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Get the F*ck Out Now

Serial cheater

Hi Chump Lady!

As a diagnosed “Perfectionist”, I have been traumatized over and over by the Reconciliation Industrial Complex gospel so awfully prevalent in society. Such a relief to find your site… I feel like I’m remembering who I am when I read you. Thank you.

I knew there was something “off”, decided I was being immature, got married at 19. Four months in there was a Secret Pornography thing which exposed some sexual history that he hadn’t told me about and slightly weird, vaguely sexual conversations on social media that I knew were Something but of course he had a good, “My life is sad and I’m all messed up and helpless please help” reason for everything. This whole thing happened when I had gone out of town with my best friend to shop for bridesmaid dresses for her wedding one weekend. I always thought it was weird that it had to be when I was gone. I now realize it was punishment for leaving him for a couple days.

Fast-forward 6 years. Last January, my estranged father died. In my grief, I was very introspective and had this overwhelming feeling that my life was a lie. I felt like I was able to see that my relationship was fake and my spouse was an actor. I struggled with thinking “I’m just expressing grief in a really weird way.”

I called my husband one day and said “I think I need to live on my own.” He obviously freaked out, screamed and yelled, and I quickly caved and said “I don’t know what is going on, but I’m sure we can work through this.” I eventually brushed it off as a really weird “evil” phase that grief brought me to.

A couple of months later, to sum up, I found out that he has been cheating in all the ways for AT LEAST a year and a half. The evidence I found began a year and a half ago when I had moved us to a very expensive town in California for his school. I had worked a terrible job while he went to a Christian MUSIC school and worked 10 hours a week at a skateboard shop. He had a ton of “cool” friends and I was alone all the time. I thought I was making a sacrifice for our future (we have a band and always talked about wanting to help children in need learn music).

He had continued the sex-meetups, hookups, and webcam sex all the way back to our hometown and even created his own online profile to facilitate local meetups via Snapchat. From this profile, he tried to rope me in by sending me unsolicited RANDOM LOCALS porn and asking if I had anything to send. I didn’t know it was my spouse and deleted my snapchat account because of it.

I confronted him about it, expecting a big blow-up where I could say “That’s it get out!”… but Chump me SOMEHOW felt bad, felt like I needed more clarity. I have asked him to find somewhere to stay and he threw a big crying fit (the first since discovery… he wasn’t sad to destroy my life, just to have to tell someone he’s not the big admirable “worship-leader” they know). A week or so later I asked him to sleep in another room. He launched into this big lecture about not being able to “grow together” through this if we are “growing separately,” which I know is manipulative bullshit.

The problem isn’t that I don’t realize he’s an abusive, manipulative man-boy. It is that I am truly terrified. He has been following me and I have reason to believe he has cameras in my house hidden and is monitoring my devices. I can’t reach out to friends because I’m afraid he’s reading my texts and listening to my calls. (I’m not crazy, there is evidence to support this!) He also carries an unregistered gun everywhere. I told him his guns made me scared on D-Day, and he hid them in a closet….still super accessible. A couple of nights later he was brazenly setting his gun back on the nightstand before bed.

I am scared to do ANYTHING. You say contact a lawyer, call domestic abuse hotline… I’m afraid he’ll freak out if he catches wind of that. He is acting COMPLETELY NORMAL and nice. If I seem alright, he seems alright. Any advice on what to do when you are terrified to do anything? I don’t want to trigger him by overreacting either. I’m thinking I will all-at-once take a day off work, get all my stuff together, bring his weapons to a safe place, and when he gets home addressing the “get out” stuff.

EC

Dear EC,

Get. The. Fuck. Out. NOW.

You are NOT overreacting. Call an abuse hotline now before you’re the next episode of Dateline.

Also check out WomensLaw.org for online legal help for domestic abuse in the U.S. (it’s staffed by law students) and one-stop-shopping for divorce laws in all 50 states.

Oh wait, I gave you the advice you explicitly told me not to give. Call a lawyer, call a domestic abuse hotline. I’m sorry EC, that’s the advice I have for you. Because you have to leave this scary motherfucker ASAP and I can tell you from personal hey-there’s-a-loaded-handgun-under-my-bed!-Holy-shit-I-married-a-sociopath! experience that extracting yourself from this nightmare is best done with professional help — lawyers and law enforcement.

I can’t reach across the interwebs to save you. I wish I could. I wish every time I get a letter like this I could come and personally thug kick your abuser.

Instead, it’s Sunday night and I’m typing hoping you see this. And he doesn’t. And if he does? Fuck you, you psychopath. And fuck your Christian rock ministry fuckwit facade. I hope you choke on a recorder. I hope Jesus descends from a cloud of angels and thug kicks you personally. On a high Holy Day. And smites you twice on Sundays.

I have a lot of bad thoughts about your soon-to-be-ex. But let me direct my attention back to you — time to escape to safety. You know what keeps people stuck with abusers? This mental tape loop:

but Chump me SOMEHOW felt bad, felt like I needed more clarity

The self doubt, the self recrimination, the idea that you shouldn’t rush to judgement/trust your senses/trust ACTUAL reality.

That “need more clarity” shit is deadly.

You want clarity? Here’s clarity: HE COULD KILL YOU.

Forget the porn, the rando hook-ups, the Snapchat mindfuckery — HE. COULD. KILL. YOU.

You think it’s some sort of cosmic coincidence that the moment you said you want to leave was the moment he started leaving his UNREGISTERED HANDGUN on the nightstand?

Look, I can’t give you much, but I can give you validation — this is a crisis situation. This is ABUSE.

I know that’s mortifying and you’re a smart person and gosh, he seems so normal and nice right now. So did Chris Watts — that sociopath who killed his wife and two children and stuffed them in oil tanks. She was texting “He’s changed!” and pick-me dancing right up to the end.

Oh, but that’s a sensational murder story and your husband is just a mild-mannered Christian worship leader whose life is sad.

Please know, this domestic abuse shit is VERY (tragically) common. You are not freak of the week. You do NOT need to keep his secrets. This is not your shame to carry. I’m a smart person (a chump, but otherwise intelligent), I’m educated, I have a master’s degree. My abuser had two masters degrees and a law degree. Domestic abusers can be ANYONE. Even “Christian” ministers. Or musicians. Or skateboarders. Or fat, balding patent attorneys.

Don’t doubt yourself. He’s a fraud. And your gut was right. And you have all the evidence you’ll ever need. You need to find your moment and be brave and leave him.

We’re here for you.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Oh, honey, you are what? 25? 26? Your life hasn’t even begun yet. Get out. Just leave everything and go. The immature thing was not listening to your gut in the first place. Now do the grownup thing and get out of there and don’t look back.
    Yes, it will be scary and hard. Do it anyway.

    • As a life long gun owner…..the unregistered guns and “night stand bullshit” is what scares me in this scenario.

      Get the Hell Out. Don’t touch those guns and have your attorney handle it. DO NOT TAKE POSSESSION OF UNREGISTERED WEAPONS and take them to a “Safe Place.”

      • Exactly. I’m also a life long gun owner and unless you are cleaning them or taking them to the range or to hunt they should NEVER be out in the open !

        What he did is known as brandishing and is meant to intimidate and if you do it in public is a crime. He’s subtly TELLING you by doing that that if you leave he’ll hurt or kill you.

        GTFO ASAP !!

  • Oh my good advice Chumplady! Please take the first step, you will begin to be guided in the right direction.

    I dealt with similar. My ex is a complete 20/20 episode that’s only missing the murder. Not gonna be mine and lease don’t let it be yours.

    Save yourself… Wishing you peace of mind, blessings and eventually freedom.

