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Dear Chump Lady, The OW is the ‘Girl Next Door’

Dear Chump Lady,

My husband has been having sex with the same person since before we got married in 1995 and I never knew it. Yet, he has accused me of cheating on him our entire marriage and I have never cheated on him!

On a recent visit to the doctor, he was sent to the emergency room. His sister took him and he went to great lengths to leave his personal cell phone locked up at his work building. He had his work phone with him, and while at the hospital his sister gave it to me. I had suspected that he was seeing someone who owned a bar that he frequented and I thought it was really strange that he went to great trouble to not bring his cell phone to the hospital.

He ended up having to have heart surgery and was in the hospital for several days. I stayed by his side the entire time. During this time, I found a way to hack his work phone to get into his personal email address and I changed passwords on his Instagram account so I could see who he was chatting with. I knew from our cell phone records the social media report was really high. If I could get the recovered messages, then I could see who he was communicating with. I felt like it was the lady who owned the bar.

The downloaded Instagram data came up on my phone on Friday. I was still logged into his personal email so I forwarded this to my email address and what I discovered has been the most shocking, heartbreaking, life-shattering information I have ever received.

My fear of him seeing the bar owner was nothing compared to what was revealed. My friend and our neighbor of 30 years has been fucking my husband since before we got married.

It wasn’t the bar owner at all. It was someone right under my nose — someone I have been friends with for over 30 years! My husband and I got married in 1995, and he and OW were having a sexual relationship that I never knew existed. We had our first child in 1999 and our second child in 2001. OW was engaged to her now husband and in 2001 and as soon as our second child was born, OW and my hubs hooked up and had sex. This sexual “pact” they have or sexual relationship has taken place for 18 years of our 24-year marriage.

It is extremely convenient for them to get together because the OW is like a family member, and she attends all of our family events, as a matter of fact, her parents have lived next door to my husband growing up all of their lives, and we share a property line with the OW, her husband, and their two kids!!

When I questioned the OW about it she asked me if I was crazy?? And I replied, “You have 60 seconds to answer me before I contact your husband.” She called me and asked me what I wanted to know? I said, “How long have you been fucking him?” and she said since before we were married.

This has been the most shocking information I have ever gotten in my life. I have not told her husband. He doesn’t know anything. And my husband is just really sorry he got caught. He says he doesn’t love her and has never loved her. But I am certain that he has never loved me either!

I am still in the marriage… Not sure what direction I am going to go. This is by far the biggest betrayal I have ever heard of much less experienced. There is so much more to this story. As I reveal more and more of the details of this nightmare, I cannot believe what all he has done to me and our family.

Karen

Dear Karen,

You’re not sure what direction you’re going to go? May I suggest the exit ramp away from Crazytown?

Whether it’s 18 of the 24 years he’s been fronting a double life, or all 24, or 30 years with her and a 24-year-long farce with you — this is NOT salvageable. You cannot have both your sanity and this dumpster fire of dysfunction.

You’re probably searching the Interwebs for answers right now. And you’re going to weigh my advice against the 16.7 bazillion purveyors of hopium, pushing crap like “Don’t make any decisions for at least 6 months!” or “Do the 180” or “Look towards the horizon for unicorns!” (Apparently it takes 5 to 7 years to see one. But don’t get stroppy and ask too many questions or he’ll disappear!)

Karen, there is no reconciliation unicorn on your horizon. There’s just a jackass on your sofa who’s sorry he got caught. For both of them to conspire against you for decades, and fuck around right under your nose, is utterly sociopathic. They aren’t wired right. They’re the crazies. I know you must be crushed with grief, feeling pretty crazy yourself — but this was never about you. It’s not your fault. It’s about two sickos getting off on their power trip. It’s abuse.

Your husband probably is saying all the Stupid Shit Cheaters Say — he didn’t intend to hurt you. I see he’s throwing out the consolation prize that you’re the one he Really Loves. (This is your cue to exult with hurrahs that you won the pick-me dance.) Next he’ll subtly or not so subtly play the sad sausage (mindfuck channel: self-pity), that he wasn’t happy, that this all Hurts Him Too, that you have faults that drove him to it. (Dance harder! Don’t let the turd slip through your hands!)

And those 16.7 bazillion purveyors of hopium will mire you in that shit. If you stay, you’ll fork over money on books like “When Splendid People Cheat.” You’ll sit on a shrink sofa and nod along while you examine all your faults that compelled him to commit a 24-year-long conspiracy of abuse. Oh, if only. Had you just improved yourself ever so slightly in 1997 it might not have come to this.

All of this will have the effect of making you enraged or paralyzed with grief. The rage is lucidity. The paralysis is a system shutdown trying to come to terms with the cognitive dissonance of who he REALLY is, and who you THOUGHT he was. Paralysis works for him. Keeps him in cake — you and the affair and nothing changing.

How to keep you in paralysis? Keep you high on hopium. Hey, he doesn’t want a divorce! (That’s not the same as sorry. And it means nothing other than, Hey! I’d like to keep my 401K! And hey! Don’t tell the chump next door!) You’ll get some kibble scraps. (Dance for them.)

Mindfuckery will also keep you stuck. (That works for him too.) Chaos, gaslighting, blameshifting. If you spend all this time and money combatting that malarky (in therapy, preferably at $170/hour) — it’s time you’re not in a lawyer’s office. Just buy another reconciliation book! A unicorn approaches!

About that exit ramp…

Fuck that shit, Karen. Protect yourself. You get a lawyer and you sing like a canary to the chump next door. He’s you. He’s your ally. She is NOT your ally — she’s the piece of shit who sat at your dinner table, enjoyed your hospitality, and then fucked your husband for 24 years.

Shared property line, shared husband — you don’t share anything with her ever again, Karen. You don’t share your feelings, your thoughts, and your strategies going forward. You are 100% Team Karen.

When someone abuses you — GET AWAY. You cannot heal until you leave and go no contact.

When someone abuses you — PROTECT YOURSELF. You see a doctor for STD testing. You see a lawyer to navigate yourself out of the nightmare. You see an accountant and protect your finances. You don’t cozy up to the monster on the shrink sofa and discuss monster FOO issues. You don’t ask what you did to make him a monster. (Are you the full moon, Karen?) You RUN. AWAY. FROM. MONSTERS.

He’s a monster. She’s a monster. RUN, Karen.

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.
  • We are here for you Karen! For me, telling the other woman’s husband is something I will never ever regret. He deserves to know, the same way you did. I wish you all the best.

    • Good advice. The OW’s husband told me. It verified I wasn’t crazy and opened up my mind to just how much a manipulator I was dealing with.

      I only wished he’d told me sooner.

    • My thoughts exactly! Karen, my heart is hurting for you & im praying hard for your mightiness,
      But I think you should give the monster a choice to either become a eunuch or go social media public with everything you found on them.
      Then, after he’s castrated himself, hit send anyway and staple his d^€k to his forehead. #ImaginedRevenge

      • Supporting Karen is good. This is horrible, having people she thought of as loved ones to really be her mortal enemies.

        KAREN. Please keep quiet to all but the professionals about your next steps. Who around you is a complicit enabler? No need to freak. But play it quiet, vicious and safe.

        With the stapling though.
        Ow.

        I turned the brunt of my rage against my cheater wife’s others of interest, while being really hard line with her in dealing with this, I suppose, being what I use the remainder of the anger for.

        Unconsciously, I am likely ensuring i won’t overdo dealing with her when she says something infuriating and also to preserve some of my love for her, one would imagine, just in case.

        Our whole relationship has been infected since we got together years ago. She had a couple of coworkers, at least, who were paramours. Did they trade parts of weekends or spare times of hers with each other?

        Regardless, we work at the same place. There are many, many people there, but most of them know us. Many know at least the basics, so it’s really humiliating. Fortunately, I have had events come together to make it so I can leave, both the job, and it still hurts a little bit to say it, but I can leave her too. Now, if I chose. We’ll see what is what. I’m quitting now, so she knows I’m serious.

        The last year has been a hell. The gaslighting from her has had me using skills I forgot I developed to deal with my narc father growing up. And there is So much deceit from throughout, playing me for one serious joke of a fool at times, right in front of me, whether she thought of it that way or not. Infuriating to look back and truly see.

        But as I would leave before fooling around on her or hitting her, for goodness sake, I would throw her out bodily, like a sack of potatoes or leave quickly, before I ever got to the point of cutting pieces off of her!

        What’s even comparable that could be cut off?

        See? There is growing sentiment (artificially influenced) toward hate for males and Caucasians in general, even BY brainwashed self-hating White people. It’s all nuts, and it needs to all be dragged kicking and screaming into the Sunlight for examination and disposal. Sexism and racism are evil. I could swear it has been everywhere, in every thing, my whole life, and I just turned 50. Even tv in the early 60’s, we can see in Dick Van Dyke show reruns etc., was working to curb these evils.

        * Now look, we all get it, okay? This type of experience is like living with a monster, like a vampire that was your loved one, maybe mixed with running against a bad politician who treats everyone else like the voters to lie to, about you.

        Also, sure, the vast majority of people talking about this are women. Why?!
        Because most men are just monsters, deserving of hate? No, my friend.

        Circa 80% of betrayed men go through something unconscious like, “I’m not man enough for her and can never be secure about her decisions in our future. Plus, it’s like she is slimed and stained from head to toe. The only choice is to end this.”

        THAT is why men aren’t on here in similar numbers to women.

        Men have their logic-enhancing slight brain damage, just the growth of the right brain a tad initially, from that chemical release by Mom in the womb. It’s helpful throughout Life for different reasons, though it is the thing we have to “push through” to do the emotion part of being human a little better, if you will.

        People of conscience who understand need to raise their awareness regarding this, since it has been so bad that male children, of all races, are even being brainwashed in schools to hate themselves. Look at the university and workforce stats to see some 3-decade results of this.

        I know most people who speak of dismemberment violence against men like this don’t really mean it when said, but the idea gets out out there and grows.

        A guy, who should have been left like in a lesser version of Sleeping With the Enemy, had HIS penis cut off just one town South of me. Ideas, once put out there as possibilities, stick in people’s heads whether they know it or not, and a mind experiencing strong, life changing emotion can grab something like that and run with the idea, especially when coupled with all this new, generated societal hatred.

        You likely wouldn’t be a human butcher, but some people you’d never guess, would. All generalized society hate needs to be seen for what it is at the time and stopped, rather than fan the flames.

        That’s it. Until the end of the next decade, 2030, all accidentally or otherwise sexist and racist people following the new wave of promoted hate, “hating Caucasian men”, are to be ordered to view them as they would African-American or Native American women.

        Again though to Karen above, stay focussed on your next set of tasks and say nothing. Make an appointment with each major law firm in your town, quietly. They could then, not work for your husband. Go get em! The wrap up for this is a slam dunk for you, once you get rolling. Lawyers and a forensic accountant!

        • “THAT is why men aren’t on here in similar numbers to women.”

          That, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this too. Men especially feel like there is NO one they can speak with about this type of shattering experience.

          Myself?

          I could barely make myself use the Internet to talk to people, and that was only after several months of suffering. I couldn’t even let myself talk to my own brother, and he has been my confidant forever. Still can’t.

          It’s too shameful a thing to even let it come out of my mouth, barring necessity. And the focussing on it! Damn. I had a questionnaire to fill out for our first counselor, and I cried like a kid while back and forth making myself write on it as possible, until like 5:30am on the day of our first appointment.

          Remember, ladies, you do all of this part of things naturally better than most men. The number of female monsters is high, you just don’t hear about them nearly as often, since their victims are mostly silent.

        • Dang dude, I was being snarky and combining CL recent archived Imagine Revenge reply- which I hash tagged. I didn’t take even the slightest revenge on my cheating narc x, but imagining him walking around with his man bits stapled to his forehead makes me laugh just enough to stop feeling like his victim anymore. I can’t imagine the pain that Karen is experiencing, but I hope she finds her mightiness any way she can (without , of course, compromising her values or actually committing violence). Peace my friend. We are all navigating extreme betrayal as best we can.

