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Surely You Must Have Known

Are your powers of premonition pretty lousy? Me too. I have no idea who is going to win the election or what the stock market is going to do next quarter.

But when it comes to infidelity, you would’ve thought that everyone is clairvoyant and that particular super power skipped you. Because after you discover your spouse was cheating on you, there will be folks out there shaking their heads saying: surely you “must have known.”

One of the worst things about being cheated on is others’ wrongheaded notion that somehow you were in on the deal. That you knowingly turned a blind eye. Perhaps you and your cheating spouse had an “arrangement,” wink, wink, nudge, nudge.  The unspoken assumption is that you kind of deserve infidelity for being such an oblivious idiot.

Of course this is a way for the smug to distance themselves from the pain and humiliation of betrayal. Just like some folks think cancer and other sorts of misfortune are contagious, it’s easier to think we have control over Bad Things That Happen. It must be because you failed (unlike me). Blaming the victim is a nice little voodoo smug people do to protect themselves from the scary uncertainty that they too could be played.

Perhaps you were smug once too, safe in the knowledge that infidelity would never happen to you.

I know I was. I thought cheating is what happened when you had a sexless marriage, or let yourself go, or married some obvious Lothario. (The Lothario of my imagination being some cross between Austin Powers and a skeevy sales and marketing rep.) My  husband loved me! My husband pursued me! My husband and I had sex! I was safe.

Insomuch as I thought of cheating at all, I thought it happened to Other People. People with either really, sad pathetic marriages, (see sexless and ugly above) or glamorous Bohemian people who were swept up torrid affairs, helpless against the inevitability of their fated love. Solid, dull Midwesterners don’t do drama, I thought. I was immune.

(If this makes me sound like a smug asshole, that’s a gift of being on the other side of this shit — smug dies.)

We all see the world from our own moral lens. And if you have a particularly good set of morals (and assume everyone else does too), that makes you a good mark. If you’ve never experienced infidelity before and you know that you wouldn’t cheat on your spouse — you stumble around the planet with a certain naivety. You wouldn’t have done such a thing and therefore you can’t imagine a world in which the person you are most intimate with daily would do such a thing either.

That’s why betrayal is so shattering. It completely up-ends your view of the world, your sense of reality, of who you can trust. When it happened to me, it was like that scene in the Twilight Zone where the “normal” people suddenly come into view and reveal that they are pig-snouted aliens. I was shocked to my core. The world has PIG-SNOUTED ALIENS?! WTF?! No one TOLD ME!

It’s not pathological to trust your spouse. It’s what normal, loving people do. And that is why betrayal and manipulation are so very ugly. Because abusers take that trust — that social glue that binds us together — and they turn it on you. Use your loving “benefit of the doubt” against you.

And as if that shit isn’t painful enough — it’s that much more painful to have the Peanut gallery out there gawking and pointing and saying you were somehow party to your own abuse.

You can only be in denial about something you know. Betrayed people beat themselves up for being chumps. The deception is humiliating. In retrospect the deceit looks so obvious (he never answered his cell phone, she was a sudden aficionado of Brazilian waxes…) And of course, you probably had gut feelings that things were off. But your cheater told you, no, everything was fine. Or no, actually you were the problem. And you believed that. Until you couldn’t any more.

After you know you’ve been cheated on, it’s pretty normal to go through the stages of grief. Denial is one of those stages, as is bargaining. (Pig-snouted alien… okay… maybe it’s not that bad. Maybe I can work with this…) Once you know, however, that knowledge is a gift. It doesn’t feel that way, of course. It feels like death. Like someone bulldozed your soul, and shoveled its remains into one of those radioactive waste containers, never to be touched again like Chernobyl. But really, knowledge is power. The worse part is not knowing.

Surely you knew? No. You didn’t. But now you do. The rest of your life is up to you. If you ask me? I think you should run as fast as you can from the pig snouted aliens. God speed.

This column ran the first year of the blog, and near as I can tell I didn’t rerun it. The UBT is collapsed in a heap this morning. Hope everyone is enjoying a Tuesday.  

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  • I had no Clue at all , If i had not just happened to see his phone on the way back from the bathroom i don’t think i would still know ( Well i would cause he packed immediate and left me for her as he could not breath he missed her every second of every day he was not with her * His exact words * )

    I got all the time , Oh were you having Problems in your Marriage ? NO
    What no arguments ? NO
    No Sex ? YES even the morning of D Day

    But i did have a gut feeling since Christmas he was cheating on me . I asked and asked him he just laughed oh don’t be silly i’d never do that , i don’t have it in me , who would fancy me anyway ?

    Then when i found out he laughed in my face said the 1 thing i always told you is i would not cheat on you and i’ve been cheating for months & you are that stupid you believed me .
    The trust is broken the marriage is over and he left me and never looked back !

    Not only did i not know about the affair i never even knew he devalued me and did not love me at all . To me our life was normal until D Day

    The discard is the worst part for me i was not worth fighting for . I was not worth looking back for he just packed and left and moved straight in with her .

    • That was hard for me too – realizing that after 18 years, our marriage and I were not worth fighting for. I would have charged through a burning building for him, while he would have put another match on the fire.

      I try very hard to remind myself that he’s one vet fucked up individual who has feelings for no one. My head knows all this and my heart is slowly catching up.

      Big hugs – it was never us.

      • My feelings exactly; same experience, same mental/emotional conflict.

    • Hi Karen,

      The problem is not that you weren’t fighting for, it’s that he has a big mental, emotional and spiritual (if you believe that) problem. He thinks only of himself and has chosen himself over gifts none of us even deserve (like a healthy family). He has spiraled into himself.

      So are you worth fighting for? YES, so do it, FIGHT FOR YOURSELF. He should have and he didn’t which is really really sad, but you are worth loving.

      • “Spiraled into himself.” Yes. That’s what mine did. And lied and lied and lied again, until one day he told me the truth.

        • Ohhhh Madge mine lied and lied also and brought both his whores through our marital bed it nearly killed me. Social services in Canada did nothing to help they are useless and he texted me to tell me to “MOVE ON” after 24 years of being faithful to that piece of filth. He never loved me it was all a show and now I know full “NARC”!

    • He is not human.

      I really feel for you. I agree, the worst part is not being worth fighting for. One of my friends, who is an intuitive healer, told me this: “He did not love you. He never did. Some people just can’t love.”

      From the time she told me that, I would not allow myself to long for him, or to reminisce over times together. I did not allow myself to feel any affection for him. This brought on my healing from the sad, bitter truth that my marriage was a sham. But heal I have. Yes, I am single. No, I do not have a partner. (This means I am out of some social circles, but, whatever.) I am free of that dread that monster brought into our home. My heart is free of the chaos he gave, when he stole my calm.

      Some people are messed up. Yes, we kind-hearted people were naive. I am trying to return to kind hearted 13.01, as I don’t want to be bitter.

      • I just wrote a post that disappeared. I’ll make this short, QueenMother, they didn’t love us, they’re incapable of love. What we thought was love in the beginning was fake.
        They’re fake, the great guy image they portray themselves to be is fake.
        What is genuine is the cruelty and callous disregard of the person and marriage they claimed to love.
        Everything they do is well planned, throwing us away without fighting for us is intentional, making, they feel powerful and in control making us feel worthless.
        Making us feel worthless brings them pleasure. Normal people don’t hurt people they love.
        Normal people realize ending a relationship is painful. They don’t try to destroy you.

    • Those are the exact words I heard from Cheater when I asked if he had been with anyone.. Laughed, and said he wasn’t that kind of guy, you know me Brith.., do I look like the kind of guy to you?
      Brith you have quite the imagination. You should right novels or soap operas.
      I’m a man of integrity..
      I trusted him.

      Everything that comes out of his mouth is a lie.
      he’s pathological liar.

      • “How could you accuse me of that? Maybe you should pray about that.”



      • Mine also a pathological liar his mother was a horrible “TOXIC” Narc and now he is one also!

    • The discard was/is the hardest for me too. The realization that I’m not worth fighting for, not 20 plus years and 3 kids later, was I worth even a backwards glance as he happily packed and walked out on us all. Never cared that his children lost their home while he was buying his tramp $400 purses. And, I swear it never ends. The slap in the face that just keeps giving. The gift you never wanted but can’t get rid of. (Insert major eye roll)
      I, daily, have to force myself to forgive him and myself for being so stupid. I’m just so tired of struggling and having to live this life that’s so freakin hard all the time.

      • 30+ here. He said he made too many mistakes (secret life with credit cards and sex with anything he could find) so he was just going to start over with someone else. The problem is that even though we do not want to be with that person anymore the trauma still hides deep inside us. It does not take much to trigger it. Just when you think you are done with the pain another little well of it bubbles up.

        Today I wish he was dead. Never thought I could feel that way about a person let alone my spouse.

        • I also was told that it would just be easier to start over with someone else than to stay and fight for our marriage with me. He even went so far as to admit that he realized that he’s never fought for anything in his life, and he doesn’t have it in him to fight for this either.

          Yet, he went on to tell others that I was a controlling and emasculating wife. He couldn’t stand to be with me and endure it anymore. Being with me was causing him such high levels of anxiety that he lost all kinds of weight and just knew he had to leave for his own happiness.

          I didn’t emasculate him. He was weak long before I came along. He was, and continues to be, an accommodator – becoming whoever he is with for as long as it feeds him kibbles. Someone like that has no clue who he really is and can’t stand to be alone.

          • Bravo! Cheaters need kibble feeders and can’t stand to be alone!

            So..anyone dump a cheater for months, then you find someone new, cheater then goes cray-cray? Like ‘crying, screaming, pitching a fit’ to get you back….for two months? You start to believe cheater, but stay steadfast in grey rock? The next day, cheater announces he’s back with the OW, whom he texted you he hated and it was over? You think the OW should know….but what’s the point? Let her have him!

            Kibble supply. He needed kibble supply. Lost cake cries.

            • One of the directors of our large organization started asking me out but I wasn’t interested. Eventually he wore me down and I started seeing him. When the Twat found out he went ape shit – “trust you to bag yourself some bigwig”! I had known this guy for 20 years already and he was a friend first and foremost – but I got a REAL kick out of the Twat knowing this!

          • I love how it’s always considered “emasculating” to expect them to be strong.

          • My ex didn’t say that but it is how it seemed to me. He screwed up big time and chose to run away with new and shiny because it seemed easier than doing the hard work of “fighting for our marriage”. He is the one who suggested marriage counseling before DDay. He bailed when he realized that it wasn’t all about fixing me and that he would have to improve too (and give up Schmoopie who was providing such great kibbles at the time). The sad thing is, I would have made it way easier on him than he deserved so it is just as well he chose her.

          • Wow! It seems like we were married to the same type of guy. His own brother said he wasn’t surprised because he’d never finished anything in his life. He’s Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride with no real identity of his own. I would feel sorry for him if he hadn’t been such a destructive tool.

          • Ditto. I was making him I’ll. Ditto weight loss (down to me, not the stress of being a two timing bastard about to break up his family right), Ditto: over the years he had been belittled, alienated, cold-shouldered and mocked. Ditto: my barrelling dominance was the issue, it made him turn inward. I didn’t even let him share cooking meals or do the housework (like what the actual fuck!!). What a pathetic set of individuals they are.

          • Were we married to the same man?

            I also was told that he did the cost benefit analysis and it was just easier to cut losses and move on with a clean slate. And like you that clean slate involved telling people that I was controlling, belittling and a bully.

          • Option No More,
            I feel for you. I was often told in various ways that I was defective (a stupid, incompetent, bad cook, failure as a wife, mother, employee, student, athlete) by now-exes. Trying not to remember my last partner telling me that he was embarrassed to be seen with me, even when I had the body of a fitness model and worshipped the ground he walked on), he wanted to run away from me, didn’t see me in his future, and then half an hour later he loved me (what a mind-f—k), and, the next day. I could hang around him as long as I didn’t expect any ‘lovey dovey’ (narc much?) I feel sad that I tolerated a huge amount of abuse instead of I immediately packing up and leaving once such utter disrespect became obvious. My life feels pretty screwed up now and beyond repair, so I’m going to focus on helping others avoid getting into such bad situations by educating them on pitfalls in life (e.g., tolerating an abusive narcissist). I hope that my last partner’s new wife soon realizes that she married an immature, cruel, cowardly liar. Then, I might feel as though there is a little bit of justice.

        • Heard the same thing: It was easier to start new than to work on our marriage. He really did not think anything was to be saved, because — I am quoting him — I thought too negatively about what he had done. Hearing that during my most intense pick me dance was just hurtful. He suggested to be friends instead, I told him to fuck off.

          I know now after a year of reflection that he never put any effort into our relationship. It was all me doing the work. He played martyr to the outside world, never too shy to explain to his buddies what an awful wife I was. However, he did not try once to talk to me about it or change things or modified his behavior even when I asked to. He just felt his emotions and his well-being was entirely my responsibility.

          I am now divorced and much happier than I have ever been during the marriage. I am not nearly recovered and not at meh, but I can already feel the easiness of living without a cheater.

        • I was with mine for 30 years… “not worth fighting for” are the words I haven’t been able to find.
          That’s what I have been carrying deep inside me since he left. That’s what caused the shame and humiliation and has since caused so many awkward moments with family and friends, when that ask why?, or start having an opinion.
          It’s over 4 years now and I’m mostly ok, but sometimes that feeling creeps back in and I can’t work out what it is… now I know.

