Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Check Your Bills for Boob Jobs and Other Great Advice

Dear Chump Lady,

I found your website after all the drama and trauma of my divorce was wrapping up. Your advice and the stories of all my fellow chumps has still been quite helpful especially in shedding all the doubts, second guessing and self blame that seems universal with us chumps. I thought this might be a good subject for a Friday column — Great advice from your lawyers, friends or therapist. To get things started here are three of my best:

1) At my first consult with my lawyer she wisely advised that I watch all medical bills like a hawk. She told me stories of cheating soon-to-be-ex-wives sneaking in last minute plastic surgery, tests and treatments for STDs etc. Well, it wasn’t plastic surgery that I found — it was an IUD (and also on her advice I kept my mouth shut and just handed over the info to my lawyer). Since I had already had a vasectomy years before the affair, the evidence of the IUD pretty much annihilated ex wife’s claims in mediation that I was paranoid and jealous and her relationship with her tennis pro was nothing more than a mentor-type friendship.

2) While in the midst of the frenzied bonding of fake reconciliation, ex-wife was also pressuring me to hand over all evidence of the affair. How else could she “trust” me again so we could move forward in rebuilding the marriage? My best friend literally laughed at me, told me the sex was making me stupid. He advised me to copy everything, send it to him for safekeeping, then hand over all my evidence and see what happens with all the awesome sex.

Sage advice because as soon as she had all the evidence, the magical, anything goes, crazy sex and fawning attention came to a screeching halt. When all the emails, text messages and phone records reappeared in mediation, ex wife and her lawyer were very surprised and very unhappy.

3) During therapy, while in fake reconciliation, after chumpy me had droned on and on about my frantic pick me dancing (yep I got the emailed laundry list of how I drove ex to cheat and I determinedly set about correcting every single “problem”), my therapist interrupted me and asked for examples of how ex-wife was working on repairing the marriage. I sat there mute and honestly couldn’t come up with a single example. That afternoon I called my lawyer and started the divorce.

In closing, one final piece of advice from me, a new dirty trick that even had my experienced lawyer shaking her head in disbelief. When it was all said and done, ex-mother-in-law gleefully pointed out that I had been an idiot to go along with the 12 months of marriage counseling, as it was all a ruse to hit the 10-year mark of being married. Now my ex wife can go on my social security when she retires. Apparently ex-MIL’s lawyer had chipped in that strategy and she was happy to let me know that I had been played.

So fellow Chumps what great advice did you receive?

Thanks again to everyone for all the help,

S&D

Dear S&D,

Great idea! So, CN, who steered you right and what strategems did you learn, and what can you pass on to the newbies?

TGIF!

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I trusted him.That was my downfall. I simply never thought he would hurt me.
    I’d say once you start detecting little things like the lies, start paying attention to what they tell you.
    Pay attention to all they tell you and all they do. Everything. Cheaters don’t change.
    We must learn to accept that and move on.

      • 💯 I’m several months out from divorce and I still find that I have to remind myself of her evil, conniving nature. It’s sickening to have to occasionally deal with ex because she absolutely cannot be trusted.

        Everything she utters must be verified. Every communication from her is suspect. It’s like attempting diplomacy with a rogue nation.

        Remember to be kind to yourself and forgive yourself if your ex occasionally gets one over on you. In my case, I’m dealing with an extremely toxic, disordered abuser in sheep’s clothing. It’s downright exhausting at times.

        • I can so much relate to that. The thought that my stbx was emotionally abusive and I hadn”t realised it then because of my love and trust – that thought is gradually sinking in. But even then, I have moments of sadness and secret hope that he one day will regret what he has done to our family. In those moments I feel sometimes I have to almost forcefully extract from the depths of my memory the awful things he said and done, the conniving ways he used to play me from the very beginning of our marriage. All his past words and deeds now have a different meaning. They now carry the truth that I for so long refused to see. That unconditional trust I had, that naive trust that whatever hurtful thing he said or did, he still “had my back” as he used to say and would never deliberately hurt me – that feeling will never be back and it hurts a lot.

          • Longtime,
            I appreciate you speaking my thoughts on wishing that the partner we thought we had would appear. Sending you a giant hug.

        • I have to constantly remind myself that almost everything my Ex (finally as of 2 days ago!) accuses me of is usually something he is doing himself. My normal reaction would be to talk through it but all that does is give him a forum for more lies. Now I know I’m better off not confronting him at all on the things my 7 year old daughter tells me unless it’s really serious. Because if I do, all I am going to get is she misunderstood him or him accusing me of being crazy. Not worth it.

          • CC, I went through this as well. Every excuse (there is no such thing) she gave would have supported me having the affair more than her. I sometimes wish I was the cheater instead of the Chump. But, is there a Cheater Nation out there?

          • Congratulations! And I totally get what you are saying. Projection should be tattooed on my ex’s forehead. I spent nearly our whole 20 year relationship caught up in this – either accepting it and owning his shit or else pointlessly trying to argue against it which just prompted more projection, blame-shifting, gas-lighting and lies, and the problem then being my reaction, not his actions. And on and on ….
            I have learned simply not to engage – it is hard as it is very unfair how he is behaving, and I have to remind myself very strongly how untrustworthy he is. It is still a very conscious process as it doesn’t come naturally to be so suspicious of another person, particularly one who on the surface looks so benign, and who I spent so many years with, and it is not in my nature to be so suspicious (and I don’t want it to become either). But underneath the veneer he is grossly disordered and I have to keep reminding myself that what you see is not what you get.
            It is like attempting to negotiate with a rogue nation – that is a great analogy. I also like the analogy of trying to negotiate with a terrorist, used here a lot. Negotiations are based on the assumption that people will behave at least reasonably honestly and will honour what they say they will – neither of which apply. There is no point and you will just get burned.
            Good luck with your new life, Cancer chump!

          • Yes and yes! Anything they accuse you of they are guilty of. During the process I was accused of dragging it out and having an affair. Lol. I have proof of the first if you read the piles of paperwork. I never did get proof of the second, just always knew his traveling for months at a time included some bimbos. You don’t get bacterial infections out of the blue.

          • Cancer Chump,
            It took me awhile to figure out that anything Stbx would falsely accuse me of doing-was actually him projecting what he was doing!!

            I was very stupid and thought Stbx heart attack and open heart surgery at 60 yrs of age, would wake him up and finally allow him to agree to an amicable divorce!!

            What did I do, inallowed the monster back into the home and I recovered him. Being a nurse, I knew it would be a long recovery with many possible complications, which he had. I went through his fake wreckonciliation , and took excellent care of him during the 6 month long recuperation period. So instead of a near death experience allowing an amicable divorce, I’m now going through a divorce from hell with a narc along with his married AP Narc, who Area working incredibly hard to hide every marital asset through the S Corp she filed a week before his open heart surgery surgery
            .
            Fortunately, his cell phone was a treasure trove of evidence. while he was promising the moon, I documented and continued collecting evidence and documentation to add to the boxes of extensive documentation I already had collected for 2 yrs in preparation of the “last straw” that I knew was inevitable!!

            The level of depravity, even after surviving a near death experience and me taking excellent care of him and picking up on every complication very quickly/ got me an even more mentally unstable Narc in full blown scorched earth mode!

            So much for me being empathetic and believing that Stbx nearly dying would change a narc sociopath – at least get him to mediate an amicable divorce

            almost dying doesn’t change a narc, they are rotten, voidless shells who will never, ever change!!

            During the fake wreckonciliation process and attending a “couples seminar “, I sat and very closely listened to every bs word that came out of his mouth / his focus -my inability to forgive and forget his blunders. His list of changes -were all about what I did wrong, I wasn’t submissive and I didn’t followed the Bible and advice on “what a wife is supposed to do “! At the end of the month long process, I was left with the knowledge and realization that this is someone that is incapable of change-always has been that way!!

            One huge lesson learned is don’t listen to their words, talk is cheap, watch their actions and they will show you that they are incapable of change. I don’t ever want to hear as long as I live, that prayer and god can save anyone. That might be true, however a soul must exist before it can be saved. Jesus cheaters / despicable!! If I ever hear anyone ever again call a deplorable action, a blunder, my Narc radar will go into overdrive and I will immediately remove that person from my life, personal or professional!!’

            I have finally accepted, as I approach 60 yrs of age, their are some people that are incable of feeling human emotion, a chip is missing from their frontal lobe of their brain and can’t ever be fixed!

            At least I can know, moving forward, I have a life of peace waiting for me on the other side. I can barely see a glimpse of light at end of this long dark tunnel, but dammit, at least there is a glimpse. 2 months ago, before finding CN, all I saw was black, endless tunnel!

            CN and tribe, I can never thank you enough for your guidance, support and wisdom-without it I would still be staring at a long dark tunnel without a glimpse of light at the end!!

            I love and cherish every single one of you !!! although this is a club none of us ever envisioned we’d be joing, I’m proud to be a member, because now I am pushing forward and moving as quickly as I can to that glimpse of light at the end of that tunnel!!

            Seeing clearly

            Thank you very much!!!

            It took me finding the wonderful, support, wisdom and guidance from CN almost 2 months ago, that forced me to finally stop the empathy, stop listening to Stbx poor me and my screwed up childhood excuses , to say enough!!

            • Wow ~ you go on with your mighty kick ass life and don’t look back. You got this girl and no deadbeat is going to stop you! It’s so freeing to finally put it in words what horrible people cheaters are and that we deserve so much better.

        • “Everything she utters must be verified. Every communication from her is suspect. It’s like attempting diplomacy with a rogue nation.

          Remember to be kind to yourself and forgive yourself if your ex occasionally gets one over on you.”

          Change she to he, and ALL OF THIS!! I’m 4 years our fro DDay and 2 from divorce and ex recently got one over on me. ISO wanted to believe he was legit, as it was a matter co concerning our child, but alas, he is who he is: a lying, cheating, covert narc.

    • Yes, the trust thing. Me too. I never thought he would hurt me like he did.

      Mine left in February saying he needed space to get his head together ~ I gave him that space. I told him I would give him 6 months of space.

      In May he told me he had been doing a lot of journaling and had realized he did not want a divorce. Two weeks later, I caught him with the circus clown with her all over him in his truck. He filed for divorce two days later.

      The first line of the papers said that we had been living apart as man and wife since February.

      The first lie. Many lies would follow.

      We were divorced on Halloween. How appropriate!

    • THIS. I learned of a very big lie at year 10 in our marriage. He told me he was going out of town camping with a friend and when that friend called the house the next day … busted. I never needed to know one more thing … yet I stayed another 20 years. One substantive lie is enough. Game over.

      So a separate Friday challenge is how to forgive yourself for such colossal stupidity of staying put for that long.

      • I try to forgive myself because I didn’t have the tools/vocabulary for what he did. I remember the discussion after the twin towers fell on how we (American) did not predict it coming and how we missed it. We missed it because we would never have thought to do something so horrible we are decent humans.
        Same goes for the gaslighting and cheating and STD’s. I couldn’t dream up this nightmare and all the weird bullshit that comes with it.

        • Very good article. I’m dating aperson with Narcissitic disorder and seeing his pattern spelled out in black and white helps me read through the emotional turmoil i’m going through.

          My ex husband was also Narcissistic, so i see a pattern here that indicates that i am the one who needs to work on myself and figure out why i’m going for this type of man repeatedly.

          • Dandoopy don’t put yourself through another relationship with a Narc! I’d rather be alone for the rest of my life than do that again

      • Ahhh
        Dixie just you telling your story is a great gift to those of us who can’t seem to pull the plug….. we are learning from you….

    • I did a reverse wreckonciliation with my eyes wide open. Got him to sell the house, give me my 1/3 that he wouldn’t have had to with the prenup since he did not file the deed papers like he should have. Got him to give me the whole tax return after filing a corrected one as “married” instead of married filing single, and now waiting on the Qdro paperwork from his retirement that he couldn’t fight in the actual prenup…… hello playa…..I’m the fucking coach…….

    • Beyond not being able to trust mine with the usual things, I couldn’t even dream up the myriad of ways he came up with to betray me. Along with all the expected, mine also drained our children’s pre-paid college funds. Never in a million years would I have ever dreamed that he would do such a thing to them–I didn’t even know it was something he COULD do. Of course, he immediately spent that money on trips and jewelry for Miss Plastic Parts. Where does he think he’s going to come up with half of the money for their higher education? Oh, wait! DUH! He DOESN’T plan to contribute.

      Spend some time making a list of all the diabolical wickedness recounted on this website and in the plots of Lifetime movies before you finish devising that divorce decree. Take care of those loopholes.

  • I liked using Google to search the internet and dickhead liked using Yahoo. After I found the love letter & he moved into the spare bedroom, he was still working away a lot. I went to look something up & changed the search engine from Yahoo to Google. In the top right corner I found a gmail account & clicked on it. It was his secret email. He was too lazy to log out.

    That is how I found out about Anastasiadate.com, all the singles dating and sex sites he was on, was able to get username and passwords to most of them. The password for anastasiadate was the most important, as he had spent thousands of dollars on credits and I was able to print out the proof. I was also able to print out emails that proved he had been cheating, lying, and sending money via Moneygram to scammers, along with dick pics and really badly written sexy emails.

    So, my advice is wait till the cheater is away, and change the search engines on the computer. You might get lucky like me. Don’t forget to change the search engine back so they don’t know what you are up to.

    • This was partly how my serial cheating abusive jackass hid his 20+ hour a week porn parade … different search engine. He also used his phone and work computers.

      My advice jumps on the back of yours … but, I would recommend getting a back-up of the computer so nothing he did is accidentally erased from the hard-drive. Then, view the search engine histories. Don’t forget to check the trash bin and sent files — most cheaters don’t cover their tracks that well. They tend to be stupidly confident. In addition, and what I found most important for my discoveries, were “unhiding” files in the hard drive and viewing the histories there.

      I was also able to get his iPod history from the backup on iTunes … which showed he had been diligently searching for an old AP while he was crying, professing undying love to me and our kids, apologizing, getting therapy, etc. Not to mention more porn … and lots of pics of weapons. Sicko

      For anyone in need of the computer data, there are a number of free programs that can help recover deleted data. I did this to EVERY computer in our home (like an overconfident fool, he never got rid of the old technology … so we had computers from the beginning of our marriage stored in the basement … and one of his old work computers, which he brought home to be a “family computer.”)