    • Free Now,

      I see your comment and am wondering if you are new to CN? I’ve had this moniker for 3 years. My tribe may confuse our comments. Tempest, Is there a way to further delineate our comments?

      Thank you 🙏

  • EC,
    Get OUT NOW!!!!
    I’m screaming this as I type.
    Don’t call or text anyone. Just GO.
    Drive to the nearest police station, and ask them to contact domestic abuse shelter/organization and have them come get you. Leave your phone at the police station. Call important people from the police station then GO.
    If he’s tracking you, let him try to show up at a police station. Report his porn, underage? Rape? Creepy stuff? Let the cops investigate.
    I know you’re scared shitless, as I would be, but please get out.
    I wish to God that we had a domestic violence underground railroad. I know it exists, but I have no way of knowing how to connect.
    EC, get OUT NOW. Go to the police station if there’s absolutely no other way you can run and hide from him.
    I love Keith Morrison and all, but I do NOT want to see your story on Dateline, 48 Hours, or the ID Channel

    • As much as I would love to agree with this, I can’t. Unless more has happened than she says, a domestic violence shelter and the police may not help. The fact that he has a gun is not considered abuse unless he made threats. I called a domestic violence shelter, and they told me they couldn’t help unless he made threats or hit me.

      Don’t get me wrong… I think the concerns are warranted. I definitely do NOT think confronting him alone is a good idea. Talk to the police about his unregistered guns–you can probably get them confiscated. But sort out a place to run on your own, because they may or may not help you. I wish resources were that available, but that is not my experience, unfortunately.

      • One thing I’ll add though… make sure you keep any and all proof of abuse. If he has made threats or confessed to crimes, then you definitely should make this a police matter. I just want to make sure that if you bring it to them, they will help you. But in fact, you don’t need them. If you are like me, you know what could happen.

        But please drop the idea of confronting him. I know how much you want to, because I am the same way. It is that never-ending hope that if you just explain, he will see the light. He won’t. He is deeply invested in not seeing it. And all he will do is increase the pressure on you to shut up about it (further escalating abuse).

        You don’t need a confrontation to explain anything to him. Pack your bags, take your pets, and walk away. But first see the police about those unregistered handguns.

        • Carol that was my experience too. I called many DV shelters and they all had a requirement of physical violence or threats within the last 6 months.
          EC, I was always taught that physical violence escalates over time, but this is not always true. My ex would go years without laying a hand on me and then out of the blue he would snap. He had an interest in knives and started collecting them. Supposedly it was to “protect me” but they were actually meant as a threat (although if I asked him about it he would swear up and down it was only as protection- yet another mindfuck).

          I was 5 months pregnant for the second time when I found out about my ex’s cheating (I had finally decided to hack into his computer). I confronted him. This guy (who had punched me several times years earlier, and then supposedly “dealt with his anger problem”) started to become unglued right before me. He was furious with me so I tried to get some space and I went out onto our balcony. He stood in front of the sliding door and took his smart phone and actually tore it apart, piece by piece, as I watched from the balcony.

          I was so shocked- he was the same person who had kissed my cheek the night before, the same guy who a month earlier had almost cried with joy to find out we’d be having another baby, the same guy who was bringing me flowers for no reason except he loved me.
          And then I realized I was cornered. And my ex had this look on his face- pure predator. He opened the door and very slowly, deliberately, started walking towards me on the balcony. I was pressed against the rail and he reached out his hands towards me. I really think he was going to push me over the side. It was only second story so it most likely would not have killed me, but I would have lost the baby and I think that was the point.
          Anyway, I’ll never know for sure if he would have pushed me off, because just as he got within arms reach I saw our 8 year old walk by the sliding door. He hadn’t noticed us yet, but any noise would have gotten his attention. I pointed to our son and said “look!” and my ex froze mid-step. He immediately dropped his hands and went back inside. He didn’t want a witness.
          I wish I could say I left him then and there, but I had absolutely no where to go, no family or friends, no money. My ex hadn’t actually laid a finger on me or even made a single verbal threat. And later he swore that he had only intended to talk to me, that he was never intending to hurt me. In fact, he really made me feel paranoid and alarmist about the whole incident.
          I had never seen this type of aggression on the Lifetime channel. He went from zero to a hundred in less than a minute.
          I ended up staying married to him another 8 years. The last two years of my marriage I started reading Chump Lady and she is who opened my eyes to all the abuse and it took me two years of careful planning and maneuvering to get out with both my kids (full custody- ex only has supervised visitation).
          My point, EC, is that you might not get any warning at all. He might change from the guy you married to the guy trying to shoot and kill you, in the blink of an eye. That is not alarmist. That is just a fact. You need to protect yourself. You need to be smart about this and you need to get out before you have kids because then he will most likely have access to your babies and the Court won’t care what you say about how dangerous you feel he is. The court can only look at proof and that is really hard to come by if your husband was smart enough like my ex.

          You CAN get out though. I did, and I had literally nothing except chump lady and my wits.

      • Carol, I’m very sorry you had this experience, but our local DV system and shelters help ANYONE who is afraid of their partner or ex-partner. This doesn’t have to involve previous violence or explicit threats.

        This guy is creepy, and has unregistered weapons out and at hand.

        So it’s possible DV won’t help. But much more likely they WILL. So get out, even to a friend’s house, and make that call! The big advantage of the police station is that he won’t come after you there.

        • It has been my experience that they won’t offer help. (Even with physical violence.)
          I know so many people who say there is help – and maybe there is – but I could find none.
          Agreed you need to get out immediately and safely but count on doing it on your own. DV resources online do have good advice for ‘safety planning.’
          I had the upstanding husband ‘change in the blink of an eye’ too. He has a literal arsenal of weapons. He also self-admitted to the psych ward after D-day.
          No one cared.
          Make a plan. Pull out all the stops on every resource you possibly can. Call in every favor and beg whoever you can for help. Just plan for not getting any.

  • There is help out there!
    Tons of resources!
    Get the fuck out NOW!

    God I wish someone would have said this to me when my soon to be ex had an unsecured loaded handgun in the trunk of his car in our garage, feet away from me.
    It’s terrifying.
    It’s real.

    Please listen to ChumpLady.

  • Please leave! Now! Nothing you leave behind will be as important as what you take with you – your life. You are young and trust me when I say you can start over. If you are able, call the Domestic Violence hotline. Clear your search history if you have to look up the number. Pretend all is well until you disappear. Your husband is attempting to induce fear in you in order to continue to manipulate and control you. You will never be safe with this person. Be careful, give no indication of your intention, disappear and call an attorney. ((HUGS))

  • Precious EC…..Smile & nod at him, you be the actor, but get the h___ out NOW….You do not tell him anything! You take that day off —tomorrow is good……DO NOT tell him this / just grab your essentials & GO! (including important documents if you can and LEAVE!)

    DO NOT be there when he comes home! You leave without saying a word. I totally agree with all of what Tracy told you.

    This is critical. Be cool / calm / collected. Stay safe / stay sane. This Nation will be praying for you.

  • Jesus would not subtly threaten His bride with a gun. (Nor would he cheat on Her, of course). This is NOT on you…it is all on him.

    Reach out for real help like CL is recommending…sounds like your life depends on it.

    I am so sorry you are being treated this way! It is so wrong. Please get the authorities involved and preserve your life! You can sort the rest afterwards.

  • Your guardian angel is trying to tell you to get out. If your spouse is intimidating you with a gun, you owe him nothing. Not even forgiveness. Do what unsinkablemolly said above. Go.

  • I’m disconcerted by how similar this story is to mine. Married at 19. Discovery of secret porn addiction and other stuff always portrayed as a weakness he was working on. His sense of spiritual superiority – deep concern about his image at church and expectation that I would keep his secrets.

