, is in poorer health, lacks free time, has a crap new job in which he makes a lot of money but which isn’t personally fulfilling, is accumulating a growing mountain of shiny new expensive objects, and spends his time with the Sparkley neighbors. Still trying to fill that void. Owife has it made (snark font here).

  • Neversawitcoming:

    Dude. Bro. Man. Welcome to the Club Nobody Wants to join. You did it. You’re here. It sucks.

    It’s impossible for you to see it right now – what with the rage, nausea, and ever-present mind movies, but she’s the weak one.

    She called the adultery partner to reduce her. Ah yes. Memories of the same event flooded back to me when Match Girl did the exact. same. thing. the night I confronted her. Fucking bitches. How weak and sad is it she played the damsel-in-distress card with him when shot got real with you. Fuck her.

    You did al the housework and such. Same here. It just makes you an easier target. She knows you are a good dude (despite Chump Lady’s assertions about your breath 🤭), and she groomed you to abuse you. Fuck her.

    That dude got himself a real winner. No doubt he’s the manliest of men with a ginormous penis. She needs a bit of danger and new dick. Don’t sweat it. He’s just another victim in her parade of “lovers.”

    I am sure you’re in hella pain right now. Know that I am two years out and the pain is all but gone. You’ll love.

    Do this one thing for me though, dude. Stop giving away your moves to her. She’s still using you to make sure she needn’t pay you. Divorce is about money. Take her over the coals. Fuck her.

    • Schmoopie needed ex to rescue her from her awful husband and he completely fell for it. What a sap. I still remember the night she called him to go pick her up at a restaurant because her then husband had “stranded” her there. She had probably told him to fuck off and he did. Ex snuck out to get her while I was walking the dog. When he got back I said “doesn’t she have any other friends?” Then I said “at least I never tried to manipulate you”. He said “it isn’t like that”. What a pathetic clueless idiot. Well, he’s stuck with her now.

  • In case you’re still reading, Chris, I want to fast-forward you about three and a half years:

    You’re mostly okay, you may even be great. You’re going to realize she did you a favor by committing such a catastrophic fuck-up, consequently liberating you from a lifetime full of mindfuckery.

    You will still, however, have twinges of doubt about the whole thing. Personally, I don’t see how anyone can suffer having the single solitary person closest to them commit such heinous acts of betrayal without having a lifetime of at least little mini flashbacks, vertigo, call it what you will.

    If you are like many chumps here, you will maybe have found another person. FWIW, I recommend trying to find another chump. Because we get it. We REALLY get it in a way other nonchumps may not. I’m suspecting no one but another chump will ever give me as much of a free pass on all the times I anticipate I’ll double take any future boyfriend telling me he’s “working late” (XH was in the restaurant industry, so I know all about “late nights” and “odd hours”).

    You may come to feel that, in the eyes of the world, “Right” and “wrong” have nothing to do with anything. You have your value system; they have theirs. And (in my situation) XH was never going to play by the rules of my value system any more than I was ever going to play by the rules of his. We are both better off.

  • “And XH was never going to play by the rules of my value system any more than I was ever going to play by his.” NWB, brilliant.

  • No….there was nothing you could have done or not done to stop her from cheating! She has an integrity disorder (moral disorder). That’s not your fault. She was simply “done with you.”

    The marriage cannot ever go back to where it was before the cheating- the trust is gone. Marriages are built on trust………without it there is no marriage. Forcing yourself to trust an “unworthy of trust” person will make you physically and emotionally sick. You will always be looking over your shoulder. Move on friend…….she’s not worth your health, happiness and emotional well being!

  • I blamed myself for years. I did everything I could to “try to change myself” to make the pervert/cheater stop being a pervert/cheater. Nothing worked. We have no control over these monsters. No matter what we do or don’t do……..they will cheat.

    If unmet needs are the reason why people cheat……..I should have been jumping on every man I saw!