      I was very lucky, especially because he flipped out (scary, restraining-order flip out) at the end, to have gotten as much evidence as I did from the computers. The worst of it, for me, wasn’t the hard proof of dating sites, chat rooms, secret email addresses, etc. …. it was that I realized — because everything is time-stamped — that he had watched porn while he was watching our youngest child.

      Not only did I keep screenshots and copies of everything (thousands of pages … he was doing this shit throughout the WHOLE two-decade marriage and I had no idea at all), but I saved it in triplicate and have it in separate places — and with different people. Just in case he comes unhinged again ….

      One word of caution … check your state laws. As long as the computers are “family computers,” you should be fine to dig up the information and potentially use it in court. But, there are circumstances where you could get into legal trouble. So, check the laws to be on the safe side.

      • My ex was stupid enough to use one of his favorite fictional character’s names for his secret Facebook account, and his usual password he used for everything else.

        I got in, saw he was demonizing me as crazy and abusive to some woman on the other side of the country for concern kibbles and to groom her for whatever else he was going to use her for, and documented everything before logging off. He never knew I’d been there.

        When the final confrontation and dumping happened, he asked me where I got the information. I told him the woman he was talking to on the secret account thought he was a creep and contacted me to tell me what he was up to behind my back.

        I never talked to him after that, but I hope it made him really paranoid. And if he stopped talking to her because of it, she dodged a bullet.

        • Too funny. I realised shit I don’t need to be honest with this asshole. I am usually very uncomfortable with telling fibs. Anyways I saw his overseas whores g plus profile and she had many attractive male ‘friends’ I said to ex that she probably had a few boyfriends and he wasn’t very special. The look on his face was priceless. They had a big fight and broke up a few months later. She wouldn’t leave her husband for his awesomeness.
          Call their bluff I say, it can be a great way to get information.

      • Omg watching porn while taking care of the youngest child didsgusts me. I know all about coming unhinged with a restraining order I’m living that nightmare right now until June. 21, 2018. He wanted to move his new SLUT into our family home!

        • Carol: I’m so sorry you are in a similar situation. Because they didn’t do enough damage already, right — might as well be a complete shit and need a restraining order on top of everything else?! Argh!

          And, I fully agree about how disgusting it was to watch porn in front of the little one. I freaked out … it never ever ever would have occurred to me. (I didn’t even know he was watching porn at all … so discovering the obsessive watching was already shocking … but to find that out was really mind-blowing. Though, finding that information was really vital for me to 1. Understand how fucked up he is; 2. Understand that I couldn’t even keep my kids safe unless I got out.

          I have ZERO regrets digging up as much as I could from the electronic devices, etc. On the contrary, it was vital for me and my kids.

    • If you have a Mac, and Time Machine is installed…

      I found ALL the emails that he carefully erased from his email account. He was so ‘transparent’ – he had gave me his email password, and just erased all emails after reading or sending them. And forgot that Time Machine captured them. The whole sordid history was backed up.

      • This information is really useful to me! I have the old Mac we got about 9 years ago still. It hasn’t been used for about 3 years and the screen is smashed but I kept it so I could get the photos on it retrieved – still haven’t got around to it yet (I am hopeless with computers, will need to get someone else to do it). I am going to ask them to retrieve everything off of it now.

  • When I was still reeling after bomb drop, and listening to the blame, I was trying to get us to therapy. The first therapist told me that I didn’t need to come again the issue was him. (Good for her. At the time I was hurting too much to, “get” her position.)

    Experienced individuals who had, “been there and done that”, described therapy with a cheater like handing them a gun and asking them to shoot you with it. I then witnessed countless of chumps describing their therapy horror stories.

    By the time I had initiated the D and he was offering to try therapy again, so that I could, quote unquote, “understand”!

    I had wised up. I told him what to do with himself…

    I don’t regret dodging that bullet, because four years – and lots of personal therapy – later, and with enough distance to see the wood from the trees, the fact that he was extremely emotionally abusive isn’t subtle. In fact, the fact that I did not realise some of the things that he was doing still horrifies me.
    At the tip of the iceberg, he used to move and hide my things (car keys etc.) so that he could be a hero and find them.

    • Mine moved things just to let me search for them endlessly! He would never help me find them, just sit there and tell me I needed to be better organized. In the year since he had been gone, not a single thing has gone missing in the house.

      • Wow, mine would lock my purse away so I had no car keys. So I would hide my purse. So he would lock me out of the bedroom so I had no access to my clothes. So I would move my clothes. Then when he would (yet again) call in sick, I would come home from work to him “fast asleep” with his key in the front door so I couldn’t get in. So I took ALL the keys to a back door so that at least me and my kid could get in that way. So the Twat took a different key – not to that door but similar – and jammed it into the door so I couldn’t get in through that door either. I think it speaks “intentions” pretty loudly don’t you. I could go on but …..

        • We were married for 18 years and until divorce proceedings began, he never once parked behind my car in the driveway. When the divorce started, there were numerous times he parked behind me, which made me have to ask “permission” to leave the house.

          Fucking, vindictive control freak.

          • Mine did this recently when he would come and pick the kids up. We would get in a fight, I would try and leave but couldn’t as he had parked me in. Better at grey rock, nc now thank fuck.

        • Mine didn’t hide things but was sneaking all his affair sluts into our home while I went to work graveyard to make extra money for the family!

    • My son’s therapist invited me to meet with him and my estranged husband (we were in the middle of divorce proceedings) to discuss our son. I had grave reservations about going, but trusted my son’s therapist to be able to mediate.

      When I arrived and we started, my estranged husband pulled out a steno notebook and a pen. Then he asked me a point-blank, loaded, well-crafted question that would have made any answer I gave ammo for his lawyer.

      I looked at my son’s therapist, and he was dumbstruck. I told him I wasn’t comfortable with being interrogated and left. He called me an hour later, and apologized for not speaking up when that happened. He told me I was completely right to walk away. He also said if I needed a witness to substantiate the emotional abuse that went on in our marriage, he would testify.

      Seems my estranged husband creeped out even the most learned professionals right away.

    • But we learn! It takes as much time as it takes. We learn and then we come here or talk to our chumped neighbor and pass that learning on. And we wait because it always takes time…

    • Giving therapy to an abuser is handing them an arsenal of tools to better abuse you with.

      They now have all the jargon, can manipulate the therapists intentions and/or advice for their own agenda, and use that information to become a more believable victim.

      When you’re opening up to the therapist and exposing your very soul with the pure intention of bettering your marriage, thinking innocently that it will close the gap and make you closer to one another, they’re storing up all the information you’re pouring out to utilize as a future weapon and manipulation tool. You’ve basically exposed every single one of your insecurities, fears, and secrets to someone who will absolutely hone it to their advantage. They’ll throw a couple of excuses for their behavior into the mix to pacify you and make it appear they’re reciprocating your exposure, but it’s never honest. They won’t expose themselves to you because they assume you’re storing it up in the same way they are.

      It also gives you a whole host of new excuses for the abusers behavior. It just enables you to continue excusing the abuse because it’s “not their fault, it’s the fault of X, Y Z issue, they can’t help it without my support.”

      Get a personal therapist. One that kicks ass and supports YOUR recovery from abuse.

      • Exactly! For 20 years, my ex flat out refused to go to marriage counseling (and I asked him many times) – until I filed for divorce. Then suddenly he promised he would change and said he would go to MC… I, however, was wise to his lies and cheating habit – I told him it was too late for me but he could have it.

        He went to ONE therapy session on his own during our divorce. He claimed he was blind-sided by me. Had no clue why I wanted a divorce. I was labeled the “Walkaway Wife” (psychology terminology). He also presented me with the laundry list of things that I needed to do in order to see things HIS way, to understand and to make our marriage work. He said the therapist had used the analogy of me being a “timid fox” and it was ex’s job to make me feel “safe” in order to “coax” me back out of the burrow I had run to…

        What a crock of CRAP!! It literally made me laugh! (I think Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf would have been a better example.) I promptly told him I was tired of trying and done kissing his ass.

        He KNEW for 23 years that I was trying VERY hard to make our marriage work – he did nothing but point out my “faults” and all the while he secretly carried on affairs. I was pick-me dancing and didn’t know it!! After DD#1 I mistakenly gave him a chance to make good on his promises to change, but I also started lining up my ducks and told him I would NOT tolerate it again. DD#2 was the last straw. Nope. I had had my fill of being manipulated and gaslighted and wasn’t going to fall prey to having a therapist further expose what was left of my soft white underbelly to Mr Fuckwit! I found out after our divorce that he had been cheating for nearly our entire marriage.

  • S&D just wow on your mother in laws comment. Can’t imagine being proud of my child for being deceitful. Guess the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

    • I found this in an email where I learned about ex’s affair.

      When he told his mother he was in love and having an affair, she told him he deserved to be happy and he “should have gotten rid of me four kids ago” (we have four children). So yeah about the apple and the tree.

      • my mil was exactly the same. said his emotional affair is something everyone does and in the same breath said he should hire a PI to see if i was cheating, “because it would make everything easier”

        • My MIL told us both to our faces that him hooking up with hookers was fine because “that’s what men do”. And that I wasn’t perfect in the marriage either and we needed to just “get past it” for the kids. Way to give him more ammo to abuse me and the boys. Now, I’m a bitch because I won’t play “ happy family” at the holidays. Again for the boys benefit.

          Damn straight apples don’t fall far.

          My advice would be to get out immediately and go no contact with the whole lot of them. Will save you a ton of abuse and pain.

          • My xMIL was a bitch to me during our relationship – directly because of her son’s slagging me off (and the fact that she is a bitch). My elder daughter only saw them once for 2 hours when they came to stay with ex for a month recently from overseas (and I pushed her to go to that) due to her father’s behaviour and the breakdown of their relationship. Our nanny told me the other day that she had been very upset and blamed me for the fact that she wouldn’t see them. She couldn’t possibly admit that her son’s (overt) behaviour was responsible – it had to be my fault. He openly admitted they discussed me negatively for years whilst we still together (now, I think a form of cruelty by him – not only did he never intervene, he encouraged it). I am sure I will be the subject of blame for not playing happy families too.
            Apparently they are all sad that my parents don’t want a relationship with them either now. I did play happy families before, too much, and never told my (relatively normal/loving – particularly by their standards) family about his or their abusive ways. They made themselves pretty obvious during the discard (by both him and them) but I did also tell my parents about the other stuff (I knew if I had done before it would have soured relationships, chumpy me, so I did keep quiet for the “sake of the family”).
            I could go on but, yes, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – and the dynamics won’t change. Again, the task is to remember this and not engage.

        • I had a wing-nut MIL as well. When XH had moved out of our house to an undisclosed location as he didn’t trust me in my “anger” (he was, of course, living with his whore), XMIL told my XBIL’s wife that she called my house and a man answered the phone. I was furious! I told XBIL’s wife that she could believe what she wanted and should ask XMIL for her phone records as I had nothing to hide. As I have said many times on this site, we had an extremely fast (74 day divorce). XMIL permitted XH to bring his whore to stay with them over the holidays within 2 weeks of our divorce being finalized. We were married for almost 17 years – together for 18.

          I hope XH, Whore, and his mother all find a nice special place in Hell.

          • Yes I have a narc xmil who also blamed me for ex cheating and deceit. Dtr stepped up and shut her down. Xmil is paying for her narc basterd son lawyer and keeps inserting herself into divorce settlement. My lawyer is dumbfounded says he’s never had a case in over 2 decades where xmil is more repesented in the D then the cheater. Mommy lovers her sicko son, they can both eat their own shitsammies

          • My Brother-in-law was getting divorced for having an affair. My Mother-in-law footing the bill. My Mother-in-law had her own attorney in her son’s divorce. She ended up with permanent visitation of both children for all summer months and X-mas yearly also. I divorced my husband many yrs later for having an affair. His mother again footing the bill for him. Our kids were adults. I can only imagine what he has to cough up for his mom. I’m hoping he has to clean her barn for the next 20 yrs.

    • I said exactly the same thing about my FORMER Mil she was a horrid, toxic bitch from day one. She knew my ex husband had already replaced me inside our family home and never said a word!

        • I think that’s true of a lot of these disordered types. I knew something had changed with Jackass when he started verbally abusing me in the same tone he used with his mother.

          And now he’s dating a woman who is the spitting image of his mother. Is she in for a surprise…

          • Yes, my ex’s wifetress also looks like XMIL (FUGLY).

            My therapist said that the XMIL is emotionally enmeshed with cheater – to the point that it is emotional incest. XMIL used to do her passive aggressive antics against me every chance she got. Finally after 18 years and the continual questions about how I spend our money (I out-earned her man-child) and being told to “fuck off” twice, I told him enough. I am opting out of the relationship with crazy – he could do what he wants. 9 months later he left me for whore. He needed to triangulate with mommy. NK4U steps out of triangle. Cheater misses a triangle. Invites whore in to form new triangle. Whore wins pick me dance. Another triangle destroyed. Cheater reconnects with mommy. Mommy celebrates his happiness with whore within 2 weeks of our quickie divorce. Triangle restored. Yay!

            • Same thing happened to me. Once I finally put my foot down and said I would not be a bit player in my in law’s sick drama, my wasband left me 3 days later to explore “his authentic self” with multiple women.

        • Yep – there seem to be a lot of “mommy issues”… My ex was the “Golden Child” in his mother’s eyes.

  • “Since I had already had a vasectomy years before the affair, the evidence of the IUD pretty much annihilated ex wife’s claims in mediation that I was paranoid and jealous and her relationship with her tennis pro was nothing more than a mentor-type friendship.”

    A good lawyer could easily refute this medical evidence by asserting the wife had a completely non-contraceptive use for the IUD, such as stopping excessive bleeding from periods, or of reducing her risk of cervical cancer (by 33% according to current research). But we ALL know why this cheater really got one, of course.

