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Dear Chump Lady, Am I normal?

Dear Chump Lady,

So, D-Day was June 12. I saw a text message from a “Melissa” when she was asleep holding her phone. After reading the message I realized that Melissa was an ex-boyfriend from 15 years ago and her reason for becoming sober. He is married and has a son as well.

The texts explained that there was something sexual going on. So I confronted, got told half truths and some trickle truth, then I set up a state of James Bond husband spy. I found pictures, exchanged porn videos, plane tickets to meet up. We live in Ohio, she dropped the kids at my mothers and flew out to D.C. to meet with him, in secret while I was at work; but she “only had a sandwich with him” nothing else. I also found steroids cause she’s all about the fitness and that’s why she’s so buff. Secret credit cards and very, very expensive clothing.

So I chumped for a month, set up counseling , got no remorse, got more lying at the counselor’s office. I pleaded, danced, cried, then I filed and served.

We have three children under six years of age. We have a beautiful home. She said I’m the perfect husband and doesn’t know why she did these things. Her lifestyle hasn’t changed. The spending continues. I don’t know if she’s still talking to him, I know she was a month after I confronted her. I know there are other gym boys that have her attention as well.

But I’m the man destroying our family and can’t forgive a mistake. I’m not angry anymore. I’m sad she made these choices outside of me and the family. I’m sad she has this “me first” personality and can’t seem to grasp the harm she has caused. She’s threatening with a drawn out divorce and a future of being broke, living in terrible apartments, shuffling children back and forth. I’m seeking full custody and I can afford to keep the house.

My question is multilayered.

1.) I feel like I’m doing the right thing but it totally sucks. Is this normal?

2.) She’s an asshole for flipping the script and making this my fault, right?

3.) Am I doing the right thing? Like what is the appropriate timeline to divorce someone ? Really, I just want someone else’s opinion that doesn’t know the intricacies of our life.

We’ve had two therapists. The current one says that affairs shake up the marriage but it can be stronger than ever, if you separate you’ll see-what-you’re-missing type bullshit. We had an appointment today, cause we don’t really speak to each other. Every time I see him, it makes me feel a little uncertain about the direction I’m taking.

I read your blog daily. I read all the other shit out there and yours is the only one that felt what I was feeling and felt real.


Darrell (aka the perfect husband chump)

Dear Darrell,

You’re totally normal. In fact, you’re way above average. Your D-Day was 8 weeks ago and you’ve already attempted reconciliation, realized the futility, and filed. You’re navigating this shitstorm like a mofo.

Before I answer your three questions, I’d just like to take a moment for a collective WTF over this nugget of therapist quackery:

…affairs shake up the marriage but it can be stronger than ever, if you separate you’ll see-what-you’re-missing type bullshit.

Cheating doesn’t make marriage stronger. Neither does shooting off your kneecaps improve your tennis game. Or food poisoning enrich your dining experience. Or embezzlement enhance your business relationships.

Why is infidelity the only trust-shattering clusterfuck that’s supposed to be an improving experience?

I get the argument, oh, see, it took infidelity to find all those weaknesses in our marriage that we had to fix, and now it’s stronger than ever! Which is like, thanks to embezzlement, we’ve found all the accounting loopholes. Great. You shored up your systems — but would you invite that thief back to work for you?

Let’s put it another way, if you’re Benedict Arnold and you betray your country, America doesn’t say “Wow, Ben! We’re so much greater a nation for you having sold us out to the British!” No, society tends to shoot traitors for treason.

I’m not arguing that we shoot the people who betray us — I’m just pointing out that transgressive violations of trust are universally understood to END relationships, NOT improve them.

Your marriage counselor is a quack.

Furthermore, you filed. So STOP seeing a couple’s counselor. Get your advice from your attorney, not Dr. Mindfuck there.

Now to your questions.

1.) I feel like I’m doing the right thing, but it totally sucks. Is this normal?

The sucking? Yes, that’s totally normal. It especially sucks if you’re a human being who bonds and values his family. It’s a big wall of crushing grief, in fact. Divorce even sucks if you’re a disordered POS without empathy synapses who would trade your family for a handful of magic orgasms. Because consequences and legal bills.

So, yes, it sucks all around. The important takeaway though is that the suck is FINITE. There is a better life on the other side of abuse.

It’s also totally normal when you’re overwhelmed by that big wall of crushing grief to second guess yourself. This may be when you take encouragement from quacks who tell you it is not a big wall of crushing grief, no! it’s a golden opportunity! to know unicorns and rainbows and stronger marriages!

Look at the reality — a narcissistic, spend-a-holic, cheater wife who isn’t one bit sorry. You have NOTHING to work with.

Climb the wall of grief. That’s your work.

2.) She’s an asshole for flipping the script and making this my fault, right?

Yes, and that’s totally typical. (See an entire curated page of Stupid Shit Cheaters Say.) It’s called DARVO. Deny. Attack. Reverse victim/offender. It’s what abusers do to deflect attention from their crimes — they blameshift and try to get you to take the rap. That’s why it’s so important to stay no contact so she can’t manipulate you with this garbage.

But I’m the man destroying our family

No. She destroyed it with her affair(s), her financial infidelity, her lies, her lack of remorse, and her refusal to stop.

and can’t forgive a mistake.

What did she do to earn your forgiveness, other than demand it? Sit on a shrink sofa?

She has no business demanding forgiveness from you. If she were truly sorry, she would understand that her actions have consequences — consequences she should accept like a mature adult.

But of course she won’t do that. If you think she will, I’ve got a “sandwich” in D.C. to sell you.

3.) Am I doing the right thing? Like what is the appropriate timeline to divorce someone ? Really, I just want someone else’s opinion that doesn’t know the intricacies of our life.

The appropriate timeline to divorce someone after cheating is either a.) immediately or b.) immediately after they blow their chance at reconciliation (which is a GIFT — see “a”).

How do cheaters blow that chance? (The chance that you are absolutely not obligated to give them because you are allowed deal breakers like betrayal.) By continuing to cheat. By acting entitled to your chumpdom. By not doing the work. By threatening you with a punishing divorce for a situation SHE caused.

Darrell, you are absolutely doing the right thing to divorce. Just because it hurts like a motherfucker doesn’t make it the wrong course of action. It just means you’re on a difficult, brave path.

The only thing abnormal about you is how strong you are and how quickly you’ve moved forward. More of that. Don’t falter. You’re going to scale that wall of grief. We’re here to spot you. (((Hugs)))

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I think I’m getting to be ready to date. And this is the kind of man I’m looking for. You stay on the path to truth and light, friend. There is light somewhere ahead.

    • Old AA advice applies here….STICK WITH THE WINNERS! Winners don’t cheat. And remember on this Mt. Everest climbing wall of grief, you are NOT alone. You have an endless supply of climbing partners who are there to help.
      I watched the documentary “Meru” last night…an incredible climbing story which shored up my flagging morale. Keep your eye on that summit….the way we get there is by doing the move we are on and not giving up.

      • I copy things from the comments and the blog that really resonate and paste them on a note on my iPhone….then I read through them at least once a day to help cut through the mental/emotional gymnastics that take place day and night to keep me in the right frame of mind. ❤️ to all CL and CN…thank you with all my heart. Bottom line? I would never even consider dating a married man, so why would I consider staying married to a man who dates?!!!!

        • Velvet, I do the same thing! Wish I had found CL and CN back when I was horsing (or maybe better stated as “unicorning”) around with wreckonciliation and pick-me dancing like a gigantic chump. I have found invaluable bits of wisdom and encouragement on this site; it has helped me tremendously, and I can see the “meh” just ahead!

        • I have a journal titled “Chumplady/Chumpnation Nuggets of Wisdom” !

        • PS…There is NO SUCH THING as a relationship without problems. The goal is to have a partner you can work through problems with. Someone who has affairs and lies, etc., is NOT someone you can work through problems with. Let go, run away, and rest assured that their new relationship will have problems too. Worse if they end up with an affair partner. You will enjoy watching them swap deck chairs on the Titanic from the comfort of your lifeboat.

    • Lotus – Right?? A genuinely kind, moral and thoughtful mate.

      I had the misfortune last week to learn my X is still up to his old tricks. An old gf of X’s reached out to me. X has been courting her online with demands that he move across the country directly into her house.
      She wanted impart information about him to me about their relationship 25 yrs ago. She had quite the story to tell about X being engaged to 2 women at the same time with formal weddings planned the same week. This has been disproven but it shook me up to think I had been married to a sociopath.

      Her actual motive was, I believe, was to “clear the field” of me (not that was interested in him) and of his on/off current gf (that worked!).

      The outcome of this was I am once again completely unsure of my “picker”. I’m staying solo for awhile. I just can’t with these fuckers anymore!!

  • 1 = Yes. 2 = Yes. 3 =Yes. But of course if feels horrible. I even fret about something that may happen anywhere between 1-4 years down the line when my self-entitled prick suddenly won’t pay towards me staying in the family home (we aren’t married so can’t get court protections) and my only option financially MAY be to move to a less expensive area thus increasing the distance considerably between my daughter’s parents. I worry about this more than my own happiness because I would put her first. It’s not even happened and I worry and you are faced with all of this right in front of you. The worst but is not being able to let the children know why it has to be done or the truth of what has gone on. That is horrendous I will say. Don’t stick about you will just get more crap thrown your way and more blame shifting and that stuff hurts and does as much damage as the cheating. Hang in there x

    • Dudders,
      The kids are fine and yours will be too. Mine are young ages 7,5,3. After the Soon to ex announced that daddy was getting an apartment, I’m not btw she was just creating drama and adding chaos. They knew something is up but not sure what’s happening. I explained it as mommy broke her promise to daddy and when someone breaks a promise or you break a rule there are consequences. Mommy breaking her promise to daddy means we have to get a divorce. That seems to work I know there may be more explained as they age but right now if they see mommy being upset or sad or grumpy, they stated that it’s cause mommy broke her promise. They understand more than you know. Don’t lie to them and be the sane parent. If your the sane parent to begin with, you’ll soon realize that your parenting game is the same the whole time. You’ve already been taking care of everything already.

      • Just one mom’s opinion but I think I would be more specific. “When mommy and daddy got married, we promised that we wouldn’t have other boyfriends or girlfriends, and mommy had a secret boyfriend, which was not ok, and it made me really sad, so we have to get a divorce. But I want you to know that I will be ok now, and so will you. I will keep my promises to you. I kove you.”

    • Dudder, stay in TODAY!! Thank your mind for sharing and come back to the present moment!!!

  • The way out is through. Don’t let her guilt you into not doing what you think is right. Once you’ve been betrayed by your spouse, it is impossible to live with the lack of trust.

    Just think of :

    Marriage police

    Sneaking around


    and a lot of other less attractive aspects of disentangling oneself from a shit sandwich.

    See an attorney, get full custody, and don’t pay her a dime.

    • Darrell-
      Keep on the path away from the cheater. How I wish I would have moved as quickly to file as you did but please know there is hope with small kids on the other side without the cheater.

      My Cheater ex was a gym/steroid aficionado as well. Please know that this yet another text book narcissist move-They need the attention/kibbles. My cheater ex worked out excessively & took steroids because of the attention from other people-Look at me! Look how awesome my body is! As a matter of fact, he LIVED for the attention-KIBBLES!!! It didn’t help that he closely resembled a very famous wrestler which got him even more attention. He spent more time in the mirror then I did. He was the star of his one man “me, me, me” opera but he was also a bottomless pit of need. My attention/kibbles were NEVER going to be enough for him-it was exhausting. He was always on the hunt for more kibbles. As he got older, it made him seem so ridiculous but he didn’t care. Oh, and then the mood swings from the steroids……..ugh. Trust me, you really don’t want that environment for your kids.

      *Side note on the steroids-Cheater ex died last year from a heart-attack and he was under 50. Jury is still out on if the steroids had anything to do with it. But cheater was convinced that being super buff/fit was worth that risk ‘cuz dontchaknow that type of thing could never happen to him.

      Your soon to be ex is doing the same thing & the gym is a never-ending kibble supply for her. New members join all the time so there are new sources of kibble on almost a daily basis. She can walk around in her little outfits to get the guys to look at her ‘cuz kibbles! This is not wife or your children’s mother material. Run as far and as fast as you can! It won’t get better…ask me how I know.

      Keep moving forward-it does get better with a cheater free life!

      • Wow. A heart attack. Go figure… Sorry for all the crap from the fallout.

        • Thanks Amazon-
          The Karma bus sure didn’t wait long to pay a visit to cheater ex. I’m good-the only real struggle has been for my little guy. I am getting him professional help so hopefully, it will turn out ok for us in the long run.
          I’m feeling very positive about our future

      • Wow, your story is pretty close to mine. Mine ex hasn’t died from steroid use…..yet. He is 40 and had been on them for at least 3 years, as far as I can tell. This was all part of the discovery. I had no idea he was on them. Between the steroids, the affair, the attention only on himself, I am sickened by him. I cannot believe what a narcissist he truly has become and probably always was.

