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Dear Chump Lady, I feel trapped

Dear Chump Lady,

I need to vent. I have no one to talk to and I feel trapped. I can’t talk to friends or family because he’s a decent father but not so much as a husband.

So…about 7 years ago I found out my husband went to those “happy ending” massage places for about 2 years. He got offended but he promised not to do it again. I was upset about the whole thing but mainly the lies and the cover ups, etc…but I sort of got over it. (You forgive but somehow it’s hard to forget.)

Last week, I found out he had/has (who knows) been texting a single girl for the past 2 months. I found out accidentally when I saw his phone with a girl named “Jo Work.” I asked him numerous time who is this Jo person. He adamantly said it’s a guy from work that he goes on bike rides with. But I asked him again and again and he finally admitted that it was a (single) girl he met at a bar. They went out a few times with other people that they are now created a club for it. I asked to look at his text that they have one on one but he (conveniently) deleted. He said she meant nothing but then then admitted that she texted first and asked how his day was and small “chit chat”. Then admitted she’s voluptuous and has sizable chest and curve.

There’s no remorse and he’s telling me that I’m stuck in this black hole and believe what I wanted to believe. He turned it all around and said he’s working for our family (I’m a stay at home mom). His work is stressful. He’s a good father, etc…but no remorse with what he did.

Obviously I’m hurt, really hurt and feeling trapped. We have 2 kids, young kids and I love them dearly. I feel trapped and now not trusting anyone anymore. I already feel insecure (who isn’t?), my confidence, self worth, etc…all gone. When I was younger I got my heart broken numerous times but nothing like this. I always told myself that when these guys hurt me they didn’t deserve my tears and me. But I love my husband, I gave it all, I put my wall down and I let myself feel loved and I told myself he’s different.

I thought our marriage is invincible. I thought he will love and respect me and will not hurt me…not like this. We’re better than this trash. And I’m now feeling like I’m stuck in this trash.

Trapped

Dear Trapped,

I hope your husband falls off his “bike.”

Maybe you should remind him to wear a helmet next time he’s out. Christ on a cracker… how original. Bike club.

Anyway, I’m sorry you find yourself in the chump club. You’ve come to the right place. Lots of people have been similarly trapped and escaped. You can too. It’s just going to take a lot of mettle and a big rethink about what your relationship is. You’re going to grieve the future you thought you and your kids had, the future you invested heavily in — but you’re going to get a new future. And believe me, it’s going to be a LOT better than playing marriage police to a fuckwit.

That’s where you are now. I’m sure he’s expecting the same forgiveness you conferred on his little happy ending adventures. He’s balls deep in cake and loving it. Who are you to say no to his entitlement when you’ve got two small children and are economically dependent on him?

He turned it all around and said he’s working for our family (I’m a stay at home mom). His work is stressful. He’s a good father, etc…but no remorse with what he did.

Oh yeah, he’s a real hard worker, what with hanging out in bars and picking up women. Tote that bale! Lift that barge!

The poor peanut with his stressful job. Does he need some impoverished Asian immigrant to wank him off? Perhaps he should have a lie down. On a train track somewhere.

Ugh.

Trapped — he wants you trapped.

Think about that for a moment — all this despair and pain you’re feeling? It’s exactly where he wants you. Of course, he would’ve preferred it if you’d never found out, then his entitlement could go on unquestioned — but that STUCK thing? That’s working for him. It keeps him in cake. He gets his faithful devoted wife appliance, raising his children, giving him the facade of normalcy, and he gets single life — picking up “bikers” in bars. Oh, and when all that is just too much, he’s a john hiring hookers. (Let’s just call it what it is, okay? That’s a massage and I’m a jelly donut.)

He’s perfectly okay with YOUR utter and total investment in him, but his investment in you and in HIS CHILDREN, deserves EXTRA perks and privileges and expenses. Costs that he decides upon UNILATERALLY at great emotional, physical, and financial expense to YOU.

Are you okay with that? Is this relationship acceptable to you? Do you feel safe? Cherished? Respected?

No?

Then what are YOU going to do about it?

I’m sorry. I know I’m leaving him out of this equation, but there is no HIM here to work with. We don’t control fuckwits. We only control how we respond to fuckwits. He’s not sorry (he’ll fake that after you get upppity, just watch.) All this ugly is WHO HE IS. I’m sorry you invested in it, and I’m sorry you love him. Your love is unrequited. People who love you don’t do this. They don’t trap you and trade on your vulnerability for orgasms.

So, here’s a plan. The rest of Chump Nation will chime in too.

1.) See a lawyer. Do not tell him, JUST DO IT. Find out exactly what escape looks like and what you’re entitled to in alimony and child support. Get all your financials together.

2.) Make an independence plan. Consider going back to school, retraining for a profession, picking up whatever profession you had before babies. I know this isn’t what you bargained for, single parenthood, but what you are living right now is far worse that what you imagine single parenthood is.

Fact is, he could abandon you at any time. You should see my mail. These fuckers walk out on SAHMs and children every day. Get in front of this. YOU call the tune. YOU captain your ship.

3.) Don’t get lost planning and analyzing. This is a CRISIS. Act like it. Do everything in your power to protect yourself NOW — STD check, see a lawyer, protect your money — emotional understanding will come later. Probably much later. The important thing now is to protect yourself from further harm.

4.) Don’t model this shit to your children. It’s not okay to treat people this way. Don’t accept it. Don’t model it. He’s not a “good father.” He’s a paycheck with a wandering dick. Good fathers exist, there are plenty of them on this board. Don’t confuse your investment and who you thought he was with ACTUAL good men. He’s not a good man. There’s a difference. Learn the difference.

5.) Get support. You haven’t told anyone. Change that. Get a therapist. Tell your BFF. Tell your family. The weight of this kind of secret and stress can kill a person. I’m not exaggerating. Please, for your mental health and your kids, get some help. I’m sending you a big long distance ((((HUG))).  You can DO THIS.

I’m glad you found us. You’re not trapped. You’re free, because now you know who he really is. You’re only trapped if you choose to stay trapped. Please escape.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Documentation is your friend! Wish I could add something more eloquent, but that’s the main thing I can think of right now.

    • Please talk to someone for your emotional support! You don’t want to use your attorney as a therapist, when he slips up don’t get mad and let him know what you know, go yell and scream, or cry with someone else.
      You will need to protect yourself and if that is hard to visualize then protect your children!!! You can do it! You deserve it! It hurts like crazy but it does get better AND you have support here

  • Yes please! Take the kids to ur Moms. Go have lunch with someone who can recommend a good lawyer, then make an appointment with a counsellor/therapist. Pay in cash. Tell him u went shopping. Whatever it takes! I know it’s scary but you must start to disconnect & detach from him as he obviously has from you. Show ur kids what a good parent really is!

    • While he is at work each day, go through every shred of paperwork in your house: mortgage documents, credit card and all bank statements, life insurance policies, car loans, IRA and retirement plan accounts… all of it! Make duplicate copies (all pages) and stash them somewhere other than your home that’s still easily accessible.

      Do the same for all important identification documents like your marriage license, your and your kids’ Social Security cards, your and your kids’ birth certificates, and your passports if you have them, etc. Keep in the same off site storage.

      Ask every divorced friend you know what lawyer they used to handle their split. Call those attorneys and make a an appointment for an initial consultation; they call it a “meet and greet“. Many attorneys won’t charge you anything, but if they do, pay in cash so there is no record of your visit. Be sure to go into the appointment with a list of questions including nailing down how much alimony (sometimes called “spousal support“ or “spousal maintenance“), child support, your share of his company retirement plan, equity in your home, etc. Take good notes! And keep those notes with the rest of your documents that you stored at another location. And no matter what you do, DO NOT TELL YOUR HUSBAND. The element of surprise will come in handy later.

      As Chump Lady said, start lining up some emotional support; your best friend, your family, your priest or rabbi; you’re going into a hailstorm and you’re going to need encouragement and support. Just know that you will survive! You are stronger than you know.

      • Please, Trapped, follow this advice! When he is at work sometime, just grab the entire “important documents” drawer in his office and head to Kinkos to get copies of everything. When I went through it I worked from home, so I was able to really go through and find every single piece of our joint life and his private life. I bought a lockable file box of my own and kept it in the trunk of my car until I moved out.

        And please, please listen to Chump Lady. This man is hurting you and your children. The longer you put up with it, the longer it’s going to hurt. You deserve better. You deserve a man who never did any of this–or at the very, very least, one who falls to his knees and begs forgiveness and seeks therapy to fix himself….not this crap your husband is serving you.

        Leaving my ex husband was the saddest, most hurtful experience of my life. It hurt most knowing that he chose the Other Woman over me and our life together. He chose some skank over our memories and our future. But there’s no getting around it…HE DID THAT! HE ISN’T SORRY! He is going to hurt you until you cut him lose.

        Quit this sorry excuse for a partner the way CL and these fine people say. Give your kids a childhood without such a horrible role model married to their mom. I know its going to be heart wrenching…my heart is still pretty wrenched, too. But we deserve better.

        • How do you deal with parental alienation? I got out D Day was 18 months ago with the dog but I need my kids, any good advice?

      • Great advice, I would only add, buy some apps that copy’s all emails, computer strokes. Copy computer history. If you don’t know how, just goggle it. You will get step by step. You will feel better when you kick his ass, do it for your kids. I see a warrior coming.

      • One way to copy records easily is to download a scanner on your phone and then upload the documents to a cloud-based storage like drop box. Are use Scanner Pro which cost about three bucks. It works really well though. And it’s easy to email them and upload them to dropbox

    • Don’t be afraid to talk to a couple of different lawyers. My first one, who was recommend to me, wanted to just to split everything 50/50 even though my ex agreed to pay me extra child support etc. I found a better one on google who had my best interest first.

