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Dear Chump Lady, The cheater doesn’t know I’m pregnant

Dear Chump Lady,

Please chump some sense into me. I separated from my soon-to-be-ex-husband almost 2 years ago… following so many D-days that I won’t even bother quantifying them. He cheated A LOT and I chumped just as much. We were together nearly 12 years, married for 5… and, hindsight being what it is, I now believe he was cheating in some capacity the entire time. Alas, as many serial-cheaters are, he was as charming and convincing, as he was manipulative and selfish. So, during our last couple of years together, I *thought* we were in a much better place and were even trying to start a family. However, while I was still mourning my 2nd miscarriage, I was contacted by a new OW. My world shattered, again, but it was different… being cheated on while being pregnant AND while grieving the loss of those pregnancies flipped a switch and gave me the courage I needed to pack up and leave. And that I did.

I moved many, many states away for a fresh start… and eventually began settling in to my new life and home. Meanwhile, the ex was doing all he could to reconcile, repent, and beg for forgiveness… too little, too late (asshole), yet his sadness devastated my heart. It took me about a year to finally commit to transitioning my separation to a divorce… although, our assets and prenup have drawn out the process, which is still ongoing. That said, I also began dating around the time I initiated the divorce (I was ready to move forward and, apparently, not getting younger). I started seeing a wonderful man who had also experienced divorce hell and was very supportive and understanding of what I was going through. We kept things low-key, but did establish that we were exclusive. Cool. What we did not expect was an unplanned pregnancy (yes, while I was ON birth control). I’m 35, very financially secure, and want a family, so — after the initial shock — I welcomed the pregnancy with an open heart and joy. Luckily, my then still-new boyfriend agreed completely. Needless to say, it catapulted our young relationship to the next level (or levels, we skipped some).

This turn of events ALSO forced me to hit the accelerate button on my divorce. But since we don’t live near each other or see each other, the ex has no idea I’m pregnant (I don’t do social media and have been pretty hushed about it)… luckily, the pregnancy would have no impact on our divorce legally, but it sure would put an end to any “amicability” with the ex. So here’s my problem… I’m almost 6 months pregnant and terrified of my ex eventually finding out. I’m very aware that he’s struggling with our divorce and still wants to reconcile (and REALLY wants children). What I don’t understand is why (WHY?!) do I feel so sad and guilty about this?! Why do I care about his feelings and why should his pain hurt me? There’s no question that I want this divorce and that I love my current partner… so why do I feel so sad about the end of my marriage and my ex?

We have mutual friends. He will find out eventually.

I welcome any insight or tough love.

Warmly,

Expecting the Unexpected

Dear Expecting,

Congratulations on your pregnancy! Here I was all ready to bounce on an entirely different set of concerns, but you want to know about the cheater’s feelings about this? He’s many states away and has zero claim to your uterus. You don’t need his permission to move on with your life.

He certainly didn’t ask your permission when he was fucking around on you. Why would you feel guilty? Because he WANTS things? People in hell want a cold drink of water.

I’m sure you wanted things too — like a faithful husband, like not having your health constantly endangered by his serial cheating (STDs can cause miscarriages, btw). And not only did you WANT these things, you invested deeply in them, at great personal risk to your mental health and future fertility.

Leaving him, divorcing him (while in process), are long overdue consequences. Do you think you were supposed to wait around as Plan B?

I’m very aware that he’s struggling with our divorce and still wants to reconcile

How do you know this? You should be totally NO CONTACT with this person. Only speak through attorneys. If you know through mutual friends, tell him you don’t want to know about him. He’s your painful past, and you’re focused on the FUTURE.

(and REALLY wants children)

Does he? Or did he tell you that to keep you around as his chump? Seems to me he’s spreading his seed pretty freely, I’m sure something is bound to take. He’ll get a notice in the mail from Child Support Enforcement. Mazel tov.

People who love you, and want to have babies with you — hell, people who love BABIES — don’t act with reckless abandonment. People who want families, VALUE families. And we know this from their ACTIONS. They spend the weekend child-proofing the kitchen, they work their less-than-stellar jobs for the health care, despite the poop and the vomit, they want to BE AROUND their children, they would stand in front of a moving train to protect you and your pregnancy from harm.

People who love you, don’t troll around for strange pussy while you’re PREGNANT. This man abuses your vulnerability — the LAST thing you should do is give him MORE investment and centrality.

So, Expecting, fuck him very much. He wants… he wants… he wants… NO. He lost his chump. His dick is why we can’t have nice things.

Now, to the concerns I have. I hope you have this very tied up with the lawyers and he can’t fuck with you about this pregnancy. What do you mean “amiable?” If you’ve been in touch with him, because you think he’ll be nice in a divorce, you are VERY mistaken. Pregnant or not, he’ll be a bastard in a divorce, because it’s not what he wants. (He wants MORE kibbles, not fewer.) So, you leave all that to the lawyers.

I’m sure you being pregnant is not what he wants either, but you can’t hear his screams because you’re no contact, got it?

Now then, to the nice man who knocked you up — I’d consult a lawyer about this too, on visitation and child support. Don’t rush into a permanent relationship just because you got pregnant. You’re financially okay, you’ve got your own job. Just as if you were dating, I’d say take it slow and date for character. Make sure you’re exclusive, because fucking around can endanger your pregnancy.

The hormones are going to make you wobbly, don’t make major relationship decisions right now. If he’s as wonderful as you say, he’ll stick around. I’ve had two friends go through similar situations — the first knew that she wanted the baby, but didn’t want to rush into a serious relationship or marry the father, who was a friend. (He wanted to get married.) They stayed friends, and have a great co-parenting situation. The dad recently got married and she’s thrilled for him, and went to the wedding.

My other friend, left her husband when she found out he was a serial cheater. It was extra traumatic because she’d just moved overseas for him. They separated and one night she met this interesting Scotsman… events conspired… and shockingly at 44 years old, she got pregnant. (And yes, still not divorced from the serial cheater.) She’d given up on having kids, because the cheater never wanted any, and she was thrilled (and terrified) to be pregnant. She’s divorced and still with the Scotsman, and their kid is ADORABLE.

All to say, life can be messy and we rarely get the lives we plan. Often our worst tragedies lead to our biggest blessings. You have literally gained a LIFE! Kicking there in your belly right now! Give that little dumpling all your love, and middle fingers up to your ex. May the law move swiftly on your divorce.

 

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  • P.S. You probably feel guilt, because if he feels awful, then you would MATTER.

    You didn’t matter to him. He’s a serial cheater. Be clear on this. Don’t ascribe meaning to that relationship. They’re lost years with a bad character. Learn from it.

    • This.

      Just because you feel guilt, that doesn’t equate to a requirement to act on that feeling. You can acknowledge the feeling, acknowledge the thoughts and information that contradict the feeling, and choose what you actually do based on the information without leaning toward the feeling.

      Nobody matters as much as this baby – especially not the self-absorbed cheater who isn’t even the father. You are a mom. All roads point to everyone-can-suck-it-my-kid-is-all-that-matters.

      So, he finds out and doesn’t like it? His problem. His happiness stopped being yours to worry about the moment his genitals hit the free market without regard for your well being.

      • Thank you. I’m actually writing some things down to keep near for further contemplation and “His happiness stopped being yours to worry about the moment his genitals hit the free market without regard for your well being.” is a top entry on the list (lol).

        It’s worth noting that I’m also in therapy (both individual and group, just to cover the bases) and the theme of “acknowledging feelings” is one that often comes up and often struggle with. While this particular matter seems completely overwhelming, when I actually sit with the feelings and acknowledge their truth, they simply aren’t as daunting as they seem.

        Thank you again, I appreciate your thoughtful support.

        • I read your story and a few things came to mind. Off the top, you have to know and understand that he does not truly want to “reconcile”, or for that matter, have kids as well. This is like narc101. He is putting out there whatever he thinks will make you come back. And I hate to say it’s not out of pure love. He just wants his cake kibbles back. (Not that you are not wonderful in and of yourself, and probably the best he will get, but he’s not even thinking on that level; his idea of “love” is obviously different than a normal person’s). I’m sure he’s “sad” and repentant about everything, but drill into your head that it’s a bunch of bull shit. He had YEARS to figure out that he wants you and kids; and when you finally pull through and show some strength of character and leave, he’s ready for all the things you wanted for so long?! What a coincidence!!! (It’s a game). Mine cried every time I told him I was leaving, begged and pleaded and even threw in a half-hearted suicide attempt for that matter. And guess what- when I stayed a little longer to work things out for the sake of our daughter- just like clock work- he started looking for more kibbles again. You have to (as Chump Lady says) “trust he sucks”. You made the right decision. Also- nothing worse than having a kid with one of these ass holes as well, because if he’s character disordered, (which sounds like he is), he would’ve made custody and child support a real pain in the ass, on top of just being an emotionally retarded parent. Lastly, congratulations on the pregnancy! The first thing I honestly thought of was “Great!!!! Nothing shows you’ve moved on and kicked him to the curb like getting pregnant with another man’s baby!!!” You want to see how much he loves you- see if he’ll take you back pregnant and care for that baby like it’s his own. (I know a good man up my street who was willing to do this with his bi-polar cheating wife- luckily, the paternity test came up that he was the father- but he was completely willing to take the wife back if she got treatment for bi-polar illness even if the baby wasn’t his). Of course, I’m just joking about seeing if he’ll take you back now, but don’t worry. Maybe this can be a blessing in that, he might just leave you alone when he finds out. (You being pregnant might just take you off the kibbles list and he’ll move on to other sources, and don’t let that bother your ego one bit either). Let us know how he takes it. I hope he doesn’t make the divorce tough, but it’s better than staying with him in any way, shape or form.

    • I will be a devils advocate. If you are legally married (even though divorcing) and have sex with someone.you ARE a cheater also. End the relationship first before entering another one. I think you are to easy on those who do that. “He screwed around, so can I.” Then a child is brought up in less then ideal circumstances. That’s why second marriages have such high divorce rates. Makes me frustrated reading this crap. Ugh! I am separated and will be divorced on Aug 31sr. I refuse to date because I am not divorced yet and need time to heal so I won’t drag issues into my next relationship.

      • If the marriage is over, living separately and the divorce is in process
        I don’t consider that two people are married in a committed relationship.
        Getting on with your life and your love life is entirely OK in my book

        • I totally agree with Langele. My ex ended our marriage by fucking around for over a year before I found out. Once the other party has trashed the trust it’s over and I’m all for the innocent party getting on with their life in whatever fashion. Divorce is a long a drawn out process ( not helped by the cheater dragging it all out because they can’t bear the consequences). Why should the ex-Chump sit in staring at the wall whilst that happens, no way. I’m not religious so that may affect my view.

          • Not to say I didn’t stare at a wall for a good solid year… but after a year + of reflection, I was ready to leave my empty apartment 😉 I’m very glad others agree with / support my decision lol.

            • You have every right to be happy. In many states, separating ends the issue of “cheating” or adultery. I think leaving the cheater and moving many miles away says it all. But please–be no contact with this guy. And think hard about “mutual friends.”

          • On dday my head knew our 24+ year marriage was over but my heart grieved for years. On dday I took an eyebrow pencil and wrote on the huge mirror over the bathroom double sinks: 10/12/85 – 12/26/09 RIP. Asshat washed it off a few days later saying it was upsetting. WTF? He also said that when he looked in the kitchen garbage & saw that I had thrown away our wedding album which by that time was covered in coffee grounds & cat litter.

            • Nice work! I covered my shredded wedding album with meat scraps which ex was shocked by. He had a new wedding album barely a year later!

          • The DOCTOR held up the divorce b/c I dared to want money. He dragged it on & on, WHILE living with Schmoopie and her daughter, (but cutting off our own child from college or any aid). Then I hired a PI to prove his income and THEN suddenly he rushed the divorce thru.

            I refused to give the DOCTOR more control over my life than he already had for 35 years. I waited a year to date because that’s what I – ME, wanted to do.

            DOCTOR doofus cheater really broke my heart. He betrayed me in every way a husband can betray a wife.
            In my opinion, once you have filed for divorce from a cheater, and you know you are not up for the RIC, you date when YOU are ready. Has nothing to do with the legal formalities that the cheater narcissists can delay and screw up.