  • I differ slightly, sometimes I think individual behaviours do contribute.
    I currently have a friend whose husband lost his job and now works in Asia.
    She likes ” being married”, although chose not to move with him. Recently he had an operation ,she chose not to visit him.
    In my mind they are just pretending to be married. If he has a woman over there I would not blame him. She is as culpable as him.She seems to think that its ok to live on different continents, not see each other for many months at a time (through choice) and yet assumes he has no sexual needs as she is happy with the status quo of the money paying the mortgage and pretending she has a husband.
    I think she is naive at best, and very complacent at worst.
    If he cheats I do think her behaviour has played a part. All “messages”to him from her have been that she does not care very much.
    She will be very upset to lose status, money and the role of husband, but I don’t think she cares for him much at all. Either that or they have an arrangement that they choose not to share. I don’t think he is a ” cheat” by nature but has found himself in a grim situation, and is not yet able to pull the plug. They have 2 kids.
    Would he be a terrible person to have a fling? He must be pretty lonely so I don’t think so, and I do think her behaviour has played a part.

    • If his situation is that bad he could actually get divorced. Yes, it would be expensive, but he is already paying to support this woman with no real gain. If he works abroad he probably already doesn’t see his kids much, and it would send a pretty clear message to her that the status quo is not acceptable to him without having to cheat, lie, and sneak around. Staying married and keeping shcmoopies is also expensive. Getting divorced might hurt him socially, but so would being a cheater.

    • @seriously? — I do not understand your pro-cheating comment here on this site at all. Actually, this reads like you are being a disloyal Switzerland friend to this woman. If her marital arrangement is unacceptable to you, then stop being “friends” with her. There are Living Apart Together (LAT) marital arrangements with which many people around the globe are very satisfied.

      Finally, on the facts you have provided here, this husband chose to move continents for a job instead of trying to find or create a new job on the original continent where his wife and kids live, ergo, HE is the one who physically left his wife and his children. At least he is providing financially, for now anyway. Look at his actions. If he really cared about being an involved father, there is no way on earth he would have moved continents. Pretty much every Western court would construe his actions as some kind of constructive abandonment of his wife and kids. Think this one through a bit more, and break up with your friend who, for whatever bizarre reason, you secretly hate.

      • Thank you, @Jo. I agree completely and I’d like to add, we don’t know why the wife has chosen not to move with her husband. Perhaps he’s unkind to her and she thought it might be nice to take a break from his constant put-downs. maybe she told him that she didn’t want to uproot the kids, go to a country where she didn’t speak the language, live the life of a pampered but weirdly isolated expat’s wife…and maybe he accepted the job and moved, anyway.

  • Chump lady and chump nation have given me so much hope in a very dark period of my life. 2018 hasn’t started off that great as I totaled my vehicle. No bodily injury thank god! But, then to add the icing on the cake the STBXW texts me to ask if I was ok. I just thought “you didn’t give bakers fuck about me for the last two months, and now you want to check and see if I am ok, because you heard I wrecked my vehicle?” Fuck you! I was pleasant, thanked her for the concerns and went back to no contact. The nerve of some fucking people. I thank god, I am alive and that I won’t waste another precious moment of the life that I had.

    We are all survivors, and we all have survived our own crucible!

    Thank you all for the words of encouragement and I am honored to part of this club, because it means that there are still people out there in this world that are willing to love courageous!

    • Goodness! Glad you survived your car wreck intact, and big time kudos to you for immediately gong back to No Contact after your ex’s charm channel text. Here’s to being a Recovered Chump in 2018!!!

    • Neversawitcoming,

      What’s happening, buddy?

      Block that bitch. You wrecked your ride, and she swooped in and got to be the “good person.”

      Y’all are childfree, right? Block that bitch.

      No contact: it’s difficult – and worth it.

      • Yeah, I’m from the northern states (us) and we have had some bad weather. Ie snow and ice. Rolled my vehicle. I’m all good, vehicle is totaled.

        The contact wasn’t until two later. But never th less. The only contact we have is via text for logistics and divorce shit. Other than that I don’t speak to her, haven’t and won’t.

        Yep no kids.

        It does fuck me up when I hear from her, and the. After awhile it subsides when I remember how much she sucks as a person.

        • Broski-whoaski:

          Glad to hear you made it out alive. I left Texas to get back to the Pacific Northwest. So lovely up here. And no Bomb Cyclones. Although I did survive the Thunder Snow of 2015 in Maryland. Brrrr.