      • Even if you like the first lawyer you talk with, talk to a second one. The first lawyer I met with was terribly reassuring. He said ending the marriage and getting me primary custody and support would be straight forward, etc. I liked him and his promises, but he was not conveniently located. So, I went and saw a second lawyer who asked lots of hard hitting questions. She didn’t mince any words about why she thought the case would be challenging. She recognized the signs of narcissism, disordered thinking, and dangerous rage in my descriptions of my husband, and she told me to prepare for resistance and to protect myself. I really wished the first lawyer was right, but I chose the second one, and it is a good thing I did.

      • Also, your husband is going to have to pay for your lawyer from your marital funds. So don’t worry about that. And, don’t assume you will only get 50-50. I got full custody and 72% of everything we owned. And maintenance. Also, your husband is going to have to pay for your lawyer from your marital funds. So don’t worry about that. And, don’t assume you only get 50-50. I got full custody and 72% of everything we owned. And maintenance. And full child support and all childrens’ extracurricular X has to pay 85% of the costs. Same with college.

  • And “Hoping for him to be better” is not a plan.

    It was MY plan and all it got me was YEARS of sadness and pain and tears and just before he died, he was again saying he was going to leave.

    THIS IS WHO HE IS is a really important concept. God Himslef will not violate your cheaters free will to make him be better even if you go to Mass every day for 7 years for him (oh that was me who did that).

  • Trapped
    I was you. I had my Dday on 2014. I found this website & I was afraid to move on I kept reading, reading stories never saw myself on the “no cheater side”. Even if you are unsure now trust me your heart & dignity are not going to bear the pain. If you are not in danger start saving and find a job or a part-time. Maybe customer service from home. I followed CN & CL instructions. I was “free” on 2017. I am still working on me & my DD. Play cool while he is out make copies of W-2, bank stmnts, save it on a flashdrive & start lawyer shopping. If your finance permits just leave him. Trust CL there is no Bike Club. We are here for you. Please keep visiting us.

    • Great advice. You planned your exit and did it. You are mighty! And we are free! No longer trapped.

  • I hate to tell you, but he’s not a Decent Father. He’s doing the bare minimum to make you and others think he is a decent/good father.

    I still remember reading stuff between cheater and his girlfriend congratulating each other on their excellent parenting skills. Seriously? It’s just another thing they do to justify their shitiness.

    • Right ~ a good father empowers his child’s mother not slowly destroys her from the inside. This good father is impression management but a real good father creates a strong emotionally bonded family filled with love and support~ True life long connections.

    • How, exactly, is he a good father? Does he take his children with him to this “club”he belongs to? Do the four of you have fun together doing non clubby things? Is he home for meals and bedtimes? You need to break it down. How much time does he give his family? The most important is how he treats his children’s mother. Right there tells you he is not a good father.
      You aren’t stuck if you don’t want to be. You are scared. That’s why you need CL and the CN. This is your club and one of the best things about belonging is having mentors. You are going to be guided and supported every step of the way.

    • He’s not a good dad if he is cheating. It’s emotionally abusive to expect you to be able to parent properly while dealing with this. That is not to say you can’t do this because you can. You have gotten great advice here. Lawyer up, get your documents squared away, stash some money etc. Most importantly you have to constantly talk to yourself and begin to know in your soul that you are worth more than this and although it will hopefully be the hardest thing you ever go through you will get through it. If you can’t do it for yourself yet, do it for your kids. Show them what it takes to remove themselves from an abusive situation. And make no mistake you are in an abusive situation. This man has not only abused your mind with his lying and gas lighting, but he has put your health in danger. He could have gotten you sick. Who would be there for your kids had he brought disease into your life? You will be surprised when you begin to tell people what is going on how many people are there to love and support you in every way possible. I remember all to well finding out about my ex-husbands penchant for Tinder while he was working out of town. It’s is devastating to say the least. But you can do it. You have strength you don’t know you have yet. It will show up, believe me. Two years later here I am. I filed. Retained custody of my children and kept my house. Most importantly I became a better mom and a better friend, sister, employee, just better all the way around. Why? Because I wasn’t giving my all to someone who no longer gave a rats ass about me. Concentrate on getting your plan in order so you can get out! He won’t change because he doesn’t want to! He’s shown you who he is. The man you married, no longer exsists. You must now deal with the man before you. Do not for one second longer let him hurt you or your children (and believe me he is hurting them). I wish you strength, peace, and love. You can do this

      • Somehow you’re going to figure out a way to hold it together in front of your young children. Do your crying and ranting while they are in school. Leave the house or wait till they are asleep when you need to talk with friends.

        My 14yo daughter watched and heard me fall apart for 4 months and it scared the shit out of her. She quickly grew tired, angry and started to lash out at me. When things came to a head, she reached out to her father whom she hadn’t spoken to for a year and a 1/2. Now he’s the favored parent because he projects stability, plays Disneyland Dad (new car, trips, etc) and doesn’t monitor her activities. We are slowly rebuilding our relationship, but it’s been brutal.

        Your children are young and need you to be consistent and stable while their world gets turned upside down. Get the support you need so you can be there for them.

        • Same here. I stayed too far too lon and was run down emotionally and physically and Mentally! My kids ended up with their narc dad as I was down and out. He was fresh as a daisy! (creep). Leave before you become a basket case like I was.

    • Well said. A good father doesn’t lie and steal and gaslight and take extended trips to the cape and long dinners with “work colleagues.”

      I stayed with X far too long because I wanted to believe it was best for our kids. But, I was kidding myself. In truth, I was a work-from-home mother and scared to death of parenting alone.

      Turns out I was parenting with him as a tremendous handicap all along. AND modeling doormat behavior to our kids. When he lined up his exit plan, I discovered I was better off without him than with him. And five years later, I’m closer to my sons than ever, while they now deliberately screen their father’s calls and are busy when he wants to visit. They spent Father’s Day with me by choice.

      An authentic life with your kids will do you all wonders. Don’t delay.

  • Remaining stagnant keeps you trapped. CL is right- all of that anger you feel has a function. It is to get you moving: to the lawyer’s office, to finding financial independence, and to start waking up and saying “I DESERVE BETTER THAN A FUCKWIT.” Trust your process, and trust the anger. It’s there to help. Grief will come later, but by then, you hopefully won’t be gaslit by a manipulator any longer. Good luck. You’ve got this.

  • It can all be so overwhelming. But Chump Lady is 100% correct. Follower her steps and you will get thru this. Maybe it will take one day at a time or even one inch at a time. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. And you will be amazed at how resourceful and strong you are. You got this.

  • you CAN get out and have a happy life! Don’t settle for being “old news” staying at home with the kids! that is so bullshit. And CL is right–he could decide his new fuckbuddy is shiny enough to leave you for at ANY TIME. Honestly, the only thing that is probably keeping him staying with you instead of living out his Sons of Anarchy fantasy life (I assume its a motorcycle type bike, not a bicycle) is that he doesn’t want to pay child support and alimony. And that is also bullshit. You deserve BETTER THAN THAT! And oh yeah, he will play the sad sausage when you leave his sorry, cheating ass and cry and all that crap. DON’T FALL FOR IT! he just doesn’t want to give up his cake and his paycheck. Also, believe me when i tell you that it WON’T GET ANY BETTER and you can expect many more years of exactly this same behaviour, except it gets worse. I’m telling you from experience. Bury his bitch ass in court.

    • Hey — Chumpfriends —

      My cheater did not say he was sorry. He just said: where’s the evidence?

      When I would say: I’m leaving. He’d say: bye. And then he would get online and arrange a hook-up, prostitute, or Tindr.

      This had the reverse effect on me. I said: Hey! You’re supposed to be sorry. You’re supposed to beg me to stay.

      When he didn’t, psychologically, it was very very hard for me to break lose. I was breaking lose from nothing.

      Sooo: here’s my point, be prepared, not only for him to suddenly be sorry, but for the alternative reaction: be prepared for him to not give a damn.

      • Same here. When my son told me about asswipes fuck phone – asswipe was in Vegas. I called him and left a voicemail questioning him as to what my son had just told me (I was still trying to wrap my head around the information my son had given me). Of course Judas never responded to my voicemail and didn’t see him until a few days later when he got home from Vegas.
        When he got home, I expected an apology, flowers, begging for forgiveness, SOMETHING! NOPE. What I got was – “I want a divorce…. I haven’t been happy in YEARS…. Because you cheated on me 15 years ago (which I never did – but he threw that in my face anytime he could) I have never forgotten/forgiven you….” Yep – no remorse, it was MY fault.
        I was flabbergasted at the attitude! It took me awhile to get things going – long enough for him to start stashing money away, cashing in his ROTH, etc…
        I was waiting for an apology. I never got it.
        The end.

      • ^^This was exactly what I got, too. When I extended grace to him and said I don’t understand why he isn’t apologizing and wanting to make things right with his family and kids, serial cheater husband told me, “this isn’t Hollywood.” What an exquisitely agony that was.

      • At one point I commented to him that he was the one who cheated so why was I the one begging him to stay and apologizing for my shortcomings. He agreed that was messed up but didn’t do anything on his end to change it. I am embarrassed to say it took me much longer than it should have to change it myself.

      • Yup, same here. When confronting my cheater on DDay, and I exclaimed that he wasn’t even trying to get me to stay, or make things better (a whole new level of hurt), he retorted:

        “What’s the point?”

        Never forget that. I think it comes from it being an exit affair.

        • I find the exit affair to be the most cowardly of all cheating. No balls to stand up and be honest so they level your world and leave you to do all the dirty work and look like the bad guy when you throw them out on the street. ugh.

      • Yep.

        Mine never went into the paroxysms of faux grief when I told him I knew he was having an affair. He just looked at me and said, “And your point is…?”

        I think that if I hadn’t filed, he’d have been fine having me as his wife appliance while he planned his time with Schmoopie.

        • Mine wanted to live in our downstairs and give me 6 months to “get my shit together” while he still dated his Tinder gf in the city. I said I don’t need 6 minutes and began throwing his belongings out the window.