        • It is true that in many states (including mine), having sex with someone before you are legally divorced counts as infidelity. But my state also bans the Encyclopedia Brittanica because it contains a recipe for making beer at home. So let’s take laws at face value.

          The bigger issue is whether it is morally acceptable to have physical intimacy with someone before one is divorced. As long as the divorce is underway, the two people are living separately, and are not taking actions to reconcile (e.g., in active marriage counseling), that marriage is over, and both people are free to date IMHO.

          Many of these narcs drag out divorce for YEARS, even after having wasted decades of our lives. Should chumps chastely sit home waiting for the cheater to FINALLY disclose his or her financials? Or hire a third lawyer because his/her first two lawyers grew weary of the delays and obfuscation. I know a man who, even after settlement obtained in an early October court trial, was not divorced by late December because the STBX refused to sign the decree to which she and her lawyer had approved months earlier. He had been out of the house and NC for 1.5 years.

          Chumps waste a lot of time before gaining a new life out of concern for the cheater, whilst the cheater wasted no time boinking strange after the wedding vows. It behooves us not to rush into a relationship before our grief has ended, but I don’t think we should stall our lives again, nor allow the post-filing manipulations of cheaters to continue to control us.

          • Thank you so much for this — your response is filled with excellent points! I have no doubt in my mind that my SBX would drag out the divorce as long as he possibly could if it meant I wouldn’t be able to live my life and would force me to commit to celibacy until we were officially divorced… because, obviously, those rules apply to me, but not to him (*HUGE eye roll*). If he could pay to maintain that control, he certainly would… but, not giving him that satisfaction is just one of the many benefits of moving on with my life.

            Again, thank you.

          • Totally agree! I found out X was a con artist extraordinaire (well, he’s a 7-figure salaried M&A attorney at BigLaw, and gets paid to be a douche, but I digress) and had been duping me and serial cheating my entire adult life! 26 years! Talk about sunk costs.

            When I finally figured out what was really going on (through the agony of word salad and gaslighting and blameshifting — I “made him fuck the young goldigging, homewrecking whore, because. . . (wait for it!). . . I never bought him a comfortable living room chair to sit in!” For the love of God, I swear he actually said this, as well as a lot of other ridiculous and heinous and hurtful accusations and proclamations (told our 4 kids, including our baby who was 10, that he “hated every minute of being a father.”).

            Anyhow, with many assets, a business and law practice to value, and his mental health issues and substance use issues (he walked out of two treatment rehabs during the divorce and then denied ever going to treatment — yeah, right — ever heard of subpoenas for medical records, asshole?!) our divorce took about 2 years start to finish. During that time I went no contact and started to build my new life. Sold the family home, moved, got a new job, got a new career, got new friends. One of which was a lovely man I met at the YMCA and he was going through a divorce from hell with a wife who was an alcoholic. Group hikes and runs and HIIT classes became the occasional hike and run together which led to meals out which led to deeper friendship and support which led to the physical expression of our mutual admiration and attraction and feelings which led to a mutually exclusive relationship which led to, after 2.5 years of dating, our family decision to live together and finish raising our two youngest children together and stating intents to be partners for the rest of our lives. We are too old to have more kids (and, we have 6 between us), we do not intend to buy property together (we each have enough real estate), and we live in a state that had a Committed Intimate Relationship law, so no plans to marry.

            I’m very peaceful, happy, content, excited about the future. I want to be partnered with the man I love, and I do not think our relationship is diminished by the fact that we began our amazing intimate life before the judge signed our mutual divorce decrees. When we met we were both separated (he was a year-ahead of me in the process and already had temporary orders, I waited 6 months to file because of hopeium and financial concerns — year end bonus as marital community, etc.) and headed for the divorce decrees being signed. That worked for us.

            Do I occasionally feel the immense sadness and fury and outrage about what my X of 26 years did to harm me and the children? Hell yes. It’s partially why I’m on this site every day throughout the day. 3.5 years and I don’t think I’ll ever truly forget that X did this to us. The details are getting fuzzier now, though. Triggers can remind me anew.

            Congratulations on your new baby!

            • OMG your ex is an ASSHOLE! Ahhhh! I actually had to start/stop reading your post a couple times because something would trigger me into the “ugh, I can’t even!” state of mind. And that’s just from reading your brief reflection! What does that say about the experience itself?? Aside from, you’re a saint.

              By the umpteenth & final time my ex was caught cheating, the only tactic that he had yet to try was actually taking some personal responsibility… which of course was just an act, but it did spare me from enduring more rounds of blame-shifting and gas-lighting. But eventually I realized that, while there may be some sincerity behind his words, it was still a ploy to buy time… it simply kept me on the hook longer and delayed the inevitable.

              I’m so glad that after such a horrendous experience, your life’s path led you to where it is now. I cannot help but be grateful for that type of silver lining… if I hadn’t married such an asshole and stayed as long as I did, I may not have moved and met my current partner… and, TBD if my partner himself will be part of the long-term silver lining, but any road leading to my son will be the worthwhile journey.

              The other “silver lining” in all of this is how much being with a cheater has taught me… there are aspects of my current relationship that I wouldn’t even KNOW to appreciate, had I not experienced the complete other side of the spectrum. And, in my partner’s case, I know that he too values things about me and our relationship, given his experiences with his ex-wife. And while I would have loved to not go through an emotional blender to learn some of these gems, I won’t turn them away now.

              Many thanks for the congrats and support — best wishes to you as well!

              • So true! I am very grateful for basic human decency!

                My son is my pride and joy, as are my daughters, and make my life unbelievably happy and rich. Best wishes to you! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

            • Lol! Didn’t buy him a new chair! Thats a classic. Mine said (among other things). I read to much and took to many walks! Lol!

            • Oh and PS… can “I made him fuck the young goldigging, homewrecking whore, because. . . (wait for it!). . . I never bought him a comfortable living room chair to sit in!” be added to the “Stupid Shit Cheaters Say” section? May I please nominate that?? Because, oh, that gem is quite deserving of a “Stupid Shit” trophy and perhaps a hall of fame monument… how about a copper replica of a comfortable recliner or ergonomic club chair.

              Did you just bust out into “crazed laughter” when he said that? I never realized that the “crazy laugh” occurred in ‘real life’ and not just in horror movies… until I heard it flood out of my own mouth. No, not just out of my mouth… but out of my soul. Even my SBX was taken aback and caught off guard by my uncontrollable cackle of hysteria!

              Again, you are a saint ❤️

              • Sadly, I cried and apologized and felt guilty that I had been frugal and bought basic furniture at Costco and instead of making tons of money was a SAHM when babies were small then when I worked I encouraged investing in real estate instead of buying stuff like furniture- but he never said a word about the chair until he started Blameshifting. I bought a wonderful chair then but it was “too late” to choose me and kids he said. Fucker!

            • Looks like you can only make so many sub-replies, but this is in response to your last comment, re: Costco chair, because, um…. in addition to ALL of his bullshit, HOW DARE HE INSULT COSTCO’S FURNITURE!!!!! Oooooooh, I hope you kept the chair!

              Reason for Divorce: Insulted Costco

              Judge’s Response: Guilty

              Winner of Life: SAHM… always, always <3

          • I agree with everything said here by you and others and I think it is perfectly legitimate to date before the divorce is final if truly underway. I did wait before dating but there were several reasons for that. First of all I wasn’t ready yet. Also, my divorce happened relatively quickly so by the time I did start to think it might be fun to date, my divorce was already several months behind me. Another reason I waited, however, was so that I could tell any future prospects that I was in fact divorced fully divorced and I had the documents to prove it rather than “all but divorced”, “living as roommates”, “working on divorce”, “the marriage is already over” etc. In my case and for many other chumps those statements may be/have been true, but they are also excuses many cheaters use to cheat. How are prospective dates to know for sure? For long drawn out divorces it isn’t fair to have to wait, but it doesn’t hurt to have good documentation to share with any prospective new significant others so that they can be reassured that they are not going to end up as the AP. I know that I personally would be disinclined to date anyone who wasn’t fully divorced unless I knew the person really well and had already been previously aware of his situation, knew the wife and could confirm the situation with her. It would be devastating to me to end up as an OW.

          • Nicely said. And bc each of us has our own spiritual and moral value that fit us, we can each choose what we will .

          • When you find you’ve been married to a serial cheater for two decades, and endured the deprivations and humiliations that go hand in hand with that experience, it’s hard to look with disapproval on a chump who dates during the divorce. It’s often a bad idea, but if you make it clear it’s over and you no longer consider yourself committed to them, more power to you.

      • Right, SirChumpalot. Expecting the Unexpected made a big mistake. If she’s not divorced, she’s still married, so she cheated too, and that’s why she feels guilty.

        • I completely disagree with this. Let’s support our fellow chumps. If you’re separated, living apart, filed for divorce, and aren’t eating cake (still sleeping with your STBX, or in counseling with them) — you’re free. This isn’t cheating. Your religious views may differ, but please let’s be CLEAR on what cheating is. This ISN’T IT.

          Why on earth should you abide by a contract the other party has broken? Would you pay gypsies to pave your driveway if they did not in fact pave your driveway — just because you though you had a contract, gave your word? WTF?

          • thank you CL for saying it so clearly.

            I don’t pay workmen for work they do not do, just because I signed a contract that said I’d pay them FOR doing the work…

            They breach the contract, it’s null & void.

            The End.

          • OMG, I have a church across the street from my house is a “gypsy church”— they gather everything night there just about with a slew of various paving business trucks and clean machines, but what they do as they leave which infuriates me— they peep out, squeal tires, speed out, just plain disrespectful or annoying any time of day or night they do it. UGH.
            Carry on.

          • My very introverted clean living church counsel member boyfriend would be shocked to hear he’s a cheater for getting involved with me when my Wackjob ex was dragging out our divorce( and bf was my rock and support through it all including my post surgery nurse) I completely agree with Tracy on this one. It was really sweet when I was able to give him the letter showing my divorce was final right before our big trip to the east coast last summer, almost 2 years after the divorce process started.

        • I can validate this. I felt guilty for my rebound relationship because I was still married, even though I already moved out of the married home and into the next town over, ex moved her in, and continued to drag out divorce.
          I will admit, that that guilt would have had me wreckonciling with my ex husband, had he had gone no contact w OW and pursued our marriage. His excuse: I was already in a relationship.
          Looking back, now, thanking the Goddess above that he didn’t.
          Even after I got half a brain, and dumped my rebound exbf for crimes worse than my exH ever committed. But the difference was, that I didn’t dump him to go back to my ex-H; I dumped him for myself and my kid. The ex-H’s relationship ran its course, or so I thought. I made a two-year commitment to singlehood, the day from my divorce. Told him I would see how I feel about reconciliation after that. “Me too…,” said my ex-H; who married OW, a year later. Seriously, I’m glad it worked out for them, because I realize now how much I hated being in that relationship where I couldn’t be myself. Thank Goddess I didn’t win the pick-me-dance. I got tired of dancing altogether.

        • Here’s a moral question for you. Have you watched a 20/20 where a woman killed her husband by shooting him the back and served about three years? He tormented her for years, nearly smothered her children when they cried and when she begged him for a divorce told her as a pastor he could not divorce in their church. Her father had begged her to leave but she felt her place was as his wife (the jury recognized a battered wife). By the way he watched lots of porn(which was found on his computer) and made her dress like the women and reenact the things he saw. He forced anal sex on her and when she told him it hurt he said she could have surgery to repair things. The night he put a pillow over their year old child’s face to make her stop crying is when he got shot. Her church would not allow a preacher to divorce. I had to repeat that because I want you to understand that these Chumps have had enough being judged. Sometimes spouses are monsters.

      • Totally hear ya… but, luckily both the state we lived in (and are getting divorced in) and the provisions of our pre-nup do not put me in that vulnerable position. Of course, my lawyer also scrutinized the hell out of that one and, rest assured, concurs with my safe position.

        And seriously… when a cheater has a pre-nup OF COURSE there’s a provision that releases you from the ramifications of adultery post-separation. Not only were we separated for over a year when I started dating, but the divorce was already in progress. As much as I love cake, I don’t classify myself as a cheater.

        • I don’t understand why this is an issue. You’ve separated, therefore, commencing a new relationship isn’t cheating.

