Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Dear Chump Lady, He says I’m ‘selfish’ for leaving him

Hello,

My story is pretty much the same as everyone else’s with a small twist. Married for 12 years. He said he wanted another child in October 2017. I wasn’t so sure, because I had been doing 99% of the child rearing alone. Eventually, I thought to myself that I was being selfish since I was the only person that could give him another child. I didn’t want him to resent me. So, I agreed to “see what happens”.

D day was January 31st, 2018. My four year old told me at bedtime that Daddy kissed another lady like he kissed Mommy. The next day, I found his bag of pictures and keepsakes from the affair that started three years prior while I was pregnant with #3. I confronted him right away, and learned all of the sordid details while he was still feeling guilty. Three days later, I found out I was pregnant with #4. I asked him why he had wanted another child given the fact that he had been having an affair for the past three years. His response, “I had tried to end the affair a few times. I thought that if you got pregnant, that would end it.” Now, I live in this strange reality where this child that I have completely fallen in love with wouldn’t even exist if not for the affair.

The entire pregnancy was spent pick me dancing. Two weeks after I delivered the baby, I found out that he was still seeing her. I guess the baby (and it’s three siblings) wasn’t enough to end it after all. I filled for divorce at the beginning of this year. I’m struggling with loads of anxiety and probably a touch of depression. I have no idea how I can be a good single mom of four young kids and work outside of the home.

Ironically, not long after I stopped pick me dancing, he started begging me to withdraw the divorce papers. It is set to be finalized by the end of this month.

Why does it hurt so badly to officially end my marriage? I know that it has to happen, and most days I don’t even feel like I still love him. Yet, I find myself missing him already. I’m already grieving the loss of my time with the kids, and it hasn’t even happened yet. He still wants me to withdraw the papers, but I have concrete evidence that the affair has continued. He’s now cheated on me through two pregnancies. Why do I miss him? Why am I so very tempted to stay in this mess? I don’t want to miss half of my children’s childhoods, and I have always longed to be at home with my kids.

I feel like every dream that I had is dying, and by divorcing him I’m making sure that those dreams are gone forever. He keeps repeating that he doesn’t want a divorce and that this is all my choice. He’s told me that I am selfish for tearing apart our family, because “I may have cheated on you, but I never would have left you.”

I feel like I am a quitter. Like I am less of a mother for not keeping our family together. Is my meh and freedom from infidelity really worth their pain and the loss of daily hugs and kisses with my babies? How can I possibly go on regardless of which path I finally commit to?

Sincerely,

Momma Chump

Dear Momma Chump,

Of all the pernicious blameshifting (and I’ve read a shit-ton), the lie I hate the most is that chumps are ‘selfish’ for leaving.

NO. Risking four young children’s intact home to get your dick wet is selfish.

NO. Insisting your wife invest in you further with a fourth pregnancy when you KNOW you’re a cheater is MONSTROUSLY selfish.

Selfish for leaving? No, you’re SANE for leaving. It’s about the most unselfish thing you can do — push through this wall of grief — to get yourself and your children safe to a new life the other side. It requires sacrifice, honor, the discipline to not reach for the hopium pipe. Leaving is many, many things, but it is NOT ‘selfish.’

I had the “quitter” mindfuck put on me too, Momma Chump. Here’s what a quitter I am. I left. I rebuilt my life. I raised a child on my own (again). I rebuilt my career. I learned to weld. I made art. I found happiness. I found a better man. I moved. I started a blog. I wrote a book. I built a movement. SO. MUCH. QUITTING.

The only thing I quit was him. And I miss that person like you’d miss asbestos poisoning.

Pay no attention to his mindfuckery. It’s quite clear what you have to do here. Because if you do NOT do it, you’ve just green-lighted him to abuse you and those beautiful kids further. You cannot model this dysfunction to them, and he’s shown you, he is not going to stop being an asshole.

His response, “I had tried to end the affair a few times. I thought that if you got pregnant, that would end it.”

Wow, you must be carrying Super Fetus there, with the power to end affairs. So much responsibility for one so unborn.

I have no idea how I can be a good single mom of four young kids and work outside of the home.

It can be done. Moms at CN have done it and you can too. I just read this story in the New York Times about these brothers who created this successful CBD oil business (think what you will of that) — raised by a single mother WITH 11 CHILDREN. Single parents are mighty. You are mighty. You can do it.

Yet, I find myself missing him already.

You miss the family you thought you were going to have. The life you invested in so deeply. You miss the lie life he promised. It’s many things — fear of the unknown, loss of Intact Family Status, the basic primordial terror of being abandoned. It’s not him. He’s a person who cares more about his dick than he does his wife and four children. Let him and dick grow old and flaccid together. You are worth more than dick dribble.

“I may have cheated on you, but I never would have left you.”

BITCH COOKIE. I may have smacked you in the head, but I never would’ve set you ablaze.

He is not noble for staying. His presence means CAKE (with a side of bitch cookie). Not divorcing you is not loving you — he’s saying YOU ARE STILL OF USE TO HIM. To raise his kids, pay bills, keep him from consequences.

No man who loves you could behave this way.

Is my meh and freedom from infidelity really worth their pain and the loss of daily hugs and kisses with my babies?

Don’t put the choice this way. (Also, I doubt he’s going to take those four kids half the time.) Ask yourself instead, is modeling chump/cheater dysfunction to your kids and living with the daily pain of a man cheating on you worth facing the fear of starting over?

How can I possibly go on regardless of which path I finally commit to?

You’re not a quitter. So, you will go on — to a better life without him. ((Hugs))

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.
  • I stayed.
    In retrospect, getting rid of the entitled whiner buzzkiller sooner would have been better.

    Imagine your wonderful life without him.

    • First, trapping you by conceiving a child is why he wanted another baby. Your youngest was almost ready for school. You could make it without him. This is the oldest trick in the book. Having a mistress and the wife and kids at home is so very 19th century!! Anyway, he reneged on his vow to get rid of the other chick. He says whatever will placate you. He knows your kids mean everything to you. I dare say he does love you all but it’s twisted and unhealthy and weak. He’s weak. Look, he said he would end it and he didn’t. He lied. He’s selfish. And he probably is looking at the financials and shitting a brick. Listen, I get all the reasons why you love/hate him, why you’re afraid of what will happen. Afraid of failing. I went through this. And it was so freakin hard. But. It was fun. I didn’t stop living. I still loved being a mom. I got a good job working with folks who cared about and helped me. My son was very happy. Yeah, I was broke all the time and lived in fear of my car breaking down. I just lived one day at a time. Get the assets due to you. Get the child support. Ask your family for help. Downsize. You can do this. Hugs and God bless.

      • Stay with him and he will make you miserable for years. Kids sense anxiety, insecurity, fear in your relationship and think it is normal. They find someone to make them feel just like that when they marry. Ask me how I know.

        In the end ..the kids grow up and move out and he leaves for a new victim. You start a new life alone….. but at least you have hours to kill in therapy and trying to figure out where decades of money has gone.

        He is a cheater, a liar, a manipulator, an empty shell. Be done, go no contact and you will see it I promise. It’s not easy. I’m sorry.

      • Totally agree with Trudy. He wanted you to have another bay so you would e TOO BUSY and TOO DISTRACTED (and have hands too full!) to notice he was cheating again.

        Its really that simple.

        My Ex tried to get ME to have a 4th (when I was 45 years old!!!)… luckily I didn’t take the bait… my 3rd pregnancy nearly killed me. Turns out he was cheating the whole time, even when he was clamoring for baby #4.

        • Our kids were in high school and college
          So he clamored for a new puppy to give me more to do when he was “working”
          When we split he wanted all the dogs to stay together(ie me take care of all of them so he would have full freedom)
          Nope, that’s your puppy fuckwit

    • Me too. I stayed. I had baby #4. I am so glad I agreed to baby #4. Besides that benefit, I have regretted staying with him every day since. That said, in hindsight, I forgive myself for clinging to the lie and believing it was nothing and it was over. I wanted the dream and I wanted my narrative to be true. A year after having baby #4, the house of cards came tumbling down. I could have saved myself and my children from years of subtle abuse if I’d left then. The dream was gone but I had my four beautiful children.

      It’s been 17 years. We would have not only made it but we would have thrived. I have regretted staying after that collapse every day since.

  • Hey Momma Chump – I, too, was branded selfish for leaving my cheater, and still am 🙋🏼‍♀️

    “I may have cheated but I always came home to you. And I would never break up the family like you did by taking the kids and leaving me! How could you do that?! Don’t you care about the kids?! You’re only thinking about yourself!” Yep….can you believe the audacity?

    If you cheat, then you’re the one that broke up the family unit. Not the chump that was forced to make some hard decisions and take action.

    Momma Chump, you will find a way to make it work. You’re stronger than you think. Big (((hugs))) from Down Under 🌿🐨🌿🦘🌿

  • Momma Chump, you are doing the right thing! I’m sorry but this is one of the stuppidest things I have ever read. Please use the powers of the “Super Fetus” to make you strong.
    I have no children but his thinking of children as means is just disgusting.

  • It’s perfectly normal to miss the Lie. And having him try to hoover you back in is also very common.

    This is where minimum contact will really help. I know you have to share the kids, but there are plenty of good people in the forums who can show you how to keep that contact to a minimum.

    You need all your energy to rebuild and focus on you.

    • Well said Lola, like Momma Chump, we all missed “The Lie”.

      And let’s remember that we rationalize too long on “The Sunken Costs”

      Until we realize missing a lie ruins and wastes our lives.

  • He’s trying to convince you that you’re not allowed deal breakers. You absolutely are justified in having your own deal breakers.

    You should determine your own life, and anyone who thinks you shouldn’t doesn’t really believe you are a whole person.

  • … “I may have cheated on you, but I never would have left you.” …

    This ^

    No, he already left you when he cheated.

      • So sorry you are going through this storm. It may help to close your eyes and truly image the REALITY of staying with him. Especially when the fantasy of what you wanted/thought you had starts to play out, give time to imagine the alternate REAL scenario of being with him as he continued to be himself. What it would FEEL like day after day. Wondering where he is. Knowing he has an entire life and relationships separate from you and your family. He wants to be with a person who is happy to be a part of breaking of a family with four children. All of the times he wants to be with THAT, instead of with his children, let alone you.

        Take care of yourself.

    • “I may have cheated on you, but I never would have left you.”

      Maybe not for this AP but who knows down the road. He’s already proven he has no loyalty and as someone else mentioned he’s weak. If he meets what he considers his “twu luv” he’ll leave you and the kids in a NY second.
      No one should go through married life wondering or worrying if their spouse is cheating or not. How miserable. That is no way to live. Go through with the divorce and let the AP worry whether he is being faithful or not.

      • That is exactly right. Whatever he is saying now, he could leave in a heartbeat for some tramp later. I remember having an argument with ex a few days before our first son, second child was born. He wanted to go flying that weekend and I didn’t want him to because I knew the baby could come at any time and didn’t want to be alone with no way to get to the hospital. He then suggested he could go right after the baby was born. I didn’t like that idea either and said something to the effect of “Why would you want to abandon me with the kids like that right after the baby is born”. I meant just for the day which would have been bad enough, but he flew into a rage when I said that. I didn’t know what was going on. Perhaps I used a poor choice of words, but not enough to warrant a rage. He later explained that he was sensitive about the word “abandon” as his great grandfather had apparently left his great grandmother when his grandmother was a child and was offended by my putting his going flying for a day in the same category as actually abandoning his family. I thought that explained it all and my fault for triggering him of course. Now I wonder if he was already cheating and thinking of leaving or at last thinking of leaving me at that time and thought he was ever so noble for choosing not to do so. What a saint. It took another 14 years or so and at least one emotional affair and two physical affairs that I know of for him to actually get around to abandoning me with the kids in favor of some stupid slut (although he would still be offended by that notion as he does still see his kids and pays child support after all so not the same thing at all). He still tried to spin it as doing me a favor. Well I should abandon you now, otherwise I will just do it later when you are too old to find a boyfriend. He may be right about that (at least the abandoning me later part) but he’s still an asshole. If they are willing to cheat on you they are willing to leave you too if they think something better has come along. Momma’s husband’s current side chick is just another fill in until Twu Wuv comes along. He’s shopping, he just hasn’t found the right replacement yet. Don’t give him that opportunity.

      • Maybe I’m a cynic here, but I suspect one of the reasons he doesn’t want you to leave, is because you’re his excuse for not having to marry his mistress. Once you leave … all of a sudden she’s expecting that wedding ring he’s been promising all this time.

        • walkbymyself,
          My thoughts too in regards to my wasband when I stopped to wonder why he hadn’t left decades ago. (He is a serial cheater and when Dday happened he told me he hadn’t loved me for years…..’that’ line which is a favorite with fuckwits.)

          Took me awhile but I think that was a factor. I know that once our divorce was underway she dumped him – or maybe he dumped her….I never got the ‘facts’ nor care to but figured she wanted more of a commitment and wasn’t about to let him go ‘unmonitored’ since she knew he was a cheater to begin with. One thing he wouldn’t tolerate was ‘surveillance’.