    My amazing lawyer was a former rape prosecutor who had been divorced 3 times and was the local high-conflict specialist, and was reputed to be the favorite of our judge who asked her for personal advice all the time. Best lawyerly advice I got (in a fault state & one party recording state): 1) Assume you are being secretly recorded during every interaction with the cheater, so watch your tone and words, and never raise your voice. 2) Assume everything you’ve ever put in writing could become a courtroom exhibit. 3) Don’t get on dating sites or even be seen touching another man in public or go anywhere near a hotel with a man alone until after the judge signs the divorce decree, and 4) Cheater’s lawyer starts every disposition by asking you to list every instance of cheater’s misdeeds, and then at trial if you ever mention a new misdeed from before that deposition, he tries to trap you for making it up because you didn’t mention it before.

  • Years after their divorce was final, a friend of mine had his ex wife take him to court – she was fighting for more parenting time (ie she really wanted more child support). She’d written an affidavit stating that the children were already spending more than 50% time with her due to her ex’s work schedule. It listed ‘details’ from years back. Unfortunately my friend hadn’t kept a log or diary of the days that he had his kids. But he did love to take photos of his kids. His cel phone had tons of time stamped photos of his children with him through the past years, proving he was indeed parenting 50 % or more of the time. His evidence stood in court – the judge basically laughed his ex off the stand.

    Documentation is everything. Keep calendars and journals, and take a cel phone photo of your kids every day that they spend with you. It may come in handy someday.

  • You have to trust yourself. My gut instinct was screaming at me that something was going on, and I shared that with family members and a couple of friends and they all said “no, he wouldn’t do that, and not with HER!” My DB traded down from me, so nobody believed he would throw away his life with the kids & I for her (which was actually a godsend, it was horrifying enough without having to deal with the “she’s better than me” complex). DB’s will tell you anything to try and worm their way out of being caught. Trust your gut and follow through with it. You’ll be amazed at what you find out. I caught DB’s affair pretty early on, but I’m amazed at what a chump I was in the idea that I was doing what was right for my family. I did the therapy thing and took all the blame for our marriage “falling apart” (which even included my being sick. Who the fuck blames themselves for having a disease!!). However, I am confident that I did everything I could to try to keep us together (albeit with a lot of chumpyness, but that’s on him, not on me). The antics with the DB have just continued for 4 years, and the kids have seen it since day one. But sometimes I think going the distance can give you peace and comfort that NONE of this was on me. It was horrifying, devastating, total annihialation but it is all on him.

    Along with medical records you should also check the beneficiary for life insurance policies, retirement and bank accounts. DB put his whore on all of those accounts (several times because the court kept ordering him to change them back). He also had her using the pre-tax medical spending account. Don’t give them the benefit of the doubt, NOTHING is off the table with these idiots.

  • Best advice I received was from my ex’s family. No joke! I’d been confiding blow-by-blow events during the early miserable days to his cousin. I’d been married 26 years and we lived in the very small rural community where ex had been raised. His sweet cousin would gently listen and murmur encouragement and support. I was FRANTIC to save my marriage.

    About 4 weeks in she invited me to her house for a glass of wine in her garden. I arrived to her lovely home to find 7 of my ex’s relatives in her enchanted garden. Two aunts, three cousins and two adult nieces were waiting for me (with a table groaning with delicious treats ~ we live in the south…) and the intervention began. These women had known my ex for his 54 years and were shocked by his behavior. But even their affection for him didn’t keep them from sharing the truth about our marriage. Each, in turn, repeated the same declaration – there is nothing here to work with and he is not the man we thought.

    I can still see the deep pink azaleas and bright white dogwood blossoms of that day. As I drove home after that loving encounter I felt the powerful swirl of strong and caring estrogen filling my little car.

    • You are very fortunate to have had this experience. I witnessed the opposite — in the father of my son’s family they evidently were deaf, blind and dumb, and more concerned about what other people would think that what the truth was. No support there. In my second future ex-husband’s family, the father and the grandfather had well known mistresses in the small community they lived in, the mother and grandmother just stayed married and more or less ignored the behavior. Both men eventually returned home, to be sick and die, and the children ( 3 sisters, 2 brothers) went to school and worked in the community where everyone knew their business. This caused them to act like it didn’t matter what the truth was, like whatever the brothers did — they were just like the grandfather and the father, and they would come around in the end. They did not want to admit any of the behavior was true, and did not want to talk about it. No support there. Frustrating., their whole life was spent ignoring the truth about the lack of character and commitment in the men. Of course the grandmother and mother did not work outside the home, and were economically dependent on the grandfather and father. The children lived a lesser life because funds were diverted to the upkeep of the mistresses. How could this be worth it, to anyone? “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive” (Walter Scott).

    • Wow, Paula! I’m so glad for you! Your in-laws are honest, fair people.

      My in-laws were totally the opposite. I confided in two SILs whom I thought were my sincere friends and they never called me to see how I was doing. That really hurt and it still does.

      I even heard from a BIL that I had never helped anyone or paid for anything. His way of evaluating me, but also a total lie: I always helped my in-laws financially and with my time, work and attention. From $ to changing MIL’s diapers. I bought a painting to help a Chronically In Debt BIL and found out he cheated me on the price.

      Maybe that is why they enjoyed putting me down, so they could all look splendid in the picture. They felt a strange kind of joy seeing me abandoned after 30 years of marriage. This actually has me traumatized.

      I wish I could take a medicine to wipe this cruel behavior out of my heart.

  • There’s nothing like getting a medical list from the health insurance in the mail listing all the tests and treatments within weeks of DDay. That list included testing for HIV, and a record of treatments. He went to a clinic three times and finally to our primary physician.

    After checking his checking account statements and cross referencing phone records I found hotel reservations and the phone numbers to match when he booked them.

    I also went and took pictures of his acceding my safety deposit box twice before and after my mother died proving all of this was planned.

    You’d be surprised to see many restaurant reciepts snow the # in the party.

    Yet he still denied until I told him I could back it up with proof.

    • This reminds me … Not long before the implosion, I went to toss the little garbage bag from jackasses’ vehicle (being nice …. argh) and a receipt dropped out. He had purchased a bunch of stuff for himself the night before when he had volunteered to go grocery shopping for us. The problem — he put the stuff on a separate receipt and threw the receipt in his little garbage before coming in the house.

      This was my first clue that there was financial infidelity going on (we struggled so much financially that it never once occurred to me he even COULD do this … but now I know why we struggled so much!). Later, I was able to prove he had done this through the entire marriage. Additionally, he had kept countless bonuses, etc. without ever mentioning them to me.

  • Greatest piece of advice from a friend: “Don’t make your source of pain your single source of happiness.”

    When I realized that, it was sayonara very quickly. She drilled it into my head that a man who really loves me would never do something to even RISK losing me. While a man who cheats does so knowing there’s a good chance it will end the relationship.

    • I love this and really needed to see this. Thank you for this post. I know now I was the only one loyal and loving in the relationship of 22 years. Divorce is this Monday and I go it alobe holding my head held high knowing who I amand what I deserve xoxo sweet

  • Get the best lawyer out there. Doesn’t matter if you can’t afford it; make it happen (this from our mediator who the ex was stupid enough to give me permission to see on my own – FYI one party can only meet alone with a mediator with permission from the other)

    Always tell the truth. Makes everything much easier.

    And sing the truth loud and clear to friends, family and older kids. After the divorce, I let everyone read both depositions. They spoke for themselves.

    You know better than anyone what is important and what isn’t as far as the past. Look thru old emails, texts, bills and anything else to pull out important facts. Save yourself money and your lawyers time. I made spreadsheets and organized anything I thought important. I looked thru any photo I could find – found a photo of OW’s apartment for sale with 2 lamps that I bought and had the receipts for along with a photo of ex and one child. Only I would have caught those!

    Any money you can put into your own name, ask your lawyer and then move the cash. I had to give some back but it was a great bargaining chip. Had my lawyer’s permission though.

    Find a great therapist! If you don’t need them, you can always stop. Don’t use your lawyer as your therapist.

    Get meds if you need them – I wound up in a psychiatric hospital and on meds. I went public with all of this in newspapers and videos because I never wanted anyone else to be embarrassed about needing help. I’m usually a pillar of strength but this brought me down into a pit of hell.

    Document everything before, during and after. Cheaters don’t stop at the divorce. They have a nasty way of going back to court a million times. They can’t wait to get rid of us but hate having to be accountable or pay.

  • Wow her lawyer delaying for the 10 year mark. That’s low. My ex never could find a full time job until after I threw him out and removed him from my medical coverage. Then he found a full time job with benefits. Laugh is on him though – he married the whore and gave up his right to collect social security based on my lifetime earnings. He doesn’t know that but sooner or later he will figure it out – karma. He is mid 50’s and making a third what I do so its a good bit of money. That’s all he wanted me for anyway.

    • My exH also found out when he turned 62 and applied for his own SS that his child support arrears were going to be garnished out of it! So for a full year his entire SS was being direct deposited into my account. Oh, and, when you owe more than $1200 in cs arrears you cannot get a US passport! That limits where you can go on vacation. Ha

      • Every action (cheating) has an equal and opposite reaction (consequences). This is divine justice at it’s finest!

        • It may be divine justice, and also poetic justice, but it’s also earthly justice, and these requirements didn’t get put into the legal system without a lot of effort and lobbying. I’m grateful to those who went to work to ensure that child support wasn’t going to be forthcoming only on the whims of the non-custodial parent, and that parents couldn’t simply abandon their children with no legal recourse. I’m grateful to those who ensured that my mother, who was married to my father for 30 years, was able to get an amount based on my father’s federal pension (it didn’t lower his at all)–and I know Rep. Pat Schroeder worked to pass that.

          • Maybe Rep Schroeder could help pass laws that work in favor of chumps. Being in a no fault state, a woman can cheat, be custodial, and collect child support even tho Time is shared 50-50. Then social security benefits are available to her. None of this should be legal. Extramarital affairs should be at least a low level felony or at least preclude one from any future earnings from chumps.

    • Although, if your X divorces OW in the future, he can collect Soc Sec based on your income (as long as he is not married at the time). The good news is that it won’t affect your social security benefits at all.

      • lol – like they’ll be social security (or a republic) after this wife-beating cheater gets done with our nation

    • I was a SAHM married to a cheater for over 2 decades – therefore my wage contributions to SS are low. I’m in my mid 50s now. IF I ever remarry I won’t be able to draw on ex’s SS when I reach retirement age and I won’t be able to draw on a new husband’s SS until married 10 years… Any SS benefits I receive on my own will be dismal at best. It’s a Catch 22 for chumps in my position.

      If you are older and lack a decent work history, use that argument during your settlement. I did not realize how difficult it would be to get a decent paying job at my age… Health insurance is expensive, too. I wish I had the wherewithal to get that part of the playing field more fairly balanced during our divorce. Ex is a high wage-earner and owns a profitable business which I helped him run. He quickly recovered financially after our divorce. I, however, have not.

  • “You need to do what you have to do to find your own truth, because she’s shown you that you’re never going to get any from her.”

    Words from my (still) guardian angel 4a.m. 4ever, when I was still in the throes of thinking that trust and communication were the keys to getting us back to a seemingly healthy marriage.

    They ran counter to every Chump instinct within me, but when I saw the truth of what and who I was dealing with, I rediscovered my self respect and my dignity.

    AND I documented all of it. That’s so important for chumps to understand. Even if it never gets used in court, even if your lawyer says “I need you to understand — I never saw that, and dont tell me it exists or how you got it,” it’s important that everything you can get your eyes on is documented. If nothing else, it reinforces the truth.

    • Yes … sometimes you need the documentation for yourself. Because the awful truth is sometimes so “out there” that your own brain starts to play tricks on you. Did I really see a text that said that? Am I somehow misinterpreting that picture? The truth is so bizarre that it just can’t really be true! And they are busy spinning a tale to flip the script and convince you that you are crazy. But one glance at the evidence brings you crashing back to reality.

      And as a corollary piece of advice … any family member or friend who doesn’t believe you unless they see the actual evidence you have is not truly your friend. Pay attention to that little tell.

      • I agree about the documentation. I haven’t used any of the stuff I have about my ex’s behaviour towards kids legally – and I have gotten more lax about it all, it was so exhausting keeping up with it, but I’m glad I have it for me. I still find his (still ongoing sadly) behaviour so bizarre it is so easy to doubt your own perceptions of it. Being able to reread that documentation is very helpful for then. Keeping it real indeed.

    • I still take out my “proof binder” from time to time to remember all of the very REAL SHIT that he did to me throughout our marriage. Just seeing that pathological intention reminds me that he sucks.

      And, to make it better, on one day of finding myself not trusting that he sucked I did a random search on Adult Friend Finder and there he was… still trolling for sex partners even though he had imploded our family for his “twu wuv” OW.

      Trust that they suck.

    • These are sometimes called “reality anchors.” My favorite reality anchor, part of the mountain of evidence proving my ex was really having an 8-year long distance affair with his BFF, was a screenshot I took of an “I love you” text between them, as they conspired to move our families closer, so they could eventually ditch their spouses. Even after divorcing, he sometimes still tries to convince me it didn’t happen that way, calling me a “conspiracy theorist.” Ha!

      Amen, @Dixie Chump — if a friend needs actual evidence before believing you, that’s not a friend. I should have ditched the cheating deniers right away.

    • I agree. It has been so hard mentally to twist my brain around this person who at first seemed so helpful and nice and loving turned into a monster. The texts to other women, the sex websites, prostitutes he picked up on the street of phoenix. Gross. All along being a “good son” and a prominent member of our spiritual community and helping others. Apparently he saved all his abuse for me. The hardest thing about the gaslighting is I really believed that there was something wrong with ME that I could fix. I was too needy, relationship defective, insecure. Those reminders are so helpful to remember who they really were. Not who they led me to believe he was at the beginning. At the end of the day all he was – was a taker. A user of people and then would charm the next one

  • Best advice I got from others (before I found Chump Lady):

    1. Don’t give him any money. I was the breadwinner in our relationship for 16 years; I wanted to be fair to him even though he had contributed almost nothing over the years. I offered to give him half of all the equity in our house. A very good friend called me up and told me in stern terms, do NOT give him any money! Cut him off now! But it took Ex’s projection of his own greed onto me to firmly stop me… I’d offered him half and he declared angrily that I was cheating him out of “his” money! Oh the irony. I lawyered up and told him he was getting nothing. He lawyered up too after screaming at me that I broke “our agreement.” No, I said, you broke the biggest agreement of all between us. (Footnote: he ended up with a pittance of his original demand). Best advice from Chump Lady, run screaming from that burning house, don’t stay there and don’t enable your abuser any further.

