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Dear Chump Lady, Can I leave for an emotional affair?

Stay or go?

Dear Chump Lady,

I’m not sure if I belong among your chump ranks. My husband of 11 years developed an ongoing emotional affair with a woman at work. I could tell something was in the works with him and approached him with tears in my eyes, asking him to set boundaries with her and not to become too emotionally attached.  

Instead of doing this, he went underground — texting with her using encrypted messaging that automatically deleted after a few hours. Being the tech-savvy person that I am, I was able to discover what he said on these texts about two months after he started sending them. He was told her that he was in love with her and using the descriptive words of Crayola crayons to tell her how much he adored her eyes. I could only read what he wrote, so I have no idea what she said or the context of these daily musings.

This discovery, and discovering a stash of “never sent” love poems for her on his computer, broke me into pieces. Now four months later, after lots of therapy and three new medications for anxiety and depression, I’m ready to leave him over this. At the same time, I’m wondering if that’s the right thing to do. He’s pointed out to me that he never got physical with her and told me that the one-sided pieces of his text conversation I was able to read were him and her trying to work through their feelings to get over them.

I feel like he is changing his story after the fact. He was initially angry with me for asking him to end his relationship with her, never apologized for saying those things (He thinks he did nothing wrong), and blamed me for snooping into his private messages. Now he is telling me that things were never very serious with her. They only held hands and hugged, because those were the boundaries they set together. I asked him to leave his job and cut her out of his life completely, but he is unwilling to so that and still wants to be her friend.

What is going on? Am I, as he says, being overly controlling with his friendships? Do I belong here if my spouse had an emotional but not a physical affair? 

Chump Poser

Dear Authentic Chump,

Blameshifting? Check. Gaslighting? Check. Minimizing? Check. Really schlocky Schmoopie poetry? (Waves for waiter…) CHECK!

You’re a chump. Welcome to the club.

Is your husband an entitled, emotionally abusive creep? Absolutely. But that alone doesn’t get you admission to our ubiquitous club — it’s doubting whether you can have dealbreakers that makes you a chump. Hi! Let me fold my needs into tiny origami pieces and stuff them into deep recesses of my soul. Wait, would you like to see this paper swan? No? It offends you? That’s fine. I’ll burn it.THAT makes you a chump.

Your husband is professing his love to another woman, repeatedly, in sent and unsent messages, and you’re wondering if you’re “being overly controlling with his friendships“? (Plural?!)

No. You’re not controlling. If you are, gosh, you really suck at it because you haven’t been able to do jack shit about his secret poetry stash, messaging, and work situation. Concentrate harder on those superpowers, woman!

Cheating is an abusive power dynamic. Look, you could ask him to not run up secret debts on the charge cards. If he then took his accounts underground and ran up bigger debts — would you doubt the validity of how untenable this is? He’s doing the whole You’re Not The Boss of Me cha cha. Behaving unilaterally and bridling at having his entitlement questioned.

Can you have a relationship with that? It depends on how you define relationship. Sure, if you want to be used and devalued. Sure, if you want a Potemkin partner to watch Netflix with. (Assuming he’s not busy that night with his jumbo Crayola box.) How much origami can you fold?

It doesn’t matter if he got his dick wet (he probably did, adults have sex eventually) — it matters that he treats you like you’re an annoying afterthought. That he believes you’re stupid enough to buy that professing his love to his co-worker isn’t “serious.” (Why not try that line over at HR?)

Either he’s lying or he toys with people’s emotions for shits and giggles –nothing is serious and no one matters. Neither quality makes for healthy partnership.

They only held hands and hugged, because those were the boundaries they set together.

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve read this on my blog…

Yeah. A guy who shows zero restraint and recycles cutesy folk songs (“Crayola Doesn’t Make a Color for Your Eyes”) is a guy with boundaries. Of course they couldn’t fuck, because they just respect you so much.

Please leave. He can work through his feelings with his box of crayons alone. What’s the color of jerk? Sky Douche? Burnt Schmoopie?

Be free. Unfold the swans.

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.
    • Sometimes, life produces unreasonable ultimatums. I faced it in my marriage . “Put up with this shit…..or leave and face an unknown future.”

      When an unrealistic ultimatum as been dealt to you, it is time to take a page from Julius Caesar’s playbook and “Throw the Dice.”

      Leave. Trust me….a better future awaits. Throw the dice. It’s better than a known future of being abused and treated like shit.

    • She is a friend and I want to help her at work because she needs guidance. She makes me feel important Emotional will lead to physical. I asked for counseling and he said no, don’t believe in it. Basically he made his choice, so I left. He moved out and f’ed her-we were both drunk..excuses. It all comes down to one thing-selfishness not caring who they hurt even if it’s the spouse or own children.

    • I must admit, this post hit close to home today. My ex started out having an emotional affair with an admin assistant at work. When I discovered the affair it was still in the emotional affair world, but shortly after that became a full blown physical affair. He ended up leaving me and our 18 month old for the admin assistant. I was so shocked and thought he was never capable of cheating. I naively probably downplayed the emotional affair when I discovered it because I just didn’t think it could be reality. I actually thought about sending him this post. Sometimes I still get the absurd thought that I can actually make him understand his actions were wrong and understand the hurt he caused so many people. It’s been 1.5 years since he left. 1 full year since the divorce has been final (on Saturday) and he still has not apologized for anything. He still seems to think he was completely justified in lying and cheating on his wife. He doesn’t appear to have done any self reflection on how he could have been a better husband, father, worker, son, friend, person. I’ve done plenty of self reflection. I probably remembered every single time I could have been better to him. I’ve beaten myself up for the mistakes I have made and my short comings. I’ve been in therapy this whole time trying to improve myself. Him, NOTHING! He has his admin assistant and they have their getaways and they never feel guilty or remorseful for their selfish choices and actions. I’m left with all the pain, and it’s still unbearable some days.

      • Every time you think you haven’t WON hug your little one. Hopefully you’re worked out ensuring you have full custody while they are gallivanting about in case they decide to stop doing it and he wants to do “dad” again. Maybe you’ve already done it but cover your a$$ with documentation about him not being around. They got short term fun, but you’ve won the long game!

        Jedi Hugs!

      • Dear sweet shissnomore. I cried when I read this. This sounds like my situation. A friendship that turned into an emotional affair, that most likely turned into physical affair. I found out that the work he was doing out of town included staying in her beach condo with her. Month after month after month. While he was supposed to be renovating her condo. He was also renovating her. And I met this woman at a Christmas party at her home 2 christmases ago! After my husband remodeled THAT home. Just how long this has been going on, I have no idea.

        I’m still married, and I am 2 1/2 months out of the Dday. My husband moved out 6 weeks ago. Because he wanted to focus on HIMSELF and the things that HE wants to do. To live a new and different life.

        I mean, I feel like he couldn’t give a rats ass about me after 25 years of marriage. And he tells me 25 years is long enough to be married. He Thought I was boring and didn’t want to do anything. So yes I’ve been doing a lot of work on myself to try to figure out where I went wrong for him to develop an emotional attachment to the first fat, ugly woman that gave him special attention. but he isn’t willing to go to marriage counseling or to even get help for all of his demons chasing around since childhood. If he had gotten help for his childhood abuses I think he could have been a better, less angry, person and I might have wanted to spend more time around him.

        He’s a heavy drinker and I stopped drinking years ago, so I guess he lost his drinking buddy and had to find a new one with this new OW. She’s also a heavy drinker. I guess he only wanted an adoring drinking buddy and when I stopped being that, I was no fun anymore. And boring. He had to go out and replace me. He never even gave me positive recognition for getting sober 9 years ago. Like it never happened. I was hoping he’d see what I did and want to stop drinking too. But looks like I’m living in a fantasy land with that thought.

        The unbelievable thing is that I forgave him for what he did. Almost immediately. Which I did more for myself than him. But I’m looking at all the things I did wrong to cause a distance between us and taking on so much misplaced blame. Combined with his uncaring attitude and him leaving me, I am beginning to doubt my own worth. I’m having a hard time believing my marriage has been murdered after 25 years.

        • Sweetheart, you are in exactly the same position as me. We had 23 years together, but the rot set in after our 3 kids were born and he lost centrality, and I went through v early menopause and our sex became difficult. For me, I’m sad that he didn’t love me myself enough to overcome these things. Now I know I have to work on myself, not as you say to work out what I did wrong in the relationship, but to find out why I put up with a one-way marriage so long. He thought just being around was enough, but I see now he’s just not that fascinating, after he left me for an EA that never came to anything, and killed off my love for him.
          Your guy probably never recognised your achievement on getting sober – well done you!! – because he couldn’t do it himself. It is heartbreaking to think of lost years and chances, but focus on now and your lovely, best self. I am still fond of my ex and hurt because I couldn’t help him overcome his difficult childhood – but he didn’t give me the chance. His choice.

  • Authentic Chump-I am sorry but your Husband is not having an emotional affair. He is having a full blown affair. I was too in your situation. My STBX had a 5 year affair with my cousin. He said they were just friends and only went out together to play pool. Even to today he still denies having sex with it. No one pals around for 5 years and does not have sex. Your husband is in his glory because he can have his cake and eat it to. Please do not make the same mistake that I did and try to work on the marriage. I was haunted on a daily basis by the affair. My soul was dying and I needed CPR. Kick your husband to the curb. Let him have the POS other women. They deserve each other. You are worth so much more.

    • Chump Poser – I am so sorry to read your letter as it reminds me of where I was in 2009 . I walked (ran, danced, did amazing twirls) in your shoes. For five years. It was a nightmare to live through and I became a shell of who I used to be. After the divorce people told me all the things he had done to pick up women. Church wives, neighbor’s wives, best friend’s wives, bar-stool whores and yes, two years later he told our son there was plenty of mind-blowing (among other things) sex.

      It hurts really bad to realize the one you trusted is using you, and sadly, the only way to free yourself is to go through a divorce. It isn’t an easy road but your self-respect is waiting on the other side. A life filled with peace is there too. Please get your ducks in a row, stay silent to your spouse about it, and start heading towards a better life. Keep reading CL and eventually you will be able to trust that he sucks. Prayers and cyber hugs are being sent your way to comfort you.

    • An emotional affair is a “full-blown affair.” It breaks marriage vows because it’s a transfer of affection/love and loyalty to a person outside the marriage.

      • Agreed! It’s a theft of intimacy that belongs in the marriage. Plus it involves lies, deceit, secrecy, and appalling lack of respect. There’s more to infidelity and betraying your spouse than just body contact.

      • Yes, it is! If I had left my ex when he was “just” having an emotional affair, I could have spared myself and our son the havoc wreaked by his several sexual affairs and related behaviors.

        • The biggest red flag is that he knows how devastating this is to you, but he won’t give her up. And he never will. I learned the hard way. People who hide things and lie have a reason to hide and lie. Run now.

          • This is so true…run ! My ex had at least 5 emotional affairs ..”they were only friends, I like the banter, I’ll never cheat on you, they all know I have a wife”. My previous husband cheated on me and my ex knew how important loyalty was to me yet it was about his own needs. Last and final EA, he said to me “let’s sit down and you tell me why you are trying to sabotage our marriage” I took a deep breath and told him to pack his bags and fuck off. I changed the locks in the doors and never let him back in. It has been so hard for me and I’m so glad for Chump lady and this amazing group.

      • An “emotional” relationship* is also emotional abuse of the unsuspecting spouse/partner. What’s your deal breaker?

        *I loathe the words “affair” and “cheating” to describe infidelity. It’s not a lovely garden party and it’s not akin to looking at your neighbor’s math test. It is a DELIBERATE and SELFISH choice to lie, steal and mentally abuse someone you have promised to respect.

        • This made me laugh, Chutes, because my Cheater Narc Ex would be HORRIBLY OFFENDED if he were accused of cheating on a math test. He’s an honorable person, don’t ya know? But infidelity? Bah, not a big deal, why is everybody making such a fuss, it’s just something that happens in long-term relationships ….

          Only when I found myself trying to explain to him why lying is a problem in any relationship, and seeing him blow that off as ridiculous, did I realize what I was dealing with.

  • This is actually the closest I have seen to my own situation, except in my case it was written out songs that I found stuffed in a drawer 11 years after the event and then recorded onto CD, so I hear him singing them. It’s quite incredibly hurtful OP, in my case they had remained friends on FB all that time too as she had moved away and he didn’t take her off it either after confrontation, I had to – a year later. In my case he says it was a one sided crush/emotional affair, but I do know a lot of texting went on at the time. I would tell him to bugger off OP. I didn’t because it was so long after the event but I’m not sure I will ever feel quite the same and I don’t think you will either.

    • Oh, there are some too. I found one with the love poems on his computer and found an audio file of him singing a song he wrote to her on a text message. His latest poem has the line “I wrote so many songs about you,” which is how I knew it was for her. He’s never written me a song. He actually only received became interested in song writing and playing the guitar. She plays guitar and sings in a band and has just inspired him so much. *blech*

      • “Narcissistic mirroring”. My.cheater developed a sudden and intense love of Coldplay.😳 🤢🤮

        I was pretty indifferent before the affair. Now I’m triggered every time I hear that band on the radio.

        • Narcissistic mirroring:
          Now eats KFC v’s with me he said he hated chicken!
          Weed v’s said he’d never been interested in drugs!
          Joined a swingers website with her v’s I used to beg him for sex!
          Abandoned children v’s used to be a ‘good’ dad and was a scout helper.

          I can’t take much more of this facade unravelling…..

          • Went from listening to folk music with me to listening to death metal with her.
            Went from having a glass of wine three times a year with me to drinking all night every night with her.
            Went from staying in most nights to going out every night.
            Went from reading every day to, well, not, because, after hooking up with her, he said “I don’t have the same relationship to books that you do.”

            We suddenly had nothing in common.

            • From refusing to share a glass of wine in a restaurant on our anniversary to sitting on the pavement outside a club after closing with two bottles of cheap red.

              From looking down on my father because he had given up smoking 20 years earlier to smoking weed.

              Constant messages of absolute dribble – to the “soul mate” and “love of my life” and ‘”the only woman who ever understood me” who then turned out to be also shagging two of his ‘friends’

              To the final “we respected our marriage vows” except for when they got drunk, carried away, etc.

              p.s. blow jobs in the car park don’t count!

            • I too feel like we have nothing in common , We use to , he taught himself to play guitar cause she does, he goes out to open mic So I thought I’d support him by coming out to here him He refused to go if I was there But if she was he be thereHe actually started watching certain shows on tv that he knew she liked , so he could discuss them with her , Not to get off the subject But how does one leave , or kick your husband out, When he’s the one with all the money , I have had jobs since rasing our family , but it seasonal , And he knows he makes more then me , Just wondering what everyone did I know there are a lot of Lady’s out there that can probably surport themselves but what about the ones that can’t

              • Stuck, I don’t know where you are or what the law is in your country. I filed for divorce in the UK and because I have no money I was able to apply for legal fees and my divorce cost 5 pounds ($6.53). I got my stbx to sign a paper agreeing to pay what I and my children are legally entitled to. Do you have children still at home? Do you have friends or family you can stay with while you sort yourself out? The first thing for you to do is research the laws where you live and see what you’re entitled to. Good luck!

            • I too feel like we have nothing in common , We use to , he taught himself to play guitar cause she does, he goes out to open mic So I thought I’d support him by coming out to here him He refused to go if I was there But if she was he be thereHe actually started watching certain shows on tv that he knew she liked , so he could discuss them with her , Not to get off the subject But how does one leave , or kick your husband out, When he’s the one with all the money , I have had jobs since rasing our family , but it seasonal , And he knows he makes more then me , Just wondering what everyone did I know there are a lot of Lady’s out there that can probably surport themselves but what about the ones that can’t Thanks for all your helpfull story’s

          • Narcissistic mirroring went on sooooo often in my marriage… I just never had a term for it until now! Sudden interest in Harley Davison’s and shaving his head (hookup at a motorcycle event he had to attend for work) , when for years he would tell people who dangerous motorcycles are. Sudden interest in incredibly expensive whiskey ( another affair partner I found out was a whiskey snob) Sudden interest in several strange desserts, and cooking those desserts like once or twice a month (they were cooked for him by an affair partner). One of his affair partners was moderately famous and in the same field I am in, so he “found” the documentary program his affair partner was featured in and casually said, hey I thought you’d be interested in this, let’s watch it together!- sudden interest in my field of work, but only because his affair partner was in it too. The list goes on and on and on….

    • I discovered my partner and his former coworker/ long distance “friend” (unspoken EA partner) after the fact as well. She had already ghosted him after finding a boyfriend of her own, yet at first he still didn’t promise not to talk to her if she reached out again because he “didn’t want to be rude.” He backpedaled from that pretty quickly though when I let on that I knew he was hiding the truth of their “friendship” (i.e. she was basically a female validation and masturbation fantasy appliance for him).

      And ugh, I found some that “narcissistic mirroring” with him as well. For example: he doesn’t give a shit about receiving cards. Has outright told me so. Doesn’t even open most of the cards he receives. Got a birthday card from her, and sent her an email saying, “What a nice surprise on my birthday to find a card from across the world. You’re the best!” Pandering bullshit.

  • “They only held hands and hugged, because those were the boundaries they set together.”
    Wow!
    He married you! The wedding vows were the boundaries he set with you. Together!!
    Show this dunce the door.
    Good luck. Xx

    • AMEN.

      Seriously? Hugging and holding hands were the boundaries they set for each other! He must honor them!

      Yeah how about your fucking wedding vows are boundaries? Boundaries that are legal and binding as a state-recognized union…

      And even if that is all they did, he still is hugging and holding another woman’s hand. Another woman to whom he’s professed he’s in love. There’s no freaking way I’d be okay with that were it me in your shoes. At best it’s disrespect to your marriage right in your face. At worst it is the tip of an iceburg.

      WhoamInow is correct. Adults don’t just hold hands. No. That’s bs. They aren’t holding hands in a prayer circle. And he knows what he’s doing is wrong, otherwise he wouldn’t need to hide it. If it’s something he had to hide from you then it’s something he shouldn’t be doing.

      No, you can absolutely leave over this and there’s no hierarchy of chumpdom here. Your husband went behind your back with another woman, then got mad at you when you confronted him about it, blameshifted, gaslighted, etc. Welcome to Chump Nation.

      I have an ex who used the same line “You just don’t want me to have friends!” “You’re trying to control who my friends are!” He would come home several hours later than he said he’d be back, lie about being with his guy friends, but in reality was dicking around with (what I found out was) 6 other people.

      Cheaters famously use the blameshifting line of you trying to control their friendships. I’ve seen people who are actually super controlling and overbearing on their partner’s friends, but you can pretty easily tell the difference. Someone who tries to control their partner’s friendships usually try to controll other aspects of their lives as well (what they eat, where they go, how they dress, etc) It isn’t controlling to come to your spouse and say “I know you have been exchanging intimate messages with this woman and I want it to stop” isn’t being controlling.

      If you’re ready to leave over this and he’s changing his tune now, it’s only because he’s internally freaking out because he thought he’d gotten away with it and surprise! He’s not. Cheaters also famously like to sit there thinking nothing will happen to them and you’ll just take their shit. Don’t.

      • Thank you for telling me how common thing form of gaslighting is. I’ve questioned my sanity so often and worried that maybe I was the controlling manipulative one because that’s what he tells me. I know deep down it’s not true but still need the reminder.