          • I was with mine for 42 years! I am only a month since D Day — but I had the courage to kick him out and immediately file for divorce.

            I realized that I have been walking around with 100 pounds of “my husband left me” shame and sadness on my shoulders. NO! I found out, kicked him out and immediately filed! I think I will have a T shirt made that says that!

      • The discard was the hardest for me, too. All through the marriage, he had me put in all effort and work and he himself just “suffered” through me being such a horrible partner and spouse. He put all burden on me. I bend myself into a pretzel and followed his constant demands. But yet, he decided one day just to have an affair. Because that is the logical thing you do when you have an awful wife.
        And when I found out, he just walked away… plugged me out of his life like others plug out a hair out of a soup. Of course claiming that it was me and I was just not good enough. Actually stating that I caused him to live in a sexless and aggressive marriage.

        • Mine acted like we had been in a sexless marriage too when we weren’t. That was hurtful. We were having sex on a regular basis, ok, not every day but at east once a week, but it must have been so bad that it was worse than no sex at all. Ouch.

      • I know exactly mine went so far as to walk off with his latest whore, then have me arrested on abuse charges, 6’6” man and I’m 5’6” and I have been dragged through the Canadian judicial system now 15 times fighting this monster to try to see my own kids. Now he’s using “PARENTAL ALIENATION” to attack me. It never ends and his spending has literally bankrupted a for these sluts!

        • Carol,

          I am sorry that you married my ex-husband’s evil twin. Sounds like the only differences in our stories is you are north of the border and you are on the 15th round and I am south of it and I am up to the 20th hearing.

          Disturbingly, my parents sometime invite my ex-husband into their/my home for snacks and meals, restraining orders (created by a wise judge without being asked by me) be d—ned!

      • Same here as Kristy. Not a backward glance. Could not give a shit we lost our home so he can start over with his co-worker who thinks she won jackpot. 28 yrs old who lived in a shitty tower block got herself pregnant within 2 weeks of him leaving us. Now they are having their dream house built on his executive salary… whilst we lost everything we worked for and are even struggling to eat sometimes. But he does not care. Like we never existed really. He wanted to introduce her to the kids as if she was the next best thing within 2 months “hey children, come and have a look at the wonder I have found to replace your useless mother” is propably what he had in mind. I told the kids I refused they meet her whilst the divorce is not done. They waited but then they announced she was pregnant e months later and they were gutted… they were in my shoes, replaced too. And the nature of the OW with her baby trap was then so obvious they have never met her.
        It is a mess. I can’t think what I have done to deserve this treatment. He said he didn’t feel loved and when he said that he lost all his friends too. Because I adored the man, the way I looked at him, talked about him, resigned my jobs to follow him to the end of the earth…. it was so obvious he was a very loved man. So noone understands. And of course he can’t explain. When he said we argued all the time, which we didn’t and I ask him to give me an example of our last fight so I can understand he jas none. NONE.

        • That is a horrible story.

          I’m looking back at this killer article days (and years, but it’s eternally relevant) later, but I hope you get all your responses.

          The rug-pull. The push from the top of the stairs. But, no, the trusted person says. All is normal. They are not your trusted partner but rather your enemy, an espionage agent.

          YOU did Nothing to deserve this treatment. You were only one of the factors he was considering. You were useful. You made him look respectable. Whatever it was, you were a player in a game, and no one told you that you were playing.

          You acted like all the conversation was real, and only for you, it was. For him, you were a situation to manage and handle, instead of the woman he loves.

          For me, it was like I was Quinn on that ’90s sci-fi show Sliders. I had accidentally Slid into an alternate Reality, and my wife on Earth 1 was someone I would likely never see again. Instead, I found myself stuck here, on Earth 2. I have NO device to help me even try to LOOK for the way back.

          On Earth 2, most things are really similar to Earth 1. My Wife 2, however, was lying to Me 2, throughout their relationship. Even her original agreement to be exclusive was a very purposeful lie, at the beginning. It was as if my poor Wife 1 had died, was irrevocably lost, or worse yet, had actually been killed and replaced by Wife 2.

          But it’s a trick of what you are perceiving as Real. You were in a game the whole time. It was Never the Reality he portrayed for you. Never.

          So, why is it hard to shake that? They reveal what is really real to us, and we’re like, “Well, no. Wait. This! This over here is what’s real, remember?”

          Your brain makes Physical brain cells, connections, and supportive substrates for those cells. When your mind rewrites those pathways, and re-sorts the supportive substrates, you live in your new, actually real Reality.

          Until that happens, you feel like this. I personally started making future plans that are achievable but nearly fanciful. I listened to some new song or other, a number of times. I listened to some music from when I was happy, before I met her. On “loop”.

          See, THAT last one stimulates your thinking from Reality, from before he existed for you. Even better. Force those pathways to strengthen remaining former routes while rewriting the errant ones.

          Hey, it kept me from going insane with grief.

          Our relationship, like young Anniken Skywalker, was supposed to have been the chosen one, dammit! Instead, Boom, Darth Vader the evil one.

          Oh, I love my imaginary Wife 1, even now. I’ll always remember her a little, I’m sure.

          On the radio (classic rock and pop) recently, I heard Christopher Cross singing Think of Laura. Whatever his underlying meaning, it tells briefly about a female friend who suddenly died, was gone “without a warning”. He asks that, when we think of her, we shouldn’t cry “because I know, she’d want it that way. ”

          I couldn’t help but ignore him and cry my eyes out.

          Poor imaginary Wife 1. In some ways, she was great. She loved me so much, and we were perfect for each other. Our relationship was the answer! “Us” was our reward for whatever we had ever suffered.

          I can only hope Me 2 has patience enough to talk with her some, before assuming she’s Wife 2, “finally” tells her off, and leaves forever. I don’t know what else would be different enough to make him know where he is now, and would let him know he needs to turn around.

          See? I’m still working on it. I swear to you though, in one year, I am far better off than plenty of chumps. I can see the road ahead, and I am solidly on that road.

          You were in the Truman Show, but he was Truman and you were a character in his personal Life play.

          Make your own new life, with your comfort and wants at the center. You are worth it, and you are worth having a man in your life who really loves you and treats you well, with even his secret things just being secret future gifts for you.

          I’m trying to learn to screen potential partners better. Best of luck to you, girl. : )

          • That was a great reply. I also am trying to do all these things to get my life back on track and in the reality. I have moved away, took on a new job, reconnected with all the things that I liked.
            It was a massive betrayal. Now I see so clearly when someone is not who they trying to project.
            What is really shocking is that people like this with so little moral and empathy exist. I thought if someone was mean I would know, like the school bullies, everybody knows they are not nice. I had no idea that some people appeared to be humans filled with benevolence and integrity and in fact are in the opposite. It really is like the article. You wake up one day and realise that the world is not as it seems. I am 18 months out now and feeling better although not quite there yet but now he screams to anyone who would hear him that I am alienating his children 16 and 26. He truly does not see that his behaviour had consequences… or maybe he pretends that he does not understand. Who knows.

    • @karenb6702, sending support and empathy. After a few cold hearted weak assed promises on DDay, I got nothing but complete discard, blame, and rage. It was devastating. I did not have a clue- was completely blindsided, gobsmacked, felt like day was night and night was day, like I was living in a horror movie and couldn’t wake up. X of 25 years is a complete and total sociopath, years of lies and serial cheating and a master-level con artist.

      4.5 years out, I can truly say it’s better he was this way and left. Otherwise I wouldn’t have been forced to move on. There was literally nothing to “work” with in my marriage so I was forced to end it legally and had no choice but to build a new life, which is a wonderful life now that I’m here: peaceful, serene, no con artist using me….

      • Mother

        I never even got even apology nor promise from my exes. On D-Day #1, my adulterous husband told me that HE forgave ME—WTF! Last partner also never apologized to me for his emotional abuse of me. The closest he came to apologizing was him sending me email saying that he ‘was trying to do better (for the young work subordinate he left me for and soon married)’ and that he didn’t want to talk to me ‘right now,’ which really meant never as (I later learned) he blocked me on all channels of communication. Some ‘friend’ he turned out to be—‘A friend in need is a friend indeed.’ I would love to find a ‘real man’ for a change for a romantic relationship. Have not found one in years, actually ever, and feel no hope of ever finding one. But perhaps I can at least raise ‘real men,’ men who are honest, kind, loyal and try to be an optimal person.

        I agree with you—I feel better knowing that I am no longer attached to a con artist who is trying to con me, his partner.

        • Mother, I never got an apology and I wouldn’t expect one, I don’t remember him ever apologizing for anything the entire time we were married. In his eyes he doesn’t do anything wrong. This Irish quote, “What do you expect from a pig but a grunt” comes to mind when expecting something different than their norm.

          Rockstar, my ex was abusive, I couldn’t do anything right, the more I picked me danced the more disdain he had for me. Most people would have left but not me, I continued to do the pick me dance even after he left.
          I’ve wondered if ex and his wife have a flawless marriage, no kids, no distractions, happy with everything she does or says, no looks of disgust, no jokes at her expense. Happy, happy happy.
          Then I come to my senses and remember a Chump Lady saying, just because they leave and are living with AP doesn’t mean they had a brain transplant. They’re still the same jerks we married. It’s only a matter of time before the mask begins to slip. Once a jerk always a. jerk.

    • I watched a discussion about the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath. One is born and one is made but other than that they are soulless people. The fact that he could stand there and say that vicious thing to you says he is way past narcissism. He is a sociopath and you are well rid of him. Whoever she is, the one that got him, is in for a rude awakening. He didn’t change he just changed addresses.

      • There is no difference between a psychopath and a sociopath. I saw a video in which someone, I assume a psychiatrist or psychologist, said the same thing about sociopathy and psychopathy. I was in shock as I have a MA in forensic psychology and mental health counseling and never heard such a thing.

        Psychopath and sociopath are used interchangeably. Psychopath was the first term created, , which was then replaced by sociopath, and now psychopath is the preferred term again.

        In the DSM, antisocial personality disorder replaced sociopathy..

        These people are psychopaths, pure and simple. We are just prey to them and they have no conscience.

        • I view sociopath as an umbrella term to cover various personality disorders (narcissism,borderline,paranoid,antisocial). Some people just exploit and manipulate others for their own gain or just for kicks and giggles. Once I see who they are, I distance myself without letting them know I see behind their mask. It’s one of life’s hard lessons.

    • Same thing he told u my husband told me He could never do that , He’s not the cheating kind He said Emotioal affairs aren’t cheating it’s just getting your needs filled My husband hasn’t left He’s still having his cake and eating it to , well that’s what he thinks I wish he would of left Maybe he would appreciate things after he was gone , Our marriage was rocky but we were together Im just trying to get my things together to get stronger and then we’ll see Both his feet are out of our marriage He’s just afaid to jump I’ll have to give him a BIG push , Thanks for your story

      • May, don’t expect him to appreciate you when he’s gone. It isn’t going to happen.
        You’re right, he left the marriage a long time ago. The only reason he’s still there is he’s afraid of the aftermath of divorce.
        Read Chump Lady’s book, Get your things in order, and gain a life. =)

    • I had NO clue at all my son came and told me, aged 9 at the time! Both women knew he was a married man and that only encouraged them, pure filth!

    • This article hit home so hard I was shelled shocked once again. The morning of D-Day I texted him because he seemed “off” that day. I texted me back “I love you and you are the best thing that has happened to me”.

      But that evening, after going on a date, he told me he was leaving. WHAT? Where did that come from. This is the year mark from when he left. I totally completely agree that I was “smug” and knew this only happened to other people. My eyes were opened and I saw this world and realized yes it is full of pig faced aliens. I wonder if this is how Eve felt when she ate the apple?
      The perspective on the world around me change, I am not longer nieve and innocent. I was a virgin to cheating and now I can never go back.

      I hate him (according to my therapist, hate is not a healthy word) for taking this innocent view of the world away from me. The idea that people are good in general, you can trust those around you and according to The Judd, in their song “Grandpa” Daddy’s never go away” was just some silly country song. But now I listen to songs, watch movies and T.V. (I took me almost 6 months to be able to listen to music or watch T.V. without crying) and realize this world is full of cheaters, liars, and leavers.

      I want my “innocents” back but I know it is not possible, but it doesn’t help me from being mad, angry, hurt, sad, dissapointed at him for taking it away.

      He has his new “Sweet Pie Whore” and I waiting for “the new to wear off and the old to shine through” and for him to see that he “can’t go back for the bridges he burned” and what’s he gonna do when he is “somebody nobody is going to trust”.

      I don’t think this day will every come, but I am still here left behind with the kids, the bills, the problems and stress of motherhood and he just walked away and never looked back. (Its the kids that keep me going many days)

      I just don’t understand. I am told that “skein of BS I won’t ever be able to untangle and understand)

      I am vomiting all this up because today is one of those day that I am crying, because I am so tired from not sleeping and hurt so much inside that I don’t, can’t do anything. We are having chocolate chip cookies for breakfast because today I just can’t do it.. Please send me words of wisdom and reassure me that I am not alone and this will pass.