    2. Stop talking to him. (Go No Contact). This was crucial. I occasionally needed intervention from friends and family to get me to stop talking to him. One night my friend even drove over to my house when I wouldn’t answer her call. It was hard but I did it. And it changed everything because he’s a controlling abusive liar. I’m sure he was pissed that he couldn’t control me anymore.

    3. You can’t control a narcissist. My first therapist let me talk for three full sessions before saying anything to me and the first thing he said was, “Has your Ex ever had any psychiatric treatment that you are aware of?” Chumpy me, “no, WHY?” LOL. Therapist pointed me to all the books about NPD. He also helped me with No Contact by telling me to keep writing in my journal and when I felt like talking directly to Ex, to instead write the email but send it to him, the therapist. This was a great help. Eventually when I found CL it tied right into not wasting time untangling the Cheater’s skein. My therapist also told me the story of the snake, which helped me to understand character disorder.

    4. Forensic accountant told me that guys in the line of work my Ex were in, always also cheat on their taxes. Chumpy me said “oh no, he cheated on me, but he is an honest businessman!” Wrong, wrong, wrong, as I later found written proof of the tax cheating (at my expense), fleecing of elderly customers, and later many friends who came out of the woodwork to say that they had hired Ex for home repairs (his work) too, and that he had price gouged them and overcharged them or even charged them for work he’d offered to do for free.

      • You can google for a longer version. But the story is a girl walking in the forest finds a poor snake almost frozen to death. She takes it home and takes care of it. She warms it up by the fire and feeds it, and becomes fond of it. The poor little snake gradually recovers and gets better. One day she looks over at it, is overjoyed how healthy it looks when it turns on her and bites her. Shocked, she says, “How could you do that to after everything I did for you???!!!!” …. the snake says, “because I’m a snake.” It’s the story of co-dependency.

  • Google all the cheater’s emails and nicknames. ALL of them. Then look at EVERY SINGLE PAGE of results. Found him on page 21 on a bunch of sites where guys who visit hookers regularly post about the experience and rate the hooker like a steak. It was disgusting but cemented the evidence. He tried to claim I planted it but there it was. Dates months and years prior. Busted

    • Yes, indeed. I found a secret “porn” account by trying all of the user names, emails, and nicknames I could think of

      …. I still can’t bleach my brain enough.

  • During our wreckinciliation, I had a feeling something wasn’t right. I bought a tiny recorder off of Amazon. It looks just like a regular thumb drive. I left it in the back seat of the car DH took each day on his 1 hour commute. I think it took two days to get confirmation of his continued adultery.

    My lawyer was thrilled. I was relieved to know that I didn’t have trust issues (like exhole always said), but that I was in fact, married to a man who was untrustworthy. Priceless.

    • Well done.

      If it’s legal in your state, it’s not a bad idea to record any conversations you have with the STBX.

      • Legal or not record it transcibe it to paper and when she/he says I never said that then play the audio and prove that they did. I had an attorney tell me that once on a different related topic.

    • I found out everything that was going on including lies that the Demon Spawn was telling friends and our Pastor about me by using digital voice recorders. I also recorded conversations he and I had so that I could prove he was lying about everything. He forced me to have to resort to it to defend myself.

      The cheaters use technology to their advantage. DVR’s are technology that we can use to ours.

  • Best advice for Newbies: Don’t stick around for D-day #2. If you’ve caught them lying and cheating once, than that is one more time than is acceptable in a loving and mutually respectful marriage. The imbalance after discovery is never set right again.

    (Oh, and just because it is your first D-day… it doesn’t mean it is the first time they have cheated… let that sink in. If you’re luck were truly that good, why haven’t you won the lottery?)

    Second bit of advice I received: Let the Lawyer be the “heavy”… whenever Mr. Sparkles didn’t like my filings (e.g. Adultery, Uphold the Pre-Nup, etc.)… he would appeal to me directly. I would simply respond that I was following my lawyer’s instructions and was not in a position to discuss anything that wasn’t in writing to me/the lawyer/court.

    And, lastly… this nugget from Joel Osteen – Run your own race. Stop looking to anyone else to define you, your happiness, your choices. You do you.

    • “(Oh, and just because it is your first D-day… it doesn’t mean it is the first time they have cheated… let that sink in.”

      Yes, that was me. and it NEVER occurred to me. What was shocking was that there was never a “change” in him people warn you to look for. Apparently, he was well practiced. Another clue…he didnt seem to enjoy lying as much as other cheaters and I think he only did when necessary. When I learned of his cheating, he never said “Ive never done this before” which is something a lot of chumps say is part of the playbook

      so yea, I now think the cheating started WAY back…likely when dating. There is a lady college prof named Kelly out there somewhere who prob dated him in college and thought they were a couple and I was the interloper. I think now he was playing us both.

      • Ahh, me too! The things that come clear later, ugh. There is a podiatrist out there who was a “crazy stalker ex who moved form her home state to be near him (to the length of giving up her medical practice and starting another) because she was so in love with him and just could not accept the break-up” He had to spend good deal of time helping her deal with emotional trauma of no longer having amazing him, even overnight visits for such…. I felt so sorry for him having a crazy ex, my heart was so warmed with learning of his kindness to an ex. OMG 25 frickin years later when I start to unravel the double life I fell for all that time, I realized I was probably an unknowing OW / interloper to some degree and he was surely “committed” to both of us in overlap.

        • They were classmates at their Univ and I went to a different school. When the Army Navy game came around (he went to one of those schools) we had long planned for me to accompany him to the game. He picked me up and picked a nasty fight on the drive up and said “Im taking you back home” (as if I wanted that) and I told him “no. I have looked forward to this, were going”. There was a big party and he took me VERY reluctantly and we left quickly (now Im sure he was afraid someone else would see us).

          I would like to ask his buddies from all those years ago what was going on, but Im sure they woul dnever tell me.

          I also now realize that some of his rages were absolute manipulation

    • Excellent point. Try not to go down the rumination rabbit hole, but do acknowledge to yourself that the information you now know if no doubt the very tip of the iceberg. If you don’t believe it, just spend some time reading here. A million chumps will show you the pattern in mind numbing detail. Get out as soon as you can. You deserve better.

  • About 10 years before the divorce (yeah, I know) I started documenting the Twat’s behaviour. He was routinely violent, raging, throwing things – about 2-3 times a week, so I started documenting it with dates and times and a description of the event. Like one time saying he would work till about 19h and then pick our kid up from after school activities. Kid calls me at 20h saying “where’s dad”. Dad then calls, totally drunk, so I call my son back and say do NOT get in his car. I had to drive 60 km to go pick my kid up but at least he waited. Ex was so furious he tailgated me all the way home then skipped a red light, driving on the wrong side of the road to do so. You know, that kind of fun stuff. Or like driving back from a friends in the mountains on 31 December. I had had NOTHING to drink because I was driving. He was plastered from at least two bottles of wine. As I was driving home we hit a snow storm and ex decided I wasn’t driving fast enough, I needed to change gears – here let me do that for you – leaning over me. How we didn’t wreck I don’t know. BUUUUUT keeping that list just for 6 months was the best thing I did. I knew I might need it in the divorce and in any case it is like the magic scrolls when I re-read it. Yes he really WAS a bastard and yes he really DID mean to do all of it!

  • If you are in a fault state, find out the rules:

    In my state infidelity = no alimony. But you have to prove it, do not confront the cheater. Get a PI immediately, even if you aren’t sure you want a divorce – you need evidence.

    Get all the financial documentation. File first, file fast.

    If your spouse has a temper, goes into rages, has been emotionally abusive to you – be prepared for that to escalate into dangerous territory. Be very careful.

  • Jodi, mine moved me and son to Canada in 2011 after the arab spring – I had moved there to be with him after we got married and lived there 6 years, had our son there. After he moved us to safety he told us he would wrap up things and join us. All his extended family had been in Canada for years. 7 years of a long distance marriage, a few DDays and false reconciliation later in 2016 when we agreed I and son would move back with him because apparently he never had plans to relocate here, he is telling me that we stopped being a family since 2011 because we lived apart. He tells me to stop pretending that I am hurting because I have to be used to it by now. He told me he had ended our marriage not even after he moved us out in 2011 but way before. Around our 1st anniversary we had a fight over me wanting to go visit my family and he now tells me that was it. It showed him that I “cared for my extended family more than him” and he gave himself permission to his first cheat. I don’t even know if he is telling the truth or no. The fact is, he checked out from the 1st year because apparently I never loved him and the fact that I had left my home country, family, friends and career to be with him didn’t register as love in his cheater brain. That I so much wanted to have children with him and noone else also didn’t matter. And if he really checked out in the first year, why did he not initiate divorce then? Why did he proceed having a child with me? Because..cake.

    They believe their own lies. He checked out because “I did not care for him” and we also lived separated (notwithstanding vacations, visits and his constant promises to reunite) so I have to stop pretending I was married. That’s his truth.

    • >>”They believe their own lies.”

      I used to believe this, but have changed my mind (for what it’s worth).

      Several times I’ve had absolute, physical evidence sitting in front of my serial-cheating jackass — and sat silently, unable to deny it. Shortly after, he would be viciously denying it. I would AGAIN bring out the evidence … again, he would be unable to deny it. Shortly after, he would be viciously denying it again.

      It’s untangling a bit, but damn, I couldn’t understand how in the hell he could keep insisting on something when I had physical evidence to the contrary. Then I read Dr. George Simon’s line …. It’s not that they don’t see, it’s that they disagree.”

      He consciously knows he is lying, but he doesn’t care … he hates the truth (well, he hates that I know the truth) and he is determined to make me doubt myself and he’s determined to convince others that I’m in the wrong. So, he keeps beating the Drum-O-Bullshit. By choice. With full understanding.

  • 1. “Stop handing him the shovel to bury you deeper.” My sister gave me that pearl of wisdom, and it dope-slapped me out of the idea that he would respond to my attempts to be fair and genuine with the same respect. He never did.

    2. Liars will disguise their skank’s phone numbers with “work” or “Tom” or “hardware store” in their contacts. Why would Rocky’s Ace Hardware be calling my husband at 10:30 pm?

    3. When he retorts to your question about a credit card posting to an Inn (that happened to be on the same weekend he had to go mow his parents’ lawn) with, “Well, you bought new bathing suits for the kids!” LISTEN TO YOUR GUT. False Equivalence is the preferred tactic of CHEATERS.

  • I’m an idiot and helped her pay for the boob job before Dday – boobs, as it turns out, that she picked out with her married boyfriend. And I paid for countless other new things that she wanted (that all of course ended up with her after the divorce). I hate myself looking back at it, being played like that and all.

    I’d just reiterate everything else everyone has said and: don’t project your values onto them, don’t think they’d do (and not do) whatever you would do, don’t make the mistake of seeing them as the person that you thought they were (they’re not!). Get your records in order, watch them like a hawk asset-wise until the divorce is final, and don’t waste your time thinking they’ll change and come back – they won’t – just get out of the marriage as quickly as possible.

  • If you live in a state where vehicles given or “sold” to immediate family members don’t get taxed, sign them over before the divorce is final. We had two family vehicles, his and “mine”. However, I was a SAHM and was never put on the title or loan for the vehicle. I was “awarded” the car in mediation, and since the two still had balances on their loans and the amounts were similar, I agreed to take over the car. I had been making my own payments on the car for over a year by the time the divorce was settled. I didn’t get the title to head over to the DMV until after it was finalized. Since ex and I were no longer married, I was forced to re-pay sales tax on the “purchase” amount. That cost me $850 I wasn’t anticipating. If I’d done the exchange while we were still legally married or insisted I get put on as a co-signer of the loan, I wouldn’t have had to do that.

    • I was also a wife who did not have a car in her name because he was such a control freak. When I planned my departure (I was saving cash from my job) I knew I would have to buy a new car as he would declare my car as “his”.

      In the end the situation didnt work out as anyone thought…I never left, he died, I got all the cars (but had to go to DMV like 4 trips because he had no will. I signed one over to each kid and me.

      • I had the opposite outcome. I worked from home (so I could still be a SAHM for the little one) and our only vehicle was in his name.

        I was diligently working on a plan to get out after getting enough for a vehicle … but I wasn’t able to keep my mouth shut when he would do something abusive (now that I had begun to see the abuse for what it was).

        He ended up flipping out because I was holding him accountable — and I ended up in a rural home with no vehicle and all of the house bills, etc. Additionally, when the implosion happened, we had no money, a ton of debt, and we were nearly out of food. He is a horrible person. Really fucking horrible.

    • Same thing happened to me 12YearsWasted! I was hit with 1,500.00 in taxes just because the vehicle that was awarded to me in the divorce and I paid the note on was signed over AFTER the divorce. It was like a slap in the face and I was genuinely pissed! I was stuck though because it was the only transportation I had!

      • An education for people about to get married–make sure you have a car and a bank account in your name only. Mixing finances is all fine & good, but since close to 50% of marriages end in divorce, don’t give up everything for the sake of a relationship.

        • Tempest, you are right. I had been married for many years and the cars were in his name because of state tax purposes. Another thing that happened was when the taxes were to be paid (which I always did) the ad valorem office would issue your tag renewal. I had done this for years with no questions asked. I walked in and the first thing they asked me was if I was married? It was puzzling. I said, no, but the car was awarded to me in the divorce. They refused to take the taxes and retag the car. They said my Ex would have to come in to do it if he chose to. I reluctantly called Asshat and he did go to the county office. Unbeknownst to me, he had surrendered his Georgia drivers license and got a Florida license where Schmoopie lives. They refused to tag the car in Ga. I ended up having to bring in my divorce papers to the Commissioner of Taxes so they could decide whether or not I could tag the car! These old gossipy biddies sat in a room reading my entire divorce decree! I lived in a VERY small town so you know they read it just to have some gossip! I was justly pissed, but if you have ever lived in one of these places then you know you have no recourse. Especially if you are not from there. They did give me my tags finally, but I was warned that the moment that car was paid for I had 30 days to pay the 1,500.00 and tag it in my name or else! Needless to say as soon as I had the title I went in and changed the tags. It still pisses me off and it is very good reason to have a car in your own name. Especially if it was bought during the marriage for your exclusive use, which mine was!