        He pays no attention of any kind to our children. He genuinely seems to dislike them. Having the kids meant my attention had to now be shared with two other people and not just him. He seems jealous of them, which is just bizarre.

        I tried for one year to reconcile for the kids sake, but I’m done now. I am moving on with my life and putting an end to this misery. He can enjoy his life at the gym!

        • Yup-My gym rat cheater always put himself and his needs/wants before me and our son.
          Truly pathetic & selfish. I was basically a married, single mom. I could never keep up with all his working out, tanning, shaving/waxing, diet and steroids. Ugh. No more gym rats EVER.

          My new Mr. Nice guy has a dad bod & he’s awesome!

          • “basically a married, single mom” — this is exactly how I have felt since our first child arrived 9 years ago. My son isn’t phased at all about us selling the house, etc. He says that “Dad doesn’t care about me anyways”. My kids aren’t even sad. I think that says a lot about how much he has neglected them.

            Now he tanning and getting tattoos. He looks like a damn middle-aged fool!

            At least I won’t be battling him for custody. He hasn’t even spoken to our kids since we officially split 2 months ago. He’ll be a once year visit (if even that) kind of Dad. He’s just too busy tanning and flexing in front of mirrors all day long!

    • Ditto on the gym-rat cheater. I never was able to confirm that he was a steroid user, but I know for a fact that at least one close friend of his was. In retrospect, how did I not see the narcissism? He also looked in the mirror more often than I did. His entire focus each day was on the workout, the looks, the supplements…it was so, so fatiguing. Mentally healthy are more balanced than that. But it took me sooo long to realize it.

      I guess in the end that’s what did it. It became so tiresome to me, I didn’t praise him the way he expected. I quit going to the gym with him, and doing lighter, more body positive and varied forms of exercise than what he preferred. I started to find his posing and intensity silly…I asked, then pleaded for him to spend less time in the gym, and more time helping with chores in the house or just chilling on the couch sometimes. No on both counts.

      I hope new OWife enjoys being a fangirl 24/7 to an aging, pathetically shallow man who is too busy lifting weights to mow a yard or take the dog for a walk or sit down and have a bowl of ice cream on the couch with you. Hang in there, Darrell. I think the further away from your wife you get, the more you will see how much better life without her really is. I know that’s what is happening to me right now with my ex husband, and when D Day hit after ten years of marriage, I was every bit as conflicted as you are now. Take care, buddy.

      • My forth paragraph is similar, but I would have to change it to:

        “I hope new OWife enjoys being a fangirl 24/7 to an aging, pathetically shallow man who is too busy playing pool, drinking beer and hanging out at the bar to mow a yard or take the dog for a walk or sit down and have a bowl of ice cream on the couch with you.”

  • This post resonated with me so much. I found out my ex wife was having an affair at work. I knew it was a deal breaker for me but the road has been hard, no doubt. I am now 16 months on, divorced, have my kids half the time and have my own place. I know where all my money goes for the first time in years. I’ve still not had a genuine apology, had people blank me in the street (obviously believed some rewritten version of events from liar ex) and have been made to feel like it was me who has broken up the family. As it turns out affair partner has moved in now after being kept quiet for 16 months. Its hard, when I put my little girls to bed and they are crying saying they miss mummy when they are with daddy and they miss daddy when they are with mummy it breaks my heart. All I can do is the best I can for my girls. However the alternative is accepting betrayal, abuse and lies as being the norm and that would never be good for my kids to grow up seeing. Keep strong, you have been placed in a no win situation through no fault of your own. I’m still battling my way through but compared to this time last year I’m so much happier and focused. Good luck to you and keep on checking in here for support as the experience and willingness of others to help who have been through similar trauma is second to none.

    • Jamie,

      Thank you for posting this. I’m in the process of separating from my stbx, and we have two beautiful kids under 5. When the mask is up, he seems like such a good, loving dad who just made a mistake. But then the mask slips, and the contempt reappears, and I know I have to go. But that thought, of them missing daddy on “my” nights, of not being able to kiss them good night on “his” nights, it breaks my fucking heart. It helps to know there’s hope on the other side.

      Best of luck to you. Know that you are good, and enough, and not alone.

      • I have two little girls (5 and 2). And while I’ve only been doing 50/50 custody for a month, I’ve learned to try not to talk to them when they’re with their dad. 1) Because it hurts to hear all the fun things they’re doing at dad’s and 2) it hurts so bad to hear my two year old say she wants to come home and that she misses me. I know in the end this will all be worth it, but it definitely sucks right now.

        • I’m at least 15 months out, 10 year old daughter lives with me during the week, the first year I had a lot of “I miss my mum” as I put her to bed and heard her cry in the shower a few times but she longer does, so it does get easier, it’s still heart breaking and very unfair, but it’s ok. I was terrified of being a solo dad, and somehow through the haze of bewildered grief I bought my house, a car, kept my job, and became a truly wonderful full-time solo parent which I wouldn’t give up for the world! Good luck and you will be fine.

          • Congratulations on a job well done (and doing)! Your daughter is lucky to have a mighty chump for a Dad.

  • Darrell, you are a fucking HERO.
    Do. Not. Doubt. Yourself.
    You have achieved in a matter of weeks what most of us stumble in to after months and possibly years of further humiliation and betrayal.

    My hat goes off to you for your triumphant MIGHTY-ness.

    • Ditto to that Zhuchi!

      Darrell, you’ve got this absolutely right.

      It’s a painful process! It hurts. It truly sucks, and it’s hard not to feel guilt for your children. But it’s the best decision you can make.

      It took me 3 whole years to escape my personality disordered, serial cheating ex wife! I wish CL had existed in 2010 at the time of my D Day. But I eventually got there in 2013 thanks to CL!

      Staying in an unhappy marriage with a remorseless, cheating sociopath is no life at all!

    • Darrell—this saying has gotten me through an awful lot:

      “You can’t stumble over what’s behind you”.

      Keep moving forward; you ROCK!

      • This, YES! There’s a reason the rear view mirror is SMALL compared to the windshield!

  • “When you’re going through hell, keep going” Winston Churchill

    You’re going through hell Darrell, you’re doing an amazing job navigating hell so far, so keep going, you’ve got this.

  • He answer to all your questions is a resounding “YES”. Yup, I screamed that in all caps.
    To further answer your last question my D-day to divorce way five months.
    And neither should you.
    She will threaten all sorts of things. Consult your attorney for the truth. She will lie. Don’t be surprised. She is a liar. You know this. She sucks. Trust that she sucks. It’s a motto around here and accomplishing that is difficult but let’s you move pretty far, pretty fast.

    I advise going as No Contact, the path to the truth and the light as possible. It’s nearly impossible to achieve full No Contact with kids but go as far as you can. All your interaction with her should be only about the kids, logistics, their well-being. You do not discuss, text, email or in any way shape or form communicate about anything else. You don’t discuss divorce or your feelings or how sorry she is. Sorry is as sorry does. From now on put all communication into email. This is to keep the mindfuckery and lies to a minimum. The email is admissible as evidence and you can take a breath or 100 before you respond so that everything you reply with is business like and completely unemotional.

    Also, please remember than you don’t stay for the kids, you leave for the kids. There are three people counting on you to do the right thing, to show them what integrity looks like, to model healthy behavior and to be the same parent. Don’t let them think what she has done is permissible or understandable or worthy of a second chance. Set boundaries, enforce them and live a life worth modeling to your children.

    Good luck and let us know how we can help.

    • Fantastic advice AOK. Do not play!!!

      Unless she’s the ball of wool and you are confident that you can bat her around a bit with your kitty paws. Just for fun of course.

      Only kiddin … too exhausting and ends up still giving her centrality.

      No Contact is the Only Way.

    • “…you don’t stay for the kids, you leave for the kids.”

      I wonder what my life – and the lives of my three sons – would be like now had I received this sage wisdom 17 years ago.

      • Too true. My three boys ended up as either Chumps or Cheaters. First significant long-term affair was over 20 years ago, when they were all living at home and still impressionable. They endured a discard (Golden D##k left us for the married with kids OW) and they witnessed me taking him back after the OW cheated on HIM. They also lived through all the drunken bad behavior, rages and abuse to us and our pets over the years. Truly, I regret to the bottom of my heart that I put up with so much for so long. Not because of the pain and heartbreak I went through, but because of the lasting damage to our children that staying with Golden D##k caused. The Chump son married two different cheaters and had to endure the endless pain that goes with the territory. The two Cheater sons saw that a wife will eat shit sandwiches forever if she has to, just to stay in the relationship with them. And they all have alcohol problems, thanks to the modeling of alcoholism and addiction that he exhibited to them. To anyone on the fence with kids, LEAVE the cheater, Gain a life! Not just for you, do it for the kids.

        • Yes, yes, yes! Darrell, save your children from the horror of growing up in a home filled with tension, mistrust, anger, and unhappiness. Those innocent kids deserve to have you be a healthy parent who models integrity and boundaries.

          The road ahead will be bumpy, but the prize of living with happy children who get to enjoy their childhood will be well worth it. Best of luck to you.

          • One of the many “last straws” for me occurred when my son was 12 and my daughter 3. I had been married for 18 years at that point and had so many D-DAYS under my belt I’d actually lost track of how many.
            Anyway, I was watching a cheesy soap opera- like movie with my son one night. On the movie the main character decided to leave their spouse who had betrayed and cheated them in some horrific TV style fashion.
            My son turned to me and said that this character was doing the wrong thing. My son, let’s call him Aiden, said that he would give the cheater another chance. I asked Aiden what he would do if he was cheated on a second or third time? Without hesitation Aiden told me he would “always forgive the cheater and give (her) another chance because that is what you do when you are married and that is love.” Basically, that is the type of “love” my (now ex) husband and I had modeled for him.
            I wanted to teach him that commitment and loyalty are fundamental to a good marriage. What I ended up demonstrating was that marriage gives your spouse license to cross all your boundaries with impunity. Aiden actually believed that it was the job of a good spouse to continually turn the other cheek. It was a huge shock to me that my son was preparing to follow in my footsteps exactly. It was a shock to HIM that I reacted in horror at the concept of him continually forgiving unforgivable abuse. He even said “but that is what you do with Dad….”
            Out of the mouths of babes….
            I left my ex-husband soon after that, and now 4 years have gone by. My daughter is 7 now. The other day she told me that she knows it was right for me to leave because Daddy kept hurting mommy and that is not ok. She told me that when kids at school are mean to her, then she finds new friends who treat her right. My son Aiden, is 16 now, and still very confused on setting healthy boundaries. He is a chump through and through and I worry for him, but not for my daughter. He is learning late, but not as late as I did!
            Yes, you leave for the children. Also, my son is incredibly proud of me for leaving, now that he sees how much happier (really and truly!!! My life overflows with joy now!) and stable things are now without his father’s presence. Now my son and I talk about boundary setting in general, and I leave it up to him to decide how that applies to his relationship with his abusive father. He wishes he didn’t have to deal with his father at all, but the court says he must. I tell him it’s good practice to deal with his father now, because his father will most likely not be the only abusive personality he will run into in his life. I think Aiden will get there some day, and my daughter is already there with a fundamental sense of self and security.

            • ❤️️ Such an important story for new chumps to hear, for the world to hear. I really believed I was doing what’s best for me and the kids when I reconciled, and nobody ever questioned that. Not my family, not my friends, or my therapist, or the marriage counselor. I realize they were being sympathetic and trusting my judgement about whether to stay or go, but nobody ever whispered in my ear, “run.” Now I tell anybody who confides in me about their adulterous spouse the wisdom of trusting that they suck. So far, those people have not taken my advice, but hopefully they are getting their ducks in a row and will remember when they are ready to get off the pain train.

    • On a similar note, as I read all this, I was thinking that I hope she has put that crap about making the divorce horrible in writing so his lawyer can have that during negotiations.

      The great thing about malignant narcissism is that they love discussing themselves. The more damning stuff they provide in writing, the better your case. It may not all be actually used in court, but it all feeds into the strategy your lawyer prepares.

    • Oh yes, they LOVE to threaten all kinds of things. My ex’s threats used to stress me out until I realized they were just that, threats. Usually they have no idea how things really work nor do they want to take the time to figure it out or take any action.

      • Yes. My girlfriend’s ex was a minister, and he threatened to take the children away from her. Also, that he would have all the parishioners testify against her, what a terrible human being she was, an awful mother, etc. Well, finally he beat her and she ended up in the ER, the church fired him, and they have 50/50 custody. But the threats made her delay in filing until the physical assault by him.

    • Here is a slant from a Christian’s perspective. You don’t need to agree with me, I welcome respectful discourse on this or any other subject.