  • Trapped, I really feel for you I could’ve written your letter 20 years ago. Please listen to CL’s advice. I stayed for 20 years in hopes that my STBXH would change. He didn’t. I spackled and he did what ever the hell he wanted while I raised the kids and kept our lives running smoothly. So 20 years later, (after I looked the other way on many affairs, a child with an AP, multiple DUIs, financial infidelity, etc) he walked out on me and the kids and never looked back. I’m approaching 50 with no career and very little in the way of assets/retirement.

    Please be stronger than I was– don’t waste your time and energy on someone who hurts you.

    • So sorry you had to deal with all of that. What a douchebag. You deserved better! Glad you are free.

      • NeverWouldhaveimagined,
        Thank you! It’s been tough but with each passing day it gets easier to see how awful he was. Now I feel like the discard was a blessing in a way. It wasn’t the life I had planned on but it will hopefully be a much better one.

    • Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but if i remember correctly then you’re entitled to like 50-75% of your husbands SS after so many years of marriage if you stay unmarried after divorce.

      • It is 50%. But if he dies, then it is 100% as long as it is more than what you would get on your own work record. And it is 10years that you’d have to be married. You cannot get remarried before hitting 60yrs old also in order to collect on a ex’s work record.

    • Trapped, that was also me 20 years ago. He was sorry and sad and I thought he meant it. He’s gone now and took so much along the way. I didn’t think I could face the pain then – but it came anyway. Years later. The damage trying to have an intact family is not worth it. You will get through this, it is tough but it’s better everyday. Take the legal advice and talk to people you’d be amazed at how good they can be.

    • These jackasses wait until they can pay no or minimal child support. Then they abandon the family.

  • Trapped: you have nothing to work with in your marriage. Not faithfulness. Not honesty. Not empathy. Not remorse. Not transparency. And his reaction says his awful conduct will continue, and likely escalate. That is, you are holding an empty bag with a hole at the bottom. And the bag is on fire. Drop the bag and run.

    Your only option to save yourself and your kids from years of broken-heartedness is to leave and start a new life. You will great advice here. Know that more than 10,000 people—fellow chumps—will read your story today and send you thoughts and prayers of strength and healing, me included.

    Good luck on your journey. (((Trapped))).

  • You can get through this, we all had too, you have to be careful, get sti’s checkup, my exs ow had stis. Unfortunately some people are unfortunate to contract hiv, unknowingly. You. and chumps deserve better.

  • Trapped,
    First I want to say I’m sorry for how life is unfolding for you at the moment. But it’s a moment. It will feel like a LIFETIME of LOOOOOONG AF moments, but a moment just the same. Mine has lasted 9 months so far. Take CL advise to the bank, literally and figuratively. She is a depth of sound and time tested knowledge. All if this is overwhelming, CN advise, our stories and warnings. I didn’t find CL until 3 months after d-day, I got lost in alllllll the posts. Don’t do that. Take CL advise above, write it down, print it out… but DO IT. Once you have the process started, steps taken from the above advise, then come back here are pour over every single post and comment. Save you and your kids first by taking those steps. Protect protect protect.
    I did not do that. I got lost and rumetated, stressed, panicked, sent to the hospital 3 times for heart stress….. he’s not worth me dying. It I spun out of control for 8 full months. EIGHT MONTHS!!! I am now just getting my bearings…
    We love you.
    We want you here.
    We want to help. But
    Get your bearings.
    Take the steps to protect.

  • I’m so sorry, trapped. I’ve been in your shoes. It may take awhile for you to believe it but you and your kids are going to be okay.

    One of my struggles was not knowing what to do with my life now. I got all the ducks in line with kicking him out and divorcing him and I still felt trapped because SAHM situation. Finally I read something that really helped me – just do something. Anything. One thing. Maybe it will be wrong or maybe it takes you in the right direction but start taking action to take steps forward. Lots of false steps here for me but finally some traction and some confidence about what I can do to support myself is happening. I would still feel trapped if I had not just decided “okay I’ll do this today and see what happens.”

    Also, do you have a YMCA in your area? I work part time there and no person is denied membership and about 33% are on greatly reduced or free membership. Most Ys off free childcare- up to two hours a day- and you can work out, take classes (great way to make friends), they have free internet (so you could career search or divorce research) and they have people to talk to. Just a thought but with young children I know you probably need a safe place to take a break if you don’t have family support for the kiddos.

    Blessings, Trapped. You keep coming back here for support, okay. We are a fierce bunch willing to share your pain and lend you support.

  • I literally could have written this 15 years ago. Yes, 15 years I kept smoking hopium, accepted his blameshifing that I was overreacting, my feelings were defective and not normal… all your typical emotional abuser shit! Yes I said it – emotional abuse. Don’t bother trying to get him to see his emotional abuse – abusers don’t care.

    Abusers can twist anything to make it fit their agenda. Take for example this little blurb about abuse

    “For those unsure of whether they’re being abused, the real question is if behaviors directed towards them are designed to help them become more themselves, to help them grow and flourish as unique individuals, or designed to keep them from being themselves, to keep them from growing and flourishing as unique individuals. Abuse always derails growth since growth entails the right to become an individual rather than to remain a pawn”

    An abuser will read that and say you are the abuser because you are preventing them from sleeping with other people and being themselves. Bull crap! When someone is deceiving you by omitting the entire truth, you are disadvantaged from making informed decisions. You went digging for the truth, and once caught he gave you a nugget of truth.

    Mindfuckery is a slippery slope and can literally drive you to the point you believe you are insane.

    You’ve already stated you can talk to anyone … abusers love isolation. You need someone to run YOUR reality by. Stop protecting him and in the process creating self imposed isolation. An abuser wants to control your thoughts and feelings, your perspectives, your values. This end is much more easily achieved in isolation.

    Read up on emotional abuse and manipulation, don’t isolate yourself, line up your ducks and don’t rely on him to provide you your reality.

    • Good point and so true. My ex narc systematically alienated me from all my friends and was working on my family when I finally had enough. I swallowed my pride and told everyone what was going on. A huge weight was lifted and it empowered me to get the hell out.

      • Yes, me too. Carrying that burden was so heavy. So much guilt and shame that was not mine. After I kicked him out and filed, I told everyone from the girl painting my toenails to the guy changing the oil in my car. I mean everyone.

        I cried tears of relief it felt so good to be honest and get his dirty secrets off my chest. It was an important step to my healing. I began to separate from that filth. Never again will I cover for someone else. Compromising my beliefs felt like selling my soul.

        Tell, Trapped, there is freedom in it.

  • Trapped, I am a fan of Tracy Ullman. These are the replies she gave to the following questions: Q- What is your greatest fear? A- None. Because there is no point. Q- What does love feel like? A- Safe. Q- What is your greatest disappointment? A- Growing up and realizing that most people do not know what they are doing in life.

    No use being afraid of the New Life that awaits you. Believe this Chump here, who got divorced at 65 (and I have plenty of good company here at Chump Nation) after spackling for decades. The New Life is 1000% better! I slap myself for having put up with the shit I did; a lot of your story reminds me of mine. You will get over your grief!

    I can feel that my adult sons are getting the message that my XH did not get from his mother, who went through the same shit, but died sighing about how her cheater got his head turned by an evil woman.

    Do you feel SAFE? Doubt it.

    Your husband is a loser and will never change. Ask Chump Nation how it knows this.

    People can be very lazy or fearful about change. I used to be lazy.

    Take care, we have your back.

    • ClearWaters
      I too got divorced 2 years ago. I’m now 69. It took everything out of me when I finally had enough.
      I caught him with OWhore & due to my getting physically & mentally ill I had to divorce him.

      I’m not at meh yet.. don’t know if I ever will be but
      am trying. He quickly moved on to another woman after the original whore died. My adult son still sees his father & I have to accept it.

      My humiliation & devastation is slowly going away
      & im trying to get to peace. I also felt trapped to afraid to leave. But my self preservation kicked in & threw
      his old ass out. Us chumps have to stay strong & free ourselves from the selfish cheaters.

      Good luck to you! 👍🏻

      • Kathleen, I too feel so humiliated. But every now and then I check out the D-Day flatterfuck’s instagram account to feel good about myself even though she is old enough to be a daughter. And then I know I got rid of an evil, selfish, vain, useless human being (with terrible taste in people). I do feel stupid for wasting so much time on him, but then I feel strong for having had the guts to get rid of him. I am so busy I don’t have time to grieve that much, hope this is good for me. Take care and be strong!

    • What is your greatest fear? This is an important question CW. Mine was that some trashy fucked up whore would raise my children. I never got that I needed to use the Oxygen mask first.

      Yet we see these chumps with children going on to get degrees and standing up to the disordered in court.

      Instead of leaving I stayed and allowed the ‘good guy’ (serial cheating, pathological lying covert narcissist) to keep his image at the expense of losing myself.

      A child learns to be small or the bulky in their adult relationships. Chaos becomes their normal. Trapped, leave for both yourself AND your children. Each and every year it gets worse.

      I thought of myself as strong and independent while married to a monster. It was the furthest thing from the truth. Once I detached I had clarity. I wasn’t independent or confident. I was a battered woman who had developed Stockholm syndrome from years of emotional, financial and psychological abuse.

      Trapped he wants you trapped. Best sentence ever Tracy.

      Face the pain Trapped. It’s the way out.

        • I wrote a list of all my fears–just put them in writing so I could see how finite they were. And then I made a plan for each of them, also in writing. Not one of those fears ever came true.

          Also made a list of all the things I hated about xH. Small, petty things that I once felt guilty for feeling–everything. All the times he was a jerk to me–wrote those down, too. I looked at that list every time I wondered if I would long for him forever. Sometimes it’s a great way to see how badly you need to get out.

          I can’t shake the image of a married man feeling entitled to have a beleaguered and disgusted immigrant sex slave (ok, maybe indentured servant) service him. He uses the woman at home, he uses the woman in the “massage” place. He HAS no humanity. He is soulless–just like the others.