          Also the cynic in me comes out in thinking that if there is no triangulation (cake) affairs are all that fun. That whole energy is suddenly and completely gone that fueled the relationships to begin with. Sick, sick behavior.

  • “ I don’t want to miss half of my children’s childhoods, and I have always longed to be at home with my kids.”

    He knew this and used it against you.

    He knew this and in his warped mind used it as the perfect permission slip to do whatever he wanted, even if it jeopardized your physical, emotional and financial well-being.

    He knew this and purposely used it as a tool to get you even more dependent on your family unit and his presence in it.

    Fear of the unknown is natural. You now know exactly what he is, and it’s nothing to fear. It’s pathetic.

      • Absolutely. Momma, get rid of him. Don’t allow your beautiful children to grow up with a pathetic, selfish parent with no moral compass, and a dysfunctional married relationship, as their model. Many chumps have got rid of their cheaters and you can too – use the forums here to get advice and support. You’d be amazed what help comes out of the woodwork once people know you are in need! Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help and tell your story because this is Not Your Fault.
        Many hugs to you and babies xxx

        • I have a question? How do I get my kids away from my cheater, ex Narc husband and his common law “SLUT”? Hea complete filth been cheating and lying for 4 years now!

          • If you are in the States, custody will likely be 50/50, and difficult to change unless you can document abuse or neglect (and even then, many judges will be loath to changing custody arrangements). However, over time, cheaters often show less interest in the children and will ask you to take them extra hours/days. DO SO, and document. Even if custody arrangements are tough to change legally, alterations that give you more time with the kids are perfect (and if you document over time, may be able to get extra child support).

    • And please do not assume you won’t have your kids more than half the time or not have sufficient time to be with them at home.

      It sounds like you are a stay-at-home mom now (start calling it “work inside the home” ASAP). That means he has had the ability to spend money on his affair AND support you and 4 kids. I was shocked when I found out what I could get from the ex by doing my homework and finding the toughest lawyer I could.

      Go get some legal advice from several lawyers. Hopefully without him knowing. Read how others have taken extra cash when going to the grocery store to build up a legal cash stash.

      You may be entitled to several years at home before you have to start working. If you have the skills (or can get training) you may be able to work at home.

      Please find a way to look out for your best interests and for your children’s best interests first. You need a tough lawyer to take charge while you work on digging up the financials and resetting your mind. There is no room for guilt or confusion about your mission from today forward: doing what’s best for you and the children.

      Read the forums and as many back posts as possible about how to dig, fight thru the legal process and get your mind where it needs to be. The mind usually lags behind. You can do this and know that, like all the chumps here, you are stronger and smarter than you think!

  • He doesn’t care about the kids and he’s not sorry he cheated. He’s mad because it’s just now occurring to him that paying child support for 4 kids and potentially alimony is going to be inconvenient for him. Too bad, so sad.

    You are not selfish. You did not break up the family. He did that all by himself. I’m so mad on your behalf that he asked you to carry a 4th child! Talk about selfish.

    Keep down the path you’re on. If you don’t he will continue to cheat, expose you to STIs and eventually the right kibble dispenser will come along and he’ll leave anyway. Dump the loser now!

  • Just like CL says – you are still of use to him.

    He sees you as a useful wife appliance, child care worker, house keeper – Mommy figure. But he clearly does not love you like a husband should.

    He loves no one but himself.

    Go ahead and lead your best life. Let him figure out how to adult all on his own.

    Think of it this way…he may eventually leave you. It’s better to have control of the situation.

    • Mommy figure – you hit the nail on the head for me.
      We know cheaters love “cake”, but I have always wondered what really was in it for him, considering I had no steady job (just a self-run business that wasn’t making enough, despite my best efforts), some housekeeping but he enjoyed doing that himself, no car, no advice he would accept to take from me, no friends, no family, no responsibilities as he liked to take care of everything , and very little sex as he didn’t seem that interested. So it was always puzzling to me why I would be “cake”.
      I thought maybe I was a beard, for undisclosed homosexuality (still a possibility, though not a strong one).

      All in all – and I know this is untangling, but we all do it- I really do think he wanted a “womanly” placeholder in the home, someone to stand in for his mother who left and who he could finally have control over (his mom was abusive to him growing up). I was used as an object, regardless.

      I always admired how someone inherently cold could force loving ways so effectively, as I was a bit cold myself but didn’t have the same self-training, but you should see how fast he “stopped” being loving and treating me indifferently. That’s when I realized it was fake, because it was a choice to treat me nicely, not something that came instinctively, as it does when you love someone.

      Just thinking out loud.

  • “He keeps repeating that he does not want a divorce, it all my choice.” Of course it is your choice!! His choice is to keep you and have the affair. I heard versions of this as well. Yes it is your choice. He had choices too, how about not have an affair!! How about the choice to stay faithful to your family!! His choices led to your decision. I love how they do not take responsibility for any of their actions. I is like you are ending the marriage for no good reason.
    I am amazed by your strength with 4 kids!! You are mighty!

    • “It’s all your choice” is just the ultimate way to avoid any responsibility. It’s the most selfish thing of all, to put all the responsibility and adulting on the chump. Not only have they caused some of the worst pain you can experience in life, but they want you to believe you brought it on yourself.

      My ex did this. He’d packed a bag and left me. But somehow his narrative was i kicked him out and it was my choice. I wish I had – it would have been a mightier story sooner than it ended up being.

  • “He’s told me that I am selfish for tearing apart our family,”

    When a Cheater points a finger at a Chump, there are four fingers pointing right back at the Cheater. You have more information.

    When a Cheater threatens a Chump, a Cheater is revealing what the Cheater FEARS will happen TO THE CHEATER if it is revealed to a larger audience. You know what to do to minimize the Cheater’s hold over you.

    All of those things are “tells” and they are attorney-fodder.

    I am sorry for the loss of the marriage and life you THOUGHT you had. I know that the life you create from this day forward is REAL. The good times, the bad and everything in between. You will no longer be basing your life on lies and emotional quicksand.

    You are mourning the loss of a dream and certain possibilities. There are more that you haven’t dreamed of yet.

  • Funny how we chumps insist that we love someone who clearly doesn’t love us.
    Pack up your love and leave.
    Four kids largely on your own will be hard, but you are going to find that a village will spring up around you to offer support. I have more support now than I had when my cheater was around.
    My cheater suggested we get another child after I discovered his cheating and we were planning separation. I think he just wanted to leave me with an extra load.
    Your cheater wanting to bring another child into his dysfunctional mess is selfish. Your cheater cheating is selfish.
    You worrying about your cheater and kids. Not selfish.
    You contemplating divorce from a cheater. Self preservation. It’s a thing. A good thing.
    Young thing, run free. Candy Staton

  • Same sob story here, 4 kids cheated, I caught him. Said he would have never of left us (I tossed him out), loved me and wsnted his cake<actually said this. Drunken bastard admits to being selfish and wants nothing to do with kids other than what he's supposed to do "pay support". Time to let them all go and move on to better ourselves and our children. Our children need to grow up knowing this was not normal and to do right.
    We CAN DO IT!

    • Same here: I’m the mother of four wonderful kids. X was a serial cheater but I was kept in the dark until DDay – he said he wouldn’t leave us but kept fucking the much younger goldigging whore he met on an elevator. Kids kept finding out — they became marriage police cadets and they pick-me dances! 😭😭😭😭SICK SICK SICk. He turned on them with narcissistic rage. He left all of us — told them he “hated the last 10 years of our family life!” The kids became suicidal. One almost succeeded.

      Mom of 4– complete the divorce! Your kids’ lives depend on it. You are lucky they aren’t teens. Your X will likely be at-most a Disney dad who gives them infrequent fun superficial trips and dinners out. You will be the sane parent, loving, peaceful, instilling and modeling values and integrity. That’s all you and they need to be ok.

      4.5 years out— X sees kids about 4 hours a month. One stayed with him awhile when she wouldn’t stop using drugs— she was 17. The others have never spent a single night with him — he’s no parent.

      I built a new life. Better job, work as a lawyer from home so I’m here, have a devoted significant other and we are living together and raising our two youngest teens in a loving, reciprocal, honest, peaceful, family-focused home. We just bought a wake boarding boat for the kids to enjoy with us, live on a lake, hike, cook, play ping pong and billiards on our tables — all the kids’ friends love to come here.

      I am sad that all my dreams and their intact family was broken by X and his horrid character. I’m still traumatized by the blameshifting and the shock of it all and the divorce from hell and week-long trial and numerous discoveries of who he really was under that mask…. but this life today is full and authentic and wonderful. Come quickly to Meh, Mama, do not delay! We are saving your seats!

  • Momma Chump, some of this whining may be because he’s figured out how much child support he’s going to have to pay for four kids.

    Let me tell you about my friend Dana (not her real name). She FINALLY left her cheater when the youngest of her four kids was around four. It was hard, but she figured it out. Like many cheaters, he wasn’t there physically for the kids, so she did NOT miss half their childhoods. Fortunately, her ex did pay his child support. Dana spent the next few years raising her kids and working on herself. She eventually met and married a great guy who was also the victim of a cheater. He’s a good step-father to her kids.

    Now I don’t know if you’ll ever marry again. I’ve seen a lot of second marriages that were total crap because the second mate was just like the first one. But I do know that a woman with four kids can find happiness again.

    Also, it’s ridiculous for him to call you selfish. Anybody who is doing 99% of the child-rearing and is willing to have a fourth child is NOT selfish.

    • This is what I needed to hear today. It is hard for me to see a future like what you have described, but it is comforting to hear of someone who was able to really thrive after the fact.

      • Momma chump please don’t be fooled by him begging for you to back out of the divorce. I guarantee you it is financial. He doesn’t want to pay and I hope you have a good lawyer. I know of two other guys who cheated and their wives took them back. They don’t know the real reason. One guy says flat out he could not support two household. please don’t be fooled. He will make your life a living hell and you cannot have your children be raised that is acceptable behavior. Be sure to reach out to friends and family. Don’t let anyone ever tell you are responsible for breaking up the family. He broke up the famity when he chose to cheat.

  • “I may have cheated on you, but I never would have left you.”

    My Cheater managed to get to the grave without me finding ehough proof to get him to ever admit this first part, but he did manage to (very pridefully) cough up the second phrase.

    And he did this AFTER moving 3000 miles away for 18 months

    and

    after working in another state Mon-Fri where it appears he likely had a different Howorker

    so their definitions are interesting…apparently to my Cheater, if you were sporadically doing work in the geographical vicinity as your fucking, you didnt leave your wife and kids to fuck, you were WORKING woth a side dabble of fucking. Well THAT makes all the difference in the world.

    So the 3.5 years that I parented alone (while working my job too) doesnt count as “leaving”.

    I also came to learn he had different definitions for “adultery, abuse, devotion, fidelity, and marriage” .

    Make sure there is a life insurance policy stipulated in your settlement

    • I will add that even a blind pig will find an occasional acorn…my Cheater was a dreadful spouse the vast majority of the time BUT it was his idea to have our last baby and she turned out to be a huge blessing to me in ways that I would have never imagined.

      I know I can gripe with the best of them here, but that gift was real. They are all grown now and Im so glad I have them.

    • Mine used the same logic! A lot of his “activity” occurred out of the city we lived in ( although plenty occurred in cheap hotels in the city, our own home, in the garage, in the living room, in our bed…) It wasn’t really “cheating” because 1) it was sex with a man and apparently that doesn’t “count” and 2) he never had any intentions of leaving me, even when his long term affair partner begged him to. How incredibly noble of him.

      Stupid me, I bought that second line totally, and did the pick me dance for 3 years after that. Worst 3 years of my life, and the best 3 years of his. Hahaha, joke’s on him, I’m in a new state with my two youngest who head to college this fall, I have a great job, finally making more money than I did at the job I had when I was married to him, I run a side business, and I have a pretty great life. He lives in a tiny house, has a glorified clerical job, is probably still sneaking around, and is dependent on Xanax to get him through his day. I still find myself wishing for the life I THOUGHT I had, if he had been faithful it would have been wonderful, but the more momentum I gain on my own, the less I miss that fantasy.

    • “apparently to my Cheater, if you were sporadically doing work in the geographical vicinity as your fucking, you didnt leave your wife and kids to fuck, you were WORKING woth a side dabble of fucking. Well THAT makes all the difference in the world.”

      #metoo

      cheater fucked when I was not around: out of country business trips, when I was away visiting family, when we lived in the same country but in two different cities and saw each other on weekends, and when he got an occasional blow-job or quickie at work during “overtime.” Then he moved us to Canada and stayed behind himself “wrapping up business”, which took him 6 years and we saw each other twice a year for a few weeks. All in-between was legitimate fucks because wife was not around. But then, once he visited us after 6 months of absence to spend 20 days around Christmas, he told me he was going to Mexico. Alone. Because he “needed to feel the mystery of the pyramids and contemplate about life because he was very depressed with this living apart” which was his choice.