      Biblical marriage is not between 2 parties, it’s between 3. You, your spouse, and God. It is known as a covenant. A covenant is far more serious and unbreakable than any other kind of contract. There are scant few things that can break it. This is why there is so much ‘reconcile at all costs’ mentality within the church. It is well-meaning, but deeply flawed.

      That is because the bible lists adultery as the immediate severing of that covenant. It is broken there and then. So the unoffending spouse filing for divorce is merely the clean up process of what was already destroyed. Some people who don’t know or understand this try to beat up the ‘filer’ for being ‘unforgiving’, but this isn’t right, fair, or biblical.

      You have the right to work towards restoring that covenant if you believe you have a repentant spouse willing to do the work (all of the work CL has listed in other posts), but no obligation to. You are blameless in God’s sight, no matter what your spouse does to try to blame you. And if you believe as I do that God is the creator of all things and that He loves us and wants what is best for us, that should bring us a great deal of comfort.

      • Thanks for clarifying that Honey. It makes sense and is a much kinder interpretation for the betrayed spouse. I’m not sure all churches follow this doctrine – but they should.

    • I was kinda lucky, my ex never shared anything while we were married anyway, she has issues with reality and feelings, everything is fluffy and lightweight even though I know she the angriest person I know. So I never had faux apologies, or even justification (except “I wasn’t happy for years” & “he worshipped me”), so all we do talk about is the kid we share otherwise we are strangers. Which is fine coz if she told me the sky was blue I would have to check myself, she’s utterly untrustworthy.

  • Darrell,

    Yes, it sucks… like almost nothing else.

    Yes, your STBXW is an asshole. What you see going on with her today is what you’ll get a whole lot more of in the future if you stay in this marriage (because this shit tends to escalate): lies, betrayal, undeserved exposure to STDs, marital money being spent like water, blame shifting, trickle truth, flipping the script, being with a remorseless cheater pants, and allowing her to model despicable behavior to your children — none of which you signed up for. I can just about guarantee that your STBXW doesn’t consider any of HER actions to be the problem; the real problem is YOUR REACTION to them!

    Yes, you are absolutely doing the right thing by setting healthy marital boundaries, not compromising your high standards, and taking definitive action when the train details.

    Yes, ditch that marriage counselor right now because their values obviously do not line up with yours; instead, find yourself a great individual therapist who can provide you (and perhaps your children, too) with rock solid support during this time (if you live in Cincinnati, I’ve got a great referral for you).

    Yes, limit your contact with her as much as possible; it will exponentially speed up your healing. Going for full physical and legal custody will make all the difference in this regard.

    Darrell, you are handling this shit storm like a boss. If only I could’ve been as clear-headed and decisive as you’ve been when my own XH blew up our 40-year relationship! I would’ve saved myself lots of time, money, effort and unbelievable emotional stress. Keep moving forward — you’ve got this!

    • “allowing her to model despicable behavior to your children”

      One form of despicable behavior that comes to mind today is when they say things to you in front of the children that are just loaded enough to warrant a really harsh answer but their statement is cloaked that the kids didn’t understand the hospitlity of what tthey said so they put us in a position of 1) eating shit sandwich of tolerating their nasty comment or 2) reacting in front of kids so that chump looks bat-shit crazy.

      That was one of nowdeadcheaters favorite mindfucks. He got away with saying SO MUCH NASTY shit to me because he knew that me reacting (like a normal person given the circumstances) would alarm the kids and make them think I was the one being hostile.


      • Oh, I remember this.

        Nasty, devaluing comments. I remember towards the end even in front of my brother.

        My brother didn’t notice

    • Darrell just remember the long game.

      One day your life will be cheater -free AWESOME and your kids will be balanced and content having had good morals and mature behaviour modelled to them. They will have had the peace of a cheater-free home and a functional adult parenting them for half the time at least – and believe me, when they get older they will see her for the entitled idiot she is.

      And maybe just maybe you will be in an authentic, reciprocal relationship, where you experience the joy of genuine love, respect and intimacy.

      So … how does that vision compare to staying in this shitstorm?

      Oh, and if you do look for an individual counsellor – bc you gotta ditch that blameshifting couples douche – make sure they are familiar with narcissists and the damage they do, and their talent for lying. Some people – even so-called health professionals – simply do not realise that these people are out there passing as normal.

      • A good resource for finding individual therapists who understand narcissists is your local domestic abuse center. They have referral lists of really good therapists who won’t waste your time talking about reconciliation.

        • Thank you! My new insurance company won’t cover the therapist I’ve been seeing since February.

          I appealed and got rejected. I started looking for another one but they all seem to believe in the sex addiction model. Maybe my local abuse center will have a more appropriate listing.

  • Darrell,

    Mate, There is only one answer to your questions and that is effin YES!! I was in a similiar situation 3 months ago with the only difference being we were not married or had children(infact, we were only a month away from getting married).

    I will not give you any words of wisdom from my end but I can tell for sure that the advise you will get on this forum is absolute gold-dust. I was savage level gaslighted and the usual DARVO and here I am few days away from Meh. It can only gets better from now on and make sure you held you head high.

    I was a total mess 3 months ago with contant suicidal thoughts and I gave myself 3 months to recover and If I failed, I take the therapist route. I am glad that I stumbled upon chumplady and after reading every single post on thie website, I have reached a level of calm and peace. I reconnected with my friends and family. I have been going out with my mates and finally managed to laugh out loud. Few months ago, If something made me laugh, I would end up crying as happy emotions overwhelmed me. Things will become better everyday and as CL said it hurts like a MoFo but it GET’S BETTER.

    You did the right thing and its a lesson for us chumps who wasted many months to reconcile when we were only runnig like a hamster on wheel reaching nowhere. There is no point in wasting time on cuntderellas and Twatholes.

    Trust this website and move on!

    • Desi Chump, this is amazing! I’ve been on this site since the early days, and to watch this grow into a real force for good is just beautiful. Truth is beauty!
      I’m so very glad you dodged the bullet before marriage, and may you flourish and enjoy all your human rights!

  • Stay mighty! This post struck me as I felt I was reading a synopsis of my situation. The disordered have one playbook and they have it on repeat. Keep reading and learning from CL and CN. The irony is not lost on the chumped and we use it to get to the Meh. My divorce was an actual Tuesday! Yours will be too no matter the date.

  • 1. Yes.
    2. Yes.
    3. As soon as possible getting you everything you deserve, of not a little more.

    My Dday was a couple weeks before yours. Stay mighty mofo!

  • Darrell,

    If you have already filed for divorce, why are you still in couples counseling? Your current therapist is doing a rotten job, and i would recommend reporting them to their local board of regulation that provides certification. Unfortunately, therapists have livelihoods to make, and if you are paying for a longer stint of services, this is to their economic benefit. I do feel this is the case here.

    Instead, why don’t you take the same financial resources for couples counseling and use them to get an individual counselor for yourself? You will need emotional support as you go through divorce proceedings, and transition to being a single parent. Showing up for yourself is an excellent model for your kids, and will help give you a safe space to process this betrayal.

    If your spouse is flying out of state for secret meetings, taking steroids, and probably holding a few lovers from the gym on a string, this is a very entitled person. You represent the economic stability and social cover of a marriage to provide for children, while she goes out to find excitement. Good for you, not allowing yourself to be used like that.

    Please take good care of yourself.

  • That Churchill quote was excellent! My ex told lots of lies, to Swedish friends.

    • Do you mean Swiss ” there are two sides to every story, only the little people are all judges” friends?

      • I hate my Swiss friends! I had the “there are two sides” & one told me “she didn’t mean to hurt you” to which I replied “like that drunk driver didn’t mean to run into those kids”, so yeah, fuck them, move on, I liked the quote way above “stick to winners” – right on!!!

  • I took a slower path.held out a lot longer that the ‘fog’ would lift. Hoped even tough I was ignored and abandoned and the blame was attempted to be shifted to me while she had run out to have a fun single life then a on off bf she couldn’t stsy loyal to or with more than 3 months and NEVER once looked my way again. 3 atempts at reconciliation or at least a talk about it so our kids did not have to suffer through osrents who do not talk in public even around them.and yeah, because I missed and loved her.
    Filed eventually but through legal aid which prolongs it too and doesn’t help my cheater completely ignored the divorce she caused (you think it wouldn’t but there’s kids involved so its complicated)One and 1/2 years later 90% there. But almost there!
    Through it all though. As hard as it was. I did not accept her shit excuses. I raged and let her know how unacceptable and unforgivable her past and present actions and seemingly impossible unfeeling or care of how she acts and for whst she did (“you act like you were the only person ever cheated on!” That I think will always bewhilder me) . Through it all i got my ducks in a row . Child custody was on me. Fair but a few things lean my way which she regrets now but again ignorance. I did file even though I hated to do so. It took a emotional mental physical and financial toll on me all of which i still feel in varying degrees two years later but i had the kids and probably deep down my own self worth to keep me going.
    You don’t get to act like that towards people. Especially those you claimed to at least once loved who did nothing to deserve it.
    So yeah man it sucks and it will suck for a long time but you are normal and strong for doing what you’re doing. And i think in the long run you’ll see that getting all that nasty legal stuff done sooner than later and ignoring or not accepting her idle threats and focusing on her actions and not your find memories you’ll be the one better off .

    • “you act like you were the only person ever cheated on!”

      Yea… I got “this happens to people every day”.
      I responded that people get ax murdered everyday, so that didn’t prove it wasn’t a big deal

      • Being murdered by an ax is less painful too…I liken this to being burned alive, except the fire doesn’t go out and you don’t die…

      • My therapist told me that infidelity was common (not defending cheater, just trying to make me feel better about my situation). My response was “I didn’t think ex was common, I thought he was better than other men, that’s why I married him”. Turns out I was wrong. He was “common” after all.

        • Lol same. My cheater sadly couldn’t be more common. Just another unoriginal, uninteresting person coasting through their life clueless and sad really. Looks around and strives to be no better than the base line of society.

      • Yup, I got the, “This happens to people every day” too, followed by, “You need to put your feelings toward me aside and just move on for the kids.” Do these fuckwits have an original thought in their entitled heads or do they just read verbatim from the Cheater Playbook? It never ceases to amaze me.

      • I kind of laughed at it and called her on if that was her attempt at a defense and if that’s what shes going to hard as an excuse when our kids are older and know the full truth.
        Not much to say to that

    • Thanks
      But I do have a counselor I see independently now. She was the original couples counselor but the soon to be ex felt that she was too defensive so that’s what started this new artsy fartsy guy. Im heading towards proceedings.

      • “the soon to be ex felt that she was too defensive”

        Aha. She was getting too close to the truth and holy fucking hell, they do hate that. Like vampires in broad daylight.

        I’m glad you’re seeing her without the ex.

  • Before I found CL, I used to attend these group meetings held by other Chumps, who were all “standing for their marriage”, (by the “My Husband’s Affair was the best thing to ever happen to me” folks). These Chumps were all still married to their Cheaters, and some had been pick me dancing for YEARS and waiting for their Cheaters to come home or, Cheater was living at home, and you could tell the Chumps didn’t even like their Cheater anymore. They were disgusted by them and didn’t trust them. Universally, each and every participant was beaten up and a shell of their former self. It was like they were reliving D-Day months, sometimes years after it happened, and it was very fresh. I knew I didn’t want this to be my life.

    Yes, it sucks today. But it reminds me of that quote I see in my gym all the time, “A Year From Now, You’ll Wish You Had Started Today”. Awesome job on already starting! It gets better. And Cheaters stay the same, or get worse and spiral out of control.

    • AYFNYWIHST!!!! Thank you thank you for this!!!!! Tattoo!!!

  • Hey Darrell!!!
    Guess what this is? A big kiss and hug.

    Now this: I can’t improve on what CL wrote. It’s perfect.

    But what I can do is tell you where I failed so we can minimize your wall of grief and you can scale that bitch.

    1. Don’t isolate. Now is the time to reach out to people who are not mentally ill. For people who don’t understand that your wife is a cunt, avoid them.

    I Isolated myself and rambled around the house with my dogs like a ghost. It was the worst thing I ever did. I wasted two years of my life. I did nothing productive. Repeat I did nothing productive for 2 years. I did not even work. I did read a lot of books. But that was it.

    Unless you count binge watching everything on Netflix Hulu and Prime- I just wasted two years of my life on a cheating lying filthy sociopath.

    I can’t get those years back.

    It compounded my grief and make me crazier. This sounds corn ball- but become a social butterfly. Even if it is a bit draining.

    Believe me- it is better than sitting home and sending this steroid mutant a text begging her back. Which can happen at 2 AM on a Friday night.

    2. Don’t Idealize.

    In that witching hour, if you are alone or even on a day just pushing a shopping cart through the dairy aisle, you will be struck with an almost unbearable urge to contact her.

    It will be so pressing and frantic, you could relate it to diarrhea. You will certainly be overcome with a mad panic that you have made a terrible mistake.
    That you were losing the best thing that ever happened to you. That you were losing the best chance you had at happiness.