        • Yes!!!! Excellent advice, Tempest.

          Given how screwed I was when everything imploded, it was a HUGE lesson for me. Once things calmed down, I sat my older two girls down (young adults) and had a long talk with them about where I had gone wrong. Not having my own car, my own account — these were two of the big issues we covered.

      • Crap!! Just re-financed the car I got in the divorce for a loan in my name only. Had to wait a few months for income to kick in. Got the title from the bank today and yes, I owe $1500 in taxes now. He should have signed it over prior to divorce, add it to the list of ways I’ve gotten screwed by things he didn’t do on time. We always had cars in both our names – at my insistence but of course this one didn’t because he was avoiding taxes (military clause).

        In unrelated news, I just made DD ramen for dinner. 🍜

    • Where I lived it was different, but this is what happened: he found the car that “we” bought, I got to pay the bank loan, and he rushed off and put the car in his name. It was “ours” so no problem, right? I got to drive it whenever he wasn’t using it and when I used it after we split he threatened to report it stolen. He was 25ish at the time he set me up for this, which seems like rather advanced cheating qualities for his age. He found so many ways to soak my income that I barely had enough to replace my nylons for work. It was all for “us”. Funny how we managed to get everything he wanted and, when it was my turn, we couldn’t afford it, LOL. My last ex husband played a similar game. Somehow I got painted the gold digger while they got all the stuff and I was made to look like a fool for buying 200 dollar earrings after they bought a 2000 dollar camera. My advice: if they’re not willing to share equitably during the marriage, that’s a big red flag.

  • “When it was all said and done, ex-mother-in-law gleefully pointed out that I had been an idiot to go along with the 12 months of marriage counseling, as it was all a ruse to hit the 10-year mark of being married”

    Just wow! My STBX actually accused me of pick me dancing for 5 years so I could hit the 15 year mark. Yeah, I waited around for a potential STD for five years, and it just so happens he must have been in perfect collaboration, because just at the 15 year mark, he got caught sleeping with hookers again. Yep, i made him sleep with those hookers as part of an elaborate plan (by me the “gold digger.”) to screw him out of more years of alimony. Coincidence???? or proof that their sick brains all work the same! That shit would have never crossed MY mind, but it certainly crossed his!

    Based on this and many other such incidences, my advise is… if they can think it, they can do it.
    In my case my STBX ex likes to throw you off the trail by putting it front and center (a know persuasion tactic).

    He tried to convince me that financial infidelity and physical infidelity are two unrealated matters, and he “would never financially destroy the mother of his children”. Here I am almost three years later staring at discovery documents that show he’s drained every last cent from all our martial accounts.

    Other helpful advise (some I didn’t listen to 😩)

    – no contact
    – split joint accounts immediately (especially if its stock) set-up a trading account in your own name and have your spouse transfer half of all stock accounts. STBX sold of stock holdings we bought at low bid prices, who’s share price had skyrocketed. There’s no way to recover from that loss.
    – keep your mouth shut and eyes open! Stop reacting! I was so intent to let him know he wasn’t pulling one over on me, that I revealed all my sources of knowledge.
    -standing up for yourself isn’t always an immediate direct response. The best laid plans are ones that take patience!
    – aquire knowledge! Read up on ambient/ covert abuse so you stop second guessing putting your self interest first. Abusers condition you to feel fear, obligation and guilt!
    – document EVERYTHING with something that is time and date stamped electronically! When they accuse you of X,y,z you can go back and reference said accusation.
    -Know and truely understand that they will lie! Anger, reactions and emotions will not help you. Be unrelenting in Grey rock!
    – There’s no law against being an asshole! Swollow the shit sandwich of unfairness! Fight for self-interest, not fairness.

    • ” if they can think it, they can do it” – amen. When I look back on some of the bewildering things he accused me of that would have been so out of character for me, it’s like: Ohhhh. He was telling me what he was capable of thinking and doing. The blazing red flags you can miss in these relationships! Hoo boy.

      • When mine accused me of trying to poison him, that is exactly what I thought. He was telling me what he was capable of doing.

        • Mine said he thought i would kill him….go figure. Then i got really scared because he started telling my kids i was actually going to do that to him. I think that was projection too.

  • Move fast and get them while they feel guilty – that was my legal advice. If you have the luxury of having one who feels guilt early on it’s good advice.

    Hardest thing in the world to do after 21 years and if you possess a stupid Chumpy heart that loved despite poor behaviour and disrespect. He left last January for a co worker with 30 minutes notice for me and the kids. I am now divorced as of this week. I moved fast but it hurt.

    My advice is listen to your head and not your heart. Your head will have to stop that heart from caring and focus on what is best for you, which goes against Chumpy nature. Let your head take over – you can deal with the heart later.

    Best wishes to you all. x

    • My lawyer said this too, and I so wish that I had followed it. By the time we got to negotiations, exhole had been removed as CEO of the company he’d founded. He went from spouting off about how I could expect “generous support” to playing sad sausage about his future employment prospects, having to carry the more expensive of the two houses we owned, etc. I chumped out and waived alimony and child support. Within 6 months, he had another high paying job and was taking howife on extravagant vacations…

      • Yes! The most important advice I received from my therapist was “Listen to your attorney. You hired him to do a job, now let him do it”. I was upset because ex was losing his job, through no fault of is, and I was worried about him and wanted to settle for less. Attorney told me NO. When I relayed this to therapist, he told me the above. Great advice, I removed myself from all the drama, and ended up with way more than I asked for.

  • Following D-Day #2, in addition to filing for divorce on the grounds of adultery, I also filed for habitual drunkenness and chronic drug abuse. I live in the Deep South and without a “fault” divorce is difficult to obtain.

    The OW had sent me dozens and dozens of extremely pornographic text messages between them, so adultery was easy to prove.

    When we began working with a Gaurdian Ad Litem about child custody for our 3 pre-school aged children and the child I was expecting, my now ex husband explained to the GAL that he was only “pretending” to be an alcoholic and drug addict. So yes, he explained that he had joined AA and obtained a sponsor and participated in meetings with 2 local AA groups, but he was lying to all of them. He explained to the GAL that claiming to be an addict was a great way to explain to me (his wife) that D-Day #1 was nothing more than the natural consequence of his addiction and I shouldn’t divorce him. However, he explained to the GAL he was never really a drunk and only “pretending”, so his child custody should in no way be affected by his addiction.

    Well this was just really strange. He would have done better to have just said, yes I’m an alcoholic and am in recovery now and utilizing the resources of our local AA. It would have definitely given me more confidence in his mental health. However the LYING and Gaslighting of “pretending” to be an alcoholic was and still is just impossible to wrap my mind around. I lived with this man my entire adult life and he chronically battled addiction. It happened. I’d even been to Al-Anon and read the extensive support literature.

    Luckily for me, I still had his copy of “The Big Book” (AA literature), witnesses, and a text message where he bared his soul about his alcohol and drug addiction. I was able to show these things to Gaurdian Ad Litem.

    The OW who is a 3x divorcée, 15 years older than us, and a divorce attorney by profession named herself as a witness in our divorce and hired her own attorney to represent her. She wanted to help my ex avoid consequences for his addictions. But every time they got into a (drunken?) fight, she would steal his cell phone and text me unflattering messages about him. I would email those messages to the GAL.

    Later, when I discovered the hidden GPS inside my car post divorce and my attorney helped me with the legal process to hold him in contempt for his abusive behavior and the stalking, we had to use a process server to serve him (that’s the way the law works). The process server found him at the local liquor store.

    I realize this all sounds strange. It feels so good to put my experience into words, because of all the deceitful lies and gaslighting he tried to get away with.

    • This comment blew me away:
      “The OW who is a 3x divorcée, 15 years older than us, and a divorce attorney by profession” and she is trying to defend your STBXH, and, then tries to blame you for his addiction based behaviour.

      I’m trying to get my head around the motivations here. I’ll show you my collection of RED FLAGS if you show me yours. It appears she is equally disordered.

      Stalked, regain your sanity and please run away from them both. They only deserve each other.

    • Wow. What you have endured and survived is “next level” of abuse and trauma. I too suffered this extreme conduct by X who is an attorney (as am I) who went to AA for years with a sponsor, homegroup, service commitments. After his relapse on coke and adderall and pot and now King alcohol and leaving me and 4 kids for OW — one of many— he told a hired gun psychiatrist that he only pretended to be sober and an alcoholic because I “made” him! Wtf? Trust me, if I had those super powers I would have “made” him be an upstanding, sober, loyal husband and father that I thought I married 25 years ago!
      Sheesh….. 😫😫😫😫😫

      Oh, btw, at trial I got 70% of e Rey thing AND full custody. Boom mofo!

  • The 10-years-and-ex-gets-half-your-retirement rule applies to military spouses too. It’s one of the reason I stayed married years longer than I wanted to. A big chunk of my income was a military retirement check, and needed that money to keep my kids fed. Meantime, my STBX was doing the “be my own boss” thing, had started a small business, and was comingling business and personal expenses like crazy, so that the business always showed zero profit.

    Any attempt to get a divorce meant the business would be shut down and we could BOTH live off my military retirement check. After the lawyers took their cut, of course. So I chose to stay married because it kept the rent paid, the utilities turned on, and the kids fed.

    As soon as the youngest finished high school, I was gone.

    Seriously. Retire from active duty military and get divorced? Ex (male or female) gets half your retirement check if the marriage and active duty military service overlapped by 10 years. There’s NOT. ONE. THING. you can do about it either. It’s antiquated federal law, dating back to the days when women didn’t work outside the home.

    • In case you didn’t know, retirement from active duty military (about age 40-45, usually) means you start collecting the retirement check immediately. It’s a compensation for being subject to immediate recall to duty, and having to start a new career in mid-life when your college peers have a 20-year head start.

      I lost track of the number of rejections I got for being overqualified (managerial experience) but underexperienced (had an old degree and no recent experience in field). After a 20-year career, the only job I could find was a night shift position paying minimum wage.

      We also had no savings and no credit, TYVM “small business” where the cheater dumped all the savings we used to have, and maxed out the credit cards then defaulted on them. So the threat of cheater taking away half of my military retirement check (and claiming the other half for child support if I lost the custody fight) weighed VERY heavily on me.

  • Yes, as so many fellow chumps have said, you cannot expect a cheater to honor ANY agreement, since they failed miserably at your marital agreement to forsake all others. I made this mistake when he abandoned me and our four teenagers for his sixth (twentieth?) twu wuv and soulmate. I was still spackling, and expected the Fuckwit to honor our agreement that we would each pay half of our joint monthly debt payments, half of kids’ medical costs, kids’ high school and college tuition, etc., until the divorce was final and everything was formalized. He reneged within the month, and I’ve been paying on all of the joint debt, all the kids’ medical, and all the college tuition (we have three college students now, one high schooler) for the past three years. Divorce should be final within the month.

    One thing that our Divorce Master seemed really fascinated about at our hearing was when I charged Fuckwit with quasi-rent destruction in the pre-hearing statement. That’s a fancy name in the economic and contractual law area that describes when one party to a contract (typically a marital one, but could be any kind) has extracted all of the value out of the agreement that he/she could, and then has the motivation to sever the agreement before the other party is able to reap his/her benefits of the contract in full. So, in marriage, usually one party benefits more early on in the relationship (first 8-10 years, roughly), because he/she is able to reap all the benefits of marital status (reputation, family, sex/intimacy availability, housekeeper, cook, etc.) without having to expend any real effort on the “home” front, and is able to be off in the workplace, increasing his/her salary and career trajectory. On the other hand, his/her partner is tending that homefront, sacrificing self-potential career-wise, etc., all for the promise of delayed “benefits” that would come after the children are raised (travel, more discretionary income, more couple-time, respected status as an older couple, etc.). In other words, the partner that has no sense of faithfulness and integrity, has every motivation to extract all of their own “rents” from the marriage as soon as possible (kids-for women, typically/sex and a mommy-for men, typically), within the first 8-10 years, and then discard the partner before that partner recoups THEIR “rents.” This economic/contract theory is widely recognized in the area of contract law, and our Divorce Master was ALL EARS during my testimony of how it applied to our case. The bottom line is that Fuckwit committed FRAUD for years, since he testified that the marriage “had been over for YEARS.” Why, then, had he not communicated that to me? Since he didn’t, he allowed me to continue to invest in a marriage he had already unilaterally and SECRETLY determined was over. He continued to benefit from his marital status (reputation, free sex, housekeeper, etc.) while he simultaneously sabotaged the marital relationship with extramarital ones, thereby KNOWINGLY sabotaging my present and future financial health. That is FRAUD.

    Most divorce attorneys will not know about quasi-rent destruction, but if don’t have a lazy attorney, it could help your case significantly. I had to really educate mine about it, but once he got the gist, he was off and running with it! My attorney actually seemed to delight in the challenge of a new angle of attack that he’d never heard of 😉 Hope this helps some of my fellow chumps!

      • Stumbled on it sort of by accident, but the more I researched it and conveyed what I found to my attorney, the more I saw how applicable it was. Will let you all know how it played out with the Divorce Master and her issuance of our settlement proposal…Good luck, Kimsoverit!

    • I like this contract-law angle in lieu of a statute like “alienation of affection” might offer in Georgia, for example. Clever.

    • That is exactly how I feel. My return on investment in this marriage is null. He walks away with children who are raised and launched, a high-paying career and a solid professional reputation while I have to start from scratch with minimum professional experience, debts from the divorce and a limited earning potential. I will however take pleasure in the fact that our children have lost all respect for their father and won’t talk to him anymore. I raised them to be smart and discerning when they see bullshit. I will also take pleasure in the fact that his family, mother, father and brothers now see him for who he is: a lying, cheating bastard. He is going to end up alone and lonely, surrounded by things for sure, but alone and lonely.