          Let me see if I can make a few assumptions about you, NSIC. You want to be the good rational guy. You still love her. You want to hear from her. You have a black hole right in the center of your chest. You wake up in the and the darkness is stifling. (Mornings were the worst for me.) You want to discuss logistics because it’ll speed the process. You don’t have a lawyer. You secretly want them to ask you back so you can fuck her and dump her. You’d like to watch the two of them get hit by a bus.

          That was me. All over. I am still waiting on the bus. But now I don’t even discuss logistics. “Logistics” is code for “tipping your hand.” The courts move at a glacial pace. Everything one needs to do for a divorce until the hearings can be handled only in written form on paper. Everything you text, email, or say to her will be thrown back in your face in the court filings.

          Brother-from-another-mother: listen to me when Intell you that I did it all wrong. I was no-contact until I wasn’t. And then she weaseled back in via email. (Nearly impossible to block email tbh.) I resisted until I didn’t. A six week wreckonciliation turned into another unceremonious dump-and-run back to Fuck Stick. (At that point I had nobody to blame but myself.)

          I know you’re probably stubborn, but if I can help short-circuit some of the pain you’re enduring I’d like to help.

          Sharing logistics with her is the wrong move.

          Irrespective of your future actions though, be kind to yourself. This is the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do.

          • Thanks for the insight. I really appreciate it. But, on some I disagree. I do not want her back to fuck and her and dump her. I do not want anything to do with her. It pissed me off more than anything when she texted me asking if I was ok.

            As for the logistics, I guess that term was wrongfully used by me. The contact is solely for scheduling for the divorce proceedings. We have already discussed how things will be settled. Our divorce will be pretty clean compared to others. Otherwise, I am in absolute no contact. I don’t email, text, or call.

            A part of me loves the woman I married, but I am coming to conclusion that that woman never existed. It’s pretty messed up to think about. However, that will still never change my mind. I know my worth, and she isn’t worth my time.

            I’m still young and there are a lot of good things that will come my way. She will not be one of them.

            Indeed, you are correct, mornings are toughest. The hardest part is waking up.

  • Jo
    I do not secretly hate my friend. I also like her husband who wanted her to go with him. He had tried to get a different job.
    All I am saying is this: she has chosen not to live with him, so if he strays she also has contributed to his temptation. She could have moved. She didn’t want to. I think the constructive abandonment is the other way around.He is the breadwinner, and she could have gone.The kids are at Uni.
    There is an ideal world, and then there is reality.
    No , you should not HAVE to live on the same side of the world to be faithful, but from all I see, usually men cannot seemingly last long living on their own.
    If he pulls the plug on their marriage, which I hope for her sake he doesn’t, then I do think she has played a role in that.

  • This article was solid. As much as I try to distance myself from the horror of finding out about the affair in 2017 (and how it was hidden from me as having started in 2016), an emotional affair is devastating. I have to laugh now how this other person felt that she could lead me on for almost a year, hide her affair, then have the nerve to inform our teen girls “not to fall in love so quickly”, and casually forget to explain her remorse for having cheated on the family. Perhaps she felt she was living in “The Matrix” and just needed to get unplugged. Ultimately, I realize she is a lost soul right now that may get out of the desert, or be continually lost.

  • HELP A CONFUSED CHUMP someone anyone Chumplady????
    After completing a great highly recommended Divorce care support group (in Australia) I have found one self reflective question the hardest to answer. How did I contribute to the breakdown of my marriage? Now I was a devoted wife who got chumped. So this question made me foam at the corners of my mouth – the idea that I had done anything to contribute to my ex being an ass infuriated me. However it was posed to me many times and I was challenged to re-think my marriage and what I could have done better with in terms of my own faults. Now we all know no one is a perfect wife / husband as perfection in being a human isn’t possible but I still need to dredge up some humility and think ‘how did I contribute to the breakdown of my marriage?’
    I’m dating now and feel I can’t just convey ‘me? Well I’m pretty perfect but HE was a ass. End. Of. Story.
    Is it all BS about a chump still needing to find fault with herself? Is it arrogant to think “nup, I can’t say I did anything to contribute the the breakdown of my marriage?
    HELP

    • HACC, I was going to respond differently to this post but I would love to give you the down low. Read everything in Chump Nation. Do not pick up or read another book that promotes the Reconcilition Industrial Complex. Unless you want to be absolutely miserable for years to come. It’s like examining the Emporer’s New Clothes. They don’t exist. There is nothing to examine.