    This is a lie from the pit of hell. I don’t know if our brain has a good laugh at tricking us or it’s just because we bond because we actually have empathy brain synapses that fire.

    You have to stop drop and roll. Because that fire of reconnecting with them can have deadly consequences.

    These are the things that have stopped me. For two years I have held out with no contact after being ghosted.

    Remember that she does not love you. Imagine someone you love – like your children. Now imagine intentionally and willfully and knowingly inflicting such anguish on them. You would never do it.

    For me, because I do not have children, I thought about my oldest dog. Can you imagine if I came home ( the few times I left ????) and told him he had a treat? He would dance around excitedly and tilt his adorable head. And then for me to say sorry buddy ! Hell I was just fooling. You’re not getting shit.

    This would never happen in 1 million years. I would scrounge up something in the frig and pretend like it was a treat before I would let him down.

    Why? Because I love him down to his snaggle tooth and cowlick and toots that should be explored as WMDs.

    Now imagine your wife having the FULL cognitive low down on the nuclear bomb she is setting off in your home and thinking – Fuck it. I getting me some gym boy dick.

    She’s a cunt. Don’t lose that thread.

    3. Don’t believe that all women are lying cunts. And don’t overshare!

    The few times I did meet other partners, I ruined the relationship because I obsessively analyzed the X with a new partner. I could not stop talking about him. I wanted them to validate me that I had made the right decision and that he was a sociopath.

    It was about the least sexy thing I could do. And I did it three times. I even had one man say and I quote: if we spent half the time on us we spent analyzing him we might have something here.

    In addition to analyzing him, I became Inspector Javert with all men. A 15 minute delayed phone call resulted in a Spanish Inquisition style interrogation from me. Who are you with? Why did you call late? You are having an affair !

    This was two dates in. It was possibly the least sexy thing I could’ve done on a date.

    Clearly, I was not ready to date. But you may have a quicker recovery time than me. Remember, when you get back in the saddle : Do NOT bring up the iron pumping whore and DO NOT fear that other women will be sneaky low down gutter rats.

    You are moving fast. It takes some people years of eating shit sandwiches to show the balls you have. Keep that momentum going.

    From someone has been exactly where you are, I’m telling you with 100% certainty clarity and truth – You are doing the right thing.


    • “even on a day just pushing a shopping cart through the dairy aisle, you will be struck with an almost unbearable urge to contact her.”

      This is so true. Or I will catch myself tearing up at the oddest moments.

      • It fades with time, I’m happy to report. When ex and I first separated I couldn’t get through a grocery run without crying from seeing all the little old couples shopping together. That was supposed to be us!! That’s all gone now. Now I look at those same couples and think “how sweet” and move along with my day.

        • hahah Beth, I see those couples and think, “I wonder what she’s going to do when he leaves her” or “I wonder who he’s screwing behind her back, what a slime”. I’m so messed up.

          • Oh yeah, I went through that phase too, Preggy. Hahaha And yes, it’s hard not to be cynical given what we’ve seen but I think that’s pretty normal.

          • I suspect everyone now – either they’re a cheater or they’re the other person.

        • Yup, at first even seeing their favorite foods in the grocery store hurts. But thank goodness time helps soften the blow. It starts to feel like that was a different life, long ago.

          • Exactly! I’m a totally different person now so I guess it really was a different life.

    • Don’t be in a hurry to date. You can be “social” while still healing, dealing with the trauma, and learning what single parenthood will mean to you. You will have all of the trauma of divorcing a manipulative, addictive person on top of the damage she’s done by using substances instead of being actually available for a relationship. There’s work for you to do on you. And you have to fix that picker.

      • I am with LovedaJackass on this. Looking back at what was actually the basis of the relationship with my many years ago former partner, it was not love.

        He had issues with drinking, but i would not have identified him as an alcoholic in the early stages of dating. He was, in my opinion, a substance abuser who grew into alcoholism during a period of stress in his life.

        I was therapist, mistress, and mommy/maid/mentor. Looking back, i was never loved and cherished by him, except as what i could do for him. He was never available for a relationship.

        Healing from being with a manipulative, addicted, entitled partner takes a bit. Learn to enjoy the pleasures of your own company.

    • Clean Hands,

      Thank you for sharing to help Darrell, who is mighty!

      Darrell, your wife who is repeatedly doing you dirt to say that she made a mistake is shirking responsibility. She sounds like my post-separation boyfriend who told me he ‘made a mistake’ after I caught him making up lies. Mistakes are stepping on someone’s foot when the subway lurches to an unexpected halt, not making up stories to protect oneself from consequences. People who are sorry for mistakes or transgressions show you that they are sorry.

      Regarding Clean Hands story, I feel awful that I talked a lot about the drama /trauma with my husband, who had left me five months before I started dating old friend, with my old friend who became my post-separation boyfriend. I still sometimes wonder if I could have made the relationship with old friend, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, faux Mr. Nice Guy, work. I have apologized several times, but he’s off with current partner (now wife?) and blocked me almost as soon as he discarded me the last time. He, post-separation boyfriend, told me that he missed being married–but didn’t want to be married to me and wanted to run away from me). Then, I remember that he tried to hide our relationship from the on-line public for years, I remember all the times he lied to me, insulted me, criticized me, and tried to control me in ways and for reasons I don’t understand and think, ‘He was a turd–at least to me.’ Trying not to let the thought of him treating the new partner the way I dreamed he would treat me–with love, respect, and honesty.

      • If you had waited longer to date your ex boyfriend he would still be a jerk but you might have been less likely to date him in the first place. Maybe you would have noticed the red flags with a clearer mind that was fully out of the fog.

          • Chump in Recovery,
            I agree that I probably would have thought more clearly–would have realized that he ‘wasn’t that into’ me and thus stayed just ‘not very close friends.’ Not being completely mesmerized by him and also being more confident, calmer, more organized, and happier might have kept him attracted to me, too. I unwittingly blew this relationship, just like all the other intimate relationships in my life to date, over fifty years 🙁
            I often feel as though he was ‘The One Who Got Away.’

            • Nooooo – bad thinking! Bad thinking!

              Cognitive reframing:

              Being healthier myself – allowing more time to heal after my awful, toxic, high-conflict, impoverishing, humiliating divorce – would have helped me to read the danger signs of a commitment-phobic man with a roving eye for younger ass, who didn’t really see me as longterm relationship material.

              Having more awareness of my own agency and strength would have protected me from being mesmerized by him.

              Being confident, calmer, more organised, and happier – taking the time to heal, and learning that I could cope on my own – can make me a happier person, regardless of whether I am with someone or not.

              I blew this guy off when he came sniffing around, because he wasn’t someone who could ever make me happy, and ‘just good friends at a reasonable distance’ was pretty good for both of us, and unlikely to be anything more. Anyway, I am too busy to waste time on this, because I have a life and my own interests that fulfil me.

              ‘The One That Got Away’ exists only in my imagination.

      • RSW, Chumpinrecovery is right. Five months is WAY too soon. You would have to be Supergirl to have bounced back that fast after years of marriage and abuse.

        Your ‘boyfriend’ looked like a safe harbor in a storm. But NO ONE is a safe harbor in a storm when it’s only been five months. At five months, your head is still spinning like it’s The Exorcist.

        Perhaps you expected – and imagined – way, WAY too much of this jerk, because your head was spinning? Projection is a bitch, but it’s also normal when your whole life is in chaos and you are desperately looking for someone to hang on to because you are drowning.

        Also – and this is the hard part, because it’s going to sound like I am defending him – most people can’t cope with that amount of emotional intensity and need, 24/7.

        I say this because I did it once too – I came straight out of an abuse situation, and latched on to a friendly face. This guy was sane and lovely, but I was a mess of hot melted plastic, and tried to bond to an almost psychotic degree with him. I was desperate to re-create what I had lost in terms of commitment and public partnership – to get all the security back, all at once.

        It didn’t end well. But how could it?

        I blamed that guy for many, many years until I recognised what I had done. Then I had to climb down and also to forgive myself for making a big mistake and trying to medicate with people.

        Dating too soon is, I would say, guaranteed to end badly. So don’t beat yourself up so much. You just made a mistake because you were a hot mess. This guy couldn’t give you what you wanted. I know he might have said the right things, but people do that all the time.

        People who we date are also allowed to change their mind about us. This is also why we shouldn’t date unless we can handle rejection!

        Hugs, kiddo. This sucks, but it might help you to put down the rock.

        • Hi Lola,
          Thanks for writing.
          Of course, I realize that people are allowed to change their mind about being in a relationship, even if it means that I get hurt.
          I also realize that five months after discard was very soon–I just didn’t want to lose the chance a second time (30 years later) to miss out on a great guy.
          I am often confused. On the one hand, I think that he was a great guy who couldn’t/didn’t have to handle me ‘being a hot mess.’ As an educated, successful, popular, organized, clean, diligent, responsible, often helpful, childless guy with a full head of beautiful hair and a beautiful smile, etc., he had options. On the other hand, he lied to me, insulted me, tried to control me in strange, inappropriate ways and hid our relationship from the online public for years–as though he were ashamed of me. (People who love you, don’t generally do that sort of thing, do they?) Not sure what to believe any more. Life is not black and white. The vast majority of people are neither all good nor all bad. I sometimes wish that we could still be friends/acquaintances. But he won’t talk to me. Years ago, he told me that he once hid from an ex-girlfriend (from whom he had years before been engaged to and had lived with) when he encountered her in a public place–don’t know why, although the fact that he had sex with her after they officially split and she was engaged to the guy who became her husband who was with her and their kids that day might have had something to do with him trying to hide).

          I feel bad now for my role in unintentionally damaging the relationship (crying/grieving too much in his presence), motivating the guy I loved most of all to discard and block me, most likely forever, from his life. I have tried to repair our friendship in the last year (actually two years–since the time he first discarded me) to no avail. Is there anything I can do someday to repair this relationship? I thought over the years that we had some type of true friendship and I grieve the loss of that as well as our intimate relationship.

          Lola Granola, did you and your ex-boyfriend ever establish a civil, post-break up ‘relationship,’ one in which you could talk to each other once in a while and truly respect and care about each other?

          • Hey RSW –

            Nope. In fact, what happened with me and Hot Mess Rebound Guy is:

            1) I dumped him, and broke his heart.

            2) I changed my mind and we tried again.

            3) He had been burned and decided I was a nutcase.

            4) He cheated on me, and then had the gall to tell me that if only I’d been a bit less crazy, he would have had that ring on my finger in months. He had gone off with a nurse, and I asked, ‘Is she as smart as you?’ and he said ‘No.’ I started laughing and said, ‘No, you won’t make THAT mistake again, will you.’

            5) The End. Or so I thought.

            6) He phoned me about a year later when I was living in another part of the country, I suspect on a romantic ‘fishing expedition’, but I told him to fuck off.

            7) He contacted me on Facebook about 10 years later out of the blue, telling me how much he loved being married and a dad, and I told him to fuck off and blocked him.

            So really the worst possible outcome. I can see my part in this disaster, but of course none of that excuses his cheating on me! It was still a shitty thing to do! And I’m still glad I told him to fuck off at every opportunity I got.

            Once he cheated on me, I totally lost interest in him, except for vindictive purposes, and those didn’t last long. He wasn’t worth it. Also I’d developed a small amount of insight by then into my own hot molten plastic mess.

            Your situation is a bit different, in that you’d known this guy a long time and idealised him a lot. He probably loved the idea of sweeping you up and saving you from your own hot mess, but then his own UTTER inability to do so in reality was made clear to him. So he dumped you and moved on, not necessarily in that order.

            None of this is your fault, except that you dated too soon, and picked a nebbish. You didn’t know he was a nebbish. You couldn’t be expected to know that. But that was the reality of the situation. Better to find out now.

            RE post-breakup friendships: in my experience, these are bullshit. They’re usually a sign that one or other person is not over the ex, and they’re a way of retaining some kind of covert control or interest in the person. has some very wise words on this on the site somewhere. You get to feel noble and evolved because you are ‘now best friends’ but it has a way of ending in tatters when one or other of you moves on romantically. My 2c worth.

            • Lola,

              Thank you very much for sharing your story and your thoughts. You sound very honest and insightful. I am sorry that your relationship with your partner got so unpleasant.

              I love Baggage Reclaim. Natalie Lue sometimes talks about ‘cake eaters’ (entitled, lying, emotionally unavailable people) offering to be friends with the people they dump. I think that some honest, kind, well-adjusted people who truly were friends with their ex, like a few of my relatives and friends, can stay good friends even years after break up. However, I don’t think, unfortunately, that that’s most people.

          • If only we could go back in time and have a re-do with certain people. Shoulda, coulda, woulda is the recipe for depression. We have to forgive ourselves for not being perfect.

            If this man had been hit by a train and killed would your life have gone on……or was he the Only key to happiness in your life…..