    But the biggest similarity here is the trap set to try to lure you into his lifestyle. He tries to get you to respond with nude pics to apparent strangers because he wants to prove that you are just like him. He’s a hypocrite, so he assumes everyone is a hypocrite. My Cheater did stuff like that too, and when it didn’t work, he jumped straight to gaslighting. He started insisting that I told him to buy sex toys and go enjoy himself while I was out of town.

    EC, I was married to mine for more than 20 years, always thinking he would get better. I woke up when I found out he inappropriately touched an underage girl and used my name to steal money, putting me at risk of prison. This is your future too. It only gets worse.

    Run. If you need more clarity, consider this… he’s not trying to fix the relationship at all. He just wants you to shut up. As long as you are nice to him, he doesn’t care how you feel. My Cheater is just the same.

    And yes, they are dangerous. Be careful.

    • I think the two of you should connect somehow. Privately, and securely, obviously. Your stories are too similar. Way too similar. You could help each other.

      Sorry for what you’ve both been put through. Good luck.

  • Is part of the problem that you are in a band with him?

    The world is full of great musicians who “broke up” with their bands. Many of them have had a lot of success with other people or as solo artists. There are many people in the world who want to share their music. Find one who isn’t a psychopath.

    Take your electronic devices and have them checked for spyware and key loggers. Buy a burner phone (e.g., a Tracphone) he doesn’t know about and keep it secure. Use that to communicate with a very select few people–people you know are not on his team. Parents or guardians, sibs, lawyer.

    I’d do what UnsinkableMolly says, but if you need a week or two, keep you plans to yourself. I’d say if you are renting, you’d be better off leaving and going elsewhere, maybe back to your hometown or somewhere you have people who love you. And when you do leave–the day you get in the car and drive–have the police there. And make sure he doesn’t know and can’t find out where you are going (which means checking the car for electronic devices). Get smart. Be very careful. He’s dangerous.

  • Get out NOW! That man is a sociopath, a manipulator, and a gaslighter. Get a cheap burner phone from WalMart — the type you pay monthly for minutes. That way he cannot follow you around, he cannot read your texts. And you have the safety of knowing you can communicate with a LAWYER and someone to help you.

    I’m reckoning you are young enough to have your parents still around. If so, CALL THEM AND SEE IF THEY CAN TAKE YOU IN. Or find a very trusted close friend or relative. GET THE HELL OUT.

  • EC, this overt stuff is scary as hell, and I bet there’s a lot you don’t even know about. One thing you wrote resonated with me and dredged up some memories.

    Decades ago I was a young, bright, attractive college student married to an ten-years-older, twice-divorced man who also had a child born out of wedlock. (What the HECK was I thinking???? That he really had had such a string of unfortunate luck? But he was so FUN!!!)

    One Sunday night, after a weekend away visiting my sister, I arrived home and he was in the shower. He had left his wallet on the dresser, and because by that point I was getting more and more suspicious, I checked inside and found some paperwork. He had gotten arrested that day for having sex with a man at a known gay hookup site and had gotten caught by the police sting operation.

    I gave him an entire week to confess to me, and surprise, surprise, eventually I had to ask him directly about the arrest. His reaction? He was mostly outraged that the arresting policemen treated him “like a dirtbag.” No apology to me, no confession, nothing that would have warranted my staying another two years, but I DID. Eventually, he (thank god) left me, and I foolishly went on to marry a second man who cheated on me with women.

    Leave now, EC. Your situation will never get better with this man, and every moment that you stay with him robs you of the chance to live a truly happy life. Please, please, please get out of there, and follow the advice of the others who have safely escaped violent, dangerous partners.

  • EC, please PLEASE, get out now, call those numbers, keep your cool, and trust your gut and nothing and no one else certainly not him. I didn’t trust my gut, I didn’t trust what I KNEW, to my everlasting detriment. You feel he is listening, you feel he would kill you…you are right. You don’t need proof, you don’t need explanations. Act accordingly. This is the fight of your life. Trust yourself. We’ve been there, we care, let us know when you are safe.

  • Abusers make you think you can’t reach out for help. It’s not true. There are so many people out there you can turn to. I have been where you are. I know how it feels. I so wish I’d reached out sooner. Once I got out and started talking about it with people I realized how much help was out there. If only I’d reached out earlier.

    I look back on the last few months of my marriage and I am genuinely surprised he didn’t kill me, but I’m pretty sure he would have had I stayed.

    Leave. It’s the hardest thing you will ever do, but you can do it. There is support out there. So many of us have been where you are and are now living our best lives.

  • My feeling is leave, very officially. Have the cops or some kind of official officer of the peace/law meet you at your house. Have him arrested for his unregistered handgun, so there is a record of that, and it goes into public record, and it’s taken away from him, so if he goes gets another then he can’t say, oh this one that was passed through the family from my grandpappy. Have all your stuff packed, preferably already out when he arrives home. Have handed the gun over already to the law or at least given to someone he knows (like one of his family members or someone he respects and you feel would hold him accountable) and have your family and/or friends help you move. Be public about it, tell as many of your friends and family who you know will be supportive what has been going on. Leave town if need be. You’ve held down a crappy job before so Mr Skateboard Christian Rock Ministry Dude could fuck around and have a good time on your dime, so any job is probably better than that. You’ve got a huge life ahead of you, and tbh, if you let him know you’ll expose him as an asshole unless he leaves you alone he will probably slink off to the people who still think he’s groovy and leave you alone. Have copies of all the evidence in a safe place away from him and threaten to send it to his family and friends, and particularly his higher-ups at the ministry if he doesn’t let you go. In fact, it might be a nice idea to have a chat to someone in the ministry if you are part of that scene, to let them know why you are going, as the dude could be groomy other younger congregation members into this kind of behaviour, and while you don’t need to say that directly, explaining your reasons that you will no longer be around any more at least gives them fair warning of whom they have in their midst. Talk to someone, and put it in writing also. Good luck, you are strong, you actually have a good gut, you just let yourself talk you out of listening to it. Get out, stay out, have a rocking one wild and precious life. And some therapy too. Good luck

    • I think this is the best advice so far. Doing it officially, with law enforcement, and telling people. As long as he doesn’t get wind of it first.

      I just think once it’s all out in the open, and he knows all eyes are on him – both legal, law enforcement, and neighbours, friends, family, he’s less likely to try anything.

      The idea is not to humiliate him, but to remove his sense of power and control over her.

    • This x 1000, bring everything out into the open,have the paper trail of a police report of an unregistered weapon, and beware of flying monkeys and attempts to gaslight you. Read Gavin De Beckers “The Gift of Fear”.It talks about listening to that primal gut instinct that is telling you that you are in danger,even when on the surface you can’t see why

  • EC
    You are in fear and believe he’s monitoring your home and phone. He’s following you with a gun in his possession?

    I’d call those actions threatening. Trouble is that over time victims like yourself are conditioned by the abuser (grow together) to maintain silence.

    Nothing in your history with him shows growth; it’s imprisonment.

    You are in danger and have a right to be terrified.
    1. Drive straight to the police station report his actions. Tell them the truth. Request a restraining order as you’re afraid for your life.

  • I never respond to these, but this one resonated with me:
    My cheater has similar initials to Chris Watts and has all friends, family, lawyers, and other concerned parties on watch because of his actions, diagnosis, and similarities to your story.
    Get a lawyer-even just a consult. Tell ALL friends and family. Get a GoFundMe page through a friend. Abandon social media, and for any necessary social media: make it private and exclusive/block. Buy gift cards and ask for gift cards even in $5 denominations. Gift cards are key because you will not leave a paper trail and it is an easy way to have money to pay for necessities like groceries and clothes when you abruptly leave. All friends and family need to know a move date..and all hands in help. Don’t feel bad, this is what friends and family are for, you have the rest of you’re life to thank them and help them in return-you have less of a long life to return gratitude if you drag your feet. It ALWAYS escalates to physical violence if you don’t get out. ALWAYS. The cheater seems normal and kind, you know, like they were at the Genesis of the relationship, then the switch flips and you are on the receiving end of something unbelievable that somehow did not result in bruising (because you take your vitamins and you have tanner skin in the summer-yay!).