      • This stuff is really making me think! (One of the reasons I love CL and CN so much!).

        I had finally realized what a parasite my ex was, a couple of years after kicking him out. Because he worked so hard at his career, I didn’t think of him this way when we were together. But I also worked full time (aside from mat leaves) and did probably 80% of child care and household tasks, ALL the emotional labour and oganizational work (paying bills, doing taxes, calling and waiting for tradesmen to take care of our old house ….), all the organizing of our social and extended-family lives …. I also stepped up by working more hours during his several periods of unemployment, and by taking on still more child and household tasks when he was studying for certifications and then an MBA while working.

        What I didn’t realize was that this was not a reciprocal arrangement, where I would try to provide what I could, to help him reach goals that were clearly very important to him, and he would do the same for me.

        What I also didn’t realize was that all his ‘my career is ssoooo important and I’m doing so well’ posturing distracted from the fact that he actually made LESS MONEY THAN ME (funny how I never saw that, all those years I did the taxes ….), every year up to …. can you guess? The year I caught him cheating for the 2nd time, I kicked him out and he decided he was super happy to run off with Shmoopie (who also made very good money).

        (Not a coincidence, I guess, that he never intended to leave for Shmoopie #1; secretary at his work, low salary …. Or that he’s now managed to be with his latest girlfriend (not Shmoops) for coming up to 3 years; I think she has significant $$$$. I bet he treats her a lot better!)

        So. he was ready to leave once he had extracted MAX value from me, and once it would have been time for me to be reaping some of the rewards of all that hard work. Even the kids; they were now old enough to be a lot less work, and he could get Disney Dad kibbles from them – and was never interested in any more ‘parenting’ than that (never asked for half their time, despite that being both the default law and the social norm here).

        I keep finding out he’s an even worse asshole than I thought – and that bar was pretty low by now!

        • Same with me for the custody schedule. Our son was 13 at the time and the genius never asked for 50/50, just every other weekend. He subsequently asked for the overnight Wednesdays (which I think is the worst thing invited!), but that’s it. I found it very hurtful at first and then found it to be a blessing in disguise.

      • I wondered why mine started affair 2 months after we purchased a house. In hindsight I think it was deliberate, his logic being he could do what the fuck he liked as I wouldn’t be able to afford the house alone and he knew how much it meant to me and for the four years prior to purchase of the house I had the deposit in my account . I took it over years ago as he was not saving the agreed amount and was dipping into it. Took some work to get it into my account but he knows I’m trust worthy and wouldn’t blow it. Anyways I found out a year and half later about his affair, he treated me like a pack mule in that time. Certainly trying to extract maximum value that’s for sure. I busted my ass year in year out and he did less and less apart from work more, spend more time on his phone and burn through money.
        I honestly think he thought he would just do as he pleased, drift in and out of me and the kids lives, string us along with his future faking and create chaos with all his self created drama and hypochondria. entitled much…

    • Mine went one step further after his “Arrangement” in the marriage was over for him and as you say extracted the contractual benefit…quite litterally by remortgaging the house to the limit rendering us homeless…so after playing happy families until the bitter end giving us all a couple of days notice of walking out .he made of point of telling me “i could have left you years ago and sex was just a biological need” . Evil does not have a legal president unfortunately.

  • Here’s the fabulous four:
    1. Start collecting paperwork, and document! Jot down all bills, assets, accounts and monthly expenditures. You should know this info anyway.
    — Keep multiple copies. Make new electronic email, sendsnapchats there. Keep a hard copy out of your house, somewhere safe: work,trusted friend.
    2. Speak to legal counsel, quietly, get 3 opinions to see how things can go either way. These are free and you do not have to retain anyone. You need to have a realistic, not doomsday, knowledge. Many well meaning and mean people will spout doomsday at you.
    3. Garner your support. In real life and online. Family, friends, therapists and medical doctors. Don’t be afraid of anti depressants, they can be extremely helpful. Circle them close, let them know the truth, ask for help.
    4. Educate yourself extensively on situations and disorders – Eventually you will get a basic understanding of the dynamics of cheaters. Once that happens, some advice will ring true, others will not stick. Read, read, read – post. DO NOT get yourself bound in analysis paralysis! This is a crutch/stage to get you past the grief and disbelief… not an amateur PhD.

  • Not surprisingly, the best advice I ever got was from Chump Lady. The one truth that I finally finally finally got from reading CL posts was that I myself was the person doing the most harm to me. Yes, he cheated and lied and stole and on and on. But once I discovered that information, my choice to stay and waste 20 more years of my life was ultimately on me. The only person who could set me free and walk away was ME. I am still struggling to forgive that young and hopeful woman I was 20 years ago.

    CL’s description of a limbo chump was the paragraph amongst all the wisdom here that finally set me free. So incredibly grateful.

    • And to more directly answer today’s challenge, my advice is to MOVE FAST. As I said yesterday, any remorse, shame, or guilt the cheater might feel upon being discovered can be used as leverage for a faster and or better settlement, but it lasts only for a very short period of time.

    • Of course, if you were counseling a hopeful, faithful, decent young woman married to an abusive, gas-lighting partner, you would not condemn her for the goodness in her heart, would you? You would pray for her to have a revelation, to see the light finally, and you would cheer for her when she finally closed the door behind her and ran to safety. So please forgive your young you for doing the best you could with what you thought you knew. You didn’t know. Now you do. You know better.

      And if sharing your experience is instructional, inspirational, and permissive, then you have earned forgiveness by helping others to get out earlier than you did.

      Hugs, sister!

  • Aside from general advice to believe nothing cheaters say, absolutely nothing, I would say go get tested for STD’s.

    Personally, I think that point was rock bottom for me: my doctor kindly telling me that, though I had been a faithful husband my entire marriage, I was still at risk for getting all those nasty diseases.

  • If you are in a no fault state – don’t bother with a private investigator- I did & spent unnecessary money – in the end – in a no fault state – no one but you cares about the injustice of infidelity

    • I live in a no fault state too.

      When ex asshole divorced me to be with his circus clown he used the grounds of the marriage being unsupportable. Which is the same old bullshit excuse as incompatibility. I told my attorney I would sign the papers only if the truth were on them ~ abandonment and adultery.

      My attorney said no one cares, not lawyers, not judges, no one. I said, well I care. When he pointed out in the end I would spend thousands of dollars and drag out the divorce for years, I realized it didn’t matter what the papers said. I knew, that was enough.

  • My experience was rather the flip side of the writer’s.

    My now ex-husband was slowly funneling money from our accounts via small ATM withdrawals to spend on his Australian girlfriend who apparently “needed a labiaplasty”… because ALL 19 year olds have floppy bits that need attention, I guess????

    I could hear the violins when he told me how she was emotionally self-conscious from having been raped when she was 14 (3 years prior). My ex was 52 at the time… I’m sure fucking a 52 year old who was buying her a labiaplasty went a long way to heal her from rape!

    He took her to Thailand to get the work done… but the joke was on him, because she was TOO YOUNG, even there, to get the work done without parental consent! Lol!

    At least he was able to get her some STD testing while they were there… I guess I should be grateful he tried not to pass on any STDs to me…

    But I’m still bitter about all the money he stole.

    Sadly, NSW (Sydney) is no-fault, so despite getting my hands on all his bank account documentation and all the Thai hospital records, it amounted to nothing in the divorce.

    It was fun to tell EVERYONE we knew, including my now ex mother in law, what an ass he was, and be able to back it with ample, and embarrassing, proof… which I thoroughly did.

    Since it was no-fault, I also posted the photos he took of various Thai whores sucking his dick all over the neighborhood, and showed everyone his “ladyboy” porn collection.

    Image was everything to him, so it was rather satisfying to blow his image in everyone’s eyes. He threatened to sue me for slander (or is it libel… I never remember)… but since the law in Australia seems to be so weak, I wasn’t worried, and indeed, nothing ever came of it.

    • I don’t know if you’ve told that tale here before but it’s like, one of the most fucked up I’ve seen. Labiaplasty? That and the boobs-picked-out-by-her-married-boyfriend story today are really awful.

  • My ex-husband “owned” a business. Owned is in quotes because on paper the business was still in my father-in-laws name……therefore it would have been very hard for me to legally go after it. I could have proved that my FIL had not really been a part of the business for upwards of 20 years but that would have taken lots of time and money, which I did not have. Both my FIL and my ex-husband would have dug in their heels and let it drag out until I was literally broke. Sweet…..I know!!!!

    So, with that being said, on tax returns I actually make more a year than he does. He designed it that way! What I learned from my lawyer, which proved to be very helpful, was that any perks or extras he gets through his business counts as income as well. His cellphone and truck insurance are paid by the company. His vehicle repairs are paid by the company. All of his vehicle gas is paid by the company.

    This helped me so much when it came time for child support and alimony.

  • Even if you are not sure you want a divorce, you are trying to reconcile, etc., if you have been cheated on and are seeing red flags and feeling uneasy, start prepping immediately.

    1) Get a P.O. box so you can have your mail sent there.
    2) Get a separate bank account at a bank your spouse doesn’t know about and have the mail sent to the P.O. box.
    3) Stash any extra money you can get your hands on into the new bank account. You will need it for a lawyer, or an apartment, or something. (I am in grad school and was able to get student loans and grants, so any leftover went to this account.)
    4) Keep reading CL and books about divorcing a narcissist to build up your strength to do what you have to do.
    5) Gather evidence of cheating, stealing, etc. Also tax returns.
    6) Collect your (and your kids’) social security cards, birth certificates, any important documents and leave them somewhere safe.
    7) Never tell your spouse what you are planning. Pretend like everything is okay. This is the hardest part, but you cannot allow them to be ready for a divorce. You hit them with it after you’ve filed, and they are caught off guard. Don’t feel sorry for them. Weren’t you caught off guard when you found out about the cheating?

    I did all of these things, while still not sure I had the strength to file for divorce. One day, out of the blue, one of my narc’s previous affair partners sent me evidence of a Craigslist ad, and pictures he’d sent her, and I was fired up. I got an appointment with a lawyer that day, had my evidence ready, and filed immediately. He never knew what hit him.

    I’m so, so grateful to whatever website I found this advice on. (I can’t remember now.) Having the money saved up was a huge relief, because I had enough for my lawyer’s retainer, as well as enough money to help get the narc out on his own, which helped convince him to get out.

    • What blows my mind is that my cheater did 1-3 and 6 and 7 before I had a clue what was going on. For good measure, he also filed an RO against me. It’s a messed up experience when they do a 180 on you and treat you like a cheater. When I told IC the things that XH had done, he said that XH was acting like “You cheated on him…with his brother.” Having a Schmoopie that had helped end her first husband’s marriage, then divorced him because…SHOCK..he cheated on her, proved to be quite helpful to my loathsome scumbag.

  • What helped me the most? The idea of watch what they do, not what they say. That’s where the truth lies. When I did, my eyes were opened. It became clear, what a horrible person I was dealing with. I would never even think of doing to someone I loved, the things he was doing to me. I would have told someone who mattered to me to get as far away from a person like cheater ex as they could get. Once I realized that, it killed my love for him. I started making plans to leave. I was done.

  • My piece of advice; sign up for online banking and keep the password to yourself. Do not tell your cheater any of this! There will be times when you feel all warm and fuzzy, like “hey, maybe this could all work out”…….RESIST!
    When the last straw finally came, I pulled out my laptop and transferred half of our savings into an account that was only in my name.
    I now know he would have taken everything and left me to fend for myself.

  • I stayed civil and never really got crazy upset with him because I wanted him to finalize divorce, sign the papers, divide the stuff.

    Once I got all that – complete no contact. Nine months now since I have seen those evil blue eyes.

    Daughter keeps saying well in five years or so maybe you two can be in the same room for dear grand baby’s birthday. I’m thinking no. This man asked me why I did not kill myself. He wanted it all. Evil evil evil. He and whore tried to make me crazy.

    Thing is – he is so CHARMING. Unless you know the truth of him – you’d think he is an awesome guy.
    But the biggest red flag is he has ZERO friends – none from his youth, high school, college, or currently. No bonding there.

    NOT my circus and not my monkey. Thank good ness for this safe place here at CN.

    I feel terrible for my kids. He is there dad. Ugh.

    Onward!

    • My ex is exactly the same. Everyone thinks hes Mr Wonderful. Divorce final just over 2 years, 7 years since D Day and 2 years since divorce final. Have not talked to him or seen him in 2+ years. Still wont be in the same room as him. Not after what him and the whore have put me through. They still continue to talk about me and want to get even etc. They told the kids (mine and ex’s who are both adults) they were thinking of inviting me to their wedding last year just to piss me off and how funny that would be. To the kids, really? I don’t care their age that is immature, pointless, narcissitic.

      • “They still continue to talk about me and want to get even etc. They told the kids (mine and ex’s who are both adults) they were thinking of inviting me to their wedding last year just to piss me off and how funny that would be”

        You know what that’s called right? Common enemy intimacy… and it’s not real! At some point this will lose it’s binding power and the cheaters will be on to the next Chump!

        • I never looked at it like that! You are so right. Their common hatred for me is holding them to each other. When they are no longer getting the reaction they expected or causing me emotional anguish then it will no longer be fun then they wont have that in common and will need to find other interests. Since they were both cheating on their spouses, I can only assume other interests will be other people. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU By the way, they get no reaction from me. When my son told me their plans, I just smiled – no anger, no resentment, no nasty comment. My son was actually the one who said can you believe they said this?

    • Live, that is such a tell, the no friends thing. That was another red flag I did not pay attention to 🙁

      • ditto for me, although the fact cheater narc had recently moved to my country and city for a post-doc hid that for quite a while (he claimed a bunch of friends ‘back home’ who later turned out to have zero interest in him, they were his ex-girlfriend’s friends). And his the fact his 3 grown siblings avoided him as much as possible, and the fact he’d screwed up during his Ph.D…. and the fact he had no life, was always unhappy ….

        Oh, actually, he did have one friend, who cheater criticized to his face and showed contempt for behind his back. And who cheater ghosted in the nastiest way a couple of years ago (long after I kicked him out) for no apparent reason at all.