          • Dear Rockstarwife

            Do you see a pattern here? You spackel like a champ, you hang on to a destructive and abusive relationship, as I understand it of your description, for your dear life, you got dumped and the you try to find out and spackel the reason why this didn’t work. And you stil have hope to have a relationship with this guy, any relationship of his choosing is ok for you.

            Why would you want to have a relationship with a man that ghosts you, don’t want to have anything to do with you, didn’t want people to know about you, and you were “together” several years, and is in a new relationship. And wasn’t and isn’t nice to you.

            Maybe you should take a deeper look at why this is so, fix that picker, and understand that you don’t need a boy or girlfriend to have a good and meaningful life. Can be that as a side effect your life becomes drama free

            Good luck and best wishes

  • Darrell,

    You’re to be commended for achieving such clarity so relatively early in the process. I was paralyzed far longer by my ex’s full-on mindfuck offensive until I eventually realized that sorting through the cognitive dissonance, playing marriage police and “unraveling the skein of fuckedupedness” was a fool’s errand and a side distraction.

    I, too, had the script flipped on me and was made to think I was to blame for my ex’s outrageously aberrant behavior. I went through joint counseling and was lied to, and heard the “it takes two to tango” bs. All this while ex continued to lie (and cheat) and I hadn’t even discovered the full extent of her secret life of skankery.

    I’m about a year out from divorce. Finally getting away from my ex brought an initial sense of relief. An emerging sense of self is slowly, gradually coming back to me. It will take time to undo the years of subtle abuse and the not-too-subtle trauma that accompanied the discovery of my ex’s secret life.

    I also know what it’s like to deal with the tears of a child, not because mommy is missed, but because it’s the night before having to return to mommy’s place and mommy’s narcissistic ways are now impacting more on my child because I’m no longer there to take the brunt of it. I’m now grappling with having to go back to court to seek a modification of custody.

    You can get through this. In a weird way it’s somewhat comforting to learn that what your spouse (and my ex-spouse) did is common enough that a body of knowledge exists to help us deal with it. In the beginning I felt overwhelmed and alone, kind of like I was experiencing symptoms of a mysterious illness. And while finally getting a proper diagnosis hasn’t provided an instant cure, it removed the anxiety of not knowing what I was dealing with and it’s enabled me to clearly understand the problem and map out the necessary path forward. “No-contact” is powerful medicine.

    Best of luck to you, my friend!

    • GDD,
      My nowhusband has to suffer the angst of sending his D back to narc disordered mom where he knew she would have challenges. Well, tomorrow he flies to the daughters home town to ride with her as they drive away from the moms town. D will be going to Univ near us and will be outside the gravitational pull of her mom. I’m just thrilled. Stay emotionally close to your kids, they will need a sane parent.

  • …”But I’m the man destroying our family and can’t forgive a mistake.” Mistake? Dropping your kids off and hopping a flight to go “eat a sandwich”, yeah uh, that’s not a “mistake”

    A mistake is an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge, etc.;
    a misunderstanding or misconception.

    She knew exactly what she was doing. She didn’t seem to make any errors getting her information onto a plane ticket, or the 100 other decisions and actions she had to make to set up her clandestine meeting. Her “mistake” was getting caught; she carelessly thought she could pull the wool over your eyes. It was so innocent she named him Melissa in her phone, because people who have something to hide, do!

    She’s threatening with a drawn out divorce and a future of being broke, living in terrible apartments, shuffling children back and forth.

    … because when you are sorry for what you’ve done you try to punish the person you’ve wronged, correct? NO! If she’s going down, she’s dragging you with her – that’s not love, that’s revenge! How dare you challenge her entitlement!

    I get the fear that you are making the wrong choice by divorcing, my stbx put that blame on me as well! That fear comes from having a Conscience! Unfortunately you are going to have to tell that part of yourself to shut up and do what’s best for YOU.

    • You didn’t destroy your marriage. She’s an addict. She’s a liar. She’s a cheater. She’s not IN your marriage. What she wants to do is preserve CAKE, kibbles, a co-parent, and income.

      It will help you to stop thinking about the marriage as a “thing” to save or not save and start thinking about you as a human and your kids as developing humans. She’s not available for actual relationships. (I’ve got a longer post about her addiction issues which is now in moderation and which I hope will be posted soon).

    • “A mistake is an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness” this part of the definition defines what she did pretty well. It may well have been a “mistake” by some definitions but it was a deliberate mistake and she now gets to suffer the consequences of having made that “mistake”. Most cheaters aren’t just mean, they’re stupid too (at least in some ways if not all). They don’t really think about consequences when they act.

      • Agreed. It’s like they don’t have the ability and/or desire to weigh possible outcomes of their behavior. They just have tunnel vision for what they want in the moment.

  • D-day for me was 12/19-17. He was seeing prostitutes, massage parlors with happy endings, posting on craigslist is a bisexual married white male, orgies, etc.

    I saw an attorney day 9 and had him move out February 24th.

    It hurts like hell. But trust that they suck.

    Eight months later…

    I just found bank statements last week that show how he pissed away OUR home equity line of credit. We just got discharged from a chapter 13 this past October. I now understand what he did our whole marriage with our finances. I’m finally able to connect the dots to understand how I got to be where I am now.

    Also this past week, I found that he had opened up a joint account with his father to manage his father’s (parents’) bills with both their names on it. Yes, he paid their bills, but he also helped himself to thousands of dollars. His father had Alzheimer’s and his mother was beyond looking at paperwork. Everyone in the family trusted him to take care of their parents. How his cousin, the estate attorney, didn’t see red flags, is beyond me. It’s just mind-boggling how he felt he could help himself to his parents’ money. If his brother and sister only knew that he stole from their estate.

    Trust that she sucks. She won’t change. I kept seeing everyone on CN say that, and I trusted what they were telling me. And now I see they were right.

    So I’m glad I took quick action after DDay telling him we were done and throwing him to the curb, but for months I felt like I wasn’t moving things along fast enough (clearing the house to sell, completing all the divorce paperwork, etc.). But now I’m glad it played out the way it did because if I had moved too fast I would’ve never had time to look through those boxes.

    I was able to use the financial infidelity information to my advantage this past Saturday when we finally spoke on the phone to negotiate the (Joint Petition) separation agreement. The negotiating started off poorly as he was reneging on our initial agreement of eight months ago. Once I was able to throw in a couple comments regarding stealing from family- me, his father, yada yada yada… all of a sudden he started giving me what I wanted except for one thing-equity in the house. I was holding out. He wanted to check with his attorney first. I gave him shit because he was cutting negotiations with me short. Seriously? We’re not filing a divorce complaint where the attorneys negotiate for us. We need to do the negotiations ourselves.

    The fact that he started giving me what I wanted on almost every point told me he was guilty as hell. I’m not going to mention his stealing again but now he knows that I know. I know that he stole from his father. Now he doesn’t know what to do. He can spend other peoples’ thousands of dollars but he can’t negotiate a separation agreement with his wife on the phone without checking with his attorney. Seriously?

    It’s a real painful process but the quality of that pain changes over weeks and months. The pain I feel now is not the pain I felt eight months ago. Actually it’s more humiliation now then it is pain. I can’t believe I was abused for so long and didn’t even recognize it for what it was. He never had my back and he never had any intention of doing his best by me/our family. He’s a social parasite and yours sounds like one too.

    • Please don’t spend too much time trying to negotiate without your lawyer. They don’t play fair. Mine “negotiated” with me 4 times then I paid the lawyer to put it all in the legal documents which he then refused to sign—4 times. He was all about costing me as much as he could..$35000 in a year. Please keep that in mind. Sometimes trying to negotiate with a fuckwit ends up costing more than allowing the attorneys to do their job.

      • It’s a joint petition, I did not have them served. Therefore, I have to negotiate with him.

    • Nvragain,
      You’re not alone in feeling that you are amazed that you didn’t recognize the abuse for so long–I think that that is our cognitive dissonance, especially if your ex was like my exes, the guys virtually everyone labeled ‘Mr. Nice Guy,’ really the apple polisher.

  • “and can’t forgive a mistake.”

    Darrell, your grammar is incorrect here.

    She didn’t make one mistake. She made thousands of decisions, small and large, to cheat. Every time she chose to further her relationship with him, from the first feelings she had for him, through putting your daughter’s name to his number in her phone, through the sex, and of course up through blaming YOU for destroying the family.

    All of those are CHOICES that she made, not “mistakes.” She chose this, not you. You’re just left having to take the logical steps in response to her choices.

    She’s playing you. I know it’s hard to see (my XW was similar). But you’re doing the right things. And someday, it does suck less. Eventually, it doesn’t suck at all. Keep at it.

  • Good for you to be so clear sighted about filing. One suggestion here that was a wonderful time saver and money saver as well for me. Be clear on separating out which professionals you hire for their expertise. Your attorney is, no doubt, way more expensive per hour than a therapist. Pay the attorney for the only the legal issues to keep your costs under control in that area of your divorce. Now, hasten yourself to the NEW, best therapist you can find and visit him or her to help you cope with the myriad of emotional issues you’ll face going forward. With both professionals working for you in their capacities, you’ll maintain control of the process and your feelings. Which long term, plays out to serve you and your children well. You are making the best decision of your life so far.

  • It’s normal to question your decision, you (we) are chumps. That is why Chump Nation is amazing, we keep each other strong and on the sane path. Divorce is the bravest thing I ever did. It’s been 6 months, I occasionally question myself if I made the right decision then I remind myself of what I really lost, and that was a lying, cheating, angry asshole.

  • Darrell, a good question to ask at intake for any therapist is, “Do you consider infidelity to be abuse?”. If the answer is not an immediate, unqualified, “No”, then this is not the therapist for you – or anyone.

    • ^^^^^THIS!!!^^^^^

      If there were a way to like this a million times I would do it.

    • Pretty sure you meant to say, “If the answer is not an immediate, unqualified, “Yes”, …” 🙂

      • To clarify….infidelity is ABUSE of you AND your children. When the topic comes up with my husband, I refer to me AND our daughter as his victims; I tell him he lied to US, he abused US, he hurt US, he murdered US, he betrayed US, he failed to love and protect US, he assaulted US, he battered US, etc.

        • When I told my ex she betrayed “us” (myself and our child) she scrunched up her face like a muppet, it was such a hard thing for her tiny little mind to comprehend.

          • Yes…way over their heads. I was with my daughter (yay!) while he was with his Lower Companion (yuck!). We walked to school on Picture Day while he was with Lower Companion in a hotel close to our home, having told us he was flying to LA on business. So I was on parent duty (nowhere I’d rather be) while he was contracting STI’s from the Lower Companion. He lied to US and neglected US and stabbed US in the back. Nothing makes me angrier than how much he hurt our little girl. He has forfeited the right to say one effing thing EVER to her about unacceptable behavior.

  • Hi Darrell. To echo my fellow Chumps, the answer to all 3 of your questions is yes. To further echo my fellow Chumps, you are doing GREAT! I’m always impressed by those of us who manage to see through all the bull shit early on and get on with gaining a life. There’s happiness of the other side of the horrible stress of going through a divorce. From the sounds of it, you will be a great dad to your kids and all of you will come to enjoy your less stressful, more financially solid, cheater-free life.

    I’m not sure where in Ohio you are but if you’re in the Dayton area, I have a great therapist recommendation for you. And just for you – no more of that couple counseling shit. Wherever you’re located, get yourself a good therapist who will help you gain a life, not one who wants you to stay stuck in the murky past.

  • As a fellow chumped husband. Chump lady’s response is spot on! Any cheater who isn’t fully remorseful and puts 100% back into the relationship will just repeat the pain inflicted on you. I dealt with 4 separate extremely painful summers over 20 years catching my wife multiple times. I should have walked away the first time. Create a new life for yourself, it does get better….but it takes lots of time. Just keep reminding yourself what your feeling is normal

  • I noticed two things that you mentioned but CL didn’t focus on: addiction. You write “After reading the message I realized that Melissa was an ex-boyfriend from 15 years ago and her reason for becoming sober.” So you’ve already given her a “second chance” by living with her through an addiction. You also mention that she’s on steroids.

    There is ZERO hope here. She didn’t “become sober” for this new person. I don’t know what drugs she was using (alcohol? opioids?) supposedly in the past, but now she’s on steroids, which are powerful drugs that alter not only mood but hormonal balance, liver and kidney health, and emotional health. It’s also concerning that steroid use is related to addictive-style behavior related to exercise and perhaps even an eating disorder.

    There is no reason to be in couples or marital counseling with your cheating spouse. She clearly has major personal issues that have nothing to do with you. Your own therapist should help you see that enabling her addictive behaviors is dangerous to YOUR mental healthy. That keeps you hooked on her while she is hooked on these substances and behaviors.

    The steroid use is a good reason to push for full legal custody and not 50/50 split with the kids. People on steroids have major issues with anger management. You also don’t want to expose your kids to the gym boys who may have these same issues.