      So it does not matter. The spouse, even though physically present, is emotionally and mentally absent from their lives. They can compartmentalize it. We can’t. Hence, we suffer and they don’t understand why there is such a big fuss about it.

    • My ex thought he was a hero for staying, couldn’t believe *I* would break up the family. It was really that he was too weak to leave, too afraid of judgement from his family, from our community, was afraid of losing a reputation as a good dad, plus losing free childcare/housekeeping/gardening/shopping etc.

      It was just a lot easier to make it seem like it was my doing. He was able to rationalize having sex with randos by telling himself he was a good man for staying, and when he left he knew I wouldn’t hurt our daughters by telling anyone about his “sex addiction”.

      After d-day, he made kicking him out EXCRUCIATING, and blamed me the entire time. Then, he took a job 3,000 miles away, and somehow blamed that on me, too, and told me he was “doing it for the children”. Eleven years later, he’s remarried and has a baby and a toddler. Wife thinks he’s great because his daughters are great (which is somehow attributed to him??).

      Did you ever have a shitty partner who passive aggressively “made” you break up with them? This is basically that, but on steroids, and with extra passengers.

      Momma Chump – this first part will suck, but you can do it, and it’s the right thing to do, and you are not selfish. You will find out who your real friends are, and you can be justifiably angry and sad about the people who aren’t supportive. But you will be ok. He might torch your social life for a while, but that will come back. You will be ok, and then you will be great.

    • Ditto on the life insurance. Make sure the policy is on him but YOU OWN the policy. YOU pay the premium out of what he pays in alimony/child support.

    • ” if you were sporadically doing work in the geographical vicinity as your fucking, you didnt leave your wife and kids to fuck, you were WORKING woth a side dabble of fucking. Well THAT makes all the difference in the world.”

      Ha ha ha, THIS!

      Aah, you nailed it! ROFL

  • He does not care about your children.

    “My four year old told me at bedtime that Daddy kissed another lady like he kissed Mommy. The next day, I found his bag of pictures and keepsakes from the affair that started three years prior while I was pregnant with #3”

    Yes, they involve children in affairs. Even a four year old recognized it was WRONG.

    My two daughters were brought to at least 5 OW houses. My oldest reported one at a young age. He denied her reality. At 16 he hit her and again denied her reality. She’s 40 and a mess struggling with addiction.

    He left me homeless when second daughter was 16. She’s in therapy at 37.

    Do not raise your children with a man who involves his child in his double life. Divorce him and get a settlement to support you and those kids.

    While he has the children take classes, aim for a career in demand. That’s what I decided to do for myself. Get out. Please chose freedom over maintaining normalcy. Bus normal is fucked up.

    • As an adult Chump, I found in my memory banks a moment I shared with my dad in 1975…he didnt generally like to spend time with me but he said he and I were going to help a lady…she was a damsel in distress who had a daughter. We went to her house on a saturday morning and raked her leaves then went inside for cider where dad and lady talked and laughed WAY TOO LONG. I was his alibi and I now look back on that with disgust. Im so sorry for your kids.

      • Thank youUNM. By far the most selfish thing a parent can do to a child is to use them as a cover. When I think of how the Limited used ME to avoid accountability and consequences and to play the victim its painful enough as an adult. The damage to a child is life long.

        • My ex-boyfriend’s 17-year-old daughter was the one who told me he was cheating. (Not only did he not hide it, but he apparently had sex so loudly with one woman that the daughter could hear it on a different floor. His elderly parents were in the house at the time, too. Classy.)

          When I confronted ex-BF, the first thing he said was, ‘I can’t believe she threw me under the bus like that.’

          I was way more disturbed that he’d expected his teenage daughter to keep his secrets than I was by the cheating.

    • @doingme sorry about the effects his actions has taken on your kids. This is one thing that I worry about. What will this do to my girls in the long run. Going from having and knowing an active father to one who just decided being with another woman was far more important has been crushing. It’s cruel of him to deny his daughters their experiences and truth. I’m glad that your daughter sought therapy

      • BetterDays, it’s better for your daughters to know the truth and live in a home with a sane parent. When we model tolerance for abuse that’s when the damage impacts their view of what they accept in their own lives as adults.

        Both of my daughters seek out men similar to their father. Always, they believe they can change the manchild while struggling with subtle abuse and the image projected.

    • And you aren’t choosing “freedom,” meaning being single and able to date or have what you want for dinner. The “freedom” we are talking about is FREEDOM FROM ABUSE. Freedom from manipulation and gaslighting and blame-shifting. Freedom from knowing your kids are being abused, too, because that is what it is to take a kiddo to see the parent’s affair partner. That’s psychological abuse, showing a child that the other parent isn’t worthy of respect, showing a child that it’s OK to lie and cheat.

      That’s what you want free of. Your dreams of being married to a wonderful man are dead, not because of you but because your STBX is not a normal person. He’s not like you. You can’t have the marriage you want with him. Ever.

    • Dear Doingme! Your story made me cry. I don’t have any children but this was so heartbreaking to read. Big hug

  • Ending a marriage with a cheater sort of feels like having Stockholm’s syndrome. I conditioned myself to the emotional abuse by dismissing the fact that he was still cheating after leaving the home; thus doing the “pick me dance” because I so badly wanted to be the prize. After all, I was his wife. I think chumps love unconditionally and lose ourselves in that and the ideas of what things SHOULD be instead of accepting what things are.

    Because you filed for divorce does not mean you killed hope for the family. He killed the hope the day he rationalized his behavior to cheat. This was the only way to free yourself from a toxic, anxious, depressed life with someone who doesn’t love and value you.

    “I may have cheated on you, but would have never left “ Blame shifting is a top characteristic for a cheater!!! I would suggest reading up on narcissism. It helped me to kind of understand my ex behavior. That eased the pain some, but it does still leave me thinking WHY to it all.
    Divorce sucks! It is horrible however it’s spent. As time pass you will have more clarity (mixed with hints of fog every now and then).

    Divorce has been one of the most conflicting experiences in my lifetime. I did not want a divorce. I knew it was the right thing to do, but I didn’t want it. I get it. Your feelings for him will slowly begin

    • Stockholm Syndrome! Yes! That’s it exactly. I’ve been struggling for years trying to find a way to describe it.

      • Look up cPTSD. You’ll find it’s recognized as a complication of being emotionally abused over the long term by a significant other. This is where a therapist with some experience with people coping with cluster-b disordered family members could help quite a bit resolving lingering triggers for you (a necessary part of getting to “meh”).

    • “I may have cheated on you but would have never left”.

      Of course he wouldn’t! He’s not the one who’s married to a liar and cheater who wastes family time and family money on concubines and exposes his spouse to all kind of nasty and even deadly diseases. He’s got no reason to divorce. You very much do.

    • i feel the same about divorce. it sucks and is intensified by the betrayal. in this scenario, it is freedom from abuse not freedom to fly and discover my inner joy. one day maybe that will come but during early days, it is freedom from eating shit sandwiches, from being disrespected, taken advantage of unknowingly. that freedom has a huge price. it tests my very core and demands i rise to meet it. the reward is self respect. yes i paid that price and its worth it. hugs

    • I was told that he never once thought of divorcing me or leaving me. That he will always deeply love me…. yada, yada, yada. If I hadn’t kicked him out or filed, I don’t think he ever would. He needed me for appearances and for his “good” reputation. There are many days I really miss him, want to share things with him and then I stop, take a deep breath and push those thoughts away. I think about the horrible things he said, about how he then would say just the right things to give me hope. How I started to no longer recognize myself as I became a shell of the person I once was. How I became paranoid, suspicious, needy, desperate. How much energy spent trying to figure out how to fix this, how to fix him, how to fix us. Hiding it from everyone and pretending to be happy was exhausting. Kicked him out 7 months ago, NC for 3.5 months and it has done wonders for me. You are not selfish. You are sane and moving forward without him will help keep you that way. Living in Limbo is not a way to live.

      • They say that, but I suspect it’s usually, if not always, bunk. Mine said that. Then I found searches about divorce in his history. Caught in a lie, he had to confess he’d been “thinking about it”. Later he slipped and admitted to actually planning it and waiting for the house to be paid off so he could afford it. I think anyone who cheats will leave if the circumstances are just right. If they find an AP they think is their twu wuv, who actually wants to marry them, and they can afford to pay support and split up assets, they will do it in a heartbeat.

  • I am actually surprised (and not) that my ex is not the only man to try to have another child while he was in the midst of having a relationship with another woman. I think I’m comforted in the seemingly pedestrian nature of this.

    Mama C, my therapist told me that a person who does this – seeks out another child while in an adulterous relationship -is not a healthy person. Granted, I have plenty of other evidence of this too, but I hope you consider that.

    And, fwiw, it took me a few years to not miss my ex – it was probably my idea of him and our family, but I still missed it. I still have anger about missing half my only living child’s life, but I’m trying to work on that. It’s really hard.

    I’m sorry you’re going through this. You don’t deserve it.

    • This is exactly what happened to me; I am sad to think it happened to you, too. My ex and I were going through IVF during his four year affair which started when I was pregnant with our first. To this day I can’t comprehend why/how he thought this was ok, even encouraged it.

      • My theory is they want you to be even more powerless. A pregnant or nursing mother can’t as easily leave or defend herself from an abusive asshole. They want all the power in the marriage. Cheating itself is about power imbalance. Remember the old sexist saying about keeping women barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen? That’s the misogynistic mindset behind cheating and encouraging you to get pregnant. Barefoot so you can’t run, pregnant so you can’t defend yourselves, and in the kitchen like a slave.

  • Dear Momma Chump,

    I am so sorry. I feel your pain and I totally relate to your sense of loss and self doubt.Your husband served you a shit sandwich with a huge side dish of crazy making blame shifting.

    Goal #1 is surviving, goal #2 is thriving.

    Re-read the CL responses and why it’s NOT selfish of you to want to be healthy and treated like a valuable.

    OF NOTE – Your husband kissed OW in front of your 4 y/o son. That’s how this affair was discovered.

    And he kept cheating even after he was caught and you were having a 4th child (kids for whom YOU do the bulk of caring).

    ^^^THAT is what staying married to this spoiled man/child means.

    Thus, your choice is NOT between an “intact family with a painful memory that heals in time” and the horrible endless pain of divorce.

    Your choice is between MORE betrayal of you & MORE exposing your kids to adultery & the persistent devaluation of their mother and themselves, (because 3 kids weren’t enough to stop him & it turns out, neither is 4. Why not go for 10??)

    VERSUS

    witnessing someone who is deeply wounded but resolute, piecing her life back together, facing her grief, then recovering, and modeling for her children what to do when THEY experience grief or face a betrayal or setback in life, (which they all will at some point.)

    SHOW them that enforcing boundaries is very hard but very healthy. It’s a consequence. Teach them that they can heal from grief, because you will.

    As someone here once said, we wrongly assume staying married in these situations means a finite amount of pain, versus leaving, which we fear would be infinitely painful.

    When it’s just the opposite.

    • As someone here once said, we wrongly assume staying married in these situations means a finite amount of pain, versus leaving, which we fear would be infinitely painful.

      When it’s just the opposite.

      What a wonderful saying Thank You DOCTOR’s1stWife&3Kids

    • Thank you for your description of the character of someone who enforces a boundary, accepts the reality, and moves on. This is my goal.

  • Momma Chump,

    My blood boiled at the “being selfish” for wanting to divorce. I immediately thought what Chump Lady replied to you: the most nefarious of all blameshifting.

    Of all the manipulation schemes, this one takes the cake (pun intended).

    You and your children deserve better.

    It hurts to admit we chose jackasses and bad characters. But if we want to live an honest, fair life for the same of our children, we must.

    Just for having the guts to write to Chump Lady you are mighty.

  • “I had been doing 99% of the child rearing alone”

    A man who leaves you to do the majority of the child related tasks/activities will cower when it comes to the responsibility of caring for 4 small children. He is not equipped to handle all that will be required.

    You, on the other hand, have been primed to tackle a multitude of things because of your total hands-on mothering. The best training and most honed skills I took back to the workplace when returning after two extended maternity leaves were the result of managing the gargantuan job of being the mommy.

    You will miss very little time with your kidlets. You are, however, armed with all that is necessary to march right into a new and good life!

  • I heard all of the same too – that I was the one who is selfish by filing for divorce and breaking up the family, nevermind that he cheated through the last 5 years with multiple AP’s in different states. Even 1 year after our divorce is final I still get text messages from him that I am a total bitch and ruined our lives.

    I think it was LAJ that said something like Chumps fall in love with only an image of what the cheater wants us to see, and once that is revealed, they show their true colors, discard and move on to another victim.

    We miss the “idea” of who the cheater pretended to be (faithful, loving spouse, parent etc). That is not who they really are – and the less contact you have with him the more clear it will become to you. Hopefully you are seeing someone you can talk to about this in person to work through your feelings and not make the same mistake again. You and your kiddos deserve SO MUCH BETTER. We all do.

  • Working outside of the home doesn’t make you a bad mom. I do it 40 hours a week. It’s an example to your kids and you may find it improves your mental health.

