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Dear Chump Lady, Is divorcing him the right choice?

Dear Chump Lady,

I need so help. I have looked through archives and posts and I just need some clarity on my particular situation. I’m struggling to get through each day. Let me give you some backstory:

“Bob” and I got pregnant by accident. He wasn’t supportive. I lost my job and moved in with my mom. He was still seeking some attention elsewhere and he ended up leaving me shortly after my daughter was born.

I struggled, but made it work for my daughter and got a job and actually began dating someone else. I was crushed when I saw a picture of him at a party with some girl and his hand around her, but I kept pushing. She ends up leaving him “because he’s not over his ex” and he comes running back to me. He was finally working and paying child support and it felt real. So, I took him back. Trust issues were overcome and we ended up getting married about a year after reconciling.

I was so happy, CL. In my head my marriage was great. I was always the lead in the household and managed finances, moving, just everything. I started to feel like more of a mother and began to resent him. It got worse when I was relocated and he was unemployed.

Here’s the kicker: I found out 6 days ago he we having a game room chat affair. He had been telling three women he “was falling for them” was in love with them. I found out, because the primary woman (lets call her, A) messaged me on Facebook with a full message history. Real soul crushing stuff. He admitted she was the one he was really drawn to. They sexted, he sent pictures of his stuff (that he randomly sent to me one day a week prior as well, kick in the gut). They spoke about threesomes with HER husband, in detail. And plenty more I just can’t bear to read. That and the fact that he kept telling her he “can’t lose her” are replaying in my head.

Our daughter is 4 years old and I kicked him out the same day. I’m already giving him time with our daughter and being as good of a co-parent I can be for her benefit. My own mother was pushing for me to give him another chance because “men say dumb shit and all men lie and cheat.”

He begged and pleaded the day of and the day after. He hasn’t brought it up since we discussed divorce terms and i spoke with a lawyer. He just says, “I bullshitted a lot of those messages” and insists I don’t share them with others.

CL, I’m in so much pain. I’m trying to be the best mother I can be. I feel like my identity as a wife was stolen. My future. My plans. My family. I try to think logically and stick to my guns about everything, as I’ve always said, “you cheat, I leave.” He knew what would happen. He just didn’t think I would find out.

I know this is all temporary, but I’m struggling. I hate the good memories plaguing my day and the messages I read replaying in my mind and making me breakdown. I have to wait 30 days to file because of the move, and 60 more days for it to be finalized. I need help getting through the day. I need help knowing I’m making the right decision. I need help to remind myself that I deserve someone that gives me what I need and deserve in every way, but I feel like I’ll never find it. I need help with the fact that I am not having to be away from my daughter on weekend and holidays for something I didn’t do. I need help to not go back if he “changes”.

I need your guidance and tough love, CL.



Dear Hannah,

The character transplant didn’t take.

When people ask, “Once a cheater, always a cheater?” I don’t say yes. Because I don’t know. Anyone is capable of change. But people don’t get character transplants. Shazzam! I’m a new me! Personal growth is slow and painful and generally humiliating. Those prone to escapism and immaturity tend not to take the hard path. (For more reading, check out Reconciliation and Entitlement.)

My point is, you already gave him a chance. He wasn’t there when you needed him — he got you pregnant. He didn’t step up. It sounds like he was cheating while you were pregnant — which endangered you and your daughter’s health — and then he left when she was born. Big clue to his character there.

Even if you weren’t exclusive (“got pregnant by accident”? Seeing other people?), an ethical person would’ve protected your health and kept you informed. He was not that ethical person.

At a time of great personal vulnerability, you gave him a chance. And you ascribed character change (I SEE A UNICORN!) to a couple of acts of basic adulting — he got a job, he paid child support.

It happens. A few hundred thousand of us here made the “bred with a fuckwit” mistake too.

Now your heart is broken because your dream has died. He’s not the partner and parent material that you’d hoped for, that you invested everything in.

But Hannah — he was NEVER that guy. Your grief is real, and it’s terrible to lose an investment, and it’s exhausting to start over, please believe me when I tell you — HE WAS NEVER THAT GUY. He was never worthy of your investment.

At the beginning of this story we have a semi-employed, cheating man-child. At the end of this story we have a semi-employed cheating man-child.

There is no moral trajectory. No lesson learned. No new character.

So now what?

First, take some comfort from the fact that when he said he “can’t lose her” — he said the same thing to you. How’d that turn out? It’s only painful if you ascribe actual meaning to his words. He’s a bullshitter. When he tells you he was bullshitting three women BELIEVE HIM. And add one — you.

He’s quite okay with losing you. And her. And her. And her. Because there’s a steady supply of next ones. Life is an endless chump buffet when you’re a fuckwit. Nobody means much of anything to him.

How do I know? Because that’s what his ACTIONS say.

Investment in a career? No. Investment in relationships? No. Investment in being a good father? No.