          • The replies from EyesOpened here are really unsettling. The white male persecution thing dances around the language of white supremacy, and the “women’s brains are like this!” is offensive, as is the shadow army of abusive women (women abuse men just as much as the reverse is a dangerous and sexist falsehood). I find his comments in general disturbing in what is meant to be a safe space – for men and women both, ideally.

            • Alyson I just read the last Eyes Opened comment. I found it very interesting and was glad to hear about the way he struggled. He called women who were cheaters “female monsters?” That is less offensive to me than most of the names men are called by women. I think men do have a more difficult time because -generally – they were socialized not to talk about emotions. It was an enlightening comment for me.

      • Micha I love the way you think. Excellent strategy and advice for Karen. Hit send anyway. I love it. 😂😆🙀🥂😂😂

  • If she’s the Girl Next Door, then I’m Queen Elizabeth II.

    Tell the husband. Ideally he will throw his wife out immediately.

    THEN, tell YOUR husband.

    Stay in your marital home if you can. Let’s hope both of them end up homeless.

    • Then you still share a property line with the OW. You don’t control if they sell. That’s why I suggested leaving. Perhaps it’s temporary. Lawyers can work it out.

      • It depends on her state property abandonment laws. It may be if she leaves the house with her children, it may constitute abandoning the marital home, which means she will waive her rights to the marital home. Even more reason why she needs to see an attorney

        • I agree. My lawyer said do not leave it compromises your negotiating position. In the end he left as soon as he talked Schmoopie into letting him move in and since he didn’t pay the mortgage for year and wasn’t working I got the mortgage. I sold the house 3 months after the financial settlement for $250k more than the value I paid him his share on. (Local market went crazy). I bought my choice of house and fixed and furnished it for me., I call that karma. The point is that I controlled that situation not him. I think you release control when you move out. I sucked up the shit sandwich for a while and it worked out in my favor.

          • If you live in NC there is a law “Divorce from Bed and Board” if infidelity is involved. Petition the court and they have 2 weeks to move out or they are removed by the sheriffs department.

            My ex wouldn’t move out. I told him if I moved out of MY house, I would not pay on the mortgage. We were at a standstill, part of his mindf**ck. Best $1500 I spent.

            • Divorce in NC is a mess. Divorce from Bed and Board can be used against a non-cheating spouse if there are health issues, regardless of the cheater’s behavior. All of this goes to prove that divorce varies so much from state to state that consulting a lawyer is a necessity.

              I’d also argue that you should not talk to anyone–OW, OW’s spouse, or your husband until you’ve consulted a lawyer and made your plans.

      • Absolutely Goddamn right! – you HAVE to tell him -otherwise you’ll become PART OF THEIR DECEPTION!!
        Plus you have to leave ASAP – they’re diabolical – they’re the kind of sickos you see on 2020 or Nightline that hire hit men to kill spouses. AND I know how this feels – you’re at the cookout with them one day and they were just fucking a couple days or so before (and after) – they’re completely souless! You’re house is like the Amityville house – the walls are whispering ‘GET OUT’!!!!

        • Tell the husband. I did, and honestly, it was my first huge move forward. I don’t know why I was so scared to, but when I hit my limit (fucker was still screwing around with his wife months after DDay), I didn’t care who it “might hurt.” What about me and my kids and my wasted investment?! It was the first time that douchebag knew for certain that I wasn’t playing around and putting up with his bullshit anymore. DONE.

          TELL. Then move ahead with a lawyer. We all have freedom of choice and free will. We DO NOT have freedom from the consequences, and what happens now is 100% on those two sociopathic, douchebag cheaters. They’re not sorry for destroying your family. They’re upset that they got caught. F them.

      • Ah, but my Machiavellian master plan is to have the next-door husband toss her ass on the street, while Karen’s husband gets given his marching orders almost as the same time.

        Result? Two nasty people evicted from their homes by chumps. Chumps then can share a property line, instead of cheaters.

        Chump Nation thus also increases its boundaries slightly, and plants another flag.

          • World domination by Chumps sounds really appealing to me. We need to be more vocal when we here of shitty spouses crappy behavior.

            I do NOT date men who 1) have adult children they are not in contact with

            2) if the children are still at home and there’s not A LOT of parenting time

            3) a man who complains about paying child support OR having his own kids to care for.

            Those are RED FLAGS (of Shit Sandwich time!)

            No thanks.

      • Plus – Karen is in a highly volatile – maybe even a life threating situation – any lawyer can justify her leaving after hearing this shit – I swear to God if I ever win the lottery I’m going to set up a trust to provide funding for people like Karen so they can get out FAST!!!!!

    • Leaving the home was the best thing I did for my emotional well being. The thoughts of them there, seeing them in my kitchen, seeing all the things on the home that were trigger-reminders of him… No thanks. I got a pretty good settlement. If the house fake goes up, so be it. I’m free.

    • This. However, I would FIRST get a divorce attorney and make a plan with them. THEN tell the neighbor’s husband.

      Only reason I say this is because once you tell the other chump, expect hell to break loose as the cheaters freak out and try to cover their tracks. This is when you can expect the abuse to escalate to dangerous levels. Karen needs to set up her ducks beforehand so she’s safe.

      This means hiring that lawyer immediately so she can get out ASAP and warn the other chump ASAP as well.

      • This is the way I would proceed. Priority #1 is to hire a lawyer you trust and let him/her lead you out out of this mess. Karen’s head is all messed up right now and it’s almost impossible to think straight. Please hire a lawyer ASAP and go No Contact with your husband.

        • Yeah. The analogy I use for this is when you’re on a plane, they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first before you assist somebody with theirs. Otherwise, you’re both dead.

          Telling the chump husband is honorable and absolutely important. But you need to mastermind your own escape first (under the direction of a lawyer).

  • Expounding on the fire analogy here…

    I live just south of Santa Rosa, California, where incredibly destructive fires burned in October of 2017. The entire town of Paradise is now just a memory. I have friends that had about 30 minutes to grab what they could and get out.

    An affair is a major forest fire. Destructive beyond belief. It will burn up eveything in its path. It is way out of my control. I didn’t start the fire, and I am not a fireman. My job is to load my child in the car, the animals, grab whatever valuables I can, and get away. I am going to have to leave a lot behind. That fire is going to continue to burn until there is nothing left to burn up or the firemen (NOT ME) puts it out.

    My heart never ceases to break when I hear stories like this. 😪

    • An affair is a major forest fire.

      Not only that but an affair lasting DECADES. Holy shit!!

      Karen, if you’re reading this, you need a divorce lawyer immediately. Start making calls as soon as you finish reading this if you haven’t already. The forest fire analogy is perfect — your house is on fire and you need to RUN.

      If you don’t, these sociopaths will burn your life down. You’ve only tapped the surface and have no idea what else they’ve been doing behind your back.

      Worse, now they know that YOU know, so now you’re a threat. They’ll try to get ahead of this and undercut you any way possible. That could mean siphoning money or spreading lies about you around town so everyone thinks you’re crazy or trying to get you committed.

      Get a lawyer and protect yourself. Protect your assets. Get the hell out of there before you find yourself dealing with STDs or financial abuse. This situation is terrifying.

      • Sending you love, Karen. I know, from bitter experience, how knowledge of your husband’s depravity starts tainting what used to be good memories. Focus now on vowing to make more good memories that won’t be tainted by having a fuckwit involved with them.

        And forget any form of impression management. Sing your story from the rooftops. TELL your tribe. The people who love you will help you move forward with your fuckwit-free life. Those who don’t want to hear it, are appalled, or want to know what YOU did to cause your fuckwit to fall into another woman’s vagina, need to be cut loose.

      • Cam, I totally agree. They could do all that to her or worse! They could kill her… My OW’s husband ended up dead. She wanted out of that marriage bad, tried to get my husband to leave me for her so she’d have another ship to jump to and when that didn’t work her husband mysteriously dies of an unknown illness. Scary shit! This happens more than we think. People like this with no moral campus are capable of god knows what.

        • She did not indicate that her husband was physically abusive or that she was scared of him. (Of course if she is, then she needs to get out asap). She is still married and with this guy.

          My advice is hide and watch and start lining up your ducks. Act as normal as possible but in the time get as much information as you can. DONT SAY A WORD TO HIM ABOUT DIVORCE. Before you say anything to him get prepared.

          1. Make copies of all financial accounts, deeds, titles to vehicles, etc… ..
          2. Get all sentimental items out of the house while he is at work. Store at a trusted friends your moms or rent a storage unit. If he notices something is gone say if broke or you moved it. He will break your stuff or refuse to give it to you, so you baby blankets first outfits, grandmas quilt, heirlooms or whatever needs to be out if the house and in a safe place before you say anything.
          3. All important documents, like children’s birth records, ss cards, shot records, school records, baby books, Christmas ornaments Etc taken out of the house and put in a safe place.
          4. Talk to a lawyer, then talk to all the good lawyers in your area. Chose the best bad dog, and the others will not take his case because they talked to you. He will have to get a second class lawyer.
          5. Start saving money away from joint accounts. Either take out more cash while shopping. I had a savings account in my maiden name and he could not touch it. But check with a lawyer. If not, put cash in a lock box at storage unit. Try to get at least a down payment and first months rent if not more. He will most likely screw you financially as well.
          6. Stop your direct deposit if in joint account. Right before handing him your divorce papers if necessary.

          • Oh and then after you file for divorce .. .. Then TELL her husband. Copy and send any proof you have for him.

            In my case, my ex was so worried about his girl that he just signed our divorce papers. He was so “in love” with his chick that he wanted to just get rid of me .. .. to stop me from bothering him.. .. I got some custody, zero visitations, and all the house, cars and everything.

            In your case. It might be different since he already told you he doesnt love her. Only you know what it best, but maybe if you tell her husband and she starts causing him trouble he might sign the divorce papers quickly.

            Or he might get mad, and make your life hell if you make his life hell by telling her husband during the divorce. That is what only you know.

            Use it the best way that helps you out but I hope after all is said and done, you eventually let her husband know. Even if it is autonomous

            Good luck and hugs

            • Same here, but my ex didn’t settle easily and it took 4 1/2 years to get the divorce finalized. Even though he moved in with schmoopie immediately and they got engaged 2 years before the divorce was finalized (classy . . . but he brought her to ALL the DR hearings as well, so class act all the way). He gave up custody of the kids within the first year and picked extremely limited visitation, but fought tooth and nail for the $$ and retirement benefits. 1/2 of which legally belongs to the spouse, so it was an absurd fight and the court let him drag it out. They did award me attorney fees in the end since it was determined that he just made the process much longer. Good luck to you!!

          • Mrs. Vain: I wish I’d had you in my ear when I was leaving my ex-husband; everything you described above happened to me. Your post will help many, many other Chumps. Thank you ❤

  • #TeamKaren

    Fuck them both. Tell the husband. Read Chumplady’s response every hour on the hour until you internalize it. Stay here and read. The feelings are NOT forever. We will all help you.

    And while you’re doing that, I will be praying for them to both be hit by twin lightning strikes.

    FUCK THEM BOTH.

  • Karen I am so sorry that you are going through this. Do yourself a favor. Kick your husband to the curb. Tell the OWs husband about the affair. You owe her nothing. She did not care about you when she was screwing your husband. Please do not make the same mistake that I made. I agreed to work on my 33 year marriage after I found out my STBX had a 4 yr affair with my Cousin. It is a kick in the gut when you find out that you were being cheated on. But, it makes it even harder to deal with when the OW was a close friend or family.