          Where is the confusion coming from with (certain) people?! Divorce is a process, not just an end state. I try to be polite usually, but the people calling you a cheater are just IDIOTS.

          It’s so bloody simple. You’ve separated, ergo, you cannot possibly be cheating!

          Just ignore the WEIRDOS.

          • Same thoughts here.
            In my case, exh2/The Evil One, announced he was “done”, moved out 30 days later, didn’t file for divorce until that August, even though for years prior he had been out dating, talking to God knows who and doing what…
            Looking back now three years later, I realize he kept thinking/hoping that I would jump right into another relationship so he could claim adultery. I think now that all those years he was up to no good, being AWOL for over 12 hours over nights without a text or call, he was hoping/expecting me to cheat so he could claim adultery, leave me and get custody of our Autistic DD…
            Never. Never once did I even go that route, I focused on our daughter since he damn sure didn’t….

            So when he moved out, announced he was done, etc., Again, I kept home bound, focused in my DD and myself, healed, processed grief, etc. All the while, he was out actively dating his OWhore. He finally filed 5 months after D-Day.
            I didn’t start dating until our divorce papers were filed and within range of being filed.
            It’s a mind-fuck at how they go from us to their AP/OW(M), but WE don’t dare to move on with our lives…
            Exh2 actually would circle back to me sporadically during those months until divorce being filed asking if I had been with anyone? Within the first 45 days after D-Day, after he moved out, he said, “I figured you’d already have someone”. I told him that I considered myself to still be married at that time and that I wasn’t about to jump back into the fray of dating, knowing that he was hoping I would so that he could absolve himself for being a cheater.
            Nope. Didn’t play his game. Didn’t fall for it.
            Enjoy your new life, Expecting!!! You deserve it

        • Expecting, you are not a cheater. Congratulations on getting the hell away from a SERIAL fucking cheater, having a postnup, and most of all for getting on with your life. That took great courage and strength.

          You owe him nothing. Maintain no contact and listen to your attorney. Make yourself a priority and refrain from making announcements. Enjoy your pregnancy.

          I’m wondering why you had a prenup? Did you always have doubts?

      • I’m sorry but calling someone who was cheated on, who moved out and no longer lives with the stbx, and who filed for divorce a “cheater” is incredibly uncalled for. The cheater broke the marriage vows. The chump enforced legal and morally correct conserquences by separating and filing for divorce. The chump no longer owes the cheater anything, certainly not chastity. There is no moral obligation to wait for divorce to be final, that legal red tape is a process beyond the chumps control. Even if you don’t agree, calling a chump a cheater on this blog of all places is inappropriate

        • Phew. I’m grateful and glad that someone else feels this way as well. While I understand that “the law” in some states (luckily not my own) may wish to label me an adulterer, it’s rather off-putting to receive that feedback in this blog & support-community.

          As I mentioned in a previous reply, my ex would ABSOLUTELY drag out the divorce process as long as he could, if it would prevent me the freedom to live my life. For that reason, I was also very cautious about the decision to date before I reintegrated in the “single-mingle” world. I actually, in a mildly embarrassing conversation, ran it by my lawyer before putting myself out there.

          And just for the record… I think you are a wonderful, smart person 😉

        • Yea – this. We need to be kind to each other on this blog. Calling someone a cheater that is just trying to move on after being chumped isn’t really all that helpful.

        • Struggling bdab, totally AGREE!! Well said!!

          We come here for support… not to be dragged down in nonsense, right!?

          • I was still a member of an RIC board when nowdeadcheater died and when I started dating and mentioned that I planned to have sex, a gal there nearly beat me to death with a Jesus stick.

            (Oddly enough, SHE chose to not ever get divorced but opted to date anyway).

            I was like “uh, he is like super dead, so marriage over, I am single”…so much for the RIC

      • and if the divorce takes 3 years, do you watch your life go by and live virtuously alone? What if you do actually want children (I understand this pregnancy was unplanned)? Must you wait until the courts say it’s okay, no matter how long that takes and no matter how obstructive your ex may choose to be?

        I do see that leaping instantly from relationship to relationship is not a good idea, but this person had been apart for quite a while, living in a different state, with divorce proceedings underway. There was no subterfuge here and the chump owes the cheater nothing by way of moral conscience.

        • Caroline Bowman says

          “…do you watch your life go by and live virtuously alone?”

          THIS! Especially as the cheaterpants move on with his/her life! So many on here mention how their cheaterpants end up moving in with the the OW/OM (as mine did).

          Are we to just sit back idly while they go about their business?! Hell no!

      • I can relate to what SirChumpsALot says. My ex left me in February of last year. While I was going through chemo treatment. I chumped for a few months. In my mind we were seperated. I had hope of reconciling. I found out in December that he had started dating a woman at the end of June (different from the one he was cheating on me with when he left) while I was going through radiation and by early August she was pregnant. They kept the pregnancy hidden for 6 months, until I found out and confronted them. He had intended to keep the pregnancy secret until our divorce was final in February of this year. That would have meant he didn’t plan on telling me until she was 7 months pregnant.

        Now by all your accounts, my cheater had moved out. He was not living in our home, but most of his belongings were here. He had not filed for divorce. He wouldn’t even talk about it. I filed in November and by that time the woman he was dating was a few months pregnant. He wouldn’t even admit that he was dating her.

        I cannot even begin to tell you how painful this has been for me. I cannot have any more children. My daughter gets a sister that I have nothing to do with and when she is with them they get to be the family of four I always wanted. There are times when I will be separated from my daughter and she will will be with my ex with another woman playing my role. I didn’t ask for any of this. And while I understand that this situation is different in many different ways, it certainly triggers a lot of things for me.

        • On a number of levels, I’m just so very sorry. While I do agree that our situations are very different, I can absolutely understand and appreciate why my post and the replies would be triggering… and for that, I wish I could offer words that brought even an iota of comfort.

          While my pregnancy wasn’t planned, it was definitely a surprise… not just because of contraception, but because I had such a difficult time getting pregnant in the past and, more so, was never able to sustain a viable pregnancy. Prior to now, pregnancy had been such a short-lived experience for me and I was fully prepared for this pregnancy to not be an exception. Again, I know that it’s a completely different experience… and one that I won’t even attempt to make a comparison… but please know that your words resonate and add to my appreciate for the gift that I have been given in all of this.

          Please allow me to wish you the best and brighter roads ahead on your journey.

        • I am so sorry you have had this miserable bunch of circumstances. I cannot imagine, and am celebrating your strength and your determination, while you take good care of yourself and your child.
          The lousy thing ( forgive me) about a Cheater is a cheater cheats and a liar lies and there’s this very high probability that this liar cheater isn’t done lying and cheating. You take good care.

      • Women have a finite period in which they can reproduce. Why allow this cheater and his manipulations to cause any more lasting damage? Why does the pace of a divorce, which he can control, allow him to keep her from ever having a child. Hell to the no!

        To my mind, when there are no secrets, there is no obligation. It is all aboveboard. Cheater does NOT get to determine her life choices for one more nanosecond! The minute he broke his vows, he released her from the terms of her sentence.

        As for the timing of when to date, I think that is very personal.

        • Yes!!!! This!!!!!! Dragging out the divorce while the chump’s eggs age and the chance of a viable pregnancy diminish is further abuse IMO! Fuck that noise!

      • What if you are legally separated? Because that’s also a thing. Then is it ok?

        You are stating legal finality is required, before someone can date or the chump is just as guilty? That seems like an opinion not a fact. That may be what your moral compass tells you. There also may be chumps who are not married but technically embroiled in support arguments because they qualify as legal common law (in some parts of Canada for instance having a child together or living more than three years together entitles anyone to half. Even if you live with your grandma for 3 years you could sue her for support, or if you had a child with your best friend turned enemy you could sue for support…. ) but I digress. My point is, legality and morality don’t intertwine as much as we often wish they did. I am totally free to be 100% over cheater and ready for relationship before my legal status says I’m totally legally disentangled. Or if he falls off the earth and disappears and can’t sign and I have to wait 6 years, then what? Several days ago there was a lively discussion about how someone thought they and their date would end up in hell if they dated. But they did refrain from stating all of us were going to hell. In that way, their sense of cheating went even further than your understanding and we all have to respect that. I just humbly, respectfully, grievously disagree that a piece of paper is what makes it ok. If all cards are on the table and divorce is a ticking clock and I have fixed my picker and my soul… then it’s up to me if that’s enough.

      • BTW, being a devil’s advocate means you don’t necessarily agree with what you are about to propose and you are saying it only for the sake of starting an argument.

        Saying “I will be a devils advocate” does nothing to soften the blow of what you are about to say. Calling someone who isn’t legally divorced a ‘cheater’ in this forum feels extremely offensive and combative. The choices you’ve made for yourself aren’t the right choices for everyone and your choices shouldn’t be used to make other people feel bad when they are here looking for support.

      • I completely agree. My husband and I separated because of his emotional abuse towards me. There was no agreement to see other people during the separation. It was a break to see if the marriage could possibly be restored. Then he goes and gets a girlfriend. More abuse! Says I must accept that we now have an open marriage! That was the last straw. I am now divorcing him. You are married until you are divorced. Otherwise, you can’t hold the moral high ground because you are a cheater, too, imho.

        • Also, please remember that in many states you are not eligible for alimony if you commit adultery before the divorce finalized. Also, in fault states, your spouse can claim you also committed adultery, which negates any advantage you might have over him in divorce proceedings.

          • Clearly you didn’t read my original post completely or my many replies (starting with “luckily, the pregnancy would have no impact on our divorce legally”). Luckily for me, I don’t live in one of the states that you are referencing. Furthermore, my legally-binding prenuptial agreement reinforces those protections and depletes vulnerabilities. I’m glad that you have the time and patience to put your life on hold while a cheating spouse drags out your divorce, but personally, I do not.

            I said I would stop replying to these ridiculously asinine comments… but you make it difficult to resist.

            • I wasn’t speaking directly to you, but to caution others about the legal dangers of dating before being officially divorced. Clearly, you were treated horribly by your cheater. Still, I feel I would be teaching my kids that marriage vows are meaningless if I were to date before the divorce is final. Their dad has already done enough to devalue our vows and our family. When does marriage end? The law says when the divorce is final. Otherwise, we get into very murky waters, since many cheaters claim that “the marriage was over” or “we are emotionally divorced” as an excuse to fool around. Mine did. He is still fighting the divorce though, so it is all crazymaking. To avoid moral murkiness, I believe marriage lasts until the final divorce decree, and this is what the law says too.

              • Why don’t YOU do YOU, and allow someone else to do their OWN life? Sounds like you’re being very judgmental.

              • Well, I did not have children of my own to teach these valuable moral lessons to… perhaps if I did I would have been too preoccupied and busy to even think about dating before my divorce was finalized. Or maybe not.

                But, what about the important lesson of: “Do not put your life on hold for someone who does not care about you or his/her commitment to you.” IMHO, it is just as damaging and dangerous to teach children that one parent can live however he/she wants, while the other sits and waits for ink to dry on some paperwork. I will not teach my son that such inequality is EVER okay — and that a partnership does not include being someone’s doormat OR taking advantage of someone’s vulnerability and good nature.

              • My ex cheated on me without my knowledge for three years, tortured me with cake-eating bullshit for three months, then moved out of the marital home and immediately moved in with the other woman. I filed for divorce right after he broke my heart, my kids hearts, and moved out. My divorce was lengthy, with postponed courtdates, and the ex nit-picking over BS. I wanted it over with badly but there was nothing I could do to move it alone faster. I regret, terribly now, that before my ex left, I modeled for my children the humiliating pick me dance. I have since told them many times that I would never want them to allow themselves to be treated the way I allowed myself to be treated. That is the ONLY thing I regret about how I handled all of this in front of my children.

                I began dating a few months after my ex had left me and moved in with her, after I filed for divorce. I didn’t introduce them to anyone until recently, but they knew I was dating. My teenage daughters have told me many times how proud they are of me, for my strength, for my values, and for my rising up out of the ashes like a phoenix to pursue a new happy life, including dating.

                I am flabbergasted that there a couple of people on this site who would label me and many other chumps here a cheater. It’s been said already but bears repeating: This is incredibly fucking offensive. If there are individuals here who don’t feel they can give themselves permission to date before the judge stamps that divorce paper, then hey, that’s what works for you. But don’t you call ME a cheater. I betrayed NO ONE and NOTHING. Not my ex, not my children, not myself, not my religion, not my integrity.