        • Chump Poser – exactly the same as my story. She was just his friend, then his best friend, then the best friend he’d ever had. If he hadn’t seen her for a day he felt like his hand had been cut off, he said. And no he wouldn’t cut contact with her, despite saying he would (he contacted het behind my back and when I gave up trying to convince him, told me that he and she had talked about a ‘code’ they could use on FB if they couldn’t talk directly. He also told me that adventures and time away with her were non-negotiable, and messaged her to say that the whole world could fuck off, he was going to be with her.
          I don’t think they ever had sex. But the boundaries he had already crossed, crushed and dynamited were actually the most important ones, of affection, respect, attention, loyalty. Chump Poser, he has replaced you with her. Leave his unfaithful, cruel, selfish are. You do belong with us and we are your tribe, sweetie. ❤

          • Yeah that’s the worst part. The emotional betrayal.

            For me, I didn’t care about the physical acts of sex my ex (exes…there was more than one betrayer…) it was the emotional betrayal. The fact that he “loved” or shared intimate emotional connections with other women was the thing that hurt. It didn’t matter if they’d fucked, that was a given (ok it’s not entirely correct to say it didn’t matter, it does, it’s just not the most hurtful part) but it was the fact that this person who had promised love and loyalty to me was giving it to someone else and lying about it.

            I think a lot of us in CN feel that way. We can make satirical jokes about how gross and perverse our exes are with their sexual filandering until the cows come home, but the thing that leaves the deepest scars was the betrayal of trust, the disrespect of vows, and the feeling of our love being treated like leftovers.

            • Kara; how true! Your sense of any kind of being special, being exclusive, having something your mate only has with you is crushed.
              The loss of trust was so unbelievably hurtful and extended to my trust of all people, which I will never regain. I now refuse to be that vulnerable and am glad to be more protective of myself.
              The way cheaters screw with your mind lets you know it is not fixable, no one who can be so selfish and cruel deserves your heart

              • Thank you Regina.
                “The way cheaters screw with your mind lets you know it is not fixable, no one who can be so selfish and cruel deserves your heart”
                I needed to read that today.

                My stbxh narc has messed with my head so badly. He swings so widely and quickly from begging me to.recomcile, to extreme anger and hateful words. My mind is so completely exhausted. I’m physically exhausted.

                I also want to thank Chumplady and the CN. I’ve only commented here a few times, but I read every day, and knowing that I’m not the only chump out there, gives me strength. On particularly hard days, I read every single comment on posts. Every single one
                The CN is strong, witty, smart, and uplifting.

            • Kara, its the emotional infidelity that hits the worse. After begging for the truth about the OW for weeks mine finally sat down one day and told me “What I wanted to know”. But said it would hurt me. They were both Gemini. Opposites attract. 2 halves of the same whole person. She’s like my other half on the other side of the universe. WTF really? So now they are soul mates of the universe and I’m just a piece of garbage to be thrown out after 25 years and 2 kids? I’m feeling very bitter right now. My DDay is so fresh.

              It hurts the most when they admit you were replaced in their heart. It invalidates so much that happened in the past. He had to lie SO MUCH in order to keep this “special” relationship secret and ongoing. I knew about her and he would text and call her all the time. Because it’s “just business” since he was working for her doing remodeling. I guess he was a paid whore for her.

              This OW knew he was married to me. She even met me once. Looking back, They became emotionally connected while he was constantly drunk dialing her bearing his heart and soul to her. (While he clammed up with me and stopped talking about anything important and personal with me). I’m sure he was complaining about how neglected he was at home. Not having enough sex. (Menopause put a damper on it for a while, but then I became interested in it again). Not having enough fun (depression over his anger and emotional distance from me). I don’t believe that he loves me (how could I when he’s a rude person that complains all the time). Blah blah. But Schmoopie sure understands!

        • Dear Poser,

          I’m so sorry you have to go through this, but I think you do. There is no magic to make an honest man out of a cheater. My husband also had a ‘friend’. When their friendship became physical, and I found out, I told him ‘No Contact’. He said, it would be mean not to talk to her. But, being mean to me wasn’t a worry.

          I was gaslighted as well. I really thought I was insane. He could look me straight in the eyes and tell me we hadn’t talked about a thing, or a thing had never happened, … It’s scary to be in a relationship with people like that, they aren’t empathetic to the damage they cause, only to keep the cake train going.

          Be careful, get your documentation, a PO Box, a new checking account, a new credit card (all in your name only). Pack an emergency bag in case it all blow up before you’re ready. Protect yourself because he’s not going to.

      • Thank you for these words! My husband had an “emotional affair” 5 years ago. Just found out he’s talking to her again. He’s now being “honest” and has admitted they had gone out on dates and he kissed her. But, they’re just friends and he was just catching up with her because she has a lot going on🙄. Yep, I’m a chump!!!

        • Hugs to you Karkar! She certainly does have a lot ‘going on’, including your husband. Is he actually being honest or is he just admitting to what you’ve actually discovered, trickle truth style? Sorry to hear this lovely – now be mighty! X

          • Definitely trickle truth. 5 years ago…nothing happened, it wasn’t an affair, he’d never cheat on me. Find out he’s texting her again, but they’re just friends who were catching up. After a few days of persistent questions and claiming I know a lot more, I finally got they had 3 dates and kissed before…but that was it…it was an accident 🙄. This time, he was cutting off communication, but I just happened to see the text before he had told her. I absolutely love CN because you guys help call BS on this! Yesterday, I got I can’t live with what I’ve done and I want to leave this world. I followed CL advice. Ok, let’s call 911. We got to get you help then he begged me to go to counseling. Guess what, we don’t have to do all that. Just let me have your phone or try to get the text messages that you so quickly deleted when I confronted you!

            • Ohhh the deletion… I had asked him to cut off contact with his EA partner and he agreed, but I was convinced he was still texting and messaging her. The strain got so much that I had to leave for a week and he drove up to bring me home. We got back late at night. I asked him to see his FB messages while I was away. Cue HOURS of ‘Why? If you can’t trust me this won’t work’s etc. Finally at about 1am he gave in and like the total emotionally exhausted Chump I was, I assumed that having said I could read them, he would let me read them, and away he went to fire up the computer. When I joined him, guess what… all deleted. He said he’d deleted the messages before because the convos he’d had with her while I was away were ‘too heavy’. But wouldn’t tell me what they’d said.
              He wanted his wife/laundress/cook appliance and comfort blanket, but didn’t want to be my husband. And when I told him to leave it was my fault because I couldn’t be friends with him. Damn right I can’t!

    • ummmm, well considering how good he is at keeping other vows and boundaries you can be assured they will break that one too and fall right into bed. Because twu wuv! It is bigger than them both!

  • You can leave anytime you want for any reason or no reason. You don’t owe any person your life, ever.

    That said, CL is spot on that discussing whether a betrayal is bad enough to warrant your response to it is useless hair-splitting of the highest order. Would you, in a million years, do to him what he is doing to you? My guess is, of COURSE not.

    I am remarried post-cheater, and once in a while I find myself very attracted to another person or feeling a sense of strong compatibility with another person. I am still alive and living in the world, and feelings come up. You know what I do when that happens? I set boundaries, manage my circumstances, and above all, I look at it as an irritating reality and never act on it in any way. Why? Because I’m not an immature, deceptive, self-serving, disloyal, morally repellent, cheating douchebag. I want to be with my husband and only with my husband, and I am an adult who is in control of herself.

    He has gone to great lengths to deceive you and get away with his shenanigans, then acted like you are harshing his buzz because you found out and you aren’t ok with it. CL is right — nothing about that is “not bad enough”. It’s super bad.

    Adult partners aren’t supposed to be rebellious, angst-filled teenagers who try to get away with things without you finding out. The reality is, what he has shown you is that he is not your partner. He is a child. You are not his parent, so you have no obligation to hang around parenting him. Period.

    • The best way to resist temptation is to avoid it. I understood that. If I found myself attracted to somebody who showed an attraction for me I avoided being alone with that person or having intimate conversations with that person or acting in any way that might encourage that person until those feelings went away. I would also go on about what an amazingly wonderful husband I had (as much to remind myself as to let it be known that I was not available).

      When I did have moments when I would question my marriage (when he was being a dick because he was either thinking about screwing someone else or actually doing so) I was thinking only of whether or not I wanted to continue with him and if it was worth that or if I was better off single. I never thought that going off and finding a fuck buddy on the side or shopping for a replacement husband while still married might be the solution to all my problems.

    • So very much this.

      Amiisfree is absolutely right. You don’t need to have any specific excuse to leave a marriage. The only question that matters is this: “is the situation acceptable to YOU?”

      It sounds as if the answer is no, it is not acceptable to you to have your husband pour out his undying love for another woman. It is not acceptable to you that your husband never apologized for what he did in the first place, and it is not acceptable to you that he lied and went behind your back to keep up the affair. It is not acceptable to you that he continue to share his workplace with this other woman.

      It doesn’t matter if he had “only” an Emotional Affair. Those emotional resources that he spent on OW? He should have been spending those on YOU, his wife.

      You say the narrative is changing. That’s because you’re being trickle-truthed. Remember, it’s not what he did, it’s your reaction that’s the problem. To manage that reaction, he admits only to what you just discovered. You found evidence of an affair. He admits to an affair–but ONLY an emotional one. You find evidence of his praise of her body parts. He admits that they touch, but only hold hands and hug. Dollars to doughnuts that if you had evidence of anything more physical, he’d admit that it was “only” the one time.

      Notice that he doesn’t admit that he’s done anything wrong? That’s because he believes he is entitled to have this relationship. From his perspective, this isn’t about you and how you feel; it’s about him and his entitlement.

      I don’t think that you need to worry about splitting hairs between whether he had an EA or a PA. Frankly, they work in the same place. They have lousy boundaries (betcha that the holding hands and hugging go over real well with their colleagues). If there’s been even a blip of 5 minutes in his schedule, they’re having sex over the desk.

      Lawyer up. Check the financials. When your ducks are lined up, file.

      At that point, you’ll probably discover that suddenly he’s Very Sorry. Those are crocodile tears. Stay strong.

  • One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from someone on here who said, “The only thing you may have control over is when the divorce happens, and if you wait too long you may not even have control over that.”

    They fucked, I guarantee it. My ex claimed he was a virgin when we met at age 28, and so I believed him for a long time that he wasn’t fucking the hookers he met in strip clubs for 7 YEARS! Yah right! When I finally hired a PI I found evidence he’d been paying on a stripper/hooker’s cell phone! Probably in exchange for cam girl seshes and nudes! I never found out how deep that rabbit hole went.

    Get a PI if you need that proof he actually had sex and didn’t flirt too much. Also, lawyer up as they say here in CN. And for the love of all that is holy, do not tell him!

    • “The only thing you may have control over is when the divorce happens, and if you wait too long you may not even have control over that.” This exactly. This is what eventually got me to initiate the divorce instead of waiting around for him to do it whenever he got around to feeling like it.

      • Yup, same. I really, really, really didn’t want a divorce. But I realized it was coming for me and my only chance at any control at all was to get in front of it. I am so glad I did.

      • It will much better for your self-esteem to dump an abusive cheater than wait around and try to fix things. Who wants to be asking themselves later “If somebody who treats me like that doesn’t even want me, what does that make me ?”

        Have agency and pull the plug on a dead relationship.

        • I totally agree with all of you.

          My biggest regret – after being duped by this asshole in the first place – is thinking he would change, realize how much he was destroying me and our marriage, etc.. If I could have do-overs, I would have followed through on the divorce the first time it came up, instead of his idea of not even trying to work at a wreck-conciliation. I would have saved myself 7 additional years of heartbreak, pain, depression, anxiety, financial devastation and overall bullshit in general.

          I was also accused of controlling his “friendships,” with complaints like, “I guess I can’t have any female friends with you around,” or “I have a lot of female friends and you’re just going to have to accept that.”

          When I told him I couldn’t trust him, I got the full-body eyeroll and “COME ON…GROW UP.”

          I say, cut your losses and LEAVE. Now. As fast as you can. It’s only going to get worse. Trust that he sucks.

  • Oh dear. Leave now, with your head high and your self -worth intact. I instinctively knew my husband had given his heart to someone else, and I BEGGED him to let her go. Like your husband, he became more and more skilled at hiding communication. So I became a more skilled detective. And every day, my self worth eroded. In the end, he told me that he “couldn’t do this anymore,” told me that he never had been happy (for nearly 30 years), and that he had no choice but to end the marriage because I was jealous, needy and too sensitive. I still stayed… until the day the OW called me and demanded I leave so they could get married. Fast forward five years, and I got a moved to a new city, my career is great, I travel, In involved in the community and I own my own home. I won’t lie, embarking on my future alone was extremely painful. But staying too long for a man who did not honor me caused emotional damage from which I still have not recovered. And, staying too long, instead of walking out on his BS immediately, covered up his emotional infidelity, which perpetuated the myth that marriages have an expiration date and two “good” people grow apart. My biggest regret is that my adult children have adopted that world view, and place little hope in long term relationships.

              • hahahaha, yep! After 3 years of no sex, I find a prescription for Cialis in his office drawer. 6 pills were prescribed and only 2.5 remained…. hmmmmm…… I kept quiet about that discovery, because I suspected more was afoot, and sure enough, he got lazy and left his computer open for a quick trip to the store. 7500 emails in 3 fake accounts, pictures of naked men, in our bedroom, browsing history and passwords for all sorts of hookup sites, letters written in French (he doesn’t even speak French). “It doesn’t mean anything, YOU mean everything to me” hahahahaha……what a chump I was for believing it then, and many more times after that…..

              • Ha try being the chump who found some skank’s panties in your marital bed and bought the excuse that they were just something he bought for himself to jack off with. Sometimes I want to travel back in time and smack myself in the head with a 2 by 4. (by they way my sing in name comes from an intervention by some good girlfriends where one was nose to nose with me yelling “you are too goddamn smart to be falling for his shit)

      • Yes, me, too. The Case of the Missing Condom was because Hannibal claimed to have masturbated with it.m

        And when I uncovered his long-term affair with gradwhore, he claimed, “only kissing.”

        Cheaters are liars.

      • Yup to the “using condoms for masturbation”.

        And “we’re only touch partners” What the f*ck is a touch partner ?! LOL

    • Yep I believed him when he said there was no sex. I think it was CL who said something like, Adults fuck. That’s just what they do.

        • Yep! Same here. *hand raised*
          My ex-wife, a police officer, working the graveyard shift, snuck into our BR @ 3:30am, thinking I was asleep. I wasn’t. It was dark and I remain still. She stealthly crept to the bathroom (for her make-up bag), her dresser (underwear) and her nightstand (lube). When I confronted her later, she said “It’s not the way it looks.”

    • Raising hand! What about the hotel bills- we were just talking. What about me finding you with your subordinate shirts out no shoes in the back of my moms suv during working hours on my blanket with a roll of paper towels and I took a picture? We were just talking.

      • Yep…..raising hand. She first did it after emotional affair for almost a year when my son and I were in FL for a vacation. Said she was out with a friend……guess it was a really good friend. I got all the lines mentioned above. Like a script.

    • 🙋.
      Grown married men don’t have secret female BFFs.

      Poems! Who the hell is writing love poems to their friends?
      And if you happened to stumble upon the affair before they did the dirty, you better believe they were going to.

      • From texting to encrypted texting–that’s an extraordinary amount of effort to keep an emotional affair going. Dollars to doughnuts they’re having sex. They’re co-workers and he already admitted to holding hands and hugging. Trickle truth tells us they were doing more. It’s just that he’s admitting what she knows or he thinks she’ll find out: that they’ve been seen holding hands and hugging.

        • My XW is in charge of data analysis in the largest scientific experiment in the US; her AP is in charge of IT for the experiment. They “decided” that the experiment needed end-to-end encrypted texting so no one would steal its data. I still remember casually asking her about some new app I glimpsed on her phone and getting this long, over-the-top explanation about data security and scientific integrity.

          I guess it’s nice when your day job provides the skills to pull off your adultery without alerting your spouses.

          • Heh, CheaterX is in IT, as was Schmoopie. However, they texted using Facebook chat and then by Twitter direct message. She kept on trying to get new iPhone apps for encryption but he didn’t want the hassle. The net result is that even after he changed his pass phrase, I could read reams of their chat since he had enabled push notifications.

    • Appears I am not alone!!! It was just text and pictures! Cheaters lie! Always think the worst and you will still be wrong. Because it is worse than you can imagine. Well we used a condom…. nope. It was just once. Nope.

      • You’re not alone! And if you ask what pictures they were sending to each other…
        “Oh just pictures of our dogs”. Really🤔 At 5:36am, 9:32am, 12:45pm, 2:30pm, and 5:02pm you were only sending 3 pictures of Mr Ruffles and receivimg 2 pictures of Zoe the Yorkie???

        Decoded version… “We we’re sexting before during and after work all day everyday.” ‘Dogs’ = butts, boobs, duck lips, flexed arms, shafts, and selfies in truck to look casually manly.

    • *Raises hand.* Yup. To the end. Even after I found the sex photos. It defies logic….and apparently it also defies concrete proof.

    • Funny…… of the multiple potential males, she admitted to one after a while to having sex. Took some solid intercepted text and the guy admitting to it before she did. Never would admit to anything else. The hotel room with exbf was nothing. The text interactions with others were just text. They will lie till the end.

    • No, no!! He met that woman from Craigslist in Vegas to read Bible verses in the hotel room. Nothing happened!

      • Right….
        Mine was hooking up… arranging nice dates(!) going to hotels with hookers… but not for sex
        The pills he ordered online and used? Apparently he was not attracted to me anymore and needed some extra help ( mhm. No we didn’t have sex during that time; he came home to pick up the pill from his closet- but hey, again, it was for me- he wanted to have sex with me that night… we haven’t talk to each other that particular day , but somehow it wasn’t for the hooker he met, but for me)

        Gaslighting and lies.
        Looking for a sense and logic is a waste of time

    • I intially got told there was sex only twice. It turned out he just wasn’t counting touching each other’s privates and finger banging as sex. Only intercourse was counted. Total Bill Clinton move. He even said; “fondling outside the clothes isn’t sex”. I roared with laughter at that one. What utter douchebags they are. The idiot stayed five years and never got intercourse again after those two times early on, he just got one brief finger bang and some occasional fondling. I believe he stayed with her because he enjoyed the abusiveness of deceiving and betraying me, which he called “feeling alive”. He’s not feeling so alive these days. 😈

      This guy, Chump Poser’s husband, is having sex with that woman. You don’t write love songs and poems to somebody you arent sexually involved with.

    • They didn’t have sex because he “could not get hard “. Because he “wasn’t really into it “.
      That’s perplexing….because the results of my sti tests that had done after I discovered the affair…the results say he was definitely into “it”. And “it ” was filthy. Too stupid to even use a condom.

  • How the fuck.
    The nerve.
    What a cod swaddle.
    Ugggh
    I’m just so sick of these assholes! Making honest people feel like they are crazy for wanting the attention and effort of love and poetry and shmooze to be… I dunno… towards the people supposed to be in a romantic long lasting loving relationship. What? You’re putting that effort into some ‘buddy’? Bullshit, recipe for disaster.

    • He’s now been telling our mutual friends I’m crazy because I’m on 3 new anxiety meds to deal with all of this. The meds have helped me keep it together while planning my exit strategy.

      • Glad you are plannign your strategy. Coming here should give you some support and perhaps serve as a safety valve for your anxiety. You worked 2 jobs to support your family – he is a douche.

      • Mental health is HEALTH. Take care of you and meds are a good way to help you, I totally get it. Tunnel vision and passing out from stress is not.