Guy walked out on a baby. You clean that up! Catch you later!

Hannah, you thought you could work with that. And there’s the skein we need to untangle. It’s okay to want the dream — a family, a loving invested partner. There is NOTHING wrong with you for wanting that dream. And shame on him for future faking, and walking down that aisle with you, and letting you invest in him.

But going forward you have to look very carefully at people’s actions and pay zero attention to their bullshit.

He was okay with you doing ALL the heavy lifting. No reciprocity. No fellow adulting. He’s not partner material.

You’re a gem because you show up and you do the work and you love with an open heart. He’s not your people. Your people are out there.

Get this divorce finalized, and expect him to be a fuckwit, because that’s what they do. Maybe in 20 years he’ll be less of a fuckwit, but don’t bank on it. Get the legalities worked out and be the sane parent.

You’re giving your daughter an amazing gift — a strong mama who doesn’t tolerate bullshit. Who doesn’t pick me dance. Who knows her worth and ACTS on it.

I know that feels scary, and very, very alone sometimes. Especially right now.

You were always going to be alone with him. Worse than alone, you were going to be investing in a fake. Wedded to a barbed wire monkey. Your daughter would’ve grown up thinking this is how relationships are, you just get pricked and bleed, and hugs are cold spiky metal. Why doesn’t Daddy smile? (Answer: He’s a barbed wire monkey.) Gaslighting and dysfunction: Daddy IS smiling! or What did you do wrong to make Daddy frozen like that?

Run, run away! Start a new life.


Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Hannah, when you follow Chump Lady’s advice you will be free of a fuckwit and his lies. Divorce is your best option here. Your daughter deserves better than a man who doesn’t value her or her Mommy. You deserve better. Hannah, he doesn’t value you. Better to get out now and rebuild a life free of lies, betrayal and the devastation of abuse. Adultery is abuse.

    Don’t give him one more opportunity to lie to you. I promise you this is just the tip of the iceberg. He has committed other infidelities while you’ve been busy working, parenting and providing for your family. He isn’t faithful. He is a disordered liar. He abused you.

    You are doing the right thing to divorce him. Go for full custody and spare yourself the pain of separation from your daughter. Go No Contact. He will only continue to lie, it is what he does. Press through the next few months. You will make it. Do you have a copy of LACGAL? I can send you one. Read that until you can quote it. Come here and read the archives. Come here and read the many other posts from women like you. You will learn your cheater isn’t original or special. He is just a disordered liar who you will leave in the dust of your awesomeness.

    Hannah, I am so sorry he betrayed you. You didn’t deserve that. Your daughter didn’t deserve that. You both deserve so much more. Divorce him. It will only get better.

    • yeah it’s awful when you’re treated like dirt and the your mother tells you that’s what you should expect. Happened to me. It’s so hard to deal with. However, to maintain your sanity you have to cut your mother’s advice out completely. Honestly the alternative is losing your mind and you have a daughter so you won’t do that.

    • I sure wish I would have had this advice when I was only 4 to 5 years in.

      I am only 3 years out of the Debbie Douchebag Rollercoaster…..and it started when Old Man Bush was president. Hannah has all those good years ahead of her that I wasted. Hell, I Rodney King, LA Riots, and Desert Storm hadn’t even happened.

      • Same here! all the things… shoulda, coulda, woulda… I didn’t have Chump Lady back then. I want to say that my life would have been soooooo much better if I had Chump Lady and the Nation at my back. But I can’t go back, only forward. Make better choices!

    • I just want to add here to keep documentation of his online b.s. affairs. Keep everything that may be useful to you in court, to argue for keeping your child sole custody and his access to a very minimum.
      You can do this.
      Use your anger to shore yourself up. Show him nothing. Fake it till you make it.
      Chump Nation has your back.
      I’m old enough to say “Bless you.”
      He’s a dick.

    • I’m so sorry, Hannah. Hang in there, this is all very recent for you. The emotional shitstorm will eventually calm, and you’ll find your peace again. Take care of yourself and your daughter. Don’t let him back in!!! You deserve so much better.

  • Wish I had figured out the person ex actually was, from what he was selling me, four years in. I know it doesn’t feel like it, Hanna, but, in some ways, you’re ahead of the game. This is my favorite CL entry as I can remember – maybe because it’s the words I really needed to hear. Took me 19 years. Godspeed and don’t look back! ❤️

  • He’s not that guy. He has a double on line life. If you give him another chance he will just go more underground.

    Do you know why I know ? Because I danced another 10 years. He got meaner. He became the child and I became big mean Mommy.

    I thought he was having a mid life crisis. No / he was just showing me who he really is.

    I wanted the in-tact family. The Rockwell painting Christmas scenes.

    It was NOT worth it. Gaslighting, manipulation and abuse. Numerous women and an Ashley Maddison account.