                I agree that giving this nonsense any more attention might just be prolonging the nonsense. But I have been upset all day that newcomer Expecting was put in the position of defending herself right out of the gate. She has done absolutely nothing wrong. I would like Expecting to know that I’ve never seen such hurtful comments on this blog before.
                I’m stunned. Seriously, the supportive nature of this blog has been cultivated very carefully and very lovingly. It has helped thousands and thousands of chumps to get past being chumped and build new and better lives. Calling a chump a “cheater”, here on this blog, is about the most seriously offensive statement you could make. Please take it elsewhere, not here.

              • My marriage ended the moment FucktardX chose to pursue and fuck his racquetball partner. Oh, and this was *years* before Dday and my knowledge that there were “two” women in “our marriage.” You know, that moment where husband blithely mews ILYBINILWY, so that he can happily skip off into the sunset-with dick in hand-with his newest truest…love? Oh, but he was sure to rob us first. Spent years figuring out how to dissipate community assets and even got a job with the local family court to help him fuck us over. Yup, he was one of those…dads. So, while I considered Dday the day my marriage was well and truly over, the truth of the matter is that it died the day my husband made his first decision to please himself and CHEAT. If I had only known, I would have been moving forward too! Our divorce took two and a half long years in a no fault state, with Mr. Happy dragging his feet and proclaiming to all and sundry what a great Mom I was. The court did not protect my finances though even with that little note printed on the bottom of every motion. Let me make perfectly clear how I feel about Chumps moving on and getting a life…and I will borrow this one from our local Marines…HooRah! The date of the dissolution is a fucking formality (we are no longer held to morality here) and fault or no fault state, no court in this great land of ours gives a fuck either.

      • I disagree with this also. I’m still married (though should have been divorced months ago, but still waiting!), while my asshole, cheaterpants husband has moved in with his whore. Cheaterpants moved out of the house about 7 mos ago.

        While I’m currently not involved with or dating anyone, I wouldn’t hesitate to start dating if I happened upon someone who interested me and vice versa. I’m religious, but I don’t view it as cheating on cheaterpants, if cheaterpants is now living with his whore and clearly out of the picture. And I definitely don’t need a little piece of paper saying “no longer married” to prove the marriage is 100% over and done with.

      • Legal separation in my state means I can do anything except marry someone else. It is not cheating to date while legally separated. With all due respect to your particular decision, & actually my experience (I didn’t date while legally separated, but there was no one beating down my door, nor did I have time), labeling the writer or anyone else for moving on is unfair.

    • Dear Expecting,

      Chump lady is so right on.
      1. You weren’t emotionally ready to get involved but you did AND you conceived. That speaks volumes.
      Your body was ready enough to get pregnant even with birth control maybe this was due to the decrease stress of Not being with the Cheater?
      If the guy your pregnant by is a keeper he will wait through this BUT you need to take care of you and that precious baby your carrying.
      How do you know your Chester isn’t fixed? If he had cheated that much one would think others would have popped up pregnant during those years besides his faithful wife!
      You DO NOT WANT to be a co-parent with that cheater go no-contact and clear your path for you and that little one.
      And don’t worry about it being amiable HE SUCKS! Believe it and get this taken care if so you can focus on your healing and wholeness and the be chapter that your beginning.
      Much love to you and blessings to that little one.

    • *** UPDATE ***

      Hello & Happy New Day, Chump-Friends 🙂 It’s amazing what just a day of wisdom and support can do for one’s heart, mind, and energy. Tracy, thank you for your VERY helpful, heartfelt reply and for sharing my letter with this wonderful chump-community. Everyone’s [ok mostly everyone’s] comments and support has been invaluable… and I hope that I, too, can use my experience and lessons to help others in the future.

      “No Contact” was mentioned quite a bit, but I had yet to respond/face this one… I’ll just admit, the ex and I did not establish full-stop NC. (Surprised, right? Heh…) While contact was very limited, it still occurred sporadically… mostly surface level “divorce stuff,” but he’d occasionally find a way to let me know about his agony, suffering, etc. The state of my mood (which, uh, has been *quite* unpredictable the last 6 months or so) would usually dictate how I responded… sometimes it was with FUUUUCK YOU anger, sometimes with compassion, sometimes with heartache and sadness, and sometimes a combination of any/all of the aforementioned.

      Part of the reason that full-NC had been unsuccessful is because when I told him I needed NC, it seemed to send him into a panic and he’d reach out even MORE… it was as though he just couldn’t handle it. So, in my chump-pea-brain mind, if felt “easier” to not mention NC, dodge the conflict, but try to stay as neutral as possible during the occasional outreach (usually just by text, but always initiated by him).

      But, as chump-luck would have it, he happened to text me yesterday… and there was absolutely no warmup – he came right out of the gate with how much our divorce is hurting him (blah, blah, blah). Well [*slight triumphant grin*]… now backed by this amazing Army of Chumps, I had the courage (and some good wording) to stand my ground. I made it very clear that his hurt is no longer my burden and moving forward, our lawyers can handle all communication for us. And I’ve not replied to any of his numerous texts since. It’s not that often that I have a reason to quote Miley Cyrus, but I will now: HOLY SHIT Y’ALL! I know it’s just one victory, but it feels like a significant one.

      Just now, I started to type “the smoke is beginning to clear”… but, as the kids say, fuck that noise! The smoke HAS been clearing… and it’s almost completely cleared.

      There is so much wisdom in the comments below… almost all of which is worth repeating again and again and again… but since it’s now way, way down the page, I think the quote and message left yesterday morning by one of my new Chump-Heroes, “Off the Crazy Train”, should be highlighted again:

      ~~~~~

      Off the crazy train says

      “We cross our bridges as we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and the presumption that once our eyes watered.”
      – Tom Stoppard, Rosencratz and Guildenstern Are Dead

      Your cheater is a blob in your rear view mirror. Leave him there and keep driving, until he turns into nothing but a speck in the mirror. Burn the bridges behind you, so he can’t follow you. In time, he will turn into nothing but a vague memory.

      ~~~~

      I am still taking in (and rereading) the comments… but I also wanted to share the “update” more generally and again, express my gratitude and appreciation.

      • Obviously I don’t understand where comments/replies will land on a page… I thought this one would make it closer to the top… but uh… kudos is you happen to catch it here lol.

  • “All to say, life can be messy and we rarely get the lives we plan. Often our worst tragedies lead to our biggest blessings.”

    Brilliant post CL! Just brilliant!

  • I think you probably feel guilt because you are a nice, kind and compassionate person. You are responding the way that YOU would respond if the situation were reversed. A serial cheater doesn’t give a shit about you, not really. It’s all about ownership & control. He may be upset to find out you’re pregnant because you are supposed to be HIS. At least in his fucked up, demented version of this world. Like CL said, he is your past. Leave him there. Let the lawyers handle the divorce and move on with your new – and amazing! – future. Don’t give any consideration to the exhole cheater, because he certainly didn’t give you any!!!!

    Best of luck on the new life & baby!! How exciting for you.

    • “I think you probably feel guilt because you are a nice, kind and compassionate person. You are responding the way that YOU would respond if the situation were reversed” Exactly. It’s projection. You’re a good person so you have empathy and it hurts you to hurt another person. But you’re not hurting him, he is not capable of being hurt, you’re just depriving him of the ability to keep abusing you. Poor guy, how tough on him to not have you around to torture anymore. Do you see? No matter how good he is at mimicking real feelings, he doesn’t actually have them. He doesn’t care about the things you value. He is not capable. He is just not wired that way and he never will be. Stop ascribing your feelings, your values, your decency to this non-person. You might as well care about a giant rock for all the good it will do you.

      I’m very happy that your ex is not the father of your child. There is absolutely no reason in the world for you to have any contact of any kind. Like Tracy said, talk to your lawyer only, and don’t let anyone in your life talk to you about him. He is NOT YOUR PROBLEM anymore! Stop caring about him, and save your caring for someone who deserves it and reciprocates.

  • Listen to CL! Think about it. You SBX knows you pretty well! He knows how you tick and he knows how to push your buttons. You took a lot of garbage from him. He is playing you like a fiddle! He is trying to be nice and talking smack because he is trying to screw you! Don’t be foolish about this. He is not interested in your feelings or anything smushy. I am telling you he is trying to get over and he does not have good intentions. Do not talk to him! Anyone who is trying to interfere keep away. You have a big problem. You must try to get this divorce through quickly and try as you can to keep it on the down low. He could really make your,life miserable and say he is the father of that baby! You don’t want that! Anything he says is crap and you must stop dealing with him.

  • Expecting, I LOVE this! Looking back, your cheater put you through 12 years of anguish, hurt, emotional turmoil, insecurity and instability.

    Look to the present day – you’ve managed to move hundreds of miles away from the cheater, you’ve got no ties past divorce, you’ve got a new home, a new partner and a baby on the way! Fantastic! Congratulations! Life seems to be finally compensating you for the crap you’ve been put through – sorry – for the crap your CHEATER has put you through.

    Chump Lady has said this many times, in many ways, but the way you’re feeling now about the cheater… it’s temporary. A little time is required for your chumpy heart to catch up with your head and the rest of your body, that escaped (well done!). Speed up matters by enforcing no-contact. Please! Go no contact for yourself – for your chumpy heart, for respect for your new partner, and most of all for you and your baby. And don’t forget that no-contact includes thinking about them – no just literally being in contact.

    Every thought that you give to the cheater is a thought that could be spent on yourself, your baby, your new life, your new relationship. Every second that you spend thinking about him, or in communication with him, you could be spending those seconds better elsewhere.

    You have the chance of a new life, unburdened from the cheater. Put yourself first, and stop thinking about your idiot ex who wasn’t good for you. Life is better without cheaters in them.

    • I know the hurt and pain one feels for the cheater. I think it’s partly because we gave unconditional love. Oh they made us furious at times but we always forgave. So now we are in a bind about this forgiveness thing. It’s damn hard. We can’t or don’t want to forgive and take them back but we don’t want to carry around all the hatred. So how do we reconcile our feelings. That’s the 64 million dollar question. I think it’s because if we forgive than it seems to make their cheating acceptable somehow. Perhaps it’s the word itself ‘forgiveness” that makes it difficult. I’d be interested to hear other Chumps views.

      • I don’t have any answers, only my own experience, 2.5 years out. I totally accept and embrace my anger & sense of injustice, but I try not to dwell on it. I try to either fill my day and my time with other things, to distract me, or I take baby steps that will move me closer to filling my day with other things.

        I don’t want to forgive. I want to keep distance and separation. Cheaters can be beguiling people. I have standards, and I want to make sure those standards are clear and consistent; the cheater can never be a part of my life again. I will tolerate them as is required for the benefit of our two children, but beyond that, nothing. They have been demoted to worse than a passing acquaintance. But I won’t dwell on thoughts of them.

        Chump Lady oft says there is no meh until divorce. I’m so close to divorce – I recently applied for my decree absolute. I admit I feel so much more peaceful than I did even 6 months ago. I believe it will come in time for all of us, providing we let go of the cheater. The anger will subside, but don’t ever force it to go, or force forgiveness, because the anger is teaching you something. You’ve learnt a lesson, so don’t unlearn it.

        Instead, fill your life with other things; gain a life! The cheater and their actions will become of diminishing importance. You need not let go of the anger, just make the anger less relevant and important.

        That’s my thinking, anyway.

        • I keep reading your post, Off the Crazy Train. “Cheaters can be beguiling people.” This is such an understatement for me and perhaps is the experience of others as well. Douchebag is a tremendously smart, professional, hard-working, articulate person who does kind things like going to funerals, giving to charity, sending birthday greetings and helping with laundry and cooking. But so compartmentalized that truly he believes checking off all these boxes minimizes that other thing, you know, that he lied as easily as breathing and was off sticking his dick in other women for years while I believed his stories and chumpily raised our child alone. You can see it in his behavior. He seems puzzled by my anger when he is (by all accounts, from people who don’t know details) such a “nice person.” I am 9 months post Dday, and divorce is slowly grinding through the process. The anger will fade eventually, but you can’t afford to let go of it entirely or you will be lulled back in. I agree with you about not allowing yourself to unlearn that lesson.