    You may be tagged as the crazy ex, you might be the “annoying, loser-ex,” but you won’t be dead…and the people you need to be around know for fact you are the antithesis of whatever name your ex deems you. Assemble your team. Buddy system. Get out. Bare bones living for however long….keep yourself alive and well. You got this.

    • Crazy, you’re right. I always thought my ex “just lost it” when he beat me but he never “lost it” enough to beat me on the face or my bare arms. It was always somewhere where it wouldn’t show with my clothes on!

  • First time commenting. I’ve read this website and sent many others here. Tracy has really kept me going with her advice and so has Chump Nation. This is the BEST relationship advice website I’ve ever come across, whether for cheating, domestic violence, etc. Such strong people here who kept me going through my darkest time around a year ago.

    I have a song to share by Bishop Bullwinkle in regards to anyone, and especially suitable to our Christian letter writer here. It’s called “Hell to Da Naw Naw”. EC, and any other chumps reading, when you think of staying with someone who treats us like this, you play this song- on repeat. Because- Hell to da naw naw do you put up with this! It might seem a bit ridiculous, but it’s helped me through the toughest times in my life. Tracy, I think we need a music post.
    Bishop Bullwinkle- Hell to Da Naw Naw

  • Okay… gotta put on my “psychology hat” and the “chump hat” in case this woman is reading the comments. Tracy offered EXCELLENT advice and Tracy ALWAYS offers excellent advice. As a reader/Chump this is my favorite infidelity site.

    Onto the Clinical Psychology stuff in case the wife needs more reasons to leave and in case she seeks to understand what the hell has just happened.

    1) From the wife’s description and per the DSM-V, the husband meets all the criteria for a diagnosis of anti-social personality disorder. In common parlance they are called psychopaths. They are also a type of “fuck wit;” the most dangerous kind you can encounter.

    2) Why You? Psychopaths look for kind souls who have never encountered a psychopath. You see, kind souls have no context for psychopaths, well because we have never met one. My ex was a psychopath and that was one of the most difficult experiences of my life. It has scarred me to this day… best get out while you can. If you stay, one day you will get in so deep, you will drown. Run far away.

    3) Can a psychopath be helped through therapy? NO. They cannot. Please do not entertain hope that prayers to Jesus and the right therapist can help. They CANNOT. Not Jesus and not a therapist. If Jesus cannot help, you are SOL. But why can’t a psychopath be helped? Because the most recent neuroscience is uncovering that psychopaths have very different brain structures and function than those people who are not psychopaths. Have you ever tried to herd a 1,000 cats while parting the Red Sea? Well, that would be easier than getting a psychopath to change. RUN AWAY.

    4) Buy a burner phone in CASH. Buy it using cash you retrieve from the grocery store during food runs. Buy calling cards for the burner phone in CASH. Hide the burner phone inside a plastic ziplock bag in a kitty litter box, if you have a cat. There is NO MAN on earth that I know that goes near kitty litter if his wife will do this chore.

    5) Set up a bank account at a bank where he does not do banking. Set up a deposit box and I want you to keep a handwritten journal of his abuse. Store it in the box. Go to the bank each day to retrieve said journal and write in it at the bank, if you need. Tell trusted family and friends what is up. Print off all evidence and put it in the deposit box with the journal. Many banks will give you one for $50 a YEAR. Also do this in CASH. You MUST do this because a time will come when you might need a restraining order. A judge needs all the evidence you can get. Get the evidence ready- even if you never need it. At least you can look at it and remember who you were married to.

    6) Did you know Christians have the highest infidelity rate in the the United States? LOL!!!!! I wonder if this was caused by Eric Cartman and his Faith +1 songs. (I love Eric Cartman. Why can’t he be a real person?)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81ibVbxkjnA

    7) Do NOT tell church members. They are notorious gossips. The worst.

    8) Pack an overnight bag with bare essentials. Change of clothes, toothbrush, important contact information. Print off a list of the women’s shelters in your area and put it in the bag. Also have $300 in cash. Borrow it from relatives if you must. You can also set up a bank account where he doesn’t bank, link it to a PayPal account, and have family send you money via PayPal. PayPal has a debit and credit line as well. Put it in the overnight bag. Note: The overnight bag must look like something hideously girly that Mr. Skateboard Fake Christian would be so repelled by it, he would never look. Sparkly things with bows made by Juicy Couture do the trick. You can even allude to the idea that sometimes dirty tampons are kept in there. He will NEVER TOUCH IT. (Don’t put actual dirty tampons in there).

    9) Do ALL online research at your local library. If he is spying, make sure you keep the food network running on your laptop all day. Then go to the library to look up women’s shelters, their phone numbers, and anything else you need to look up. But at home… go deep underground. Pretend all is well, that you are obsessed with being a good wife and learning about cooking, and that the only thoughts you have involve food and organizing closets.

    10) Do NOT have sex. Oh I know this is hard for some people. Let me tell you, if I can refuse to have sex with someone who was cheating, you can do it too. Because I was crazy about this guy. I kicked him out of my bedroom and yes it was hard. But, I told myself I had to do it for sanity. And I was right. Also…
    remember that the human papilloma virus CAUSES certain cancers. HPV numbers 16 and 18 cause many cancers and there is no way to prevent them. Condoms do NOT prevent them. My ex gave me cervical cancer. You do NOT want it. It can endanger your ability to have children. (If you want them).

    11) “Boo, Sarah. She must be an atheist.” Nope. I am a Jewish-Christian or something or other. What do you call someone who is ethnically Jewish on mom’s side, but has a dad who is WASP? You call it a mistake born of a one night stand and too much whiskey. No, I am kidding. My parents were married when I was conceived and the “Jewish secret” didn’t come out until I was an adult. So I study the Torah and Bible at home. I don’t attend any religious congregation. Where there are people, there are hypocrites hiding. I lost tolerance for hypocrites long ago… especially since the worst cheaters, like my ex, were die hard Christians.

    12) Guns… take notice. Two (genetic) family members were a second from being killed by a person who married into the family. They thought he would never use the guns… well, he did. And it is a miracle they escaped. He killed himself right afterwards.

    Please take this seriously. I can tell you with certainty it won’t get better. This man is using you to cover his double life. He can be worship leader and husband by day and devious, sex addict by night. But, the congregation will be none the wiser being he is married to such a nice girl!!

    Also, I have been duped by someone similar. It happens to many smart women. Sometimes the smartest.

    Most importantly… never tell him you are leaving. Make plans to leave but have no trace of those plans. Build up a cash reserve even if it involves asking relatives. Modern women’s shelters can be very impressive. Some put women in their own private apartments with bedrooms, baths, and kitchens. That way a woman has total privacy. Shelters also have sophisticated ways to protect women these days. They never give out names, some have bullet proof glass in reception areas, security guards onsite, and security cameras everywhere.

    When you leave, give your husband a kiss on the cheek, grab your laptop and say you are going to Starbucks. Park your car at a friend’s house and have them take you to the women’s shelter. Ensure there are no tracking devices on your laptop are phone. Do not give a man any hint you are leaving. Got it?