      • I know how you feel. I was little Miss Sunshine until I had that shit battered out of me. It is slowly coming back though it does take time. You may never believe in innocence again but you will be happy again some day. And chocolate chip cookies sounds like a perfect breakfast to me!

      • Dear IG,
        Sorry to hear about your bad day but I agree with Attie that chocolate cookies sound like excellent breakfast food. The kids will remember what a cool mom you were somedays. 🙂
        I promise it gets better. But I can’t promise there won’t be hard days. It is especially hard to see when you are mired down with the responsibilities of being the parent who is sane, who shows up day after day. The rewards are worth it though, the self-respect, the self confidence and pride that comes from doing it even though it is hard. In the end, the kids will know. It’s not that they won’t love or at least pine for their dad, but they will know you as the primary family, the one that was there. I believe karma works it all out in the end. But the end is some nebulous place that is far away. Try to enjoy a moment of each day – practicing gratitude helps a bit.
        Come here often, we get it. We can’t take it away but we can give you a hug and say “yes, it sucks some days. Yes, it is hard. And yes, it gets better. You will be better off in the end, you can do it and, again, we know it is hard but you can do it.”
        Oh and the snark, I love the snark of this place because really, how else can you deal with the ridiculous behavior of fuckwits.

        • Thank you… I am sitting here crying in a bubble bath and eating chocolate chip cookies with Diet Coke for lunch. It’s nice to know somebody understand and that I am not crazy

          • Hey sweetheart – chocolate chip cookies and coke in a bubble bath?? Think of all those thin worthy ‘beautiful people’ who would die of envy and never be able to look after themselves tge way you are right now! Eat what you want, cry when you want, scream and snark when you want. It’s all about YOU right now. You are so mighty, looking after your babies and bearing all this pain. Do you realise yet that you are as far above the cheaters as a star is above a cowpat? Chump Nation is holding you tight right now darling IG xxx

          • Innocence,
            Don’t let the invalidation get to you. I was invalidated by a couple of therapists in couple’s counseling with my husband (now ex-husband) as well as my last partner, who told me when so said that I missed him after not seeing him for a week that I missed him, ‘It hasn’t been that long.’ I told Gimbel what he said was hurtful, so what did he, the guy with the elephant memory do a few weeks later when I again said that I missed him? Exactly the same hurtful thing. What an a—hole! Just one of many
            ‘a—holish’ things he did to me—and it sounds like he did to some partners before me. I wonder if he will ever treat his current wife nearly this badly—or is he too in love with her, respect her too much, or afraid of her to try such garbage with her?
            I feel for you, Innocence, have lived on a chocolate chip cookie and Diet Coke diet for a long time (isn’t that standard?), and validate you!

      • To hell with your therapist chastising you for hate. Of course you hate someone in whom you invested that heavily, who then betrayed you. What other emotions are appropriate except anger, hatred, pain?

        Hate for awhile, work on your own life, and the hatred will turn to indifference. Don’t let anyone invalidate your very valid emotions after this maelstrom. If you still feel active hatred in a few years, then your therapist has cause for concern. But not yet.

        • Anger and yes HATRED are signs that your boundaries have been violated. Totally appropriate in my opinion. Process the trauma and don’t let the anger eat away at you.

        • This is a shit therapist. If someone had run over your child/dog/parent you would be allowed to have emotions. This is the same. This person- who knows you… ran over your soul. Why the fuck aren’t you allowed to grieve that! SMH

      • Innocents, that happened to me too. I sincerely thought the best of everyone and was completely floored if anyone reacted nastily to me. The knowledge that anyone I know could cheat, manipulate and lie makes me feel unsafe in this world sometimes. But please don’t despair, you will like me start to find your feet. Anger and hate are totally appropriate reactions, at the risk of getting shouted at as I usually do when I trot this out – how about hate the sin but not the sinner? I can’t hate anybody, it’s just not in me, but I do hate the ugliness, pain and turmoil the stbx and his EA brought into our lives. He was weak and she was naive and selfish, but I don’t hate them. I do feel massively disappointed in them and pity their moral blindness and lack of reality.
        I also have to struggle most days with financial fear and sadness for my children and their problems. It’s not fair that we have to shoulder all the work of caring for children – but we are the only sane parent. I do hope you have some good friends irl, lovely, to tell you what an incredible job you’re doing and what a stellar person you are! Hugs to you IG XXX

      • Innocents gone, sending huge hugs and strength. We’ll help carry you here when you falter. Good for you for feeding your babies today. Tomorrow maybe something with more nutrition, but you shower you care and are THERE! that’s all that matters.

        It does get all so much better! I thought I was going to die of the pain. I never wanted any of this! My entire adult life and I was completely blindsided. But now, 4 1/2 years later I am purposeful, happy and very content and I love my life. I have peace and I have love. I have friends and my kids are doing OK. All of us here eventually get to this place. You will too. The key is no contact and each day take whatever actions you can to further the divorce along. Even if you don’t want to.

    • I went through a similar thing. For 17 years i was married and never felt secure. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. Actually, it’s all about what i put up with, my standards, the BS i believed in. Today, i’m in a similar relationship, 50 years old and i dont trust the new man i’m with either. Chump Lady talks about fixing your picker. I think the secret to a good relationship is true friendship.

  • I think it is hard to know when they are HIDING it. My ex was loving and affectionate. He came home every night we took nice trips, our life was good etc. He did begin to be distant but his job was very demanding so I accepted it as part of life…..Then I found his emails!! I knew when I knew, how was I to know before ???? lol

    I think this clip says it all.

    • I could have written your comment. Everything you wrote was how it was here. Affectionate, loving… Told me he loved me daily. Warm embraces, sex. He also has a demanding job and worked long hours. I had no idea until their sexts showed up on my laptop one day. No clue. Had been going on for over a year. Every single person who now knows is in shock. I’ve been told multiple times how my marriage was the one they envied, how in love we were. Together for over 27 years. OW is married with 3 young children and apparently pursued him. Not that it matters. Kicked him out 7 months ago and she is still with her husband. Found out that they are still seeing each other as he introduced her to my son recently. Just keep breathing…

        • Totally. I did that and the OW has been miserable ever since. She hates my ex now. She had made him promise to never admit to the affair, no matter what evidence I had. She also never expected him to give me her name. Dumbass thought she could trust a cheater.

        • In the letter she sent my friend, her husband knows all about her relationship with my husband. In the letter she sent me, she told me her intention was never to hurt me. This was after I found them in a motel together for D-Day #3. She turned and smiled at me and was going to tell me how sorry she was. Um you just did my husband. My fist told her not to bother. (Have never done that before – blind rage). She has no intention of leaving her husband and girls. That would stop all the fun.

          • Also, why tell her husband? I did leave a FB msg to him after D-Day #3 which he read and ignored. Open Marriage. Do I want her to move in with mine and make him “happy”? Do I want her to then be part of my life through my (hopefully soon Ex) due to divorce proceedings and custody? Nope, better this way. She’ll lose interest eventually and move on to the next one.

      • Oh my goodness, LeavingToxicTown!!! THIS is my story EXACTLY! People were envious of our marriage and family. 24 years, 2 college age kids, and the OW was someone from work he had been seeing for over a year with 2 SMALL children. She is closer to our daughter’s age than ours! TOTAL SHOCK! I am still reeling and still NOT divorced. He wanted a divorce, but he is just too busy with his new life to get around to it. I served and gave him the papers over a year ago. We have had trials and a mediation and are STILL not divorced. Meanwhile, MY HUSBAND lives with another man’s wife, another man’s children, and in another man’s house. It’s humiliating and doesn’t seem to have an end in sight. This forum gives me daily peace. I cannot believe there are so many of us with the same story.

        • I’m so sorry “neversawitcoming33”. It is finite, I believe that. Better things await. OW is also a co-worker. It’s hard right now. I kicked him out after D-Day #4. He would never have the courage to leave me. I had to be the villain so he could play victim. He pleaded with me after D-Day #3 – said that he had “hit rock bottom”. That it was always me, that he will always love me…. blah, blah, blah. Stupidly I took him back and found out that 3 weeks later they were back at it. I filed for Divorce 4 months ago. He doesn’t understand why I am not “friendlier” to him. Why I look at him with such contempt. He is delusional. I have been mostly NC for 3 months now (hard with a HS kid – College kid won’t talk/see him) and find it clarifying.

        • Oh, bless us all. These are my stories, too. Great life, beautiful family including three boys/young men who saw this person as their role model. We had a great sex life, financially comfortable, lovely home, he hugged and kissed and said he loved me a dozen times a day.

          Then one day while he was “traveling for work,” something nagged at me, something was off; almost four months since and still, I can’t name exactly what the feeling was except all at once, while walking the dogs and thinking, it hit me. “He’s not working, he’s not alone.” I got home, checked our cell phone records and the shitstorm blew in, devastating my life, my world-view, my family, home, future, marriage . . . everything. My 51 y/o husband had been seeing a 23 y/o–in his words, “drug addict and alcoholic because I thought I could save her”–for almost a year. (She’s 7 years younger than his oldest son from a previous marriage).

          After DDay, he never blinked, never apologized, just said that our life wasn’t enough for him, that I wasn’t enough for him, he was leaving his home, family, marriage and job to live the life he wanted. He and the young woman took off for a four week trip to Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. I’ve worked 24/7 to sell the house, get back to full-time employment, deal with lawyers and the financial devastation, support our teens and young adult children who are hurt and angry but also insightful: “Mom, we all want to make sense of things but some things just don’t make sense and this is one of those things.” Anyway, I’ve been kept alive by CL, CN, a great therapist, brilliant and generous friends who are as bewildered as I am and support me in all the best ways. First time I’ve told my story here. Thanks for listening.

          • Thank-you ClearView for sharing. I’m sorry that he did this to you and your family. How long has it been? I got the same: “Our marriage became too comfortable”. This is the second time I’ve reached out to CN. It is remarkable how similar a lot of our stories are. WTF happened to these people? We are all so much better off knowing who they really are. I will never look at him the same again. My teenage son has ASD and doesn’t know the real reason we are no longer together. He is sad and confused. I take him to therapy and it seems to be helping. He just knows that mommy and daddy don’t do things together anymore. My family used to be so happy. No arguments, I always felt that we were in sync. Until D-Day#1. Somedays I’m still in denial that he did this. I guess it’s true… you really don’t know someone.

            • LeavingToxicTown and ClearView – looks like we are all trying to keep afloat in the same boat. I also had way too many D-Days to keep up with. I always wanted to believe the best, but the OW never went away. I have never ‘hated’ anyone or anything, but I do feel a lot of HATE lately. Most of all, I hate what this has done to my kids. These men don’t understand that their actions will affect every single function FOREVER. I feel blessed to have the support system I have had over the last year with friends and family, but I only ever wanted MY family. I don’t want this. I DO NOT want this. The uncertainty of my life right now is overwhelming, but I KNOW I deserve better. I know I can only control myself at this point, and I am doing well, but it’s a damn miracle that we aren’t ALL on Dateline yet!

          • Hug clearview
            My Stbx also was trying to help a 27 yo drug addict get sober like us.
            He is 47.
            Of course, this girl is long gone.
            But my heart is too broken to ever take him back. The hurt and damage is done.
            My kids are teens and are so disappointed in him, begins me 100%.
            I never expected this…

    • Mine was loving and affectionate too and I had no idea. We had a great life and 3 great kids, we travelled and spent lots of time together. When I found some messages on his phone he denied he was doing anything and persuaded me that his coworker was having an affair with the accountant and not him. Somehow the messages had come onto his phone through the iCloud at work and stupid me believed him. It was just too ridiculous to think he was having an affair. Hindsight is a wonderful thing ????. He pretended to ‘try’ and make it work for about 8 weeks and then I left him because he had been in touch with her again. They now lives a hundred kms away and travel the world most of the time. Talk about self centred…. I would never have believed he would do this, blindsided is the only word for it.

      Love the clip ????????????

  • I didn’t know, but the signs were there:, his phone going everywhere with him, strange calls at 2am, 6am on Sunday morning. Taxis turning up not ordered, food turning up not ordered. Disappears for 3 days at a time, but I’m not entitled to know where he was. Women screaming outside my house. We split up 6 years ago, I still don’t know the truth.

  • There’s was plenty of bad in our relationship, but I assumed it was the normal struggles of mid-life connection and meaning. My ex didn’t cheat on me in our marriage, but he was emotionally unfaithful and removed and flirtatious in a way that he was working toward getting someone to bite the hook with him. I found it painful and ridiculous, but when he finally went off the deep end and asked for/insisted on a girlfriend (which he had already lined up) and an open marriage, I thought he had lost his mind. I wrongly assume that after making him go, he would come to his senses and not want to throw away all the connection we had (which was real – his was a long, slow mid-life meltdown). He didn’t end up with the first two women he pursued, it now he has a “special friend” to entertain in his sparse one-bedroom place (no room for the kids), because he either left everything behind, or he threw it away. I honestly thought he’d come around, that the insanity would break, that he would miss the life and connection we had. It is sad to not be worth fighting for. It’s weirder still that he was able in short order to line up at least three different women who were willing to get close to him given his back story. I guess “leaping” can be spun as “living your truth.”

    • I think my stbx has had a mid life crisis too. We had a great life and were best friends, travelling tons. We have 2 awesome teens.