      • SilverQueen, there have been a lot of discussions about forgiveness around here, in CL’s main post and in the forums. It’s a big, important issue!

        But the majority opinion seems to be; you don’t need to forgive, especially if the cheater never truly repented (NOT just regret about the consequences for THEM). We just accept that what happened really did happen, and move on. We stop struggling with the (very real) injustice and unfairness, stop wondering how they could possibly do the things they did, stop trying to get them or their flying monkeys to understand what was so terribly wrong, stop fighting reality or trying desperately to make it come out somehow differently. We accept reality, let that go, and move on with our lives.

        And it definitely takes TIME! No Contact and keeping on returning our focus to ourselves help a lot, though.

        • I read that Desmond Tutu said with forgiveness, you can in theory keep the anger and even hatred, along with what he says the REAL goal of forgiveness is, which is that we become better people on the other side of these grueling ordeals.

          In that sense, I’ve forgiven the DOCTOR, but not in any other way yet. Maybe forgiveness is the wrong word but hey, I’m not arguing with Tutu.

          Just saying that I don’t want to spend my energy on HIS crap or the pain I feel that he’s marrying OW soon…

          But I think No Contact works best for me. If he tried to reconcile even in a “sincere” way, in all likelihood I would end up hurt again.

          That^^^ is what I need to remember. Let go of the pain and anger IF it helps YOU or the kids. But taking them back or letting them into our heads/hearts more than they already annexed that property??

          No thanks. I have the rest of my life to live and already gave him 35 years of marriage and married in college, forgoing so many career opportunities of my own. MAKING HIS CAREER pristine.

          I just need him out of the equation for ME.

      • I’d say sticking pins in a voodoo doll that looks like the cheater works.

        They aren’t humble, have no remorse and are toxic. Fuck forgiveness.

        • ❤️🤪Doing me, Love this! I will never forgive what he’s done and that* is* okay.*
          I had to forgive myself though. My pure heart, hope, and naivety led me to believing in the fairy tale with him. Truth is I chose the frog. And I won’t soon forget all he put us through and all those crap decisions that have impacted my life, what a legacy. And I don’t mean that in a good way.

    • I really appreciate this… especially the reminder that this, indeed, is temporary. I think the actual signing of the papers (coupled with pregnancy hormones) has put my senses out of whack, and brought up some unfinished business for me.

      But, wow! Yes, in return, the universe has been really good to me. It’s been quite the journey that led me to now… but gosh, I guess I have earned the right to enjoy and experience these blessings 🙂 Thank you, thank you.

      • Damn straight. As soon as I figured out his secret I realized why my marriage sucked. I suspect a higher power was saying, “Oh hell, No, I ain’t wasting this good woman on crap.” Which is why I am busy living.

    • OH! I am keeping this to read often:
      ”Go no contact for yourself – for your chumpy heart, for respect for your new partner, and most of all for you and your baby. And don’t forget that no-contact includes thinking about them – no just literally being in contact.

      Every thought that you give to the cheater is a thought that could be spent on yourself, your baby, your new life, your new relationship. Every second that you spend thinking about him, or in communication with him, you could be spending those seconds better elsewhere.

      You have the chance of a new life, unburdened from the cheater. Put yourself first, and stop thinking about your idiot ex who wasn’t good for you. Life is better without cheaters in them.”

      • I really wish I could stop thinking about p.o.s. ex narc. It has been a little over a year of no contact and he still crosses my mind frequently. I know it takes time, but so ready to be completely free and I don’t feel that I am because he still creeps into my thoughts multiple times a day. And I am anxiously waiting for the sickening stomach dropping feeling I get everytime a see a white Chevy truck that looks like his to stop……

  • “We cross our bridges as we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and the presumption that once our eyes watered.”

    – Tom Stoppard, Rosencratz and Guildenstern Are Dead

    Your cheater is a blob in your rear view mirror. Leave him there and keep driving, until he turns into nothing but a speck in the mirror. Burn the bridges behind you, so he can’t follow you. In time, he will turn into nothing but a vague memory.

    • I absolutely love this quote, as well as the visual — thank you for sharing it here. It reminds me of the day I packed up my car and drove 100s of miles away to begin my new life. It was by far one of the saddest, most visceral days of my life… but also a very empowering experience. But now, instead of driving toward the unknown, I’m driving toward a new life as a parent and a partnership that feels safe. What an absolute gift. And when I think of it that way, that blob of darkness in the past does become smaller and smaller, and more and more insignificant.

      Thank you so much. That fills my heart with warmth.

  • Expecting, it might help you to keep this in mind: If Cheater had gotten one of his OW pregnant, do you honestly think HE would feel one bit of guilt over it?
    Please forget him and enjoy this wonderful surprise blessing that has come your way 🙂

    • Ya know… even when I was married, I thought about this. Probably more than I should have. (Perhaps triggered by the fact that a close acquaintance and his wife found themselves in this situation.) But I was so damn desperate for a family that I preemptively decided that I would welcome a child into my heart and home, regardless of the circumstance. The child is the LAST person ever at any fault (obviously) and he/she shouldn’t be prevented the opportunity to experience love and support, even if the biological parents are complete morons. Ah… the stuff chumps are made of.

      And, yes, I realize that doesn’t actually answer the question, but I hope it DOES speak to how over the moon excited and blessed I feel to be given the opportunity to become a mommy.

  • My brother’s wife could charm the birds out of trees. That is why her lack of interest in all things domestic, including their children, kept him tied to her. He had no idea how many lovers she had. Very quickly he didn’t care. Once she was gone and he could see the real person behind that adorable facade he was done. You feel sorry for your stbx because that is how you two set up your relationship. He is always going to be charming. So what? He treated you like a thing, not a person. You have a wonderful, tiring, miraculous life ahead of you. When he finds out watch how charming he is then. Waa waa he didn’t get his way. And btw, why are you still caring that he wants to reconcile? Did he have a lobotomy? That is the only reason I could imagine you even worrying about him.

  • Talk to your lawyer about this ASAP. Explain to him/her that there’s a good chance your ex will be trouble once he finds out about this, so you need to push the process forward even faster. Even if your ex just delays signing the papers and whines a lot, that’s still a lot of wasted time and legal fees while you’re trying to deal with your final stages of pregnancy and first stages as a new mother. You do NOT want to still be settling your divorce while you’re recovering from childbirth and dealing with a newborn.

    Have your feeling about the ex later. Focus on getting this divorce wrapped up so that you can put it behind you and devote your time/energy to being a new mom.

    • Also, in my state, if she’s still married to the ex when the kids born, he’s legally the father. Period. You have to go to court to have the bio father declared the father.

      Imagine that hell with a petulant cheater ex.

      • That is a scary thought that a woman’s abuser could potential steal her child from her even when he isn’t the father. Maybe the threat of child support would stop most narcissists, but what if he wanted 50/50 placement. Scary.

        That is also a very sexist law because somehow I doubt the wife could make the same claims on a child if the husband’s girlfriend had the baby (not that I would condone that either – too much like Handmaid’s Tale).

  • Thank you, CL and amazing-Chump-community! As I read CL’s reply and the thoughtful & supportive comments, my eyes are welled with gratitude… and my baby boy is expressing his appreciation through what feels like shadow-boxing. Lol.

    I’m the type of person that likes to let things soak in and saturate before I thoughtfully respond (I mean, obviously… 12 bleeping years?! come on), but please know that I’m beyond grateful and look forward to joining in the convo… the wisdom and compassionate logic that’s already been offered is priceless.

    • Welcome, congratulations, and good luck. Also, talk to your lawyer about this – even if you’re separated, having a kid while you’re still married to you STBX can be a paperwork nightmare.

      • Thank you! And yes, my lawyer is very much aware, supportive, and a solid “advocate” for me and, now, my baby. After his initial, visceral “oh-my-gawd” lawyer response (which was all but a moment), his approach — and *literally* the tone of his voice — changed. He’s aware of my previous losses, since their timing is very relevant to my divorce… and he himself is a father, whose wife happens to be an Ob-Gyn. Not that a lawyer needs to be a parent or have a spouse with an M.D. to be compassionate toward his/her client, but in this case his additional awareness of both pregnancy and pregnancy complications was just an added benefit to his (albeit, very expensive) service.

        THANK GOODNESS, I’m not getting divorced in a state where the husband-by-law is the presumed father, despite separation. (I can’t even imagine that nightmare.) Also, the provisions of our pre-nup are very much in my favor on this matter. Luckily, the divorce will definitely be finalized before my little boo arrives.

        I also read your previous comment and intended to reply. Thanks so much for your thoughtful support!

        • So thrilled for you!!!!! I’m sorry some of the responses up thread were so shitty, and actively ignored the part where you said you were fine legally in your jurisdiction to be pregnant while divorcing. People project their own weird misogyny issues all the time, particularly on expectant mothers, and it annoys me when they assume their jurisdiction’s law is the law everywhere. I just wanted to call out that bullshit one more time and support you as you joyfully begin an exciting new chapter!!! Hugs!!!

    • I’m a lawyer – but obviously I am NOT giving you “legal advice.” Just responding to the person who said your idiot narc would be the father…(and since my comment is free, you are free to ignore it!)

      Um, no. You are not sleep with or cohabitating with him AND even if you were, (and then the REBUTTABLE presumption in any state would be in his favor)

      you can circumvent the issue by stating the real father’s name on the birth certificate. Additionally, and for purposes of blocking any chance the moronic narc wants to claim paternity, you get a DNA test. That more than “rebuts” the presumption.

      Voila.

      The End.

  • CL gives good advice here and like her, I had a friend that this happened to. It was a little easier to keep her pregnancy a secret as they were in Europe, but they birthed an adorable baby. I gave her cash while she was planning her LATER wedding which she used to get her dress…serious happily ever after stuff.

    For now, however…there is something that you may need to know…if you are in the US…in many states, if you are married and have a baby, you have 2 choices of what to put on the Birth Cert – either the husbands name or “Unknown”. In my state it is literally illegal to put a different baby daddy name on the birth cert if you are still legally married.

    I hope that isnt the case where you are…this situation seems to be moreso in the southeast. You could likely get an amended birth cert after the divorce is final.

    I dont want you to get blindsided by the birth registrar after 3 days of no sleep and 5 hours of pushing, so I figured I would warn you now. Its not the end of the world, just look into it where you live and congrats on starting your new life.

      • For real…if such a thing is possible.

        My friend to whom this happened is one of the most decent loving people I have ever met. Her babydaddy’s family is very religious and I always feared that they assumed the worst of my friend. At the wedding, I approached her new MIL to tell her that she gained a lovely DIL and she said she knew (which sounded quite sincere).

  • I think I can understand your feeling “guilty” or sorry for him. I did for my ex and he was a violent vortex of chaos and drama. BUT after Schmoopie dumped him (because she was afraid he would kill her – seriously) I felt sorry for him being alone – even though I was alone too. I think the thing is is that I was happy and don’t mind being alone. He wasn’t happy (don’t think he ever will be) and HATES being alone (cue, another Schmoopie living with him for three years now). I think my sadness/guilt came from knowing that I knew how to be happy and indeed was and him – he will never know true happiness or be happy because he is just incapable of it. I don’t know if I’m making sense here but like the others said, I would bet money his behaviour will change when he finds out about your pregnancy. And HUUUUUUGE congratulations to you on your pregnancy. Happy days ahead!

    • Attie, I totally identify w/these reactions. I have, over the years, frequently felt a lot of compassion for my ex’s inability to be happy about much, for long. He has missed so much joy over the years, with his negativity, moodiness and critical attitudes. And I did a lot for him, out of that compassion, and knowing that I was really so much happier a person, as well as much stronger than him.

      Affair #2, however, was what finally convinced me he and his unhappiness were no longer my problem. Affair #1 was still a ‘relationship’ crisis in my mind. Second Shmoopie, years after the first? Buddy, you just fired me from ANY concern about YOU. I will always be fair, and civil when possible, but that is IT.