    You might be asking why he is having a fit and doesn’t want to lose you. Here is what he doesn’t want to lose: a cover for his double life. Right now it’s so convenient for him. He is probably revered at church and fucks anyone he wants at night. He has worked so hard to find a woman who is a cover and he is too lazy to look for another one. It’s hard to swallow, but you are useful to his double life. And he will ALWAYS have one. There is no woman who can cure a psychopath. It’s better you find someone who is good to you.

    Be prepared for a fight and gas-lighting… then that will give way to love-bombing, hoovering, and crocodile tears. Also be aware he will allude to a fake suicide attempt. He may call you and tell you he has a gun in his mouth. HANG UP. He doesn’t. Record it in a journal as evidence.

    But why would he do that? Because it is easier than getting a divorce. A divorce will EXPOSE him, you see. Additionally, psychopaths do not love others. They only love to CONTROL others. Love is NOT control. He wants to control you, lead a double life, and be in control of all. You leaving shows him he is NOT in control. That drives psychopaths crazy and they will attempt to do anything to get you back so they can CONTROL you… not love you. Please do not listen to him!!!

    Well, I hope this helps. And I hope you take this to heart. I am in my late 40’s and have many hard-won lessons.

    Big hugs and may Peace be with you,
    Sarah

    • Damn good advice.

      And I too have found the worst hypocrites are those who profess a deep religious conviction -especially Christians.

    • EXCELLENT ADVICE. All of it.

      DO NOT TELL HIM YOU ARE LEAVING. The most dangerous time in a woman’s life is just before she leaves an abusive man – that when she’s most likely to be beaten or killed.

      • Thank you Lola and Skunk Cabbage…

        And I wanted to highlight what Lola said. The most dangerous time in a woman’s life is when she leaves her abusive husband.

        Think hard about that. The most dangerous time in a woman’s life is when she leaves her abuser… that is IF he gets wind of it.

        And that is my reason for describing in detail the bank vaults where you need to all keep evidence, the cash, the separate bank account.. open the bank account in the name of a relative if a relative is willing to help you do that and not steal your $$. I like PayPal because you do everything electronically except the debit card they will send you with a credit line. You would have to be the one who gets the mail everyday. Or send it to your parents house.

        Also… don’t be ashamed.

        My relative and her child who were almost killed by her husband, well she is and was a wealthy attorney. And so was her husband. They had built and owned many law firms on the West Coast. Their lives were filled with luxury cars, mansions, exotic trips. Then her husband took up with a mistress who convinced him he had to prove his love by killing his wife and child in front of the mistress. Yes. This actually happened to my CLOSE family member. This is not a distant family member. She is a close one.

        And so one night husband and mistress showed up with guns and mistress had husband high on drugs. They showed up at the house where my family member and her child lived. They escaped by the grace of God. Some people ask why God doesn’t do this or that. Well, all the adults were praying, especially my mom who she called daily.

        She and her child escaped by the grace of God. I stand by that because I have spent many hours talking one-on-one with my relative. They should have been dead. But this was one of the times God entered the world and opened a metaphorical window to escape and also gave her the clarity of mind she needed to get through what would happen after that.

        So, women of all socio-economic levels go through this stuff. Doesn’t matter even if a man is a minister. Watch the news and even Christian ministers do this shit.

        I hope you (the woman who has written the letter) thinks about all this carefully. I only take time to comment when I either need to bitch about my own experience or when I see “the signs of true domestic violence.” I know this area well both from my family member’s experience and the type of places I visited during my degree and the stories I heard.

        For the men,.. you guys can experience domestic violence too. I know that. So this is not something only men do. It’s just that female abusers do it in a different way.

        Oh and if any cheaters are reading just for kicks, your spouse asking you to stay home and stop cheating does NOT constitute emotional abuse.

        Infidelity is a type of abuse… so the unfaithful of the world… don’t ever think of yourselves as some kind of victim. The cheaters of the world are victimizers among many other things.

      • This is true!! You need to leave ASAP!! Keep your cool! Take the day off just so you can slip your important papers and things out!!

  • When I was 12, a woman I didn’t know came to live with us. She was a good friend of an aunt of mine I had never met. She was divorcing an abuser. He was Mr. good guy to everyone else. He threatened to kill her. She called police, who spoke to him. The policeman, came back to her and told her to run. He told her this was a very dangerous man, who would definitely kill her. She didn’t want to leave the house, friends and job she had worked so hard for. A month later a gun shot came through her window missing her by inches.the same officer, told her of course it was him but there was no proof. Again telling her to run, leave everything, change her name etc. he believed this man would hunt her down. He only missed her because the glass deflected the bullet. So she came to live with people, ina different state, with only a suit case. By now she has died of old age, but that’s better than a bullet in the head. Run

    • My great aunt was in a late-in-life marriage with another old person…they always seemed benevolently old to me seeing them as a little kid. I have no idea why she decided to leave him but memory is that she tried to pick up the phone to leave and he shot at her hand then he shot her center and killed her there. Family tried to make it to the courthouse for his trials, but I think it got old after a while.

    • Satan filled people don’t fear God!!! Years ago a friend of mine tried to break up with her live-in boyfriend! Well, he went psycho on her and tried to kill her and did manage to almost kill her dog that was trying to bite him!! She was given a new name and moved to a different place and is under the protection plan from the police department. Please understand you’re in danger and need to get out ASAP!!!

  • All great advice. Please please please leave now. There is nothing that needs to be clarified or discussed with the psycho you are married to.

    Agree with getting the cheap burner phone from Walmart. Pay cash for it and the sim and plan. Do not activate it in your house. Activate it at work or at the public library and leave the phone at your workplace.

    Can you go back home to your family, siblings, or best friend?

  • My ex’s final OW later married a youth pastor and is now a Christian worship leader at his church.

    Wouldn’t call her dangerous, but Jesus cheaters serve in all areas of the church, I’m afraid.

  • When I caught my ex cheating again, I served him papers while I was out of town. He was abusive and had unregistered guns. I called a hotline because I didn’t know if he would be so enraged with the divorce papers, that he would bring his guns and hunt me down. They told me to have an escape plan. Think of where you could hide if you had to. Is there a room that is the furthest from entry points to your house? Make sure windows will open because it’s another way to escape. Keep gas in your car if possible , but if you had to run out of the house look around your neighborhood to see the how you could get away without him seeing you. Keep your phone on you at all times , if possible. They can help you with an escape plan. Please be safe but LEAVE. I stayed way longer than I should have and it never got any better.

  • This is all too common. I’m not going to buy the panic nor ignore the warning signs. I hope the OP is reading & taking the advice given.

    I took the point made “trust your gut, you were/are right” as the main point. So what now?

    You need a plan! Only you know what that looks like. Keep it to yourself & only those who you can trust with your life.

    The plan has to have a few important parts to it. How do you remove yourself with minimal damage? What is necessary for the escape? What must be in place for you to get out safely?

    It may take a bit of time. People are generally ok with saying “get out now”. Now may not be viable today, tomorrow or this week. Look at what is viable. It took me 12-18months to line up my ducks. I’m out now, as of September 18. I have kids.

    I totally agree with the view of, DO not let on what you’re planning. It’s your business only. Be vague, ditzy, like you’re never quite sure or have a clue. Let your partner think you’re an idiot who is confused. Never give a straight answer when it comes to what you’re next move looks like.

    As you line it up, be ready to have them throw weird shit into the space which is designed to knock you off balance… It’s their MO to make chaos to divert you. Ignore it. Stay on track.

    You’ve got this. We believe in you. You will be free of this crap. And Tuesday is a great day where getting out will become real, meh is just around the corner.

    Much love!

    • This is very good advice. It is easy to say “get out now!” but there are often practical considerations, and now may not be possible. Sure, you can walk out your front door, even drive to the next town, but then what?