        • We have similar experience. We were both foreigners in the US. I have a ton of friends, here and in his country where we lived for a while. He has none. He considers his co-workers/ subordinates, his ‘friends’. I always found this so strange how he mingled his professional life and personal life as if he were nothing outside of his job.

    • OMG… zero friends…mine gaslit me in so many ways, but he had zero friends and because we split the phone bill, I know he has zero now, just poor old Slunty. I wonder how she likes it now being isolated, with a man who is utterly inoffensive and has this ‘I am so quiet, draw me out of my shell’ mien but seriously avoids other humans. It is a pretty darn lonely place to be but perhaps she feels that she is the one and only. And is only now realizing, Yup, she is the one and only. How do you like them apples?

      He always gave off the sense that if you were just a little bit friendlier, make his sad sausage self feel more secure, he would burst out of his shell. Ha! it is all an act. Fundamentally he doesn’t like people because he is barely human. So no real friends just people who can’t figure out why after all this effort, he still just floats along like a water strider. When he was younger, people used to try so hard. But now that most people are older and wiser, a few vain attempts at friendship and they mosey on to greener pastures. I count my lucky stars every day that he is gone. And I have wonderful friends.

      • My Ex was like that, too. People he bothered to talk to thought he was funny, etc., but he was a whiner. Moan, groan, whine. Pretty soon, he was pretty much isolated. He began to hibernate in our room, TV on, remote in hand, refused to do anything around the house, etc.

        God, he was boring!!! My life was sooo much more entertaining when he decided to re-unite with his old high school girlfriend. Thanks, Virginia!!

  • Great advice in this thread! Here’s my two cents’ worth.

    Don’t confront your cheater.–If you’ve discovered the affair, the best thing to do is give yourself some head space. Be clear in your own head what you want to do. If you confront your cheater, you will 1) let the Cheater know you know (which mean you can’t get a jump on your planning) and 2) give the Cheater an opportunity to mess with your head.

    Lawyer up fast, even if you think you might reconcile.–Just because you get a lawyer doesn’t mean you have to file for divorce. Your goal here is to learn the laws in your state. If you have children, find out the best custody you could have and what kind of documentation you need. If there’s a business, find out the documents and the kind of experts (accountants, etc.) you need to split that business. Ask about ways you can safeguard assets. Cheaters will take the money and run in many cases.

    Learn and protect your finances.–Cheating costs a lot of money. Dollars to doughnuts, your cheater is siphoning off funds from retirement, the checking account, etc. You need to 1) know where your money is, 2) take steps to protect it, and 3) learn how much you need to support your post-divorce lifestyle. Be prepared to work with professionals on this. Certainly a divorce financial planner can help you get a clear-headed view of what you’ll need, but you may need a forensic accountant or other professional to help you get a handle on your financial picture, depending on the complexity of your family’s situation. Those of you who are hoping for the unicorn of reconciliation should insist on a post-nupt that your lawyer considers enforceable.

    Have an action plan.–once you move, you’re going to have to move fast, so have a plan. If you take 50% of your assets out of the joint checking and put it into your own account, then the greater likelihood is that your Cheater will notice and will confront you. What will you do? Once you break the news to Cheater that you’re divorcing, what will you do if he flies into a fury? Do you have the money on hand to stay a few nights in a motel?

    This thread is a treasure trove of practical advice. It’s important for especially new Chumps to think of these things. Often, new Chumps are so caught up in the emotions surrounding the betrayal that they aren’t thinking. Let the combined wisdom of Chump Nation do your thinking for you!

  • A piece of ancient wisdom that I use all the time both before my divorce and today- “Listen to what is said, observe what is being done, see immediately what is intended by actions and consider carefully what the message signifies.” I’ve trained myself to listen to the “meta” message behind the spoken words and I ask myself ,”what is the agenda?” During my divorce I’d write down my thoughts and spoon back to that bastard exactly what he wanted to hear remembering that old adage that your perception is your reality. I thought, if I can be snowed into buying what he’s been selling because it’s what I’ve wanted to hear, then so can he. I’m taking advantage of that weakness and I’m going to use it to kick his ass. I was terrified – I’ve been a SAHM for 24 years – but I know when it’s time to fight like hell.

    How I did I do this? I walked into a therapist’s office day two and asked him to get me through hell as quickly as possible. He said, “if that’s your plan- shelve the emotions and focus on the battle.” I hired him to support me through the fight (and I believe that’s the kind of therapist you want – not the kind who indulges your feelings). My lawyer said what everyone else on here says – document everything and if your ex talks shut up and listen because they are probably going to say things that you can use”. And that was so true for me! I shut up- literally chewed up my tongue while he spewed really helpful things like that HR at his company had launched a “bullshit sexual harassment training” that everyone had to attend (OW is his secretary) and that he didn’t think expense accounts were being reviewed very carefully since the office manager left (hint). This, combined with the listening I had done before I kicked him out (i.e. “my assistant got her husband to get a bunch of vape pens with wax from Colorado and she’s selling them to people in the office – she’s so cool”) gave me such a secret advantage – I live in a fault state – so when we began negotiations and he tried to f**k with me, I flipped a switch, changed grounds from ID to adultery, sent over deposition questions that would make anyone vomit including a list of co-workers and upper management to interview about illegal drug sales in the office and notice that a forensic accountant would need access to his all of his expense records. Needless to say, he rolled over and pissed himself.

    I am very fortunate – I had a lot to work with and an amazing support system and I love God and I felt his support when I was desperate with grief and despair. There was not a doubt in my mind that my ex would try to destroy me financially after he’d worked so many years to destroy my sense of self because he’s a dead-eyed shark. Unfortunately for him, he’s operated for many years under the illusion that I’m a baby seal -when in actuality it turns out that I’m a fox.

    Be brave. Even if your not. Pretend to be. No one can tell the difference. Sometimes not even you.

    • Great story. You are one strong and intelligent lady. Glad you got a good settlement!

      Your story made me smile. Those cheaters think they are so clever. Not.

    • Wonderful advice!! I won because my ex underestimated me as well. He’s a narc, an MD, with a high IQ and because I was “only a nurse” he thought I was stupid. He had no clue what was coming. Looked like a deer in the headlights when I confronted him with my evidence.

    • Same here. Underestimated… He wanted to do a DIY divorce: sell the house, pay our debts with the profits and split what would be left. No mention of child support or custody schedule, alimony, the second house in his home country, the retirement accounts… He got another thing coming.

  • My lawyer’s best piece of advice:
    If your cheater is self-employed, during your ducks-in-a-line phase try to get hold of their scheduling calendar. If you’ve got a tax-evader like mine who’s funding a double life by keeping two sets of books and hiding income, a forensic accountant can uncover the discrepancy between how much they should be making and how much they officially report. Plus, in my case STBX was actually dumb enough to have been keeping all his Schmoopie meetup scheduling on his appointment calendar! It was quite an eye opener in helping me trust that he sucks.

  • Memories….

    Ah yes. I too have cauterized bad deferens. So when I came home to find a used pregnancy test in the bathroom garbage can I was a bit taken aback. No, I was immediately enraged. She did it only to hurt me because she had left the previous day to move in with Fuckstick.

    Man I am glad that crazy bitch is out of my life.

    (And turns out being 46 and single while shooting blanks ain’t a bad deal either! 😉

  • I learned a valuable and sometimes comic skill from a local therapist. My ex would triangulate with anyone or anything he could see or imagine, so the counselor told me to recognize it, detach myself from the ghastly emotional theater and visualize myself as a mime trying to escape a glass triangle- eventually smashing a side and climbing out in a bizarre fashion.
    I looked at her like she was completely mad, but then I tried it and I could not stop laughing at the warped French music and cartoon visual in my head. Worked like a charm on the ex husband – he could not get a leg (or triangle side)up to save his life after that. Removing my attention floored him, and made life for his shmoopie hell on earth because her relentless pursuit of centrality was also thwarted. Bon Voyage ! *silently mime waves*

  • I kind of flew by the seat of my pants after the bomb drop. But I had the advice and knowledge my Mom had given me over the years. She had passed on years before, but this all came into my mind as soon as the shitstorm happened. She always said, “The person you divorce is NOT the person you married.” She always said that marriage is more like a business contract after a few years. So I went to our little home office and cuddled up to the printer/copier and started making copies of everything! Then I scoured the computers for any evidence I could find to help me get a fair settlement in divorce. Luckily I had been handling all of our finances for years so it was relatively easy to neatly put all the info in a nice 3 ring four inch binder. My lawyer was over the moon! It made her job very easy. Then I told her what I wanted and she made it happen! No muss, no fuss! My best advice? Always know your finances. Don’t just “trust” that your spouse handles all that. It is well worth your time to know your household budget and how much it takes to “keep the lights on, etc” , always know who you owe and how much. Too many married couples leave this to one spouse and the damage it can cause during a divorce can be extensive. Also, oversight can keep a Cheater somewhat honest (if that’s even possible) , but at least it will keep the financial damage to a minimum.
    I was able to get a separation agreement immediately based on my monthly needs in our budget. The Ex had to cough up the temporary support every month until the divorce. Please do yourselves a favor and follow the money that comes in and out of your house!

    • Ugh… I always wanted to be in on financials and he always came up with excuses. At first, there was a paper trail, so I could sort of follow along, but then with the online activities, it was all password protected. He would give me the password and then he would change it soon after, because it was for ‘safety’. That was another red flag… Come to find out during the divorce that the cheating was also with our money, all along.

  • Cheater wife said she would cooperate, we would get one lawyer, no conflict blah blah blah.

    She dragged it out (still doing so) hoping I would change my mind and not divorce. I had to go ahead and get a lawyer for me. Lawyer warned against me trusting X, told me to file under adultery instead of no fault and push it through court. I didn’t listen and now I’m waiting for cheater to “see her lawyer when she has time” to get this into mediation. She has also shafted me by not helping to pay 50% of the mortgage and bills (I’m now out about $3,000 and growing) which she had swore that she would do.

    Lesson: lawyer up early instead of pick me dancing and don’t put any trust in someone who has cheated on you. They have shown you who they are already.

    Financial surprise: Cheater wife’s “massages” cost money. Apparently I was paying a 23 year old to mess with my wife for six months. In addition he ended up stealing her credit card numbers and ran up some online debt. Luckily my name isn’t on those accounts.

  • Before I told XW that we were getting divorced, I attended a pro-Bono divorce workshop held by an attorney, accountant, and mediator. After the presentation, one of the other chumps asked:

    “A lot of your presentation is about negotiating with your spouse. But what do you do if your spouse has shown an inclining for deception.” (Now there’s a euphemism for cheating, if there ever was one!)

    The Attorney’s response: “If you’re dealing with someone deceptive, be thorough, but don’t drag it out over pennies. Ask yourself what the value is in getting that person OUT of your life, and proceed with the negotiations from that perspective. Don’t get bogged down.”

  • Here are some of the things that helped me get my head on straight after D-Day, in descending order.
    1. CL and CN and CL’s book Leave a Cheater Gain a Life. A fellow chump at work referred me here.
    2. Richard Grannan Spartan Life Coach videos. I can’t figure out what his credentials are but his voice is strangely soothing and I listen to it on my phone sometimes when I can’t go to sleep.
    3. Psychopath Free (book) by Jackson MacKenzie. Again, not sure what his credentials are, but in this area, sometimes the best credentials are that someone has been through the same horrific experience.
    4. Called my company EAP and they found me a therapist who is covered under my plan and I started seeing her the next day.
    5. Went to my doctor to get tested for STDs and when I broke down sobbing in their offices he prescribed a mild anti-depressant and mild anti-anxiety drug to get me through this initial tough time. I still have most of them after a few months but it is good to know they are there if I need them.
    6. Took my sister to my initial consultation with the lawyer. I was virtually catatonic. She asked a lot of questions and took notes. I barely spoke.
    7. While I still had marital funds available (spouse is the high earner), got me and my child caught up on all medical and dental needs, prescriptions, supplements, and for me, a massage, mani/pedi, lots of new shapewear (I have a hunch chumps are like me and forego getting new underwear because there is always a more pressing expense), a few bottles of really good wine.
    Hope this helps.

    • Yes to stocking up on some choice bottles to celebrate being free of a fuckwit ! Pop went the cork on those bottles of Krug the day of the divorce ! I threw a party for the true friends that helped me sail through the sh*t storm

    • for great advise on the mind of a narc and dealing with their abuse check out The Litttle Shaman on you tube. Her insights are astounding and easy to follow.

  • My divorce was final March of 2014 so looking back, my best advice is after discovery, close your mouth and think for a second . . . If you’re like me, your temper will win out and you’ll spill the beans. My only regret is that I didn’t sit on what I knew a little longer and get myself more together financially.

    I had suspicions of my X having an affair so I configured Find My iPhone on his cell because he never bothered with that kind of thing. A couple days later, I followed him to a hotel room with married OW. I could have just verified he was at said room and started planning. Instead I called him to come out and had the most pointless and painful 3 minute conversation of my life. Not only that, but confronting him destroyed the element of surprise.

    Anyhoo, keep your information quiet and protected while you start the process of disengaging from your wing-nut. Split that money, which was easy in my case because I’m the one who handled the bills. Get a fantastic lawyer, do NOT share a lawyer with the person you are divorcing. (My X attempted this.) Next, get a therapist if you need to for you. If you’re depressed, get meds. If you can’t sleep, get Ambian. I did all these things and they helped me immeasurably. Get some boost shakes and rest when you can because you’re going to need it.

    Realize . . . the person you thought you knew is dead or more than likely didn’t exist. Protect yourself. Listen to your lawyer and please don’t waste time trying to reason, converse, understand, your wing-nut. There’s a void where empathy should be.

    And if you think for one minute that they only cheated on you but wouldn’t possibly fuck you over financially, think again.

    Happily living in Meh-Town 🙂

    • I have been trying this, think and then respond instead of reacting. An exercise in restraint for sure but allows you to hold onto your power.

  • My input is so simple but the hardest to process as a chump. Trust that they suck. If they suck enough to cheat on you, they suck in every aspect of their life. They have a way of putting their wants/needs first in their life over anyone, ANYONE elses. If they will do this emotionally/intimately, financially and/or physically isn’t that far out of reach for them either.