    You are doing a great job. Look up DARVO. Study addiction. Read Dr. George Simon on “manipulative people.” Knowledge about what he behavior means for you and the kids will help you see that you have no real choice here but to cut her loose. And make sure you document both her financial shenanigans (you shouldn’t have to pay for her affairs or her steroids) and how much time she spends or doesn’t spend with the kids. Good luck.

  • Darrel, **well done you** !!

    You are mighty, be proud of yourself that you have enough clear sightedness and sense of your worth that you didn’t take any more of this evil cunt’s bullshit.

    I did the same; d day was 14th July last year – the next Monday I instructed a solicitor, and went total NC, blocked the bastard on my phone, social media, everywhere. I’ve now got the Decree Nisi, and am waiting for the FDR in September when I can apply for the Decree Absolute. Changed my name back to my maiden name as well, although of course this doesn’t apply to you, being a bloke ! 🙂

    Yes, as everyone here will attest, it **hurts like the flames of hell**. But as Tracy says, that pain is **finite**. If you took that cunt hole back, you’d be spending the rest of your life as the marriage police, always hurting from the lies and betrayal, and *that* pain would last the rest of your life. You deserve so much better.

    Like I said, I’m a year and almost a month out. Do I still feel hurt, anger, pain ? Yes, but not nearly as much as at first, trust us, trust Tracy, it **does get better**. And remember, as I’ve been told often by others here, **healing is not linear.**

    There will be days (especially if you go NC as much as you can, although I know that’s not easy when you have children together) when you feel strong, even happy you’ve taken charge of your life, glad to be rid. And then there will be days when it all overwhelms you again, and you feel heartbroken, and really, really tempted to try and ‘fix’ it (you can’t), or fire off impassioned letters/texts/emails, trying to make the bitch understand what she’s done. Waste of time. They don’t give a fuck, except they hate being found out, and they hate consequences.

    It’s an emotional roller coaster, but it **will get better**, I totally promise you.

    Come here often, I would have never been able to get through my shitstorm without Tracy’s book, and this blog, and all the wise, loving and supportive people here.

    You are mighty ! Keep on trucking, one day it will be Tuesday, and one day you will reach meh.

    ((hugs)) to you. xx

    • ChumpNoMore,
      I think that Darrell will do fine as he is seems strong and quite clear-headed.
      I am glad that you have gotten better and, according to Chump Lady, the pain is finite, but I don’t know whether the pain does go away or even subsides much for all of us. I mourned the loss of one partner (my first boyfriend/fiancé, etc.) for a couple of decades (I met and married my husband late in life.) I have missed my last partner, boyfriend of a few years/friend of a few decades, almost constantly for the last year since he last discarded me, and I felt suicidal (became anorexic?) in the four-month long break after the first discard a couple of years ago. And I have tried many different things to get better, mostly to no avail. I don’t think that I will ever really recover, feel great or even ok. I highly doubt, based on my history and what I have observed in society for the most part, that I will ever find a suitable partner or feel fine being permanently alone.
      Not saying that there’s no validity to time healing wounds and people getting better, but I think that making a blanket statement (although I believe well-intended) may be overstating the case.

      • Hi hun, I’m so sorry you are still hurting so much.

        What I said wasn’t meant as a blanket statement though. I think it’s true that the knowledge of the betrayal will always be there, and probably there will always be a bit of residual pain; we are decent human beings, we have character, empathy, a moral compass. Of course it is devastating and *frightening*, to know that the person we trusted with all of that, turned around and spat in our faces.

        But I think that eventually the hurt and betrayal becomes manageable, perhaps even dies down to a low simmer on the back burner, **if one allows it to happen**.

        This is meant as a very gentle 2 x 4; are there days when you feel a bit better, more in control, perhaps furiously **angry**, as opposed to depressed and sad ? I bet you do have days like that. Do you welcome them and nurture them ? Because the more you do, the better you will eventually feel. Think of it as building a wall between you and the sadness and despair.

        And the days you feel the sadness and despair, think of the wall. This doesn’t really express what I’m trying to say, and God knows I’m not telling you how long you should grieve, or how long you should feel bad, but I do believe there are opportunities all around us that we can use, take, to make us feel better. Sometimes just sitting on my veranda watching the birds and butterflies does it for me. And it all goes into the wall. Try to take notice of the good things, and put them into your wall.

        hugs to you. xx


        I FEEL you honey ,i did not escape . I only found out last year about narcs . after 4 decades of being abused and gaslighted . having backed myself into a corner , of poor health due to the stress and cognitive dissonance , not enough money for 2 residences .not to mention the co-dependance . after finding out about narcs , and realizing i am stuck here with this cheater maggot , he is a serial cheater (sex addict) has never ever admitted to his abuse toward me and the kids . has only lied over and over to avoid consequences , and gotten better and better at hiding his filth . seeing the hopelessness of this situation is very painful . i hope anyone who has the option of divorce , takes it , because staying with a narc is a death sentence . he is like all narcs that many of you describe on CN , hateful, clueless , blameless , remorseless and most of all entitled .

  • perhaps there are people for whom an affair makes their marriage stronger, but if there are those people have a partner deeply committed to making that happen. Darrell, you don’t have that. you have nothing to work with.

    • ”perhaps there are people for whom an affair makes their marriage stronger, but if there are those people have a partner deeply committed to making that happen.”

      No, I don’t think a marriage would ever be stronger for lies, deceit and betrayal. Like Tracy says, getting your kneecaps shot off doesn’t improve your tennis game.

      And even if the cheating bitch/bastard *was* ‘deeply committed’, how could one possibly know for sure ? If they managed all the lies it took to keep the affair going, (no doubt with a smile on their face), how would one know their deep ‘committment’ wasn’t just more of the same ?

      There are stories here of Chumps who took back that ‘deeply committed’ partner, only to be viciously betrayed *again*, when they have invested even more years in the marriage, and bitterly regret it.

      Face it, once trust has gone, it has gone, you can *not* have a committed relationship without trust.

      • That’s more likely in the case of a one night stand at a drunken party while out of town. Even then, they are more likely to cheat again than if they had never done it in the first place.

      • In a rare moment of lucidity, I asked the cheater if there was anyone…. his mother? A cousin? A mechanic? His 8th grade best buddy…. in his life that he had not betrayed.

        He thought about it for a little bit and then he simply said No.

        These people don’t change. Do you know why? Because they don’t think they’re doing anything wrong.

        It’s not that they don’t see- it’s that they disagree.

        • When my ex was telling me how unhappy she had been for years (to justify cheating) she said she had even fooled her own mother, she was quite proud of the fact! (My ex is fucked up).

          • You’ve “been unhappy for years”?
            I guess that means you’ve been lying for years….
            My husband said the same thing. It shocked and devastated not just me but our daughter, who also had no idea he was unhappy. She is feeling mindfucked too.

      • it’s a big, big world. I think it highly unlikely but perhaps somewhere a cheater has really done the difficult work of real change. It’s clear as day that Darrell doesn’t have that, even if the therapist insists it’s possible.

        the point is we don’t have to prove the therapist right or wrong for Darrell to see it doesn’t apply to him.

    • Truth, pecan. Darrell’s wife hasn’t even bothered with genuine imitation naugahyde remorse. There really is nothing to work with in terms of reconciliation. Divorce is the best option.

  • You’re doing great, seriously. And of course you’re going to second guess yourself. The typical narrative is you “work on things”, you “forgive”, as a couple you “move forward together” and get through the bad times. When you move quickly, you start to question yourself – should I have tried more? Could we have fixed this? What if, what if? So you start to think, did I move too soon? We didn’t have 3 years of couples therapy looking into the snack sharing issues from PreK that led her to cheat. Maybe I was too hasty…

    But play it out. What if… you had stuck with her and tried to work it out? She wouldn’t change, and you’d be miserable. Screw that. I kicked my ex out when I confronted him on his affair and looking back (a little over a year out from that, still not legally divorced yet), I am so glad I did. Just not having him in my space has made progress and healing for me so much better. We have three kids and I have to contact him about them, but it is minimal. He is finally getting the message that I want nothing to do with him.

    You’re not at all the asshole here. Of course she is going to try to turn it around to make you the asshole, and sometimes, she’ll get in your head and make you whisper to yourself, “AM I the asshole, maybe?” And hey, maybe you are an asshole sometimes. We all are. But in this situation, of her making, she is the asshole who has destroyed the family. You don’t have an obligation to forgive her and welcome her back into your loving arms after she betrayed you. You do have an obligation to take care of yourself and be a great parent for your children.

    You will waver. It will feel like shit – a lot of the time. Keep on going. I have two things that I say a lot that keep me going.

    1. When I first found out and decided to kick him out, I said, “I know this is going to suck but I know I will be okay on the other side.” I didn’t quite realize how long it was going to take to get to the other side, but I try to remember that clarity I had when I made my decision to keep me strong and grounded while I feel like I’m drowning in the middle of it all.

    2. Now, I also say: “I am over him, but I am not over the situation.” I do not pine for him, I do not think of him, I do not care about him. BUT – I am by no means at Meh, but it’s not about him. It’s more about adjusting and settling into my new situation, about feeling hurt, betrayed, abandoned, treated like shit by someone who was supposed to care for me. It’s healing from that now, not him in particular.

    Good luck. And stay strong!

    • Chumpyoumofo, exactly! 8 mths out and this is so true for me. Love your 1 & 2!!

      I’m still in the rage stage. I don’t pine for him because it’s abundantly clear he’s been leading a double life, in many ways, our WHOLE MARRIAGE! I want everyone to know he’s a social parasite.

      Trust that they suck!! That has gotten me through each month, week, day, hour, minute, second. And the further out I get and the more discovery there is (and I’m discovering this all on my own, thank you very much), he sucks more than I could have possibly imagined.

      My number one goal is to fix my picker because I apparently trust everyone too much. Doing deep work right now. So painful. I realize he really took every opportunity to take advantage of cake, the family façade, the married façade…every façade he could use to his advantage he did.

      And the more I look at what I’ve tolerated from people in my life the more I lose hope in humanity. Now that I’m unraveling the picker skein, I’m now living eyes wide open (well, inasmuch as I’ve learned from therapy so far anyway).

    • I love the way you put that!
      When a friend of mine was told that she needed to stop talking about ex all the time, her reply: I’m not talking about ex. I’m talking about what happened to me. Unfortunently ex is what happened yo me. loved it!

  • Darrell, I’ve never commented here before but your letter made me feel I should. I just got divorced. And all this morning I was beating myself up that I acted too fast. Just at the shock that I went from happily married to divorced in less than six months.

    But then I read your letter. I could have written it myself. The blame shifting. The doubt about standing up for myself. And when I read your letter all I felt was WELL DONE, Darrell. You are not doing the wrong thing. You are not at fault. You are not acting too fast. When you are left with no choices, waiting around won’t make choices appear.

    This will be awful. It will feel unbearable. Stay strong. You’re making the right decision.

    • “When you are left with no choices, waiting around won’t make choices appear.”

      Thanks for making your first comment, because that statement is so profound. I read still CL for these little gems of wisdom.

      Darrell, she ended your marriage ages ago when she first chose to cheat. Filing for divorce is just wrapping up the paperwork. There’s not another choice to make; she just wants you to think there is because that benefits her.

  • She knows the gig is up so please be quick to protect your finances. There’s this idea out there with cheaters my lawyer told me about called the 50% off game. She thinks “half off” now on each item she buys because once she is divorced everything becomes full price for her. She’ll spend like crazy if you don’t get ahead of it. Also, watch out for things like every time she shops, she buys a gift card to stash cash. IMO cheaters steal as much as they can. You can get your assets frozen by court order now that you’ve filed so she can’t spend anymore, too. That way if she runs new lines of credit it will be all on her to pay off.

    • Thisx1000. The ex stole $500 k of our retirement money during wreckonciliation( “ building” his failing business ). I couldn’t get any of it back because he did so from inside the safety of the marriage. Can we say set up?

    • Agreed. Move quickly to get credit checks to see what’s going on with her, and shut down every loose venue for spending possible. It’s very likely she’ll start blowing through every spare bit of cash once it truly dawns on her that divorce is happening.

    • Yes – they get sneaky when they know they have to ‘split’ anything that they think is “THEIRS.” Mine felt I didn’t deserve as much because he made more money than me. (What a dick.) He also cashed in his Roth and didn’t think I would find out – until we had to claim it on our taxes (What a dumbass). He also started stashing money. Move quick before she brings you down to her level.

  • Darrell, OMG,

    How the fuck can your marriage ‘come back stronger’ when your wife has not only hurt you, but CONTINUES to hurt you, and has now poured salt in your wounds? It takes TWO to ‘come back stronger!!

    Threatening and manipulating YOU after what she did shows WHO SHE REALLY IS. BELIEVE IT!

    It hurts so much because it is the right thing to do – and the right thing is often profoudly hard, challenging, painful and life changing.