      I was SHOCKED he had the gumption to cheat, let alone with a girl 20 years younger.

      Initially I thought he would come to his sense once girlfriend was gone. But, you know what? I didn’t want him back! Once he was out of the house I realized I just don’t need a lazy, lying cheating asshole in my life. I hope he regrets his betrayal for the rest of his life. Not for me, but for the pain and trauma he caused our kids.

      Tomorrow would have been our 20 year anniversary. I feel freer than I have in a long time.

    • While I was waiting for him to come to his senses, I came to mine!!

  • In the beginning, I said I never dreamed he would ever do such a thing.

    But I did.

    I had a recurring dream during our entire relationship (27 years), not very often, but I dreamed he left me. When I woke up, it seemed so completely divorced from reality (ironic pun intended), that I completely dismissed it.

    Until October of 2017. I had the dream in the middle of the night when I was away from home on a solo vacation, the first time I had ever been away for a week in eleven years. This time, when I woke up, I texted him.

    “I feel like you are glad I am gone, that you don’t love me, and I am wondering if you love someone else.”

    Dead on.

    As far as being blamed for the cheating, one friend said it was my fault.

    She is now a former friend, for whom I dropped everything and talked with when she was in crisis, never once bringing up that her drinking may have been the cause of her situation. (I couldn’t know for sure so I kept my mouth shut and listened to her).

    I wouldn’t dream of giving her one more split second of my non-refundable, extremely valuable time.

  • This is actually super helpful. It explains why I didn’t see it, why I didn’t know. I was looking through my own.
    Since my own moral lens is pretty clear, it makes sense that I wouldn’t have detected something so far outside of it.

  • I continue to examine and process everything from our shared life of 31 years, 28 married. The events and memories now can neatly fall into categories marked “red flag” and “intermittent reward” and “abuse” and it is all pretty clear what happened here with my passive aggressive covert narc X Asshat. But for those 31 years I was just living my life and was bonded to someone I had no idea was capable of the things he did.

    I am expected to agree I participated in his destruction of our family. Per the Asshat, I deserved it. This trope of collusion is just more of the same.

    I was already the only one taking the temperature of the marriage and actively engaged in what I thought was a shared life, so now the failure at mind reading and lie recognition also falls at my feet. Him? He is an innocent babe who had no obligation to say a peep before blowing up his life. In fact, he had a right to lie to my face when asked direct questions about what was going on and about our supposed shared future. My fault for not sussing out the truth and making it all better.

    There is a profound lack of empathy from people who have not gone through this. I don’t entirely blame them because it really is astounding. It is almost impossible to believe that people can be so selfish and put their pursuit of happiness in front of every other stated and assumed obligation.

    But it happened. I didn’t know it was going to happen and I didn’t deserve it. The cowardly, lying, abandoning cheater is the one responsible for this mess.

    • You describe my first marriage exactly…all of it could be labeled as one of those 3 things.

      When he first said he was leaving, I hurt because I loved him (probs I loved the intactness of our family) so much. When he died, I grieved because I loved him. Once the ugliness were uncovered, my love surely died.

      One reason I missed the signs is that I was looking for a CHANGE and there never was one because he likely did it on and off our whole marriage.

      In our first year of marriage, he was sent to do 3 months of training and I couldnt go because we had just spent our last dime renting a place. When he returned, we had this “super intimate”discussion where he told me that he could never stay with me if I ever cheated. I just sat and listened and swore my faithfulness. I didnt tell him back what I would demand…the idea grossed me out but if he had had a single drunken ONS, I would have likely forgiven it. I think now that he surely cheated and was taking my temperature to see 1) if I could tell he did it and 2) what my boundaries were. I apparently failed on both counts.

      A month later we “celebrated” our first anniversary and I sensed a strange hostility (red flag) that only went away for very brief moments in time.

      • My stbx did a lot of what you mentioned. “Taking Temperature” of the relationship. It always seemed like he was looking for something to be wrong with our marriage. I had a unwaivering feeling that something was wrong for a very long time but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that he was cheating on me. How long and with how many women? I’ll never know. He up and left out of the blue one day with no explanation except that he needed to get away for the night. I honestly thought that he was just dealing with his own emotional issues. Well…..he was….but with someone else. SMH

        • Now that I look back with knowledge, I’m astonished at what I did not see. I had known him since I was 18 and I assumed the best of him. I had no idea what actual adultery signs were. I remember clearly looking at him sitting at his desk a few months before he died thinking “he looks like someone with a terrible secret” and I STILL didn’t see it all clearly. What he had done was (to me) wildly unthinkable.

          • The signs of cheating are obvious when you know what they are, Unfortunately most of us weren’t familiar enough with those signs to know what they actually meant even if we did sense something amiss in the marriage.

            • Yes, it was only when I found out, that the signs all made sense.

              Before I thought he was just being so horrible and physically and emotionally gone, because of a crisis; and I could pick me dance him back.


          • Once I knew and in the short space of time where I knew but didn’t let him k is I knew I asked him questions and saw his facial expression. This was the lying face. Now I had seen it in context I had seen it before. Not a lot cause he usually just avoided things. When you know it all becomes clear but when what someone says and does entirely mis-match why should you pick it up? I even got an email saying he was having an affair (insert lying face and shock I joe realise) and he talked me down. He would never do that flower blah blah, he is not like that. They play a good game they are trying to get one over on you. I cannot feel bad about not seeing it although now it all feels quite obvious. Being trusting and having expectations of being treated with a shred of decency by your partner aren’t a crime right?

    • Yes, and I’m so sorry this is part of your experience, so very, very familiar to me and probably so many of us. It is unimaginable, horrific, so bizarrely unlikely that even when witness it, we can still scarcely take it in.

    • Thank you for this post! I realise only after reading this the pattern that went on in my own relationship. He’d shower me with gifts and devotions I didn’t need or ask for… often made me quite uncomfortable. Then he’d use that sense of obligation or guilt to get me to agree to what he knew I didn’t want. I was such an easy patsy and spent our time together feeling so overworked and annoyed, yet so guilty and confused. I see now that overcoming my resistance was the high for him. Getting me to do what made me uncomfortable, make myself smaller and smaller while always questioning my own commitment, never his, gave him the sense of power he wanted. All the time I’ve been reading here I’ve felt I had no right. After all he only had emotional “mentoring” relationships with other women like some sort of guru (in my home, with me shut out), never affairs, and he was so good to me and such a Great Guy!

      • Marmalade I hope you realise now you have every right, the type of infidelity/abuse doesn’t matter, whether physical or emotional. I consciously used ‘type’ and not ‘level’ there because there is no scale of betrayal. As Chumplady says it’s a yes/no question – is this relationship acceptable to you?
        The ex in my case had a mentoring relationship too. The OW is a vegan and he started talking about and copying her beliefs. That was mirroring. It was several months before I realised they weren’t just good friends. It also became a default for me to always consider his wants before mine or even the kids’. It’s was a power trip for a potential cheater that led to him choosing her over us. Hope you are doing ok now. X

  • Nope. Not a clue – he was/is a master at deception. And when I’d question him on anything he’d sometimes laugh it off or have a plausible excuse, but usually it was met with outrage and then turned around on me for not trusting him!

    Two years ago, when my gut told me something was wrong, I knew I needed proof. Lots of it.
    I became like 007 to get it, and when I found the ugly truth, I took screenshot after screenshot so he could never pull that shit ever again.

    I KNOW I’m going to get asked this (I haven’t been able to tell people for TWO YEARS – for very complicated, but important reasons.).

    I also know many people are going to be shocked and say, “No, not Mr X! But he loves you so much!”
    Yeah…I believed that, too. Turns out most of the past 26 years have been a lie.

    I wrack my brain constantly for a tidy little phrase explaining how he’s a covert narcissist who emotionally abused me for years while I blindly loved and trusted him. And everything I’ve come up with so far makes me sound crazy or somehow confirms that I deserved it.
    What to say to reveal him for what he is??

    • I fantasized about buying a billboard and putting it all up there, including his e-mail toodle loo. But I realize people see what they want to see and it would paint me as cray-cray. They would still see him as so NICE and what a GREAT GUY and clearly I am just disturbed.

      The fact he blew town and lied to all of them has not yet occurred to them.

      Cognitive dissonance.

      • I know that Tuesday will eventually come. But are you happy yet? Any…any timeframe that the spontanous crying will stop? People really think I should be “over it” or “pass this stage” I tear up whenever the subject is brought up…I try to avoid it as much as possible

        • IG,
          Fern again. You’ll never be over it. It is something that happened to you and will be always be a part of the fabric of who you are. His shitty behavior is not a reflection on you, your life’s experience or your worth. There is no time table for dealing with this nightmare. More steps forward than backward is the only thing you should ask of yourself.
          A friend of mine described it as an onion, lots of layers to peel and just when you think you are done, there are more layers to work with. This was a comforting thought to me, because eventually I got to the place where those layers where only about me.
          Though we are never “over it”, we do reach a place which CL has deemed Meh. You just don’t care. Just like you can read a novel about a heroine you find inspiring, you can look back at your experience with your husband without the emotional wallop but all of the learning. You’ll be a better person for it, but like your name implies, you are different. And that is not necessarily a bad thing.
          Bad days will come, but recognize them for what they are and give yourself the most tender, loving care you would give to your best friend or beloved sister if she were in your situation.

          • Oh and yes, I am happy again. Far, far happier than I ever would have been if I was still married to my narc of a first husband. My kids now see him for what he is (mostly-enough for now) and I have moved on to a new career and a new (not so new anymore) relationship with a grownup.

            • Fern,
              I am glad that you are happier now and have a much better romantic relationship. As I have not had any relationship in two years and not had anything close to a good romantic relationship in decades, I just notice a huge gap in my life, especially every night when I go to bed and every morning when I wake up—kind of the way I imagine somebody would feel if someone had just undergone surgery to remove several vital organs. I really miss having a partner and feel lost, thinking that at my age and in my situation I will never have a (decent) partner. I realize that others have it worse than me, but still I grieve and wonder why some jerks seem to have it all. I don’t believe in (the Western definition of) Karma. Why do innocents die young or suffer throughout a long life while F—ktards seem to live comfortably for nearly forevet?

        • IG I agree with Fern here. Nearly 3 years from first D-Day, 2 years from the first time I told him to get lost, 1 year from the time I realised there really was no hope and moved me and the kids out, now a few weeks away from finalising my divorce. I still think about him every day (we do grey rock) but no longer feel bad about myself, I am powerful about putting whatever boundaries I need in place. I still get angry about what a shitty thing he did and how I could have stayed with him so long. I don’t cry any more over it. Grieving is different for everyone and I make no apologies for not being over it. I once read that a long-term relationship, if broken, takes half as long to recover from. I was afraid I would take 12 years to recover, but not so. I get moments of joy when I drive and turn up the music, or when my seedlings come up, or when I see a huge sky. I love to read in bed until 1a.m. and watch stupid TV adverts – I can do that now! Keep noticing the little joyful things IG and eventually they will start connecting up. Hugs! xxx

      • I wanted to paint a Scarlet Letter ‘A” on the OW yard but I was advised against it. I thought how much trouble could I get in, the grass would grow and then you could how it down. But I never did but I wished I had

    • Two comments:
      1) How about that exact phrase? “He’s a covert narcissist who emotionally abused me for years while I blindly loved and trusted him.”
      2) A picture is worth a thousand words. You took screenshots.

      When I told my brother-in-law (my husband’s sister’s husband) exactly what my then-still-husband-now-ex was up to, I could tell what I was saying didn’t fit with his picture of my ex. And as my ex had managed to manipulate me to the point I sometimes would lose it, I knew my brother-in-law was wondering whether I’d gone off the deep end. Fortunately, because my ex and his sister are (unnaturally) close, my ex had confided in his sister in a letter to her that he shared with me, and his sister and I later corresponded over the information in that letter. That I was able to tell my brother-in-law that his wife knew all about it, and that we’d spoken about it, that he could, that is, corroborate independently what I was telling him, allowed him to believe me. At that time, I wasn’t willing to show him the selfies my ex had taken and sent to me. Today…I might just do such a thing. “You want to know what it was like and what kind of person he is? Well, let me show you.”

    • I say “He was nice to everyone, but me”. It lets people process it in their own time. In fact he wasn’t nice to them, too. He was lying.

      • That is sort of the tact I take with people who don’t need a lot of info.

    • You could say that sadly you discovered that he is a compulsive liar and cheat.

    • I’m in a similar position. Can’t divulge the truth for various valid reasons. I know that many people think I’m the crazy one – that I’m some psycho bitch who randomly went off the deep end. Even HE doesn’t know what I know about him and the schmoopie. He has NO IDEA the shit I have on the two of them.

      But none of that matters to me anymore. Let everyone think what they want to think about me. Let the world continue to revere and venerate him as a “great pillar of the community and wise leader”. All that matters to me is that I AM FREE. Free of the lying, gaslighting, devaluing, and utter disregard for my wellbeing. No Contact saved my life.