      A dangerous husband makes leaving harder, not easier. Leave. But carefully. Have a plan. And make sure the plan does not involve trusting idiots who may or may not come through for you, because once the plan is in motion, your cover is blown.

  • Honey this is serious shit. Get the fuck out NOW. Sounds like he’s already got this shit planned out. Do not wait, I don’t care where you go, GO! Make your escape quick too. If he’s watching you he will see you on a camera. Take your essentials and fucking go! Best wishes and keep us updated!

    *** if he’s reading this shit: FUCK YOU ASSHOLE! Men don’t do shit like this but sociopaths sure as fuck do!!!

  • Please, just to add to the chorus, please leave. It is a good idea to plan a day when he must be out, ideally somewhere not within easy reach of home, gather all weapons, take to your nearest police station (obviously having packed up your stuff first, gotten your financial ducks in a row re salary payments and so forth), get a TRO while you’re there and then get the fuck out of dodge. Please do this for all the people who love and treasure you in your life, and for the long, happy and exciting life you have yet to live.

    Once you are safely away – and do of course take all evidence and everything supporting you can find as proof and corroboration – let every single person in his various hang-outs know all of it. All. Of. It. Church, work, school, all of them. Go nuclear. But be quite some distance away at that time.

    • I just want to say on this “hide all the weapons” advice — YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE ALL THE WEAPONS ARE. Anyone who has an unregistered handgun probably has other guns or weapons you are unaware of. After I threw mine out, I found a loaded handgun ***under my bed.*** Not on the floorboards, between the mattress and the box spring.

      There is nothing more important than your life. The minute he’s out of sight, GTFO.

      I did the meticulous plan thing, damn near killed me. In retrospect, I wish I’d left at the first sign of trouble and let my lawyer figure out how to retrieve my material possessions later.

      It just doesn’t get better. They build the walls higher. It escalates.

      • Sorry, I needed to chime in here… LISTEN TO TRACY.

        There is a dysfunctional history to the current house we live in. The owner before the owner we bought the house from had 100 different weapons in the two-story detached garage. The wife had to hide in a crawl space and call the police to get her because the husband became psychotic and was threatening to kill her. He believed the government was sending in black helicopters in and spying on him. (He was not former military either.) What this had to do with the wife? Who knows! When people are psychotic they are not in their right mind!!! Apparently, different police came and arrested the guy. The guy is STILL in jail. And guess what the weirdo does now… the weirdo in jail sends letters to my house to a woman who does NOT exist. I had to call the jail many times and explain what was happening before the letters stopped.

        There no good end when you mix an affair and a gun. LISTEN TO TRACY. SHE LIVED IT.

        • PS- I will stop commenting now. I am worried for this reader. I KNOW how it ends. I want her OUT of the marriage.

  • EC, dear, here is one more fact for ‘clarity’, so you can organize your ideas and GET OUT ASAP: you are NOT a bad human being. Therefore, you do not deserve to be monitored, sleep with a gun mounted by your bed, etc. that is scaring you.

    Suppose your spouse is developing schizophrenia (sure sounds like it). Even so, YOU are NOT the help he needs.

    G.E.T. O.U.T.

    Chump Nation is thinking of you today.

    • Just need to point out that there are plenty of sociopaths/psychopaths who are NOT schizophrenic. Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness (just like Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness) and has nothing to do with being an abusive cheating creep. In fact, studies show that people suffering from mental illness are slightly LESS likely to perpetrate violence than the general public.
      I’m not diagnosed with a mental illness like this, but I’m sure there are people in Chump Nation who are dealing with a mental illness diagnosis, and they don’t need to be grouped with psychopaths and cheaters simply by virtue of a disease they are born with.

      • Agreed; I feel sympathy for those dealing with actual hallucinations, delusions, and psychosis during schizophrenia or some other mental illness. When violence happens in those situations, everyone is a victim. And those are a TINY fraction, as most people with a mental illness (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, etc.) are far more likely to be victims of violence. Violent people with mental illness are true outliers and need help (after potential victims are safe, of course!).

        Letter writer’s dude sounds like he knows EXACTLY what he is doing, that he is entitled to his actions, and like he has rationalized it in some way to keep his self-esteem high. I cannot diagnose him from a distance, but I would be more willing to bet personality disorder or crappy entitled misogynistic values than anything. Similar to the school shooters and “incels” that are willing to buy into a hateful ideology and have enough people to enable them and rationalize something horrible.

  • As someone who fled in the night, barefoot, with two small children, I urgently beg you to go. Do NOT go to a best friend or your parents; he will know where you go. A women’s shelter is best; do not call him at all from anywhere.

  • The sad news is, this is very common. The good news is, because it’s common, they have the escape system perfected. Go to the local abuse center, preferably one near a university because they’re always excellent. Tell them what’s going on. They have a checklist and a script to follow. They will protect you and make sure you’re safe IF YOU FOLLOW THEIR PLAN.

    Law enforcement will remove him from the house and impound his weapons (he might get them back later, that’s a whole other mess that is not today’s problem). You will be allowed back into the house, if you want, because an abuser can’t terrorize you out of your house.

    It will be quick, you will be safe and you will have lots of help and support. But you have to take the scary first step alone. And you have to follow the domestic abuse center’s instructions to maintain your safety. Sorry, that means you will never get closure or to tell him off. I think that is a small price to pay.

  • Reading through these comments, I feel like this ought to be said. I am very sympathetic to the fact that this guy is unstable and that the OP is not feeling safe. I am very sympathetic about the guns and the implied threat. I am very sympathetic to her need to leave.

    HOWEVER, as someone who has been there, I think it is more complicated than that. Leaving is dangerous. And whatever people say about lots of resources out there, resources are not nearly as available as people think.

    I grew up in an abusive home. I ran away as a teen, and let me tell you … NOBODY helped me. Not one of my friends’ parents invited me to stay for a night or two. Nobody helped me find work. Nobody helped me get a job. When I tried to apply for food stamps and housing assistance, I was told that unless I got pregnant, they couldn’t offer me anything.

    Later with an abusive marriage it was almost ditto. I told friends, and their reaction was to want to confirm it with my husband, because they felt like they needed to hear both sides. He downplayed it and raged at me in private. Finally I managed to prove it to my friends… they got more sympathetic, but they DID NOT offer to help me. They mumbled about having their own families, and that was a lot to ask… I called domestic violence shelters. The first time they didn’t even call me back. The second time they were sympathetic, but said that unless he hit me or threatened me with a gun, they couldn’t help me. They said the police couldn’t do anything either unless he did something beyond keeping a gun around.

    So the real danger here is that she will reach out, and it will result in (1) blowing her cover (the police show up, take a look at the gun, issue a ticket for it being unregistered, and walk away), and (2) still leaving her with nowhere to go.

    When people hear of tragedies, they often say, “I wish that person had reached out for help.” Having reached out myself a few times, my thought always is, “They probably did. People are generally selfish and don’t help.”

    My point is not that there is no hope. But EC, the person who is going to save you is you. Never assume that someone is going to help you. They might, but they probably won’t. Don’t give anything away about your situation unless you are sure it will help you and won’t end in getting shot. Make your plan quietly. Contact Domestic Violence lines, but keep it secret, and if they say they can’t help you, just check that off your list of possible options and develop another option.

    I wish I didn’t have to give this advice, but… be your own hero, because you may be all you have. Don’t let yourself down. You are smart enough. Find a way. But don’t put much faith in others unless you know they won’t let you down.