        Also… he’s marinating your friends in his side of the story, so that when all this really comes to light, he can say ‘we broke up because she went crazy’ instead of ‘my crayons melted into my ‘friends’ vagina long before I admit they did’ … the real question is… what exactly are you trying to save? Why do you want someone who’s trying to turn your friends against you (using your mental health to boot… fucking charming that one. I can see what Rainbow Brite Schmoopie sees in the fucker) …. my advice? play dead, pretend to roll over the way he’s trying to train you to do… and collect what you need, then run. Let the skittle shitting rainbow princess have him. You’re not helpless, you’re not some wilting flower. You’re She-Ra. You have the power. You’re not just going to be ok. You’re gonna be mighty.

        • He’s trying to control the a narrative because he knows I’m likely to tell people exactly what he did. Now he can say, “Don’t listen to Chump Poser, her anxiety makes her crazy and controlling. We’re working through it, though. She’s on medication and seeing a therapist.” Then he gets all the sympathy for being so patient with his crazy wife, and I’m the villan for filing for divorce. I have a feeling I’m about to learn who my true friends really are.

          • Chump Poser, You are smart to recognized what lies ahead – he absolutely is going to try to to control the narrative. That will be one of the main goals of his life. My X has worked so hard to portray me as an unforgiving bitter X wife who has poisoned his children against him. One of the best things that I learned in therapy was how to portray myself in public to make sure that people didn’t look at me and think,”oh he’s right; she is a crazy bitter X”. The cultural narrative of our times makes that an easily believable story for him to tell. I learned to drop the truth in ways that helped me (at first it felt phony, but now I feel wise). Short, to the point, said in a calm way and then immediately switch subject to my plans for my new life. If people asked questions I told them more, but only my best friends heard the whole thing over and over and helped me process. A therapist is so good for just processing and processing until you get bored with the story. If you are strong enough now (sometimes it’s too hard to just get out of bed in the early days) do consider how to present your truthful narrative in order to best serve yourself. I’m 5 years out and it does matter.

          • An effective tool to deal with Narcissism
            http://narcsite.com
            Blog by HG Tudor (pseudonym), incredibly well written. Forewarned is forarmed. Even if you are currently with a narcissist, an incredible tool in going NC.

      • Please please keep the exit quiet, even though you may be tempted to blurt things out. Start stashing cash slowly on the side as well. And he doesn’t need to know what medications you are on anymore. It’s excruciating but you will get through it. Also remember to keep eating healthy/drinking water/resting even if you can’t sleep etc. Take care—-

      • Mental health is the new wealth. I had three to four panic attacks a week before I got divorced. I’m down to one a month when I’m getting ready to ride the crimson wave. Some of us internalize stuff rather than acting. You’ve been sensing something is wrong for ages. You’ll start to feel better when it’s over.

        And you don’t need permission to divorce. You can do it for whatever reason you want. It’s tough when you feel like your being painted as the bad guy, but you do what’s best for you.

      • I’m sorry you’re going through this. The discovery of my ex’s cheating was devastating to me. When I was trying to figure things out, I too developed crippling anxiety and was put on different medications to control it. (I never had anxiety in my previous 45 years of life.) I eventually left him for good when I became so angry that he didn’t care AT ALL about me being prescribed drugs to manage a condition that he created with his continued lying, blame shifting and gaslighting. This is exactly what your husband is doing to you. I never deserved to be treated so horribly. It is so much better when you’re away from their shitty treatment. I haven’t needed any medication in over two years and better still, I haven’t had any anxiety because I’m not processing his bullshit anymore. Your husband is an asshole and mine was too. Well, he still is an asshole, just not mine.

        • Thank u for this I also never had anxiety or panic attacks , untill my husband cheated, he told me it was nothing, he didn’t do anything wrong, He just spent the whole weekend with her , Trying to figure out if she could be someone he could be with, He told me about his weekend , told me He made his bed and now has to lay in it, If that doesn’t say Something happen I don’t know what does , he felt guilty he was mad at himself , but yet he can’t stop seeing her From all that , besides anxiety and panic attacks Since I was unfunktionable , wasn’t eating drinking , moving much I got a a blood clot in my leg , which I blamed on him , I’m a lot better now , but the fact that his Just friend / relationship cheatingi weekend where he said no sex was involved, I think it was very much involved , He says prove it , I can’t but in my heart I feel like he did it Anyway thank u

      • If he’s telling people you’re crazy, he’s already started a smear campaign on you. Keep your head high while going through this as you DO NOT want to support his narrative of you. You have nothing to work with here, it’s time to quietly line up your ducks and get out.

        How do I know? Five and a half months ago, I caught my fiance cheating with a married subordinate and told him to get the EFF out of my house. He said it was just a “fantasy”. Nope! She filed for divorce before he even moved out, now they’re a couple (her divorce hasn’t gone to trial yet), and he’s buying her extravagant gifts. I’ve learned a lot about personality disorders and understand he’s a classic case. Her future is my past. Much peace has come to me after going no contact 3.5 months ago.

    • I know! I got a reverse phone number lookup app and found that he texted and called a Lingerie store on the way down to the coast to work on Schmoopies condo. And when I called the lingerie store, I found out they they sold custom made Polish lingerie that was very expensive. I was never given lingerie the whole time I’ve been married to him.

      These lying cheaters gave away love and affection to someone else. And took marital funds and spent it someone else.

  • Ha! My XW confronted me the other day why I told people that we broke up since she had a boyfriend. No, she did not have a boyfriend, just a male friend that she saw in secrecy at night. Duh.

    • Personally I think “my wife had a male friend that she saw in secrecy at night” would be an even more devastating thing to say. And I think you should start saying it.

      • OMG – YES. I think you should give those people you told a retraction and update:

        “Oh! Ex-Wife wife was very mad that I told people she had a boyfriend while we were married. I don’t know if he was her boyfriend, per se, but he WAS a male friend she visited secretly, at night. And NOW he’s her boyfriend. There. I corrected it. ::chokes back laughter::”

        • Another way to frame it: “When I said she had a boyfriend I lied. The truth was so much worse I couldn’t even think it without crying. I still cry a lot but I am doing better, see, now I can admit it was that bad.”

          The tool I survived was not my husband. He was another woman’s husband who used her to disguise himself as a man of integrity. Reality was he was a sexual predator and she was his meat puppet, one of several.

  • Yup. Emotional affair only was the line I was told for a very long time. Turns out they went from zero to blow job in less than 4 weeks. Adults fuck. That’s what they do.

  • Mine was having an emotional affair because it was a old high school crush in another state! We tried counseling once, I was willing to understand and forgive (what an idiot I was) he did the self loathing act for weeks! I thought it was over and we could move forward, guess what 6 weeks later he abandoned me in the middle of the night, no note, no warning, and he ran to her and never looked back!! Be warned !!!

  • Dear AUTHENTIC Chump:
    “it’s doubting whether you can have deal breakers that makes you a chump”. There is no doubt that you SHOULD have deal breakers.

    “Cheating is an abusive power dynamic.” You are being abused. Why do you put up with this?

    ‘They have never had sex’…. “If I had a dollar for every time I’ve read this on my blog”……Well, your cheater just contributed one more dollar and Tracy can retire and take a luxury cruise.

    Please leave now. I was you and I am so glad I am no longer a chump. You sound very smart, leaving a cheater is 100% smart.
    Take care.

  • Great response CL…and I would add that you get documentation of it all and move quickly before his company finds out he went way out of lines with his Crayolas!

    But keep that evidence for if and when you need it. You can do this- get righteously pissed off and act now.

  • Dear Chump Poser,

    What a painful moment, one that you don’t deserve.

    Even if they didn’t – No, really! – have sex, I see another issue that shows your relationship is already doomed: You can’t trust him. I could have forgiven my ex for her affair if she’d sincerely apologized and stopped fucking around, but of course she just said whatever she needed to keep me providing kibbles. Once someone has trashed your confidence like he has, you will never get it back.

    Choosing not to dump him now is the same as choosing to go through this kind of crap with him again soon.

  • Chump poser, I am very sorry you are going though this pain. I too have a husband who is having an emotional affair with his high school sweetheart. We have been married 40 years. He insists they have never had sex. I have lived with this for 3 and half years and it is very hurtful. You are worth so much more than suffering abuse, because that is what it is. As hard as it is to realize, he does not love you even if he says he does. You have to let go of what you thought your marriage is. I still hold on but it destroys your self esteem. As hard as it is to leave, you may have to.

  • I think maybe you’re trying to convince yourself it’s “not as bad as it seems” so you don’t have to face what’s ahead of you which is a shit ton of pain. The truth of it is though is that you can take the pain as poison by staying or you can do what most of us here have done which is akin to cutting off an infected limb and dealing with the pain until it passes(and it will pass). You are going to feel much mightier in the long run if you choose you instead of waiting for things to “work out” or “heal” in your relationship. You don’t have a relationship. You have a poisoner. Your choices suck but the right choice is clear- end it now and move on. As that old trope goes-when you’re in hell you must keep moving. I did and it was the best decision I ever made.

  • I was told that they only kissed…until he was dead and I found hotel receipts that he had hidden away and trip itineraries that showed his explanations were all lies. Then there was much more when I learned she wasnt the only one.

    Important for your story though…in the end I learned that he had sex with a number (at least 3 but likely many more)….but now much later I care less about the sex and more about how he treated me….the blame, the gaslighting, the blame the “I didnt do anything wrong” but what I hated most was the blame. It sucks, run.

  • This is pretty close to my situation-years ago I received the phone bill with hundreds and hundreds of texts by his phone to another. I looked at his phone, empty of all text messages! But was able to match the number to a female name. When confronted, he denied speaking with her at all, just a co worker from years ago, doesnt know whatever happened to her? Showed him the phone bill-their last contact was a few days before. Oh now he remembered…yeah….she was moving back to our town, needed some help finding an apartment……at 6am, 1am, etc. I was devastated because of the lying more than anything. We started therapy, he told the therapist that I was unavailable to communicate with and he needed a friend to talk to. My fault. He had lied because I was so angry. My fault. A few years go by, he starts slowly withdrawing from me, texting all the time and when asked its “just people from work”. I look at his phone, all messages erased again. I ask, he says I have trust issues, this is the problem in our marriage, he cant do this, moves out the next day. Separated for a year, he keeps getting in touch with me, wanting to work things out. Start therapy again with a fantastic therapist who brings to light that stbx has a sex addiction, anger issue, poor impulse control, porn addiction, abandonment issues, etc. Stbx claims to start working on these, wants to move back in. He eventually does, I think things are finally going to be healthy and happy, 3 weeks later I wake up to find him and all of his stuff gone, and was seen in a bar with another woman the very day he moved out. My point is, an emotional affair can be the very tip of the iceberg. The lies, the emotional cheating, can all be symptoms of deeper issues, in addition to the betrayal of trust. If you feel betrayed, leave. No one should have to sit and wonder what their partner is up to. Who knows what else is going on. I believed him the first time when he said it would never happen again, and surprise! It did. Go now and save your sanity. I wish I had been strong enough to leave the first time.

    • Oh my god, I too got the blame for being a” poor communicator ” and having trust issues. Umm yeah, I guess I do have difficulty with trusting someone who lied about screwing his coworker for 7 months. And liars are the absolute BEST communicators, I could never be in that league.

      • Yup. At least my ex had the decency to say “we weren’t communicating well” Yeah, I think that was just him. He neglected to communicate the fact that he was off screwing other women and that’s why he was being such a dick to me and the kids. I guess he figured it was my fault for not being able to read his mind and understand that whatever he said, he really meant the opposite. Then I would have done a much better job of meeting his needs.

        Oh, and evidently I wasn’t emotionally available either. Well it is difficult to be emotionally available to someone who is emotionally pushing you away. And as for being too “predictable” when it came to sex, he was the “predictable” one. If it was 3am, 5 min before the alarm went off or 5 min before I was supposed to be out the door he was interested. The rest of the time, not so much.

        These guys are really good at projection and we are really good at believing it.

        • Yes! We are totally supposed to read their minds. Or better yet, we are supposed to know what they are feeling even before they do! I got the playbook line, “well, I must have been unhappy for years…I just didn’t know it.” He only figured out his unhappiness after falling into strange va-jay jay and then it was my fault for not meeting his needs.

          It’s a little difficult to realize your partner is desperately unhappy when: they tell you how happy they are, how much they love you, and are so thankful for you the love of their life. I heard each of these things straight from the horses(ass) mouth 1 week before d-day.

          Damn the failure of my psychic powers and normalized expectations of fidelity.

        • “Yeah, I think that was just him. He neglected to communicate the fact that he was off screwing other women and that’s why he was being such a dick to me and the kids. I guess he figured it was my fault for not being able to read his mind and understand that whatever he said, he really meant…”

          *this***☝️ First time post but reading longer.

      • I hear you, F&L. Its by far the sickest and most destructive thing I’ve ever been through. Blamed for having trust issues after being lied to and cheated on. So I set it aside, have faith and believe in him and he does it AGAIN. Painful lesson learned. I am recovering, finally, hope you are too 🙂

        • Jennifer, I did the whole forgiving trusting thing too, trying to own my part and all that baloney (thank you RIC). Then I find a box of condoms with some missing. He states he used them for masturbation, and see THIS is why we are having issues, because I don’t TRUST him. “How can I prove a negative to you?” Gaslighting POS.

          Healing, not so much. Currently in the purgatory of in house separation because he won’t leave “his home” and doesn’t feel he “should” have to pay rent elsewhere. Yes. He hasn’t done anything to deserve to loose anything or be inconvenienced. 🙄

          We have a child together and cheater has the money. Making my escape plans with a lawyer though and hope soon to have him come to his “home” from work one night and I’ll be gone.

          • F&L that sucks. Hope you can get out soon. I’m only 2 months out from him leaving and it’s rough but better than looking at his lying cheating face every day. Fingers crossed for you.

  • Do yourself a favor and go no contact asap. Staying in contact hurts you and helps them. If you want to have more control you end it and go no contact. He is not the same person he was. The one you cared about changed long ago he is not there. He will tell you whatever he thinks will keep him comfortable Never caring it makes you uncomfortable. No contact now and you regain the respect you deserve. When you go no contact he will lose it. Go ahead and file for divorce and go no contact. He will then start backpedaling because you aren’t the chump anymore. When you see him backpedaling there is your sign. He only cared when he knew he crossed your line. Stand tall it sucks, get a lawyer and therapist. Use them both to sort your future out. Good luck we are here when it gets to be hard, and it will.

    • “He only cared when he knew he had crossed your line.” This. Mine was constantly testing his boundaries. Mr. Innocent said it was “because he needed to know where they (the boundaries) were”, because, apparently, he was just too dense to understand the whole fidelity thing. So, to a normal caring person, “no contact” with the AP means exactly that: NO CONTACT. To a fuckwit, that appears to have a huge nebulous hazy definition. Mine seemed to think, initially, that overtly sexual stuff was forbidden, but everything else was OK! Oh, it isn’t OK? God, I am SUCH a bitch. Then intimate longing emails are discovered. Wait, THAT isn’t OK? I wasn’t touching her!! God, you are SO unreasonable. “Professional” emails are ramped up between he and the AP. Then the accusation is that I am trying to keep him from doing his job!!! HE is trying to save the world, and I pursue my petty agenda to keep he and his AP apart when they work so well together. He grudgingly agreed to sever professional contact. Then, about a month ago, I found a message to her that he wanted a third party to deliver, saying how much he missed her, blah, blah, blah. But, hey, letter of the law. HE didn’t contact her. The gymnastics these people go through to rationalize their behavior is truly insane.

      • Yup. I thought breaking it off with her so we could reconcile meant breaking it off with her so we could reconcile. He thought it just meant refraining from having actual sex with her until reconciliation inevitably failed (because I was just too unwilling to improve myself to his standards and I had the nerve to suggest that maybe he needed some improvement as well). Just another miscommunication and different way of interpreting things.

      • OMG. He was doing this kind of thing when I first found out. Oh, so saying “I love you” isn’t okay. I’ll just say, “I don’t think my wife is good for me,” or “do you ever imagine a world in which circumstances are different and we can be together.” Oh, encrypted Facebook messages aren’t ok, I’ll just download WhatsApp. etc.

        • Oh my god, I’ve gotten the “in another life we could have been together” line. This post (which I could have written) and the comments are scaring me that “we aren’t having sex” and “she’s not my girlfriend” are lies like I suspected. I’ve gotten the “I used the condom to masturbate” one (I found the wrapper in the dryer and lost my shit). “We’re just friends”. “I get along better with women.” Yeah. That’s why I given you shit for having female friends before, right? Nope. Only for THIS one. Because this one is different. You don’t have to see a “friend” 7 days a week and STILL txt/call all day long too.

          I’m such a chump because I believe him. Every time. No matter how far fetched the stories. (“That’s not her housekey! That’s just a random key I found on our mantel. I have no idea what it’s for!” Magically it had appeared right when she moved into a new apartment. And he supposedly “threw it away”. But then my kid found it.). I have no “proof”. But damn.

          I loved him so much. I still do.

          I’m not ready to accept reality yet.

          We’re separated. I left the house because I thought he was honest when he said he needed a few days to think. I stayed with my mom. It’s been a year now.

          We tried reconciling once. He wouldn’t give up his “friend” because as he said “what if I tell her to fuck off and then you and I don’t work out? Then I gave nothing.” Yup. We didn’t work out because he lied to me. He kept seeing her. And there were no “boundaries” like he promised. Her texting him a hundred times a day isn’t a boundary. Nor is him running off to her house every time we’d argue.

          God. How dense am I?

          I foolishly think that most people are decent.

  • You are definitely a chump. You are trying to fix his bad behavior. That’s what chumps do, until they can’t anymore. Then real chumps wonder what they did wrong to cause it. Get a lawyer, go grey rock. Spend your mental energy day dreaming of your fabulous new life. Hugs.

    • I will say that this has inspired me to start a new career that will give me a more kid-friendly schedule and better pay. I’m getting my ducks in a row to divorce him within a year. It would be a lot faster if I didn’t have the kids to consider. I’ve also been filling up my calendar to stay busy so I’m not feeling sorry for myself or dancing the pick-me dance. I’m taking night classes, reconnecting with old friends, and going on outings with the kids.

      • This is so mighty! You are strong and I send you loads more strength and support. Way to go taking care of you, visioning your new life, and taking the steps mindfully!

      • Good for you! I got my ducks in a row, made plans, saved money, and got my head straight so that when the day came that I was no doubt ready to file, I could do it and know it was exactly what I needed. Just don’t let him know your plans, or he will try to sabotage them. And it is quite satisfying to hit him out of nowhere with it.
        Also, keep coming here and building your strength. I was able to get off the meds recently (started them shortly after divorce due to his crazy), and I am doing fine. <>

        • Agreed! Don’t let him know ANYTHING. I didn’t say anything to my cheater. Got on a plane with the kids and went home for our usual holiday break. He didn’t join us, he stayed behind because he was busy “working”. I went home, got Legal Aid, a lawyer, went to court to have interim orders put in place. And then my lawyer sent him an email. He had no f**king clue. Was gobsmacked. The kids and I never went back. It’ll be 3 years this May since I left him at the airport 🎉 #celebrate

        • The line my STBX gave me here is that they started secret texting, so she could tell him about how her husband abuses her. (I’m not sure if she lied to him about this, or if he lied to me about it, or if this is the truth.) I’m not telling the husband, but I have friended the ho-worker’s mutual friends on Facebook, and when it’s safe to divorce and all this goes down, I’m sure it will get back to the husband. I’m also wondering if I can use his fear of the husband finding out to get an upper-hand during the divorce. I feel like I need to play my cards right on this one.

          • It’s most likely a lie your husband has told you, they all play from the same handbook… mine said the same thing about his ho-worker. “I feel bad for her, her husband is abusive and an alcoholic.” I had met her and talked with her many times on company outings. I have NO sympathy for her. She not only blew up her family, she blew up mine (not that mine was worth keeping, as it turns out). She truly deserves my personality disordered ex.