  • On my first D-day, I didn’t know. I had a hunch and I installed spyware on to his computer and JACKPOT. So, you can argue that for the remaining 3 D-days, I “knew”… but I also believed I had a unicorn and that because we were going for marriage counseling and I was pick me dancing like I was on Dancing with the Stars and I have two of my stepchildren living with us to finish high school… SURELY he was no longer cheating. (To be fair, we were at a stalemate… the marriage was sexless until he would get a blood test… guess who didn’t want to get a blood test because that would be ADMITTING that he cheated… um, Mr. Sparkles… here’s the hotel room receipt… here’s the cell phone calls… here’s the personal ads… but he was adamant and thus so was I).

    What was inevitable about my special brand of fuckwit was the cheating wasn’t about finding someone new to love (or who loved him back)… it was finding someone new to DUPE… someone who didn’t know all these inconvenient truths about his being sociopath and likely on the narcissist spectrum.

    To all the women to follow me… good luck. He’s a cheater until he’s six feet under… and even then, I’d keep one eye open at all times 🙂

    Rock on Chump Nation!

    • Finding someone new to dupe……brilliant!

      I have considered that he needed a new woman because I was getting older and wiser, and I had caught on to his lies and tricks. I would call him out on them. And he hated that.

      He needs to have his superhero image. And I was spoiling it.

      • Yep. We had a “wonderful” long marriage and I adored him. As soon as I started questioning the obviously horrid state of our finances, which he always managed, the devaluation started and it was the beginning of the end.

  • My brother and sister-in-law said “You must have known” No, I didn’t know he was having an affair for four years. He was a good liar and made the excuse of being depressed for being distant. I trusted the man I loved. I’m not ashamed of that. I didn’t find out about the affair until after he left with no explanation.

  • It’s a double-edged sword. On D-Day the Dickhead said “there were signs.” I reminded him that I don’t have ESP or a built-in sign decoder.

    There were signs but I only saw them after the fact. He started manscaping. Before D-day I made one inquiry about him shaving his arms and he instantly got defensive and accused me of being unsupportive. The whole scene was one big gaslight and smoke screen. I recognized it as being off-kilter and then got slammed for calling it out.

    The whole episode, it was one of many, was my life for about 3 months before D-day. I had no idea what was happening to me, our marriage or him.

  • I never suspected a thing. He was a good guy, a wholesome family values all- American kind of guy. The kind who values stability, commitment, and playing by the rules.

    He turned out to be a liar, a cheater, and a con artist.

    Obviously I should have suspected something, right? People don’t carry out secret double lives without leaving a clue now and then, right? Con artists slip up sometimes and let the mask drop, right? How could he possibly have been cheating as well as pulling multiple love scams on unsuspecting women for money, gifts, drugs, and favors without me knowing something was up?

    Well there are a lot of ways to cover up shady behavior. Family drama, workplace upheaval, medical issues, natural disasters. All of those things explain away weird behavior. We don’t tend to look deeper when the explanations make sense.

  • And for those of us who did feel suspicious but tried to stay trusting and keep an open mind, it was the best of us doing that.

    And a chump “kind of knowing” that the cheating is going on doesn’t make the cheating less deceptive, mean, endangering, incongruent with a monogamous commitment, or dysfunctional.

    People who are determined to twist the narrative toward the chump being at fault are people who are in denial about the crappiness of the cheater. They are clinging to their denial that the cheater sucks as much as the cheater actually does suck.

    Pot, meet kettle.

  • January 2011, she was talking to her friend about her exbf having sent her a friend request. They were on Facebook looking at people they went to high school with. I didn’t think much about it. After all, we had been married 20 years and she would never cheat! Within a month, I became this terrible person. I could do nothing right! Then came rapid weight loss, new clothes and wax jobs. I knew but as I always say, my denial was her best friend!

  • Some people are excellent at deception, either because they are smart or well-practiced at the Art.

    Neuropsychological studies show that (a) when someone engages in a lie, they make a DECISION to do so—parts of the brain connected to decision making light up; and (b) the more someone continues to lie, the easier and more automatic it becomes for them. This explains why cheaters can carry on an affair under our noses.

    • The neurological pathways are forged. You become what you practice, good or bad. Our cheaters became really good at leading double lives, gaslighting us, and I truly believe there must be some sort of dopamine rush that encourages them to continue the behavior.

      I am a professional classical musician, and have made my living doing this for over 30 years, I still practice. He, on the other hand, got very practiced at leading a double life, all the while making me think I was the love of his.

      • Absolutely. Hannibal Lecher was all about the dopamine rush—constantly seeking new houses, new cars, new and better vacation spots, and…new sex partners.

        Sadly, I think some of those forged neurological pathways start in childhood, and can be enhanced by genetic predispositions. There is evidence Narcissists often had either negligent or overly solicitous parents, leading to their sense of entitlement/emphasis on their needs.

        • I agree Tempest..I believe that my cheating xh had overly solicitous parents. He always needed something new and shiny. We wouldn’t even be out of debt for one thing and he would be lusting for the next thing. He would run up one side of me and down the other to get what he wanted. We made a great income together but were always in debt.

          We had decided to invest in some retirement property and went looking one summer. I am not kidding about this one bit…. he wanted to put an offer on EVERY crumbling shack on the side of mountains and every burned out meth shed that came along. At some point I realized he was plum fucking nuts and quit looking. I had no idea up to that point just how crazy he really was. He found a house in a retirement community that was over priced by $100k in the height of the recession and insisted he had to have it. We hadn’t sold the house we were in yet. He then started jumping up and down demanding a Harley motorcycle at the same time. I couldn’t take it anymore and finally put my foot down. No way was I going to have TWO house payments or go into debt for a motorcycle. I honestly think that’s when he got bored and started sniffing around the skank’s crotch. She indulged him by buying him a Harley. She refinanced her house and paid off all of our credit cards (that he had ran up) and off he went with her, taking his demands with him. Whatever. He’s her problem now.

  • I had zero clue….and in retrospect there actually weren’t that damn many clues. He wasn’t doing any of the classic things; staying late at work or going out with friends, texting or acting weird about his phone, any of that. The only things I can think of were that he got somewhat snippy and distant, but he had just started a new job and chalked it up to that. I mean, people get stressed and snippy and distant. If I had asked “are you having an affair?!” I would have looked crazy, not that that ever crossed my mind.

    The sad truth is, the very things that make you a good spouse, ESPECIALLY a good wife in our society, are the same things that make it easier for them to cheat. Don’t nag. Don’t ask too many questions and accept the answers you’re given. Be trusting. Be sweet and their biggest cheerleader. Don’t be “jealous” or “crazy” or “hysterical.” Don’t be inconvenient.

    • THIS!!!!!^^^^^^^ I hate that our culture conditions us to be “The Cool Girlfriend,” “The Sweet Wife,” “The Accommodating Parent” and then condemns the very traits it reinforced your whole life! We are always made to feel like we should never be suspicious; we should always be accommodating; we should never question someone we love. We are supposed to unconditionally love and trust and then when we DO, we get roasted as fools and accomplices. Pisses me off.

      • I very much agree…this is huge in the military community where the worst insult is to say you are “an unsupportive spouse”… we show love for God and country by giving them free reign to work as much as needed to travel without question and to welcome them home with open arms. He used this to his advantage around every turn. I always considered “suspicion” a terrible trait and never acted suspicious towards him… wow, joke was on me.

        • You are absolutely right unicornnomore. My second cheater was military and I never would have known as his clean-cut hero mask was so firmly in place. But even if I had had suspicions–the military is like the rest of our culture on steroids where this mindset is concerned! Never say anything but “I’ll be right here waiting for you.” At the same time, these officers walk around being saluted and treated like Gods by their underlings and fawned over by the public thanking them repeatedly. Young women flirt with their middle-aged asses just because they are in uniform. It is a breeding ground for predatory narcs and a grooming house for their prey.

          • My new husband retired as a Colonel and when he was promoted to O6, they sent them to a “Charm School” (so to speak) where they were told “You didnt suddenly get better looking or more charming, you are being fawned over because of your rank and if you give into it, there will be trouble”. He actually listened. They told him not to date subordinates, so he didnt. He was single for years…then I came along.

            • I’m sorry, but that is hilarious! ????. And so true! Too many men will never believe it though. The ego lies to them. For example, my husband had an affair with a subordinate who used and blackmailed his ass. But to him I’m sure it was real tru wuv. He really thought she was just craaaaawling for dat dick tho! I hate her only second to him, but she certainly made an ass out of him, which I do get a kick out of.

              I’ve also read that there’s a saying in the CIA…”if they’re hot and you’re not, it’s not your dick they’re after.”

  • The part I hated about the aftermath with other people was being treated like I was a threat. I got the “it might be catching” and the “better keep her away from my husband” treatment like I was diseased tick looking for a dog’s ear. Why people would think I’d become a cheater because I’d been cheated on makes no sense to me but it must happen because as a newly minted divorcee I watched acquaintances glue themselves to their husbands when I was around.

    • It was probably more the fact that you were a single woman than the fact you had been cheated on. Maybe those women knew something about their husbands that you don’t. It sucks and I doubt they had your best interests at heart but it might perhaps have saved you a few unwanted advances.

  • Victim blaming is one of those things that we are all guilty of at some point or another. CL is right. It’s a way to give yourself a false sense of control that this horrible thing could never happen to me/us. We see that with rape victims all the time. “She/he must have done something to put themselves in that position”(insert all things you wouldn’t do) type comments. So therefore, it could never happen to me.

  • A friend of a friend didn’t know. Until he was arrested for hiring a hitman. One of the many prostitutes he had patronized for YEARS got wind of his plans, told the cops who then had an undercover officer accept his offer to kill his wife for a measly few grand. He killed himself before the trial.

    He told her how much he loved her regularly and everyone was shocked. Particularly his wife. No one had a clue about his decade long hooker habit (self-employed) or that he hated his wife.

    I hope her STD panel came back clean.

    • yikes. That’s horrifying. I am glad the prostitute cared enough to tell the cops. Wow!

    • JWH,
      I feel sorry for the innocent parties.
      I prefer not to use the phrase, ‘the STD screen came back clean,’ which indicate that many of my friends and associates who did not cheat on their spouses but have STDs (that cannot be cured) are ‘dirty.’

      • I agree however I’m always appalled at how many people don’t understand that a negative result on an STD panel is a GOOD thing. So I use the vernacular.

  • I had encountered cheaters before, mostly when I was young and mostly boys or men who had significant others of one kind or another and were still making passes at me. I knew they were out there. I didn’t think my ex was one of them. I thought I was being smart to marry a man who had good character and wouldn’t cheat. He certainly presented himself that way and I believed it and trusted him 100%. He had many female friends over the years but it didn’t bother me because I thought he had the emotional maturity to handle it. I don’t think that trust was misplaced in the beginning but he changed. He became more and more self-absorbed and selfish over the years. I discovered early on that he lacked empathy. He built resentments and started to develop a bit of an entitled attitude (something he hated in others). He also started trying to control me and turn me into his ideal woman which was distressing because when I married him I thought he loved me for who I was then. I guess those were the first red flags I ignored. When he had the emotional affair I was shocked and hurt. I don’t believe it went physical beyond at least one kiss (possibly more), but that is when I first realized that he would even ever be tempted to cheat. I started pick me dancing, stepped up my game and worked hard to please him thinking I could affair proof our marriage. I also didn’t think he would cheat because he said “I would never cheat on you, the stress of keeping it secret would be too great” and I believed that. The really sad part is that I even accepted that. I was happy to be in a marriage where my husband wouldn’t cheat, not because he loved me, but because the stress of keeping it secret would be too much for him. I guess I thought I had some control over whether or not he loved me and I could turn that around. Nope. Eight years later he started his first physical affair because I clearly didn’t love him (eight years of pick me dancing wasted) and he regretted not having gone physical with the first one. Clearly having sex with your significant other on a regular basis and twisting yourself into knots trying to accommodate his “happiness” does not affair proof anything.

    Even when it got to the point where it should have been obvious in hindsight I didn’t suspect because I still believed the “I wouldn’t cheat because…” line. I knew he was unhappy but I didn’t know how much of his unhappiness he was blaming on me…this time. Eventually it got to the point where it was hard not to notice anymore and I had planned to ask him about it at our first marriage counseling session (scheduled before DDay) but Schmoopie’s husband called me a few days before that to spill the beans. After that it was a lot of introspection and attempts to untangle the skein. For a long time I wondered how I could have missed the signs as, in retrospect, his shitty behavior was plain to see and why did I not notice that my marriage sucked. Then I found my stashes of all of the notes, cards, letters, Christmas tags, etc. from over the years telling me what a wonderful wife I was and how happy he was to be married to me and “be mine forever, please”. We also hardly ever argued (granted more often after he started fucking around on me). Yes there were signs that things were off but there were equally as many signs that I generally had a good marriage and that maybe were just going through a bit of a rough spot and things would improve when other stressors abated (job transition, big move, teenagers, etc). I don’t think I was wrong or stupid for thinking that.

    The good news for me is that everyone else was shocked too and I didn’t get “you should have known” from anyone except maybe him (“I haven’t felt like your husband in years”– how could I not have noticed). Most were also sympathetic to me and thought he had lost his mind. Everyone who knew us thought it was both out of character and irrational. The only person I confided to who didn’t seem sympathetic turned out to be Schmoopie 1.0 who must have been too distressed about discovering Schmoopie 2.0 to be sympathetic to my pain. Oh well.