    • Thank you for that. My ex tried to convince me that I was selfish and irresponsible for working outside the home. I personally thought I was a better mom because I worked outside the home. My mother worked outside the home and she wasn’t even getting paid and I turned out just fine thank you very much.

    • Yes, and your self-respect, because it’s another field in which you discover how competent you are. Plus, the skills at work cross into your work at home, and vice-versa. You are a better mother and worker, and your kids benefit from seeing their mother as a can-do competent person in the world at large.
      My mother, an elementary school teacher, worked from the time I was in kindergarten. I thank her every day for that, because not only did I learn to be independent at a young age, I learned to respect my mom as both a mother at home and a person of respect outside the home. She used to say to my father, who related how his co-workers ribbed him about having a working wife, “Just tell them that with my own income I stay with you not because I have to, but because I want to.” I am grateful every day she modeled that self-respecting behavior for me: having my own professional job and pension made leaving my now ex much less painful that it otherwise would have been.
      MommaChump, my neighbor across the street threw out her cheating construction-worker husband when her four children (two boys, two girls) were all under the age of 6. A former special education teacher, she had become a proselytizer for stay-at-home mothering, so when she was forced to go back to work she had to eat crow as well as the shit sandwiches her ex served her up (including a half-sibling for her own four children).
      She was mighty like you wouldn’t believe (well, Chump Nation would believe!). She pitched balls to her sons on the front lawn, and her girls were out there raking leaves. They’re all grown now, respectable citizens, and two of them have children of their own. My neighbor is pushing 60 now, and making her plans for retirement in a few years. She stepped up despite the humiliation and the hurt, took herself and her children in hand, found emotional and spiritual help from her church and financial and child-care support from her family, lived her values and modeled them for her children.
      Re-frame the sh-t out of your husband’s blame shifting. Start with your last child: that child isn’t the “product” of your husband’s cheating, but of your great love and your great willingness to be all-in for your marriage, something your crappy blameshifting sperm donor of a husband wouldn’t understand if you printed it out in 36-point type for him.

      • Adelante, I would have given my right arm to stay at home with my kids but as I was the one with the expat benefits it wasnt possible. However, being married to a violent, cheating dickhead Im so glad I HAD to work. Because I had my own income, medical insurance for me and my kids and I retired at Christmas with my own pension. Oh and I was easily able to buy him out of the house so that my kids could stay in the only house they had ever known around their friends. Sure I probably could have found a job had I been a SAHM but in the end that job was what enabled me to kick his ass to the curb.

  • The pressure to “keep the family together”. I felt that in 2011 the first time I busted XW. She went on to cheat again with someone new- as she found ways around my policing. Just remind yourself that cheaters don’t improve, they just get better at cheating.

    • Yes, this ^^^^^^

      And the trauma from all the lying and gaslighting just piles on and makes you more confused. Get out as soon as you can – I’m sorry but there is no saving it. I wish I would have left sooner, but I’m so glad I’m out now and focusing on a much better future.

  • In narcissism’s Charm/Rage/Self Pity trifecta, he’s currently in self pity with a touch of rage included for “wronging” him.

    Once you have seen the very consistent pattern of Charm/Rage/Self Pity, you can’t un-see them, and I thank Chump Lady every day for opening my eyes to the concept.

    People as mean as your cheater are playing in their own arena. Trying to reason with them is like trying to play basketball on a sand volleyball court. It’s futile and wastes a lot of energy.

    You don’t owe him an explanation and you don’t need his permission or understanding. He gave up his right to all of that when he broke the most intimate agreements in your marriage.

    Get away and grieve what he did to you in peace without his prattling about his faux pitiful, wronged self, says me. He’s just trying to hurt you to gain control. Turn the volume down on his whining and up on your better future so you can grieve in peace and heal. 💚

    • “People as mean as your cheater are playing in their own arena. Trying to reason with them is like trying to play basketball on a sand volleyball court. It’s futile and wastes a lot of energy.”

      Yes, wow. I (as an empath Chump) have SUCH an inner sense of fairness that I was polite and decent to him even in the VERY WORST moments when his abuse was thrown at me in full force. When we participate in interactions like that which are so heavily stacked against us, it is as you describe.

  • He left you and the family when he cheated. He was simply too cowardly to inform you of it.

    You’re not a coward.

    “I don’t want to miss half of my children’s childhoods, and I have always longed to be at home with my kids.”

    I really hope that what you are saying is that having 50:50 custody isn’t what you envisioned – not that parents who work outside of the home aren’t raising their kids, aren’t involved with their lives or are selfish in some manner. Wanting to be a SAHP isn’t limited to women and it’s not an universal wish. I am sorry that you may not be able to continue to do so though.

    I bet he’s run the numbers and doesn’t want you to see the divorce through because he’s now aware of how much child support and possibly alimony (even for a year) is going to cost him. You’re cheaper to keep as a housekeeper/”wife” while he fucks around.

    Well, your dreams have been killed so his should be drowned too.

      • Yes, she absolutely should be getting spousal support. I don’t know how long a period is reasonable or likely to be agreed upon, but her attorney needs to ask for it! She risked IT ALL when she agreed to be a SAHP.

    • Yeah, child support for 4 children, so much less money for the mistresses! Plus, he needs to start taking care of himself if the maid and nanny is gone. I wouldn’t want to divorce either.

    • I absolutely do not think that SAHMs are any better than those that work outside of the home. I was just saying that I personally do not know how to do it well. I have always worked part time and felt the stress of juggling being a good employee while giving the kids the time and attention that they need. Some of that was likely due to having a partner who had focused all of his time and attention outside of the home. I already feel stretched thin, and I’m struggling to come to terms with the fact that I will be forced to have even less time and access to focus on the needs of the kids. Many others have succeeded before me and under much worse circumstances. I will find a way, but I’m still in the grieving stage of things.

      • Thank you for the clarification. Again, I’m really sorry that your life is being torn apart by his selfish behavior. I hope your lawyer is able to get you spousal support and for a long enough period of time that it help.

        Trust that he sucks.

        • We have been going through mediation. At this point, it is a lump sum spousal support payment and no direct child support. He will be responsible for all childcare, school, health, and extracurricular activities fees/equipment. With the exception of childcare, he will be in the same cash flow position as he would have been married to me as a SAHM. So, I don’t think that he is financially motivated to stay with me.

          • Well, here’s a thought, or a couple of them. Rethink your living arrangement after you leave. Do you have a sibling, cousin or friend who is a single parent? You could join forces–live together or near each other and help each other with the kids. When my cousin was widowed, her mother moved in to help her with 3 kids under 6.

            If you are in the U.S., have you talked to a lawyer about what you should get in spousal support and child support? Child support for 4 kids should be a lot of $$, relative to anyone’s salary other than someone very rich. Spousal support should be on top of that. Child support should be a permanent award from the court, enforceable and ideally taken straight from his paycheck. I have never, ever heard of an ordinary person whose financial picture did not change when paying child support. This is worrisome. Essentially, he would have his own maintenance PLUS what he is required to give you–should be like supporting 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 households.

          • That doesn’t sound right? I hope you have consulted more than one lawyer if there is no regular child support. Also, it is better to estimate those child care costs and have him pay you through the system and then you pay those costs as they come up, otherwise you may find yourself having to nag him to pay all of those things, him not paying etc. and it is tricky to keep track of and a nightmare. Be careful.

          • Instead of saying please…I’m begging you to talk to some lawyers yourself!!! Know what your rights are in your state and what a divorce lawyer might be able to secure for you and your children versus a mediator.

            Mediation with a liar is very risky, especially with 4 small children. Mediation takes a certain level of trust and you cannot trust a cheater.

            Does the mediator know your husband had an affair? If so, how does the mediator intend to make sure what amount of marital funds were spent on his affair? Is your husband providing every credit card statement, phone record, bank statement? Have you run a credit check on him to see if there are accounts you don’t know about?

            There is a lot at stake for you. You need to make sure that mediation with a lump sum is what’s best for YOU and not what is best for HIM or what he says is best for both of you.

            On a personal note, we started with a mediator because my ex (a lawyer) said it would be best for both of us. I trusted him because I thought he cared about me and our children. Long story but I wound up with a seriously credentialed, badass lawyer who hated what my ex did. The deal and life I have now is nothing like what I would have had with the mediator. I even went back to the mediator and even HE was happy we didn’t go through with the mediation!

          • Please, please PLEASE see an attorney. I’m not a lawyer, but if you’re in the US I don’t believe you can waive child support. That’s owed to your child and it’s not yours to give away. It sounds like he’s trying to snow you with an unfavorable settlement.

            Lawyer up. Your OWN lawyer. Know your rights!

            Also read everything about divorce law in your state at http://www.womenslaw.org

          • Momma Chump, I’m not sure mediation is in your best interest. I don’t know where you live, but with four children, you absolutely should be receiving child support. It should be automatically deducted and electronically transferred to you. Trust me, years down the road, you don’t want to have to submit requests to him seeking payment for this camp or that school fee. He has a responsibility to those children, and you can’t waive that on their behalf.

            Make sure you are aware of the tax consequences of various awards. You are also entitled to your portion of any pensions, retirement accounts and savings. If he wants a one-time spousal support payment to you, it better come with a hefty premium. Enough to provide you adequate support for years, including enough to enable you to update your skill set or further your education. Speaking of premiums, make sure you are named owner of a policy insuring his life, to insure that the needs of your children are fully covered in the event of his death. You want to control the policy, so there are no surprises later.

            Mediation is best for couples that are having an amicable dissolution, and who share an equal balance of power, assets, and income potential. This is not your scenario. YOU SHOULD HAVE LEGAL REPRESENTATION THAT IS SOLELY COMMITTED TO YOUR NEEDS AND THE NEEDS YOUR CHILDREN.

            • Mamma Chump,
              I second what CalGal has stated above. It is so easy to settle for less when you are in a vulnerable position and still have ‘tender’ feelings towards him.

              I had ruthless friends who made me see the light. I was ready to forfeit quite a bit of cash because I ‘just couldn’t see ‘taking’ so much from him’…..that is how much of a chump I was. I simply couldn’t see yet how much he had taken from me and our children over the years and wonder still as to how much of ‘our’ money was spent on women and any other sex stuff he was into. When he spent money he had little care of the consequences as to how the bills would be paid in the long run.

              Now, a couple of years later, I see what they were talking about and I am ever so grateful for their wise counsel.

              My intention is not to suggest that you leave as that clearly is not within my jurisdiction as a stranger and that responsibility rests solely upon your shoulders. I just felt compelled to urge you to take into account what CalGal has laid out above as her advice sounds very grounded to me. You are in volatile times now and that will change. Having someone in your court who has been there, done that can make a huge difference for your future – a future you can’t really see right now.

              Take Care of YOURSELF! Nobody else will do that for you.

          • Mediation = you paying to be financially gang-raped.

            Stop the process immediately and get a VERY GOOD family law/divorce attorney.

            You wouldn’t perform open-heart surgery on your kid by using YouTube videos – right? Then TRUST THAT HE SUCKS, LIES AND WILL FUCK YOU OVER and get a good attorney.

          • Get an attorney regardless. He’s lied to you already, why would you believe that he’s telling the truth about what you are legally entitled to receive? Why would you find yourself begging him to pay the bills he agreed to pay and then have to spend more time and money suing him in civil court? You can be awarded money in civil court but never be able to collect! No – you need an attorney so the money that is for your children is withdrawn by the state and sent to you. No begging. Also there are a lot of other things to which you may be entitled as the SAHP for however many years.

            You don’t have to see mediation through to the end. You can stop that process. In fact, if he calls you “selfish” for doing so, it’s because he was in the process of screwing you over and he’s pissed that now he’s going to have to meet his legal obligations.

            He called you “selfish” for getting a divorce because you didn’t agree to be a baby-incubator and “wife in name only”. Embrace it. Being selfish is you protecting yourself and your children from his dreadful behavior.

          • Mama chump, it sounds like you are using the same lawyer! No! You are getting screwed! He should pay you child support and a settlement. Does he have a pension, 401k, military, stocks, accounts? Please don’t do this because I guarantee you will regret it. You want to be chasing him around trying to get him to pay for this and that? Remember how he lied and manipulated you? This is a continuous process. I don’t think any lawyer looking out for your best interests would go along with this. If you are using one lawyer he or she is representin your husband not you. Be ready for his mr. Nice guy routine to go out the window after that. He is still trying to control this. Please read all these responses. It is,not final yet and you can change your mind. You must immediately without saying anything to him. You must go look at get the best lawyer you can . Please do this for your children. I promise you. He is trying to screw you. Don’t let him.

  • You’ve “been doing 99% of the child rearing alone” anyway. He’s treated you like your only worth to him is as a walking womb and a live-in nanny. His “I would never have left” really means, “Having these 4 kids is much more manageable if I don’t have to be a single father.”

    You are worth so much more than that.