          • I can understand why you might not want to tell. It is probably a lie, but on the off chance that it isn’t, you don’t want to be responsible for getting someone beat up even if it is a homewrecking slut who doesn’t have the mighty to leave an abusive husband without having someone else’s husband to latch onto first.

            I might feel bad for Ex’s Schmoopie if she hadn’t decided to solve her problems by participating in tearing my family apart. Ex told me her then husband was a cheater and an alcoholic who threatened physical abuse. That is probably an exaggeration but her now ex did admit to having cheated on her before when he called to tell me about the affair so that makes me more inclined to believe it might be true. He may well have caused the “mental issues” he claimed she had which then caused her to encourage my ex’s bad behavior. I can’t help but put some of the blame on her ex for setting this chain of events in motion. Cheating, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Well the buck stops here. I am not going to spread the pain to another family. I can recover just fine without fucking somebody else’s husband thank you very much.

            • P.S. I am fairly certain the EA affair partner’s husband was cheating on her too. Why do so many people think that the solution to infidelity is more infidelity? I am unhappy in my marriage so let’s tear someone else’s marriage apart too. I believe that that whole incident was the catalyst that eventually lead to the demise of my marriage. That is when ex first started seeing infidelity as a viable option.

      • Chump poser – go for it! Get out. Be smart about it. Hang in there. All the madness will be worth it once you’re home free. I don’t know how I didn’t have a mental breakdown while I was laying low and lining up ducks. It was an awful time in my life, but so necessary. I changed careers too – went from working in the media to now teaching. I miss my media job, but teaching has a great work schedule and holidays!! It’s great for single mothers.

        Best of luck to you! Stick around with Chump Nation, because you are indeed a chump. Welcome!! And sorry you had to find us.

        PS – “emotional affair”, I don’t think so. That’s bullshit. Sorry. For sure they’ve been intimate. Use that as fuel to drive you forward. Hugs from Down Under 🐨🌿

        • That’s what I’m doing! I’m going from sales into teaching, and since I already have a degree, it’s a fairly easy process.

          • Heyyyy! A fellow “I switched to teaching because it’s the only job with a schedule that allows me to be home every weekend and on holidays with the kids now that I’m a single mom” mom. Gahhh, the things we do. I’m not exactly enjoying being a teacher, but am grateful for the job security and “holidays off” factor. It also allows me to be in my kids’ world more. They’re going to be in school for the next 10 years, so it was a smart career change for me. Hope you find that it works for you and your family too!

      • Smart to get ducks in a row, but go to a lawyer NOW. For once let a chump get the jump on a cheater and there is no doubt you are married to a low life cheater.

  • “They only held hands and hugged” – what are they? In kindergaren? My two year old used to do that when he arrived at daycare every day. And you say you are on medication for depression caused by this “hand holding and hugging”. Isn’t that proof enough that you need to get out? Please please leave this bastard. You will be happy again – actually happier – so take your courage in both hands and do right by yourself. We’re all here for you. Hugs!

  • The origami metaphor is fitting in more than one way. I never told CL that origami actually is a hobby of mine. I picked it up a few years ago when dealing with my STBX’s job loss and having to work double shifts to support the family while still maintaining all of the regular home and kid duties. I’ve only recently realized that my anxiety was caused by his controlling and manipulative ways. Nobody should feel like they’re walking on eggshells in their own home.

    • That was me, to a T. I am three years out from the divorce, and one of the best feelings is that I no longer have to walk on eggshells around anyone. I went hardcore no contact, and although it’s been extremely difficult, it has been worth it. I feel like I have my peace of mind back. I hope and pray that you get to a place of peace and comfort as soon as possible. Sending you big long-distance hugs. It will get better. I hope you are already working with your lawyer, preparation is key. Then blitz him as hard as you have ever done in your entire life. NO MERCY! THIS IS WAR. Which, BTW, he started. Finish him!!!

  • Everything everyone is saying. He is treating with with disrespect and also cruelty. 1. Save evidence; 2. Find a tough lawyer; 3. Get the best settlement. Get your own life away from this disrespectful, gaslighting person. I did not hear about children – so if there are no children, then it may be simpler. But be tough in the divorce. Some douche, did he consult you on the “boundaries” they both set? Were you part of the decision making? So you have no say in what your spuse does with other people?

    • There are children to consider, and that’s why it’s going to take a little bit of time to put my exit strategy in place. I have to get on a more kid friendly work schedule. Right now I work full time, and he works part time. (That’s probably why he has time for love poems and Schmoopie.)

      I am documenting everything with screenshots when I can get them. The latest discovery–two pages of “shemale” porn searches in his browsing history. It makes me really wonder about Schmoopie.

        • Went to the gyno last week and had full testing done. I’m just waiting for the results. If he gave me a gift that keeps on giving, I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep it together while I handle my linear waterfowl issue.

          • If he gives you something, it can sometimes be a chargeable offence of battery depending on where you live.

          • Sending you Jedi hugs if you want them. I have never been through a divorce other than as a child of it, but I have been cheated on lots of times and it is so unremittingly horrible. The linear waterfowl line is great and I think you are awesome; seconding Creativerational’s comment that STIs can sometimes be a chargeable offense.

      • If he’s into “shemale” porn you may soon have more crazy on your hands, and you may need to consider the adage “you don’t stay for the kids, you leave for the kids.” My ex, who was a bigtime “shemale” porn user, then declared he had decided he was “a woman in a man’s body.” Eyes wide open, Chump Poser.

        • Oh my! He’s into all sorts of porn and looks at it daily, sometimes with the kids in the next room. It’s just in that day he forgot to use incognito mode. “Leave FOR the kids” is exactly where I am right now. I have a tween daughter, and what message am I sending her by letting him treat me this way? I also don’t have firm evidence but strongly suspect he had gone drinking at his friend’s house and driven home with the kids, all while I’m out working to care for the family.

          • It sounds like your husband has a Cluster B personality disorder. Google narcissistic personality disorders. If this sounds like him, you may want to read the book Psychopath Free. It’s an eye opener!

      • Cheaters are like icebergs. You can only see about 10% above the surface. Whatever you have found is the tiniest bit of what he has really been up to. My last cheater was a paragon of public virtue. A GREAT husband (and I am not being sarcastic), kind, thoughtful, loving, home every night by five. I seriously had zero red flags. And then God miraculously laid some evidence right in front of me. And the secret second life was laid bare. Mr. Allen Average, cheerio eating, baseball loving, volunteer who gives blood every month turns out to be a secretly fucking bodybuilding fetish prostitutes to the tune of $800 an hour. Go over your finances with a fine tooth comb, and from this point on tell him nothing. In fact, if you can, make him think you have forgiven him and everything is going to be fine. Lull him into the false sense of security and gather that evidence away. If you need to follow him or get a PI. Get whatever devastating proof you have to. If he is engaged in anything illegal, divorce court may not care–but remind him that VICE cops will and you will happily turn it all over. Follow the money. Nefarious shit is expensive and you can get all those dissipated marital funds back, or, he may walk away quietly just so that seedy shit doesn’t come out in court. I told my cheater that I would subpoena and depose every single nasty slut–and I would have. Now, I live in a no-fault state. They don’t care who you are fucking. But I would have done it to prove dissipation of marital funds. If all the courts care about is financial division, then I was ready to get down to the nitty gritty of our finances. Oddly, he decided he’d rather just be fair and go quietly away.

      • There is absolutely nothing wrong with being trans. Let’s keep our eyes open on: he’s lying and cheating. And manipulating. And gas lighting and abusing. Has nothing to do with sexual preference. People can be super ethical and attracted to trans. Or they can be trans or any other LGBTQ 🏳️‍🌈 and friends of the community… and be ethical and above board. The problems in this mans court is that he is being a totally awful person to his spouse.

        • Oh my! He’s into all sorts of porn and looks at it daily, sometimes with the kids in the next room. It’s just in that day he forgot to use incognito mode. “Leave FOR the kids” is exactly where I am right now. I have a tween daughter, and what message am I sending her by letting him treat me this way? I also don’t have firm evidence but strongly suspect he had gone drinking at his friend’s house and driven home with the kids, all while I’m out working to care for the family.

          • CreativeRational: Don’t invalidate my three years of living in hell with my trans identified ex. You haven’t walked in my shoes and seen what was behind that curtain.
            Chump Poser: A line from “Men in Black” occurs to me. You think you’d be A-ok with your male husband doing what mine did? “Try it.” You have no idea of what the reality is.
            All I did is say that from my experience a fascination with “shemale” porn could be the gateway to more pain.
            I earned my stripes in the trans trenches.

            • Anybody misrepresenting themselves and lying to you at your expense is wrong. And yes, porn is hurtful and yes, porn is dangerous to marriages, and yes, these men rarely keep it on the page or screen. Sooner or later they try to take that shit real. And NO you don’t have to be okay with it. I get really tired of people trying to tell me that prostitution is a victimless crime and I shouldn’t be offended that he was fucking hookers or that somehow it is better than having a relationship with someone. No, it is just a different flavor of abuse and you don’t have to be okay with it Adelante! Creativerationale, Adelante did not say there was anything wrong with being Trans. She said that if he is into Trans porn, that there may be more to her story and she should protect herself and prepare herself to find out more and more painful things. You do not have the right to invalidate her experience or make it sound as if she is a bigot because the particular type of deception and cheating she endured.

        • There is absolutely nothing wrong with being trans. I’d have a much easier time if this were his secret (and only secret). I’d have no problem with my husband becoming my wife if the mutual respect and trust was there. That’s at least something to work with.

          • That’s the best attitude ever. He’s rotten on the inside, whether he’s an orange, an apple or a can of spaghettios

          • You would have no problem marrying a man and him deciding he wanted to be a woman?

            Don’t drink the PC Kool Aid.

            It is an extremely minimal group … a scintilla of people who have actual biological gender ambiguity. Such as their clitoris resemblance is that of a small penis. Or vice versa.

            Otherwise- it’s just more disordered narcissistic bullshit.

            You have a right to not want a partner who looks at he-she porn.

            It’s disgusting. It’s men with penises with huge breast implants sodomizing other men.

            Speak up Divorce Minister.

            Don’t let these PC Stazi lunatics go unchecked. There have to be some standards.

            • One of my friends, a lesbian, married another lesbian and they have a child together. Her wife came out as transgender and is in the process of transitioning. My friend still loves her spouse but no longer finds her (now him) sexually attractive (facial hair and all) and is seriously considering divorce.

              People get to decide what they will or will not settle for in a marriage/relationship if the other person starts changing…

            • The person who deserves the hate and shaming is your cheater and their knowing affair partners. It may feel good to think of yourself as morally superior to strangers you have made no effort to understand or feel any compassion towards, but what does it achieve for you other than feeling smug?

              Do bigotry and hatred actually contribute to your life or make you safer?

              Do strangers who are already marginalized, harassed, and faced with staggering hate crimes, including murder, simply for their gender identity or sexual orientation have any impact on your life other than being your ex-husband’s wank fodder?

              What exactly have trans or gay people done to directly impact your daily life other than be wanked at by your cheater?

              Are you aware that many trans people enter the sex-work industries because people like you discriminate against them merely for existing?

              Do you give a care about anyone who isn’t straight, cis-gendered, monogamous, and of the same religion as you? Or do you believe your traits and the religion you were born into make you morally superior? Why is it important to you to feel this way?

              Trans people identify as being a different gender than what they were assigned at birth. Why exactly is that offensive or even remotely affect you one way or the other?

              Trans people bear no more or less likelihood of having personality disorders or committing crime than anyone else. But they are more likely to be beaten, raped, robbed, denied basic health care or housing, and, again, murdered. But somehow you think YOU are being wronged or marginalized by their even having the audacity of existing?

              Why are the consensual sex acts between adults to whom you are not married or committed any of your business? Why do you care what nerves in their bodies they choose to stimulate?

              You are privileged in being born into a body with which you identify, a socially acceptable sexual orientation, and a family that apparently believes in a mainstream religion of your country. Why do you believe people who are not born into the same circumstances as you deserve your contempt? What does that achieve for you? Why do differences in other human beings feel so threatening to you?

              Why do you think your religious beliefs should be applied, valued, accepted, or even validated by anyone but yourself? Why are you looking for other people who share your hatred to support your bigotry?

              Let me repeat:

              The person who wronged you is the cheater and any knowing participants. Pornographers did not shove the porn into your cheater’s lap. Your cheater chose to pander for the services of sex workers. All the cheating that happened was the repeated, deliberate, selfish, and abusive choice of the cheater.

              There is nothing to be gained by investing your emotional energy in hating people you know nothing about. Please consider compassion. It costs you nothing.

              Jesus taught the value of compassion and mercy. He did not embrace hurting or hating anyone, even sex workers.

              Ask yourself why you are so hateful. Reread your comments. There is raw hatred for an entire group of people you do not even understand who are simply different than you. Why?

      • As someone who meant to leave too but didn’t… (I accidentally 180’d him. I was nasty to him – honest all the time about how I felt, started living my life independently of him, told him all the ways he fucked up and had hurt me and how REAL love is supposed to look… and that bastard did all the work. Changed. His relationships with everyone changed drastically over that year. Good boundaries. Consideration. Listening. Actively participating in our lives, etc. Post-nup. Put all assets in my name only. Any debts in his name only. And I’ve tracked him – although he has no idea – via Google Timeline whenever I’m doubtful of something. I have an email account that sends me the activity and content of EVERYTHING on his phone. He’s forthcoming with others, without me there. Old cheater”friends” don’t like him anymore. He has kept this up for almost 5 years.)

        Do.not.fuck.him. Don’t try to show him the light. Don’t help him improve. You’ll stay. You’ll push that vague deadline back. You’ll change jobs or it won’t work out like you thought it would… and you won’t fight to make it through and continue improving because you won’t have urgency to make it on your own. A mini-crisis, or several, will come up and you’ll not feel like it’s a good time to do it anymore. Something will always come up. You’ll stay. And even if he makes all the changes above, he will STILL be the shitty motherfucker who tainted or ruined every, should-have-been-happy moment and milestone in your adult life. Then you’ll feel badly that even though MAYBE he has really and completely changed and is DOING all the right things, it’s still not good enough to wipe away the past.

        It’s not worth it.

        Don’t fuck him, not even an angry, passionate, “final” time.

        Put him in a different bedroom. He probably tells her you live like roommates, as they all do; fulfill that prophecy. If he tries to embarrass you, speak your truth: “Husband has had a secret girlfriend at work. It’s not appropriate to sleep together or have sex anymore.” You need to be able to tell others what’s happening so they know TO support you, even it’s not much. Telling them will keep you accountable. You HAVE to tell people.

        He can do his own laundry. Cook his own food. You don’t need to stay there and listen to him rant about it either. Leave the room. Don’t flee. Be calm and collected.

        And if he ups and leaves? Time to file for child support ASAP. Go right down to the county social services office and they’ll do it FOR you, since you’ll be using their programs. It’s one of the questions they’ll ask.

      • Figure out the parenting schedule you want post divorce and make that the status who for 6 months before court. Document every day—start a spreadsheet and put all the details in. It’s easy once you create all the headers to just check boxes. This will prove invaluable.

  • Always trust your gut. When my husband talked a little too much about his coworker, I felt uncomfortable. But, I blew it off. I trusted him! We had been together for 29 years! He told me daily that he loved me. He would never do anything like that to me!

    If anything makes you uncomfortable, that is all you need to know. Him being unwilling to give up her “friendship” says it all. Sex or no sex it is an affair. Take things into your own hands and do what’s best for you. I wish I had. Instead, for months I had nightmares of my husband telling me he was leaving me with a cold, dead look on his face and there was nothing I could do to change it. Every morning after these nightmares, I’d wake and say something to him about my horrible dream, and his reply, “I would never do that to you. I love you!” But, he eventually did do that – just as I had seen him do so in my dream – cold, dead face – nothing we could do together to reverse it.

    I am now on the flip side. (Yes, I know I’m going to take a beating for admitting this – and I think that’s what I need right now.) I’ve enjoyed the attention of a married coworker the past couple of months. He began messaging me – first friendly – then telling me what he likes about me. Admittedly, it has boosted my ego after the intense bruising it took from losing my husband. And, I childishly don’t want it to stop. It’s a rush. It’s dopamine, I know. But, I know it has to stop. I’ve told him repeatedly that nothing can happen and he agrees. We have never touched. Period. But the secret messaging is the betrayal. I feel sick about it. But I also like it. He’s part of a collective group of friends at work and I don’t want to lose that. But, I don’t want to be “that” woman, either. That POS OW. I know all that stuff – I’m feeding his ego…if he cheats on her, he will cheat on me…I am bringing down another woman by my actions…I’m a POS…

    And, yet, I look around and all my coworkers have been married twice, three times, some four times…and I just wonder…what is the point of marriage any more???

    Let the beating commence…I deserve it and I need the wake up call.

    • This is triggering. Can you please not post about you taking part in infidelity. I understand that this forum is for supporting chumps and this is not supportive.

      • This married co- worker knows your past experience of being cheated on, No?
        He’s preying on your vulnerability. He is using your pain to lure you into blowing up the marriage of another. He will no doubt use your past and participation in the affair if this continues and he’s caught.
        In the end, if you continue on this path, you’ll feel all the pain as before but with added guilt and shame.
        Please, think of the wife. You’ve been there. Don’t ruin a life.
        I don’t know about you, but I’ll never be the person I was before my husband left me for his Co worker. I used to smile now, not so much. I’m detached from life. Even with antidepressants, I struggle to get through each day. I have seen attractive men, and have even been hit on a few times. I have absolutely no interest in men. Brad Pitt, himself could ask me out and I’d be completely indifferent. When my husband left me, I left my ring on. It was so emotionally painful, but it helped fend off men. (strange how a wedding ring on a man seems to attract women). When men hit on me in spite of the ring, I felt nothing but disgust.
        After awhile, when all the pain changed me I stopped getting hit on. And I’m considered attractive by western cultural standards. My damaged soul can be sensed and no one wants to hang out with darkness.
        Think about this. Don’t do to her what my husband and his Co worker did to me (and my children. I wish they could have known who I used to be).

        • Also, this co-worker could be in rescue mode. That’s a thing, right? Like the NYC firefighters who left their wives to take up with 9/11 widows. They can’t resist a woman who “needs” then.

          • Lillian and Island Chump,
            Interesting insight…yes, he knows how I was left by my ex and the pain I’ve been through – in fact I told him that what he was doing with me is what my ex did with his coworker and that it was wrong and he could blow up his and his family’s life – so he’s probably either preying on my vulnerability or wants to save me…either way, none of the situation is good. On top of it, I don’t want to change jobs…so I’m hoping this does not get uncomfortable and that my stopping it today will put an end to everything. I tried to stop it one time before – but I was manipulated into feeling bad for not remaining his friend. Stupid me.

            • Do you need another manipulative sociopath in your life as you get away from the last one ? Time for counseling dearie.

          • So true, these “men” will dump their self sufficient wives for the damsel in distress as their ego yearns for the “loves to be needed” fantasy. However, the damsel in distress grows old really fast. The reality of the damsel in distress is it is usually some borderline nut job that is extremely needy and expensive.

      • I have been reading CL for almost a year and I wished I hadn’t read the entry from Duped. I saw all the texts my Ex made to other women. I always wondered what he said and how the other women he hooked up with felt. I didn’t need to hear how Duped felt (the rush, the secrecy,etc.) It’s going to be hard to get this out of my head. I think I’ll go cry now

    • You already know this is wrong. This is where you listen to your conscience and stop. Just because something is common doesn’t mean it’s right. Think about all the things that are common in our world, the awful discusting twisted evil that happens everyday. Want to use that logic on any of the things that jumped into your mind?
      If people had integrity and faithfulness and true love, there wouldn’t be all the failed destroyed marriages.