    DD16 and I are addicted to Forensic Files. And it is almost ALWAYS the husband that has murdered the and he has a schmoopie the chump may or may not have know about. DD and I can spot an arsenic poisoning within the opening symptoms the wife started experiencing that mimicked a flu like illness.

    Typical: The cheater left and moved out, came home after 4 months to wreckoncile, the wife fell ill with vomiting/diarrhea and would intermittently feel better before having another episode. Would become weaker and more debilitated, and then have anothe acute crisis and be hospitalized. The medical team would be stumped until one astute team member would suspect poisoning and proceed from there. But unfortunately by the time of the last crisis, the damage would have been done and the chump dies with organ failure.

    Mr. Sparkly was such a great guy who made a little mistake, but was home caring for the sick wife and taking care of those kids. Neighbors would say they couldn’t believe it because they were that great couple.

    Trust that they suck. They didn’t make a little mistake or find some twu wuv fantasy that was meant to be. They are bad people and you don’t know the degree of bad they are until the consequences hit. Maybe they try to screw you financially. Maybe they slander you to family/friends/your kids. Or maybe they try to off you so they don’t face those consequences. But just realize you cannot trust them again, not really. They have shown you who they are, you need to believe them.

    • Reinforces my Little Ol’ Okie Mama’s best advice: “A Stiff Prick Has No Conscience”. Meaning that they will say or do anything in order to get what they want, especially if it’s sex.

      Never forget that, ladies.

  • 1. Regarding the end of my marriage to XH the substance abuser, my therapist advised me to make all decision about how I proceeded with my financial future in mind. I had just turned 60 and that was very solid advice. I’m on firm ground now because I listened to her.
    2. Regarding Jackass, her first words were: “You can never go back to that.”
    3. Regarding me, she said, “You’ll be surprised how much you will come to love living on your own.”

  • If your Ex-wife remarries, regardless of the 10 years, she will no loner be eligible to collect on your Social Security. My ExH played that same trick… and then he remarried not realize he is no longer eligible.

    Hopefully your ExW will remarry and forfeit her rights to your SS.

    • The upside of a spouse collecting on Social Security–it doesn’t change your benefits by even $1. And that would end alimony in most cases as the spouse has income. But it’s a godsend for SAHPs who have a 20-year gap in wage history and get chumped in their 60s.

      • Hey, regarding the whole ‘collecting your ex-spouse’s social security”….I’m 7.5 years older than he. Do I have to wait until he reaches full retirement age to collect on his income? I’ll be 65 in seven years. I’m thinking his SS will be higher than mine.

  • For those of you with children, expect your cheater ex to treat your kids the same way he/she treated you.

    He/she might pull out the sparkle at first– happy new blended family, yay! Fun vacations and presents!

    After a while, though, the cheaters can’t keep up the facade. They will slowly start resenting that your kids are normal human beings with needs who aren’t there to provide kibble for them.

    I felt traumatized all over again. That my ex could be this way with my kids and allow the Owife to be horrid to my kids…?

    But honestly, why did I expect anything else?

    Don’t expect anything else. Be there for your kids when your ex-cheater shows his/her true colors to them.

    • Absolutely true. I am removed enough from the pain of the divorce now but I see that my children are now the ones to suffer their father’s selfish ways. Thankfully, they are smart enough and secure enough to realize who their father truly is. Those relationships are also on the fritz…

  • My advice is for those still sharing marital assets. Every time you do a grocery shop withdraw a little cash ($20-$50) and stash it. I am in an okay financial position but am still going to do this.

    The other thing to do as others have said is get some decent sleep!!!

  • I lived and learned from what my narc father did years ago before cell phones.

    I grew up in a “nice” suburb on an acre of property. We never had a problem with mail being stolen. My father, the philandering philatelist, decided that he absolutely had to have a post box at the local post office for security reasons. My mother also told me that he started writing a lot of checks out for cash. My mother had no way of determining how much money he was spending on his stamp collection.

    When my parents divorced my mother she suspected that p.p. paid one of his fellow stamp collecting nerds to undervalue his collection. I read somewhere that there are thousands of secret p.o. boxes and safe deposit boxes across the U.S. A credit report would reveal these for discovery.

    Make your own money and have your own credit cards, computer and cell phone.

  • The advice I got from the marriage counselor during our one on one was “stick up for yourself and don’t accept just anything to save your marriage”. I still tried to save the marriage when it was hopeless (as did the MC because that is what we had hired him to do), but this advice kept me from pick me dancing to hard.

  • The advice I remember most vividly, from the first lawyer I met with, was that if you have an initial consultation with a lawyer, your ex can’t then use that lawyer. There’s a conflict of interest as they know too much inside info about your case. So to make sure your ex doesn’t get a better lawyer than you, interview all the best ones in town so they are no longer available to your ex.

    Chump that I was, I was SHOCKED at the idea that someone could be so underhanded. I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

  • I’m recopying this from Maria, above. It’s one of the most significant things I’ve ever read here:

    “Greatest piece of advice from a friend: ‘Don’t make your source of pain your single source of happiness.’”

  • No one told me this, but I learned this from watching shows like Dateline, 48 Hours, Snapped, etc.— tell them NOTHING. Trust a few people, share your documentation/evidence with very few people (if you dont have a lawyer like me)… even in your weakest moments or most scared, don’t tell them anything. Lie if you have to, keep quiet.
    To this day, exh2/The Evil One has NO clue the evidence I have against him. I never told him, even after the divorce was final.
    The one thing I told him the day he came over to write down our divorce settlement “demands” as he called it for his lawyer (i told him he had to file and pay for it since he wasmthe one that wanted it to go be with OW), I looked him in the eyes and said, “Make no mistake, you can call it ‘irreconcilable difference ‘ if you want, but I KNOW. I KNOW everything”.
    He honestly looked scared, his face flushed, and he said, “OK” and proceeded to acquiesce to ALL of my demands.
    In reality, I didnt have a damn clue what he had done. At that point in time, I only knew a little, but since he never called my bluff, I knew my instincts were correct.

  • My best advice would be – from experience – require support payments to be done through the court, if possible.

    My ex, interestingly enough, has paid Alimony and C/S more or less on time every month (he literally never paid anything else on time when we were married) – but he has threatened to cut us off – especially when our son turns 18. In NJ you can’t do that – if your kids go straight to college the fall after graduation …. as long as they stay in college, that support MUST be paid. And our Settlement Agreement even spells that out.

  • A friend saw me about to get involved with a (sketchy) new partner and (knowing of my previous financial devastation) said “Protect your pension”.
    I have lived by those words since.

  • Best thing I did was to move quickly–my advice is to line up the ducks in a few days if you can, and get a quick settlement while the cheater is balls deep in infatuation and just wants an instant discard. This type of abandoning cheater, practically manic over the chance to start over, will sign just about anything.

  • If you have a cheater who manage all the finances be wise and secretly create your own user ID if you are joint in the account & save statements on a flashdrive. If you have a “Traveler Cheater” with corporate card that loves to post “crap” on FB print all the history since during divorce he/she will deleted account. If you do not see big expenses on your account or credit cards most likely “cheater” is using corporate cards for “whore/tinder” dinners. If he/she refuses to colaborate on the divorce you can say that you will send an email to human resources for inventigation or audit. How can he sees “x” or “y” person on a dinner while he was in business?! That is fraud…Using hotels paid by company to meet with whores etc I never did it but if I win the lottery I will probably send an email to the VP of his company. I recall a story here of a chump that sent a certified letter to his ex’s work. She was brave & mighty. Like someone said before in today’s post once they lie they lie about everything & will never change. Mr. Cheater Pants is now with howorker and now is living a “fake” life in his “love bombing” face by maxing out his credit cards and she is buying it.

  • i think that having two phones is a potential warning sign. mostly it’s explained away as a “work” phone and a “personal” phone, but really the only difference between two phones is a number.

    also, if the cheating fuckhead you married has a career in i.t. you can expect their tracks to be very well covered.

    • I’m a chump who works in IT and I’ve always had 2 phones because I genuinely wanted to keep my work and my personal life separate.

  • Hey, regarding the whole ‘collecting your ex-spouse’s social security”….I’m 7.5 years older than he. Do I have to wait until he reaches full retirement age to collect on his income? I’ll be 65 in seven years. I’m thinking his SS will be higher than mine.

    • You will get HALF the amount that he will be entitled to at his full retirement age (66 or 67) unless you remarry…if you remarry before age 62 you get zero of his estimated SS.

      No, he does not have to actually start drawing his own SS for you to get half…but the half you’d get has to be greater then what you would get based on your own work record. He does have to reach full retirement age first for you to collect from his work record. You do not get to collect from BOTH yours and his at the same time.

      He has to reach full retirement age (66 or 67) for you to start drawing half off his work record….he does NOT have to start collecting it himself though.

      After a divorce, you cannot start collecting half from off of his work record until TWO years have lapsed after the divorce decree, and you have to remain single to qualify. He must reach full retirement age for you to collect…or dies, then you can collect Widows Benefits at his “estimated” full retirement age amount.

      I am 63…I have 23 Zero’s in my own work record (SAHM)…but I now have my own business and intend to keep working until I am 70 (maybe longer because I love my work). What I will get from my own work record at 66 or even at 70 will be greater than what I would have gotten from HALF of his amount…especially since he cheats on taxes. If he dropped dead, I would qualify as a widow for his entire amount…but it looks like even that will still not net me more than my own work record is going to give me.

      You would be better off remaining single and waiting till he dies and then collect Widows benefits at 100% of his full retirement age amount. Meanwhile, you can draw from your own work record when you reach full retirement age, then switch to his work record if he dies or if his half equals more than yours.

      • To simplify:

        *As long as he is still ALIVE, you can only collect HALF of his amount.
        *He MUST first reach Full Retirement age for you to start collecting HALF his amount.
        *If YOU remarry, you will not qualify for half his amount.
        *You must have waited for TWO years after the Divorce Decree to file for half of his SS.
        *You can collect 100% of his amount if he dies (as a Widow)…but not if you had already remarried before age 62 AND unless the remarriage ended by divorce or death FIRST.
        *He does not have to start collecting his own SS in order for you to collect from his work record.
        *You can collect on your own work record first (at full retirement age), then switch over to his (if it is more) when he reaches his Full Retirement age…but you will only get half his amount if he is still alive.
        *You must wait until YOU reach full retirement age before collecting on your own work record to qualify for later getting half of his. You cannot start collecting at 62 (early) if you hope to tap into his later.

        Do the math…will HALF of his SS (when he reaches retirement age) be greater than your entire amount from your own work record?
        Do you choose to remain single?
        Make sure that he will even GET Social Security…there are many types of employment careers that do not even pay into this system. My first X did not…he is a Cop and paid into PERS.

  • 1. When we separated, I declared all my credit cards lost and had new ones re-issued in case he had one as an authorized user.

    2 I pulled his credit and mine before we separated. He had stolen my identity in the past and I needed to see if I had unknown credit hanging out there. (I also figured the penalty of privacy invasion in pulling his credit would be less than the penalty of ignorance.)

    3. I installed a lockbox on my house and instructed the kids never to tell anyone the code to access it. Not even their father – I was explicit. I change it periodically for security. I didn’t want my ex having access to my place if they left their keys hanging around while they were with him.

    4. I had a motion detection camera hidden in the vent just in front of my door for the first year we were divorced – he became unhinged for awhile. Stalking. The little cameras are cheap and easy to use.

    5. I only communicate via email now and shortly after divorcing, stopped agreeing to meet him individually ‘to discuss the kids’. It’s a manipulation ploy.

    6. I did not hire a competent experienced lawyer for my as I was so afraid of not surviving I worried over every penny and went cheap. Big mistake.

    A year late when I had to go after him for my kids safety, I hired a board certified family law and my experience was night and day. Her advice was sage and although she cost more per hour, her efficiency and negotiating tactics ended up being cheaper for me than when I went to the cheaper guy. Hard lesson.

  • I have a question for some of you chumps.. the ones that stayed and then finally did leave after 5, 10, 20 years. Why leave then? What made the difference? Why not stay and grin and bear it?

    This fascinates me because I have a friend with kids who still ‘loves’ her hubby after a 4 year affair. She went through hell, but now the OW is gone the marriage seems back on track. Both her and hubby don’t think he’ll cheat again. They are mid-40s. I think she’s wasting her time with him. But they want to stay married.

    So.. I’m sure some of you were in a similar situation. Maybe even content. Maybe he never cheated again. But what changed your mindset after 5, 10, 20 years.

    I myself left straight away. Still youngish (32), no kids, and I had learned from a previous breakup to not waste time crying over dickheads who hurt you. But I’m curious.

    Oh and another piece of great advice:

    TOTAL DETACHMENT IS THE PATH TO HEALING.

    AND:

    DO NOT BE FRIENDS WITH YOUR EX (a friend would not hurt you like that)

    From a really great book: The Breakup Bible.

  • There may be a period of time where your cheater feels guilty or at least wants you to go away so badly they’ll give you almost anything. A chump will mistake this for wanting or propensity for reconciliation. What you should do is strike while the iron is hot! This happens early on and changes at the drop of a hat. Use it to your advantage however it makes sense. If your spouse wants to leave, file for divorce with your terms. If your spouse wants to stay, use it to discover the finances rather than the affair details.

    I know this will be hard to a person who wants to reconcile but even divorced people can reconcile! There is nothing that says that if you protect yourself now, that your spouse doesn’t have the chance to EARN their way back. You are not closing the door completely, you are giving them the chance to show you who they really are and protecting yourself at the same time.

  • Best advice from a friend I ignored at the time – “Get out now, he’ll never change.” This was before d-dayx after I told my friend this story.

    We were doing marriage counseling and the mild-mannered therapist told my EX “you are very critical of ChumpedALot on a daily basis, which is causing hurt feelings and problems in your relationship.” My EX responded “I wouldn’t be so critical if she didn’t do so many things wrong.”

    I stayed for several more years, time I can never get back. But I did leave him, divorced him and am building a better, cheater-free life.

  • >