    The person who quit on this marriage is your husband. He quit on it when he cheated the first time during your pregnancy. Has it occurred to you that he exposed both you and the baby to STDs? Has it occurred to you that you were at home alone with three kids and pregnant while he was out enjoying himself with his side piece? Has it occurred to you that getting you to stay at home while he plays is about not paying child support? Why would this disrespect be something you miss?

    You are not divorcing for “meh” or “freedom from infidelity.” You’re divorcing because your STBX can’t keep any of his marriage vows. He’s a liar. A manipulator. He’s someone who abuses you and then blames you for leaving him. That’s a monster. You just can’t see it yet. “Meh” is not a reason to divorce; it’s our term for getting to the point that we are no longer caught in the web of abuse and pain created by someone who has character or personality disorder. I suspect your STBX is at the far end of the disorder spectrum, given his manipulative abilities. “Meh” is a sign that our sanity is restored, that we see the world clearly and not through the lens of a disordered person. You can’t have a real marriage with someone who essentially tells you it’s OK if he cheats because he drags himself out of the OW’s bed and comes home stinking of another woman.

    • the problem is that there were probably times when he was really lovely to her. in common with every abuser, there were times when they seemed to be acting decently.

      it’s a hard thing to wrap your head around.

      • In psychology, this is called intermittent reinforcement. Cult leaders and torturers use the same technique.

  • After our daughter was born in 2011, she’s our youngest of 4, I scheduled a vasectomy and had it done. She wanted more but I knew we couldn’t afford another. She was very supportive at first. But then said she resented me for it. I’m guessing probably because it meant she had to actually be more careful with her affairs.
    This last time when I Figured out what she was doing again, she would not give up her affair or file for divorce. I finally had enough and filed.
    My 16 year old son now wants nothing to do with me and has sent me texts saying that I’m the one that ruined the family and I’m making the kids suffer. And that I’m also trying to “rape” mom for everything she has.
    I’m over her but now my struggle is with my son and how I go about handling him. He does not respond to my messages telling him I love him. But he responds to her boyfriends messages about loving him. I know this because my 10 year old son is on my phone plan and they have a group message set up for all 4 of my kids and 4 of his kids. I monitor my sons phone for inappropriate messages. So it hurts to see this. I hope someday he will see what has been done and he will start talking with me again.

    • Hey ChumpTight —

      As I read your letter, I thought of a saying about raising teenagers: “Every other year is good.” This saying can show you that it is normal for a teenager to pull away and to blame their parents. They go back and forth, blaming one year, accepting the next. It’s part of the struggle to grow and to gain independence.

      What can you do? You can help him gain life skills to be a successful adult, when he comes back around, and if the saying holds true, get ready, cuz your son will need your presence. Here are some skills I can think of: cooking, driving, laundry, money management, work ethic, dating, employment applications and interview. Think through how you can accompany him in learning these skills.

      Of course, you can always talk to him about the divorce. Here’s the healthy way, wait till he asks, and give a bare minimum answer, try to stay clear of unprocessed emotion, while still being truthful (I know, difficult.) You got this. Don’t give up.

      • Thank you so much for the reply. I was the parent that has always been there for them. Our 20 year old son came out of the closet when he went off to college. She told him he was going to hell and needed mental help. Then our 16 year old son came out to just me only because he knew how she would react. With them both I told them I’ll love them no matter what.
        So the 16 year old was a 3.8 student at the start of the year. He didn’t stay a single night with me he has chosen her. He’s now down to a 3.0 student and had at least 11 absences and a bunch of tardies. I did help him get a job, got him a vehicle, and have shown him the basic necessities of caring for oneself.
        So yeah it’s confusing and it hurts like hell. I feel like he’s being coached by her and sparkle dick because he knows what I’m pursuing.
        I know all I hear about is all the male cheaters that leave and want nothing to do with the kids, does that happen at all with female cheaters?? I really just wish she would let me raise these kids by myself.

        • Sometimes kids seems to “choose” the weaker parent. He may be afraid of losing her or watching her devolve in some way. And she may be coaching him. But teenagers grow up.

          What I would say to DS16 is: “Your mother broke the marriage by having a relationship with someone else. I might have reconciled if she had been sorry or wanted to give up that person. But she didn’t. So I didn’t have much choice if I was going to have any self-respect. I’m sorry you blame me. And that really hurts.”

    • This make me feel so bad. I worry that I have this ahead of me. Daughter is 9 and I expect some SPECTACULAR image management and subtle manipulation down the line and I am terrified really now of that alone. It’s my worst nightmare yet to come and yes I have had similar advice that teens are going to be pretty mean to you sometimes even in the in tact family and now they have the perfect reason to play you off.

      I don’t know how you cope with that but I am sure he will come round and yes he will be being coached (like mad). The shit sandwich of the year this type of thing, so below the belt.

      Be great to hear from others that went through this and the kids did come back. It’s the scariest part for me and puts a knot in my stomach as I feel it’s coming in a few years.

  • You have no idea the massive amount of energy cheaters suck from you until you leave. The very energy you will need and want and use for those four beautiful amazing children. Energy WAY better spent. Those children deserve and need every ounce of energy that evil bastard who stole your dreams is taking from you. DON’T GIVE THAT RAT BASTARD ANY MORE OF YOUR PRECIOUS NON-REFUNDABLE LIFE!!

    The less contact you have with him, the better. I discovered the affair in October of 2017, and because I am on my own and focusing on me and my daughter, bad things about him are coming into focus that were clouded when we were together. The hindsight has been very healing….and it could not have happened staying in a relationship with that mindfucking monster.

    In December of 2016, he TOLD my daughter I was selfish and only thought of myself. She told me this just before they left for the Father/Daughter Christmas dance at school. The entire time they were gone, I was lying on my back on the couch, paralyzed with pain, tears pouring out of the corners of my eyes like a faucet. My own mother was a true narcissist, and I had spent years of my life in therapy since I was 22 years old, my biggest fear that I was just like her and didn’t know it.

    Today I feel RAGE that that cheating, lying, thieving, treacherous, backstabbing motherfucker
    PROJECTED SELFISH ONTO ME!!!! I have NEVER in my life felt such deep pure hatred towards another human being. And I know I am not a selfish person because I do NOT like feeling such hatred.

    There is nowhere but UP and BETTER and GREAT and AWESOME for you. Trust us.

    • Velvet Hammer, they totally project! Mine also constantly said I was selfish. I also cried and tried to change things. My selfishness was mostly manifested in wanting more time to spend together. I accepted ALL the household related chores (literally all) because he worked longer hours and was the main earner. I did ALL child related things because again I took time off and was home while he “busted his ass at work and put bread on the table!!!” I felt so guilty if I asked him to go out or travel/vacation together. From the beginning he instilled in me that it was not healthy to be together all the time and couples needed time apart. He made it into the rule that my vacation was travel to my home country to spend time with my family and his was time out with boys or alone because he needed to decompress from his high power and high stress job. I was selfish for wanting sex at night because you see, he was so tired dealing with his team and working overtime every fucking day while I was just leisurely cooking, grocery buying and carrying, ironing and cleaning and taking our baby boy for a walk. I had a “luxury life” that he “made sure we could afford” (I don’t even want to start on the luxury part in living in buildings with no elevators and carrying all the grocery and a baby and a stroller up and down on the 5th floor a few times a day. I digress.)

      I felt perpetually guilty of selfishness. And the guiltier I felt the more I minimized my own needs. The less I voiced. He got what he wanted: a silent robot doing all the chores and child rearing and not wanting anything.

      It literally took the distance and time to recognize this gaslighting and gain back energy. You are so right that they suck energy out of you. It was not even because I was physically exhausted all the time, but I was mentally exhausted. I was constantly doing the math in my head: can I talk to him or is he in a bad mood and would snap? How do I delicately proposition this or that so he would not rage at me? All this mental gymnastics made me feel so sick and tired and unhappy!

      My energy is back and I am cheater-free although still working on the legal paperwork. He can’t suck it out because I don’t let him.

      • Longtime, my sister lived that life with her dickhead in Denmark. Fourth floor apartment, no lift. Two kids (now 4 kids) and up and down with baby, toddler, groceries, pushchair, all while he was out dicking around with multiple women. In the end he was taken to the cleaners by a Russian woman he met over the internet who fell madly in love with him (yeah right). Couldnt have happened to a “nicer” guy.

        • Attie, I pray for a Russian cleaner for my cheater:) Any woman that can hold his short attention span long enough to keep him away from Canada (the longer he is away, the cleaner air we have here). He spends a max of 2 months at different intervals here per year and if any woman of any race, color, position could minimize his travel to Canada, I would personally wrap him in a luxury packaging and ship duty free to her.

  • I’m a single mom of 4. He left when they were 2-12 years old. It has been 2 years. It is hard but it is the greatest joy I have ever known. Obviously it is the greatest heartbreak too but you HAVE to do the work to separate your live from this guy via divorce. Time passes anyway. We are settled, life is simple, & the kids are doing well. It is very hard for them but I think the younger the better. Start protecting the kids now. THAT is what makes you a good mom not staying. When you see crazy you run. Even a Dad can be crazy & it took me two years to fully grasp that. You can not stay with a man who cheats. That is not the behavior you want to model. You want to play him now. You have a lot on the line. You want to outsmart him. I played sad sausage & immediately negotiated a fair division of assets.

    He will not take the 4 kids. I learned the hard way too. I’m literally doing it all alone. I’m tired. But I got him to sign all the divorce papers within 3 weeks of D-Day & it was the smartest thing I have ever done. I went to a lawyer. Had them draw up papers & I gave them to him to review. He then went to my lawyers & signed. I purposely put in stuff that he would redline to give him a sense of power. Every time he would stall on signing I would say something to manipulate him. I would keep telling him if he loves you he would sign the papers. Tell him you can always remarry later but you need to know you will get assets to raise your kids to rebuild. I could go on & on. But I lived your nightmare and now is the time to go into survival mode and protect your kids. I had my ex agree to pay for 1/2 college because it isn’t the law here. It is unconventional but I made it part of my deal.

    • Love your strategy, Kate. Looking to do something similar with my cheater, who I just discovered joined Match. And as far as I know, he’s still seeing schmoopie. I’m in PA.

      • I’m so sorry to hear that. My ex did the same. I live in a smaller town & he thought it was okay to put an ad on the internet for a girlfriend? Married father of 4 kids. WTH? The fact is they don’t care. They want what they want when they want it. I contacted a lawyer the next day and while it is so painful, I don’t look back. I would have never treated him like that. He is now engaged to this woman, lives with her and her kids & hardly sees my kids. I kind of like that he is mostly out of the picture. Without my good influence, he became an even worse Dad. I doubt he will even pay for college.

    • i second the strategy of moving quickly while they are feeling guilty. this was the best advice i received from a lawyer. he said guilt has a time stamp which is about 3 months. i moved and got everything i wanted. his head was spinning. after the divorce was done he came back wanting stuff he had signed away. fuck him – i said no. he is still pissed – makes me smile.

      • Yep, I got everything I wanted because I filed one month after everything went down. He was in love and gave me everything. The lawyers in my office were shocked at how much he signed off. I got the house, he has no interest – signed it all away. I dont even have to refinance it 😂

  • My ex, said, I wasn’t going to leave you.
    Forgot to mention the prostitutes, drugs and alcohol.
    Or the sti’s.
    Found out last week he used to walk to crack houses with prostitutes.
    We split up 6 years ago, so apparently I’m not entitled to be upset about the news I found out last week.
    he said he didn’t to anything with the prostitutes, but they used to take their clothes off in front of him.
    He said he loved me last week, bit not enough to be honest.

  • Now that you know you are not the only person who can give him another child, run like hell.

    Consider that he will leave you anyway and you will still be a single mom.

    I am so sorry that you are dealing with this pig.

  • MommaChump, I felt so guilty for “ruining my family” too because it was my choice. I ate all blame for his main affair throughout our marriage that I discovered 12 years into and since I was such a great chump admitting my own mistakes (like losing my career focus and ambition and gaining 10lb after the birth of our child) that he eventually had the guts to confess to his other mini-affair-encounters in between – all throughout his business trips, time away etc. I was so determined to keep my family intact (I admit to a bit of narcissism here that I CAN do it and I am NOT a quitter) that I fell prey immediately to his hoovering and blame shifting and was determined to work it out. Spent two fake blissful months together with lots of hysterical bonding and travel and fun and he thought he had me over again. Which he did because I was giddily going around and telling all family and friends who knew about his affairs that we became stronger and we both were working now on our relationship and putting efforts and we were determined to keep our son’s family intact. Cheater is a product of divorced parents through his dad’s cheating and of course he recognized the pain and did not want to inflict it on his child. That’s how I thought.

    Fast forward another 2 months and I busted him again. Then I found CL. It took me about 6 months after daily reading to find the courage to see a lawyer. I am 3 years now separated with minimal contact and he told me last week “I don’t understand what someone’s love life has to do with one’s family life. Different things.”

    They are disordered when they can lead the double life for such a long time and justify that they can separate it in their minds. When I asked him how he could do that – come home and pretend to be that guy of integrity, he said it was because of his ability to compartmentalize. I literally heard that for the first time. Didn’t even know what it meant till I googled.