  • Omg Karen! This is one of the worst letters I have read here! You must please please listen to Chump lady! You have nothing to work with! There is nothing to salvage here! She inserted herself in your family and trust all the while fucking your husband for 24 years! You must tell her husband and show him the proof. You must think back to anything you confided in to her in case it is used against you. Remember she probably knows everything regarding your finances and all! You must get to a lawyer immediately! You have been married a long time. Don’t get screwed. This sad I am whatever he is routine will get ugly once he sees he can’t manipulate you! He could be now as we speak trying to screw around with the property money or whatever. I urge you to get to an attorney today and keep your mouth shut. Get any and all bank statements. 401k, property statements. Please don’t sit on this. Do not let anyone tear you down like what is your role, what did you do or not do. Be ready and do not accept anyone saying how did you not know or see it. Please get going and let us know.

  • There are no other alternative than to protect yourself now that you know of your betrayal. My ex cheated on me most of my 30+ year marriage. CL is correct. Run from these monsters that want to destroy you.

    Serve him divorce papers then inform the poor chump husband next store. He deserves to know. There is nothing else to work with here. Like us here at CN
    leave a cheater , gain a life. You deserve to be respected & loved by a honest man- not a lying selfish
    piece of trash. Bless you Stay strong 💪🏼

  • Unfortunately my neighbour did it to me too, she was upset when ex got a girlfriend!. She actually thinks she pretty, she might be, but I think she’s deluded. Being grey stone with her helps, she thinks I know nothing, but unfortunately I know otherwise.
    You have to give yourself a better life. Your “friend” is a shit.
    She probably think you don’t understand him.

  • Dear Karen,

    Please follow CL/CN advice. It will put you in control and them out of control. There is no avoiding the tower falling, but there is hope on and clarity on the otherside. BUT you have to get completely out and go no contact. Your silence will be golden. I know it hurts like a mother f***** *hugs* I am glad you found this community. Walk away mid-sentence at dinner…forever. Be mighty Karen. You are a warrior. Oh and tell the neighbor. Bring all dark into the light and protect yourself and your children.💜 do it for the Chumps who wish they could go back in time and do it just like Chump Lady outlines.

  • Karen, beware of his so called sister. Why was she so eager to help him hide his cell phone in the hospital? ThE other thing that is of great concern is he has accused you of cheating all these years .it wasn’t you it was him. What is very troubling is you say “I am still in the marriage “. My dear you aren’t in a marriage. That is no marriage. It is betrayal of an unbelievable level. You say you don’t know what to do and probably don’t know who you can trust. I am concerned about this sister of his and have a feeling you will find oUT other people knew about this. We know you are hurting but you must get to business especially with this property thing. Without telling anyone please find the best attorney you can and get in there. Please. Post and let us know.

    • In fact, don’t trust your in-laws at all (I discovered that STBxW has had cousins and even siblings helping her with the affair).

      So chances are Karen, that the sister has known about this for a long time. Guaranteed there are others too, both family and so-called friends. So be very careful who you talk to outside of your own family and old friends (pre-marriage essentially).

      Yep and get thee to a lawyer asap. Secure your finances. Grab all important documents and put them someplace very safe. Then once filed, throw him out (if you can), tell the chump next door and confide in your family. I took the RIC advice of doing nothing and telling no-one for 6 months, which was a huge mistake. The best time to strike is right at the beginning

      • Agreed. Giving a cheater time to “reconcile” is just giving them time to steal money, tell everyone in town that YOU were the abuser, and feather their new love nest with the mistress.

        As soon as you know you’re dealing with a cheater, you need to get ahead of it and protect yourself.

        • Yes, I waffled and lost big time. It’s so shocking that it is hard to think. That is why a good lawyer and a good therapist come in. Your local abused women’s shelter can provide free therapy or suggest a therapist who is versed in trauma and betrayal.

          YOU will come through this. Many of us have. It is a hard long process, your whole world has changed. But you deserve better.

    • In-laws often cannot be trusted. Most likely he’s been secretly badmouthing the wife to the in-laws for years, my X did.

    • The Dickhead’s sinister sister knows exactly what he is and what he does. She is complicit and has helped throughout our divorce. More than once I saw her invisible fingerprints all over our correspondence. They both make me sick.

    • I 100% agree. I was also accused, practically daily, of cheating on him. I’ve never cheated. Meanwhile while he was accusing me, he was f#cking his howorker.
      Accusing you of cheating was a ploy to keep you defensive, bewildered, seeking to reassure him. And while you are preoccupied thinking “how could he possibly have this crazy idea that I’m cheating?” he was busy cheating on you. He flipped the focus on you so his behaviour was never under scrutiny. I’ve lived that life Karen! It’s a complete mindfuck, isn’t it? To be innocent, yet be accused, and you probably desperately tried to defend yourself from accusations, as I did .

      Also, after his affair was exposed, I came to realize that he would accuse me of affairs to keep me sharing every minute detail of my day and plans “I’m grocery shopping this afternoon, will be home by 4 ” “I’m having a work lunch with my friend from work, we are going to XYZ restaurant.” Etc.

      He NEEDED to know where I was all the time, it made planning his cheating schedule easier, knowing when I would be home, and what end of the city I was in.

      • Oh my God, this was my life too. Ex always sent me a text during the day and asked me where I was. When I happily answered and then inquired the same of him, he never replied. I later came to learn, he wanted to know where I was so he could take out any number of his skanks – his married in-town for the night insurance agent or any number of local money grubbing divorcees, realtors or other ladies who lunch crowd, many of whom are married. It was never a nice sweet “thinking of you” text, it was a text to make sure he could get away with infidelity and I wouldn’t be close enough to see it for myself.

        Today’s post has struck a nerve with so many of us. The discovery of betrayal is the most heart-wrenching feeling of loss and betrayal one can ever feel in life. I wish it on no one. So many people suck. So many people are soulless. It’s hard to recover. I hang on by a thread most days. I try everyday and believe it will get better and it does and then I relapse. I would be lost without Tracy and CN.

        To the original poster: The journey of recovery is a day by day thing. This was never your fault. Not even one iota.

        • Yep, same here as well.
          Accusations of cheating, especially when he gave me (six times total) an STD. So ashamed to say that, on at least two occasions, I actually felt guilty. Not because I did anything, it’s just the way I was raised.
          Funny though, looking back I remember a time when I tried to MAKE him jealous and he didn’t bite. I mean he was sitting right across from me and I was shamelessly flirting with the guy next to me. He was apparently hot and heavy into his new OW and I was just trying so hard to get him to notice me (not knowing what exactly was wrong).
          Now I realize that he knew me so well: 1. I would never cheat 2. Simply accusing me would shut me down
          And a 3rd thing – he never really gave a fuck what I did. Just as long as he got to do whatever he wanted.

    • Agreed, this isn’t a marriage. The term “sleeping with the enemy” is appropriate here. I find the husband’s and neighbor-friend’s behavior sociopathic and utterly chilling.

  • I too feel inclined to lift you up.

    You know what you find when you leave? Dignity & self worth.

    You know what you won’t ever have staying?
    Dignity & self worth.

    And at the end of this precious one life, who is the Karen you’d want to be?

    I wrapped my head around changing myself, or trying to let my x learn from mistakes, all kinds of bullshit in an attempt to save a marriage that no longer (if ever) existed. And I lost bits and pieces of who I am, what makes me awesome, along the way.

    Run. It’s worth it.

  • As they say on TV, “lawyer up.”

    Get the baddest ass lawyer you can find. Interview at least three and get the one who will tell you the crap you don’t want to hear as well as the solution and what they can actually do for you. Sick the bastard/bitch lawyer on your husband pronto. And, if you’re in one of the few states that allows you to sue the affair partner for “alienation of affection”, go for it. If not, then at least name her as the affair partner and state the cause of divorce as adultery in the divorce papers. None of this “marital discord” bull crap.

    Kick your husband out now. And when next door hubs sees your asswipe is gone and you cold shoulder his wife, HE WILL KNOW. You won’t have to say a word.

  • Interview multiple divorce attorneys. Hire the one that frightens the rest.

    Meanwhile, gather up and make copies of every scrap of financial togetherness that you have: tax returns, 401K statements, checking & savings accounts, run a credit check on yourself (did OW pretend to be you? Did he do something behind your back and you could foot the bill [HELOC?]), grocery bills, 529 plans he might have skimmed, etc.

    Open up a new solo account for yourself in a totally different bank or S&L. Make two copies of everything, keep at least one under lock & key elsewhere. Work, parents your very own safety deposit box…

    TELL THEM NOTHING.

    See your physician. Get an STD panel done now, eschew from sex, have it done again in 6 months or whatever the physician advises.

    Once you have an attorney lined up, then you can tell your fellow chump (he may not be, but let us hope he is a chump) what his wife has been doing.

    Just say no to hopium!

    • This aligns with my thinking. Move your sleeping space into a separate room, get the lawyer without discussing it with anyone, and follow whatever plan you and your lawyer lay out.

      Save as much documentation as you can as suggested here, past and present, and document detailed facts of every interaction and discovery. Courts don’t care how hurt we are, but they do care about facts and occurrences. Your log should be emotion-free without sarcasm or editorializing but rich with facts.

      It’s not natural for a chump to keep secrets or withhold communication, so this will be very hard. Still, don’t let any feelings that arise stop you from playing your cards close to your chest and carrying out the plan. And I agree, yes tell the other chump, but at a time that works well for you strategically. What’s another couple weeks or months compared to 30 years? It will keep.

      If you can find a therapist that works well for you (note: the therapist that works will be very clearly on your side with no advising that you stay in a relationship with an abuser), it is likely to help a lot, just so you have a disinterested third party who is bound to confidentiality and 100% on your side.

      My heart aches for you. So glad you wrote in to CL. Rest when you can. Cry when it’s safe. Come back here for support when you need it.

      • Karen, documentation is a key issue. There are still states that allow adultery as a cause for divorce. And even if you are in a pure no fault state, anything you have that shows the affair may help you in settlement negotiations if STBX doesn’t want this abuse to become public.

        JMH and Amiisfree lay out your next steps.

    • THIS THIS THIS.

      I’ve talked with a lot of survivors of infidelity and found financial abuse is almost always present when cheating’s involved. At best, they’re spending money on the affair partner. At worst, they’re racking up debt and stealing money from your accounts. I know someone whose ex was taking her paychecks and hiding money in off-shore accounts. I know another person whose ex committed fraud to try to get sole ownership of the house they bought together. I can’t even track how many single parents I’ve met with deadbeat exes who don’t pay child support.

      Financial abuse is an epidemic when it comes to cheating. I wish society had a bigger discussion about it.

  • Karen,
    When children are being misused we tell them to scream, run away, and tell others what happened. It works for grown-ups too. CL is so right.
    I’ve been where you are (not exact story, but similar attempt by ex and ow to cover up). I made the wrong choice. I will never stop regretting it.
    Run! Tell the ow’s husband and your families and any friends you trust why you are leaving. Keep all the evidence of that you have and let the legal system do it’s job. Let the dog and his bitch know that you will not be trifled with.

  • Karen, right now you have the upper hand. See a few top attorneys in your area. He can’t hire anyone you’ve consulted. Research the divorce laws in your state. Then go for the jugular while heartless is Recuperating.

    Don’t tell her chump yet. Right now you have that as leverage. Go for above and beyond what you’re legslly entitled to and file. Get credit reports on both of you and put all financial documents in a safe place where he doesn’t have access.

    The longer you wait the more time it gives then to undermine your assets. Do not discuss anything with either of them.

    They are deviant and if you feel threatened in any way leave your home and get a restraining order immediately to boot his ass. This has been going on for a long time and that in itself makes both of them dangerous in my opinion. Get an attorney immediately. Tell your family and personal friends.

    It’s devastating, the paralysis is overwhelming. Take action immediately.

  • Boy, and I thought that my cheater was a cold and calculating asshole. Karen, your cheater wins all the gold medals in this category of human nature.

    Tell the husband.
    Get out (by see a lawyer first).
    Don’t waste your precious honest life chasing unicorns.
    Don’t waste a cent on the RIC (maximum get Tracy’s book; it’s like a bible for chumps)

    Chump Nation stands by you.