    Darrell, when you’re doubting yourself, two important questions to ask yourself are:
    1. “What is the COST TO ME if I stayed in this marriage?” and
    2. “Would I still respect myself, if I take her back, after how she has acted/is still acting?”

    These two questions helped me to break off with my serial cheat very quickly and it was all done and he was out within one month. (I also had practice, the guy before the serial cheat turned out to be pathological liar and I was unknowingly the other woman, he had lied to both his wife and I).

    You can do this. And look after yourself.

  • I always love the “I made a mistake” nonsense. Cheaters are letting themselves off the hook easy with this. My XW said, “You were right: I made the biggest mistake of my life.” A mistake is taking the wrong exit off the highway–not murdering your family emotionally and financially.

  • It hurts, it sucks, it will eventually recede and your future will shine more brightly.

    If you can’t go NC (kids), go grey rock.

    DUMP THE THERAPIST! You are divorcing. You *may* want to sign up for and attend “how to co-parent” classes now rather than waiting for the court to tell you to do so. Or if they don’t make it mandatory in your state, do it anyway. Demonstrate that you ARE a sane parent.

    Dump the Switzerland friends.

    Resist the urge to contact her. Make her ringtone silent, or become a patron and download the appropriate ringtone. Keep it very low or on vibrate whenever you have the kids. You don’t want to swizzle their minds any more than they have been.

    I’m sorry she sucks. You are awesome. We got your 6.

  • Kudos to you for having the strength and resolve you have. It took me a while but once I realized that my kids needed to have at least one stable and sane parent I sobered up and began to do what I had to do. It’s not always easy. Court sucks. Seeing his pity party act makes me fill with rage. I have to keep shifting my focus to what I can control – my own actions/reactions. I sit quietly, smiling and nodding. Best of luck to you and your kiddos. In the long run you will look back and be so proud of yourself and how far you have come!

  • Darrell, you rock, no doubt about it. Had a very similar situation myself with my cheating ex wife. I also experienced that same total lack of remorse, ongoing lies, blame shifting and disrespect. She did her best to stop me divorcing her to maintain her comfy life. What a twat. Was also given another chance which was fucked up within weeks. Well done to you for clarity of thinking. It will suck for a considerable time but it will be worth it to be free of the bottom feeding pond life that you are unfortunately married to. Go dude ????

  • Darrell,

    I think you’re rocking this. I don’t know if it will help you, but the one North star I’ve had during this whole experience is the following thought experiment:

    Imagine one of your daughters called you up 20 years from now, crying, saying that her husband had done exactly the things that your wife has done to you. Would you tell her that her marriage would come back stronger? Would you tell her that lots of marriages have these problems?

    Or would you drive there immediately, help her pack her bags, and get her away from the psycho?

    Whatever you would want for your kids, do that for yourself. Because they learn what they deserve by watching what you put up with.

    I know, because I was the kids whose mom stayed with the abusive cheating narcissist, and here I am.

    You are being the good dad, the sane parent. Keep going. Don’t get sucked back into the quicksand.

  • “But I’m the man destroying our family and can’t forgive a mistake.”

    Let me ask you this: if you beat your wife and she left you for it, who would be the asshole? You, for being a wifebeater, or her, for not forgiving your “mistakes?” Infidelity is abuse, and leaving is the proper response to abuse. Your abuser has no goddamn right to be calling you the bad guy here. What, to her, keeping a marriage with a honest faithful spouse wasn’t worth giving up strange dick, but she expects that for you, keeping a marriage with a cheater should be worth eating a shit sandwich with a smile? Fuck that.

    Oh, and it’s not a “mistake” either. You don’t “oh, whoopsie” repeatedly fall on someone’s dick any more than you “oh whoopsie” repeatedly punch someone in the face. She booked plane tickets! That’s a pretty remarkable thing to happen by accident, isn’t it.

  • You are the normal, sane partner and parent. She is the one who is crazy. She has gone off the deep end and you can’t save her. You can only save yourself and your kids by not letting her drag you in after her. You seem to be doing just that. Good for you. Stay out of the cesspool she dove into. She chose that. It’s not your job to save her from her own stupid choices. You are protecting what’s left of your family, not destroying it as she would have you believe.

  • Hey Darrell, Welcome to the club you didn’t want to join. YOU WILL SURVIVE THIS.


    Accept the fact about her decision tree. It is EMPIRICAL evidence that You (Nor Your Childern) are Important enough to have dissuaded her decisions.

    Timeline… OK. My Dday was last August 15th, 9 days from today. My D was finalized on 29 June SO about 10 months. I had the option of immediately filing for D however 6 months is the statistical average for a No fault here. My disordered, deranged concubine gave me everything I wanted because she had no skin in the game for all the possessions accumulated over our marriage (and her previous one). Later I found out she’d cheated in her previous two marriages, so Why should I feel special? It helped me to see WHO SHE REALLY IS.


    She was (IS) a financial train wreck. I’m so glad I am free from her. I consulted a lawyer within a week of Discovery. I used FB infidelity forums before finding CL/CN and SI. I ordered Tracy’s audio book and started my De-programming immediately after receipt. I read CL daily. Trust me, You HAVE BEEN PROGRAMMED by your cheater. I filed for a No Fault D after she was gone for ecactly 6 months living with her new lover. We talked about a separation order dividing property (in light of the evidence I had proving she’d committed adultery…Court Embarrassement…Consequences).

    Having small kids as you do, this route is NOT Advisable for YOU. I advise you to GET a BULLDOG FEMALE LAWYER ( and hopefully one that has been chumped like you have). All our children are adults and I discovered I didn’t need a lawyer to file. The court clerk could supply all the forms and for about $80 where I live a divorce can be initiated. I didn’t want to invest any more money into this tramp than I had to. She was living with her downgrade and getting what she needed- and cheating on him with triangulated ‘options’. I am thoroughly convinced that she would have given me everything to maintain her narrative. I told all the kids and family members and my circle of friends what she did. I gave her the chance to admit her faults to family and she pulled the “We decided to D because “we” weren’t happy together”. I nuked that garbage lie immediately afterwards. Blew her cover all to shit.

    You mentioned your stbxww was buff and using the gym as a cover to fuck other men. Mine did the same in preparation for gastric bypass surgery requisite compliance terms. She got her surgery on 1 June last year and was living with h
    the 3rd “Option” I knew of by the 9th of September. It was mind boggling to find out later the depth of her betrayals. BUT SHE KNEW THAT I KNEW. She’d been caught and ONCE THAT HAPPENED my ‘devalue’ was complete. I might have as well been a bag of molded potatoes.

    So my advice to you is to KICK in High Gear and terminate your horror show as quickly as you can. Get your female bulldog to take everything she can get for you and your kids. This is a marathon not a sprint. Get your head focused on what it is you have married and lop off it’s head.

    Don’t date either. You have time and don’t need the clutter in your mind. Give yourself time. Find YOUR BADASS and you’re on your way Dude.



    • I agree in spirit with everything you have said, but I do take issue with the word “cunt”. It’s a pejorative that just doesn’t sit well with me. She’s a narcissistic asshole, a cheater, liar and betrayer to the nth degree. She’s disordered, cruel and an entitled jerk. She’s a total fuckwit but please don’t call her the C word. I have one and don’t use the word myself. ????

  • “How do cheaters blow that chance? (The chance that you are absolutely not obligated to give them because you are allowed deal breakers like betrayal.) By continuing to cheat. By acting entitled to your chumpdom. By not doing the work. ”

    This is what finally got me. I gave him the gift of an opportunity to reconcile and he threw it back in my face. He made it clear that he had no real interest in reconciling. So I waited for him to file for divorce. That didn’t happen either until I initiated it. Technically we filed jointly but he never would have done it on his own. Too much work and he liked having our finances comingled. I told him I didn’t want a marriage that was just on paper.

  • It sucks but you are doing the right thing. You’re thinking of the kids, but you are imagining a perfect family world that will NEVER occur. Why? Because she’s a cheater. There will be no peaceful trustworthy environment. And her lack of remorse or even corrective behavior shows you that it will never happen. You would be wise to research BPD- Borderline Personality Disorder. Luckily I had a marriage counselor who didn’t feed me all the BS yours was feeding you. I spent two months in marriage counseling with a counselor who was trying to help ME get cheater to spill her guts about the extent of what she was doing. Counselor then referred me to an individual therapist that specializes in dealing with BPD people. They both saw, and I eventually saw, that there is just no relationship to be had with someone like this. They are incapable of functioning properly in a relationship.

    The kids will adjust. Hard times and sadness are ahead. These cheaters don’t like consequences and indeed yours will likely drag the divorce as long as possible so she doesn’t have to sign her name on that paper. But if you push forward day by day with a sound philosophy of minimal contact and grey rock with your cheater you will get to the light at the end of the tunnel. Its a journey. We are all on it. Make sure you lawyer is a fighter and will protect your rights as a parent- the sane parent!

  • Ask HER “forgiveness” for divorcing her ass.

    God, how I strongly dislike it when children are involved. It brings their disordered self centered vag to a “hole” other level.

  • “Cheating doesn’t make marriage stronger. Neither does shooting off your kneecaps improve your tennis game. Or food poisoning enrich your dining experience. Or embezzlement enhance your business relationships.”

    CL never ceases to impress me with her ability to put in such a clear and precise language the true nature of infidelity, how deliberate cheaters’ actions are and how much pain they inflict on the closest people to them.

    I am extremely grateful to CL for her surgeon knife sharp insights in to the dark world of infidelity and betrayal.

    She is a Lighthouse in middle of the storm, a guiding thru treacherous, unfamiliar and dangerous waters of infidelity.

    I am one year and 3 months from D-Day and 1 year from the divorce.

    I am so fed-up with people who hear the story of infidelity and you can tell by their facial expressions and the questions they ask that they think that there is always two sides to the story.

    No! There is no two sides to this shit.

    Once she/he decided to cheat, to lie, to hurt the person who is supposedly closest and dearest to them and spent so much energy and thought on doing it, all the issues the cheater may had in the marriage, become IRRELEVANT!

    No! I’m not curious why she/he did it.

    All I care is what she/he did and how much pain and damage she/he caused me and the kids.

    People think and say, Ohh it just happens, even to the best of us. Good people sometimes do bad things and other shit along the same lines.

    No! Shitty, broken, selfish liars do bad things.

    It takes a lot of logistic to cheat:

    Scheduling to sneak in to hotels/parking lots and other meeting places to have sex with the fuckbuddy.

    Putting a lot of thought and energy how to lie to their spouses and pretend that they love and care about them to not to arouse their suspicions.

    Spending a lot of effort to hide evidence, setting phone passwords, creating secret email and social media accounts, using InPrivate browsing and many others means of deception.

    Hundreds of decisions every day, all day – for months, if not for years.

    Did you all notice how readily stupid shit comes out of their mouths when they are caught?

    Did you notice how many versions of cover-up story they have?

    “Are you insinuating that I am having an affair? Shame on you even thinking that. You are hurting my feelings with your suspicions.”

    “We are just friends. What, I’m not allowed to have friends?”

    “We are just flirting. It just a distraction from our boring lives. Am I not allowed to have some fun?”

    “I just wanted to be desired again. To be paid attention to. You didn’t do it for me anymore, but he/she figured me out.”

    “It was just sex, it didn’t mean anything. Has nothing to do with love. You know I love you and only you?”

    That is because they spend a lot of time at your expense contemplating the contingency plans if they get caught while locking themselves in a bathroom to jerkoff their fuckbuddies on the phone and sending dick/cunt pictures to each other.


    In every decent Self Defense class you learn how Not to be a victim, how Not to be defensive but how to go immediately on offense to protect yourself as soon as you recognize that you are being violated and the perpetrator means harm to you.

    Apply same lessons with a cheating perpetrator!!!

    You were your own person before the fuckturd weaseled her way in to your life.

    She didn’t add any value to your life, she didn’t make you a better person.

    She stole from you: the trust, the years of your devotion, the time you invested in her.

    After you get her out of your life (the sooner the better) you still be your own person, with all the pain she caused you and maybe in spite of all that pain you are fully capable of moving forward thru life.

  • I think that an important indicator that this woman is not worth reconciling with is the fact that she threatened to make the divorce ugly and to make the children’s lives miserable. No truly loving parent would ever say that about his/her own kids. I chose to divorce the cheater a few days after DDay, but once we got the ball rolling, I never once threatened him with an ugly divorce or manipulation of the children (though he mightily deserved to be threatened). I did, and I continue to do, everything I can to support my kids and keep them away from my ex’s wacky behavior as much as I possibly can. If you’re willing to throw your children under the bus in order to get your way with your spouse, then you suck as a parent, and you suck as a partner.

    Darrell, please remember what CL says: “Trust that they suck.” That’s the only thing you can count on when dealing with cheaters. Very few of them are truly remorseful and seek to clean up the mess that they made. They want to live in la-la land with their cheater partners while you earn the money, care for the kids, and take care of the home. They only care about themselves. Move forward with your divorce and go after the happy life that you deserve.