    After I saw the lawyer and sent him the first draft of separation, he also told me numerous times that he would have never left me (us), that I was vicious to inflict this pain on our son and he knew what that pain was while I didn’t. It never crossed his sick mind that he ended our marriage from the first time he wet his dick, as CL rightly pointed. But it was easy to blame me for legalizing the destruction that he started.

    The hardest for me was to accept that the man I thought was honorable, honest etc was a liar and a cheater. That he did not love me at all – and in the hindsight I understand this type is not capable of any love towards anybody. I lost sleep over thoughts of him being happily reunited with one of his affair partners and was feeling so miserable about it.

    With time and very minimal contact the skies cleared. In the past he would blame me for ruining my family and being selfish, I would take it as a sign of remorse and him wanting his family back. Now I understand it’s a manipulative tactic to get what he wants as he’s been pushing the boundaries with the separation agreement.

    I once asked him what would happen if I returned. Would he suddenly stop? Did he get a character transplant (thanks to CL for empowering my vocabulary). He looked so baffled at me and said “no, you just accept me the way I am and be happy with it. If you really love me, you should be happy for my happiness. And you should know that no matter what happens you can always count on a bowl of soup from me.” Wow! Generous!

    I loved this man. I had dreams, expectations of togetherness, I felt inspired by him, intellectually stimulated, challenged and interested in life. Then I felt a big void and wanted to fill it desperately with him again. Big mistake. The pain and shame of pick me dancing has not subsided yet but I feel so much better with all the clarity now. He is a disordered psycho who never loved me or his child genuinely and who only cares about pleasing himself.

    Please don’t let that guilt you are feeling (which is not yours) cloud your mind. You children need a strong momma who will model resiliency and integrity. You can do it. We are all here to help.

    (((HUGS))))

    • My “lovely” husband did not physically cheat on me (no sex), but he had an online affair with some hideous overweight Spaniard who is a narcissistic and manipulative witch who betrayed her husband after not even two years of marriage. She also has a thing for married men. He told her things like “love you” and “thinking and dreaming of you”. When she told him to buy her the biggest red rose bouquet for Valentine’s Day (Her wedding anniversary!!!), he did it, and wrote exactly what she told him to write. Great, eh? He didn’t love her, because at the same time he was writing similar crap to every trollop that gave him the time of day. Did I mention that he also flew to Europe a number of times and met with her? According to him, it was always in public places, and just lunch or coffee. It may be true, but it’s a betrayal, because he lied to me about these trips. He got a second phone, so I couldn’t trace him – she recommended it and pushed him. She also had him send her every single flight itinerary to ensure that he was doing exactly what she wanted.

      I found out everything, made copies of all the evidence (I know she was the driving force, but he played along – no excuses), and sent it to her husband. He filed for a divorce and skanky twat is now looking for ways to get her narcissistic supply back.

      He never really saw what he was doing as cheating. I told him after finding out that I would visit a friend in Greece. A male friend. He completely flipped. I raised my eyebrows, looked him straight in the face and asked: “Oh, so you don’t like the taste and flavour of your own medicine? That’s too bad. However, according to you it’s not cheating, so deal with it!”

      Have you ever considered telling him that you have a separate love life? It doesn’t even have to be true. Just tell me, and use his faux line of reasoning against him – family life has nothing to do with love life. Watch him squirm like the spineless worm that he is. What’s good for the gander, is good for the goose.

      • It really does show how they view us, like property. I asked him if the tables were turned, if I was with another man, how he’d react. He said that he wouldn’t like that. I asked why. He said because I’m his wife. They are incredibly disillusioned.

        • Mine constantly accused me of cheating because “I took too long to do the grocery shopping on a Saturday”. You cant even make this stuff up.

      • He did not squirm when I suggested my own love life. He even suggested it himself and said that he would be ok. Towards the end of our fake reconciliation he said that he always wanted to be in an open marriage. I said I lived in one, without knowing it was open. They would say anything and everything to keep the supply going. Mine would be totally fine with it. He said I could date if I could do it “discreetly” so our son does not find out. He would not mind.

        No, thank you. I can date now with a clear mind although don’t want it yet.

        One more thing. When I discovered his affair with his main AP he also fed me the lies that it was all just lunch meetings in different countries and just whatsapp and skype. They were “soul mates so he had to continue talking to her, she was a long time friend” (ex gf to be precise and she was married then but he was single), and it was silly of me to think otherwise, of course there was no sex! He did not need sex! But I could not stop him from communicating with her because he is a free man and she is his half-split-soul or whatever crap like that and he would always be there for her. I believed it for a while. Because I desperately wanted to believe it that there was no physical intimacy.

        So now…the physical act of cheating does not even bother me anymore. I see so much dysfunction in my very emotionally abusive marriage and so much gaslighting, lies, manipulations, power trips, that cheating is really the end result of all that entitlement that was going on. I thought so little of myself and gave myself no worth that I allowed this treatment. This is what bothers me most. And even after I discovered that it was actual cheating, physical et al, I was still pick me dancing and ready to reconcile until I found evidence of him with somebody else.

        There is lots of work to be done on ourselves when we are subjected to years’ of emotional abuse. It’s an invisible abuse because there have never been name callings or physical manifestations but all I remember is that I was on my toes around him all the time, physically sick and scared of displeasing him. It’s really the No Contact preached here that sheds laser light on all the dysfunction and I can clearly now see it.

      • Not to be disrespectful…but did I read this correctly? He flew to EUROPE for coffee? Please tell me you’ve accepted that he physically cheated on you as well as emotionally and spiritually?

        Your cheater sounds like mine in the sense that they only admit to what they have to. Mine swore over everything he wasn’t having a physical affair until Schmoopie sent me a security camera video of them kissing inside her apartment. That was fun. Point being, without real proof he would have taken it to the grave. I say this in the most gentle way…please give yourself the same advice and common sense you would give to someone you love who told you her husband didn’t have sex with the woman he flew across the world to see.

        Big hug.

        • I agree with Groundhog Day. Your husband had a second phone, sent roses on Valentine’s Day, told he loved her and then when he flew across multiple time zones they only had coffee or maybe lunch. Don’t let him play you. That’s such a crock. Accept it for what is and grieve that your husband had both a physical and an emotional affair. And is arrogant enough to think you believe his lies. You deserve so much better than that.

      • AmIAChump,

        Yes, you are a chump, because your husband didn’t fly to Europe just for coffee. He’s lying to you. I lived with these kind of lies for over 20 years! My XH would only admit to something when I caught him or had evidence. And he would downplay it of course and turn it into “just friends” or “I didn’t know this was wrong to do”. Blah, blah, blah! My XH left me for the “friend” he was *only* having coffee with. But of course I had to catch him with his hand in the pussy jar, before he ever admitted to even being coffee/drinks dates “friends” with his whore.

      • They’ll never admit to any part of the affair they think they can get away with. Until they are rumbled and then they will admit to that bit until you reveal something else that you know but yes they are ‘friends’ or ‘work colleague’s or ‘just went out for lunch to celebrate the end of the job’ and when you questions it you ‘never let them have any friends’.

        Whereas I went out with friends and colleagues and they WERE MY FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES hence why I just talked about it all the time as in this is what I did this week as I had nothing to hide. I had never heard her name for an obvious reason. There were flowers, meals and bars for bills and all when he went up to Scotland for work. I could never prove they slept together because apparently they were ‘happy in the mirrors of their affection’ but frankly it matters not one jot and no bloke gets that carried about unless they are sleeping with them.

        Irrelevant though really because like you say emotional affair or whatever it amounts to the same betrayal. All just a massive amount of lies and deceit.

  • Chump Momma, my story is similar. I just want to tell you that you can be a single mom and work to support your kids. No, it won’t look like the life you thought you always wanted. If you stayed with him, it won’t be that life either. No trust and too much hurt would create a life that may look like you are together but everything inside would be empty and make your stomach sour every day. I know. I tried for awhile.

    I won’t sugarcoat it. Life can be really hard working and parenting alone, but there is a peace inside that lets you find joy in your kids, your home, and your life.

  • “I may have cheated on you, but I never would have left you.”

    Raise your hand, if you heard this…

    *raises hand*

    My divorce will be finalized tomorrow, and I plan to buy a cookie cake to celebrate. I had the same fears about missing out on time with my children and that caused delay in filing. I also did 99% of the child-rearing. The STBXH wanted more children, buy I refused because he only worked a part time job and didn’t do much caring for the children we currently had. When I finally filed for divorce he said he was glad because he didn’t want to be with someone selfish and that he was upset with me for not giving him more children. Now that he’s out of the house, I’m raising my two kids like a rockstar! We’re actually better off financially because he’s not blowing money on car repairs and man-toys. It’s actually easier because I’m no longer caring for an over-grown man-child in addition to my two children. As for the fears about less time with my kids…he doesn’t come around half the time when given the opportunity to be with them. Life is so much better on the other side. You just have to push through the anxiety and doubts. <3

  • Hey Chump Mama – I’m so sorry to read your nightmare – you have no choice but to leave this fecal cranium because he is delusional. You cannot stay – you will never have a normal functional marriage. He will try and force you to join him in the alternative reality he lives in. This will cause you to become delusional too. It will affect the children too – they’ll probably become infected and have serious mental problems too -minimum contact with this dumbass is imperative. Leave him in the trash where he belongs – he’s dangerous. You have a whole nation behind you!

  • They spend years living with us. Learning details about us. Our desires, dreams and fears. Then use them against us to get what they want!

  • My mom stayed with cheaterpants for decades. It has ruined her life. She doesn’t see any of her grandchildren. Cheaterpants is a very bad man. Mom has a bare minimum of health. All of her kids have been married three times each. She should have never married him, and since she did, she should have kicked in the nuts at the first sign of his low character. Boy oh boy. We’re all having to unroll that horrible model of dysfunction.

  • For some reason this letter today is just making me furious. Don’t usually react as strongly as I am to this today. I really appreciate how incredibly vile and mean betrayal is. I’ve lived it for the last 2 years I’ve raged against it and about it-I’ve read Your stories. And today it just hits me like a bolt of lightning and I’m furious all over again and rageful all over again. These people are so cruel to do what they have done, to Lie and take advantage of us while they go off and selfishly satisfy whatever. it is the same mentality as kicking puppies, stealing from the blind, school yard bullies – same mentality. I just send love and hugs to all of you.

  • This sentence tops everything! What a piece of shit! “I may have cheated on you, but I never would have left you.”

    He may have?!? He bloody did! These dirt bags are all the same, aren’t they?

  • ChumpMomma,
    I, too, had a spouse had a spouse beg me to have a child while, unbeknownst to me, carrying on with an AP. She said later she wanted to be sure the kid was mine. I thought it was exceptionally weird and disgusting later when I found out.
    This is my theory on why some cheaters ask for kids while carrying on with someone else, though it’s pure speculation. I think they do this as an “insurance policy” against getting caught. My wife could sense I was getting suspicious, and even though I didn’t have proof, I was fed up with being suspicious. I think having a kid would make me more likely to stay if I finally either found out or just wanted to leave. It’s sick to think someone would want to create a child just to keep a spouse from (rightfully) leaving, but we all know most of these people are pretty messed up to begin with.

  • His wanting another pregnancy was a way to make her unknowingly pick-me-dance for his affections.

    My stbx did somethings similar. He would try to entice me into pick me dancing while I had no idea he was even having an affair.

    What a bunch of assholes.

    • Cheater’s AP may have been pushing him to leave his wife and while AP was ok for fooling around she more than likely wasn’t leave your family material. So he may have wanted wife to become pregnant to get AP off his back and to buy some time. Who knows what crazy reasoning these defects have but it usually makes perfect sense to them at the time.

      • I believe that this is exactly what happened, because there has been plenty of evidence that she has been doing just that.

        • That is another reason for him to say he wouldn’t leave you. If he did he might get stuck with this woman. That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t leave you for the next one.

          • Exactly. He may not have wanted to leave Momma Chump for this particular AP but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t leave for another AP down the road.

        • That was my first thought. He used your pregnancy to keep his affair partner in line.

          What a horrible man.

  • Let’s call this guy what he is, an abuser. Abusers cheat, lie, blame, and risk your health with their wandering dicks (get pap smears and STD tests). You can’t stay with an abuser because what they do is abuse. In life with an abuser the “good” times are part of the cycle of abuse, so the good is abuse same as the bad. It’s a mindfuck.

    After you leave and are not around his constant narration of your life and motives you will slowly see how his abuse went unnoticed in many areas of life.

    And guarantee he wants you to stay because of how much $$$$$$ this is going to cost him. Get a lawyer right away and secure documentation of all of your finances and assets. If there is family who can assist contact them. I didn’t tell my family about the abuse until a year after it started in earnest, because i bought his lies and blamed myself. Don’t blame yourself. Cheaters lie, about everything, especially you.