    • True recent story about escaping a dangerous person: 13 yo Wisconsin girl. THIRTEEN. A stranger broke into her family home murdered her dad. Duct taped her mouth, ankles and wrists. Shot her mother in the head – in front of her. She slipped and nearly fell on her parents blood while he was forcefully removing her from her home. He threw her in the trunk of his vehicle, drove her to a location unknown to her where he kept he for three long weeks. He barricaded her under a bed.

      She rescued herself! From this murderous stranger. EC, your spouse is a stranger too. Don’t think for a minute you know his deepest evil thoughts.

      She waited for him to leave. She forced boxes and heavy weights away, just enough for her to squeeze out. She put on a pair of his shoes since she didn’t have any. She wandered out into the freezing cold, into unfamiliar snowy woods, not knowing if anyone could help.

      She left. She was frightened and alone, but she knew her best chance was to run. To free herself.

      13! She ran. She persisted. She survived. EC, save yourself. Help is out there.

    • Carol, I just have to say that I totally understand you. This was my experience too. I had so many people telling me that there are all these resources, but when I went looking for them they were actually scarce and had many catches. Most women’s shelters can only offer you a week and then you are homeless if you have nowhere else to go when that week is up. I found one that would have let my kids and I stay for up to 3 months, but they charged $300 per week which may as well have been $3,000 per week for someone who has no income and no savings or even for someone who is working minimum wage and supporting kids.
      I also found a program through my state that would pay the moving costs and first months rent for DV victims (for both men and women). Great right? But the catch is you must pay them all up front with your own cash and then the state will reimburse you later. So if you don’t have that money to begin with, this program won’t help you. I had to wait and save up my money before I could use this program, which I did. Unfortunately it also turned out (fine print I hadn’t read and wasn’t told by my state social worker) that you had to apply for reimbursement within days of moving, so I planned on that money (once I got accepted into the program) but then missed the super narrow deadline so didn’t actually receive any financial help at all.
      My point is that I agree with you that there are resources out there but really your number one resource is your own self. And I think in general people want to really believe that there is all this help, but in reality it is not that simple.
      For abuse victims with kids you have to be especially careful. If I had left with my kids to a shelter, my ex would have used that against me in court. He would have pointed to me being homeless as a reason to grant him full custody of the kids. He didn’t have any official record of DV and it would have been my word against his. He is/was far too dangerous to my children for me to risk that. I know EC doesn’t apparently have children, but I’m pointing it out for all those that do.
      I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to find help if you are experiencing physical threats/violence. And never ever delay leaving because you are worried about losing your stuff. Stuff can be replaced, you cannot be.
      Lack of resources makes it harder but it is never impossible. To get the upfront money for the DV grant for moving, I had to actually beg my (now ex) husband for it. He was holding me in abject poverty and I couldn’t trust him alone with the kids at all so that I could work (I also had a severe health problem at the time). I told my ex that I would forgive him cheating on me if he gave me $1500 for new clothes (he thought I was trying to pick me dance for him in style). He gave it to me. It made me sick to my stomach to say I forgave him cheating (and everything else) and act like he was wonderful, but you do whatever you have to do to survive, to get out.
      It took me almost two years to get out safely (and most importantly with full custody of my kids) but I did it with no friends, no family and almost no money. People online screaming at me to run to a shelter (although extremely well intentioned) only stressed me out more. Then I questioned myself, my gut, my choices. Part of waiting was trying to gather any evidence I could that my ex was not safe around the kids. He certainly wasn’t going to hand any handwritten letters over to me detailing his state of mind if I had already left him. Letters that admitted he “dabbled” in child porn in the past, didn’t actually love our kids, was a compulsive liar and had beat me several times throughout our marriage. While the court won’t deny custody based on handwritten signed letters, they viewed him with suspicion and are not going out of their way to give him more custody. Trying to explain those letters to the Court has been very difficult for him.
      For the record, I did it the right way because my kids and I are safe.
      I also contacted all the lawyers, who still needed money to represent me and needed more money to represent each child with their own lawyer. I couldn’t begin to afford it so I pulled that off on my own too.
      Now my ex is desperate to get the Court to overturn custody and award unsupervised overnights. And I fight in court against him every year.
      When it can be as simple as getting up and walking out, then do it! But if it’s not as simple as that, you will have to fight hard for your freedom and safety.
      Sorry this is so long a post, but I’m putting it out there for the other people who are in this situation, lurking, terrified to openly talk about the abuse, and what to do if your significant other is a sociopath and kids are involved. No one wants to address this scenario. I found precious little info on what do when the abuse is so covert and your abuser has nothing official that they have ever been caught on.
      Get creative. Make a plan. Become the worlds best actor/actress. Forget about confronting your abuser, it’s suicide.
      P.S. this is why I feel I’ve earned the right to call myself Boudicca online. She fought like hell after her daughters were assaulted by the Romans. And I’m fighting like hell for my kids too.

      • Boudicca,

        I absolutely agree with everything that you said. Your comment about well-intentioned people stressing things out more is very astute. I found that was true as well.

        I think I overstated that no one helped me. No one gave me any help that actually helped during those crisis times. But there were many people who tried to intervene in some way that only made things worse.

        When I was in high school, I told my favorite teacher about some of my struggles at home. She called my parents to talk to them, thinking they’d be inspired to work things out. My parents beat me so badly that I couldn’t go to school the next day and threatened worse if I ever spoke to that teacher again. I know the teacher meant well, but she assumed they were rational, that they loved me, that if we just talked it out…

        The same with my marriage. My pastor was very willing to be involved, but his idea of involvement wasn’t to help me escape. It was to confront my husband about his sin, counsel him about how to be a better husband, and fix it all so that I could have a happy marriage. Well, you can guess how well that went.

        These days, I view information as a grenade. When you pull that pin and toss it up in the air, you lose control of what happens after that. If you throw it badly, you may blow up yourself. So you had better be really sure you know what you are doing when that grenade leaves your hand. So it is with information. Once you open your mouth, you can’t unsay it. And you can set off a chain of events that ends in you getting beaten, threatened, killed, financially devastated, imprisoned… You better be sure before you say anything.

        I think often people don’t mean anything badly. It’s just that they can’t picture it. I really think my pastor thought that my husband was like him. He thought, “Well, if I got confronted about how I was treating my wife, I would be deeply ashamed, and I would definitely re-evaluate what I was doing and change!” He was utterly dumbfounded when my husband failed to respond, but he couldn’t seem to move beyond the mindset of thinking that we could fix it. He’d say over and over, “But if you divorce, you will be terribly affected financially!” as if that was my main concern.

        I’m glad you found a way out. I’m very glad you got full custody of your kids and a safe place. You are smart and you are brave. You did it right… and all on your own. I wish you hadn’t had to do that alone, but the reality is that often that is all you can do.

  • Leave your phone I your car. Go inside a Walmart, or wherever else you can get a throwaway phone. From inside Walmart, call a domestic hotline, then an attorney. He may have placed listening devices in the car so careful. Coordinate to get to a safe house. The day you are supposed to go, take off from work. Grab only the essentials, birth certificate around the, financial records, and clothes that will fit in 2 suitcases. Then get the hell out. Dont let ANYONE know where you are going or that you’re leaving him. Listen to your attorney and law enforcement. Many safe houses can coordinate with your landlord and can also get you situated in a new state. BTW Ask law enforcement if you should turn in his unregistered weapons.

  • Get an inexpensive flip phone at Walmart or Target and a $30 prepaid card. He cannot monitor that. If you were closer, I’d give you the one I used.
    Best wishes.

  • I know that addressing this is nothing compared to the rest of your story but you said ‘I now realize it was punishment for leaving him for a couple days’. No, this is the crazy that he is, not punishment, just who he is.
    GET OUT!!! CL is right! Even if he’s doing this for intimidation purposes only….who is he?! Do you want anything remotely like him in your path?! NO!!