    I hate these stories.
    By the way, my cheater also would accuse me of cheating. He only stopped when I grew old…. He would rant about how our youngest was not his. I would say: “Get a DNA test” instead of “Go to hell and get out!” My grandson looks like his grandfather. It bothered me for a few days, but no longer because he is so cute. A form of Meh.
    Take care Karen

  • Karen, I’m so sorry – that is awful. And for him to do that – literally have two wives – for YEARS shows that he’s a soul-less, POS.

    I can kind of identify. My husband had an affair with my best friend. It was only for 9 weeks & we were married only 7 years (10 together), but it is so painful. The amount of betrayal and f*ckery they went to in order to mess around is disturbing and twisted!

    I still love my husband. BUT, it is possible to love someone and NOT want their ass back! Even if we considered reconciliation, my life would be about checking his phone, installing a GPS on his vehicle, and playing private detective for the rest of our lives. That is NO WAY TO LIVE.

    I will say this – I spent a month in bed (and I’m a fitness pro, so that tells you how devastated I was), I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep (without taking Advil PM, Benadryl – or a mixture of both), couldn’t focus. Therapy got me nowhere ($1000 down the drain). Unfortunately, YOU HAVE TO ENDURE EVERY EMOTION. There’s no dodging it. When you want to cry, cry. If you want to scream, scream. But, the no contact has been a blessing and I’m finally feeling more like me.

    Please reach out if you need to chat – we’re all here for you.

    • For all the sleepless nights you will have to endure, read the archives of this essential-for-you-sanity website. Others have been abused in a similar fashion and you will get through this with the help of Chump Nation. Join the forum if you need confidants (f*ck your inlaws and trust only your attorney and a therapist for now).

      ((((Hugs))))

  • Karen – I am so so sorry. Please understand that these people are disordered. Don’t get caught up on what his intentions were – as in the “I never meant to hurt you” bullshit. It may be true, maybe in his disordered mind he didn’t mean to hurt you, but don’t pay any attention to his words or intentions, pay attentions to his actions. His actions were BEYOND hurtful. I came across this quote that has helped me when I start to soften towards my serial cheating, patient fucking STBX, “You do not need great malice to do great harm. The absence of empathy and understanding are sufficient.” This man has no empathy and no understanding – and will continue to cause great harm.

    • NNJ,
      the great malice is coming…….as soon as Karen tries to get what rightfully belongs to her ….the cheater’s true malice will show it’s ugly face .

  • I am with you in the “this has been the whole duration of my marriage and didnt know” although I believe my nowdeadcheaters fuckbuddies were willing coworkers rather than neighbors/friends/hookers.

    You said something pivotal which it took me YEARS to realize…that not only did he not love her, he also didn’t love you. That is important info. After mine died, I found an anger management worksheet on which he had written “I never loved my wife” and there it was…my WORST fear…in black and white.

    and you know what?? the earth did not crack open and swallow me like I thought it would if I ever learned that my worst fear was true

    I was married to him for 26 years and had 3 kids and now he is just someone that I used to know who isnt even on Earth anymore

    I agree with the others that you have nothing to work with…he may pull out all stops to maintain you as a caregiver since he may need a nurse post heart surgery, but he should have thought of that before he fucked girlnextdoor. Tell her husband tell her she can have your cheater and bolt

    • These cheaters can’t love anyone. Love comes from within. They lie and cheat themselves the most. They are immature shells of humanity. They are ‘with’ people out of convenience. To have an image of family life, a job, not be lonely, sex, fun, power… but it’s a one-way vector with the arrow pointing to them. He was as incapable of love as I am of quantum physics. I assume he’s about 50 years old. He ain’t going to change. In fact, as he ages many people get ‘more set’ in their ways and get worse as dementia and brain decline set in.

      • So true. My Cheater was a military officer… image and expediency was everything. I fit the mold well and gave him a respectable facade. He was gaming the system to try to gain all the benefits of marriage and all the benefits of being a player and he got away with it for a really long time – I was SO trusting. By the time he came anywhere close to being caught the skeletons in his closet were legion.

        He knew I wanted to be married and I believe that he figured that I deserved whatever came with that. I never intended to sign up for unilateral polyamory though. It is shocking to realize that the marriage you invested in didn’t even exist.

        Quantum physics… yes. About a year before full meltdown, I went to one of my few male friends and told him that I was sure that men were incapable of love. The friend was gracious with the unintended insult… but Cheater was my singular relationship so in my universe “men” were, in fact, incapable of love.

    • It is horrifying to us to realize they didn’t love us. Upon abandonment my X Asshat screamed that he never, ever loved me (28 years married). It made me feel so worthless, so pointless, and frankly suicidal. I blamed myself right along with him blaming me for the failed marriage, my failure.

      I have come to realize that it is 100% on him.

      The fact that I have shoebox full of love letters from when we were 18-19 years old that he didn’t really mean to write, that he stood in front of God and family and declared undying love that he didn’t really mean to declare, that he had children and a home and an objectively wonderful life with me that he really didn’t mean to have–that he pissed away 31 years total with me on his CONFUSION– all of that is on him. Who does that? Who spends their life with someone who means nothing to them, and lies to the person they don’t love every single day that they stay in their horribly unsatisfying marriages while screwing around?

      FUCKING DISORDERED ASSHATS, THAT IS WHO.

      The fact he lived a lie is not my fault. I was real. I lived and loved fully. I am not to blame for his disorder (hat tip to CL for this wisdom).

  • Yeah- tell the OW husband like, yesterday.
    I had THREE shitbags to deal with; XH, OW and OW husband who KNEW (but kept it a secret so he could use it as leverage for a good divorce settlement.)
    While I got fleeced behind my back.

    #Dollars are nice, but the truth is nicer.

    F*ers, all of them.

  • Firstly, find yourself a lawyer ASAP.

    You’ve got some positives here. Mr. Integrity can’t claim that he cheated because you were doing something wrong since he had been sleeping with Ms. Good Neighbour before he met you. So, one element less in trying to mess you up.

    Also, I’m sure you’re already his maid but at least you don’t need to be his nurse, helping him to recover from op, as well. You owe him exactly nothing and Mr. Father of Your-Children wasn’t thinking neither of his children nor of you when he fucked Mrs. Good Samaritan. Unless you believe that nothing says I love you as loud as fucking somebody else behind his/her back for decades.

    And btw, Mrs. Good Samaritan befriended you and your family so she could have free and unquestioned access to you husband, fear not.

    Hugs ..

  • I’m SO SORRY you are going through this. It’s amazing that 2 awful people managed to find each other, as well as two other people to marry and cheat on. I cannot fathom the betrayal you are experiencing…

    As for the house and shared property line… I hope you take CL’s advice and eventually relocate. No matter what, the home will always be haunted by the memory and actions of the two people who shat all over it. You deserve a fresh start, something that is yours, and safe.

    Sending wishes for peace and strength <3

  • Karen, I’m so sorry. You’re likely in shock because what you are going through is incredibly traumatic. The bedrock you built your adult life on has suddenly turned to quicksand, it’s too much to process at once, it feels incomprehensible. We know, we have unfortunately all been there. Our society doesn’t give enough weight to intimate partner betrayal, but we know better. I encourage you to listen to the wisdom of CL and CN. I found CL early, the advice resonated with me, and I followed it. Three years later and I have not regretted this decision for a second. At first it feels a lot like chewing your own arm off to get out of a trap, but it needs to be done to save your life and sanity. My life now is much more stable, emotionally and financially, I’m a better mother because I’m not reeling from the mental abuse I didn’t even realize I was experiencing, and I’ve learned so much about dysfunctional people and personal boundaries. I trust that he sucks, which means he is no longer able to carve my heart out through my back. There’s light on the other side of this, but the sooner you start protecting yourself, the more you can salvage. Find some mantras that bolster you in the dark, insomniac moments. A starter for your collection: When you’re going through hell, keep going. ((Hugs))

    • I love this quote

      “…no longer able to carve my heart out through my back.”

      I’m adding it to my mantras!

  • I do not agree with any advice that Karen hold off telling the other chump to use as leverage. I don’t trust those two! You must figure they are scared now and worried about this getting back to him. For them to pretend for nearly a quarter of a century means they are psychopaths! They might want to silence her! This is no joke as these two have a lot to lose. We do not want her on an episode of 48 hours or dateline. This is nothing for her to take lightly and I would not put it past them not wanting this exposed. Her gut told her something was wrong which was how she kept digging and found the information. Karen ,honey please get to an attorney today.

    • Oh, having leverage is a great thing, unless you are the other unwitting chump now being used by THREE people. OR being complicit in the abuse of another clueless human being.

      When to spill what you know compared to what to withhold to give yourself time is a boundary that many newly minted chumps have to make. Chalk that up to just one of the many new realities and decisions a chump is going to make.

  • More needs to be said about the damage caused by the reconciliation camp. IMO there are so many M&F counselors and therapists causing harm rather than helping people who’ve been abused because situations like these because that’s how they earn their living. I went through the whole M&F counseling and bought into all the reconciliation garbage and later came to find out the counselor had been screwing a patient during that whole time. My ex never stopped cheating either. Reconsiliation was a complete and utter farce designed to keep my cheater in the drivers seat and me bound and gagged in the trunk.

    What must be realized is that cheating is abuse. It had to be taught. Then the question becomes will I choose to be abused and live with my abuser (if offered that choice as many of us were discarded) or will I take back my power and leave.? The question-will I commit to work on my relationship in hopes of saving it -is complete horseshit. It’s like asking “Can I love the truck that ran over me and broke my back?”

    • #metoo
      We did our dance with the LMFT after Sparkletits got caught. I was made out to be the bad guy after I dropped a dime on the OMM. No more wreckonciliation for me.

  • Karen –

    All of the above and do not discuss this with anyone in his family, friends or neighbors.

    For the time being, assume ALL OF THEM knew what was going on and ALL OF THEM thought you knew about it too.

    Get a therapist for YOU. One who does NOT sell Hopium.

    Plus the scary attorney.

    Don’t have sex with him. In my state, sex after discovery = forgiveness and adultery can’t be cited. Adultery may not make a bit of difference financially, but it may make you feel slightly better when it’s the reason for the divorce.

    Get your kids into therapy too if they are minors.

    Trust that he sucks. Keep your cards three inches behind your sternum.

  • Karen, if you have joint accounts with cash, it will disappear. Withdraw half of liquid assets.

    While you’re in the I can’t believe it mode they are plotting.

    And the reason I’m not all in on telling the other chump immediately is because they are your neighbors and I’m not sure if you have children in your home. Your situation is unique in the longevity of the affair and who knows whether on not he fathered her children or how the other chump will react.

    Personally, I emptied his closets onto the porch while he was sleeping , took his keys and threw him out. Where’s he going to go? Not your problem. Somewhere there’s a basement with his name in it.

    • Cancel all joint credit cards, line of credits and any other forms of credit that he might max out with your name on it.

      Depending on where you live, you are not allowed to keep him from the marital home until you have the aid of a lawyer, fashioning a letter of request that he not access the home without your presence, and then allow a time for his pick up of things (have him provide a list of what he wants to get out of the house and have observers present when he comes to get only those things listed). You may pack his things and put into a specific location, which is what I did so that I limited his access to the house to just the front entrance and basement, where I had the pieces of furniture he was taking and all his personal items compacted into one space for him to access.

      It was shocking to him and his buddies who helped him move to see those boundaries. But his buddies’ wives later on where cheering me on when their husbands let them know what they encountered when they got to my house. Plus, it made it really easy for them to move everything – in and out in about an hour.

      • Apply for credit cards in your own name. Canceling credit cards will ruin your credit. I cancelled my credit cards long before Dday to pay off my balances. Credit scores are assessed by how much you have used compared to the limit.

        Speak to your attorney ASAP to determine your next move. Check all cards online. If you have cards with access to cash speak to the credit card company.