      My story started years ago, before Chump Lady and Chump Nation. All I had was a bad internet connection, bibliotherapy, occasional marriage counseling, and blame. The letter of this entire thread has enough similarities to my own that I was absolutely gleeful reading it, wishing I’d had this support back then. The thing is, I read and listened to all the RIC crap. My eccliastical leader encouraged me “go home and serve him.” It really was an emotional affair that didn’t have the opportunity to go physical. Emotional Affairs were not yet recognized as damaging. Believe me when I tell you they are still devastating and secretive, destroying trust and marriages.

      But here’s the thing. All the people (especially husband) and books wanted me to take responsibility for my part of the breakdown of the marriage. He wasn’t happy and hadn’t been for a long time. He thought he never loved me. I grappled with this for years. No, really. Years. What could I have done differently? What should I have done differently? I never claimed to be perfect but, clearly, I should have KNOWN. Yet something deep inside me refused to honestly own it.

      It is years later and I have hindsight. I mean painful, gut wrenching and unnecessarily grueling years later. But the insights I have gained at such a high price I will give you for free. Although I’m only mimicking CL, I learned this from experience.

      What could I have done differently? How could I have stopped the train that smashed into my perception of a happy marriage? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Here’s the hindsight thing. He had his complaints of me but he chose to marry me, anyway. His realization of unhappiness and wondering if he loved me coincided with his growing relationship with the girl at the office. But, as Tracy points out, it has nothing to do with me. It’s a non sequitur. His unhappiness is on HIM. Why did he wait ten years and three kids into the marriage to tell me this? Assuming it’s true, he had the responsibility to tell me so. Had he been truly unhappy all ten years, had he never loved me, it was beyond incomprehensibly cruel to allow me to continue to build my life and trust in him, allowing children to enter an unhappy and empty marriage, without disclosing his feelings.

      Perfection is not required to have a satisfying marriage. I’m afraid you are stuck in the RIC spout of crap that it takes two for a marriage to fail. There are numerous ways to contribute to marital dissatisfaction. These do not lead to marital breakdown.

      The RIC encourages self reflection and evaluation which I whole heartedly support as an evolving human being. Figure out what has been working for you and what hasn’t. My advice to realize quickly how the RIC is encouraging you to take responsibility for something you had no control over and use your self reflection and evaluation for productive changes that improve your life. Like cut down sugar intake, start walking again, play the piano, cut down on alcohol, say kind and encouraging words to yourself every morning and watch your self talk.

      Scrap RIC advice. Read Chump Lady every day.

      • And yes Chumplady was the ONLY voice that said RIC is BS and as soon as I discovered her blog I was TRULY free. And I kept my dignity – CHUMPLADY RESTORED MY DIGNITY VERY QUICKLY. Thankyou CL xoxo
        Absolutely agree with you on the ‘perfection is not required to have a healthy marriage ….there are numerous ways to contribute to the breakdown of a marriage…BUT THESE DO NOT MAKE HIM HAVE AN AFFAIR.
        Mine was a waitress at the restaurant he’s the head chef at – so late night chats over glasses of alcohol led to way too much emotional sharing and eventually infidelity. I’m glad to be rid of him now to be truthful he wasn’t my ideal man not someone I would fall in love with now, way too one dimensional and basic, not the brightest and ending a marriage by sleeping with a waitress who looks more like a train wreck is all the glee I need.
        I’m not stuck in the RIC but you made a very important point by saying I was stuck in the RIC by STILL thinking ‘what was my part in the breakdown’. I’m by no means that arrogant to think I’ve no faults but I damn well struggled to find any truly horrible things to cause such a basic response by my husband – let’s face it – having an affair rather than being an adult and TALKING to your wife about your unhappiness and WANTING to find solutions TOGETHER is SO BASIC only someone with a pea size brain would react in this way in a marriage. I should have sent two shirts to them for Christmas with the words Dumb and Dumber then again I so don’t care cos I know what they have is BS too!!!

      • Thankyou GracieD and Mylife
        Gracie I think you gave me an AHA moment
        I allowed him too much slack without standing up and saying OK ENOUGH I’m not getting much in return and this shits gotta stop now

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