  • “I may have cheated on you, but I never would have left you.”
    So go along with me in this story.
    You take your children to the park and are having a lovely day. Suddenly you realize that your youngest is missing!
    You search and search fearing the worst. You enlist others in helping you.
    Then you see an old decrepid witch dragging your child into the bushes. You scream and rush towards her and with the assistance of others break your child free from the old crones grip. As the police arrive, the evil witch looks you in the eyes and issues a curse:

    “May your husband cheat on you, but never leave you!”

    Does this sound different now?

    “I may have cheated on you, but I never would have left you.”

    Your husband was casting an evil spell with his mind-fuckery.
    See it for what it is.

  • “I had tried to end the affair a few times. I thought that if you got pregnant, that would end it.”

    This has to be the absolute epitome of selfish exploitation of your body and that child’s life.

    CN has seen some real doozies here. But this, this has to be, in my opinion, the biggest one. The phrase “callous disregard” doesn’t even begin to cover this. I don’t know where to start with this. I rarely use the word “evil” to describe something (I find it hyperbolic and more fitting of characters in comic books and video games) but this…for real, this is some evil shit here.

    How hollow and cruel do you really have to be to not only be cheating on your wife, but then use her body as a tool to make a not-even-half-assed “attempt” to end that affair? Like what the hell kind of mental gymnastics does someone have to do in order to decide your wife’s body and the actual life of a child is nothing more than a way to get your extramarital affair to end? Then not actually end it? Satan is reading that quote, taking a drag of a cigarette and saying “…Oh girl, he is scuuuum, walk away and don’t look back!” *snap*

    No. You’re not selfish leaving this marriage. You are absolutely doing the right thing. There’s no saving it with someone THAT callous. Don’t let him shift that blame. There is nothing you could say or do for yourself or for your children that could ever reach the level of selfishness he stooped to. By walking away from that, you are showing him that you will NOT put up with that, you are showing your children that it is not acceptable to treat your spouse the way he has treated you, and you will show them what it means to stand up for yourself and refuse to be disrespected.

    Lionesses do not concern themselves with the opinions of sheep.

  • Leave him NOW. If you stay, you will wind up with five or even six children years down the road with this dope. And I second (and third) the advice about guilt having a lifespan of about three months. Get him to sign the divorce papers NOW. See a lawyer today. Otherwise you may end up with many more of his children!

  • P.S. If I were you, I would work on your fear of being seen as ‘selfish.’ Sounds like you got pregnant when you didn’t want to because you thought it would be ‘selfish’ not to. Now you are afraid to divorce because you don’t want to be ‘selfish.’ Once someone knows we can be manipulated by a mere word, we are toast. Even if you are being ‘selfish’, SO WHAT? It’s not a bad word! Say it loud and proud: “I’m SELFISH!” (What is the opposite of ‘selfish’–‘other-ish’??? That’s not even a word–except for us chumps.

  • If you stay with him. You will be miserable and so will the children. As far as I know my ex only had one affair. But, through our entire marriage I lived through verbal, emotional and financial abuse. I slowly became depressed. I went through early menopause and it hit me hard. In stead of being supported I was called names. Was told I was a nut job and boring. He was so supportive of me that he cheated with my cousin.
    The affair crushed me. He sent me divorce papers on my Birthday. Only to stop the divorce. Because he wanted to work things out. I agreed. The worst thing I could have done. Everyday I hated to look at him. I felt as if my soul was sucked out of me. I asked him to leave. Please do not waste 34 years like I did. There is a much better life without a cheater in it. Hugs to you.

  • It’s an addiction!! Quit him cold turkey!! You will heal and feel better after. Believe it!!! I too had similar feelings and I look back now and it was just wasted time and agony. Cut the cord and like the Chump lady says Trust They Suck!!! You got this and you don’t need him. You will get child support and alimony. Your going to be that strong mama bear and you will get a job or whatever works for your situation and it’s going to better than living with a lying cheating asshole.

  • Momma Chump… consider his rationale: a baby will make me be faithful and keep my dick in my pants… that’s it… that’s all he’s got. He is not a Father or Dad… kids, to him, are chastity belts?

    You have a right to a life without a cheater, and your kids have a right to a childhood without watching their mom being abused.

    One sane parent… that is all they need. You do you… ‘cuz if you stay and with his rationale, you could end up with 20 more kids.

    Keep coming back… we’ve got you.

  • Normal people don’t act the way he did. They would be prevented from this by guilt and shame. The only guilt he wants to inflict here is on you. He spoiled the family for his kids. No one else. Being from a ‘broken’ family is better than living in a broken family.

    The thought of you being a SAHM and him paying child support for 4 children is probably guiding his actions.

    It sucks the whole way round. But could you ever trust him again? Could you have wifely care and concern for a dude who would do this to you?

  • Holy Fuckwit! I love my CBD oil!
    Everybody has said it. Be strong now. They never stop screwing around. 35 years married. I could have been a not so old woman had I left when my inner GPS told me to. Do it!

    • My inner GPS told me to leave way back in 1992! It *only* took me 22 years to figure out that my inner GPS was right all along.

      • I should have left the first year BEFORE I had my oldest. Instead I got beaten up and abused (and cheated on) for 26 years. I love my kids but I could have had those same great kids with a REAL man.

  • This has probably been said by others already, but you should NOT trust anything your Cheater says. Cheaters throw around bullshit all the time. We chumps tend to take it seriously. The things he says don’t even make sense. How is another baby supposed to stop the affair, when his previous affair STARTED during a pregnancy?

    And don’t buy the “never would have left you” bullshit. He didn’t have any immediate intention of leaving, but given enough time and finding the right Schmoopie (or just getting tired of you knowing about his affairs) he probably would have.

    My Cheater swore he would never leave me too, even after I found out about his whoring. His loyalty was only to ME! Those other women NEVER MATTERED! It was JUST SEX! He’d DO ANYTHING to get our relationship back! He’d spend the rest of his life making it up to me! And then when I couldn’t get over it on his time-table (two months), it turned into rage about why I wasn’t over it yet. And then he started fighting back against all the restrictions he had agreed to (allowing me access to his phone, etc).

    And wouldn’t ya know it… He left, claiming the romance was gone from our marriage and that he wasn’t sure he’d ever been in love with me. By then I was more than happy to see him leave, and if he hadn’t suddenly decided to bolt, I would have thrown him out anyway.

    My friends were STUNNED. They had all been telling me that he loved me, that he had just made a mistake, that he would make it right and we could rebuild our marriage… And suddenly he walked out. He claimed at first that this was just a separation to “work on our marriage.” I laughed. And sure enough, now he is giving me full custody of our daughter because he doesn’t want to be responsible for her anymore.

    NEVER trust the word of a Cheater. Their promises are as brittle as glass. And the easiest promises for them to make are ones that will never have to be fulfilled anyway but make them look awesome.

    “I never would have left you.” (We are already split up because you found out about my affairs, but I can make mournful claims about what I would have done, alas for cruel fate.)

    I would also be rather shocked if he really pursues custody of your kids for very long. I might be wrong, so don’t take me at my word–I don’t know your Cheater. But Cheaters aren’t known for being responsible and adulting. And if you already do 99% of the parenting, I doubt he’ll rise to the occasion of doing 50%. I always thought of my Cheater as a great, involved father. And he always threatened to get full custody of my daughter if I left him. That terrified me, and I stayed longer than I should have. Then when we finally split, he parented less and less. Now he just gave me full custody of my daughter and permission to take her to live in another country. So much for his screaming about his rights as a father…

    Cheaters are assholes. And liars.

  • Let’s move the narrative from Mama Chump to Mama Bear. Motherhood is not martyrdom.
    He is a predator.
    The children have already been severely harmed, and it will get worse without immediate action.
    The words coming out of his mouth are lies designed to control/abuse you and the children.
    Attorney, housing, therapy.

    Ps: There are people in your life who love you and want to help. They are just waiting for you to tell them the truth and ask for help.
    Tell them. Ask for help. You are a courageous protector.

  • I got another job-work two jobs now and with therapy my kids and I are better! I have done it without him (he’s been unemployed for the last three months). I am a mighty single mother. It was hard–really hard to go no contact, not listen to his self-pity or charm. You can do it!! hugs to you!

  • Ah ChumpLady! Your writing 💎 sparkles 💎 as ever – my 2 favorites today:
    “Let him and dick grow old and flaccid together. You are worth more than dick dribble.”

    “BITCH COOKIE. I may have smacked you in the head, but I never would’ve set you ablaze.”

  • Get some DBT and reframe that shit. While I hate the fact my kids spend half their time with a narcissist, I love the fact I get my life back, fully, for half my time. Pouring our identity into our husband and kids isn’t healthy, married or not. Life is a long game. Those kids won’t need you one day. What then? You need to start preparing for that now.

    My ex cheater financially abused me. I found his text the other day from when I moved my pay to another account. Boy oh boy. Desperate, while at the same time seeing at least 2 other women that I know of. Likely more. He was looking for someone to sponge off and it wasn’t me. The word salad was scary but the general gist was of a caged animal whose caretaker just threw away the key. He only tried to stay with me (still tries a year later) because his financials would be shit without me. I insist he has the kids half of the time. He doesn’t want them but they love him and I won’t deprive my kids of him. That he uses them to put on a front of super dad (another big fat lie) I get my life back. My career never been better and while I thought I couldn’t leave him for financial reasons I’ve got more money and a much richer lifestyle and life without him. I reframed that shit and it is mighty on this side of realising I was a chump. Own that shit girl. It’s worth it.

    • Youre right Nena. My ex takes home double what I do AND Schmoopie now works (has to, they werent making it financially) and I have NEVER been better off. He almost crapped his pants when I had my salary put into an account in my name only and told him to do the same. Im fully expecting for his financial life to go down the toilet at some point. Too bad, too sad.

    • This is so wise: “Pouring our identity into our husband and kids isn’t healthy, married or not. Life is a long game. Those kids won’t need you one day. What then? You need to start preparing for that now.”

      Giving up our own human identity for other people isn’t love. Whether or not you are Christian, Jesus’s words on this point are wise: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself,” meaning–LOVE YOURSELF first and then you have something to give others.

  • I caught my Cheater cheating in my 20s and forgave him and took him back. Then, in my 30s, I caught him cheating AGAIN with new, different people and forgave him and took him back. In my 40s, guess what happened? Yep, I caught him cheating AGAIN with even all new, different AP’s. That time, I learned my lesson and got rid of him. I’m 6 years out from that final D-Day and 4 years divorced from him. My life today, post-divorce, as a single mom to 2 boys is like the Kelly Clarkson song, “Since you been gone, I can breathe for the first time”.

    My main message is: Cheaters become MORE empowered to continue cheating and abusing once they’ve been caught, and you’ve forgiven and taken them back. You thought your life was bad *before*? Just wait till the abuse ratchets up to a post affair/post D-Day environment where the Cheater is even more emboldened to find new strange.

    Get out. Now.

  • Momma Chump, he DID leave you. To have a long term affair or a series of affairs is to leave the marriage emotionally. His body was there (when not doing tne horizontal mambo with his mistress) but his heart and mind were not. Of course you don’t want to give up the dream of a happy, intact family, but that’s all it is and ever was-a dream of yours, not his. His dream is using and abusing you and having kids as accessories, little more than nice neckties, to impress the outside world with what a nice, normal guy he is, when he is anything but. He doesn’t love his kids, either. He exposes them to him kissing his mistress, FFS. That’s emotional abuse and could even be seen as a type of sexual abuse. Your lawyer could make a case for that. God knows what else they’ve seen or will see. I would try for full custody amd only supervised visitation, citing the fact that he carried on with another woman right in front of his children. He brought them into his sick little world. My estranged husband’s vile mistress did that to her kids as well, but even she didn’t let them see her kissing him. Involving your kids in a dirty extramarial sex life is sociopathic behaviour.

    You won’t miss this wife and child abusing piece of garbage after you dump him for good and have been no contact for a while. Since he continues to mindfuck you by projecting his moral failings into you, that is probably best. There are ways to get around the visitation that don’t involve you speaking to him. I know nothing of the details, not having young kids, but the chumps who have underage children will help you with that. Keep coming back for support. Not only can you do this, you know you have to. So sorry your husband is such a monstrous bastard. He makes mine look noble by comparison, and I’ve dumped mine, even though I’m ill and need his help. In your case, there truly is no other choice.

  • “Is my meh and freedom from infidelity really worth their pain and the loss of daily hugs and kisses with my babies?”

    Agree to CL, this is a false dichotomy. The actual question is: “Is staying in an abusive relationship worth it so that I can see my kids every day?” And you know what, the answer for you may be “yes.” That’s the answer I stuck with for two years after being begged to stay, but…yep you guessed it…he left me. Takeaway: your marriage is going to end eventually and divorce will be brutal (because you will be sad and grieving and he will tun on you like a rabid dog–they all do). So, maybe the real question is: “how much pain do you want to endure before your marriage ends?” The sooner it ends, the less pain you will go through.

    For what it’s worth–there’s no shame in trying to save your marriage, especially when there are signs of life. But, you’re married to a compulsive cheater and liar who would use the love of your own children against you so that he may continue his abuse. He basically weaponized your babies. That’s some sick stuff, and there’s no coming back from that.