        Throwing him out doesn’t limit his access to your home. Cheaters are dumb. Do this before you file. Chances are he’ll find a place. You can’t change the locks. Chances are he’s a coward and won’t want to face OW or her hubby. It worked for me. After he found a place my lawyer filed an order giving me sole access to the home until the divorce was settled. He didn’t fight me on it. Why eat that shit sandwich?

  • Karen- I’m so sorry you have to go through this. It is epically messed up. But take all of the great advice us chumps have offered here. Get. Out. Now. There is no reconciliation with a narcissistic liar. He has betrayed, lied and gaslighted you, he has abused you for years. The entire time your precious children were growing up. Where was he mentally? Physically?
    Tell the husband. You would want to know if he’d found out first.
    Find a lawyer as soon as you can. Get started on all of the tedious work it will take to separate your lives. It’ll be so worth it.
    And read CL’s book. Multiple times. I downloaded the audiobook and listened to it several time, tbh, after trying to slog thru some of the “reconciliation” books that just made me even more depressed.
    Post here in the forum and know we are here for you. Whatever you do, don’t give this asshat another minute of you love and kindness. You deserve so so so much better.

  • Dear Karen. Big hugs going out to you during this awfully hurtful time. Please listen to the advice hear in order to put a stop to further trauma. Infidelity is a devastating revelation, this is just the start of an incredibly painful journey for you. Please, please heed the advice here to get yourself out of the situation and go no contact as soon as possible. Do not allow yourself to fall into the trap of “being reasonable and understanding” or “patient and forgiving” because there is nothing but major emotional damage to come out of that, believe me, I know.

    You know how an egg will keep boiling if you remove it from hot water without submerging it in cold water? Well that is what will happen if you engage with your husband and the OW any further. The grave injuries that you have already sustained will only be compounded. There is nothing but pain down that route. Instead, throw freezing cold water with lot of ice all over this right now and halt any further damage as much as possible.

    Get a team of people behind you and get ahead of their narrative. All kinds of mindfuckery is coming your way so rally the troops and start building fences. Inform your family and friends and his family immediately with evidence, and you will quickly learn who is an ally. Inform her husband. Get your husband out of the house immediately. Get your hands on all the financial records and credit cards. Get a good lawyer and go completely dark on your husband and the OW. Make very strict arrangements around pick-up/drop-off with the kids (maybe through a third party, like a grandparent). If your husband attempts to push this boundary, inform him through email that it will be the only acceptable form of communication and that attempts to invade your space will be construed as harassment. Findyourself a counsellor and get the kids a good family counsellor to help them cope with all the transitions taking place.

    My husband put me through an awful year of pick-me dancing, pretending he was working on the marriage through our counselling sessions, couple’s therapy weekend, etc. Then kept asking for my patience while he spent a few days here and there at his buddy’s place in order to clear his head. It was all for nothing as he was seeing her the whole time and eventually left me to be with her anyways. That year is what royally screwed me up, and I have been working through post-traumatic stress for over a year now with a counsellor (starting somatic therapy).

    Do not let this be your fate. You are in the “best” position right now in the “worst” situation. Use your advantage before your cheater and his OW start pulling rank on you. You will not be able to believe the lies that they will start to concoct about you, so get ahead of this while you can.

    Beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    Love.

    • Excellent advice, OptionNoMore.

      And I’m sorry you lived through that year of mindgames. One of he hardest things after deception is struggling to make sense of knowing that the person you thought you knew is a fiction.

  • Yes, tell the poor guy next door. You would want to know if you were him. I am sure you have “Switzerland friends” and confederates who knew and didn’t tell you; don’t be that person to him.

    I told the poor chump attached to OM 3 (the only one I knew), but unfortunately the OM gave her a big pack of lies, saying I was crazy. She chose to believe them.

  • Karen,
    Go see ALL the sharkiest lawyers in your town (consult) before you choose. Someone mentioned that here, as it could prevent him from hiring them. I wish I had heard this in time, or I would have done so.

    Karen – every. Single. One of us. Has been where you are: turned inside out & doused with gasoline. Get away from those two cheap tiki torches NOW. Go no contact. Protect yourself & your kids if they are at home with you (I know they’re older, but they’ve been betrayed, too, and not by a stranger).
    Park yourself here & let this loving, wise, snarky, resilient, brilliant, compassionate group of chumps (Chump Nation, my tribe) help you navigate this shit storm. We are proof that ahead of you there is life…love…laughter…better than you have the capacity to imagine today. All you gotta do is dump a cheater. Your life will be your own again. No more overtime unpaid marriage police duty!
    Big hugs, ((((((Karen)))))). We know where you are. You have a choice. We are here for you.

  • Same thing happened to me also. I tried to tell her husband when I found out and I realized he knew and was in on it.
    Please guard your children. Get attorney. This is a scary time. These men are batshit crazy also. I feared for my life while I was divorcing. The other woman ‘Whore next door’ was going through my home when I was gone. Stealing personal items. The friend is batshit crazy also. This isn’t just an affair or love. It’s sick and sinister. It is some kind of mental disorder from a dysfunctional childhood on both of them that instead of getting help they continue the generation to generation dysfunction and pass on to the children.
    Both of them ruined my beautiful healthy daughters. It will soon be one year anniversary of my sweet daughters death. The loser child porn ex is remarried and whore next door is still very much in his new “marriage”. She celebrates Christmas and all with him. The ugly new wife is very much aware of their affair and married him for money. The ugly new wife also stole my dead daughters sewing machine and kept it for herself. It was $1500.00 sewing machine that we bought together with her inheritance from my mother when she passed.
    At my daughters death I asked the ex for it and he wouldn’t return it.
    My other daughter won’t speak to me. He used all his bullshit lies and turned my daughters against me. Gaslighted and lied lied about anything and even had to make up stories to cover his lies. Meanwhile Whore next door Mother’s my daughters to get my ex to marry her. For some reason he didn’t pick whore as marriage material. The ex dumped other daughter after her sister committed suicide. He cut them both off from any money, support. Schooling, place to live. Gas money , food and abandoned them as he did in our sham marriage. I never realized what a sick fuck I married till I kept uncovering crap even after divorce. Don’t trust any family members either. My sisters whom I had good relationships with sided with liar husband and my daughters also helped in turning them against me. Just one sister did that. What I’m saying is trust no one. Get therapist and have grief therapy. Get attorney. Go for walks to clear head and to keep depression down.
    I still am angry from all this. I was a good person, wife, mother, sister, friend.
    You will never find out all but you will also be in shock for a long time at the losers you thought were your friends, family and marriage. It’s like this stuff should happen to evil people not good people.
    A 26 year marriage ended the day before our 26 anniversary. As I said, guard you’re children, get your money and get out and don’t look back.
    It still hurts so deeply that all my simple dreams of having a good marriage and good life for my daughters is gone. The disillusionment of all the people who worked against me and my daughters.
    I’ll recover at some point and turn this around to make the life I deserve. I’ve worked for but trust again like I used to I don’t think I ever will. People are just ugly for whatever reason. Envy I guess.
    You will also have ‘friends’ who just want to know to gossip about you and not talk to you again. Be aware of this too.

    • Beetle your story made me cry. I’m so sorry for your losses. The backlash is impossible to imagine. I too left s monster who wasn’t satisfied with divorce. The damage he’s done to my children cannot be described. When we talk of demonizing the loving loyal spouse it’s Unfathomable until you see the lengths they will go to destroy. You’re not alone my friend.

      • Thanks so much. My birthday is coming up this Sunday and I think I’ll get out of town for a few days and celebrate it and really start over fresh again.

    • Beetle–I’m so sorry for the loss of both your daughters, for different reasons. I hope you are otherwise surrounded by people who love and cherish you. Hugs.

      • I am going to totally start over with new friends. The ones I had were connected with the old marriage and ended up being his friend.
        That’s what was so hard about it all. I’m going to start over.
        It surprised me at all he’s done people would side with him. But I’m glad I know the difference now.

        • Add me to the crowd who are so sorry you suffered so much. Please feel a huge collective hug from us on the anniversary of your daughters suicide. I hope after you get yourself to a safe, reasonable place your surviving daughter will want to share your world in a healthy way.

          • Thank you. I don’t know how to get her to see me anymore. After her sister died she quit talking to me. The daughter who died said she only came to see me when I gave her something. Birthdays, Christmas.

            I have little hope of reconnecting with her and it’s just a sadness that’s hard to overcome. My daughter who died didn’t know what to believe anymore. She wanted to see divorce papers. X told them they were broke because I divorced him and took him for all his money. All his lies and vacations with internet sex partners.

    • Beetle
      I’m so sorry you had to endure the loss of your daughter plus being betrayed at the sane time. You must stay strong & take care of yourself. Your life will improve as times goes by when you kick your disgusting cheater to the curb. Let the Owhore have him so you can rebuild your life in a safe, happy & healthy life.
      God bless you ❤️

      • It’s hard to believe this is my life now and I will be turning 59 on Sunday. I’ve been divorced for 5 years coming up in June. I just kept having setbacks.
        My father died in a nursing home he wanted out of. The sister that sided with X had X help her rob and clean out my fathers estate. She stole all his money and went into nursing home while he was delirious and signed him house to her. X wanted to make sure I didn’t get anything.
        My father got infection from sores on his backside and ended up staring to death. I had to watch my father die that way. All the time I couldn’t figure out why X had so much special interest in my father. 8 months to the day my father died my daughter shot herself ear to ear after just turning 21.
        I don’t know when karma will come but I’ve given up on it.

        • Beetle
          I lost 2 sisters then I get breast cancer losing one breast to the disease He was cruel slandered & humiliated me with the Owhore beside him with her egging him on. He destroyed my life financially & mentally. I had to save myself. 3 years divorced & I’m still not at meh.
          But Karma hit last year. Owhore died so he had to find another victim to take care of him. He’s now living with a woman in her 80’s.
          He will pay for what he’s done. He will reap what he’s sown. So will the Owhore.. just don’t wait. Concentrate on your life & being happy for surviving. You will be fine in time. Many hugs 🤗❤️

          • It’s the Anniversaries coming up. My daughters birthday is in May right after mother’s day. June is when she died. June is 5 years divorced.
            I guess I’m just upset about that. I’m fine for the most part. I’m just sad I don’t have my daughter(s).

            • Kathleen many hugs to you also.
              I didn’t find this group till I was going through this divorce and I had to stop reading it because it was too much and too painful.
              I think single women before they marry should read this colum. There were times I thought his behavior was sketchy. I had no real references to look back on except obvious you catch them.
              It’s ruined me on wanting to date though. I need to get over that.

    • I havent seen my grown children in almost 3 years and have never seen my grandchild. he told me once that the day he saw me hold my daughter for the 1st time and saw what she meant to me was the day he decided I’d never have her.

      he created a defiance in her from birth. I was never able to reach her but didnt know why. I found out he had, from the beginning of the marriage, gone to my family, his family, and our entire circle of friends and told them “he married his mother (severely bi-polar, schizophrenia, in and out of homes his entire life), that now he knew what his father went thru, that he was terrified of me and afraid to leave the children with me.

      for 25 yrs…no one told me….

      when he decided to blow up the ridiculous excuse for a marriage his smear campaign had been laid so long and deep there was nothing I could do. I moved to a new state utterly alone, false accused, condemned by all, even my children. he married latest adultery partner whose husband died leaving her a lot of money, kept the reputation, the kids, and did it all with a huge smirk on his face. this stuff will make you crazy.

  • Karen – hang in there. You are MIGHTY and you can do this!! We have ALL been where you are. Affairs with friends seems to be more the norm than an affair with a complete stranger. It is absolutely mind boggling and devastating, but get the hell out. Listen to CL and CN, there is no salvaging your marriage. None. Get yourself tested for STD’s, get a good lawyer and tell the OW’s husband. We are all rooting for you!!!!

  • So much advice and you are likely in a state of shock.

    Focus on one thing at a time.

    Most urgent: Make sure you and your children are safe. (All other is insignificant)

    Next: Move half your monetary assets to an account in your name only at a different bank.