          You deserve so much better, but you won’t see it until you get started. You CAN get out, and I guarantee you that what’s behind the curtain is so much better than the dim, musty, cold life you have trapped where you are. Cheaters aren’t JUST cheaters sexually–they abuse and neglect and belittle in SO many other ways. (Refer to the second list I just talked about–what’s on your list??) This is all a little bit terrifying, but believe me, when you look back some day at how scared you were, but that you persisted, and you put one foot in front of the other, and you LEARNED, and you slipped a couple times but kept going, and you are living a life you never could have dreamed–my GOODNESS, you will feel so proud of yourself and so grateful that the cheating set you free.

  • Before you do anything talk to a lawyer. Find out your rights and let them tell you what you need to do. Do not tell him of course because he will start hiding stuff and all the sudden try to change things and force you to get a job. Collect all you can. The lawyer will tell you exactly what you need to get together. But start with bank statements, W-2’s any other financials like 401k, credit card statements anything you can get. Use his “bike club” time to your advantage. Also any proof of cheating you need also. Texts from his phone, phone calls, go to the phone company for the info. Pictures etc. use social media to your advantage here. Many times cheaters are stupid in this regard (mine). Tell your friends and family! They will help you! May even be a PI for you also. I found out many things from a friend he didn’t suspect because I knew people he didn’t think I knew. They forget they are not invisible. I know it’s hard and overwhelming but you need to protect you and your kids from this man! He’s not a good father. Good fathers don’t go around destroying their family. Don’t put anything past him. He has the moral compass of a kumquat so don’t think he wouldn’t try to leave you and your kids high and dry. Especially since he’s got a “bike partner” who he will ditch you and the kids for and want everything for the two of them. Trust I’ve been there and it sucks and you will waver but every time you do remember the horrible things he’s done and will do. He will do more especially after being served divorce papers. The rest of the monster will come out. Do not accept his behavior. No one deserves to be treated that way. So stay strong pick yourself up and go find that lawyer. You need someone on your side legally stat! Good luck

  • Trapped, I left my kids dad when I was home in maternity leave with my 2nd child.

    My ex refused to share money. He felt that allowing me to live under a roof he paid and kept me with running water and electricity was good enough. Until it wasn’t. Then I wasn’t allowed to use the dryer. Then the power to the hot water tank was turned off during certain hours. The electric panel was locked by him so that I couldn’t “sneak” and turn it on. Only allowed to use the over during hours he apointed. We lived far out of town. I was isolated. Then he started driving my car to work. Coming home with no gas so I couldn’t go out. It was bad.

    During my 2nd pregnancy I had complications and had to go off work early. Had to file for personal bankruptcy while he was making 50k a year. The bankruptcy administrators were flabbergasted by this. He refused to provide any financials. We were only common law and the laws are different in Canada.

    When 2nd baby was 8 months old, and oldest child was 4, I did was CL suggested.

    1) went very quietly to a lawyer to find out my rights and custody for the kids. I was terrified that he would hurt us if he knew I was leaving. Got my ducks in a row.

    2) did a midnight move when he was working midnights. He had guns. My family was scared for me. Sent my 4 yo to my mother’s and had to keep the breastfeeding baby with me in a baby backpack while I moved in to a van what i could. I left a lot. All the furniture. But dont get hung up on that. Its just stuff. It can be replaced.

    3) lived with my mom for 6 months. Best decision every. Could not believe how brainwashed I was by ex. My mother just kept telling me that I needed to be around people that loved me so I would remember how it felt. At first I was euphoric. Then depressed. Then I got my own place after my child benefits came in after we had been separated 6 months. I didn’t have a lot of money during those 6 months but my mom helped me and I helped her and it worked out.

    4) ex’s reaction when I told him I left? One sentence “what’s it going to take to get you back in the house?” Nothing.
    He begged me not to go through lawyers for a separation agreement. I composed a rough draft and quietly took it to my lawyer. She added a few things and he agreed with it and paid the child support from it but would never actually sign it which led to problems years down the road when he became purposely unemployed and stopped paying.
    I should have taken him right to court at that time but I was scared and just wanted to be away. But it would have served my children and I better and eased years of stress if I had gotten done then. Do don’t delay!

    5) I work as a personal support worker in long term care. There is high demand for workers in this field. It’s like taking care of babies but they are geriatric. Hours are flexible. I purposely work straight weekend’s so I don’t have to send my kids to a sitter during the week. My mom watches them on the weekend when I work. My work cannot cover weekend shifts so they love that I volunteer for them. Have been for 8 years. I also homeschool on and off and it suits that purpose as well. Financially I have no debt other than my apartment and car. I am now receiving court ordered child support and the government here is generous with their child tax benefits because I am single and the kids live with me fulltime. Life is finally good.

    Post script: the dad that you think is good to their kids, just not You? If a guy abuses the mother of his kids he is a POS. My ex moved 2 hours away to be with his gf. No thought for his kids. We did court last year after he moved. He wanted to pretend to be father of the year to her, but behind closed doors I offered him every weekend with the kids. He turned me down. Too much in gas money to drive down all the time. He CHOOSES to see them 4 days a month. His gf has no idea. Then he tries to argue that I should drive them halfway. Um. Nope.

    You can do This! Follow CLs advice. Get your ducks in a row. My kids and are thriving without all the abuse and undertones. They can handle 4 days a month. I’m just glad he’s not my problem anymore. Read everyone’s story. You are smart. We got you.

    • Oh my! I can’t even imagine what that must have been like for you. I’m so glad you and your children are out. As horrifying as many of us would see this story, sadly there are so many victims that are conditioned to believe this treatment is normal!

      In case someone hasn’t told you lately, you are amazing and mighty! You saved your children a lifetime of having abuse modeled to them!

    • OMG CIC! That is horrible!! I’m so glad you got away from that fucker! WOW. Your mom is awesome – glad you and your kids are safe and away from that abuse.

  • Please prioritize what you must do to help yourself and your kids.
    Start with getting an attorney and go from there. Get the best one you can find. One that will fight for you.

  • They trade on your vulnerability. Yes think to turn the tide. You trade from now on with strength (not vulnerability). Believe me it’s a better look….

  • Hi trapped,

    I’m so so sorry, but please follow the advice you’ve been given here. Every word of it so spot on. “However bad you envision being a single parent is, it’s not nearly as bad as the reality you are living right now” YES YES YES. “These fuckers leave SAHMs all the time” Indeed they do, after twenty or more years. God almighty, how I wish I had gotten out of my shit marriage when my children were little. I could have gone back to work when I was still young, and I could have modeled strength and independence for my children all this time. “Who are you to say no to his entitlement when you’ve got two small children and are economically dependent on him?” This one hit me right in the “god I fucked up” spot. This reality of being dependent on him, ultimately AFRAID of him and his power over you, it gets WORSE as the years go by. Trust me! The sooner you get out of this horrible marriage, the better.

    I’m so sorry you picked a shitty person to put all your faith in. I’m sorry for all of us for the wasted investment. But you’ve got the whole rest of your life, don’t live any more of it like this! Un-trap yourself! You CAN do it!

  • Scan every document that has financial information. 1040’s, bank statements, 401k’s, IRA’s, utility bills, EOB’s, groceries, insurances. Got any cards from him telling you how much he loves you, depends on you, what an outstanding mom you are? JACKPOT!

    Make TWO copies of everything. Two separate boxes. One box lives at your parents home in a closet. The other at your best friend’s place. Plus the scanned copy you sent to your brand-new, unknown to Fuckwit, email account.

    A decent father doesn’t abuse the mother of his kids. Lying and fucking around is abuse.

    NO SEX if you live in a state where you can file using adultery (if you choose that manner rather than irreconcilable differences. He’s a lying cheating fuckwit. You aren’t one. Irreconcilable.) and most assuredly NO SEX until you have gotten your STD panel results.

    You did nothing wrong. Your physician is NOT going to look down on you. GET the panel done straightaway.

    Do not share your thoughts or plans with him.

    The more lawyers you consult, the fewer he can hire. Whoever you hire should seek for him to pay your legal bills. If he wasn’t a lying cheating fuckwit this wouldn’t have been necessary.

    You are thrashing about in crisis & despair. He’s counting on the Pick-Me Dance. Don’t oblige him.

    This sucks & hurts, but now you KNOW he’s lying to you. He isn’t a good person. Dump him & model integrity to your kids.

    Eventually, it will suck less and you’ll be much happier.

      • That depends. I would still strongly suggest NO SEX because it shows forgiveness of the transgression. Not anymore, Wasband!

        As for the rest, sure – if pretending to be heartbroken and woebegone gets her more information (in writing) so she can obtain what she is owed (mostly) when they separate – go for it. But she will have to be a good actress. Emotional leakage is real and her fury and resolve may bleed through and leave him uneasy enough to start covering his tracks.

        But if she can play at being distressed while gathering information with which to stand up to him and tell him he has crossed the line in CONCRETE – do it.

  • Trapped

    Stop talking to him about the cheating. You have all the evidence you need to start protecting yourself.

    The plan you make is your own. Once he’s on to it he will attempt to make himself the victim.

    Get STD testing immediately. You should get credit cards in your name only. Assess all assets. This includes pensions, and other investments. Have you been married ten years. This is important for social security down the road.

    See that lawyer and determine what you will end up financially. Start saving cash by taking it out each time you shop.

    See the therapist; one who gets trauma and doesn’t blame the victim. You might need a forensic accountant to find hidden assets or debts. Get all the account numbers and hard copies of every thing.

    My guess is he’ll want to protect his image at all costs. Hire someone to gather evidence. That’s called leverage.

    I was trapped with three children pre chump lady. You are not alone.

    • I wanted to jump in and add–the only credit cards I had while married were in Ex Husband’s name. I was advised to get one of my own before the divorce, just in case my credit score took a hit through the process, it was already activated. That worked well for me, though because we didn’t have much debt, my credit came out pretty unscathed.

      Just keep it in mind, as you prepare. Best of luck, Trapped. You can do this!