      Honestly run away and stop. You have this moment to decide. You have already crossed the line. Do what is right.

      Why don’t you be an authentic person and gain a life? A life isn’t going and being then vessel to destroy someone’s marriage and family. Maybe you already have. Face the truth and change NOW

        • Tell his wife. She deserves to know what a POS her husband is.

          Then go and get a proper life for yourself, away from work. It sounds like you spend far too long there physically and also in your head.

          • Damn straight. You put all of those texts in as screenshots (personal info excluded/cropped out) and send them via a fake FB account to a fake email you’ve made. Offer to provide what you can but keep your own boundaries.

            Because if it isn’t you, it WILL BE (and more likely, already has been) someone else. Because he’s a cheater and that’s what he does… he feels entitled to act out lies in order to benefit himself. Whether it’s you or some other participant.

            • And, without a doubt, she deserves to live and plan her future with the benefit of the truth, no matter how ugly it is initially.

              It’s not about if he deserves punishment; it’s about the FACT that she MOST DEFINITELY deserves the truth. Whether HE thinks she does or doesn’t does.not.matter. She DOES deserve the truth. ASAP. Because it will happen again and she will feel like shit “for no reason” AGAIN. And the more un-ignorable events occur, the straighter she will come to it.

            • Nah, fuck that. She needs to be held accountable, and being anonymous isn’t being accountable.

              If you’re willing to be a POS, you need to own up to your shitty behaviour. Not doing so, is being a coward.

    • I, too, had a soiree with these kinds of feelings and inappropriate discussions when I was still reeling from the discovery of hundreds of APs and the subsequent divorce, when my viewpoint of marriage was hopeless and negative.

      It is my greatest life’s regret that I ever even sniffed at any indulgence in the flattery of being admired by a person who was using me to be unfaithful to someone else.

      For one thing, it made me a villain, with or without “actions”. For another thing, it is no prize to be admired by an exploiting cheating douchebag. That is not an opinion that demonstrates any value on my part. The only thing it says about me is that I am an obvious target for exploitation. There is nothing good about that.

      You are likely indulging in this flattery to avoid dealing with other feelings and realities. The commenter above is right — this group isn’t the place for you to process your inappropriate actions.

      Get a therapist and work on whatever you are avoiding and/or whatever makes you feel like being attractive to an exploiting jerk is positive in any way. It should offend you. Figure out why it doesn’t.

    • Just STOP … NOW. You are rationalizing, as do all cheaters and APs. Why on earth would you want to play a part in hurting another woman, in the same way that you have been hurt? And it would be the same if they were in a romantic relationship and not married. Yes, you are still hurting and want to be cherished. Look elsewhere! This guy is just another loser! One who is taking advantage of your vulnerabilities to feed his own ego. Yuck.

    • You already ARE “that woman.” Just listen to yourself make excuses: “what’s the point of marriage?” If that’s what you think you’re welcome to never marry again, but your affair partner IS married. And you don’t get to rationalize his marriage away to get a dopamine rush. You can get that from exercise.

    • You’re being lazy. This co-worker is chasing you, and all you’re doing is going along with it, so much easier than finding a free single to actually date!
      Go do the work. If you want attention, go date. Or don’t, stay single and have integrity!
      Just think of this guys wife, when he’s sending you messages, he sucks and you’re being lazy!

    • I can’t believe I’m the first one to comment on this, but SHAME ON YOU. Are you really so desperate that being the other woman is ok? You know what it feels like to be in his wife’s shoes. Cut off this unhealthy relationship with a sparkle dick cheater, and get yourself some therapy to understand how/why you started this in the first place. Do everyone a favor and stay far far away from married men until your boundaries are better…it’s not your fault he’s a cheater, but you shouldn’t facilitate this behavior. There’s your 2×4

    • Think on some empathy.
      Forget him, he’s a piece of shit, but think about his wife for a second.
      She’s you.
      She probably has a gut feeling.
      Block him, go grey rock on text, join WhatsApp and only message your workmates as a group- anything you wouldn’t post in the group, for all to see? Don’t post.

      Go on a date or two, remind yourself what interacting with men is actually like, and realize he is a schmoozing pile of charm because he has learned your cues and he’s targeting that because you’re in a rough place.
      Write a list of all the nasty characteristics it would take to be capable of that. Put it in the notes section of your phone and anytime you feel that nice attraction stuff, read over the reality. That he’s manipulating, using affection on you means he’s withholding from his home life, he’s wasting work hours which is also gross, this is all an ego trip for him…. the list should write itself.

      Give your head a whak. You’re supposed to be mighty. So BE. MIGHTY.

      • She doesn’t care. Remember? Cheaters don’t have empathy. They delight in the deception and cake and centrality. She fucking LOVES it.

        • I think she’s being preyed upon.
          Everyone wears their scars differently and I think she’s not healed and needs a good smack. Her picker is fucking shattered and she has been reeled in by the same con, and has a chance to not be an asshole. So I’m not just gonna be mean. I’m gonna encourage her to really do better.

          I have said the same thing to people who I know are going down the wrong road. And if they don’t wake up, yep, I cut ties.

          But I’m not going to give up the moment someone realizes they’re being dumb and ask for help.

            • My pleasure/responsibility to a fellow chump. This is a symtpom of your picker not being fixed and you being a kibble source to another cheater.

              Keep the messages. Tell him you’re not ok with the messages and need to stop. He will argue and my suggestion of how to shut it down? Offer to show The Wife if it’s so innocent, because you are a real friend and you want him to maintain his actual life, not this bliss bubble that’s all made up. Then Grey Rock.

              Remember who you are in this relationship- he’s the dude who cheats and you’re the one who falls for it. Congratulations, it’s happening again.

          • Agreed. I was a little harsh below but only to save her from making the biggest mistake of her life (even bigger than marrying her cheater in the first place). I dealt with a similar situation back in college with someone who had a long distance girlfriend. I was shocked when I found out he had a girlfriend and told him no way but thought we could be friends. Big mistake, you can’t be friends with people like this. They are highly manipulative and the worst is when they try to make you go against your own morals. It’s all a game to them and they play on our desire not to hurt others by knowing we don’t want to make them feel bad. This is exactly what this creep is doing. It is so clear from her description below. In my case, I held off until college guy and his girlfriend broke up (or so he said, now I wonder) and then I was a goner. He continued to abuse me for several months until I finally wised up. It took a semester abroad and very far away to disentangle myself from that relationship.

            Unfortunately, as we get older these types just get more skilled at manipulating people into giving them what they want. If the shit eventually hits the fan, Duped will be the one left holding the bag and taking on 100% of the blame for luring away Mr. Good Guy who would never do something like that.

        • I do care. I am ashamed. I just needed that outside shaming today as kind of a public confessional. I do have empathy. I experienced betrayal myself. I’m cutting him off today.

          I’m sorry I posted. It was a trigger. It was selfish of me to need public shaming. I’m sorry.

          • Duped,

            It does feel nice to be cherished and loved after the beating that a chump goes through. I get it, and I empathize with you.

            But here is the key point that I want you to remember:
            HE IS NOT GIVING YOU ATTENTION BECAUSE HE RESPECTS OR CHERISHES YOU. THIS MARRIED MAN IS GIVING YOU ATTENTION BECAUSE YOU LOOK LIKE AN EASY TARGET FOR CAKE. He does not care about you. He cares about CAKE.

            Keep repeating ‘Cheaters Suck’ and remember that he is a cheater and he sucks too. You just haven’t seen his sucky side yet.

            Best wishes, Duped. I know that you will find someone better, someone that deserves you, someone that REALLY CHERISHES you.

            • Yep. This guy has all the earmarks of a sexual predator.

              I used to say that I thought CheaterX and Schmoopie were made for each other. He liked to cheat on his wife and she liked to fuck other people’s husbands. The latter comment turned out to be spot on.

              She was cheating on CheaterX while he was cheating on me. She left CheaterX a few months after they married so she could be with the married man that she’d been cheating on him with.

              And on it goes.

        • No empathy is why she’s here on our forum to get off on our pain by rubbing it in. SHAME ON HER is right. And go away. I don’t have any empathy for someone who doesn’t care what she’s doing. She doesn’t need US to tell her what she’s doing is wrong. This feeds her ego.

    • I won’t give you the satisfaction and attention of a verbal spanking. If you really felt badly and intended to stop, you would simply DO that. It’s not difficult. Block his number. Ignore him. Find a new job. Instead:

      You know you’re trash and delight in being central, whether for good or bad. Carry on, Narcissist.

      • Just another variant of attention whoring, that’s all it is.

        “Oh I am doing something wrong, but instead of cutting it off at the knees I’ll log on and look for ego kibbles by widely proclaiming what I’m doing”

    • Duped, I can completely understand the satisfying feeling and ego boost this attention provides. The feeling of being chosen and special. But isn’t that what our cheaters said too? That they felt “alive”.

      Participating in that attention (in any form) is just pick me dancing on the other side of the equation. Shut it down, you already know how this song ends.

    • My ex’s Schmoopie was probably having thoughts like yours. Her ex (who she was still married to at the time) cheated on her too so she knew damn well what kind of pain she would be causing if she fucked my then husband. She chose to go for it anyway and yes I do think she is a selfish, self centered, homewrecking slut with no morals, no compassion and no sense of decency who will sacrifice others (including 8 kids) for personal gain. Do you want to be that person? Do you want to be with a man who would leave a faithful wife who likely has no idea that there is a problem in her marriage for a woman like the one I just described? Do you think your own misery gives you the right to destroy other people’s lives including possibly children? Do you think your self esteem is more important than that of his wife? Do you think you are better or more deserving than her? Do you want to be able to look at yourself in the mirror every day and like what you see? If you continue down this path then you will knowingly and willingly earn the title of homewrecker and you will have no right to complain about whatever scorn is sent your way as a result? Is he really worth all of that, especially knowing that there is a high probability that he will eventually dump you too either to go running back to his wife or on to the next woman? The title of homewrecker doesn’t go away when he does that. It will be with you forever. It will define you. Don’t be stupid. No, scratch that. Stop being stupid.

      • ChumpinRecovery, No, I don’t want to be that person. I’ve never seen myself as being that person. Ever! But, for a couple months, I have been that person! And, I don’t like that person. I won’t continue on this path. I just won’t.

        • I am glad you have decided to save yourself from a fate that is even worse than begin cheated on. Good luck. You will eventually heal to the point where you will no longer be tempted by moldy kibbles.

          • I have had the conversation with him. I told him that I turned into someone that I don’t like or respect in communicating with him – someone that is not me at all – and that there can be no further private communication between us. He actually replied, “I’m right there with you…it’s not me, either.” Let’s hope this was his first foray into cheating. But, I know it is my first and my last!

            • Good for you! But he may very well try again. In fact, I’d be willing to bet on it. Keep your resolve … and your guard up!

              • And make your work schedule work for you. No working late, especially on the nights he works late. No swinging by his office. No being with him alone. If you are on the same committees, always have someone who’s also on the committee with you.

                You’re dealing with a crush and an infatuation. Put up some barriers and enforce them. In a couple of months you’ll wonder what the hell you were thinking of.

                And you might discover that he’s turned his attention elsewhere, in which case you’ve dodged a real bullet!

            • Also be warned that he may gray rock you right back. This is a good thing. You will miss the kibbles of having him reach out to you but that is all part of his plan. Let him gray rock you. Don’t reach out to him trying to be friends. If he gray rocks you be relieved not disappointed.

        • Yikes. Kick that drug. You’ve proven to yourself that you are attractive enough to be the OW, so that answers that question, and you can eradicate the notion that you just weren’t good enough. Now you just have to figure out why you were willing to do a palpably wrong thing just for the ego rush, and do the deeper work of understanding that the ego boost is false, anyway. Anybody willing to be the AP can be. Anybody willing to do a forbidden thing for the rush will do the forbidden thing, and fuck the people who are hurt, because the high matters more. Not a good path—it runs right down a slippery slope, and when you crash at the bottom, what worthy person will want to help? Getting even with the ex at the cost of chipping away at your own soul? Price too high.

    • Duped, as you know it starts with justificstion. It take much courage to admit this here. When children are abused they sometimes identify with their abusive parent. Perhaps, it gives the feeling of strength rather than being a victim.

      You’re an adult and have the option of being a survivor. Take that option. Let your work guy know you feel uncomfortable texting a married man. Then end it. Do no harm.

    • Duped – How can you find a man that does that attractive? Flattered by an utter looser. Any married man that ever steps over that line with me in my life I see as creepy——- Ewwwww——

    • Yes this is triggering, but I can tell you just need affirmation to gain the courage to do the thing. I’m glad you ending things. The man flirting with you is a garbage person, but I do understand needing the validation.

      Have you tried Tinder? Seeing that men swipe right on your photo can also provide that confidence boost, and you’re not knowingly being the other woman by doing it.

      • Chump Poser,
        I’m not even interested in dating, in all honesty. I was not looking for someone else to give me validation. I was just beginning to find my sense of self. I was coming out the other side of betrayal feeling independent and the better person because I had lived my life honestly and gave my husband my all – as opposed to what he did which was live a lie. I had found a new job. My new coworkers became a new family. They all slowly learned about my betrayal and have all done whatever they could to help me through it – sharing their stories, offering to help me find a carpenter or electrician, calling my ex a putz when I needed them to, etc.

        I don’t want to sound like I’m making excuses…because I’m not, in any way! I am at fault here. But, I honestly did not seek this out. The office I work in is like one big family. We share our stories every day and laugh together. This coworker that approached me does not come across in any way as “that guy” – you know the one with the wandering eye and you always feel a little uncomfortable with alone in a room – we DO have THAT guy in our office – but this guy is not that guy. I guess it’s worse – because he’s that handsome, funny, friendly guy that you feel is a good, solid friend and a good all-around guy. That’s it.

        At our office holiday party, I sat beside his wife and chatted with her all evening. The whole group of us were sitting around laughing and sharing jokes. Over the Christmas holiday, he friended me on Facebook. No big deal, I thought. But, to be ‘safe’, and keep things above board, I friended his wife on Facebook so we were all friends. (I guess that should have been my first sign.) Two or three weeks later, I got my first messenger text from him…nothing odd or wrong – just chatting about how the holidays were going or things we had each posted. The following week, I got a sex joke. It was a silly joke. I started to feel uneasy but thought I better not blow it out of proportion so just did the LOL! reply. The week after that, I got compliments. I told him that he was not in the position to say those things to me. His reply, “Anyone can give someone a compliment.” Again, I stupidly thought, “I’m blowing this out of proportion.” After all, I’ve never had this happen to me before. I also felt that he had been drinking that night by the context of the messages. I told my boss about it the next day but did not want it to go any further because I felt he may have just made a big mistake – and had been drinking. I told her that I’d stop replying to him to cool things down. I told him that we should not message each other anymore. (Then the manipulation began…) He said he was sorry and wanted to stay friends and it would not happen anymore. Again, I felt like I had blown something out of proportion – I was just being naive – I was reading into things – I made something up in my head that wasn’t really there. But, boy, he’s adorable and wouldn’t it be nice if he really felt that way about me? Yadayadayada… and the messages started again and ramped up in January. This time I blocked him and unfriended him and his wife. The messages had crossed into what could not be interpreted as anything but danger zone. I got the guilt trip laid on all over again – “you unfriended me?!” – along with the sad looks at work until I friended him again – and now here I am today feeling like Chump x2, x3, x4… and hating myself but not wanting to lose the dynamic of my work family.

        So, yea, that is why I asked for a little kick in the butt to realize that this is not healthy and has to be stopped. Here I am, a chump again! Only on the flip side so I hate myself on top of it – because I am at fault – I let it go on too long.

        But, I ended it today and I told him that this time it has to stick. There is no going back. Nothing.

        • He is a predator. Borderline harassment. Keep your resolve no matter how cute he is. This probably isn’t his first rodeo. Have you talked to any of your other coworkers about this? You might discover that you are not the first.

          • Chumpinrecovery,
            My boss said the same thing when I showed her his texts – that this was probably not the first time he’s done this. Another friend suggested he may have done this with his direct subordinate. I reached out to her (awkward) and she said he had not done anything like that with her. But, she told me to just ignore his messages – which I thought was a bit of an odd response. We are in a male dominated field.

            • Duped, don’t become the duper. Stop now and reinforce those appropriate workplace boundaries. And no more workplace gossiping about him – you set yourself up for blowback. If jerk persists, a harrassment claim should do the trick. Sounds like your boss would support you. You don’t need some lowlife workplace Lothario to prove your worth.

        • This is why I stopped going to coed CoDA meetings.

          I don’t know how one of the men got my phone number because I never wrote it down on the phone list passed around the room. I must have shared during fellowship that I work at home because he called and left a message during one of his business trips . I never returned the phone call and made no mention of it when I saw him at meetings. Dumb Dumb’s last name appeared on caller id so I looked up his address and mailed off a warning to his wife. He’s a successful professional now but used drugs as a young man and contracted hep C.

          Addicts, manipulators, sh*t bags-they’re all the same.

    • You need to stop that shit immediately. And his wife needs to know.

      Your lack of boundaries is disgusting. This isn’t your narcissistic soapbox.

  • I left my wife after she had at least 6 months of an emotional affair. That was enough; this person didn’t care about my feelings and made me out to be the bad guy for complaining about her work “friendship.” That’s not wife material.

    Oh, and in the 15 months after I left her, I found out that she also broke up her OM’s marriage. And I found out that the affair was far from “just emotional.” They were fucking the entire time.

    As CL says, adults have sex.

    Leave this tool.

  • I struggled with this as well. Do I leave with only the proof of an emotional affair? I didn’t. And that was a mistake of epic proportions with numerous secret affairs to follow. Inside my house on the phone, on the computer, and every time the bastard went out. And if he drove far enough he reactivated the dating apps. You know, so my single friends didn’t see his profile. Gotta drive 100 miles away! Can’t get caught by the insane wife that is imagining things!

    A man that hurts you (to the point of being medicated!!) and then gaslights minimizes and lies repeatedly… is. not. a. husband! He’s an enemy. An enemy so close to you that he can destroy every aspect of your life. If you actually succeed at separating the two lovebirds there will be others. He will resent you eventhough that makes no logical sense. He’s encrypting shit for goodness sakes. He’s a smart little bastard. The smart ones are nightmares. I had a dumb one… A dumb evil one. Just as bad.

    A cheating man without empathy for your pain (that he is causing!) is a dangerous man.

    What does it matter if another woman has your husband’s heart/mind/hand vs if she has his heart/mind/and weiner? It’s equal in my opinion.

    I believed the cheating bastard. I believed I was blowing everything out of proportion because I was mentally abused and gaslighted for so long I didn’t trust a single thought in my head. Looking back it’s shocking the level of confusion and mind games that I was trying to survive in.

    Their eyes may be colored with pretty colors but their souls are colored black.

  • The one big question to ask yourself “Is this relationship acceptable to you?”. If you are here with the horrendous scenario of a husband who is professing his love to another in secret even though he claims they haven’t consummated the union so it doesn’t count, then it is not acceptable.

    He is telling you one thing so you stick around as plan b, the wife appliance, taking care of the adulting stuff while he can do his funning stuff. Maybe ’50 shades of gray schmoopie’ isn’t ready to leave her comfy lifestyle yet. As soon as she gives the go, he’s gone. And trust me if this schmoopie doesn’t work out, there’s ‘mindblowing blowjob schmoopie fiesta’ that will come along in the future.