    If you haven’t already, please share what you know with family and a great attorney.

    Once you have an attorney, they can guide you – allow them to guide you (to relieve the stress you’re feeling). Check the attorney’s advice against the recommendations here, it will give you a feeling of some control. Post here in the forums with questions – these people save lives, they saved my life. Beyond your family and your attorney, they are the BEST folks to have in your corner.

    Concentrate on what you and the kids need – that’s all that matters in the immediate future.

    (((((hugs)))))

  • OMG. I’m completely gobsmacked. 18 YEARS!!! And with the F’ing neighbor. I think this is probably the worst thing I’ve ever seen, other than the person whose spouse slept with a family member.
    Karen, there is absolutely zero to work with. Zero. Please run like hell from this fool. See an attorney, file, and ask for EVERYTHING that you want. Half of EVERYTHING and spousal support if you qualify. Let him have the house, but make him buy you out. Request he pay your attorneys fees too.
    I’m almost a half a century old now, and being single from this side of the fence is so much better than I had feared when I was on the other side, shocked and too afraid to decide what to do. Once the shock wore off, I’ve never looked back and never been happier.

  • Karen,

    He’s been cheating throughout your “marriage.” Where there is sexual infidelity, there is often financial infidelity.

    Here are five reasons to see an attorney and file immediately:
    1. You know of one affair. That is no guarantee that he isn’t having multiple affairs at the same time. This is a man who lives a double life. If he’s having sex with the next-door neighbor, he may also be having sex with the bar owner. YOU DON’T KNOW. And that means you don’t know how vulnerable you are financially or medically. Essentially, you cannot trust him in any way to protect your interests. I just don’t see how anyone can stay “married” when they can’t believe a word the spouse says.
    2. Right now he’s “really sorry he got caught.” And so he might talk a good reconciliation game. But here’s the truth. His masked has slipped. You know, for sure, what he is beneath the surface. And many of these freaks can’t tolerate knowing that you know. So he may well bide his time and make himself ready to leave the marriage—while you are waiting around trying to decide whether to go or stay, or while you are believing his claims of being sorry. The truth is you have no idea who he is, really, or what he wants, really, or what he will do tomorrow. What you can control is what you do. Act to protect yourself, your finances, your kids and your future. If you file before he gets his feet under him, you have the best chance of getting a solid settlement that protects you and the kids.
    3. You’ve been suspicious for a long time that he’s a cheater. That means his behavior–how he treats you and the kids, how he handles himself at home and elsewhere–is problematic enough to worry you. Now you have actual proof that he lies and cheats. Now you know. So what you do next is a choice about the kind of life you want. Do you want to play marriage police and keep on looking for proof of more affairs? Because that is what you are going to get. This jackass will not change. You get a chance to choose to cut loose from someone who clearly doesn’t care about anyone–not you, not his fuckbuddy, not her unwitting husband, not all the kids.
    4. You may think that your finding out about the affair will end it. But consider this: these two LOVE the lying and deception. They have rubbed your nose and her husband’s nose in a giant pile of “I know something you don’t know” shit for year. For years. What they are likely to do is go deeper underground, find better and easier ways to cheat.
    5. Your kids. What does it say to them if you are willing to tolerate this massive disrespect? The lying and gaslighting? The manipulation? The unjust accusations that you are the cheater when he has spent years deceiving you? What kind of example does it set for you to normalize this infidelity?

    It’s tough to contemplate changing your whole life. I agree that it might make sense to force the sale of the house and move away from these people. Not that you can stop the affair, but you deserve not to look at either of the two people who have treated you so cruelly.

  • The real danger is that while you are in shock he will be not only be cheating on you physically and emotionally, but he will be screwing you over financially. The first thing to do, before you say anything to him if possible, is to secretly get records on every asset, every investment, and every aspect of your financial life. Document and photograph valuable items in your home, and ascertain the likelihood that he has spent marital funds on his affair(s). Also he may very well be screwing the bar owner as well. If you got a vibe on that it’s probably true.

    Find a lawyer who likes trials, who has been there and done that many times over. Someone who won’t be there for you emotionally (get a therapist for that) but who will do the job of fighting for your interests. Do not negotiate on your husband’s behalf, do not try and make a mutually beneficial settlement. If you want it, need it, fight for it. You will lose a lot even in the best circumstances, best to start fighting from day one. From now on your only job is to fight for YOU.

  • Karen, I don’t mean to be cruel, but your story, including the details of the extent of the lies, is not unusual. I’ve been in your exact shoes. All of us here have been.

    There is nothing to work with here. Your marriage is over. It was all based on a fraud. You were conned. He is not capable of being a partner, never was and never will be.

    You have two choices today: accept that reality and act accordingly (hire the best lawyer there is and go completely no contact with H and OW and get a trauma/EMDR therapist stat) or stage this hellish situation out by not hiring a lawyer today and continuing contact with a maniacal abuser who will further harm you.

    He will NEVER change and now the mask of the con is off the abuse will escalate. Ask me how I know😫.

    If you take the first option and choose life, you’ll heal and in a few years you’ll be free, peaceful, happy. You won’t believe for an instant that you ever considered staying out for more abuse. I had 26 years and 4 kids, homes, community, etc invested. I lived this. I’m on the other side. Come join me and the millions of others who have peace and freedom. We’ll be here to support you along the way.

    • The minute your husband realizes that you expect your fair share of assets, he is going to be unrecognizable to you. Please be safe, proactive, document everything, and hire professionals.

      My ex, who never laid a hand on me throughout our 13 year relationship, was a completely different person when he realized that I wanted (and was legally entitled to) half our assets and a portion of his Army retirement.

      The look on his face was one I never had seen before, and his stance over me and threatening tone when it came up can only be described as aggressive and scary as hell. I fully believe he would have done something physical if I had continued engaging him one on one. From that moment onward I did not open my mouth about the subject with him. I hired a lawyer and she did 100% of the communication from that point forward.

      • Liz is right, when it dawned on my X that I had a right to FAR MORE than the pittance he wanted to throw at me things got very scary.

  • Karen, you have been given stellar advice here as to how to protect yourself financially. I agree with the need to protect yourself (isn’t it horrible how quickly a marriage gets reduced to purely financial aspects?), but I cannot stop thinking about your children.

    In the 1970s, my father had an affair with my mother’s best friend and subsequently married her. Dad and OW danced merrily into their new, exciting, entitled life while my siblings and I reeled from the betrayal and the loss of our family life. Oh, how I wish that I had been counseled by a competent professional, as I still have very deep-rooted trust issues. My whole family fell apart, and my siblings and I still are dealing with the psychological damage caused by the selfish actions of two people who are still together, still mistrusting each other, and still torturing each other every day.

    Best of luck to you and your children, and my most sincere condolences.

  • Karen,
    I am so sorry☹️. I beg of you to follow Chump Lady’s advice. You will save yourself so much more pain in the end. Don’t get me wrong, you will be in pain for sometime to come, but if you try to “fix this” or work it out, you will just be abused more. Marriage therapists will not so subtlety suggest it has been your short comings that led to the affairs, and if you are anything like most chumps, you are so shell-shocked you will go right along with it & months later when the dust has settled and you are able to see things for what they are you will be horrified that you even considered taking this monster back & you will be thinking of all of the things you should have said to the cheater & the therapist-ask me how I know😕. Anyhow, I am hitting my 1 year anniversary of Dday in a few weeks and life is so much better. The pain has drastically and almost disappeared and only makes cameo appearances vs. 24 hour coverage. My house is calm and peaceful and all mine. So no matter how horrible the pain is, and I know it is, it has an ending point if you pull yourself out of this sick situation now any way you can and don’t look back. You will never get any answers other than he is not the person you thought he was. Sending big hugs and wishes for a better future you deserve.

    • Ditto. By all means, try the marriage counseling route if you must. I did. I really liked our counselor, but she did more to help me accept the fact that my marriage was GONE and that my ex was CHECKED OUT than she actually was able to repair my marriage. She helped me see that her hands were tied if one half of the marriage didn’t want to be faithful…nothing she could try was going to help.

      I should point out that she showed me these things in one on one sessions, because Ex half heartedly showed up a few times, then quit going. And he never stopped secretly communicating with his TWU WUV in Singapore.

  • Wow, Karen! I am so sorry for you!

    You’ve received a lot of advice here. Some key takeaways:

    1. The marriage isn’t salvageable.–Anyone who can live a double life for 25 years is a sociopath. Sadly, you are not a person with feelings and needs of your own. Instead, you are a commodity. In Chump Nation speak, you are a Spouse Appliance. Your Cheater will start to tell you all the things that he knows you want to hear, so go read last week’s blog post inviting us to UBT cheater communication.

    It’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to tell your Cheater that you plan to divorce him before you serve him. I personally did not tell my Cheater. Instead, I lined up my ducks.

    2. Find a lawyer.–Do not let your Cheater know you’re doing this. Instead, talk with the top divorce/family practice lawyers in your area. This effectively bars your Cheater from retaining them due to conflict of interest. Most lawyers will charge you a token fee for an initial consultation. Use that consultation to learn about the process in your state, whether it’s possible for you to move out of the home and take any minor children with you, what you can expect in terms of child support and custody, whether you are entitled to temporary spousal support (available in my state only for stay-at-home parents or parents who were employed part-time so as to spend time with the children), what their hourly fees are, etc. Ask some of the same questions to each lawyer. Retain the one who makes you feel most at ease and whom you feel will advocate for you.

    3. Protect yourself financially.–Cheating is never only sex. Cheating is also time and money spent on the AP that could have been spent on you and your children. Once your cheater knows that you plan on divorce, your cheater can clean out the bank account and start hiding money. Start to protect yourself by gathering all the financial documents you can. Talk to your lawyer about taking half the money out of your shared accounts and putting it into an account under your name. Also ask about a financial restraining order. Never assume that your cheater WON’T do something. After all, a few months ago, you’d never have assumed he’d have fucked the lady next door.

    4. Get screened for STDs.–The sad part is that while you know about the woman next door, you don’t know where else either he or she have been. What you don’t know can hurt you. Get screened. Your doctor will treat you compassionately. This is a story they’ve heard before.

    5. Consider whether hiring a PI makes sense.–If you live in one of the few states that recognizes adultery as grounds for divorce, AND if you have the financial resources, consider hiring a Private Investigator. Could you do the same thing? Probably, but a PI knows how to collect evidence in such a way that it’s admissible in court.

    Good luck on this! Stay sane by coming here. Chump Nation has your back!

    • Also 6. Get a good therapist.–You’ve been the victim of abuse for 25 years. You probably don’t even recognize the behaviors you’ve picked up. The therapist can be a source of support for you. Sadly, your Cheater’s family will likely line up behind him. Your family may pressure you to reconcile for the sake of the kids or for your Cheater’s retirement. Don’t go there!

      My Cheater’s father cheated on CheaterX’s mother for over 2 decades with the same woman. Apparently CheaterX’s mother assumed she’d outlive her husband and then be able to draw on his military pension. Sadly, she predeceased him by 7 years.

      • #7 get a new cell phone that is not part of the family plan. Disconnect all iCloud and other music sharing, email forwarding etc. don’t tell anyone about your new phone. Make sure your computer is not compromised. My ex was privy to all my correspondence with my lawyer….protect yourself at all costs.

  • Man, just when you think you’ve heard the worst….

    I thought my story was bad having to work w/ ex husb and OW, but this is horrible. Most definitely tell the husband. And I don’t say this out of getting revenge on her or your husband, I say this because I think if anyone knew about my husband’s affair and didn’t tell me, I’d hate them for it. You don’t want him living a lie and she doesn’t deserve “discretion.”

    And I agree with chump lady–get away from this crazy. I’m so so sorry. Allow yourself the shock, the rage. But do it alone or with trusted friends. Don’t expect anything from the husband or OW. I promise this will only frustrate you. Hang in…it’s a bumpy road but many of us have navigated it and come out the other side.