      • I applied for a new credit card in my name only while still married because everyone said that was best. They would only give me a $5000 limit. Luckily I didn’t need more than that but it made me uncomfortable that I would not have a larger cushion in case of emergency. I applied for a new card six months post divorce and was granted a $17,500 limit when it was just me. Makes me wonder what they know that I don’t.

        • Jeez, that’s crazy. My credit score actually went up when the divorce was final–opposite of what I expected. Its just reinforcement that they were weights around our necks, holding us down.

          Better without them!

          • Ha! When I got home I had a letter telling me that my credit limit has been raised by $7,000 on my first credit card. Apparently my credit worthiness is almost 6 times what it was when I was married. I can get myself into all kinds of trouble now.

  • Please interview multiple local attorneys- especially the nastiest ones. When it comes down to it, pick an assertive, experienced lawyer who has good ethics. But you want to interview the nastypitbull ones so your ex can’t hire them.

    An ethical lawyer will tell you what the state norms are, what you can expect and why you can expect it and what they can and can’t do. They can tell you how your case is similar or different to status quo cases and how that changes the outcome.
    An unethical lawyer will promise you whatever you dream of.

    I dodged a bullet and ended up with a fantastic compassionate family lawyer. She escaped an abusive ex and went back to law school with four little kids. She has been fantastic. And expensive – but over the long run she has been more than worth it.

    Good luck. You can escape. I did!

    • This.

      Ethical lawyers will also tell you who they like seeing across the aisle in court. My lawyer gave me the name of about 6 lawyers in town that she liked seeing because they knew family law. She also told me who to avoid, as her experience with those lawyers is that they were so needlessly combative that they cost their clients (and hers) more money than was necessary.

  • So many smart women out there have already said it all. You are not alone. You will come out on the other side stronger and better. Hard to believe I know but seriously you will. Have faith in yourself. You never how strong you are until you have to rely on it. And please reach out to friends and family. Oh god it was so hard for me to do it but I did and am grateful for it.

  • The site ate my post. Drat.

    A good dad doesn’t abuse the mom.

    Scan everything financial, including grocery bills, utilities, insurances, taxes, pay stubs, bank statements, brokerage accounts, 401k’s, IRA’s, EOB’s, credit card statements, etc. Notes or cards from him singing your praises are great to have too.

    Get tested for STD’s. No sex.

    Don’t discuss any escape plans with him.

    Interview attorneys. The best divorce lawyers in town. Anyone you consult he can’t hire later.

    Look into full and part-time jobs. Now. At least get a feel for what is available & what skills they want.

    He’s abusing you. Hes counting on your economic position to ensure kibbles. Screw that noise. Don’t do the Pick-Me dance for a lying cheating abusive fuckwit.

    Find a therapist for YOU. NOT a marital counselor. He is counting on you to keep his public image as a MARRIED man. He isn’t looking for you to strengthen yourself!

    Days will suck, but you will have many better years without him. Plus being the resilient sane parent is good for the kids too!

    • The spam filters will put comments in moderation sometimes. It’s not personal, it’s the spam filter. I will fish them out, eventually. But alas, I can’t be at CL all the time, so please forgive the delays. It’s all part of running a site this large. Thanks for understanding.

    • I had the same problem, NSC.

      Rebecca suggested I create a new email address just for this site, which I did, and it works !

      I had the same problem, NSC.

      Rebecca, one of the moderators, suggested I check to see if my IP was blacklisted any where. I did, and it was ! Rebecca said to create a new email address just for this site, which I did, and it works ! No more posts ‘awaiting moderation.’

      • How do I check that? I was using the Wi-Fi at work and I would be very surprised if it was blacklisted. Or is it my phone (How do I find its IP?)

        I’m not as tech-savvy as I should be.

  • Brave, beautiful Trapped, so glad you found us!

    Make this site your guide. You are not, not alone!

    Make a list of all the FACTS of the things he did/does that upset you. Look at the FACTS. Are they acceptable to you? Doing this was the only way I fought my way out of the fog of self-doubt, gaslighting and needing to trust that he wasn’t the man I thought he was. I fell in love with potential and tried to settle for second best but the potential never flowered and I deserve more than second best. So do you and your children.
    Much love to you and your children today Trapped ❤❤❤

  • Dear Trapped – congratulations on your first step toward freedom… writing to CL and getting the support and clarity you need from CN. Already, you are no longer trapped as you were.

    Please stop thinking of your Manipulator as a good father. A good father is a man of integrity who honors his wife… first and foremost. Yours, does not.

    Before I spoke with a lawyer, I began a documentation binder. I created tabs like “Craigslist Hookers”; “Personal Ads”; “Phone Bills (which also show volume of texts by phone #!); “Credit Records”; “Emails”…. you get my drift… by doing this in such a systematic fashion, it did a couple of things for me:

    1. It allowed me to detach emotionally from the horror I was looking at and just focus on organization of facts.

    2. It became my talisman whenever I doubted to “Trust that he sucks”

    3. It became the cornerstone of my divorce proceedings – I made a copy for my lawyer and took mine to every mediation/custody/hearing/attorney meeting we had. Judges LOVE PAPER.

    4. When Switzerland friends tried to minimize my grief, I could turn to it and prove to myself… see that day, where I took our son to a birthday party (he was 3)… that was the day Mr. Sparkles went to the city to fuck a Craigslist hooker. Kinda hard to minimize that shit.

    5. It gave me back the beginnings of my sanity… I had been gaslighted so often and for so long that I had forgotten so much. Gathering all of this information in one 3-inch binder made it hard to ignore.

    I also got two things… a great therapist who understands narcissism and a great pitbull lawyer who has a good reputation with the family court law clerks and judges.

    I realize as a SAHM, you life will significantly change. But do you realize that the change will put YOU BACK IN CONTROL of your life? I can’t imagine a better opportunity, even if it means downsizing and going back to work.

    You can do this. You must do this. Your children are watching.

  • Just a reminder for you when he talks like that – you are working for the family raising kids. Caring for children is a stressful job.

    Get a lawyer and figure out how to protect yourself.

  • My ex had one emotional (pretty sure not physical) affair that I recognized as a threat to my marriage back in 2007. I now believe there were numerous other “emotional” affairs that were much more damaging to my marriage than I thought at the time. I did not try to stop these “friendships” because I didn’t want to be the jealous, controlling wife. I was wrong. I should have gotten upset about each and every one. I now know that this is just step one on the infidelity path. Eight years after the 2007 emotional affair, one of those friends became physical affair number 1. Then he left me for physical affair number 2. Don’t be blindsided like I was. It may or may not be a physical affair today, but it has been in the past and it will be again eventually, only this time there will be an emotional attachment as well. That is the direction this is heading. He is not protecting his marriage. Right now he is eating cake. Eventually he may decide that cake is too much stress and he will discard you and, at least to some extent, his kids (for whom you think he is such a good father) for something new and shiny. Take control of your situation and leave him first so you aren’t left holding the bag. As CL says, get ahead of this. He is not a good husband and he isn’t a good father. Good fathers look after their families. He isn’t.

  • All the ‘extra’ time he has to text and hang out with his “friend” could have been time spent with his kids. That’s what a good father would have done.

    He deletes the texts because …..you know exactly why. It takes time to fully accept the reality. He will never tell the truth and he will never feel guilt. Cheaters don’t do either of those things.

    Take Chumplady’s advice.

  • Oh yes and definitely tell friends and family (yours, best not his) what is going on. You need the emotional support. He will try to make you feel guilty for doing so but fuck him. He shouldn’t be doing things he doesn’t want people to know about. I was reluctant to tell people when I was still wanting to reconcile. I had to let it slip to some people, however, or the stress would have killed me. He was upset when I told my dad but if I can’t talk to my own dad about why I am so upset, then that’s a problem. Every time he said something that made me recognize that there was no hope, someone else found out about our situation. He tried to make me think my telling others was hurting our chances at reconciliation because I was hurting his feelings by letting other people know he was a jerk. That is backwards thinking, however, because it was his being a jerk that caused me to reach out to others for support in the first place. Your STBX (hopefully) husband will do the same but it is bullshit. He will still be a jerk if you tell no one. If you tell people that will lift some of the burden off of you. Do it today.

  • While you are sad, he is preparing to leave you with nothing.

    He abuses to confuse you, turns issues around on you so you will look at yourself and not at him. The last thing he wants is for you to find your self-respect and take appropriate action. He wants you sad so you don’t notice he’s moving money, seeing a lawyer, moving assets, bad-mouthing you to his family and friends, setting you up to take the fall. If cheating matters in divorce where you are I would hire a good private investigator asap to get solid proof. That investigator testifies in court all the time and knows who the good lawyers are. Mine recommended my lawyer who has had my back through my ongoing legal nightmare and that was worth the money I paid even though we never got proof of his cheating. I did get that myself, through phone records and one email he got sloppy and didn’t take care of it.

    Also yours sounds like mine, he will threaten to take the children, threaten to leave you with nothing, etc. Don’t believe that shit, court is like the DMV they don’t care about assholes like him, they see a dozen a day. Judges just care about who cared for the children most of the time…that was you.

  • CL advises you to “Get in front of this.” When we’re caught in a whirlwind of emotions, with a cheater trying to implant thoughts in our heads that don’t fit reality, there is a tendency to react to each assault. Be proactive instead. Know those further assaults are coming, but that you have done something to counter the continued abuse (documenting all financial records is a good start, including the amount in your H’s retirement account from the beginning of the marriage).

    If you’ve read this far into the comments, you know most members of CN stayed in marriages after one affair only to be hit 5, 10, 15, 20 years later with knowledge of more infidelity. Leave now; don’t waste years of your life on a fuckwit.

    If you worry that your children will be affected, they will be more affected (and their later behavior shaped) by seeing their father emotionally abuse their mother. If you have a son, he may later model that behavior after seeing DearOldDad treat his spouse poorly for years; if you have a daughter, she may view your treatment as acceptable in her later relationships. Children do not benefit by having their main parent be semi-broken. Hugs to you.