    • You basically described my situation exactly.

      Was the marriage struggling? Yes, ours was. But I also had just supported him through three years of university. He was studying all of the time. He was a man in his late-30s who had returned to full-time studies surrounded by students half his age. He was a man who already had some ED issues when I met him but those ED issues had become increasingly worse over the years. We had young children, one with a disability. We didn’t have much money as I was the sole income earner while also paying for his tuition. Life wasn’t very fun.

      But, I believed that these were the years that all of our parents refer to when they say that there were difficult years in their long marriages. I believed that once he graduated, he would feel really good about himself and take more initiative in his life. I believed that, once he was working, we would finally have some money to go on some nice vacations and get things done around the house that had been put off. I believed that in a few more years, our kids would be a bit older and we would have more flexibility to go out and have our own fun. I believed in the dreams that I now realize I was alone in creating.

      I don’t know if I will ever really understand when he checked out as he’s said so many contradictory things. But, if I just run with the worst of it, I guess he checked out almost at the beginning. He claimed he never loved me and realized soon after marrying me that he regretted that he did. But, he made a commitment and thought that he could make it work, until he came to just not like me at all.

      Whatever. There is no way to look at this that doesn’t suck, so it’s important to just accept that it sucks period. He never really loved me ENOUGH. I deserved better.

      • OptionNoMore, it’s called rewriting history.

        I heard the same BS from Cheater#1. We had been married for 20 years, he was unhappy for 18 of them, blah blah blah. I was this, I wasn’t that or whatever. The contradictions can make you crazy.

        Now, sixteen years after I left, I realized he uses people as excuses for his own bad behavior. Lost the house to bankruptcy? That’s someone else’s fault. Got four DUIs and prison time? That’s someone else’s fault. I could go on and on.

        Now, I just try not to give him space in my head on the occasions I have to interact with him for the sake of our child. I just look at him as pathetically lacking in self-accountability.

      • Part of the problem is that these people have a very narrow view of the world . They can’t look at the big picture or think too far into the future. They want instant happiness right now. When things are tough it must be the spouses fault. Once they decide that, it is easy to start thinking “I never really loved him/her”. Well, I suppose that is true. They are too self absorbed to love anyone.

      • Disagree. He did love you and got a bit bored, couldn’t do the hard work to keep a long term relationship going, then met someone then total re-write. You are right though what does it matter? They never didn’t love you from the start they are just shallow fools who can change on a whim but they weren’t out to get you from day one in many cases. The re-writing is amazing. I mean fantasy stuff. What you realy notice after is how this picked up immediately the affait(s) we’re going on. But it could never happen to them and Schmoopie right be Use this is the real thing. Schmoopie’s would do well to be looking at how they treat the ex as a bit of an insight to what they have coming down the line, even if it’s not cheating.

  • “We all see the world from our own moral lens.”
    I saw the changes in his behavior but I assumed he was going through something and needed space. I would not have ever imagined that he was cheating.

    “It’s not pathological to trust your spouse. It’s what normal, loving people do.”
    I still loved him after he told me. I just knew that we could work through it. Leading to….

    Use your loving “benefit of the doubt” against you.
    He saw that I was desperate. I wanted him to pick me, so he begin using my love to my detriment.

    I kept it hidden for at least two years (we were separated and in my mind trying to work things out). Once I caught on to the game I begin to talk about it. People were shocked. They said “all he ever talked about was you”. “He used to talk so bad about xxx, because they were unfaithful “ But they also said “there were rumors about him and her (yes we all worked together), but I refused to believe it because he would not do anything like that”

    With all that said. No one has really fixed their mouth to blame me. Probably because they saw the same person I did and it was unbelievable

  • I had been worried for a long time as Mme was always quite the flirt. She would reassure me – even unsolicited that she was faithful to me unlike her sister, father and brother in their marriages.

    Taking a different tack on this theme though – after she was outed by friends of OM – who had no clue that it was an illicit affair – all the vultures came out.

    I heard lots of tales of “of course she was screwing around on you for years”. No clue if any of those are true or not but – chump as I am – I did feel bad for the fact that her reputation as a decent matronly wife and mother was in the dumpster. Not that I made any real effort to defend her at that point either though – she did deserve the scorn of the community – but I still felt bad for her.


  • An old boyfriend of mine had a habit of collecting exes. He loved to stay close friends with all of them (well, the ones who were willing, that is). When we started dating, his last ex-fiance was a constant in the background of our lives. I begged him to let her go for the sake of our budding relationship because her presence was getting in the way of my fully trusting him. He gave me lots of arguments about how I was being unreasonable and “dictating” who he can and cannot be friends with, etc. Long story short – he finally agreed to cut the cord and focus on “us”. And I never heard about her again.

    Years later, after we had been living together for awhile, we broke up. In the process of our breakup, he inadvertently divulged that he had seen his ex-fiance recently. Then it came out that he actually never cut ties with her, and that he’d get together with her fairly frequently throughout our entire relationship.

    All this to say: I had no fricking clue. No hint of an idea that his friendship with his ex had simply gone underground. What else didn’t I know? What else did he successfully hide from me?
    So, anyone who thinks “oh, you MUST have known something was going on” … no, I didn’t. And maybe YOU don’t know right this minute what’s going on in YOUR relationship. You don’t know until you know.

    • Yeah I definitely got a few “I’m so glad I’d never have to worry about XX doing that to me!!!” comments, which while they were said offhand I thought “damn you’re really saying that to me?” Like infidelity is catching and you can change and control what other people will do on a long enough timeline.

      And every time I’d think….you just don’t know, you sweet simple fool. You don’t know if they’ve ever snuck around on you at all, really. And maybe they didn’t!!! But a lot of people live to see the day that they eat their own words, don’t they?

      • Oh Beans, would it be just great to sigh and say to them “what a sweet but simple fool you are” and then go on, Elle Woods style, about your day.

        dumb asses.

        • Girl that’s kinda what I did lmao. I said something like “well for your sake I certainly hope you’re right.”

          Seriously tho who says shit like that? That’s like if you got cancer and told somebody and they said “damn glad I’LL never get cancer! ????????????”. Assholes.

  • I am grateful to be living an authentic life now!!!

    I shudder to think of what it would be like if I was still married to the LIAR and CON. Someone who did not appreciate my loyalty, love and concern. Or appreciated them only as far as he could use them.

    Was it worth all the trauma of splitting? Yes.

  • This happened to my brother. He did not have a clue. One day his wife was acting a little distant so he casually asked if there was something wrong. She said there was and that she was leaving. She packed her bags and left. Left as in abandoned. Left as in leaving small children behind. Leaving as disappearing and no one knew where she was. When he looked back he realized it was the frog in the boiling water. First, she stopped feeding the kids anything that was healthy. Whatever she could buy at the grocery store that was cheap and easy is what they got. They might have hotdogs three meals a day. Next she stopped doing housework. One thing at a time. He came home from work and did laundry because he needed starched shirts for work. Then she stopped doing dishes so he came home and washed dishes. Then she lost interest in even talking to him. He said it was so slow and she did it in such tiny increments that he never had a clue. She was taking one tiny step at the time out of their marriage, and out of their family, until one day when he asked and she answered she slammed the door and she was gone.

    • My ex kind of did that but it was more sudden. When he started up with Schoopie 1.0 (unbeknownst to me) it is like he just suddenly went on strike and stopped doing everything he used to do around the house. I figured it was burn out or stress from starting up his intensive training for his new job as a flight instructor (which wasn’t really that intense in retrospect). Instead of getting mad and speaking up I just picked up the slack, started doing everything myself, and figured it was temporary until things settle down. That’s what spouses do right? We support each other when things are difficult or stressful. I think he resented that most of all. He had done it on purpose to make us all see how much he did and how useful he was. Everything was supposed to fall apart without his contributions. I was supposed to notice and be distraught and go begging him to start up again and promise to appreciate it this time and I am so sorry for not appreciating you. Either that, or I was supposed to get mad so he could get indignant about me not appreciating him and have a reason to leave. I didn’t follow the script. I did, however, call him out a bit when he started being a dickwad towards the kids. He became very demanding of them in ways that really were not reasonable. He would also mock them and make them feel like they were failures. He would find excuses to not like the dinner conversation and take his plate into the kitchen to eat “alone” (with his phone) to show his displeasure. The worst part was that I was trying myself to get the kids to comply with his demands in order to keep the peace (although I tried to do it nicely). It didn’t work because teenagers really don’t like being told what to do, even nicely. I did, however, call ex out as well when I felt he had gone too far and was being unfair. He latched on to that as an opportunity to accuse me of not being a partner in parenting and not having his back. The worst part of that is I did have his back. I was trying to save his relationship with his kids. At least he treats them better now that he doesn’t live with them. I don’t think he realizes, however, how lucky he is that they are still giving him a chance.

      • I totally get your comment about not following the script.

        I think that my STBXH assumed that I would be the one to end the marriage once I found out. It must have been a total shock to him when I actually fought for the marriage. At one point, he even tried to convince me that I wasn’t in love with him either and that it’s clear that I didn’t want the marriage or else I would have been doing x, y, z a long time ago. It was just so foreign to him that when the actual threat to the marriage occurred that I had the fortitude to stick to my vows and prioritize the marriage.

        Ironically, the woman who ended up willing to do anything for him, who was willing to fight for him, who wanted to work on my life-long commitment to him, ended up being the one he discarded. He was too far gone in having convinced himself that the OW was the one he was meant to be with, and that I was this terrible wife who didn’t care about him. Let’s see if she will ever show him that same level of commitment in the face of hardship.

        How frustrating it must have been for him to realize that I wasn’t going to let him go easily. In the end, he had to do all the dirty work for himself and bear all the blame. It came out that he was having an affair, which thwarted his plan to keep the OW secret a while longer before introducing her as a “new” girlfriend down the road. I ruined his plan for impression management. Learned of details about this OW that appalled his family and ensured that they would never, ever accept her.

        I think her really hates me. That’s really unsettling.

        • Oh so much, he was so cross when I ruined the narrative which was going to be that someone would conveniently come along at the end of the summer 3 months later. Then the rage started. But even though he had no intention of doing anything but going he was such a coward he couldn’t really say it and kept talking about living somewhere else. It was so baffling I was saying look what actually do you mean, you want us to be together and live apart? You want a trial split? Because he just would NOT say outright he wanted to end it. And guess what I had to find an article that said don’t tell your partner it’s a trial separation if you actually want to lesve. He pretended to mull it over for 24hrs and said thank you for that it really helped and yes I am talking about splitting up for food. Spit it out man. I find it funny now that bit. I presume really his best case would be if I had just crawled under a rock and he never had to see me again. Cowards R us! He hates you because he has to as you are a mirror to what he has done ergo inside he hates himself. I would rather he hates me than faux sympathy while stabbing me in the back. For sure I hate him.

  • We see lying and gaslighting all the time in the public sphere. Politicians, corporate executives, people on trial for felonies they committed, celebrities excusing their behavior. And for most of them, the lying and gaslighting works for a while. Many people are fooled because someone they like, admire, see as one of their tribe can’t possibly be a lying crap weasel who did terrible things. It’s one reason why OJ was not found guilty of murder; it’s a reason why duplicitous, greedy or racist politicians get re-elected over and over.

    The real struggle for chumps starts when we know the truth. That’s when we must put down the spackle and open our eyes to the red flags and stop projecting our own values onto everyone else. If we don’t pay attention, hone our intuition and learn to recognize when we are projecting, we can get trapped in a hopium haze. “Surely CheaterPants will see the damage he is doing! Surely he will think of the kids!! Surely he will come to his senses.” This is why the RIC is so dangerous. It preaches “turn off your instinct and take responsibility for changing the cheater. Your projection is right. He’s like you but just wayward.”

    Being betrayed is like graduate school for life. You get shaken out of a lot of wrongheaded cultural beliefs and you emerge on a Tuesday with a whole new set of life skills.

  • Music by ABBA, lyrics by the Sanctimonious Monitors of Uncorrupted Glee (SMUG)

    You’re so dumb, silly chump
    You can’t see
    That your man isn’t all that you claim him to be
    It’d never happen to me

    We have trust in our lives
    I forgave
    And he apologized when I found that he lied
    I’m one fortunate bride

    But while I have your attention
    Here’s a little question:
    Does he know that he has a snout?
    With all the charm he’s exuded
    Hope I’m not deluded
    Does he know that he has a snout?

    It’s no problem (it’s no problem)
    He’s a stand-up guy
    It’s all in my head (What’s that sense of dread?)
    It’s no problem (it’s no problem)
    There’s an alibi
    It’s all in my head (What’s that sense of dread?)


    • “Does he know he has a snout”?

      That’s priceless. Priceless.