  • Karen you never, ever deserved this. This DOES NOT define you.

    Their behaviour has nothing to do with you. Your value is as a good person.

    You have your beautiful children. Withdraw, and set up your own group that does not lie and split their lives, in a safe space.

    Fuck that two. They are shallow and selfish and deserve each other. And please tell the husband. He doesn’t deserve to be betrayed and in the dark either. He doesn’t deserve to live in the world where he ‘thinks’ he is living a life, but its really another life. … I used to wish someone could tell me what was going on.

  • As always Chump Lady is spot on. Thank you for the wisdom, snark, and humor. I don’t know if you meant it but I nearly choked on my coffee when I saw your cartoon. Am I the only one who sees a vulva with a giant star? 🙂

    • I scrolled up just to check – yes. I see now that I’m looking for it.

      Aren’t you the freaky little one for noticing that? ; )
      I kid, I kid lol!

  • LW’s ‘friend’ next store’s reaction when confronted is REALLY telling here. Immediate deflection and gaslighting… “Are YOU crazy?” Also notice that this answer doesn’t answer your question. It’s a good tell in any situation when trying to figure out if someone is a chronic liar. Good for you for sticking to your guns and getting at least partial truth out of her. (Sociopaths don’t EVER tell the FULL truth…because they have to feel like they’re winning all the time.).

  • Karen, there is so much good advice up here. Please listen to CL & CN. If you have any acting ability now is the time to use it. I found out last April about my XH’s affair. He didn’t know until November that I knew about it, and he still doesn’t know how much I know. I opened a separate bank account. I hired a lawyer. The lawyer advised me to take half the liquid assets. I took half the liquid assets. My parents hired a P.I. and we were able to document everything they were doing. I got checked for STD’s (none thank goodness). I told XH that I would only speak to him through my lawyer unless it was something pertaining to our young children (both under 3 at the time). XH filed for divorce, I counter-filed for Adultery. He thought I was bluffing. He found out in November when I met with the OW’s Husband that there was a P.I. and then all of a sudden started agreeing to my settlement terms. I took control immediately when I found out, and I have regretted nothing. It wasn’t until after it was all over that I was really able to look at the heartbreak of it all. Sending you so much love, you can do this.

  • My current wife’s ex had a heart attack just as his affair was coming to light. Paramedics took him to ICU where she worked long term as a critical care nurse. All his lies about there not being anyone else came to light while he was on a ventilator and the OW was holding his hand. Several of my wife’s co-workers volunteered to “let nature takes it’s course” (in a painfull way) with the ass hole.
    He survived to gas light and con others. His day of reckoning is yet to come……..

  • #TeamKaren

    1. Lawyer up and find out your rights if you leave the marital home under duress.
    2. Tell the chump next door.
    3. Trust that they suck.

  • WOW, just WOW… It never ceases to amaze me how low these people can go. I too was deceived by a woman whom I allowed into my home. She befriended me, we did things with our kids and then I find out they’ve been having an affair. She came to me prior to me finding out with a sob story about how she and her husband too were having issues. Funny how she left out the part about fucking my husband. I went straight to her husband when I found out, I also informed her boss and my childrens’ school since she was on the PTO board there. You cannot for any reason let these people pull you into their sick ride. It has to be no contact or you will not survive. Mine is a narcissistic sociopath as is the OW and they are contstantly ignoring boundaries and I have to keep setting them. You will get pushed in ways you never thought but stand strong. Don’t let your ego get the better of you, make decisions when you are thinking rationally. As much as I would love revenge, I know that it serves me no purpose, I will leave that up to God and the universe. Good luck and stay strong. None of this is on you. You will get through to the other side, it just takes time. Focus on you and your children, they are not worthy of your energy or time. Let the lawyers hash it out and you just sit back and watch.

  • Karen, you have been lots of good advice from fellow chumps. Many of them have married to people who led double lives – who cheated their spouses also financially. Protect yourself the best you can.

    Like Patsy above – this is not about you!!!! It was never about you. Unfortunately, your name could have been Anne, Barbara, or Abigail. He’s nothing but a little piece of shit that was willing to fuck the neighbor and then come home to the loving wife with a smile on his face. The both of them lack any ounce of integrity or thoughtfulness for either one of their spouses.

    Don’t let him ruin what you thought and believed your life is. I went through a period after the my divorce was final where I just didn’t know what to do with all the memories, things that he said (that I thought were said in love), things that he did. What if none of it was real? My cousin asked me, was it real to you? Yes, the whole 19 years was him was real. I was real!!!! I will damned if I let him ruin it for me.

    Your were a loving wife who gave your heart to your husband. There’s no shame in that. The shame is all on him – put it where it belongs.

  • You’ve been living your life with one hand tied behind your back. It’s been tied there so long, you’ve forgotten you even have a second hand. Once you’ve divorced and have your own space, that hand is going to slip out of the knots. At first it will feel awkward, maybe even fake. Slowly, you’ll discover you can do things more efficiently than before now that you have two hands to work with. Then you’ll discover you can do new things you’ve never attempted before. Some of them will be fun and exciting.

    The analogy is way of saying that the deceit you’ve been living with is so encompassing, you can’t even really see all the ways it has impacted you–and it will take both time and distance to really grasp what you’ve been missing. As chumps we often want to figure out the problem before we act, but all of us are telling you that such a strategy is flawed. Get a lawyer and end this pretense of a marriage–“understanding” what happened to you while you were living this lie will come later. Hire the best professionals you can find and then follow their advice.

    You are worthy of a life that is truthful and kind.

  • Karen, I feel awful for you, OW’s husband, and kids.

    I don’t have much to add to the many pieces of advice already posted.

    I wish that I had immediately shut down the s—t show of my marriage as soon as I learned of the adultery. No, actually before—my husband has been emotionally and financially abusing me, committing crimes against me while having sex with who knows how many people (co-workers, prostitutes, strangers he bumped into on his numerous business trips. And yeah, he blamed me for committing adultery although I never did and he was left and right. He even told people that I tried to hire a prostitite while we were married. WTF? He is highly disordered as is your husband.

    My next partner, who I thought was my friend of 30 years, who I got together with after my husband left, was also dishonest, emotionally abusive, and often just cold in private (abusing privately helped him maintain his Mr. Nice Guy image). When he discarded me (twice), I begged him to reconcile. Now he is very happily it appears married to the work subordinate he left me for. 1.5 years later, a fifty-something-year-old mother of young kids, I am partnerless, unemployed, and scared of running out of money as recruiters are telling me that I am too old. What I would give to go back in time to ‘undo’ the begging I did! At least I might feel as though I had retained a shred of dignity. As rough as it as it is, withdrawing from this freak show of abuse and deception into which you were conned will give you some sense of agency and, in the future if not now, some pride. I wish you strength and happiness, Karen.

    • Rock Star, experts told me I wouldn’t get a job in my field when I finished my Ph.D. They told me that if I did get a job, it wouldn’t be in the city I preferred. And they told me I wouldn’t get a job in which I could influence curriculum. Wrong on all counts. Just as the attorney who said XH would end up with my pension was wrong.

      If I recall correctly, you are sort of torn between works that doesn’t pay well but is good for society vs. higher-end, better-paying jobs. If you want to be successful, know what you need to earn and figure out what will make you happy within that parameter. Go for a job that pays well but is also rewarding–not the RICH job or the Nobel Prize job.

    • Rock Star, experts told me I wouldn’t get a job in my field when I finished my Ph.D. They told me that if I did get a job, it wouldn’t be in the city I preferred. And they told me I wouldn’t get a job in which I could influence curriculum. Wrong on all counts. Just as the attorney who said XH would end up with my pension was wrong.

      If I recall correctly, you are sort of torn between works that doesn’t pay well but is good for society vs. higher-end, better-paying jobs. If you want to be successful, know what you need to earn and figure out what will make you happy within that parameter. Go for a job that pays well but is also rewarding–not the RICH job or the Nobel Prize job. You are making progress! Hang in there.

  • Another thought after you run a credit check on yourself (and remove him from any joint card where you are the primary): get a credit card in your name alone while you can still legally use your current household income for computing credit limit.

    I hope you have an accountant. If not, consider using one for a few years. The tax codes are changing a lot & a good accountant may save aome of your sanity.

  • This is one of the worst stories I’ve read on here.

    Chump Lady, please update us on Karen’s story when you can. I’m legit worried for her and I don’t even know her.

    • I’m worried for her too. This sounds like the making of a Lifetime movie where they off the wife before she can tell anyone. These people have zero morals. Who knows what they’re capable of!

    • I inform everyone who writes to me that I’ve run their letter. But I don’t always know myself if they read the response. Most of the time they comment here, but other times I wonder if they don’t like the advice they got or it’s just all too overwhelming.

      But if I hear something, I’ll update.

  • Karen, please don’t fall for the let’s do marriage counseling and work on our marriage and blah blah blah. He isnt interested in working on the marriage. He will tell you that. It will be just to bide tome so he can get his affairs in order to not only screw you over but also blame you to family saying he tried and you wouldn’t meet him halfway and forgive him. NOTHING he will be saying or suggestions will be for your best interests. We are all so worried about you. Feel free to post here so we can support you.

  • Tell other husband immediately, your helping your husband and lover hide their secret

    Your giving your husband and his affair partner time to ruin your reputation and create new ways to continue their life together.

    Think your hurting now. Wait till D Day number two happens, three is even worse, four will kill you since you are beaten down

  • Karen
    I left my husband of 29 years when I discovered he had been keeping a mistress since before we were married. She was part of his old teenage group of friends. She never married, she worked as a drug company rep which probably meant she could travel freely as he did as a consulting engineer.

    If you had asked anyone, we had a ‘perfect’ Brady bunch family, two sons, no troubles, intact in laws down the street, lots of money, etc. I always thought of us as the strongest marriage among our friends. I never even looked at another man.

    D-day came for me when an old friend of his let something slip…turns out the whole group of old buddies knew of the extramarital relationship and enabled it by hosting them at holiday destinations over the years. I guess I was the ‘little woman’ at home, running a professional career and raising the boys while he supposedly travelled on business. Everyone felt sorry for him, having to be away from home 5 days a week! It’s no exaggeration to say that while I never contemplated suicide, I did feel hugely unconfident until one day I just got plain angry and made a plan.

    When I discovered the treachery, I just said nothing. I vomited daily for weeks, but quietly laid my plans. I planned a “trip” overseas to my parents’ native country (England) and asked Cheater to drive me to the airport. It wasn’t until he was kissing me goodbye that I told him I knew all about Schmoopie and that I would never be returning. He burst into tears.

    Fast forward ten years. Schmoopie moves into my old marital home, still uses my wedding china, entertains my sons, DIL, grandson, at holiday meals. Rots my socks! Has for years, the thought of the little tramp stealing my ‘life’.

    But you know…I’ve had such an adventurous 10 years. Better than any continuing domesticity would have brought. Just yesterday, my now-30 yr old son told me they’ve all fallen out…apparently the boys got tired of her controlling ways and just stopped going home to see Dad. They say she was controlling their access to him and trying to secure her part in his will.

    I don’t envy her one bit. I did have to put up with her at one son’s wedding….she got herself sat at the head table etc., but again, I managed to make my point when I snubbed her in my speech. She got drunk and made a right fool of herself…kissing everyone and taking selfies with my now-partner…he shoved her away and told her to f-off and that didn’t go down well. My treacherous SIL’s who were also party to the affair, I just murmured to each of them that I hope they rot in hell…as fundamentalist Christians that shocked them…silly twats.

    Once you get your finances clear, and some time passes, Karen, I can guarantee your life will be rather fun and interesting. Ever again will you have to depend on some asshole to partner you, you can be a liberated single woman with her freedom! I love being that free person. It just takes time to evolve your new self image.

    • Wow! It sounds like the bitch was trying to move in on your new guy too, just to say “I can have any man of yours.” Glad he pushed her away.
      Isn’t that just like “good little Christians” to be so hypocritical… not a single one of them told him what he was doing was wrong. Instead they enabled it! Amazing!