    Only you can set your own boundary. This is cheating. You have told him this is cheating in your book and he won’t hear of it because you’re not the boss of him. Go back to the 8 color crayon box of gray you where you belong in his mind.

    Oh hell no. He is a horrible partner to be married to and try to adult with.

  • You shouldn’t have to be on anxiety and depression medication because of your relationship. Your husband is watching you go through all this hell, watching you be depressed and anxious and doesn’t give a shit. Instead he is using encrypted messages. It is EVIL to make someone doubt their sanity just to cover an affair. Btw the we only hold hands because we have set boundaries bullshit, seriously! The boundaries were destroyed with the first text to another woman.

    • I take those meds and I’m not sure if the relationship is to blame or not. So I stay for the kids. My situation is similar to OP, but my H’s many texts with the co-worker friends never indicated sexual interest. It was ‘just’ many, many correspondences, jokes, coffee outings, walk breaks, cake-eating with a younger woman. There were lies about other things. But denial of affair. Emotional abuse stemming from porn secrets. Lots of marital therapy. Depression. I’m still here. Open to suggestion!

      • Have you tried therapy just for yourself? You don’t sound like you are happy with your marriage, and working with a therapist to answer the question of whether it would be better for you to leave or stay, and what steps you need to empower yourself for either decision could be helpful.

        Infidelity is a good reason to leave a marriage, but it isn’t the only one. For some people, a spouse who uses porn would be a deal breaker. For some a spouse who is emotionally abusive would be a deal breaker. For some lying about anything would be a problem. Figuring out your own boundaries might be an important step.

        Staying for the kids might be reasonable if you can find ways to be content and productive in your life, but if staying for the kids means being miserable and depressed and subjected to pain and humiliation by a spouse (with or without cheating), it is not a good situation.

        Running away from things doesn’t work out well. Running in circles is no better. We all need to be running toward something (or at least limping in the right direction). Where do you want to go?

      • I stayed for the kids after donkey’s first affair, because in spite of my pain I thought I was going what was best for the kids. He took this as permission to continue cheating, and cheating and cheating.

        Now that my sons are grown up they tell me that they hated the situation, and hated him, but put up with him because this is what they thought I wanted.

        So totally not worth the pain and wasted years.

      • Thank you! Much to ponder. I have been seeing various therapists for years and years but they are very careful not to push me in a certain direction (sometimes I wish they would).

  • As David B said….raise your hand! I’m raising both. Also kicking my legs in the air. Why? Because I’m not an octopus and I don’t have 12 hands to raise. My circus started like this and went on for 12 years before I grew the mindset and set of balls to leave the shit show. Do yourself a massive favour and don’t be a schmuck like I was. I’m incredibly happy now have met a real person with down to earth good values. I wish I had the last 10 years back but hey…shit happens. Don’t let it happen to you. There is such a better life on the other side of this. If you have to question whether you should stay…you should leave, you just need confirmation and courage. Wish you well.

  • Where there is smoke, there is fire. RUN!

    For me, the emotional affair was more damaging than the sex. My husband also tried to convince me that I was crazy and still has the gall to ask whether I am still in therapy from time to time. Getting away from him was the healthiest thing I ever did for myself.

    Get angry, get your ducks in a row and get out. Trust me on this. You are too good for him.

  • ::hmph::

    “HAD”

    No, Darling… his “emotional affair” is NOT in the past tense. I had the same kind of Cheater and actually wondered if this a re-post of one of my old emails until it came to you saying he still worked with her. (My Cheater found another job and resigned within a week of d-day. He had to, really… I fought the urge, every day, to bust into the building, find her, and expose them both in front of everyone.)

    A few things:

    1) Cheaters categorize their behavior as “an emotional affair” – AT BEST – so long as a dick didn’t go into a vagina… or maybe it did but he didn’t pump it in and out of her (“just the tip!” oooooo, naughty!)… or maybe he did but he didn’t finish. There has been – ABSOLUTELY HAS BEEN – *at least* everything besides penetrative, genital intercourse.

    AT BEST.

    2) It is so.NOT.in.the.past. It’s still happening, especially if he’s still working with her. He just keeps it to in-person and or has found some tech-savvy-ness of his own and has gone further underground.

    3) He isn’t remorseful at all. AT ALL. He is still friends with her. He values his “friendship” with her more than his MARRIAGE to you. He’s more concerned with keeping his relationship with her going than making you feel valued, safe, and treating you with dignity.

    4) You can dig deeper… and there will always be more to find because they never tell the full truth. They will always lie to protect themselves, forgetting even what they’ve admitted to before because they’ve forgotten that what they said was a lie. You can up the ante, develop killer assumptive-interrogation tactics, print up miles of proof of a thousand small lies… and he’ll never fold beyond spilling out insignificant (to the larger picture) details occasionally. For years. ForEVER.

    And these aren’t just the opinions of someone bitter… they are the truth because he is DOING them. HIS actions are showing HIS intentions… and none of them indicate that he values you any more than keeping you around and placated is useful to him. People DO what they MEAN to do, not what they SAY they intend to do, no matter “how bad they feel about it.”

    As CL would say: Is this acceptable to you? Is this something you find acceptable in your marriage?

    https://www.chumplady.com/2012/09/sorry-is-as-sorry-does/

  • Hey – wake up!!! How can you believe someone that saying ‘we’re not having sex’ when he’s already lying to you? And decieving you? You need to think clearly now – get off those chemicals and get to the damn gym! Sweat the toxins he created out and get lean and mean! After awhile you’ll feel physically more powerful and then more mentally powerful! You’ll then make him afraid of you! Take charge!

    • I do need to get back to the gym. I’ve lost 25 lbs in the last 3 months from everything. My digestive tract is shot to heck because my appetite wasn’t there for a long time, and I’m pretty sure I’m only alive right now because of vitamins. Thankfully the appetite has returned with my resolve to leave the bastard. Now I need to regain some of that muscle I’ve lost.

  • Sky Douche? DYING over here!! 😂🤣

    Hindsight is wisdom, and these things can be confusing as hell when you’re in the midst of it all. BUT it all boils down to this: there are people who set excellent boundaries naturally, because their relationship) spouse are the priority. And then, there are cake eaters.
    Your husband is the latter.
    While some spouses may not realize the lines are getting blurred, they damn Skippy should take their partners concerns seriously and step way back.
    A husband who refuses, blames, gaslights, and (eyeroll) professes love in hidden texts?
    Mr Crayola just revealed his true colors. Stop questioning yourself & proceed with the exit plan.

  • My ex specialized in emotional affairs. He has a series of them over the course of our 35 year marriage. I have no idea which of them became sexual, but I’m certain that at least one of them did. He would become enamored of a co-worker or a student; he never saw a boundary he respected.
    The last one, still ongoing, is with our current department chair. In the months before I left him, we went to a “welcome back for Fall semester” gathering at her house, and when we got home, he was all a-flutter over feeling guilty that we had the air conditioning on in our house, because she, he said, didn’t. (She did, by the way.) That’s how bad it got/is.
    What you are focused on is whether a “no-sex” affair justifies your leaving. Listen to Chump Lady and to all these smart people at Chump Nation. He “treats you like an afterthought” and devalues you. You are not only justified in leaving him, you need to do it for your emotional well-being. Staying in a marriage in which your partner makes clear his disrespect and lets you know that he believes the fault is all yours takes a toll on your psyche, and the longer you stay, the worse the damage. It’s an abusive dynamic, as CL says, and you must extricate yourself from it.

  • “Can I leave for an emotional affair?”

    Actually, you can leave for nothing at all, if you want. You don’t need permission or a good enough reason; if you’re not happy in your relationship, if you don’t want to be in it then YOU’RE ALLOWED TO LEAVE.

  • I’m fairly certain this isn’t just an emotional affair. Your husband has lied to you, how can you believe him when he says there was no sex? The fact that you asked him to quit his job to distance himself from his affair partner and he said no, I think that tells you everything you need to know and what you need to do next. You’re also now on three medications due to the trauma of your discovering the “emotional affair”. Save yourself, you’re worth it….your cheating spouse not so much.

  • Sozzles to be the bearer of bad news. I too was apparently ‘controlling of his friendships with women’ citing the flimsiest of examples which wasn’t actually true. Guess what. Pack of lies. They are now firmly an item and it all happened behind my back for a well over a year while he lived with me.

    Get out before you hear another ton of horse-shit about the wrongs you supposedly did to him (which you didn’t btw).

    Run to the hills xx

    • This is what I don’t understand. I caught my ex in an affair with his subordinate at work. He told me, his family and anyone who would listen, “she’s just a friend”. Five months later, they’re an item, he’s buying her extravagant gifts, she filed for divorce four months ago…all the signs are now there that THEY WEREN’T JUST FRIENDS! Does anyone else connect these dots and think, “Hey, Sisu was right! He WAS having an affair!” And do they further think, “Hey, maybe Sisu ISN’T a crazy alcoholic as her ex has been saying”. The smear campaign is especially infuriating.

  • It may well not be physical, this time. That is the path he is on, however. Eventually he will temp himself to the point where he can’t resist finding out what it would be like to fuck somebody else, if not this woman then somebody else. He hasn’t figured out that the best way to resist temptation is to avoid it. He is also showing you a lack of respect and no concern for your feelings. Show yourself some respect and get out now. Emotional affairs will turn into physical affairs which will turn into abandonment when he finally finds a suitable replacement (in his eyes). That was my story.

    My ex had an emotional affair in 2007. I have many reasons to believe that they did not actually have sex, but they did kiss and that was bad enough. He also spent time and energy on her that belonged to me and his kids. I was devastated at the time but thought it was my fault for not being an attentive enough wife. In that case I believe that she was the aggressor but he did not discourage it. He was highly flattered by her attention (fresh kibbles) and I was distracted by other things (like those three children under the age of ten and that job and trying to do everything at home because he was off flying and being tempted by his flight instructor). Their “friendship” eventually did end when he made it clear “at my direction” that he had nothing to offer her. I spent the next 8 years pick me dancing trying to be the perfect wife. Evidently I failed so he went off and had two physical affairs because he didn’t feel loved and then he left me for physical affair Schmoopie 2.0 because “she cares about me”. He also told me that he regretted not having gone physical with EA Schmoopie. I now believe there were several additional emotional affairs before it eventually got physical. When they repeatedly allow themselves to be in a situation where they will be tempted they will eventually give in.

    With EA Schmoopie ex seemed to appreciate me setting some boundaries, but with PA Schmoopie 2.0 he got all “you’re not the boss of me” when I tried to set boundaries there.

  • CL I’m new here… Just wanted you to know that I’m a chump who adores your advice. Thank you for your words! You say the things we NEED to hear!

  • I’ll add my small advice to the huge pile.
    Emotional affairs are just full-blown ones that haven’t fully ripened. If he’s not already in the “more physical” stage, he will be soon.
    But…I highly doubt it’s “just” an EA. Cheaters practice something called “trickle truth.” They admit to only what they think you already know or have proof of. Or they lie, trying to convince you less happened than it did (“holding hands and hugging” instead of “home run”, I can’t type more as I’m at work).
    Honestly…do you think this man would tell this woman he loved her if he WASN’T past first base, or at least trying to?

  • Please know that this is enough to go now. I stayed with STBX after the first EA (that i knew about, i also have serious doubts it was only emotional) and all i got in return was a second one 3 years later.

    I truly wish i had left after the first, those 3 years were anxiety ridden, i was depressed. I was a shell of a human just begging an asshole to love and appreciate me. And even when it felt like he had i was so riddled with doubt and self-loathing that i was barely functional. The whole thing was extremely toxic. I can’t even express what a waste of time it all was. Me a puddle of a human and him offended by the very thought of my sadness would sum our roles up well.

    Leaving after the second emotional affair was the best thing i ever did for myself. I realized upon leaving that i actually really like myself and have a great support system and activities i enjoy doing. My friends have all commented on how much better of a human being i am without the extra weight and work even noted the 180* in my personality in my performance review.

    In my experience, life is better without constantly having to prove your worth to someone who couldn’t give less of a fuck. And to someone who in no way shape or form was worthy of me. get out and gain a life.

    • My story, exactly. The wasted years in between causing depression, anxiety, literal fear every time he used his phone….all led to nothing more than ptsd on my end. AND in every argument that came up, I was blamed for him not having any friends because I asked him to end his contact with the first one. They are disgusting sick people and even though he left me the final time, I can finally say I’m happy to be rid of him.

    • “him offended by the very thought of my sadness would sum our roles up well.”

      My STBX has always been this way about everything. He views my sadness on anything as a personal attack. It’s as if because I’m sad he feels like a failure, so I have to turn around and comfort him. I’ve been hiding my emotions from him for so long because this is just exhausting. I wonder if this is a narcissist thing. It should have been a red flag for me long before the EA.

  • Any type of relationship a spouse has with a member of the opposite sex that the other spouse is unaware of is inappropriate and just wrong. He is a lying liar piece of shit.

    He is grossly disrespecting you as all of our spouses on this blog have. You’re not alone. Gather all financial documentation you can get your hands on, photocopy them and keep them in a safe place. Don’t tell that shit excuse for a husband anything.

    Now get the hell out! If you accept and forgive his lying cheating behavior he will never change. He has compromised everything good in your marriage. He is so undeserving of you, a lovely, faithful woman.

  • There is no excuse for a grown man to be writing ridiculous poetry to another woman. There is no excuse. I don’t care if he has never had sex he’s had everything else and at some point he was going to have sex. This man is abusing you.

    I got on CL from curiosity and stayed to vent. I have never had anyone that I could talk to about the pain experienced by my brother. There is not a single person in my life who witnessed what I did. He frog in the boiling water life meant he had begun to do laundry, clean the house, look after the kids, and keep a full-time job, while recovering from a dangerous illness. I have no idea what she did all day but I have a pretty good idea. I think she cheated. His children were small and very vulnerable. One day he asked her why she was being a little distant and she said because she was leaving. Then she left. I mean disappeared. I have never heard a man cry like that and I hope I never do again. Those children literally fell apart. I lived on the other side of the country so I was only able to stay for a day or two. During that time I saw young, barely school age, children forget how to eat, or dress themselves. They would just stand and cry or go to the door and say she was coming back. The amount of abuse that little family took is the reason I stay on this site. I don’t want another family to go through this, but they do. Every day. But there is a good thing on the horizon. That is when you get to meh. That is when you and a group of friends, with a glass of wine, can read,and laugh at, that stupid poetry and all those love notes he wrote. Please save them. Even if you cannot read them now at some point they will be wonderful entertainment.

    The best thing my brother did was get angry. This was the most low-key, easy-going, guy you could meet. Where his anger came from I don’t know but it served him well. He got custody of his children and never looked back. He was over his grief in just a month or two. It took his children years. They are doing fine now. The great thing about what happened afterwords is my brother found a wonderful woman, married her and had more kids. He died too young but while he lived he was the happiest he had ever been.

    I know it’s hard to untangle all the millions of strings that go into making a marriage. You have to look at financial situations, housing, real estate, businesses, and, if there are children, how to help them with divorce. I say this all the time. Just do the next thing. Just untangle one string. Once that’s untangled do the next one. Just don’t stay in that marriage because it is not one. It is an abuser, and his victim, living in the same house.

  • Oh no…as has been said, as emotional affair is an affair, full stop. It sucks resources out of your marriage and hands them over to someone outside the marriage.

    And, you can bet that it’s a physical affair too.

    In early 2017 I learned my STBXH had a friendship with a woman he met at a bar when out with his friend one night. He claimed he was doing some accounting work for her as she was recently separated and needed some help setting up her books as she worked for herself. He claimed he’s only met her a couple of months before. He claimed he’s only been to her house a few times and they talked and drank some wine. He claimed that they had only recently shared a kiss and that was why he was so committed to marriage counselling to help him deal with that.

    Truth learned over the course of the rest of the year: By the time I discovered the “emotional affair,” he had already known her about 10 months. He had been sleeping with her. Had gone on day trips with her (taking days off of work), had an overnight trip with her, had spent time at her parent’s cottage with her parents, had already spent time with her children.

    But he put me through the pick-me dance for the whole of 2017. He was too cowardly to just end the marriage and be honest. Instead, I think he yo-yo’d between feeling guilty about what he’d done and making some attempt to repair the marriage, which didn’t last long because he couldn’t let her go, and then he wanted to exit the marriage by treating my cruelly so that I would do the dirty deed of leaving him. He didn’t expect that I would fight so hard for the marriage. He had convinced himself that I didn’t love him and would be happy for the marriage end, so delusional.

    Further truths: She was not the first “emotional affair”. She was just the one stupid enough to stick around and put up with him boomeranging to and from her while he was trying to figure out what he wanted. She “accepted that he needed to do what he thought he had to do.” Of course, this made me look like a shrew because I was insisting that he remain committed to the marriage. No, I was not “understanding” of why he needed to hang on to her to figure himself out he simply went further underground.

    I believed that he had gotten rid of this woman, so I believed all his “anxiety” and “confusion” was just a husband in crisis who needed my patience and support. He took advantage of that. For a year, I stuffed all of my needs inside of myself, with the wonderful aid of RIC advice (not), at grave cost to my emotional and mental well-being.

    My STBXH left me for the OW just after Christmas last year. It’s been almost 14 months and I am still dealing with the trauma of what it cost to try to save my marriage. It was a toxic dynamic that I allowed myself to participate in because I loved my husband, believed in our life together and had hope that we could work things out, and I was afraid of shame of feeling like I had “failed at my marriage.”

    Read about the trauma triangle (also called the drama triangle). I am the rescuer, who became the persecutor and ended up the victim. My ex was the victim, who became the persecutor, and is now blissfully rescuing the OW who is a mess herself and believes he is her rock. You might see yourself in the dynamic. Get off that hamster wheel now. Get out so that you can gain proper perspective free of his manipulations and lies.

    I know that it seems to matter whether his affair is physical or not, but it really doesn’t. Listen to ChumpLady, the very fact that he is not prioritizing you, his wife with whom vows were made, tells you all you need to know. You can’t fix this no matter how hard you try to contort yourself to meet his needs. His needs will never be fed by you because he is broken. You are broken too, so don’t allow him to break you further. Get out and get help for yourself. Leave him to his own devices. You can only take responsibility for yourself (and your children) and what you are doing is allowing abuse. Stop allowing yourself to be abused, even if you believe your are martyring yourself for a higher cause. There is nothing but pain down that road.

    You will feel guilty for leaving, oh boy will you ever. He will play with that guilt. Family members may blame you for not having given him a chance or for not trying harder. But, you already outlined the chances that you have given him and he’s shit all over it. Stop the insanity as you will be the one burned and he’ll ride off into the sunset with his cake.

  • IMHO, it doesn’t matter whether they had sex or not. If you’re uncomfortable about the situation and remain uncomfortable, fix it (if it can be fixed) or leave. You don’t deserve the turmoil in your life, period.