  • I love Chump Lady! I read her post at 7 am this morning and I’m still laughing my head off 4 hours later. In particular, her analogy to Jack and the Bean stock, “empathy synapses who would trade your family for a handful of magic orgasms”.
    Darelle – Your wife is a nut. Run don’t walk.

  • Darrel,
    I was in the same exact situation. Follow CL advice. With NC and time it will get better. I’m 8 months from D day and 6 months from filing. It gets better. Way better. Because you deserve better

  • Darrell, I agree with CL. “The only thing abnormal about you is how strong you are and how quickly you’ve moved forward.” Yay for you!! I ‘wreckoncilied’ like many chumps here only to have it happen all over again. If your skank REALLY wants forgiveness, she’ll seek it even AFTER the divorce. But indications are that she won’t. She’s showing MAJOR feelings of entitlement. She’s throwing it all back on you for being unforgiving of a ‘mistake’. One occurrence of infidelity ‘might’ be a mistake. Several of the same over and over again is not a mistake, it’s a choice. And it’s entitlement. Be safe NOW. Get divorced ASAP. Let her work on her ‘issues’ on her own without mindfucking you anymore. And go NO CONTACT as much as possible.

  • So from the forum, is it good to get her to a settlement or should I pursue this to court ? She’s scared of losing her license as a nurse if it goes to court?

    • I don’t understand how she could lose a nursing license in divorce court…??

      • Has she been dealing drugs through her work as a nurse ? A former classmate’s ex-husband lost his medical license when he got caught cheating professionally as well as personally. He was running a pill mill as a side business.

        • The Alcoholic had a professional license. He thought he was above being questioned about his behavior, until his business associate turned him in. The state had zero tolerance for what he’d been doing and suspended him immediately.

          After that he put on a big show about how he’d been misjudged, how he wasn’t really an alcoholic, how his business associate was the real culprit… Poor misunderstood fellow…

          What he didn’t do, what they wanted him to do, was take the high road and be responsible to his clients first. And there were steps he could have taken to walk the high road. But he chose to weasel down the “It’s not my fault” path instead.

          Truth was, he wasn’t completely guilty of all he’d been accused of. The business associate had made some mistakes too, and used the whole administrative hearing process to shift the blame. If The Alcoholic had taken responsible follow up actions with the practice’s clients, some of that could have easily come to light. But no, he was too busy trying to paint himself as the victim. He refused to see past his own hurt.

          The state officials didn’t buy any of it, except the “I’m not an alcoholic” bit. That really backfired on him. In the final paperwork he received revoking his license permanently it said that since he’d convinced them he wasn’t an alcoholic, then everything he did was a rational clear-headed choice.

          And that being the case, they ruled he didn’t have the required good character to hold a professional license in ANY field! The Alcoholic went from a high paying respectable position to being a low wage laborer.

          Karma. It feels really good when you see it come back on your cheater and kick him in the ass.

    • Get a good lawyer and talk to them about it. If you can get a good settlement, yes, that’s way better than going to court. Have the lawyer help you draw up the settlement. Court is time-consuming and expensive, but sometimes it really is the only way. Still, if she agrees to settle, that’s good.

    • You should run these scenarios past your qualified family law attorney, one experienced in high conflict divorce.

      Document everything you know about her addiction. With your lawyer’s permission, I’d see if you should contact the State’s licensing board.

  • Darrel, if you’re reading this, everything the CL says is right. And you really only face two choices, both of them shit sandwiches. You can eat the smaller one, which is divorce and getting free of this mess. Or, you can eat the bigger one, which is trying to stay with her.

    And, make sure your name isn’t on those secret credit cards, so that you are not financially responsible for the debts she ran up on them. They should not count towards your share of the assets.
    If she put your name on them without your consent or knowledge, have your lawyer deal with this; I’m not an attorney, but the word “fraud” comes to mind.

  • Velvet, I do the same thing! Wish I had found CL and CN back when I was horsing (or maybe better stated as “unicorning”) around with wreckonciliation and pick-me dancing like a gigantic chump. I have found invaluable bits of wisdom and encouragement on this site; it has helped me tremendously, and I can see the “meh” just ahead!

  • Dear Darrell,
    First let me say I am so sorry you married and bred with a complete and selfish ass. I, and thousands of others here at CN know your pain first hand. My D-day was in April 2018. I too did one month of Wreckonsiliation, and filed divorce after opening up myself to more pain by a man who NEVER took anyone’s feelings or needs into consideration, other than his own and maybe his AP. Our therapist too suggested that my STBX’s cheating might be the greatest blessing on our marriage, WTF???? Forget your six year old daughter, you have found Twu Wuv! He feigned remorse but it was not genuine and he was in contact with his AP the whole time, ????. I think it was more image management and trying to manipulate to avoid consequences. But hey, he had some ethics; he would not dare cheat on his AP by showing me even a hint of kindness-that would be cheating!!! It is all just a disturbing and disgusting game to these disordered people and the most you can ever expect from them is more pain. No thank you. No contact or grey rock in our case, is the way to go, the pain lessens a little everyday. Some set backs, but I just cling to CN to ride out the storm. You, like me, are fortunate to have got out pretty quick and found CN to boot. I read the blogs and archives every day because it is so much grief, but the support and comfort is something that other well meaning people in your life and therapists just can’t provide (not against therapy, I am a therapist). So please don’t doubt yourself, you are making the absolute right decision. I personally don’t want my 6 year old daughter and 17 year old son to see their mother being treated like dirt and accepting a similar realationship in their own lives some day. You already got the only good thing she had to offer, 3 beautiful kids that need a sane parent who is willing to be an adult.

    • One of the more hurtful things my ex said (or rather texted) to me when we were supposed to be reconciling and in reference to a movie invite text sent to him by Schmoopie (after a few days when things seemed to be going better and I thought we had turned a corner) was “This was sent to me by someone who cares about me and who I hurt very badly”. My response was “I care about you and you hurt me very badly”. His next text to me was all about how he regretted not having accepted her invitation and what a horrible night he had endured at home watching a horrible movie with me and the kids and why on earth would I have thought he would want to watch that movie anyway (an independent film in which our daughter had an appearance as an extra – I actually thought it was pretty good). The movie he missed was “Princess Bride”, one I had tried to get him to see with me previously but he wasn’t interested because it was a “chick flick”.

      • Well, at least he was nice enough to leave you no doubt that he was a shit.

      • On the day of our divorce my ex told me he was “thinking about contacting OW because he felt bad about the way things ended.”

        First of all, they were still in contact during our three years of wreckconciliation so there’s that. 2nd of all, in ex cheater speak that simply meant he had already done the thing he was “thinking” about doing.

        However it was his comment about how he was sorry about the way things ended with her that made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. He didn’t feel bad about busting up a 27 year marriage, but he sure did feel bad about breaking up with his howorker. I thanked him for confirming that I made the best decision of my adult life in divorcing him. Yikes! Whatever doubts I may have had before that moment just melted away.

        They’re married now which is another godsend!

        • My cheating x sinister minister just got engaged to Miss Piggy. It’s been years and years really ( all that pesky sneaking around while we were married and an additional 6 years after ). But – she got him!!!

          The funny thing is that although they are both gloriously happy ( friend showed me face book posts ????), I just don’t care.

          Two cheaters after close to 10 years of fuckery are tying the knot?

          Excellent- remove them from the dating pool.

          Anyway – it does get better. Your Tuesday will come. I always like to say “God helps those who help themselves”.
          You are doing GREAT – keep up the good work!!!

  • Darrell, as others have already stated, the answers to all of your questions are a resounding “yes!” I wish I had had the clarity and fortitude to proceed as you are, but instead I fell in with “wreckonciliation” and big-time pick-me dancing, both of which only served to prolong what I should have been able to foresee as the ultimate outcome of my marriage, i.e., divorce. But instead, I wasted another whole year of my life trying to “save” my marriage to lifetime serial cheater ex (only discovered his habitual cheating right before divorce proceedings began). Wish I had found CL and CN long before I did, but I’m here now, and this site has been an amazing help to me. It does get better, as many have said, but it is a process, and sometimes just when I start to poke my head out of the hole (think “Wack-a Mole”), that hammer comes down (e.g., I learn something about cheater ex’s “fantastic” new life with howorker now wife), and I have to start again. The great thing is that starting again isn’t nearly as disquieting as it used to be, and for that I am grateful!

  • Close all the expensive store credit cards yesterday (Needless Markups,etc)

  • If you find yourself with some time (3 kids and in the middle of a divorce, yeah I know), pick up “The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists”. Doesn’t have a lot of info on how to deal with one, but a lot of clear information on how to recognize a narcissist. Your wife’s ‘all about me’ complex really rings a bell.

    I hope you will find a counselor/therapist to continue to see by yourself as you transition into your new life. Hang in there.

  • “I’m not angry anymore.”

    Don’t hang your hat on this – it comes and goes. Roll with it.

    If you stay with this woman you’re sending your kids a message that it’s OK to stay with someone who treats you like shit.

    She treats you like shit – believe it.

    Stop seeing the shrink with her. Find a better one for you.

  • Wow you are mighty, Darrell! You are on a roller coaster and it is normal to feel terrified, calm, excited, breathless, overwhelmed and free, but I promise you the ride will end. I am 18 months from DDay and 2 weeks away from divorce. I spent 18 years with a narssistic man who was sparkly on the outside (firefighter, crossfitter, handsome and charming) and crappy on the inside. Time after time he betrayed me – in big and small ways – and he always promised to change. Guess what? He didn’t. Our three children were so happy when I asked him to leave and they are thriving. I once said to my youngest, who was 16 at the time, “Your dad was nice to you” and she quickly responded, “He is not a nice man – he is fake.” Don’t be like me, don’t waste your precious days on earth living a lie – go live your best life. Your children will understand and be proud of you when the are old enough to understand, just like my children are proud of me. Guess what? I am happy, I am loved and I survived! You got this, Darrell!!! We are rooting for you!!

  • Sounds like you’re a catch. I felt a lot of the same feelings. It’s especially tough when you picture a family with children together. I have a young son and was saddened too by the lack of give a shit. You deserve better!


  • Be on your guard! Don’t be surprised if in a few months down the road she comes at you with a pity party and tears of so sorry! Get the best advice about the money! Don’t let her empty your accounts! You have your answer. She got on a plane to go out of state to have a sandwich with a guy? Really? Behind your back! Hang tight and hand in there. Also be prepared as best as you can for her to trash you to family and friends by using the kids. Stay together for the kids. Be ready.

  • Chumps often fall for the whole guilt trip about tearing the family apart for “a mistake.”

    First, there is no such thing as “a” about an affair. Penises don’t suddenly find themselves in vaginas or other openings by accident. There’s planning involved. Even if your spouse likes to pay for sex, it’s not as if someone magically appears. Your spouse has to make a call, plan a time, sneak around. “A” is a singular article. Nothing about affairs involve only a single action.

    Second, there’s no “mistake.” A mistake is when you think you’re making the right choice but instead you make an incorrect choice. Once you internalize this, you realize that when your spouse talks about “a mistake,” they’re really saying one of the following:
    a.–“I really thought that fucking someone else besides you was the right choice to make. Now that you caught me and are filing for divorce, I realize that I was mistaken”–If this is, indeed, what your Cheater truly means, then you should divorce that person for being so self-centered they can’t recognize their own stupidity.
    b–“I really thought that fucking AP was the right choice, given that I could choose between FuckBuddy and you, O Faithful Spouse. It turned out that choosing to fuck the AP was the wrong choice.”–You need to divorce this person because they’ve admitted that you’re the fall-back choice, their Plan B.

    You deserve better. Divorce allows you the freedom of that better relationship.

  • Darrell – you are pointed in the right direction. The way your wife reacted to things is EXACTLY how my husband reacted when I had proof of his cheating. And to be honest, having him turn it all around on me really did a number on my head – so I understand what you are going through. She has shown you who she is and what she is capable of – that won’t change. Try and remember that as you continue to navigate through this shitstorm. I wish you all the best

  • I can’t even begin to describe how much this is my story. It’s amazing, how I think I’m the only chump in the world, and then I find this site and realize so many others share this heartache. I feel like I’m a 44 year old guy who has given everything for his family and is now being wiped out by the court system. She gets at least half of everything, and no judge in Texas is going to give a dude full custody of the kids. So I’m heading into divorce mediation with the advice of “playing nice” with my absolute horror of a wife.

  • Daddypants, I concur with you 100%

    Wish CL and CN will address this more.

    How is that the husband chumps got cheated on, lied to and deceived by their cheaters and still have to pay them half of the money they worked so hard for to provide for their families and get robbed of their children?

    Their are plenty of advices how to maximize the amount in a divorce settlement for women, but none for men chumps.

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