    • Marci, I love the sound of your new partner-shoving skank away from him as she tries to pose for a selfie ! “Ew, get away from me !”

    • Good for you Marci, good for you!! I cannot imagine what you went through in the first few anguish-filled days. And now your walls are singing. I’m not even a year out from the shit show and this offers hope, happiness and mightiness. Thank you for sharing.

  • Karen, this is not just a one time selfish screw up. This is a 24 year deliberate shit on your face to you and the OW’s husband. They were not just enjoying fucking each other, they were enjoying pulling the wool over your eyes and his. They got off on the lies and mind games and making a joke of your entire lives. That is psychopathic! I’m a psychologist and there is no psychologist in the world that would (or should) tell you to stay with this man and work things out (unless they just want to bleed you for money). There is no working things out with someone who sees life as a game to be won.

    Do NOT feel you have to stay because of his heart condition. He doesn’t deserve that sympathy after shitting on you for 24 years. Please leave or get him out ASAP! If he’s not out in one week then leave.

    You have to HAVE TO tell the husband. That poor man is living in the dark and with a stranger/monster. He deserves to know. You need to think about your safety and his as well. People with a moral campus this far off might be capable of anything! They might decide to shut you up for good! The more people that know, the better, for your safety and the husband’s. Do not stall, just tell him and tell some of your family members and make sure that these two piles of shit know they have been outed.

    Good luck! I feel terrible for you. You’ve been dealt a bad hand but you’re not alone. I spent 15 years with my ex who had both Borderline personality disorder AND Antisocial personality disorder. That’s 15 years down the toilet, so I know how you feel. But we have our children and that’s something to focus on. Direct all your love and energy towards them and yourself. Kick this fucker to the curb!

    • I hate to take issue with you, but there are literally thousands of stories on this blog of chumps whose therapists did exactly that — encouraged reconciliation with long-term cheaters, serial cheaters, abusers. It’s endemic. The RIC is why this blog exists.

      Reconciliation is THE default position in the vast majority of infidelity resources. I’d put it at 99.9, frankly.

      • Very sad. A running conciseness is “help the client get what they want.” Which is usually reconciliation, but that doesn’t equate to the client’s happiness or best interest. And then there’s the one’s who don’t care at all and just want to make money. The best thing to do is get your OWN therapist and not attend marriage counseling, because in marriage counseling the therapist is advocating for what both of you want instead of just you (and the chump sometimes doesn’t know what they want). So if the cheater wants to reconcile the therapist will push it in that direction.

  • So much mightiness in these replies!
    Karen, take it from the pros here at CN….life will get better once you get away from him and this heinous situation. You too will be mighty. You can do it, you’ve already started! Hugs and support! 😊

  • Listen to Tracy!!!!!

    My ex (27 years married) cheated for 10 years with his old girlfriend and then started a second affair with a Craig’s list hook up and then got all three of us to dance the pick me dance – all the while he said he was so sorry, that he never meant to hurt me, that he still loved me, that why can’t we be friends, and that it was my fault because I wouldn’t do foursomes blah blah blah. He said this the entire 18 months between D day and the divorce. And, notably, he kept fucking OW #2 the entire time -!

    I promise promise promise that it is so much better over here. Divorced after 27 years, but no more mindfuckery, sad sausage, gaslighting, lying, snoring!!

    It’s abuse, what they do to us. Run! And then come here to CN every single day. We’ve got your back. We get it. Trust us. You will be ok.

  • Ick and more ick.

    The idea of a husband living this double life for so many years, and enjoying it. So damn gross. So mind blowing.

    I hope she can kick him out of the house. To learn all this AND to have to pack and move to a new place is too hard for her. IF he was any sort of human being he would move out at her request and not say one peep.

    The asshole husband should be the one destabilized by changing addresses overnight.

    He will play the victim now in many ways. He will promise the moon and stars. The fact is he lied to her face every day for decades. He is a phony creep liar.

    • I agree Mitz, if he had any shred of dignity or thought for his wife, he would do the right thing. I doubt that he will.

  • We see the truth in the news, we watch special programs. We know criminals and serial killers that get away with it for years. We know there are bad people out there who do inexcusable things. But we don’t believe it will happen to us. I now believe that there are many cheaters out there, and most of them get away with it. We only see the tip of the ice-burg on this site. You were lucky. You found out the truth. Don’t try to fix it. Don’t try to understand it. Chumps are as different from cheaters as rabbits are from predators. We are their prey. They do not change, they get better at deception with time. They will do or say anything to get what they want. They consider us stupid for having morals and values. The only thing you can do that makes sense is try to gather up what you can salvage of your life, and flee. The predator will continue theses behaviors even if they ultimately result in his death. They do not change. You must. Forget being forgiving, get going, going gone. You have received some excellent advice in the other replies. I hope you heed it.

  • I really hope Karen has been interviewing attorneys today. The OW and Karen’s husband know the jig is up and they are likely to be stealing (more) money, erasing their digital trail, opening bank accounts and generally setting her up for a big fall.

    Once she has hired an attorney, then she can share information with OW’s husband. I hope he is NOT already aware of their activities or worse – he participates.

    Their youngest is 18, or almost 18 so I bet that is why OW slipped and ‘fessed up. No child support paid to Karen on behalf of her children to interfere with their fabulous new life together!

    I wish nothing but better days ahead for you, Karen. They won’t happen at once; I bet you will eventually wonder how the hell you kept all the plates spinning for decades while he was “elsewhere”.

  • #TeamKaren
    Take off for a few days and go somewhere safe.
    Your sanity matters so much right now. The dumb shit can wait- just get away and safe.

  • My cheater was having sex with the guy longer than his soon to be wife! And would I’m sure still be if I had not notified the poor girl. They really lack a conscious. Destroying so many people for a cheap thrill!

  • Where there is smoke, there is fire. And she is not the boss of him, either. All to say, he’s fucked the bartender, if I were to bet. He’s one messed up dude. He LIKES (and so does she–and the bartender) knowing something you don’t know.

    You poor dear! Your whole life has just been dumped upside down. You lost two people important to you, and now you have to try to make sense of it all. Just remember, it wasn’t you. Maybe you’ll work on not ignoring your gut, but it wasn’t you. You’re the hero here. Someone should write your story, make a movie. This is just unbelievable. But we believe you.
    Hugs!

  • We can’t overlook the OW’s first instinct was to declare Karen as “crazy.” Because of course. Here at CN we see the gaslighting so often that we don’t even question that it is the first response.

    Newbies, take note. Flat out lies are their go-to. Do not be fooled.

    Also, the fact that Karen became the super sleuth of all time marriage police while hubs was having heart surgery…..yeah….time to go. Sometimes the brain knows what we have not yet admitted to our hearts.

    Newbies, trust your gut. “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

  • Yah get the lawyer before doing anything. Quit talking to him unless it’s to keep the act up until you’re ready to file. He’s probably already working with one himself. Best advice I ever got on here was the following: The only thing you may have control over is when the divorce happens, and if you wait too long you won’t even control that.

    • Yes. I posted on this below. Act first, talk later…before he has a chance to wrap his brain around what’s happening…cause once they do, it gets ugly.

  • Unfortunately I can relate. My ex had an ongoing affair with our married next door neighbor. We hung out with them and their kids and spent a lot of time together. I even offered to let her and her kids stay with us until her husband got transferred and they could join him. Yes, I’m a roll out the red carpet kind of chump. Any way, we, I mean I, tried to single handedly save the marriage. I wish I would have left then and missed three more d-days, stressful years playing marriage police, and racked up huge debts due to his never ending spending. Yes, listen to the advice. Save yourself future grief and suffering and take care of you.

  • Hello Karen,

    I felt shocked and saddened and fearful when I read this thing that happened to you!

    My heart goes out to you.

    Prayers, too.

    If it were me, I might be torn. He did this horrible thing, but maybe he was so sweet the other day; it’s probably hard to understand. No one is really a monster, we are all a mixture of good intentions and bad intentions. That his bad intentions and actions were habitual is indicative of a real problem, and I’m so sorry you’re having to alter the life you have known – up until now – to deal with it.

    I know you will figure out the best thing to do, one little baby step at a time! Even if it’s just figuring out that you want a bowl of soup over a taco, or that you want to wear pants instead of a dress. You’ve been shocked and it might take a little time to know how to proceed.

    You might have some guilt about checking out the cell phone. But you had good reason, and a household of people (including yourself, especially yourself!) to protect by finding the truth!

    Another word: this is not about you. It’s not about the way you look, or about something you said 10 years ago, or the way you cock your head when you smile… it’s not about you at all. It’s all about him. And her. They just messed up, for a long time. They were selfish and cocky and uncaring. But they were human! They were good things, too. It must just feel crazy to you right now! Wow.

    The other woman’s husband? Well, you kind of made a deal with her. She would tell you the truth if you wouldn’t tell her husband? So she told you the truth, and you didn’t tell her husband. I liked it when I read that you kept your end of it. That sounded like integrity to me.

    Is there any way you could get her or your husband to tell him the truth? (Just an idea…) If you could figure that out, your “agreement” with her would not be broken.

    I think it’s right to trust people. Until you KNOW they are not to be trusted. You’ve been trusting your husband and operating under that trust for all these years. Good for you! Now you know differently. That it was going on behind your back doesn’t mean you were a chump. It doesn’t mean you were a fool. It doesn’t mean you were clueless. It means you were a trustworthy person who projected that trustworthiness onto your husband, and what a beautiful thing! Never get upset with yourself for trusting!

    But now that you know the truth, it calls for action. And action calls for courage. And with the courage, you can DO THINGS…

    May you find good counsel, make wise decisions and receive strength for your journey!

    You are being propelled into a whole new world.

    If you still have love for your husband, that’s a good thing! It will be so good for your children if you can focus on the positive while you do what needs to be done. You can do what you need to do quietly, without drama, with class and style. Especially if you realize that he is the one with the problem and you are the one who has been loving and gracious and the rock of the home.

    An Irish prayer for you:

    May God give you…
    For every storm, a rainbow,
    For every tear, a smile,
    For every care, a promise,
    And a blessing in each trial.
    For every problem life sends,
    A faithful friend to share,
    For every sigh, a sweet song,
    And an answer for each prayer.

    I will be thinking of you, too…

  • Karen,

    I am so sorry this is happening to you. It is truly an unbelievable shock. And please please listen to CL…it is the path to a better life. My advice might be slightly different than others but it gets you to the same end. I recommend not speaking to anyone but an attorney (and a therapist) about all of this until your divorce is sorted out. Right now, you have a much better chance of getting through a quick and easy-ish divorce with an ex who will sign pretty much anything because he too is in the throws of the shock of discovery. I urge you to capitalize on that ASAP. Do whatever it takes and say what you have to to get out and get the settlement you want–signed and delivered to the court. The longer you wait, the more you try to reconcile, the more time he has to become self righteous, nasty, mean, and difficult. And it will happen. So act swiftly. It will be hard, but I encourage you to do it (this is advise I wish I had taken as I now wrap up a 3 year long painful divorce process).

    THEN, sing like a fucking canary to all the involved parties. But when you tell the OW’s husband, expect his denial. Suggest telling him and handing over an envelope with printed proof, then walking away and letting him process the news.

    You will need a lot of therapy to process this and figure out what was real and what was not, but here are some tidbits I learned in the process: It is not your fault; you deserve better; he is an abuser; and your personal life with him was REAL in that you really loved, you really cared, you really supported him, your kids were born in love because you loved him. YOU are real and your feelings and actions were real. The rest was, well ,fucked up. But you my dear, are the real deal. Don’t doubt that.

  • I am really impressed at your hacking skills. Now that you know the truth, hold your head high and walk away. Far away. You are entitled to so much more. Hugs honey

  • Cheaters lack character and are of low moral fibre. The Blame Game is their favourite form of navigation tool.

    Excellent advice Chump Lady

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