  • known for me to have know I’d have to be part of the loop which I wasn’t My husband met his OW who was just a friend he would tell me He spent more time with her then he did with his own family Which I was still taking care of it was like he had a ok from everyone to have this special friend that after being with for a year or two developed a crush that later went into a a Emotional affair he said his needs were being filled All I know my needs weren’t Which by the way he didn’t know I had feelingi either cause my feeling were being hurt when he talk about the OW matters got worse whe His Just friend needed to go see her daughter so my husband being so nice offered to drive her ,though 3 different states for a weekend I had no clue about But as he got back he tried to tell me he was mad at himself , and felt guilty Like it now was all ok I was so pissed off at him I told him I couldn’t believe what he had done I was hurt upset I was beyond words I told him he broke my trust in him he broke my heart he broke me He then said since things didn’t go as he planned he would stop seeing her , His big plan was to see if she maybe someone he could be with !! I told him I had a lot to figure out , I needed time He had never done anything like that atleast that I knew of Which later I found out I was wrong On the surface he didn’t see her but he would sneak out to see her he would do what ever she asked he was very attentive to her needs not me or mine From, that weekend I was just starting to get back on my feet , put my self first when he came and told me he had told her he has feelings for her he felt he had been a boyfriend to her with out any of the benefits and now wasted them He then told me that she said That he’s married , that would of been the time she should of sent him packing but she continued on talking about why she doesn’t want a boy friend, He took that at she has feelings for him too , They are still seeing each other We are now seperated but have to live in same home for financial reasons I have my own room with lock on door I avoid him at all times I can’t do the divorce thing yet to much to get though right now . My reason for seperation I want to get to know me to see what I can do with out him His reason is that he wants to do what he wants with who he wants and not have to report back to me So you never know Taking baby steps , I’ll get there one day hopefully thanks

  • It was my stbx that said to me ‘are you telling me that you really didn’t know?’

    • Great user name, Eliza! My DDs (7 and 17) love “Hamilton,” and insisted on listening to the song “Burn” at LEAST once a day during the period when my DDay #2 happened. I managed to hold the boundary at not hearing it more than once – my teen would have become suspicious if I had suddenly asked them not to listen to it at all, I think, and I was not yet ready to tell almost anyone.

      One interesting thing is that the song is triggering for me, of course, but I don’t even want anything to burn. I just want a drama-free life!

  • So infidelity Happens if you gain weight and don’t have sex as often he wants? Im confused so I’m to blame….. because I did let myself go…. and was made to feel so bad about myself that I was embarrassed to be naked….
    so he cheated because of me….

    • That’s not why it happens. It’s just what they often use as an excuse. Cheaters aren’t usually built like Adonis themselves, and many of them aren’t interested in sex with their spouses. Cheating is rarely, if ever, about sex, in and of itself. They do it for an ego boost and to enjoy deceiving and betraying you, not just for sex. That’s why there are so many emotional affairs. They don’t need sex because they are really just getting off on lying to you and sneaking around. They love having secrets and are bonded by the secret, not twu wuv. It’s very childish. These are people who are about 13 years old on an emotional level.

    • This was me. However, he was getting sex from hookers, old hook-ups, coworkers, etc. He was not sexless – I was. I was a very good wife to the Dickhead and he was a horrible husband.

      Chumperella is right. This is about power. It’s about their shallowness, lack of depth and character. Sex is only thing the ex had going for him because it’s all he had. Underneath his skin was a big black hole of nothing.

      • Cheaters cheat on every body type, every personality…. look at the perfect Hollywood actresses! They get chumped too! My girlfriends with big boobs trying to keep a hole at home….all got chumped.

        • I am sure a lot of outsiders think mine cheated bc I am fat and/or “sexless.” But a majority of my ex’s hookers over past 10 years were just as big, if not bigger, than me. Some were “19”…some were 55. Most were same race as me, some were not. Some were guys. Some were truly gross and trashy. I shiver to think of all the nasty $5 truck stop filth he probably exposed me to.

    • Chris–cheaters ALWAYS blameshift their cheating on to some perceived flaw in us. And they will choose whatever they think will most wound us or convince us to accept the blame. If you gained weight during your marriage, I’ll bet that either your X was highly critical in general (and the stress of emotional abuse causes some people to eat more), and/or you were doing most of the work in the marriage & household (not leaving any time for self-care, such as exercise, while X had plenty of time to go to the gym, etc.). True?

      I bought the mid-80s societal tripe that happy people don’t cheat, and thus married Hannibal Lecher; he had cheated in his former marriage because he claimed that wife wasn’t intellectual enough or sexually enervated enough for him. Great! Since I won’t fail him in those ways, he won’t cheat on me! (faceplant). In hindsight, I now see there were signs he was cheating from month 3 of the marriage (Case of the Missing Condom, which he claims he used to masturbate to see how it felt. Faceplant 2). When D-day finally rolled around in 2014, he blameshifted that I was not minimalist enough for his taste–the playroom was too full, and sometimes things fell out on him when he opened the pantry. And I wasn’t “listening to him” that such bad habits needed to change. You see, Chris, they will find ANYthing to justify their adultery.

      Furthermore, even if gaining weight or falling pasta boxes are dealbreakers for our Exes, they could have exited the marriages honestly. But they did not because they are not honest or fair people. That’s not on us.


      • (and just to show they don’t change, I have since heard from a mutual friend that Hannibal is criticizing his current GF for not being intellectual enough, even though she is plenty minimalist. Ha, I’d feel more sorry for her if she hadn’t been the final AP in my marriage, who was herself married during their affair. No tag-backs!)

      • Ha! I got criticized because the pans in the pan cupboard weren’t organized enough for his tastes. My lack of priorities along those lines proved I didn’t love him and/or wasn’t good enough for him. Poor soul.

        • I gained weight at menopause but I wasn’t really big to begin with so it wasn’t too bad. But the Twat had to comment on it all the time. But get this, Mr. Marine Corps weighed 112 lbs (seriously) – can you imagine that in a swim suit. But it never bothered me.

          But the real humdinger was when he stormed out of the house shouting “and what’s more, you can’t cook”! I have a wicked sense of humour so just burst out laughing, thinking is that ALL you can think up to throw at me? And I love cooking so I know I can cook. Sticks and stones and all that. Dickhead!

          • They are all the same. My army asshole could barely pass the fitness test every year, but would scold me about the shape I was in. I once did the fitness test just to prove to him that I was as healthy as he was. But he was obsessed with women who were super fit. Not fit actually, grotesquely muscular. I am five feet nothing and weigh 120 pounds, bosomy and rounded. It wasn’t enough that I be in shape. He had to fixate on something that would literally be impossible for me without s$50,000 of illegal steroid abuse and eight hours a day in the gym. If I had actually been insane enough to do that–he probably would have decided that he liked heroin chic anorexic waifs. It isn’t the body they chase; it’s the power of being that body’s puppet master.

            • “It isn’t the body they chase; it’s the power of being that body’s puppet master”. That is so true!!! My ex ran after a women who was triple d’s, slutty and 6 foot. I’m nothing like her and super happy being short, smiley and kind. Guess he needed a new puppet

          • They make shit up all the time. And I think gaining weight has a lot to do with being stressed and unhappy and/or not having support, as happens when one’s spouse is off having sex with Schmoopie and the chump is working full-time and taking care of all the household business.

      • Apparently I made him cheat because I would want to rush home and cook a left over turnip in the bottom of the fridge rather than throw it out.(Face plant)
        Oh and I talked too loud (face plant)
        Our marriage just wasn’t fun anymore, he didn’t know if he wanted to be married.

        The OW is 23 yrs old, lives at home with her parents and has NO RESPONSIBILITY which suits the NARC because he can manipulate her no end. Hes 50 and has committed adultery in BOTH marriages, nope not one but two very large RED flags here.

        Whereas chump here was arranging a psychiatric evaluation for our son, and NOPE that’s no FUN at all.

        That’s called parenting which you clearly can’t manage as you have the emotional maturity of a twelve year old.

        They’d tell us anything rather than accept ITS THEIR FAULT

    • Look at the stories here when it comes to we’re you or were you not having sex you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Ignore that crap. Just push your buttons to make you feel worse.

  • It all started within a few months of us getting married, though I didn’t find out several years (and several AP’s) later. My “gut”/intuition kept telling me things didn’t add up, but that was the thing… it didn’t make sense. Who starts looking — actively looking — to step out within 3 months of getting married? The logical part of my brain just bought her explanations.

    I’m curious what kind of “bargain” people think we make in exchange for turning a blind eye to this. What exactly would I get in return? First choice of the color of the car? Leaving the toilet seat up without complaint? Watching hours of football on Sunday without being nagged?
    No, what I got was being awake hours at night wondering what was going on, was I going to get exposed to some awful disease, etc. It wasn’t much of a bargain to me.

  • All this. We had marriage problems but I just thought: who doesn’t?! My solution was to double down my efforts in our marriage and work on building up myself so I could bring more to the marriage. He had a different response. It was not even in my mind that he would cheat–why would I think that?!? I would not have married a guy who I thought would cheat.

    Of course NOW I see all those red flags. NOW I understand more about trust and honesty and projection. NOW after years of therapy and consideration.

    I guess I was “lucky” because of the way my ex presented himself to the world (Mr. Nice Guy) and because of my spackling, most folks were blind sided by his actions and our divorce–as was I. So, I didn’t get too much “how did you not know?!” But, I have to say that I had been guilty in the past of throwing that accusation out there toward others–more as a genuine questions like “but but, how did you not know?” I feel terrible about even asking that now.

    • Every long term relationship has problems. At least you were DOING something about them. I may not know what the answer to marriage problems is–but whatever the answer is–it isn’t stick your dick in strange vagina!

  • I knew something was wrong because he was avoiding me and treating me terribly. I asked him several times if he had been unfaithful and he bold-faced lied. He lied convincingly and didn’t seem nervous at all (sure sign of a lack of conscience) so I believed him. I trusted him because that’s what you do when you love somebody. It turns out he’s a compulsive liar and always has been. I had no clue. Nobody ever dared to say that I must have known, though. I have a temper which comes out when I hear bullshit.

  • Could these red flags be that You don’t see any trouble in your marriage , untill husband distance himself from u and family , All of a sudden it’s all about him , he’s become selfish , One minute he’s nice to u the next minute he’s yelling He’s got u walking on eggshells , not knowing what’s going on , He starts dressing up to go out , u ask him where he’s going , he’s says no where just out When going out he stays out late , 5 maybe 6 hours late no explanation , He out of the blue gives u encouragement over something before he’s yelled at u stray feeling in your gut there’s something wrong , And all of a sudden he does something nice for u so , it gives u hope again , He can’t be pulling anything But yet he is he’s Manpulating u He’s haveing his cake and eating it to and your so confused you don’t know it. Red flags are tricky things , I’d like to hear about everyone else’s thanks

    • I think with trusting people, we don’t see the red flags until it’s too late, and all you can do is remember what they were and be wary of anyone else in the future. I have about 6 pages of red flags, and most of them are so freakin’ obvious now, but I’m a fixer, rescuer and just plain loved him … I know his upbringing and I thought, “He comes by it honestly”. Well, sure, I spackled over the red flags until he started being verbally cruel (leading up to and after D-day). Well, that triggered a lot of hidden red flags that had upset me 10 years ago, but I had put aside, always trying to up my game so he’d love me. Then 6 pages came pouring out of me of all his verbal abuse over the years. I can’t even remember if it was me just trying to make it work, or if he would be cruel and then nice … I can’t remember the “nice” parts about him.

  • Yeah, how could we have known? In my case my cheating ex asshole had just recovered from a devastating stage 4 cancer that I had nursed him through for two years. He was so thrilled to recover and called me his ‘Nurse Angel’ and insisted we renew our wedding vows on our anniversary. Five months later I caught him sneaking off to a dumpy motel to fuck skank woman. He left me nine minutes later for his twu luv.

    Just how was I supposed to ‘KNOW?’ As far as I’m concerned now, he missed a perfectly good opportunity to fall from the twig when he had the chance. I certainly would have rather been viewed as a grieving widow than a dumped and humiliated middle aged woman. Not to mention the life insurance…..

    • How were you supposed to know he would be that stupid. Too bad he didn’t die. What an ungrateful entitled ass.

    • Wow…Chumptopia…that is MY story! Nursed my exhole through 4 years of intensive cancer treatments and was going to be by his side when it took him. However, discovered he was cheating on my and using my money to do it. Not only had I nursed him and loved him, it was my money paying for his life extending treatments. I pity the new chump he hooks in… cheating and conning people is who he is.

  • Did anyone else get a confession? I was so ready to believe it was just once (a hook up with a barfly while on a business trip). I was totally naive to what was out there, what could be gotten for free or for money & how easily it could be hidden from a trusting person. But the confession was the tip of the iceberg. I think he was testing the waters, back when he was human enough to feel some guilt, and my forgiving response sealed my fate- “here’s a chump! And wow, now she’s even better (during my pick me dance stage). I’m good! I can go further into what I really want & she’ll never know!”
    The confession was so totally unexpected. I was in shock. I was also vulnerable, being a SAHM away from family& nursing my 4th child. I forgave him on the spot, he looked so remorseful. I also was just plain dumb. A counselor later asked me “didn’t you kick him out?” Which just led to more self shaming after finding out about the rest of the iceberg. No one would suspect anything like that from my husband & I felt like I had to keep this horrible secret. No one would have believed that he could do that, cause he was a nice guy, right?
    I sat at every school board meeting that year looking around the table at the men thinking “Are you a cheater? Are you a cheater? Are you a cheater?”

    • Yes, a confession is always just the tip of the iceberg to test the waters. XH admitted to affair with gradwhore (I tricked him into the confession), and when I did more sleuthing, it turns out she was one of many sex partners he’d had through the marriage (independent of whatever success he had while on Ashley Madison and Adult Friend Finder).