  • I rarely respond to CL postings nowadays and I won’t bore you with my story. However, I will tell you that I was married for a very long time.
    During the last 20 years of marriage, my then retired husband formed a close, exclusive relationship with one neighbouring lady. Her estranged husband re-appeared, then my ex-husband did exactly the same with a second neighbouring lady. Needless to say, both ladies just happened to live alone and he just had to spend time with them alone. Yes, I cried, begged, lost weight, convinced myself that I was being unreasonable, tried to give and take, to make allowances, put the deceits and half truths down to misunderstandings and everything else that you are probably doing now. Meanwhile, he sailed on confident in his entitlement, poor dear, married to an unhinged controlling wife who cried, just wanted everything her own way and was spying on him ….. and I very nearly believed his description of me.
    Then, I found CL.
    Now, divorced and it is truly wonderful.
    Trust is so easily lost and so difficult to rebuild … . Regardless as to whether the affair is physical or emotional (and, of course, you simply don’t know), if it causes you pain when you unearth the lies and your husband prioritizes his entitlement over your marriage, or goes underground, then, Mr Entitlement has blown it and he has lost a part of you that will probably never recover.
    Take courage and strength from the CL community, you are not alone. Decide to hang on in there, or to dump Mr Entitlement, but let it be your decision ….. not his. However gloomy things might seem right now, you don’t have to accept whatever Mr Entitlement decides to dish out. In my experience, if he gets away with such behaviour and reduces you to a complete emotional mess once, it makes it all the easier for him …. next time. Be your own best friend, quietly get yourself organised and do your homework whilst Mr Entitlement is pre-occupied. Then, if you do decide that enough is enough, you will have the element of surprise on your side. Whatever, you decide, the very best of luck.xxxxx

  • “Emotional affairs” is the last defense a cheater has after she or he has been caught..don’t feel bad, I fell for it for the first two affairs I discovered. 12 years later I had to get a STD test. Because not only was it physical, but my ex wife was involved with so many men she could have started her own football team…..Cheaters are big liars that create huge harm, runaway from them

  • OW#1 was 9 years before he abandoned me for OW#2. OW#1 was supposedly only an EA that he lied about for a year and when finally admitted and then decided was purely my fault. OW#1 ran away like a cockroach when I confronted her within 24 hours of D-Day. He is a coward and a wimp who admitted to only kissing and maybe some 2nd-base stuff and that is possibly the extent of it because he likely was waiting for her to make some very serious move like falling over with her legs open so he could claim she forced him to do it. Whatevs. Cue the fake wreckonciliation.

    9 years later, another OW, but he kept that one completely hidden until he abandoned me completely and without notice. There were lots of ego-stroking relationships in between though, lots of long lunches and intimate talks and working lates and going for beers in between with a bevy of young chicks. All hidden, all diminished if discovered by me or our adult daughters, all blamey- and gaslighty- behaviors from him throughout. He is just so charming he can’t help it if he likes to talk to people! I was such an accommodating wife that I didn’t give him shit about it (still I was told how controlling I was as he finally left).

    In the end he moved out while I was away on a work trip, future faking me right up to the Monday morning I departed. OW#2 is our daughters’ age, 26YO to his 50. He moved to Europe to be with her about a year ago.

    I wish I had dumped him and left him to rot with OW#1, except that he would likely have a relationship with our daughters now if he did. By doing what he did with OW#2 and all the years in between my girls now see him for the total POS he is and they ignore him. He runs through the channels with them but they resist his crap.

    When he abandoned me by e-mail after 28 years, you know what he said his biggest shame was? Not leaving me for OW#1.

    Get out now. Do not waste a minute more with this douche canoe who will eventually tell you that you are the problem. And ((hugs)).

    • WHat a POS! My pick me dance lasted 9 years too, should have kicked him to the curb then. Prince Charming turned into a toad , well maybe he was one all along!

  • Please leave. I stayed after and emotional affair and lived in a complete state of anxiety for years. Hated every time he left the house because I didn’t trust him. He did end up having another affair with a girl he worked with.

  • Been spending time on Reddit. The betrayal and cheating continues. I refer people here because you Chumps Rock big time, Chump Lady should be Prez.

    Some of the stories over there are amazing….Cheaters have an abundance of entitlement.

    I just wonder what creates these faux human being who think treating spouses like shit is okay.

    I am five years out but still come here to read your guys awesomeness.

    • I can’t even with reddit. Their main forum for our kind is overrun with with RIC types. Heck, the main poster they had over there for ages would post this awful “starter kit” with some triggering ass christian pastor prattling on about reconciliation.

      It’s as if people care more about the institution of marriage than the people within it.

  • My stbx was already a known cheater, but I still had hopium. Then the texts to a coworker appeared and he refused to stop and lied about it. When asked he demanded I believe they were just friends. Whatever.

    He made his choice. I made mine. Dealbreaker. Just waiting for divorce.

  • I am sure somewhere in the universe there exists an “emotional” affair which has never become physical, but such relationships are about as unusual as snowballs in Miami. If it was never physical, it wasn’t for lack of trying. But seriously, who cares? His lack of concern for your feelings is more than enough to justify leaving,

    My X had serious, serious health issues which made physical “performance” extremely difficult. He made sure to remind me of his condition every time I questioned the nature of his relationship with the Church Lady. After all, she was a good Christian woman who would never, ever break one of Jesus’ rules (his words, not mine). I was just a jealous shrew, who didn’t want him to have any friends! If I had a dollar for every time I was feed that line, I would be a very rich woman, indeed. He undercut my concerns in so many creative ways that, until they were caught redhanded, I began to question my own sanity.

    Do not allow a man who has repeatedly lied to you to use your trusting nature against you. A husband who loves his wife has no problem foregoing a “friendship” that makes his wife uncomfortable. Why? Because his wife is, and should be, more important than any casual friend he may have, not the other way around.

    You are being lied to and manipulated by a man who clearly cares only about himself and his desires.. In fact, he is continuing to harm you by claiming you are the one with “the problem.” He is gaslighting you and causing you great emotional pain. His complete lack of concern for your well-being tells you everything you need to know. Please leave him before he causes you irreparable emotional injury. You are worth so much more than than the way he is treating you!

    There is a world of kindness, love, and beauty waiting for you. Please love yourself enough to find it.

  • My ex left me for what he said was was just an emotional affair. In fact, he said she had nothing to do with his reasons for leaving me at all. I was just that horrible. Funny they are now married. Hmmm.

  • blaming you for snooping is not remorseful. Secretly having an ‘EA’ is not respectful of you or your marriage. lying, justifying and blaming is entitled cheating behavior…I too once thought it was just an ‘EA’ after about a decade a marriage pre CL and wasted many years more sadly anxiously pickme dancing and hoping. Spoileralert he had more ‘flirtations’ and that particular ‘EA’ turned out to be a years-long affair. happy to be now free of his blame/charm/anger and disrespect. Chump Poser – glad you’ve found CL. Welcome to the club no-one planned to join! Wishing you freedom from entitled lying, and strength as you navigate your way a happy, anxiety free future.

  • My D-Day to husband’s emotional affair was 6 years ago. I left for 15 months and then returned home. HUGE MISTAKE. I was NEVER able to trust him again. I’m currently making plans to leave again, permanently this time. She is a work associate who he is talking to again. He was supposed to break all contact with her, personal, professional, etc and won’t, and I truly never believed their communication had ever ceased. The EA went on for at least 7 years that I can prove. I have never felt so betrayed and disrespected in all of my years on this planet. Anti-anxiety and depression medication was a must. I wish I left when my kids were small, like 25 years ago. I feel like the marriage was just one huge lie. I wasn’t perfect by any means. He was everything. That was the problem. He never deserved to be put on the pedestal I had him on. I’m really looking forward to a peaceful life. I truly hope it’s waiting for me. Much love to all of you.

  • Chump Poser – exactly the same as my story. She was just his friend, then his best friend, then the best friend he’d ever had. If he hadn’t seen her for a day he felt like his hand had been cut off, he said. And no he wouldn’t cut contact with her, despite saying he would (he contacted her behind my back and when I gave up trying to convince him, told me that he and she had talked about a ‘code’ they could use on FB if they couldn’t talk directly. He also told me that adventures and time away with her were non-negotiable, and messaged her to say that the whole world could fuck off, he was going to be with her.
    I don’t think they ever had sex. But the boundaries he had already crossed, crushed and dynamited were actually the most important ones, of affection, respect, attention, loyalty. Chump Poser, he has replaced you with her. Leave his unfaithful, cruel, selfish are. You do belong with us and we are your tribe, sweetie. ❤

  • It doesn’t matter the level of intimacy (did they or didn’t they?). Here is some advice that took me years to figure out and accept:

    YOU GET TO DECIDE WHAT IS ACCEPTABLE FOR YOU! YOU GET TO HAVE DEAL BREAKERS!

    He doesn’t matter in this decision, you do.

    If you are looking for permission to leave, this is it. You are hereby granted permission to take care of you, to put your wants and needs first, to protect yourself emotionally, financially, health-wise.

    I wish you the best as you travel through this process. It hurts, it sucks, but it ends and life gets better.

  • My wasband also had an emotional affair that lasted almost a year, with a woman that lived 1600 miles away. In his words not an affair b/c of the distance. Until at the 8 month mark they decided to meet and take it to the full blown affair. Almost a year to the date, he left our 12 year marriage b/c she made him feel like I never had in all out time together. He blindsided me and took everything, after 12 years for someone he wasn’t evenly physically with except 1 time. Dont listen to the bullshit. My ex turned into a person I didnt even know. He gave priority to someone else’s feelings over mine. He lied and did everything to protect his new love, while leaving me to pick up the pieces of my shattered life alone. An emotional affair in my book is worse then a physical affair. Matters of the heart are so much deeper, then matters of sex. It is just a matter of time before it turns physical, which it likely already has. He will tug on your heart strings but if he is able to give his heart to someone else so easily, it was never yours to begin with. Do yourself a favor, walk away. Watching someone you love leave you b/c they love someone else is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Believe, it will hurt like hell but if it happened now, it will happen again. Hugs to you.

  • “They only held hands and hugged, because those were the boundaries they set together.”

    Yeah, no doubt they held hands and hugged AFTER THEY FINISHED BALLING. Sorry, but if these two lovebirds had any time spent physically in each other’s presence, they were having sex.

    I don’t believe in emotional affairs……. all that means is they haven’t yet had the opportunity to ball, but will do so at the first chance.

  • Just remember. These cheaters think they are special. They seldom use any protection devices. Adds to their sick thrill. Protect yourself by staying away. They do not love or care for you or me. Your health both physical and emotional are of no concern.

  • Lying by omission is lying. Going underground, after you confronted him, in order to hide things/keep secrets from you is lying. That adds up to hundreds if not thousands of lies.

    Someone who lies to you repeatedly is not a partner. This is not someone who has your back, instead he goes behind your back.

    And in effect stabs you in the back.

    He broke your marriage. He has betrayed you. We don’t like to have new people join the Chump Club, but you’re automatically enrolled by virtue of his affair (physical or not is beside the point).

    Keep moving forward. Without this betrayer in your life. Take care of YOU.

  • You can leave for any reason you want.

    For years I wished I had a good reason to leave my ex. I used to think “if only he’d cheat, then I’d have a good reason”. It never occurred to me that being as miserable as I was was reason enough.

    After I left I found out that he’d cheated multiple times over the years.

    It would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic.

    They have had sex. She’s probably not the first and she certainly won’t be the last. You know deep down what you need to do. Listen to your gut.

  • Authentic Chump ❤️

    I’m guess I’m about the 263rd person to say this but a cheating spouse will never admit to physically cheating until there is definitive proof. In my case, it was a positive high risk strain of HPV. Only then will you begin to scratch the surface of what truly went on behind your back.
    Even after this painful discovery, every attempt was made by him to lead me astray. At first it was a one night stand and she was from out of town and he felt too guilty to get contact information. Then he slipped and told me that she came to him telling him she tested negative. So then it became clear it wasn’t a one night stand. Since then he’s lied about the start of the affair, the duration, the fact he moved straight out of the family home and right into her house, etc. I don’t know why they do it or how. I’ve had nightmares about cheating and feeling so guilty about it. Like “How can I live with that s horrible secret?”. So I’m convinced that these people are devoid of empathy. Is that someone you want to spend the rest of your life with? I’m patiently awaiting my out and just this morning, I started wondering about how felt after the first physical hook up? (Obviously just fine as it went on for nearly a year)

    • Island Chump,
      my best friend’s ex admitted it to her the night after it happened. So sometimes they do admit it. He was a major creep and I think he enjoyed hurting her. There is a reason for everything cheaters do and it’s called self-centeredness.

  • Emotional Affair just means the “affair partner” is yet willing to physically seal the deal. If the affair partner was waving them in they would drop their pants in no time.

    2011 XW had emotional affair to other married guy in neighborhood (at least that’s what I had evidence of)
    2017 XW had full on affair with unmarried massage boy.

    Its the willingness of the other person that is the deciding factor, not that your spouse is wavering out of some deep love they still feel for you. I understand this now better than I did in 2011. I should have divorced her in 2011.

    With an emotional affair your spouse is showing you who they really are. Get out now to avoid further horrific level pain and anguish. The RIC will tell you an emotional affair just means that there is something wrong in your relationship that needs to be fixed. Nooooo. You are finding out who your spouse really is. They will just get more covert now.

  • I’m going to go out on a limb here and state what most enlightened Chumps already know… the vast majority of cheaters are cowards..So, by the time you have caught on to the behavior, the relationship has been done LONG AGO. I’m not sure why marriage counseling is even a consideration. It is done. OVER. As heart wrenching as it is to be “in love” with someone who no longer loves you, it happens every day. Short term, the most difficult thing is to call it. But long term, it is absolutely the best thing to do. If you believe that you will somehow you can ever convince someone to feel or do anything, you are in for a life that will make the marriage police seem like a cake walk. Fear keeps many of where we know, deep down, that we don’t belong. This is your pass to a better life… Take it!!

  • Every time you caught my husband cheating he told me “nothing happened”.

    What I saw:

    Girl on girl porn gifs happened.

    Dirty messages between you and her with her asking how did we end up here and you suggesting you both get hot under the heat pump happened.

    You both flirting in front of me totally triangulating me in front of our small children happened.

    You sucking out lawyers dick with your pants down 1 metre away from our sleeping baby inside fucking happened.

    The list goes one.

    What actually happened:

    A 4 year affair while I struggled to get pregnant (wonder why), got pregnant, had baby and then got married. Still the affair continued for another year.

    Until the next one came along.

    Another 4 year affair you denied all along, after I first suspected it in early days and she ignored me when I saw her, after her BFF told me you were doing coke and sex in our bed while I was at work before she picked up her son from school next to our house happened.

    5 years of “movie dates” with male lawyer and confirms falling out of pocket while I was trying to get pregnant. That happened too.

    Emotional affair is code for plausible deniability. Look it up. It’s the stuff of politicians who we all know, as narcissists themselves. A lot happens in an emotional affair, mostly sex in my experience.

  • Whether or not he put his penis into her, he treated you as disposable. If you dont like that, then change it. The only good way to do that would be leave.

  • Chump Poser, my stbxh said all of this to me about texts and emails etc I found to his female colleague…”we just talk, you can’t tell me who I can talk to.” Twelve years later, yes twelve!!! It turns out he did sleep with her back then and had continued to on and off for the entire twelve years. Please take care with your situation. Emotional affairs are usually not emotional but physical. I’m so sorry you’re in this terrible situation.

  • Authentic Chump, my ex Mr. Creeper Pants used to sneak and chat with other women online. Old flames and such. Sigh…it hurt so badly. Knowing he was making actual emotional connections (I knew they were floating his kibble boat) hurt worse than his daily doses of porn. Save yourself, make a plan, and end it now before he has a chance to plan some kind of effed up soul-crushing exit where he rips the rug out from under you, stealing everything. These clowns are so selfish.

  • My ex-husband upon my discovery of his trashiness:

    “Nothing happened.”

    then

    “We met once, but we only talked.”

    then

    “We met once, and we kissed, but we were so horrified and knew it was wrong, and nothing else happened.”

    This happened to me before CL started her blog, so I turned to another site for support and thankfully had the support of my family and friends. EVERYONE in my life told me that he was lying. More had happened. Keep asking questions.

    Eventually, “Nothing happened” turned into they had unprotected sex multiple times, and I had to get STD testing. Thankfully, this little morsel came out five days after the initial discovery, so I was able to get our separation underway without wasting any more time on that low life.

    I think that emotional affairs are very rare. They are the domain of people who meet online but live on different continents and can’t afford to visit each other, or people who go online and talk to sex workers who have no intention of meeting the cheaters in real life.

    He’s lying. He did more. Leave him. In the minute chance that it was just emotional, he doesn’t deserve you. You’re worth so much more than that.

  • Who cares if he wasn’t physical, he CHOSE her over you every time he wrote her something, talked to her and touched her. This is a guy who doesn’t know what love is. He dropped a nuclear bomb on your life and acted like it was nothing…he won’t even apologize!!
    My husband didn’t even do half of what your’s did and it still destroyed my life. I’m still traveling through the dark forest of betrayal trying to pick up the pieces of my former self. It IS a big deal. It’s okay for this to be a deal breaker.
    My husband was begging for forgiveness and constantly saying how he fucked up. I got him to sign a postnup giving me almost everything, none of which is enough or makes up for the emotional affair he had but your husband won’t even admit he did anything wrong. That’s sick! Drop him fast!
    I know how awful this is and I’m sorry your life is in turmoil. It does get better.

  • I was told the 1st OW was an EA. I danced like a champ to save my marriage . As soon as he could he hooked up with OW #2 .The 8 months of ‘reconciliation’ nearly killed me ,and all the while he was lining up his ducks behind my back.
    Leave now don’t look back.

  • It’s simple – he is devoting time, money, emotional and physical resources to someone who is not his wife, and who he values more than his wife to do so, and that is 100% unacceptable.

    Kick his arse to the kerb.

  • My story is remarkably similar. He had emotional affair with a co-worker, he insisted they were just friends. Until I found proof of an emotional affair. He said it was not physical, until I found proof that he was on the verge of making it physical. I never did find proof that it went physical, but I didn’t and still don’t believe any word from his mouth anymore. She was engaged to be married in four months. He told me he didn’t like ultimatums when I outlined my boundaries, and never did agree to stop seeing her. Unfortunately, I probably still would be sitting around trying to work things out if things hadn’t turned violent. And even then, I still had trouble letting go. But I’m working on it, it does get better. Definitely keep hanging out here!

    • That is eerily similar. I also set out my boundaries, wrote them out and everything. His exact words were “I don’t like ultimatums.” Well, I don’t like lying and cheating, but here we are!

  • Authentic Chump, what can make this so difficult is there are no set-in-stone rules for what constitutes grounds for divorce. Only you can decide what is enough. Personally I struggled for a long time with this. I kept asking myself if what she did was enough to break up my family or if I needed to keep giving her another chance (in hindsight, I gave her waaaay too many chances). I also kept trying to get the opinion of therapists and friends. But in the end, it’s your life, and as CL likes to ask, “what is acceptable to you?”

    For me, my wife denies sex. A little birdie told me they did. I’m not stupid; however, does it matter? Facts: she had two affairs and only came clean when I showed her proof (texts and sexting). She lied to to me. She deceived me. She kept doing things that obviously hurt me and our relationship when we were supposed to be reconciling and repairing the marriage (including a second affair). Yes, sex makes the situation worse, but no sex does not change those things. Call me old fashioned but to me hugging and holding hands is “boyfriend/girlfriend” territory. A married person should not have a boyfriend/girlfriend. Adding in love letters and secretive communication makes it an affair.

    I hated when people told me this, but you need to think about what is acceptable to you and act accordingly. Can you stay with your husband who had (and still has) a girlfriend and lies to you about it?

    • This is spot on. For us who are dedicated to “giving it our best shot” and “trying everything possible” prior to breaking up a family we worked hard to create and maintain, devolving to divorce can be tough when there is no bright line rule. I would have tried years more I think, so in some ways I’m grateful that my cheater ex insisted we get divorced (albeit in the worst, most mealy worm way possible).

      BUT, CL has taught me about the perils of that way of thinking. Never again!

  • It may be 1 day, 1 week, or 1 month but they will be having sex eventually. My stbxh had 2 emotional affairs and the only reason they weren’t physical is because he never met either one of them as the first lived across the country and the other in a different country. Of course there was sexting and skype sex. I got the you’re not the boss of me you don’t want me to have any friends line too.