    • So True Tempest. I’m far enough out that I see my now adult children being treated in the same abusive way he used to treat me.
      Trapped, it is hard. I’m sure this was not the advice you were hoping for. It takes a long, long time for the chumpy heart to understand and accept when it loves truly and deeply. I lost years and they were painful ones. My suggestion, in addition to supporting all the excellent action items in the comments already, is to listen to your head and tend to your heart later. The marriage as you saw it is over. A dead corpse in a corner somewhere. Don’t try to put lipstick on it. Get angry. Anger points the way and and you can protect those children from the train wreck of a life their father is on.

  • Your story is so familiar to me and I’m sure to many others. Playing marriage police, not wanting to believe that he is a bad guy, being afraid of how he’ll react if you even dare mention your feelings about what he’s doing…some of what Chump Lady says might even sound extreme to you (talking to a lawyer, believing that he could pick up and leave, that he isn’t at all sorry…) You might be saying “well he’s not THAT bad, I don’t think he’s like all the others. He would never deliberately manipulate or take advantage of me or screw me over in a divorce”. He IS and he WILL if you let him. Mine was the same way. I gave him too much credit at the beginning and for a long time after that. I wanted to believe that he wouldn’t do these things to me…that he was just broken. NOPE. He SUCKS. Once you truly internalize that he is NOT on your side and does NOT have your back, you can really start to move on and see him for who he truly is. You’re SO much better off without him, trust me. Trust all of us!! We have been there. Hugs!!

  • Dear You’re-Actually-Not-Trapped:
    I re-read your letter to CL to kinda analyse it, as a pattern stood out. Basically, you’ve been using word choices to describe a theoretical relationship. You talk about nice thoughts and imaginings, after laying out very horrible actual occurrences.

    It sounds like your reality is so overwhelming, that you are rewriting it with your hopes and wishes.

    Yes it’s hard to face, but you must. Sure it’s preferable to create a fantasy construct and go live there instead of in a divided house.
    But you can make it whole and happy with you, your children, a future partner perhaps, one built around a love that doesn’t lie or sneak around for nine years and counting.

    You also constructed the hopelessness you feel. Your invisible cage. You aren’t anything your disrespectful spouse says you are. And who even cares what he thinks? He’s no longer your problem. Decide who you want to be and work on that from now on. Trapped, or free? Your move.

    Stop dreaming and start doing, babe!

  • Dear Trapped and fellow SAHM,
    You are not trapped!! It just feels like it. FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real (also for Face Everything And Recover). I had my teeth cleaned the other day and because I tend to be honest when someone asks how I am, I started crying and told my dental hygienist that I am getting divorced and had found out my husband was having an affair (the one I know about, and ALSO Asian “massage” parlors). I then proceeded to get my teeth cleaned, along with a free therapy session and pep talk. She hugged me and told me that 30 years ago, she was a SAHM, with two toddlers and a NEWBORN!!!…just arrived from Iran, she didn’t speak English or drive, when she found out her husband was cheating. She was pissed!!! She was mighty!!! She got out immediately, and began that process of getting away from him and becoming financially independent. She is on the other side, doing so well, overcame all those other scary obstacles that I don’t have (language, citizenship, driving, no job) and on Monday she was pulling me along toward her while cleaning my teeth!! You are NOT alone with us; you ARE ALREADY ALONE with your “good father/husband” (NOT!!). The news is NOT what he’s been doing; the news is that you are in on the secret. Getting a REAL pit crew to help you means only UP for you as opposed to this horrible man’s actions that have been dragging you under for who knows how long. I am a SAHM and spent 20 years building A FREAKING BUSINESS with my “good father/husband (not!) and my new life dream is how to get out of business with him. I start my day with coffee and Chump Lady to get my perspective back (it disintegrates daily) and then plan my day around with REAL affair recovery in mind. (REAL affair recovery is getting out and No Contact as best I can from this evil entanglement that I used to think was a marriage.
    I was married to a FACADE). ❌❌⭕️⭕️

  • I feel this so much. My son is autistic and I was in the same space as this lw. Heed the advice you are getting, but listen to this – You matter. Your wants, needs and feelings matter. Stop sacrificing yourself for others. Put yourself first. You can’t save anyone else if you are drowning. Women are taught to deny themselves, but it just makes you miserable and burnt out. Worry about yourself, save yourself, the rest will follow.

  • you get a diagnosis of cancer. you are terrified. you are panicked at the anticipation of the pain and sickness you will endure whether to cure that cancer or as you die. You know you must take treatment or you will die and even with treatment you may still die. You think about the disposition of your assets. you think what do I take with me every time I leave my home for treatment. This marriage has a cancer. NOT YOU. The treatment is divorce. But you have a much better chance of surviving in a better life with this treatment than if you stay embedded in the cancer. What do you have here? A liar for certain. A 24-7 feeling inside of anguish? Ask yourself this: if I had a trillion dollars would I go my own way instantly? If you answer yourself, “yes”, then money is the only issue and you can solve all that with all excellent advice given here by CL and the commentators. The fact is millions, literally millions have survived cancer and divorcing cheating husbands for eons. So can you. AND PS, he is only their father, not a good one.

  • Trapped-
    When I found out about exholes little fuck phone, things were never the same. Judas (supposedly) got rid of the phone, but then just started carrying his ‘real’ phone on him like it was another appendage. I actually got a glimpse of a conversation one day between him and “Bob/Amanda.” Bob/Amanda was really just Amanda…. Judas claimed he “Never cheated on me.” BUT – deleting conversations from women (which I know was going on because I saw only parts of conversations), hiding the fact that he was EVEN conversing with another woman, keeping his phone attached to him at all times – like bringing it into the shower with him, turning it upside down and not looking at it until you are out of the room, keeping it on vibrate when it is upside down are RED FLAGS and IS CHEATING!
    AND now that you are aware of it – you need to move fast. If he is on to you not willing to put up with the bullshit, he’s gonna start moving/hiding money because he knows the end is near. Be careful!

  • GET AN INDEPENDENCE PLAN

    I love this btw. You are mighty, and you do have the power within you. You existed before marriage, kids…get in touch with that inner lady who didn’t ask nobody for nothing and make and execute a plan. Enlist the helpers around you. Protect yourself and your children from someone who clearly doesn’t give a shit about anyone but himself.

  • “but what you are living right now is far worse that what you imagine [single ] is.”

    TRUST this is the truth.

    I resisted it for years, terrified, but it is truly worse to live with contempt and disdain.

  • Trapped,

    Another comment, and one that may not be popular here in the end. If you let things continue as they are, with you being trapped, and your husband getting happy endings, joining ‘bike clubs’ where the only ‘pedaling’ is lies and illicit hookups, then you will truly be trapped, and he will continue to do what he wants.

    If you think there’s any hope for the situation (hope can be a dangerous thing), you have to impose consequences. You let him know there were consequences for his happy ending massages, and he promised to stop.

    Now you think he’s trying another avenue to get his happy endings. If you let him know there are consequences, that he can’t go through with this and stay married to you, maybe he’ll make the right decision. So you could potentially save things by lowering the hammer now, letting him know you know and won’t put up with it.

    That said, I still think you should follow through with CL’s advice. See an attorney, find out what divorce will look like, get support, put together an exit plan. Once you have that in place, but before you serve him with divorce papers, let him know what you have planned, and what you expect from him. Maybe he’ll do the right thing.

    And with that said, even if he agrees to do the right thing, you still need to decide if you want to be married to someone who would cheat on you without you having to threaten divorce to make him do the right thing. But you’ll have that choice, and having choices is the opposite of being trapped. Personally, if I had to threaten my wife to make sure she didn’t cheat, I would think the marriage was already dead. But if you have choices, you won’t be trapped, and if he sees you’re not trapped, then he’ll have to act differently.

    In the final analysis, if he’s spending a lot of time seeking outside sexual release, whether from a ‘masseuse’ or some busty curvy single woman he met at a bar, then he’s not committed to the marriage. As a SAHM mom, you know how much work it requires, and if someone isn’t committed to doing that work, they really aren’t going to be a great parent. Sounds like your husband isn’t committed to the marriage the same way you are, and regrettably, that doesn’t bode well for the future of your marriage.

    It’s a tough road you have ahead of you, however you choose to approach it. Good luck.

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.
    aeronaut

    • Sometimes I think my marriage would have ended differently if I had been tougher on ex, but honestly that was never the kind of marriage I wanted to have. One of the reasons I married him in the first place was because I thought he loved me and I wouldn’t have to fight for him. I never singed up for that and didn’t want it. At some point after DDay I realized I had already been doing exactly that for years and he still strayed. That is what finally gave me the gumption to end our marriage. Even if he did eventually “get his head out of his ass” and come home, I would always feel as if I had to fight to keep him and I was done with that. That is not what marriage is supposed to be. I don’t think anybody should have to do that.

      • I *was* tough on my X, and tolerated very little of his nonsense silently. Hannibal had many, um, excesses of behavior, and his entire family thought my holding his feet to the fire improved him dramatically. And yet here I am, on the same chump board as people who were very tolerant and non-confrontational. The problem is inside them.

    • There is no “lowering the hammer” if a woman has no economic leverage. That’s why seeing an attorney and getting child support and spousal support is key. That’s lowering the hammer. It will probably take 6 months to a year to get a divorce. In the meantime, STBX would have an opportunity to change his behavior and how he treats Trapped. In the meantime, Trapped has the opportunity to establish a foundation for economic independence.

      Based on her story, I agree that he’s not committed to the marriage, so the hammer must be establishing her ability to support the kids now and into the future.

    • I can understand the impetus to show that there are consequences. That said, I think a SAHM (or SAHD) is operating from a position of fiscal vulnerability. If he decides to walk, she’s in a very tough spot.

      Trapped–This is why so many people are telling you that you need to prioritize financials and your lawyer. Once you have a clear idea of what you can do if you opt for divorce, you have the ability to confront him and weather whatever the fallout might be.