  • I know the feeling of sadness for my cheater. I think it comes from all the years of unconditional love. They screwed up but we forgave and forgot, it’s who we are! The thing is forgiveness now doesn’t seem possible. We don’t want them back and somehow forgiving makes it seem like their behaviour was OK. I struggle with this a lot especially now I know my Cheater is terminally ill. I can’t let myself be sucked into caring about him on the other hand he was my partner fir 40 years. So, how do I reconcile these feelings. I don’t want to continue to carry this hatred around with me forever. It seems so pointless to do so. I’m usually very pragmatic but this is a dilemma I can’t seem to get past. Snarky just isn’t working. Maybe it’s the word ‘forgiveness’ and all it implies. I’d appreciate any thoughts from CN.

    • To Expecting,
      Congratulations! I wish you and your new family happiness.

      To Silver Queen,
      I think that I can relat to your dilemma.

      Chump Lady mentioned that someone she knew surprisingly got pregnant at 44 with a pregnancy that went to term. I know that I’m not supposed to care. But the work subordinate who took my place in my boyfriends life is approx the same age (mid-forties) and I sometimes get upset thinking that she might become pregnant with my ex-boyfriend’s child and they will all live happily forever. I suspect that I became pregnant with ex-boyfriend’s child but miscarried very early (I am too old to carry a child to term.) I always felt bad that so couldn’t give my childless boyfriend the child he wanted and regret not dating him when we were undergrads.

      • RockStarWife, I understand how you FEEL, but I hope you KNOW that this asshole is not going to ‘live happily ever after’ with ANYBODY. Nor that he deserves a child, nor that he would be able to be a decent parent. That level of selfishness and lack of concern for others’ feelings and well-being? Doesn’t make for good parenting. Be releived you didn’t have his child.

        • Thanks, Karen. I used to regret not having dated my last boyfriend when we were college kids, but sometimes now I wonder if things would have turned out any better. Some of our current incompatibilities. especially in values, priorities and interests, probably existed back then.

          My ex-boyfriend might be a good father in some ways–he can provide much in terms of material goods and services and good connections.He is organized. clean (slightly OCD), and diligent. Based on what I have observed of. him the last few years, though, he probably won’t model very healthy deep mature enduring emotional connection with an intimate partner to any child he might sire. I don’t know whether he’ll ever be able to model more than superficial negotiation and the building of an emotional intimate relationship to a child. Considering that he is on a slippery slope in terms of integrity and seems disturbingly comfortable (pathologically) lying, especially when he is feeling morally uncomfortable, I don’t think that he will be a good model of integrity. I also got the feeling that although he likes kids (nephews and godsons he sees a few weeks/year), I don’t think that he likes the muss and fuss of parenting year-round. For those reasons, I hope that he does not become a parent. Not saying this in s holier-than-thou way. I far from a perfect parent. However, I strongly promote and try to model honesty and compassion for my kids and accept a bit of ‘messiness’ in my life, something I think that virtually every divorced parent must do to feel sane and content. Ideally, I will forget about my last boyfriend soon as he has forgotten about me. I feel somewhat sad that he ether doesn’t think about me or thinks only negative thoughts about me (contempt, disdain, irritation, disrespect).

    • Silverqueen, it’s my belief that forgiveness is highly overrated. Many say that if one does not forgive, that the hatred will affect you adversely. I think that’s untrue. I was with my ex husband 21 years, and he cheated on me 3 times. The first I forgave. The second I wasn’t aware of until I busted him for the third one. I got mad, left and divorced. I don’t hate him; he’s a loser, who when the going gets tough he cheats. But I’m certainly not going to forgive him. Why should I? He hasn’t apologized despite my begging for it. When I asked for an explanation, he said “There are some things in my life I will never discuss with you and this is one of them.” Nothing to work with there. He hasn’t asked for forgiveness. He doesn’t deserve forgiveness. But I don’t hate him and it doesn’t eat me up. I don’t pay any attention to him, he’s just a person I used to know and am no longer friends with. I just don’t care about him. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s not either hate or forgiveness, one or the other. I just can’t give him a free pass when he was so cruel to me.

      • I could not agree more with your “forgiveness is highly overrated” statement. I say try & forgive yourself for staying maybe longer than you should have, marrying the bum, etc. Definitely move on with your life, but forgiving the asswipe that tried to wreck your life? Never.

    • Silverqueen–You are under no obligation to forgive. Time and distance will take care of the hatred, I promise you. What people forget is that anger (and yes, even deep rage) evolved for a reason–they can be protective emotions: Anger makes us take action to avoid a harmful person/situation, and it will provide the emotional distance you need to keep yourself away from the cheater.

      Eventually, you will feel predominantly indifference toward your cheater, with occasional moments of moral indignation and even pity that he is such a fucked-up individual. None of these emotions require action; you reflect on them the way you would handle a knickknack, then put them down and move on. Hugs.

    • I’m kind of where you are silverqueen. I know my ex gave up the absolute best part of his shit show of a life. Sometimes I wonder how I would feel if he got terminally ill, after all, we do have 2 kids together. I recently had a chance to know how I would feel. My sister saw him at my daughters house with schmoopie, she says he seems very unhappy. First thought was karma you sob, but then I just felt so incredibly sad for all of us. He blew 34 years of marriage and forever impacted his relationships with his kids and my family. It just won’t ever be the same. It just saddens me.

      • Newlady15, I feel the same way about ex. I thought when the karma train hit I would have front row seats with popcorn and be clapping the whole time. Instead, I just feel sad that he is so disordered that he fucks up everyone in his orbit. He had had so many good women love him up and he destroys each one of us. And the worse part is that he is really screwing up my former step sons and there is nothing I can do. I pray a lot for their health and safety…. I would have loved him forever. But he chose to remain and I chose to evolve.

  • I definitely vote for laying this all out with a lawyer, getting the best legal advice possible, and then following it.

    In fault states, this could be a big problem. Can also be a big problem as far as maintenance goes even in no-fault states.

    Best of luck.

    • I only seem to be responding to the comments regarding lawyering-up and legality of the situation… perhaps because that matter has been thoroughly addressed, is easy to respond to, and the least of my concerns.

      I retained my lawyer two years ago, just days after the last D-day. I’ve been in the official divorce process for over a year. Of course, my lawyer is aware of the situation and I have m protected myself and my child. Luckily, of all the many crap aspects of my divorce, my pregnancy is not a “big problem”.

  • I think she may be concerned only because if she is still legally married to the cheater then his name MAY, in some states, be put on the birth certificate. That could be a concern she has and it could cause more problems down the road. I didn’t read all the previous comments so I don’t know if anyone else mentioned this issue.

    • Yes. Both mentioned and, indeed, thoroughly responded to… I wish my guilt was tied in to establishing paternity — how easy would that be to address?! Unfortunately, my guilt has more to do with the emotional immaturity of my fuckwit almost-ex-husband and my decade + long history of Chumpness.

      • Talk to your lawyer ASAP.

        In my state, if your ex is married to you when that kid arrives, he’s the legal father. You have to go to court to establish the bio father is the father.

        Run, don’t walk, to that attorney.

  • Expecting, if that’s all you are worried about is his feelings then JUST DON’T! Screw that cause as stated before he sure didn’t give a rats behind about your feelings when you were being clumped by him! His “feelings” are just that, feelings! Let him deal with the aftermath of what HE did to your marriage. He blew that up all by himself so let him deal with that mess! You, on the other hand, have the opportunity to have a beautiful new life. Grab ahold of that and watch it grow and bloom! Congrats on your pregnancy, new love and new life! YOU earned it.

    • Thank you! This message is so important…. it’s crazy just how disorienting and backwards the experience of being a chump can be. Logically, I KNOW I shouldn’t give a care about his feelings… and I thought I was doing pretty darn good for a while. But I like how you framed it… his feelings are his to feel… and I should give him the courtesy of experiencing his feelings, whatever they may be.

      Again, thank you 🙂

  • “Seems to me he’s spreading his seed pretty freely, I’m sure something is bound to take.”

    BAHAHA This did me so much good this morning! Thanks as always, ChumpLady.

  • Guilt protects our relationships. Guilt occurs primarily in interpersonal contexts and is considered a “pro-social” emotion because it helps us maintain good relations with others.

    Guilt-prone people assume they’ve harmed others when they haven’t. You end up feeling guilty about impacting others adversely, when you actually haven’t done anything.

    For guilt to occur you don’t need to feel personally responsible for someone else’s suffering through your own action. You only need to feel that someone else has been affected negatively. False guilt can come in the form of feelings of inaction… the sense that you did too little to prevent someone else’s suffering. It’s the assumption that the impact of your inaction resulted in adverse consequences. Personally I think this is the epitome of chump-dome … and the basis of the RIC’s Hook to help people “save” their marriages. In other words don’t be angry about what happened, feel guilty about your inaction to prevent it.

    I think chumps confuse false guilt with empathy. False guilt seems to be control related; the belief that there “was” a modifiable source to prevent someone else’s suffering. Not to be confused with a cheaters sense of false equevalancy; a common result when an anecdotal similarity is pointed out as equal, but the claim of equivalence doesn’t bear, because the similarity is based on oversimplification or ignorance of additional factors, i.e. dropping the context of the original injury to absolve ones self of guilt.

    Empathy is perspective taking, emotional recognition, and a genuine concern for the welfare of the other person; you personally identify with their experience. It’s feeling bad for someone’s suffering without feeling false responsibility for it.

  • Expecting, like everyone said above – who cares what he thinks? It’s not your problem as he clearly never considered your needs. Forget him and what you THINK he might be feeeeeeling. I totally understand the pain of miscarriage, but you dodged a bullet. Be glad you didn’t have a kid with him. Otherwise you’d never be able to entirely remove him from your life – ask me how I know.

    It also occurs to me that you’ve been given an opportunity that many of us chumps would love to have. This is your chance to put the hammer down on your asshole cheater. He wanted kids? Too bad, his little swimmers weren’t good enough. You know whose are? Your new partner with whom you are creating a new and wonderful life. Let him see this fantastic pregnancy for what it is. Karma bus – honk, honk – right on time. Hell, you could tell him to suck it because you have better things to do with people who actually care about you. But you won’t because you are NO contact. Right? Let him suffer/work through his feelings – whatever it is that cheaters do – in seeing how great a life you’ve made for yourself (the life he CLAIMS he wants) despite his actions to the contrary. IF he has real feelings, and that’s a really big if.

    • This perspective is great and one that I will be sure to keep in mind. Being in my mid-30s when I separated, I was on the cusp of “still young, enough-ish” and “well, not getting younger”. However, I was so emotionally bruised and battered, that I just didn’t know what the future would hold for me. I knew I wanted a family, but not at the risk of rushing into a relationship or settling with someone, just to procreate (which I may or may not continue to be a challenge). I simply didn’t know if having a family would be in my cards… and thinking that far ahead was often scary or just depressing.

      But you are RIGHT! I must not let it be lost on me that some chumps don’t have this opportunity… and that is so *bleeping* unfair. I do have my eyes on the true prize(s)… the gift of becoming a parent and the opportunity share the experience with a true partner, may it be romantically or as co-parents. And shoot… if that happens to put ME in the driver’s seat of the karma bus, who am I to not take it for a spin lol!

      Thank you for your insight and for sharing your thoughts. They are appreciated!

      • I’m one of those chumps who didn’t have the opportunity. So many years of successful birth control, then when we were ready, all kinds of problems. Ectopic pregnancy, multiple misses, infertility drugs. Then I learn he was unfaithful again. I was 41. But after a while, I looked back at my life and knew it was God’s plan for me-and I’m not religious. But some higher power was looking out for me, and prevented me from breeding with a fuckwit. If I had a child, I might’ve stayed and been miserable, in fact I’m pretty sure I would have. So I celebrate your good fortune and wish you the best.

  • Dear Expecting,

    First, let me join the others who have congratulated you on your exciting news! As the mother of triplets, I can honestly say that being pregnant was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. And, following two devastating second-trimester miscarriages, those rainbow babies were especially precious. Take good care of yourself and get plenty of sleep while you can!

    For now, let’s take your baby out of the picture… I guess I’m wondering why – after years of emotional abuse, infidelity, and overall piss poor treatment of you – would you care one iota about your STBX’s feelings? He made decisive and repeated choices about where to put his dick.

    Those choices EXPOSED you to DISEASE.

    He BETRAYED your trust.

    He DISRESPECTED you.

    He LIED to you.