    Just like you were able to write this to CL….research other help. Better yet, drive to a spot close enough to a friends house (if you think he’s tracking you)….leave your phone in the car……walk to your friends…..make sure they are home first through casual conversation (if he is monitoring your calls)….let them help you!!! Quick!

  • There are two camps here – get resources on your side or do it alone. I just want to come down firmly on the side of do it alone. As others have pointed out, going to the police is a gamble and sometimes they alert the very people you’re trying to protect yourself from. If someone believes they have a right to take their anger out on you, intentionally engaging in conflict (and especially going “nuclear”!) can make them homicidal. In your case, he’s implicitly threatening murder when you’ve done NOTHING, so I think involving others is a very bad idea. Your people will know what they need to, but strangers? His friends? Don’t do it. You need to disappear on your own and yesterday.

    Growing up, there weren’t as many laws against stalking and domestic violence, and I saw *multiple* people get themselves out of these situations. You can do it, and you need to do it.

    • Perhaps it is possible to do both – to have a friend with you but not tell the friend why – e.g. have a friend accompany you to a ATM/bank, to Walmart, etc, just in case he’s trying to follow her, but just make up an excuse for the friend. (disclaimer: i have no experience is this area, but i would think if you are to be “alone” at any time, you’d want to be alone in a crowded place – e.g. go to Walmart/bank when it is very crowded and park very close (even illegally close) to the front door.

    • I think this is a false choice. EC needs to leave and head to the place/people she feels safest, AND she needs to contact the police and let them know her husband has an unregistered gun and that she’s left due for a variety of reasons including his implied threats (she asked him to put the gun away; she asked to sleep apart and he insisted he sleep beside her with a loaded gun). She should tell the police she isn’t sure what they can do, but she’d like them to take the gun and she wants her concerns on the record. Start building a paper trail. EC may want a protection order, and establishing her concern is a good start. He may also think twice before harming her if he knows the police are already suspicious of him (I know, lots of them don’t think twice, but anyone using an unregistered gun this way has probably imagined shooting his spouse and claiming a stranger did it).

  • This is probably lower priority than other things, but some other digital advice and I’m probably repeating advice from above

    – don’t use your home computer or home wifi (easy to log the home wifi router traffic)
    – instead use your cell phone and mobile data plan (or burner phone as suggested above)
    – do internet searches using duckduckgo, not google
    – change your passwords using your new phone (e.g. google pw, icloud pw, mobile carrier, bank, credit cards) – make sure double factor authentication is enabled; or better yet create a new google account (you’re old phone may be required to change passwords if a text needs to be sent to your old phone)
    – if you use gmail, its easy to check if someone else has logged onto your account
    – don’t use apple services or google services under your existing google account (gmail, calendar, maps, etc) unless you intentionally use them to fool him
    – assume he has a backup of the current contents of your cell phone, computer and access to any already sent text messages
    – if he has any access to your debit card transactions, then yes use cash for now if possible, and/or buy a burner/temp debit card, and/or open a new checking account when possible
    – check your car for VARs, GPSs
    – be wary of logging into any shared account from another locations (netflix, hulu, icloud, amazon) etc as many of these services might have a way to check login locations
    – until you change your icloud pw, assume he can Find My IPhone for all your apple devices

    • To reiterate, my advice above is mainly about not using digital services in a way where he could determine your location or actions or plans; others above have given much better advice as to taking care of higher priority items, such as securely, privately communicating with a domestic abuse service and/or legal services and getting away from potential, immediate danger.

  • An expensive Christian college town in California, made me start to google. There is a Christian music school in SD. I am in San Diego or LA and if you are near San Diego, message CL who can message me. I will come and get you, or meet you somewhere and you can come to my house. I have an extra bedroom. I also have a friend who is a very good family law attorney. I am serious about this offer. Or if you can get to me, you have a place to go. Ring’n

  • EC I spent 15 years with a psycho like that and I regret every day of it! They get worse, not better. They always get worse! You need to get angry about this and you need to put your life above his feelings and above your fear. Just leave. It’s like jumping off a cliff, it’s hard but once you do it you’ll wonder why you didn’t sooner. I know what it’s like to fear he’ll kill you but it’s not worth living like this. It’s not a life, it’s hell.
    Please keep us informed and I hope it works out well for you in the future.

  • Dearest Letter Writer,

    CL and so many readers have given wonderful advice. I feel ALL THE ANGER toward this guy for his infidelity, let alone endangering your life (what in the actual???).

    I second what Carol and others have said :
    1. silently planning an escape
    2. checking for tracking/odometer/camera/microphone devices
    3. contacting the Domestic Violence Hotline on a burner phone
    4. changing over emails
    5. documentation on a journal using a bank safety deposit box at a different bank
    6. Informing police once you have established a safe haven away from him where you KNOW he cannot find you.
    7.Anything cash, giftcard, or whatever else doesn’t leave a paper trail.
    8. Pets, important paperwork, and whatever you can pack into a car, and GO when he is not home.

    I recommend one clean “break” for leaving. I would worry about your safety in coming back to the house for multiple trips.

    Someone on Lifehacker said you can find cameras with your cell phone camera in the dark (infrared detector). I haven’t tried this but it is worth a shot. As long as you disable them when you leave-leave, so you don’t “pay” later (ugh).

    Unfortunately, there is no guarantee the police won’t contact him before you can get away, further inciting his rage. That’s why I would recommend waiting to call them or visit the station. This is about survival. His punishment for having unregistered guns and acting violent can come later. I hope the cops in your area are trained on DV, but I cannot guarantee they will be discreet, take you seriously, and/or do anything. Restraining orders can ANGER attackers and exacerbate the risk of violence (Gavin de Becker’s Gift of Fear describes this).

    On a day he is away from home, run. Run. Run and act as if you are in a witness protection program.

    Your only allies here are yourself, your anonymous form of communication (burner phone, library), and the DV hotline/shelter. We are internet strangers, but we get that you are in danger and need to be safe ASAP.

    I don’t know if your friends, family, or church members can be trusted. I would NOT ask the church, friends, family, acquaintances, or anyone even LOOSELY connected to him for help or give them info. God forbid they excuse him, believe HIS version of events, or set up an “intervention” FOR YOU. And blather on something about how YOU are “sinning.” In some cases, a DV victim’s own friends and family turn against her because the abuser is so charming and good at portraying folks in your situation as “crazy.” I know it sounds too awful to be true. Assume only you know the truth, to be safe.

    When you run, operate on the true notion that there is no “fair” here. You did nothing wrong yet you MUST be take care of yourself. When you are free, and unless he is in jail for life (doubtful), remember NOBODY who may talk to him is entitled to your personal info. Meaning that if you check-in with your own Team You (a la Captain Awkward), you don’t even have to tell them where you are if you suspect they might blab to Mr. Charming Christian. Not that they *should* do that, but playing it safe here. I don’t know if your support system is sucky, good, or flaky. All they need to know is “I’m safe. Mr. Skateboard Rock and I are done and no longer communicating– he is not to know any information about my whereabouts.”

    Even if it is a random town, anything. A hotel? Maybe legal advice via the burner phone will help, like the suggestion about Womens Law.

    I am so worried for you. When you get settled and 100% sure you are safe, please check in with us anonymously. You can do this. You survived a Fuckwit Extraordinaire all this time. You know how to appease him and make sure he things everything is peachy while you plan your escape. I’m rooting for you!!

  • i logged in the day after this was posted, read all the comments, called the domestic hotline and the police, and got out. i filed for divorce 7 days later and my divorce is now final. thank you Chump Nation. I needed some verification that my gut was not crazy. i am already so, so much happier and it’s only been a few months since i left!
    THANK YOU.

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