  • These fuckwits don’t spend a minute thinking of the well being of their spouses or their children. It’s all about their wants and their needs. Hey the spouse is trapped, who cares. The kids aren’t doing well, who cares. It’s all about my sexual needs. Meanwhile the spouse is in sheer and utter misery, feeling trapped and awful in a horrible situation, while the cheater is happy go lucky without a care in the world.

  • Get a copy of your credit report, bring this with you to the attorney.
    I know so many people whose spouse had opened credit cards in both names that they knew nothing about.

    • That’s great advice. A credit report, for sure. Copies of all the bank records and taxes. And results from testing for STDs. For starters.

  • Dear Freebird who thinks she is trapped,

    What you tell yourself you will believe, change your internal narrative. You ARE powerful, you CAN deal with the pain, you WILL be ok the other side of leaving your cheater, YOU and YOUR children.
    Use every moment you can to prepare to dump your ENEMY. We believe in you, you can TRUST US. with US, you can achieve what you deserve. A life you can enjoy, free from despair,worry, guilt, blame, gas lighting, loneliness, deceit and betrayal. You are a force to be reckoned with once you decide to put your needs first. Your using, selfish, lying cheater has just lost the best thing that has ever happened to him. You are MIGHTY X

  • Trapped, please realize a few things-
    – He is employing something called “trickle truth.” He only admits to things he thinks you already know. He lies about the parts you don’t know about. It should bother you that every time you trap him in a lie, you forgive him and believe the new story he gives you at face value. Then you catch him in another, he invents something new, and the cycle keeps repeating like this. Cheating is like the iceberg; the part you see is only a small part of the whole.
    – This “bike club” buddy or whatever he’s calling her now is almost certainly a real full-blown AP. Why would he lie about her, making up new ones when the old ones fail, if he had nothing to hide?
    – In fact, there’s probably more AP’s than you know about.
    – There are actual, good men out there (including many of us on this site), who won’t do this to you.
    – You CAN get out, and you CAN have a better life. It won’t be what you thought you had, but you never had that, and you never will. I did it, thousands of others on this site did it, and so can you.

    One more thing…I hate to add this, as this particular item drove me nuts, but you need to get a test for certain diseases. Who knows what the cyclist, Asian muscle therapist, and who-knows else are carrying.

  • This sucks. It’s a club that should have fewer members.
    It gets worse before it gets better. Sorry.
    Oh and my daddys girl psychopath just got fired by her lawyer because she reneged on every aspect of the deal we came to in mediation. In her correspondence to him, she lets him know how stupid she thinks I am. She just wasted her kids future on a trial that will result in a better outcome for me.
    So, sadly you are not alone. I’m so sorry you’re going through this.

  • Trapped, I still love XH the substance abuser (not a cheater, so far as I know, but hey, he spent every weekend in a bar, so what do I know?). But what I faced was the likelihood that he would kill himself mixing alcohol and opioids or destroy his liver with acetaminophen-based opioids, that he would kill or maim someone else driving drunk, and that I would never have a husband who was sober when I was home from work. He was destroying his mental faculties and his body. He was verbally abusive. Unkind. But I’d loved him for years and years, even when we weren’t married. He was always the “one.” But years of living with the substance abuse eroded that love.

    Seriously. That was my life. He was drunk or high all the time. I’m not sorry that I ended the marriage. I wish he were sober and I wish he weren’t mean. But if a frog had wings, he wouldn’t bust his butt to jump. He is what he is. And I got my life back, even though I was 60 and looking at postponing retirement, maybe forever. It’s worth it. I figured out the money part, with help from my therapist.

    Move in with your folks if you need to or with a sibling or a friend while you get on your feet. Or kick him out and move someone in with you to help for a while. Think outside the box. You don’t have to stop loving him right now. But you have to stop that “love” from controlling your life.

  • {{{{Get support. You haven’t told anyone. Change that. Get a therapist. Tell your BFF. Tell your family. The weight of this kind of secret and stress can kill a person. I’m not exaggerating. Please, for your mental health and your kids, get some help. I’m sending you a big long distance ((((HUG))). You can DO THIS.}}}

    Dear Trapped,
    I too suffered silently for twelve and a half years with exh2, a total fuckwit.
    My health became worse the longer I was with him — Stage 4 Endometriosis, ulcers, migraines (never had them before him), insomnia, etc.
    Then D-Day.
    Then I found ChumpLady.
    Then I found my voice.
    Then I spoke— I revealed all to my friends, my family, my co-workers.
    Then I found my mighty. You will too.
    Those early days were hell, but I ducks to put in a row.
    I had truth to speak.
    You will too.
    I would tell myself, “cry tomorrow, fight today”
    Cry tomorrow.
    Fight today.
    It got me through a lot.
    ((((hugs)))))
    You can and will do this.
    We’re here for you.

  • I told EVERYONE IMMEDIATELY and I don’t know why. I couldn’t stop! After twenty years I was finally marrying him last September. But DDay (I call it EDAY for enlightenment) came and I found out ten of our twenty years were spent using korean prostitutes while I toiled away creating our dreams and creating our next. We bought a farm together! My attorney calls it FRAUD that he allowed me to continue on my merry, couple based, trusting way – bringing him in on investment real estate, overseeing his new warehouse and office construction, making him money — and he was the only one who knew the state of our affairs. Is there anyone out there I can talk one on one to? I want to know if a men’s church group, a year of counseling, offers to take a lie detector test, etc. equal unicorn. I also want to know if anyone has ever put aside this type of betrayal and went on to have a life that was all it could be, in the face of all this damage and devastation. Its one year in. I feel like my heart and soul have been raped by the realization of his depravity. eleanorvallone@gmail.com if you would like to reach out and help me. And, no, I don’t care who knows the truth. If more cheaters were consequenced with the full weight of their actions, there would be fewer cheaters. STOP enabling them!

    • Unless he wrote a check for all the money he took from you, he’s no unicorn.
      And let’s say I would never lie down at night beside a man who had lied to me for a decade, cheated with prostitutes or garden-variety APs, or committed something that an attorney would call “fraud.”

      People don’t change. They can grow. They can learn from experience. But it takes time and work. You are a year in and working hard to recover and still, you “feel like [your] heart and soul have been raped by the realization of his depravity.” So how far do you think this con artist can move toward change in that time frame? Case closed. (See CL on remorse and what it takes.)

      You didn’t ask for advice, but here’ the best help I can offer you: stop thinking about him. Don’t allow him to be central in your life. He was a learning experience. Turn your attention to your own considerable life skills. That’s the way to have a life that’s all it can be–to be the best YOU can be.

  • BTW, CN, feel free to use my Harry Potter spell when you get gripped by fear/jealousy/envy/insanity that someone else is going to get your Nice Person Illusion of your cheating spouse….point your magic wand at them in your mind and say, “Dean McDermottus!”
    It also helps my perspective to say “beating my mind, body, heart, and soul with a sledgehammer,
    intentionally, 24/7” instead of “cheating”. (Euphemisms suck)
    I also really resent it when people suggest I should reserve my anger for just the spouse and not the Lower Companion. If the Lower Companion knows the spouse was married, they are just as guilty of soul-murder (of me AND my child) as my (poor choice of) spouse. No, we will NOT all be friends someday. I deserve REAL friends who demonstrate they know what the word means.

  • I remember feeling that i was slowly being trapped. It was a weird almost paranoid feeling that i couldnt quite put my finger on.
    The things he did for me “seemed” nice but i felt like there was something sinister behind it.
    It turns out there was.
    Anything i did that worked to bolster my self esteem he quietly sabotaged(with the help of his twisted family)behind the scenes.
    I always had a strange feeling he was behind the chaos but i never really believed it.
    Its so hard when you realize the person that was claiming to love you was trying to destroy you for so long.
    Those are things that normal people just dont do.
    I think that is where a lot of my anger comes from. I really do want to kick his ass. I am not a girl that goes around fighting either.
    It takes a long time to get the filth off.

    • This ring s a bell…feeling so weird but cant put your finger on it. Too…the ex’s family were mean…and i mean out in thopen mean to me for so many years. I used to have dreams of how they were all ganging up on me. Then before fucktard made his swift exit he was in the dreams as a accomplice. Wtf. My intuition was right on. He had been feeding them how awful i was so he could play the pity victm ..worked a treat. It is the most difficult experience to get over . Your most trusted person in the world ever has been trying to destroy you the whole 20 years. Making you feel like you were mad crazy and making a big deal . This creeped me out so bad. He planned every financial detail to the last when he finally left. Read me a financial statement of what he was leaving me with… ie nothing. BUT he ‘forgot’ to remove my life insurance off his credit card. I was so distraught at the way he screwed me over i was suicidal. He knew it ..’phoned a friend’ for cover he was concerned then went drinking with mates for the rest of the night. I seriously think he left my very expensive life insurance on his payment plan to hedge his bets in case i topped myself. I cant keep dealing with these revelations. Its going to destroy me.

  • So much good advice!

    Trapped–The hardest thing to wrap your head around is that he is not your friend. In fact, he’s your enemy. When he tells you that he works hard to support you and your children, he’s letting you know that he sees your marriage as a transaction. In his head, you’re providing a service. He pays for it. If you no longer want to provide that service, he’ll cut you loose. Since he knows you’re dependent on his income, he can use that fact to threaten you–and you already know he’s doing it!

    That’s why you can’t tell him that you’re seeing lawyers or going through the financials. If he makes a very good income (and to support a SAHM, he probably does), it’s probably worth it to see a divorce financial planner.

    And make that independence plan. You have ZERO guarantee that he’ll opt to stay married. He could cut you loose at any time and you’d be stuck with no support whatsoever. You do not want to be that Chump who decided to stick it out, only to discover that their spouse dumped them when they were looking at retirement. At least now you are young enough that you can put yourself into the work force.

    Yes, that sucks. It’s not what you wanted, but the good news is that it gets better.

  • When I read stories like this, I think yep, he’s a good husband and father the way Don Draper (Madmen) is a good husband and father: he’s a good provider, a paycheck. He feels sorry for himself (I’m just a paycheck, waahh!), so he’s entitled to fuck around.