    He treated you as IRRELEVANT and INCONSEQUENTIAL unless it served his purposes.

    Too often, chumps don’t see their own value (I certainly didn’t), and any attention or recognition from their cheater seems acceptable (I figured I “deserved“ his emotional table scraps). That might explain why they would be willing to wash, rinse and repeat. I did it for 40 years!

    But when that shitty treatment feels exactly like it should (shitty), why waste another ounce of loyalty and concern on someone so undeserving? Why spend one more minute of mental real estate on a despicable, undeserving person? Why maintain contact with the malignant individual who upended their life?

    In your case, it seems you’re well covered on the legal front. Let your wonderfully supportive and capable lawyer speak for you in all circumstances; he is your mouthpiece, your newsletter, your smoke signals, your carrier pigeon. And let your ironclad prenup do its job and protect your rights.

    But on the emotional front, it seems you might be a bit stuck. If that’s correct, then begin to shift your perspective. Start to consistently see yourself as a woman of worth, not as a clueless chump who “allowed“ herself to be emotionally abused, who should have “known better“, or what other descriptors you might be inclined to own. I encourage you to dispense, as quickly as possible, with any guilt or other emotional attachment to your STBX’s feelings or to your life together (it wasn’t what it seemed). In my experience, the only way to completely detach is to have absolutely ZERO CONTACT now, or in the future. He lost the right to know about you, to know what’s happening in your life, to engage with you, to know about your new love interest or the precious baby you’re carrying! It’s no longer your job to provide cake, kibbles or anything else to support him.

    You seem like a thoughtful, well-spoken, levelheaded person who has lots of support in all the right places, and I’m sure you’re going to be OK. Just keep your eyes, your mind and your heart trained on what’s important and let your STBX fade away…

  • Expecting the Unexpected….. you feel sad and guilty because you are a WAY better person than your cheater spouse. You should feel none, but chumping is hard to stop. You have done a great deal to save yourself, respect yourself , and build a new life. Your cheater cheated multiple times and obviously felt no sadness or guilt because he did it even more. Just like you were strong enough to walk away, now walk away from the emotions and thoughts that are keeping you from fully enjoying your new life. You deserve it.

  • Dear Expecting, congratulations. Be happy, it’s going to be a magical time for you with your baby, for sure.
    You have wasted too much time worrying about the cheater’s feelings. Not one second more. The lawyers take care of divorce, you take care of your baby’s happiness.
    The cheater’s gone, gone, gone. My rule is: cheater didn’t deserve me, I should never have met him, cheater never existed. I forgave, (keeping forgiveness stuff to myself), I forgot hurtful bad memories and I learned a good lesson: cheater is kryptonite and I’m superrrr.
    Follow Tracy’s advice for the new relationship. I know you’ll be so happy with a newborn, forgetting about cheater’s existence will be very easy.

  • Although I firmly believe that one should not be dated while married or separated, I will still congratulate you on doing what most of us could not do…move on. You have rebuilt your life with one that does not include cheater pants and have a little one on the way as a bonus. I have a fortune cookie that I got not long after DDay that reads “The best revenge is massive success”. Looks like you have massive success in the making and nothing kicks them in the gonads like us doing better than them.

    As long as there are no legal repercussions to your pregnancy, you should be in the clear..I hope all can be finalized before your little boy makes his appearance.Congratulations!

  • Expecting the Unexpected,

    Congratulations! We spend so much time and energy being concerned about our cheaters during the marriage and after. That is why we are chumps because we do care. I am currently going through the divorce process. I have decided to not date during this time as I personally feel like I need to use this time to work on me and get myself together. I have always had a family to take care of. But, now with STBX gone and the children being grown I get to figure out what I like and do what I want after 28 years. Even though I have decided not to date during this time I am still enjoying life. I am trying new things (Spartan races, 1/2 marathons, learning to play the drums even started taking a few classes at the community college). I can totally relate to needing to get out and start living life again, we may have chosen different paths but the important things is we are moving towards gaining a life. Proud of the progress you made thus far. Keep it up and don’t give cheater anymore of your time and energy. Your little bundle of joy will be needing it all. 🙂

  • I will add my congratulations on your little one….and on your new partner.

    What I am wondering is if your soon-to-be ex would be likely to harm you or your partner in any way. Hell hath no fury like a narcissist scorned. In their little pea brain, you are their possession, to be available for comsumption until you have no value left for them to use up. If you manage to be happy, well that’s an affront to their self perceived awesomeness. They not only feel like you are supposed to be miserable without them, but will do their level best to keep you that way, out of sheer spite. Then there’s the fact that you are happy with another guy, and having a baby to boot.

    I am pretty cautious having been married to a sociopathic malignant narcissist who exacted a horrible toll as revenge for my kicking him to the curb before he was done torturing me and my boys. I would say if they abuse you one way, they have the capability to up the ante if they sustain a perceived narcissistic injury, ie: your happiness without him.

    Gavin DeBecker has a website with a threat mosaic, where you can take a quiz to assess the level of danger you might be in. Not trying for doom and gloom here, but knowledge is power in dealing with these fuckwits, and having as much information as you can will help keep your little family safe.

    Sending you hugs and wishing you buckets of happiness.

    • I also had a very aggressive narc husband who cheated on me from the beginning of our relationship until past separation that he initiated. Although he tried to impregnate his AP long before separation and he, not I, filed, he helped destroy my relationship with my post-separation boyfriend. I think that my ex-husband likes to control people even after he decides that he doesn’t want them and cruelly discards them. I would put nothing past aggressive very disordered adulterers.

  • It sounds like you are doing very well, congratulations. Consider shifting to grey rock communications with the mutual friends that are communicating between you, especially people who might share info about your pregnancy and relationship with stbx or a spouse who might share with stbx.

    Grey rock is saying everything is fine, and maybe talking in detail about something boring and inconsequential, like learning to darn socks. Ask your mutual friends to not share about your stbx, see if they have the character to follow through. It’s part of the ongoing shit sandwich, realizing some friendships are what we call “Switzerland”, refusing to take sides and continuing to engage with your abuser. Sometimes you gotta drop the rope.

  • Not sure if anyone else has mentioned this, but maybe your cheater has low fertility or a medical issue that increases the chance of miscarriage.

    I’m glad you’re in a good position financially and legally. Please don’t ruin that by letting him know you are pregnant.

    It’s natural to feel sad for him that he has ruined his life while yours is going well, but his mess up is on him, not you. Build a good life for yourself, your baby, and hopefully your partner.

  • Thank you, everyone! I must hit pause on my own replies, but I’m so very grateful for the thoughtful comments, support, and congratulatory wishes. This has already been a very helpful experience; the “been there, done that” wisdom and compassionate voices of reason are EXACTLY what I came here for. Please know, I’m reading every comment (most more than once) and writing down notes to reflect upon later. However, I apologize for my scattered replies… the truth is, I want to give myself the opportunity to let the advice sink-in and then revisit.

    Now, just some housekeeping / “for the record” stuff that I’ll stop replying to…

    ** I completely understand that in some states my current-status could have a serious impact on my divorce. Luckily (and I do mean luckily), I don’t live in one of those states AND the provisions of my pre-nup offer further protection from that sort of vulnerability. PHEW! Additionally, I even consulted with my lawyer before I started dating (not that it was an awkward conversation or anything) and have been completely transparent with him about my pregnancy. He has reassured me that both my baby and I are protected, and I trust his high-priced legal advice, as well as his ability to expedite my divorce (as a matter of fact, I actually just got off the phone with him).

    ** To those who feel that I’m also a cheater, because I started dating before my divorce was finalized… um, cool. It’s especially understandable seeing how I waited until I fully moved out of my home and relocated 100s of miles away; waited until my divorce was initiated; and, waited over a year until after I was separated to date (with clearance from my lawyer). In addition to having amazing character, I’m sure those of you with this opinion also know EXACTLY what it’s like to be a childless woman in her mid-30s who wants a family (with a history of fertility issues, to boot) and has a SBX who is dragging out a long divorce process. Ya, thanks.

    ** Just for kicks, I’ll also share that my current partner and I have consulted with family-law attorneys in our local state as well (both separately and then together). That’s because the state historically had some wonky laws regarding paternity & unwed couples; however (and, again, luckily for us/me), the state has already caught up with the times and provides unwed parents clear guidance for establishing parentage. What a gift. And, since we’d only been together for a relatively short time when the pregnancy occurred, we had to be realistic about our relationship. We both agreed that, regardless of our outcome, we will always prioritize our son and co-parent amicably. That’s actually why we decided to seek legal advice both separately and together — to ensure we both knew and agreed upon our rights as parents. As far as my current partner is concerned, I couldn’t ask for more.

    With that being said… thank you, thank you! I’m so glad this community of support exists. I’m very grateful and encouraged.

    • I also need to add a very huge *** THANK YOU *** to everyone who commented / echoed disagreement about a separated-chump being a cheater, simply for moving on before a divorce is finalized. I see that the majority of comments are in accord with this and I think it’s a very important message — not just for me personally, but for all chumps who want to move on with their lives, but don’t have the “luxury” of a speedy divorce. Of course, everyone should cover their bases and make sure they don’t live in one of those cool states that seems to love cheaters and hate chumps, no question about that… but, ideally, anyone who encounters the excruciating experience of a divorce/break-up as a result of infidelity should have the opportunity to heal and move forward at their own pace — and NOT let that, too, be manipulated by the cheater.

      So, I apologize if I don’t reply directly to all the echos of support (because there are a lot – thank you!), but please know they are “heard” and very, very appreciated. Thank you!

      • Dear expecting
        Bottom line is :A baby is coming! Congratulations! I got married at 30 and waited 1 year before trying to get pregnant. Found out I couldn’t concieve. We decided to make a life with just the two of us. Fast forward 21years and he’s screwing the neighbor behind us! One of the shiney new kibbles he chased was he decided he really liked her two kids. He wanted to play step dad. I felt so left behind! He got a new family and it hurt so much because I would have loved to have had a child. Your 35 and financially stable! You’ll make the perfect mommy!! Do not think twice about that cheating loser! Focus on raising your little one. Focus on whats best for YOU! Move forward leave him in the past, hes not worth it and i wish you the best!

        • My thoughts on the ex.
          He wanted kids so he had more adoration. Remember who he is. Remember what he would be as a father. In your time of need and sadness (loss of a baby) he was sticking it elsewhere. Frankly, I would do a little dance that he isn’t the father of anything because he doesn’t take care of his ‘things’. No child deserves that. You’re still applying feelings to the person you thought he was, not the turd he actually is. Your baby? This cherished blessing that is coming to two loving parents who already know to be careful and parent well, priority one? This kid hit the mother f-ing lottery as far as I’m concerned.

          • Oooooh, so true. (And I’ve really appreciated your other comments as well — thank you!) I thought I was further along in the grieving process, but the last few week have been emotionally raw… but, yes, my feelings are connected to false memories of who I thought he was, what I thought we had — in other words, they are delusional! Heh. The reality, however, is much more grim. But my goodness, I’m so grateful to not be raising children with him… not to mention, I’m so grateful that I can make a complete & clean break from him. There are many things to celebrate and happy dance over 🙂

      • You’re delightful and considering you’re pregnant, you seem far less hormotional than I would expect with the judgers. Much love. Much LOVE.

        • Oh goodness, I appreciate this! I definitely don’t want the judgy naysayers to deflect from all the goodness and love that I’m receiving here. But it’s hard to not respond to the hypocrisy of it all. On the other hand, it’s so petty that it’s EASY to give a quick and clear response. It’s the deeper matters and heartfelt comments that are so rich and valuable, but also deserve thoughtful reflection and response.

          Thank you ❤️

    • It sounds like you have your life well sorted out and organized now that cheater is out of your way (even if it is taking more time than you would like to cut those final strings through divorce). Good for you. Your baby is lucky to have such a capable Mommy. 🙂

      I guess after doing the work of getting it all together you must have gotten a few minutes to stop and rest which allowed time for thoughts of feeling sorry for cheater to sneak in. Forget that. Go find something fun to keep you busy if the rest of life is giving you a moment of time. Go shopping for baby clothes or furniture. That’s a much better use of your time.