      Someone I dated after the divorce did the same thing; I explicitly asked him if he’d ever cheated on his wife, and he tested the waters by admitting a one-night stand. Since his had been a sexless marriage for 15 years, I freaked out but eventually let that go. I continued to date him, only to find out there were at least 3 alarming scenarios of cheating in his marriage (which was a major factor in our breakup–both the multiple cases of infidelity and lying about them). I’m sure there were more, but my freak-out reaction to his one-night stand admission had trained him not to provide me with any further truth. Liars always test the water to see what they can get away with, and what they need to hide.

    • Limbo,

      I still ill do that; look at every man I encounter and wonder “are you a cheater”. I thought maybe I was the only one that did that.

      I’ve started looking at everyone that way.

      • I do that sometimes too. If a man shows even the tiniest bit of disrespect for his wife I assume he is a cheater. In all fairness I suppose in those cases it could be the wife who is cheating on him leading to slips in his feelings of goodwill towards her, but fair or not, I tend to assume the opposite. I also can’t help but wonder about the men I know are married but don’t wear a ring. There may be legitimate reasons, but it makes me instantly suspicious of their character.

        • Yeah, I do that with older couples who have “found happiness after all these years”. They could be fellow chumps, but I’m still suspicious. I know for a fact that Ex and Schmoopie have been written up as a lovely couple, so courteous, him and his “wife” (she’s not his wife) … to whom, exactly? Certainly not to me and my friends and family. They’re selling their fake story and people are buying it. These are people who have met them briefly. The people who know them (the people who are “real”, not the flying monkeys) say the opposite.

          So on that premise, I trust no one!!! I think now I’d rather be proven wrong than be fooled.

  • These creepy cheaters do not want love in any way, shape, or form, all they want is admiration. When you get that feeling that something is wrong, and when you ask and are told NO, there is no such thing as women’s intuition forget about it. You are no longer of any use to them and they will run. They will find someone who will admire them (or at least act like they do). It does hurt like a MF to be deceived, humiliated and tossed into the garbage. But now at least you know. Thank you Jesus! Imagine living your entire life and never knowing. Might as well make the most of it now, you are on your own whether you want it that way or not. Who knows you just may find your old self, who you really liked and will like again.

  • Boy, that pic sure looks like Schmoopie.

    I heard right up front from someone, when Ex and I started dating, “If he ever hurts you, we’ll be there for you.” Well, he did, and they weren’t.

    I heard 3 years after D-day, from a friend in our group, “You know he’s a misogynist, don’t you?” Uh, no. “Oh, you can tell he’s splitting. He’s been doing that since we first met him.” “Oh, yeah. He’s a narcissist, for sure.” And you knew this back when I first started dating him? Thanks for sharing!!!

    I’ve realized I don’t do lying, and I don’t do bullies. Never have, never will. Add to that, I don’t do “friends” who withhold shit I should know.

    • Mmmmmyeerrrrrs. I was recently told by a well-meaning friend that with Cheater #1 – who I met a mere 30 years ago this year – my entire friendship group had discussed the whole ghastly abusive relationship in detail, but no one was brave enough to tell me to leave him.

      I was able to tell her with complete confidence that they had done the right thing in NOT telling me, because I simply would have defied them all and married him. I was stubborn and stupid and desperate.

      None of them knew anything about abusive relationships, or what to do about them, or how to support a person who’s trapped in one.

      If I can enlighten even just a few people in their early 20s about this, I will consider my life well lived.

  • At about two year mark since Dday, almost 1 year mark since divorce finalization and I’ve thought about all of this. (fyi new people- you will never stop thinking about this stuff- it haunts like a scar from a horrible accident). My current conclusions: cheaters are expert scammers. They pretend to be a good person so you will fall in love with them and commit to them. They use your goodness and trust against you. Their best weapon to enact their evil is YOU. My experience- I should never have given my XW a second chance. Cheaters don’t change, they just get better at cheating. Don’t make my mistake.

    • oh so true – I thought my STBX had made a “mid-life mistake” – turns out it was me that made the mistake thinking he loved me. After dday 1 he got a lot smarter and I was so naive – I just assumed he loved me and guess I saw what I wanted to (what a waste of 5 years) – perhaps it was my subconscious trying to protect me (as this shit is damn painful)

  • “You can only be in denial about something you know. Betrayed people beat themselves up for being chumps. The deception is humiliating.”
    In the spirit of Tuesday, I’ve been thinking about this scenario:
    So post-Chump School- 14 months life gaining in process.
    Q: If I met my ex today for the first time (as in never knew him before), would I date him? Be attracted to him at all? See the red flags? With all that was learned, would I still fall for the giant ruse?
    A: Fuck. No.

  • I didn’t know. One day a couple of months before I realised he was infatuated with the Dream Princess, we were all three sitting around a table discussing an FB article about how you sleep and what it reveals about your marriage. I said “We sleep back to back, but I don’t think OUR marriage is in trouble!” I got a piercing laser stare from the Dream Princess which I remember to this day, but at the time I didn’t get it. NOW I know that he’d been complaining to her because Unhappy, but right then I had no clue.

    When we were separated a mutual guy friend who had been stbx’s bf said “I know you two were unhappy”. I put him right. I wasn’t unhappy, things weren’t perfect but I was committed and loved him and guessing we could make things better after the kids were gone. I think stbx was probably telling mutual guy friend HE was unhappy. If only somebody could have told ME! Especially stbx so we could have either worked on problems or even separated then, before the whole miserable EA happened.

    There was no sex as far as I know (altho I do still wonder about one night when he came back from Dream Princess’s caravan and got straight into the shower, apparently because she burnt some bread and he smelled bad), no found dick pics, no Signs. The previous year I’d broken down and told him I didn’t think he loved me anymore, and he reassured me then but nothing really changed, so I did know things weren’t great. But I loved him and wanted to be with him. I never knew how deeply he wanted to be out of the marriage. The moment it all changed, when he was staying with me and the kids but saving for his own flat, was when he said he couldn’t wait to have a place of his own so he could ‘have a life’. That one phrase told me everything I needed to know.

    • N.B. We slept back to back at his request because he couldn’t get to sleep hearing my breathing…

    • There was no sex as far as I know (altho I do still wonder about one night when he came back from Dream Princess’s caravan and got straight into the shower, apparently because she burnt some bread and he smelled bad),”

      There was sex. Adults have sexual contact, up to and including heavy petting, oral sex, and intercourse.

      You got the death stare because he was telling Princess you had a a sexless marriage, which is why he was having sex with her instead. You cast doubt on that by saying you were still sleeping in the same bed, and you didn’t think there were any issues.

      I am so sorry. You deserve a lot better than someone who sees you as holding him back from having a life.

      • I dunno Lola – I wouldn’t have been suprised, seeing that she “would never refuse comfort to her friends” and all, but I thought he wouldn’t have had the nerve! But then there was so much deceit, I know better than to trust him about anything now. Happily I really couldn’t give a toss whether they did or not now. And I am ok – I know my worth, and he doesn’t deserve another 23 years with me!
        Thanks for this, lovely xxx

  • I don’t visit these daily articles as much as before, but from time to time I glance if there’s something new I could learn now that I’m approaching a year from the divorce anniversary. This article was spot-on. Looking back, as much as I felt that “something was off,” perhaps I was too naive to think that my (ex) wife, my (ex) best friend would ever do something so bad to harm me that it would lead me to question my ability as an (ex) husband, father, and my own manhood. Indeed, it was humiliating, and I regret (and can now laugh) that I actually was stupid enough to forgive her when she asked for forgiveness. Forgiving her too early probably allowed her to believe that what she did (and was continuing to do) was acceptable to me. So, I guess you can say I was “chumped,” because good people see the good in all, even when we our gut tells us otherwise. I used to beat myself as to the “why” she did this, but now can laugh about the past, because I continue to remind myself that she messed up, not me. Just need to focus on “1 day at a time,” because that’s all I can control.

    Good luck to all of you!

  • I think the worst part is forgiveness. Not for the idiot, but for myself. After realizing the perfect, sweet, loving husband and father was really a really just a serial cheater with a shitty moral compass, I think I spiraled into all of the emotions. Anger, however, was the one I most felt comfortable with. Until very recently, and quite by surprise, I hit heartbreak and sadness…hard. My voice, those dreams, my intuition, all of it suppressed, for years. I kept going back to therapy because of course, it couldn’t ever be him. Now that I see things so clearly, it’s my ego that has whispered the most, “how could you be so stupid?” “how could you think anyone that THAT nice.” However, I no longer blame myself for loving the version he gave me. Believing that a love like that existed means I’m capable of it, not him. So slowly, I’m forgiving myself, and every day I look back less. That’s the one thing he robbed that I can’t get back, my time–10 years of it. Loving myself has come with the realization that my time and love are worth something, so I actively try and use it wisely. Nothing truthful or honest will ever come out of his mouth, there is no healing there. Only the realization, that it wasn’t time well spent. So lately, I use my time to run with obscene hip hop music (helps with the anger) and to talk to my kids about their dreams (helps with the love) and slowly, each day starts to feel more like a gift.

  • I was clueless. I actually trusted him. I trusted that he was playing pool with his friend Kevin. I never even thought that he was cheating. And cheating with my cousin yet. I found out about his screwing around for 4 years with my cousin. I would have never found out if my husband would not have needed me to help him change gmail password. He did not sign in for quite awhile. I saw facebook emails from her(only her responses) She told him she loved him and wanted to be with him. Sent him hearts and kissy faces. When I asked him what was going on. He denied anything was going on. That she sends those kind of messages to everyone. I started to do research and went back on all of our cell phone bills and figured out it was going on for years. He continued to deny. It was confirmed when her daughter called me and told me that they were seeing each other for years. I was crushed. It was so hard to come to terms that my husband cheated on me. But, cheated on me with my cousin. I think if I never would have found out. And we were still together. He still would be seeing skankella. It is very hard to realize that after 34 yrs of marriage that I was easily replaced.

  • I don’t know how I DIDN’T know! When I look back, all the signs were there, and I knew our marriage was struggling. But I had believed him when he said (when we met) that, having been cheated on by a previous partner himself, that cheating was something he would never, ever do. I just took him at his word. I was obviously extremely naive/dumb/blind/stupid.

    • No, you were trusting of your husband which is important to a relationship. You didn’t mess up – that onus is 100% on him. He lied, he deceived and he cheated.

    • You were trusting of your husband which is important to a relationship. You didn’t mess up – that onus is 100% on him. He lied, he deceived and he cheated. We were in our marriages and believed in spouses. That’s how it’s supposed to work. Despite our best efforts, they make any relationship difficult because it’s never about the two of you. It’s only about him.

      You were honest. He was not.

  • When I first got on trump nation, I went through the archives and read everything. This was one of my favorites. I did make assumptions about my ex and what values he had based on my own moral compass (that and what he was telling me).

    This article made me feel a little less stupid and naive. Trusting your spouse is the normal thing to do.

  • “a skeevy sales and marketing rep”–this describes the OW to a tee! She was representing me while sleeping with my partner. Skeevy is a nice addition to my arsenal.

  • Yes, admittedly, I should have known; it was right there in front of me, she was giving me all the signs, but I trusted her…and that trust blinded me to the blatant, obvious red flags. So, when she said she didn’t love me anymore, wanted to be single and wanted a divorce, it blindsided me. It shouldn’t have, but it did. And, like CL said, the discard was the worst part – after 17 years, I wasn’t worth fighting for…WE weren’t fighting for. She made no attempt at it; she was done…gone…excited about pursuing her new single life with (married) Sgt Sugardick.

  • This article is spot on. The way the world unveiled in front of my eyes was really shocking. The discard I experienced with my children was something I thought only existed on the Jerry Springer show.
    I didn’t know that an highly educated man could discard us all for an office worker same age as our daughter 27 he only knew for 3 months.
    The bizarre conversations “Darling we need to get a divorce because my new girlfriend is pregbant”
    Who is this person? Where did she come from? How did this happen? I am not telling you because that is our live story and has nothing to do with you. WTH???

    And still he does not understand why we are all angry and the kids refuse to meet her. We have lost everything even our home for a complete stranger.

  • I never had any idea that he had been cheating on me for our entire relationship. There were absolutely no red flags.

    I – we were happy, had sex very regularly and never had any issues, though I always checked in to see how we were tracking. He told me he was a Catholic, visited church every Sunday and believed in monogamy. He even made judgments about other people who dated too much. My friends met him, loved him and there were never any red flags. Honestly.

    It all changed just after we moved into together and within 3 weeks, my intuition began going off like fireworks.

    One Sunday afternoon, I tugged at a thread and suddenly everything began falling apart within a matter of days. I remember just looking at the text messages on his phone and double, triple checking that the dates were THIS YEAR and that I wasn’t mistaken. Over and over. When I confronted him with undeniable evidence from his own phone (he still denies, though asked me for forgiveness – not sure for what) and told him that I had far too much self-respect to continue this relationship, his exact question to me was, with a slight smile, ‘How did you find out?’

    It was a question that still haunts me… the cheater asked me that question to make sure that he knew NOT to get caught in his next relationship.

    Meanwhile, I was thinking that I had just lost everything; my past and future.

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