  • Yes, my first thought was, people don’t change. You’ve been doing 99% of the child-rearing previously, so I don’t see him suddenly becoming Mr. 50/50 all of a sudden, especially when he displays such selfish tendencies and infantile methods of manipulation. He’ll float off into the sunset more than likely, except when he feels like he wants some leverage over you by demanding to see the kids, which he will probably accuse you of alienating from him (after he never calls and never visits). So make sure you get something out of this rat-shit situation ie. his financial support, and do this through the courts, so that you’re not the bad guy and there’s official leverage to get the moolah. He’s just realised he has to pay for 4 kids and I would say that is his main motivation for this bout of emotional manipulation. Good luck and I’m so sorry that this man has all the magical thinking of a 3 year old that a new baby was going to guilt him into better behaviour that he obviously has no responsibility or power over. Better times are definitely ahead once you get through this horrible time.

  • Reading through the comments today has crystallised some realisations for me. In the time leading up to and post D-Day, I look at what I was truly modelling to my young daughters (5&8). While I fought for the marriage and keeping the family in tact, and he continued the emotional abuse/gas lighting/appalling behaviours, I thought I was showing them commitment, loyalty, strength, character… you get the idea. Truth is, I was weak, scared, desperate and showing them it was acceptable to be abused in marriage. Hardest thing was to walk away after 20 years but I did. It was actually in leaving that I modelled those mighty character traits to my girls. I remember so many times saying to him the way he emotionally abused me via the affair, he would never tolerate for his daughters in the same circumstances as grown women. Yet by his actions to their mother, he was effectively saying to them “it’s ok to be treated like this by your husband “ and I was showing them it was OK. Only in leaving have I shown them how to be mighty women, that I am Mighty. It is only now that I am truly modelling commitment, loyalty, strength, and character to THEM for having the courage to walk away. I am in no way saying it’s easy, and you will be tested in ways you never imagined, but no matter what happens you are being your true and mighty self and that’s what kids need the most. And I want to say, I have never learned so much as I have from Chump Lady and Chump Nation. Praise be!

  • Momma Chump, remember that at divorce you are entitled to part of his pension, to your share of all property–cash, stocks, bonds, the house. Don’t give up your rights or you economic future.

  • Momma Chump,
    I am not sure where I am going with this so bear with me and if it doesn’t make any sense do not worry!

    Sometimes the ‘universe’ throws me things that I label ‘coincidences.’ Your inquiry to CL today is an example.

    Every morning before my day gets underway I try to spend a bit of time ‘reflecting’ which involves many different modalities….like reading, talking to a friend by phone, just sitting quietly or writing in such a way that I allow myself permission to put anything I want to on paper – un edited or censored – for my eyes only. I never know what will come out – where it will start or where it will end.

    This morning, I don’t even recall where my writing started, it ended up on selfishness somehow. After my time was up – I allot myself about 5 minutes to scratch things down as quickly as I can, it became crystal clear to me that selfishness is merely a concept – duh. I knew that but the piece that hit me, because it was implied that I was selfish too….- was that I actually do have a choice wether or not to believe someone else’s opinion of me or not. That sounds really basic, I know – but it hit at an entirely new level – like an entire new room opened up in my mind and I was able to see how I have held onto other people’s opinions of me without really looking deeply into them myself. My valuing someone else above myself without any discrimination as to wether or not their opinion should matter or carry any weight for me or not.

    I sat there a bit stunned and felt this sense of relief come over me. Like another piece of this fiasco had revealed itself to me and proven itself unsubstantial and, thus, dropped away.

    When I checked into CL later on in the day….there was your story and your wondering about selfishness.

    Thank you for the topic. I can only speak from experience here and my father dumped my mother with 5 children back in the day when divorce was a great scandal – the brunt of the shame falling on the woman.

    Well, my mother did a hell of a job raising all of us and we were hell raisers for sure. She was a meek and mild thing who never could stand up to the man so dealt with the scraps he tossed her way. We never went hungry. Our home was always clean and we always had clean clothes. In other words, all of our basic needs were met. My mother’s were not and for that I am truly sorry as she passed away when I was in my 30’s and I don’t feel like I ever really got the chance to tell her how much I admired her and how grateful I am to her and how she raised all of us.

    When the time comes you will know what to do. Doesn’t mean it will be easy.

    Good luck. You are a lucky woman to have 4 children. I am so grateful I have mine. I know women who have been dumped without any children and they is a definite hole in their lives.

  • Thank you to each and every one of you who took the time to respond. He is still living in the house (refuses to leave), and makes my life miserable if I try to fight him on anything regarding the divorce.

    I have consulted with several attorneys who all think that I can come out of this better, but no one can guarantee it. Judges where I live like 50/50, which significantly reduces child support. There was about a year where I worked full time (long story there) that is muddying the waters where child support and custody are concerned.

    I’ve accepted the lump sum alimony, because his employment, while lucrative, is unstable.

    The agreement actually allows him to live in the house an additional three months to give him time to find another home. I realize that this probably sounds insane to agree to, but I need peace from the fighting like I need air in my lungs.

    When I filed on my own, a side of him that I didn’t know existed came out. My kids witnessed behavior that was traumatic, and he told them terrible things. I don’t know if I can bring myself to expose them or myself to that again.

    I do not feel mighty. I do not feel strong. I feel like I’m just trying to figure out the easiest way out.

    • Hugs. Just another mother of five who also had a husband who wanted that last child. He told me he that he thought he would get the cheating out of his system and wanted the family waiting for him. Fast forward four years- things are better than ever. I have a job, in grad school, and have an amazing boyfriend.

      • Yeah Anna! I’m happy to hear another testimony of a beautiful life beyond the infidelity! Glad you found your inner strength.

    • “When I filed on my own, a side of him that I didn’t know existed came out. My kids witnessed behavior that was traumatic, and he told them terrible things. I don’t know if I can bring myself to expose them or myself to that again.”

      Entitlement. It’s been there all along but now the scales have dropped from your eyes.

      On the one hand, I’m REALLY sorry he’s behaving this way because it sucks. On the other hand, it certainly makes it a lot easier to feel the need for the divorce.

      Also – get the kids and yourself into family therapy.

      “I have consulted with several attorneys who all think that I can come out of this better, but no one can guarantee it.”

      No good attorney would guarantee an outcome.

      “Judges where I live like 50/50, which significantly reduces child support.”

      They all do BUT if you deal with it for a year and DOCUMENT what time he picks up/drops off the children I bet you will see he doesn’t really want them 50% of the time. Then you could go back and ask for more money.

      I really hope you get to Tuesday soon. I also hope that he moves the hell out before three months is up. I would expect him to try to stay longer. That is a big old, “Fuck NO!” if it happens.

      “I do not feel mighty. I do not feel strong. I feel like I’m just trying to figure out the easiest way out.”

      Mighty is a process. You’re growing into the role. It takes time but you’re doing great!

    • Momma Chump,

      I don’t know if you have read anything in the archives but that is where I found things that explained wasbands behavior – especially CL’s piece on Timid Forest Creatures.

      It was when I did put boundaries in place that I saw the true side of him come out – the rage etc. I had always seen the charm or self-pity pieces. It was a shock to see that.

      Now that you have seen it you do know it is there and always has been. Mine had what he wanted – kibbles and cake and then when cake was removed – an addict without his drug appeared in his place and it was ugly. AlsoI know it was his choice not to change since I know addicts can and do change if they do the work. Mine chose to walk away and leave me carrying it all….once again.

      It took me a long time to feel better. No contact made a huge difference which you can’t do at this point but you have made a decision for yourself and that IS HUGE because you have stood up for yourself and each step like that that I made gave me more confidence. Real peace began once the divorce was final.

      I too live in a 50/50 state but found out that those % don’t hold fast so, as others have said, hopefully you can find a really good lawyer who will fight for you and get more. I took a friend with me to the lawyers visit just so I had an extra pair of ears to listen since I was so frazzled – still in shock and disbelief and heartbreak etc. She took notes and was of tremendous support.

      I got a lump sum too. If you don’t already have a good financial advisor I would recommend finding one so that you can make that money work for you.

      Big hugs to you. I never thought I would say this but it does get better.

  • Wow! The audacity of this poster’s cheater! I want to punch him in the face. I can empathize with the poster’s exact feelings she has expressed; as my ex tried to pin the divorce on me and used the kid not having an intact family, to guilt me. My heart goes out to her and her children. I can guarantee 200% that leaving a cheater and rebuilding your life is entirely worth it! It’s hard, but it’s worth it and many have found their inner strength to do it and are better off. Cultivate a new normal. Feelings are not facts and subject to change when you get distance from the situation.

  • I just wanted to share my story as a fellow chumped mom of many children.

    My ex cheater and I have 8 children together. I had suspected sexual affairs for most of our marriage, but he always denied any physical involvement and minimized any evidence I happened to find. At my insistence, he did a formal disclosure of his infidelity in a counselor’s office. He admitted to over 10 sexual affairs, some of which involved unprotected sex with high risk partners. I was devastated. But I was also motivated to act to protect myself, now that I finally had the truth. I was tested for STDs (negative, thank God), saw an attorney, and enrolled in the classes I needed to finish my degree in music education. My youngest child was 7 months old at the time.

    I stayed in the marriage while I worked on my escape plan. I hoped to wait until after I graduated to file for divorce, but after a scary incident, I decided to file a PFA and then also filed for divorce. I was in the middle of a semester of classes and preparing to student teach the next semester.

    With the support of my family, his family, and friends, I successfully completed my classes, student taught, and graduated summa cum laude in May of 2018. I got a job teaching elementary music. I completed 5 hours of graduate credit towards my master’s degree last summer. I successfully completed my first year of teaching in Title I schools in very rough neighborhoods. I got a new job for next year in a better school, where I will have my own classroom ( I was teaching from a cart in my previous job). I completed another 5 hours of graduate credit last week. So, now I have a bachelor’s degree, a year of teaching experience, and 10 hours of graduate credit.

    My divorce was finalized last December and I got a great settlement. I realize I am very fortunate in that I have a lot of family support and I have more financial support (child support and alimony) than a lot of single mothers do.

    After the disclosure, I didn’t know how things would turn out for me. I didn’t know if I’d lose all my savings fighting my ex in court, if he would even pay the support he was ordered, or if I’d be able to find a job. It was very painful to divorce him and let go of all the dreams I had with him. It’s still painful to be alone. But I don’t miss him. I miss having a partner.

    I work really hard to take care of my family and in my job. I have a lot of great friends and my family and his family help with the kids a lot. It is possible to work and take care of a large family. ASK FOR HELP. ACCEPT HELP. Take steps towards a better life. Every step you take every day brings you one step closer to that better life.

    Best of luck to you.

  • Wow!! Awesome Response 🙌🏼. Chump Lady is right. I am so sorry you went through all of that and still going thorough it. I have a similar story in regards to wanting to really be with my kid’s and drag home along with the loss of a dream and having an intact family (it sucks a bit when alone at night as my little kiddos sleep). You will not miss all the bullshit lies. I sure do not miss feeling like I have a “third child” when I have two already. I don’t miss all the financial irresponsibility and how that brought me down as well. I don’t miss the lying and wondering what’s coming up next and all of that other drama.
    The other woman can deal with that now as they are married and live together and a “happy” big ass house. My kids have to go there and will come back and tell me things that just make me smile inside. I know it’s not “happy” Because cheaters don’t change!!
    The kid’s grow up and see how to make good choices and the consequences of not so great choices. Your kids will feel the same as they get older but just be patient during this transition. Forgive yourself for having anxiety or depression and I understand that you were not alone!!

  • Kids frequently seem to side with the cheater because they know the solid stable one will always be there for them. They do not want to be abandoned by the cheater too. You have to play the long game and trust things will turn around.
    I also have to say I admire you for “maning up” in support of your gay sons. It means everything to them to have your approval. We have a gay son too and his father’s church is rabidly anti gay. A supportive parent can save lives and promote flourishing.

  • “I feel like every dream that I had is dying, and by divorcing him I’m making sure that those dreams are gone forever. He keeps repeating that he doesn’t want a divorce and that this is all my choice. He’s told me that I am selfish for tearing apart our family, because “I may have cheated on you, but I never would have left you.””

    THIS! It is THE most painful thing. I still feel sad about it.

    He of course is in his third very serious we might get married relationship, not that it matters what he does, but – the end of my dreams, he moves on without a glance.

  • This guy is a first rate asshole. Run for the hills. Your gut is right. You will not regret leaving. It is the only choice. I was fed this exact same line of bullshit about my being the one to ‘break up the family’ after discovering his serial cheating. It is bullshit. You know that. I know that. Anyone with half a brain and a commitment to reality knows that. You have to live in reality not some fantasy land in which this cheating did not occur. He did it. He screwed you over royally. Now get out. And find your new life without Mr Cheatypants asswipe. I am totally 100% behind you and cheering you on. You can do this.

  • >