  • So, jumping in with another perspective. As a never-been chump (as far as I know) or a cheater (as I do know!), I’m a little bit of an outlier sometimes. I’m on this site because in two months, I’m marrying a wonderful man who was a chump for 16 years. One of the biggest issues early in our relationship was dealing with him never setting up proper boundaries with his ex. (I’m talking her walking into the house while we were there on kid-free days, texting vacation photos of us, and arranging for her to get a loan from his parents.) I did not deserve a divided partner, and it violated my personal boundaries and I certainly spoke up for myself. And a lot of changes were made.

    And I don’t want to presume that I have the full story here. But I will say, that I think any contact (other than necessary re the divorce) with your ex is incredibly unfair to your new relationship. (And maybe you aren’t!) But I do see a lot of chumps who continue working to maintain a relationship with an ex when they are in a relationship with someone else, and I don’t get those divided loyalties. It’s not fair to the person who is showing up for you. I understand feeling guilty that your ex is so stunted that he will never really know how to get the life he wants. I am pretty cut and dry though. I don’t believe contact with a former romantic partner is acceptable behavior (I’m not talking business-like exchanges re kids, etc.) but I have noticed that some chumps have such a weak sense of what boundaries are appropriate for a former romantic partner and since most narcs will con you into thinking that whatever they want is ok, it can get fuzzy. I was with someone for 15 years. We ended our relationship. We don’t stay in touch. Anything else is unfair to my current partner. That might seem harsh, but I don’t believe in maintaining friendships (until maybe many years have passed) with someone who was a romantic attachment. You are so not doing this! I know.

    What I am saying is that if you feel you need to keep your ex in the loop on your life in someway or at some point, then you need to make sure your new partner is aware of that and is ok with it (or at least feels like he has some say).

    • I think this is a beautiful comment. A really good view of the reciprocity and outcome chumps should aim for. If they aren’t able to establish this, they haven’t fixed their pickers and their boundaries. This was a good comment. Thank you.

  • Dear Expecting,

    Interesting dilemma you’re in. But I think it boils down to a few things:

    1. You have a healthy pregnancy after having suffered difficulty in the past. Yay!
    2. The baby is not your ex’s. Yay!
    3. You have what sounds like a wonderful new partner. Yay!
    4. You have your own wealth (I assume, because it’s YOUR pre-nup) so you’re not dependent on the ex for support. Double yay!
    5. You’re only 35 and have (from my perspective at age 62) your whole life ahead of you despite having wasted 12 years on a cheater. Yay!
    6. Your divorce will be final before your baby is born. Yay!
    7. You’ve got good legal advice. Yay!
    8. You feel sad for your ex. He doesn’t deserve it, but yay, you’re human!

    Where’s the problem?

    Congratulations, honey, and good luck!!

    • Well I… I just adore you. I may have to print this comment out and keep it somewhere safe 🙂

      Thank you for your kind comment… and shucks, life is good! YAY!

  • Depending on the state in which you are divorcing it can indeed matter a lot. He can claim all kind of rights and make your life hell.

    No contact. No contact. No contact. Lawyers. Lawyers. Lawyers. You got this!

  • This all sucks, but you owe your ex nothing! If he wanted to have kids so bad, the he should have been faithful.

    There are other versions of this, in which the roles are swapped:

    –the chump wanting kids, but then losing years of her/his life to healing from an affair before being emotionally able to re-entertain that possibility

    –the chump finding out that STBX-cheater has already impregnated his mistress, even though the divorce is nowhere near final, and he has been hiding the pregnancy from the chump and their shared child

    –getting pregnant and then having the man (much more often) decide that’s a valid trigger to cheat.

    You’re on your way into a new life. Don’t worry a good goddamned second about what your ex wanted.

  • I agree with you Valerie. I’ll never forgive Two-Legged Rat, a malignant narc, and my vicious borderline mother. They both caused me incredible pain and led me to attempt suicide several times. I went NC with the two of them ten years ago and I’ve never been more at peace with myself and my life. At 63, I can finally say forgiveness is overrated.

  • I may be wrong, but I think it might be a good thing to ask your lawyer to inform his lawyer that you are pregnant so that he can tell your STBX. (No contact!) I think in many cases, it might help the cheater decide that his manipulations have no further use. Finding out that you truly have moved on will rid his silly little head of the notion that reconciliation is a possibility. No better way to prove that you have moved on. Why drag your feet on the divorce when there is another guy who is obviously getting all the “cake”? STBX will go and find a new source, most likely.

    He might get mad and try to contact you. Don’t let him. It all goes through the lawyers now, in the interest of insuring you a stress-free pregnancy. Tell the lawyers that too. If there is any bad-blood, you don’t want to know about it. You are paying them to handle it. Enjoy your precious baby!

    • First of all you don’t answer to him. Nor do you have to make any announcements. It’s not that it’s a secret; it’s none of his business. He lost that privilege.

      I’m with Tessie on ensuring safety. Telling him indirectly will not lessen the blow. My guess is he’ll escalate and rage. You don’t need that stress.

  • [All to say, life can be messy and we rarely get the lives we plan. Often our worst tragedies lead to our biggest blessings. You have literally gained a LIFE! Kicking there in your belly right now! Give that little dumpling all your love, and middle fingers up to your ex. May the law move swiftly on your divorce.]

    Excellent!!! Exactly how I feel and would advise Unexpected!!!

  • Oh, your ex wants kids all right, Expecting. Kids that you stay home and raise single-handed while he’s out screwing half the town. Kids he can parade around whenever it suits him so that he looks like Father of the Year.

    Thank Almighty Atheismo and Jim Fucking Sterling Son that you don’t have kids with your cheater.

    • Yes, this is right on. The fact that he wants to have children doesn’t mean he wants to be a father, just like he wanted to have a wife but didn’t want to be a husband.

      And Expecting, don’t confuse feeling sorry for someone with guilt. I sometimes feel sad for the many incredible moments with our amazing son that my ex is missing out on. (Like when my sweet boy lost his tooth, swallowed it, and then pooped it out. Priceless.) But I also know that if my ex had ever truly wanted to be here, he would have been. Cheating and destroying our relationship was his choice, and he made it freely and knowingly. Good riddance.

      • “The fact that he wants to have children doesn’t mean he wants to be a father, just like he wanted to have a wife but didn’t want to be a husband.”
        Well said Free Vix. Need to add that to my list of mantras.

  • Darling do not worry your pretty little head with any negative comments. You are not and with what is going on it is the least of your worries. I have read your responses and I am very relived to hear you have good lawyers and are in a state that is not an issue. I am also relieved you have the prenuptial. My hope this goes through quickly without him finding out. Sounds like it is under control.

  • To my new Chump-Friends, thank you! My desire to reply to all the thoughtful and encouraging comments is proving to be a bit ambitious…. and shucks, I’m tired lol.

    I’ve lurked on the site and read blog posts for years, but this is the most interaction that I’ve had with the community. And just, WOW — what an incredible group of loveable and inspiring people (chumps?)! I’m so glad I reached out and so grateful for the support and encouragement. I’m so saddened that much of the wisdom comes from the sh*ttiest sort of first hand experiences… but, thank you for spinning that heartache into golden support for others. It just goes to show that us chumps are genuinely good, big hearted people… who despite our own troubles, still want to help and be happy others. That’s pretty darn awesome.

    There are so many important comments that I’ve not yet responded to… but, they are very, very appreciated. I’m coming back to you ❤️

  • Congratulations to you Expecting the Unexpected! My wish for you is that once you look into your baby boys eyes all the past hurt will melt away and never return!

  • As Paul Harvey used to say, “ and now for the rest of the story”.

    Dear Expecting,

    It has taken me years, more than 40 years to come to believe that my disordered fuckwit was disordered through and through.

    So I wanted to write to you about your guilt and the bullet, you and your child just dodged. I was not so lucky. My fuckwit cheated on me early in our marriage. I believed all that reconciliation crap, and in a fit of unicorn fucking, I got pregnant with my daughter a child I wanted with all my heart. Fuckwit wanted me to abort her but I told him to pound sand. He could walk, or he could come home but I was having that child. He came home, and he went through the motions of being a decent dad. I had three more pregnancies and two more children, and he wanted me to abort each and everyone. In a moment of horrendous gaslighting, threats and manipulation, I aborted one of those babies. I will live with that for the rest of my life.

    But he was never truly a good dad. He just was the frosting on the turd dad. He did what ever was the thing that looked ‘dad like’ but was the minimal he could do. He undermined me at every turn possible to subtly oh so subtly demean me in the eyes of my children. Living with him, and raising my children with him, was like living on the side of Mt Vesuvius, looks like fertile soil but always living in the shadow of instant incineration and constant threats.

    The fact that you are feeling guilty about this in any manner tells me that you have not fully internalized the depth and breadth of this ClusterB Fuckedupness. Please trust me, they are disordered right down the genetic level. You prick their toe and they bleed disordered. You cut their finger and their bones are disordered. No amount of love, happy family, nothing, they are disordered. How do I know, my girls inherited some of this, not the full tilt boogie but enough to make them difficult people. So please trust, your baby escaped this inheritance and that he never, ever could be a good dad.

    Enjoy that baby and thank your lucky stars. Ring’n

    • Thank you for sharing your experience… I’m so glad that you found the strength, courage, and clarity to leave the unhealthy relationship and person (“person” may be a compliment?). Hindsight can really be a double-edged sword… clarity, and even validation, are important parts of the healing process, but damn it can be difficult to reflect on the past. I know it took all my courage to leave my ex, but sometimes I cannot help but think “How did I let it go that long? Why did I not leave sooner??” But, alas, hindsight…

      I will never, ever be “glad” that I experienced multiple miscarriages… but, on my last and final D-day, it took all of a nanosecond to know that I was grateful to not be pregnant in that moment. It was a visceral feeling that I later felt guilty about, but rationally, I knew my gut was right. I would *like* think that if we already had children together that I’d still muster the courage to leave, but I can’t say for sure. If I was still pregnant on that last D-day… sadly, I’m not as confident about how I would respond…

      My ex would have been a good provider, a playful/funny dad (when he felt like it), front row at kids’ sporting events… but, I knew he’d never really be a “co-parent”… it just wasn’t in his capabilities. And when I think about that, I KNOW I dodged a bullet (and then ask myself “WTF were you thinking?!”). Most people say “I just want a healthy and happy child”… but, when I was with my ex my wish was “I just don’t want my child to be an asshole/bully.” With my current pregnancy & partner, that concern simply doesn’t need to cross my mind.

      I hope your daughters’ own personal journeys allow them to grow, learn, and honor themselves. I’m sure it must be difficult to recognize aspects of their father in them… but, eventually, we all face our own inner-demons. Given the mistakes that I made in my marriage and personal relationships, I was forced to look at my own childhood and the examples set by my parents, both good and bad. I may not have recognized the negative patterns had I not gone through my own marital hell… but the information was valuable and empowers me to not repeat them (well, again). Your daughters may have a fuckwit father, but they also have a strong, wise, and courageous mother… I’m sure that’s not lost on them <3

  • I started dating a wonderful man very soon after my divorce was final (so I thought). Turns out my high-priced lawyer had goofed something up and I wasn’t actually divorced yet. There was no question of the divorce going through and I knew my now-boyfriend would likely never know the exact date of my divorce. But I felt like there was potential for the relationship so told him early on that my lawyer goofed up and I was still married. He had only one question for me – do you still have feelings for him (my ex)? My emphatic reply: “No!” He said he had no problem with anything going on. My divorce was finalized shortly after that and my boyfriend and I have been together happily for more than 2 years. I don’t consider moving in to another relationship in such a situation to be cheating, after what my asshat of an ex put me through with his cheating and shenanigans.

  • I have a really stupid question. Why does she have to name “husband” or “father” on the birth certificate. Will she be put in jail? If he finds out what exactly can he do? In which state? I dealt with this in my job and several times asked the divorcing husbands if they wanted to spend 18 years paying child support, and having their estate taken to court, for a child fathered by another man. They signed their rights away right away.

  • Hi Chump Friends, it’s Expecting the Unexpected here 🙂 It’s been nice to come back and read these (supportive) comments again… majority of you truly helped me through a tough mental block and unnecessary anxiety. I am truly grateful <3

    Btw, I am officially divorced now… and my healthy baby will be arriving soon. I am over the moon excited.

    Much love and best wishes.

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