    Problem is that he’s just a paycheck because that’s what he chooses to be, because he’s not truly engaging with you and his kids. Instead he chooses to engage with FuckWhore for recreation. You and the kids could be his recreation, his breath of fresh air after work, but he chooses to relax with someone else. That’s it. His choice.

    On top of that in his little mind below the waist, the work that you do at home with the kids isn’t really work, is not really stressful (ha!), all you do is finger painting with the kids, then have a manicure.
    So he’s also envious of the fantasy life he attributes to you. Stick him at home with the kids on his own for a couple of months (not just a week!) while you’re out all day working then meeting with a handsome chap for fun and let him see what that’s like.

    Of course that won’t happen because you wouldn’t do that to anybody.

    So do whatever CL says.
    You’ll probably start with 50/50 with the kids and he’ll have to manage that and his workload and get a reality check. Don’t help him with it. Consequences.

    You can always find out if he really is remorseful when you’re separated/ divorced. Read CL’s column https://www.chumplady.com/2013/07/real-remorse-or-genuine-imitation-naugahyde-remorse/
    and if he does all that, you can give him a chance. But don’t wait around for it, build you own life. You’re not his housekeeper. He’s not your paycheck. This is supposed to be a marriage.

    • Parenting is a hard job. Ex wanted me to be a SAHM. I refused because I loved my kids and I knew I couldn’t handle that. I would have ended up resenting them and ex if I had tried. I was always grateful to their nannies for the good job they did during the day and I did my best to take over and let the kids know how much I loved them in the evenings and on the weekends. Ex wanted kids and still resents that we didn’t have more but he never really knew what do to with them after they were born. They didn’t come out of the womb as perfect little adults who always did what they were told and made you proud 24/7. He also had nothing but complaints about our nannies but always put me in the middle expecting me to correct their faults. Eventually he quit his high paying job to be a SAHD. I thought maybe he would either succeed at turning out the perfect kids or he would learn a little empathy and understand why I didn’t want to do that job and/or appreciate our former nannies more. Nope! He just got more and more sullen, dissatisfied, cross and depressed. He blamed me for his failure to get them to live up to his standards. He blamed me for his miserableness, cheated on me and then left me for a skank. Parenting is a hard job and these ashats can’t handle it. I applaud all of you who are able to handle the job of SAHM or SAHD.

  • Ah – if you’re still reading please try to find a copy of Gavin de Becker’s book, “The Gift of Fear”. TRUST YOUR GUT.

    I recommend this book, not to frighten you further – but to give you clarity on the situation. If you can’t wade through it now, you will want to do so when your reading material isn’t easily observed by your husband.

    I wish you all the best in the world.

  • So much good advice above. Sooner or later is my comment. I recommend sooner. I too felt trapped economically, with sunk costs and dependent children, and for a while believed his lies, and gave more of my precious time and energy, before more lies finally propelled me to take action. Better late than never. But why waste your time on someone lacking in character who does not have your interests/wellbeing in their heart?
    Strongly agree with the good advice about financials and lawyers. It isn’t the destination you planned but you can do this. Wishing you strength and comfort from knowing so many other people who have encountered this crap situation, have survived and thrived, and care.

  • Just typed and lost a long reply! Help me chump nation! This column came at just the right moment. Second time I’ve had proof from PI ( first tine I was stupid and took him back) over past 8 months of his continued affair, gaslighting me, lying to me. I’m sick. I took the kids to camp this past weekend and stayed out of town w our youngest , really hoping he wouldn’t take the bait. Within 3 hours he had her in our neighborhood, then off to our tiny beach condo to fuck her all weekend . Texted me he loves me while laying there in bed w her! ( a former friend of mine from work of course). When I return late Friday night , he prob will be asleep. I think I will need to wait until kids are in bed Saturday night and then ask him to leave. I want to be able to control the narrative for the kids, I’ve tried everything to save our marriage and he hasn’t tried at all. I don’t want this! I don’t want them to think it was something I didn’t try to fix! Help me, I’m falling apart ! ( also, quit work a year ago w his urging, talked about going back this January and he told me I shouldn’t, while being resentful if the fact I wasn’t working and was just dealing w our 3 kids and him being out of town half the time for his work , which he feels entitled to do, make plans for going to conferences etc and has never had to check w me first . Once I can find a job again that is changing or I’m getting almost full physical custody . Anyway , how can I keep it together until he’s out? 18 years, and the person I thought was my best friend I’m the universe! I’m devastated .

    • I have to say, first off, if you have three children, YOU DO WORK. Maybe you don’t have AN EXTRA job outside being a parent, but please respect yourself for having a 24/7 ass-kicking job.
      Even if you have staff helping you, parenting is a valid job in and of itself.
      See my post above about my inspirational appointment with my dental hygienist on Monday. And second, you have him a second chance and he proved who he was. His bad, not yours. ZERO yours. ❌❌⭕️⭕️❤️

    • Get back in the workforce ASAP. You haven’t been out that long. Depending on your field you may not need too much retraining if you do it now. If you do it later it may be more difficult. Focus on keeping it together for you and the kids. You got this.

      • Ask an attorney before returning to work. Divorce as SAHM, – he will pay your legal bills – work after.
        Ask your attorney

    • See a lawyer immediately. DON’T TELL HIM. Find out what you’re entitled to (child support, alimony) and how to make it happen. Gather your financials.

      • This, right here. Don’t tell him until you’ve talked to an attorney and the two of you have a strategy put together.

    • Little Ghost: Oh the waiting after the PI. The utter torcher of it. Yes waiting to bring it up till the kids are asleep, or even better maybe a friend could watch them and you could not have to worry about them being around? The one argument my son ever heard was when I thought he was asleep and I confronted my Ex. I planned to keep the volume low but he said all the wrong things I just lost it. It is tough when the moment comes. As far as getting through this, if you can get him out of the house do it. Don’t ask him to leave, tell him he has to. (even though legally he doesn’t, don’t let him know that).

      I am assuming you have your ducks in a row before you confront him though? Half of all available money in your own separate account? A stash of emergency cash and/or gift cards? Copies of all important documents? Consulted with a lawyer? Maybe wait to go back to work till after the divorce settlement depending on what the lawyer says?

      Good luck, God bless, and take care of yourself.

    • Don’t tell him you know until you’ve got a lawyer, copies of all financial info, half the savings secured where he can’t get at them. Think of yourself and preparing for a battle first and foremost. Don’t tell him you know.

    • I feel your pain and anger and shock.
      Very sorry you are going through this.
      Same thing similar happened to me.
      Gaslighting and lies were the worst.

      I’m 3 years past DDay, only 1 DDay, but the gaslighting went on for years. I feel free now.

      Happy but still a little lost. Lost faith in marriage and monogamy. Too much temptation out there i believe. Yuck for me but some people like shallow sex w/attractive half strangers.

      Things are clearer now.

      I hope you feel better soon.

  • Dear CN,
    I am starting draw the inevitable conclusion that reconciliation with your spouse after an affair is like Khal Drogo after the witch brought him back to life. Complete with blank stare and buzzing flies. Game of Thrones fans, you know what I mean. There ain’t no going back to what never existed…

  • One of the most traumatic features of this is adjusting to the fact—yes, the fact—that your most intimate, cherished, most trusted partner—is now your enemy. It pushes you deep into shock and denial, and it keeps you inert. You must, for now, perceive your own emotions as liars: they tell you that he didn’t mean to hurt you, that he won’t do it again, that he feels guilty, and that deep down he really loves you.

    Muster your coldest logic as a defense against your emotions. Proceed with steely deliberation toward a better life. You will grieve deeply. But your house is on fire. For now, the plan is escape with your life. You will get through this. Read all of CL’s columns and listen to these good, strong survivors’ advice.

  • If no remorse is present, then your husband is a lost cause. Take the advice and follow the steps.

  • Seriously, don’t let all your self-worth depend on 1 man! There are 7 billion people on earth, and you’re hung up on ONE. Get out and get a life.

  • This is precisely the reason every woman should have sense enough to be and remain financially independent. Get a job and keep a job. Get an education too. Be dependent on a mn, and you will find yourself in the same position of feeling trapped and not able to figure out for yourself what to do about it. It’s just stupid to be a SAHM. Nothing but stupid.

    • Sounds like Gloria Stienem’s message but in most cases it’s true.

      Going through my divorce and talking to other women, the ones who came out okay, were the woman who maintained a careerand independence during marriage

      Many men look at a woman’s financial dependance on them as cart blanch to screw around on them.

      It’s important to be at home with babies,?but the sooner you can get back out and stay connected to your passion, outside the family and house, the better.

  • Truth is your marriage is over and it will end. I recommend at least controlling the how and when. Be in the pole position. If you’re like me you could spend years trying to unravel his issues and trying to make it work for your kids. Don’t do that. It’s postponement, I promise. Guys shown zero signs he’s a unicorn ready to change. It’s over. He’s not who you thought you married. So yea, follow all this advice, erect an emotional firewall with him, and love your babies WHILE you file for divorce. Get free, and you’ll get better. Anything else will keep you in misery far longer than required. The work you need to do to get out will be hard and draining, it don’t matter if you wait to do it, so save yourself those years and get out.

    For what it’s worth, I’m so sorry you’re going through this. It’s terrible. Getting out will require you being the strongest and most hard working version of you, but there’s a reward in that. You’re going to find out what your made of. It’s empowering.

  • Remember that he’s a “Paycheck with a wondering dick”

    I went through 2 years of hell getting over my ex husband and you can too!

    I loved that man more than anything else on earth. But not anymore. Things will get better for you. Time will heal you as it did me and you’ll see things clearer and you’ll be stronger.

    Some men take woman’s financial dependence on them as cart blanch to screw around. Jerks!

    A neighbor from long ago comes to mind. She had 5 of the cutest children-all young under 7, toddlers and babies, wonderful mom. Come to know that their dad left them. The mom and kids moved away. I wonder what happened to them. This was 40 years ago.

    Goodluck to you.

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