  • Wow! Sweetie get your head on straight! My ex-ASS, GID, Fk-Wit..whatever he is since it doesn’t matter anymore; tried the “We Are Just Good Friends” tactic on me. Thankfully I wasn’t married to him and saw the early signs to stay away. Speaking of early…in a game I knew nothing about, he did try to get me all excited (or for better words, warn that his ‘good friend and former secretary’ was moving in our town from several states away, with her ‘HUSBAND’) and he wanted to make sure I was okay with them having “coffee” after tennis..since she was going to be picking up the game once she moved here.
    Long story short…
    I wasn’t in too much of a shock (since it seemed they texted/called on a daily basis) …that she’d suddenly be moving here to be near her parents that were in a nursing home that were three hours away.
    “Wow…How daughterly of you..So how often do you see them?” I thought.
    Should I mention other siblings..possible family members in the same three hour drive or more depending on traffic?

    Note that it would be hard to tell when you don’t live with someone, but everytime I’d get a peek at his phone-(with him there of course) ..The good friends name was always in top of the runner!
    I determined it was more than friends when I was suddenly getting updates on her life that included her family, friends and even her fucking dog on a daily basis.
    I just played the dumb trusting ‘Blond’ and watched like a hawk and sniffed things out like the she wolf that I am.
    She made her grand arrival and as I thought, things only escalated and got shadier with time.
    Late night phone calls, her car..(sometimes borrowed husbands car, since he got a job as a plumber and was able to use the company vehicle…her daughters car…who knows what else) somehow ended up parked in the very viewable parking lot of his condo for several hours.

    I confronted him and said ‘show me your evidence’ (I should mention this was a man that was accusing me of things I hadn’t even thought of ..let alone doing..and I always had my life as an open book)
    I only asked one date of evidence of a text. But he couldn’t show anything since he deleted everything…
    Except call logs that showed they talked as much as an hour way too often.

    When I decided to be the loving bitch that I am and told him to handle it and I’ll get a coffee date too,
    He litterly blew up…”It’s not the same!!!” he screamed. I let him have his breakdown and see my phone which showed my texts with an innocent man (or so he said) that truly just wanted to meet for coffee.
    The next day went to “talk with her” to let her know that they should back off on the friendship and create boundaries…
    (I should mention that my boundary with him ended a while ago but I just wanted to see what would unfold as a pattern of the normal loser behaviour…since I’d seen it before.)
    According to him, his ‘secretary that move all the way here from NY hit the roof and showed her true angry colours and some things were said on both ends how “I came between a great friendship..”

    OMG! What the Fk ever!
    I realized I was doing the classic “Pick Me!” dance like never before!
    Thanks to Chump Lady..I opened my eyes! Otherwise I’d be married to ‘A all of the above I mentioned in the beginning’
    and wishing I’d never met this Narc of a man.
    Please heed the warnings here.
    They LIE.
    THEY CHEAT.
    You can only live when you go NO contact and regain your life!
    DONT WASTE PRESIOUS TIME AND YOUR LIFE TRYING TO FIGURE AND FIX WHAT WILL NEVER WORK!

  • Wren,
    Check back often and let us know how you are doing. We all understand these decisions take time. CN will be careful to push you in the direction you need to go.

  • Hi married still , kids are grown , husband meets a single mom has a lot in common with her , he gets a crush on her , wihich then turns into a emotional affair she has given back his spark. but he claims he’s not doing anything wrong , there “Just Friends ” He spends more time with her then with his family I didn’t know he was involved with her I work different hours But I found out I tell him Were still married he still says there just friends , he’ll do things for her and not me , he says he’s oblagated to me not her , so it’s better doing for her I want to believe him but some of the things he’s done , like he as her date to a wedding and reception , making dinner for her when I came home didn’t do it for me Plus all the time and energy he has given her I told him I need him to stop seeing her He’s says he won’t do that and then he plays the money card I was a stay at home mom for many years , so I don’t have a income and he knows it where he’ll say he’s not going to work or not giving me money for the week ( I pay the bills) ) , so I back off , the last draw for me was he went away for the weekend with her stay in a hotel with her and her daughter took her shopping and the day he came back He tells me all about his weekend how he feels guilty How he’s mad at himself , but then says He made his bad and now has to lay in it What the hell does that me? He then says if I want a seperation or divoce he’ll go along with it , I do not know what I want , I’m crushed , hurt I cried a lot , He’s still seeing her not as much , I told him he broke my trust he broke me I’d like to get a seperation first but on my terms , not his , But I have to do it with out him knowing , right now I’m stuck any help from any one would be appreciated . Oh the kicker was that day he came back from his JUST FRIENDS Fling weekend he came back on our Anniversary he even try to wish me happy Anniversary Thank u

  • Meet with a lawyer ASAP. Know your rights. Understand that your husband can’t deny support and dictate terms. And make sure that the attorney has a good reputation and has some backbone and fight. Mine … not so much. I had to tell my attorney what I would and would not (mostly not) accept and ended up having to negotiate directly with my husband re many issues. At least I have been to law school and have a financial background. Do you know ANY attorneys in your area who might be able to recommend someone? Do you have friends who have gone through a divorce? Be sure to interview at least 3 and be confident that whomever you choose truly will go to bat for you aggressively. I chose a guy I liked, on a personal level. That was dumb, and I should have known better. Others I interviewed were condescending and patronizing. Don’t go there either. You may have to pay for the “interviews/consults,” but it is worth it. Just don’t let your husband scare you into putting up with his BS. And taking action will make you feel less scared and more empowered. Good luck! You can do it!

    • Thank u , it’s nice haveing someone in courage me , from my husband all I have had is controll , manipulation, One moment he’s nice it like he cares next he back to being devious, After starting to see this woman He came and told me from day one of our marriage he never Loved me he thought he would in time but he hasn’t . , It’s been down hill ever since Is it true if you cannot afford a lawyer that your husband will have to pay for them . Again Thank u so much , it’s nice to know I’m not Alone Leave a cheater gain a life , is a very good book , it has help me to see how men really are , and has given me hope .

      • It is not a given that your husband will have to pay for your lawyer! You may have to apply for Legal Aid. Go the Citizens’ Advice Bureau or equivalent in your country and check your rights carefully.

  • Advice concerning seeking a good legal eagle is absolutely right. I couldn’t agree more. I found mine by searching on-line. She was horrendously expensive, worth every penny and brilliant.
    Whilst writing I have something for the UBT. Married 47 years. Now divorced for three years. The divorce took 18 months and wasn’t easy. So I receive a birthday card as follows: ‘Happy 70th birthday. Hope that you have a wonderful day with lots of happiness in the future. Still think about you every day ! ………x.’
    I am strictly NC. However, I do send a birthday+ Christmas card, no comments, just my name. He lives two miles away, in a house two doors from OW, whose husband left about 10 years ago, because his wife had a close personal relationship with another man (my then husband ?) and, consequently, OW’s husband left. I know this to be correct because I spoke to OW’s husband myself.
    All very painful at the time, so what’s the card all about ? Do I take it at face value, or has my card got a dark side ?

  • Tracey and all of Chump Nation,

    I am a victim of emotional affair. Am I certain it didn’t go into physical territory? No, I’m not. Regardless, my reality is that I know my husband was emotionally unfaithful to me. Is that enough to pull the plug, uproot my life, my children, my marriage? If it was sexual and I knew it was, I would have had a clear violation of marital boundaries to base my decision. No matter how often Tracey or CN writes that EA are really SA in sheep’s clothing, I am only certain of the EA. It’s been years since it occurred but the scars are still deep and the imbalance of power is still evident. I have found no evidence of sexual affair. I have found many secrets he kept regarding the relationship and how it continued after she left. They continued by emailing and lied about it for years. She was in a different country. The damage it did to me and our marriage is something I never imagined.

    In retrospect, I wish I would have had one person who had been there and done that to tell me what my marriage would look like in 10 or 15 years. No matter what anybody says, as far as I have been able to ascertain, it really was emotional. It was brief but intense. Part of the tintilation was discussing and putting rules on their interactions to protect themselves from anything sinful. Please don’t intimate that our spouses that are guilty of an emotional affair had a sexual affair. The question is valid as it is asked: Is an emotional affair a justified reason to divorce? How does one determine if it is?

    It’s been a miserable 17 years for me. I’ve questioned my choice to stay every day.

    • As a child of such couple (dad had a long term emotional affair with another woman), I wish my parents had divorced. I wished mom had the strength to leave so she could try and live her BEST life, instead of remaining in my dad’s shadow and his affair. If it’s been a miserable 17 years for you, maybe you have your answer already. I can tell you that years later, my dad has never apologized to mom, never tried to understand her pain or empathize. Over the years he lied and said the affair was done, when it wasn’t. Mom can’t bring it up without being yelled at or ridiculed or without having to hear how difficult it was for him to break up his friendship with the other woman. Mom is still suffering from the trauma and she will never get reparation. She deserved better. She deserved a man that would fight for her and put her first. You deserve it too.

  • Chump Poser, may I suggest that you open some new bank accounts and move some money. Get your name off any and all shared credit cards. Sometimes these things go up in flames when you kick them out. They move in with the OW or fly to Vegas for some fun… and you get stuck with the bill. You’re just exploring whether you should leave for an EA… but you may not have thought about the aftermath of the unfaithful gas-lighter. I suggest you see a lawyer for advice for your financial safety before pulling the pin. There is no downside to getting advice for how to proceed and making sure your future is sound. I have a former friend who had her credit rating ruined and could not move to a new company when they did a full background credit check on her due to it being related to banking. He ran up the bills but they were shared credit cards. Took her years to pay them off and repair her credit. Doesn’t matter who runs up the account balance if your name is on a joint account.

    The good part is that you can take 100% of the money out of a joint account.

    On that note, if he has any of your family accounts without your name on them… get that fixed (or move the money if you can) to a joint one with your name on it right away. Then move the money to an account with only your name on it.

    Then tell him you’re only having an emotional affair with the money. You just love looking at all the zeros with just your name below them. Haha.

  • I am not sure if anyone else has posted here about being the child of a couple going through this. But I am the child of such couple and wanted to share my experience.

    My dad had one of those “emotional affairs” for years (possibly 20 years) with a friend. My mom never left my dad. She suffered (and still does – I believe she has PTS from it) from the horror of it all. My parents are still married. My dad claims he never had sex with the other woman. Who knows. I believe him. But I am still traumatized and honestly, I don’t think it matters whether it was sexual or not. He betrayed my mom, and he betrayed his kids.

    I was in my early 20s when the worst of this played out. I remember consoling mom and begging her to leave dad. Once I confronted my dad about “the other woman”. His eyes lit up as he described their “friendship”: “she understands me, she makes me laugh, she thinks I am handsome and smart and amazing. It’s a breath of fresh air from your mom who is always depressed, overwhelmed, waiting for me in sweatpants and complaining about the children, the house, her job”. I asked dad: “But do you love mom?”. He answered: “With your mom it’s different. I signed a contract, and that’s for life”. These words are branded in my heart forever.

    Today I am in therapy and finally understand the mechanisms behind this, and also how narcissists operate. I never heard dad apologize. He justified a lot (“I was miserable, I was going through a tough time…”), but never expressed true remorse or simple empathy for what we, his family, went through. I see friends going through the same thing with their husbands, and it brings up a lot of trauma.

    I am also terrified I might do this to my spouse one day, cheat emotionally with someone else and repeat the cycle.

    If you have kids and your spouse does this to you, please seriously consider leaving. You won’t teach anything good to your children by staying. This is YOUR life. You aren’t going for best supporting role. I am broken. I hated my father for cheating, I hated my mom probably more for staying. And maybe most importantly, I have never felt enough myself. My dad chose another family over us, and stayed – for what? I wish dad had left, or better yet, mom had kicked him out. Mom might have remarried, and we might have experienced true family commitment from someone else.

    • In Session, thank you for posting this. One of my great fears after the EA was that our teenagers wouldn’t be able to learn anything from the experience, and I didn’t want to be the bitter obsessive always referring to it, what you’ve written is such a valuable insight, thank you. Big hugs to you and it’s not inevitable you’ll go the same way, you are obviously wise and self-aware. Xxx

      • Thank you! I think the most traumatic part of the whole story was probably seeing my mom obsess over this for years, seeing her shattered, never hearing remorse from dad, and yet SHE STAYED. It would have been so much better to see her fight for her dignity. All my best!

  • Thank you so much for your reply, your insight and sharing your story.

    It breaks my heart. But also confirms, I’ve made the right decision. Not that I really needed it, I already know in my heart. It’s accepting it now.

  • InSession, Thank you for sharing. This confirms that I am making the right decision. My mom stayed in a bad marriage with my father. I’m pretty sure he was a narcissist and that he cheated on her, but there was also lots of verbal and emotional abuse in my family. My mom was depressed and miserable. My sister and I begged her to leave, but she never did.

    I promised myself that I would find a good person to marry and got go through what my mom went through. But I spackled, and he changed for the worse. So here I am knowing I have to leave, not only for my own peace of mind, but also for my kids.

    It’s good you are in therapy and working to break these awful family cycles. You can do it, and a good therapist makes a world of difference. My therapist has already committed to helping me through this divorce process and then teaching me to spot red flags and fix my picker if/when I decide to date again.

  • An update for those still here:

    We are still living together, but I have a lawyer have started the paperwork, and have an exit plan.

    Yesterday he took our kids to a birthday party for Schmoopie’s son. My STBXH put a lot of thought into the gift for her child. The man has literally never picked out a gift for his own children. He didn’t even know how to wrap it in tissue paper when putting it in a gift bag. I guess I should be glad that my kids are oblivious to this fact because I always signed the gifts I picked out from both of us.

    • Glad to hear you’re moving forwards, Authentic! Thinking of you in this horrible situation.

      We’ve been separated for 8 months now, stbx comes over two nights a week to get evening meal and spend time with our three teenagers as I get home late from work, and then I go out. I do want the kids to have a relationship with their Dad and used to get upset when he left without saying goodbye to them, or sometimes even before some of them knew he was in the house. On his behalf as well as theirs
      as they often tend to vanish to their bedrooms and leave him sitting alone! I am now realising that they aren’t that bothered about him, they have never said they miss him, and that’s because he was pretty disengaged before he left us. Authentic, being the lone sane parent is super hard work but it is worth it. The outrage and sadness on our children’s behalf fades into relief that they aren’t so connected to a dangerous personality.

  • Lots of us have endured similar experiences. We are still here, right with you and wishing you well.

  • My husband emotional affair is with a woman he met though friends , They had a lot in common so started hanging out , more and more , He developed a crush on her , then Emotional affair , She may like him But she is more of a user of him She Manaputes him into doing what ever she needs And he goes along with it We were a family , made a life together , I was a stay at home mom while he worked , yes we had our problems He was controlling , a manapulater, a bully Which when I confronted him about them he agreed , But this new Just friends girlfriend, I dint know how to deal with it She was threatening my life as I know it He was spending so much time with her , doing nothing as he would say , but he would rather be with her doing nothing then with me The thing that tore it wide open was last year when they went away for a weekend together He told me he was going to see his mom After he came back from his weekend he explained That he lied he was with his OW friend , She wanted to see her daughter but didn’t have a ride , so he volunteered, Plus it give him the chance to have alone time with her He wanted to figure out if She was his sole mate , he then told me his version of there weekend that changed each time he told it , But the imported part was that he was mad at himself , he felt guilty That nothing really happened , But that he made his bed and now has to sleep in it, And then told me if I wanted a Seperation or Divoce he would go along with it , At the time I wasn’t in the right state of mind to make any decision , I was Unfunhtionable for the next few weeks , my trust in him was gone , I was broken I’m just now starting to heal He’s still seeing her not as much I told him the damage has all ready been done Now just have to figure out what I can do with no job , no money , baby steps

    • Just checking in to see how you’re doing, Hope is what I need. I’m in a similar situation – no job (SAHM), no money. I’m still with him after almost 4 years of finding out about his “emotional” affair. We lived in a small town at the time, so I not only got to experience the shame with my friends and family, but the whole town as well. Not a great experience having a whole town talk about you behind your back for 4-5 months. We now live in a small city, but that doesn’t change my shame or my lack of trust. To top everything else, she was 20 years old (I certainly am not).
      I hope you’re doing okay. It’s not easy feeling lost and trapped.

      • Still living with him , since he had cut back from seeing her he thinks it’s all good I don’t think I have ever experienced so much pain and heartache in my life , Child birth was easy compared to what he put me through And now recently he told me he had developed romantic feelings for her , Just when I thought I was blocking him from my mind he tells me that . We are trying a trial separation between the two of us , I try and ignore him as much as I can , Trying to just think of my self put me first but it’s hard Thank u for caring glad someone else cares about me

        • I can understand that – childbirth is painful, but the pain ends and you gain something wonderful from it. This pain is ongoing with no positivity. It’s unbelievable how selfish and inconsiderate they can be. It’s like they enjoy the pain they inflict. I try to employ the techniques of dealing with a narcissist minus the no contact, since that would be impossible at this point. I find I’ve become pretty numb to almost everything.
          I wish you luck with your separation. I’ve tried to kick mine out, but he won’t leave. Everything I’ve read regarding Family Law recommends to not leave the familial home (unless abuse).

  • I’m way late to this party (hello, 2022!) but this is a bit like my own situation in some ways.
    Not only did I have to deal with his feelings for an ex-girlfriend…my husband also has a “friendship” with a coworker that I disapprove of.

    This coworker (her initials are M.E.) has worked with him for years. I had no problem with them being friends, until she started being needy and playing the “damsel in distress”. He also started talking about her constantly.
    Then it became phone conversations with her, and the chats were not always work-related.
    She shares details of her personal life with him…who she dates, her sex life, etc.

    This woman seems to always have a problem or some type of crisis in her life.
    And she feels the need to tell my husband. “Oh, my car broke down…oh, I have a flat tire…oh, my daughter tried to kill herself…oh, my grandmother is in the hospital”. And she seems to look for ways to call him (even while he’s with me) or to find excuses to be alone with him.

    What I will tell the OP in this situation (if you’re still reading) is what Tracy and others here have said.
    Where there’s smoke there’s fire. I have come to believe that when a person becomes too close or friendly with an opposite-sex coworker, it’s bad news.
    I told my husband that if he didn’t dial back on the inappropriate friendship, I would text her myself and (nicely) tell her off. I don’t care if it hurts her feelings. Because these “friends”/coworkers know what they are doing.

    In my case, this woman met me once…she is not some innocent person unaware that he is married.
    To the OP, it’s a boundary issue, like Tracy stated. Coworkers can most definitely be friends BUT when it crosses the line, it’s no longer just friendship.
    I had to tell my husband how it made me feel. No more being alone with her, in your car or anywhere else.
    No more texts or calls if it’s not about work. No more conversations of a personal/sexual/flirty nature. I also noticed that he had become distant, we weren’t having sex because he didn’t want to, and I think it was her the whole time.

    So yes…you can leave if he’s had an emotional affair, because they often turn into physical affairs.
    I don’t know if my husband ever had sex with his coworker, but it is a possibility.

    • I’m still subscribed to these comments. I hope your husband respects your wishes and cuts contact, rather then go underground.

      Ultimately I did divorce the FW. I’m pretty sure he continued to pine after his ho-worker, but she was never going to leave her husband.

      It’s been 3 and a half year since D-day, and I’m coming up on 3 years post-divorce. (I filed shortly after this ran, and he didn’t fight the divorce in any way.)

      I’m much happier now, am in a new career, and have purchased my own home. I’m at meh, and life is good!