    I was just a whisper of my former self when he finally imploded everything with his Tru Lurv.

    You seem to have a good head on your shoulders.

    Move forward with your life and create a new picture of how’ve things will look in the future.

    Your Mother is not helpful / maybe a step back from her right now and some good IC.

    Keep up the good work. You are amazing and will get through this!!!

    • Yes Lucky. They get smarter and more devious if given the chance. I forgave a “one night slip up” (which of course I know believe was not one night at all) when STBX had to tell me because he was being disciplined for being absent for work – thinking it was a mid life crisis. Five years later I realized he was a serial cheater and it explained why he was disrespecting me and basically being a shit to me (he used to be quite loving). I wasted 27 years with a man who purposely chose to be cruel to me when I found out. The gaslighting, stonewalling, and emotional abuse felt like an assault on my life (not physically but emotionally). I am a strong person and it took everything I had to get through this.
      To the letter writer. I feel for you. It is so unfair. I am glad that you have a relatively short amount of time invested in him but it does suck that you will have to co-parent. It is not an easy process but you can do it and ignore your Mom. My cheater made me realize it has to be one and done. He got very smart and locked down all technology and passwords and used more cash. I operated under the allusion that I was loved and he screwed me and our kids over. You deserve so much more. Hugs.

    • Yah, I feel like mine was an opportunistic cheater for a while until he found his twu wuv soulmate.

      The only way these guys can get off is through secrecy and duper’s delight. It intensifies their feelings and they will keep seeking the same thrill over and over.

    • So this! The more I found out the more underground and covert and excessive he went. All designed to devalue me to make him feel good about how special and smart he was. To beat a narc you have to think like a narc, keep everything you know close until it’s time to pounce, in court if need be. They are out to win, to beat us. We are out to keep our kids safe, healthy, houses and happy. Big difference.

  • “My own mother was pushing for me to give him another chance because ‘men say dumb shit and all men lie and cheat.'”

    Do you want to pass this attitude on to your sweet daughter? No, of course you don’t. This is where that pattern can end. By your actions, you can show your daughter that although SOME men do that, there’s no reason to accept their shreds of attention, their leftover bits of regard. Break that cycle. Aim higher. Show her what a strong brave capable woman looks like. You’ve got this!

    • Yep, thanks for replying to this part. We don’t have to pass this crap on and there are GOOD MEN out there. I know, I married one.

    • Hannah, please listen to this! You have an opportunity to show your daughter, and your Mom, what a mighty heart-whole woman does when she’s betrayed and devalued. I think you’re doing amazingly – and it does take time to get out of the confusion, doubt and fear, but you will be so glad you did. Stay strong, lovely x

    • My mum said the same. She spoke in ignorance and in line with the thinking of her time. I told her that we can’t risk that crap anymore in these times.
      No-one despises him more than she does now she sees what he’s really made of. Well no… My sister hates him more.

    • JUST LAST NIGHT my own mid-20’s daughter said to me, “I know sometimes I drive you crazy with my strong opinions, but you only have yourself to blame. You’re the one who taught me not to sell myself short.”

      I’ve never been prouder of her…and of myself.

      • This is so true. My amazing mum left my cheating asshole of a Dad when I was 2 years old. She brought me up on her own, just us two and taught me how much I was worth.

        When I found out my fiancee was cheating on me I didn’t even consider any other option than it was over. How could I when my mum had set me such a powerful example. I never pick me danced, I never begged and I never spackled. I owe every ounce of my strength to my mum.

        Your kids are watching you now. Show them the right way.

  • CL is right. This will not turn out well for you of you back down. I am concerned about the comments your mother made. She totally minimized the situation and that is not behavior you have to accept. Will she be supportive in this? You seem very young. You keep pressing on. You will be ok and check in here and join the FB page. Lots of support here.

  • “My own mother was pushing for me to give him another chance because “men say dumb shit and all men lie and cheat.”

    Shut that shit down. Your mother is WRONG. There are plenty of male chumps (active, unknowing and potential because they DON’T CHEAT and yet they married a jerk) and plenty of men who would no more cheat on their spouse than they would cheat on their taxes.

    First things first – divorce him with a CLEAN CONSCIENCE. You were the real deal, he was an asshole.

    Seek therapy for yourself because your mother taught you to sell yourself and men short. You didn’t know it for real until now, but I bet you picked up some other piss-poor boundaries and outlooks on life. Do it for yourself AND for your daughter. Change the legacy.

    You can do this. You already have – you simply didn’t realize it when you were huffing on Hopium.

    • I relation to what No shit Cupcakes said…
      “Your daughter would’ve grown up thinking this is how relationships are, you just get pricked and bleed, and hugs are cold spiky metal.”

      This is in a way generational. It sound like your mother created expectations in you that you just put up with being treated like crap just to say you’re married. What is so happy and joyous about that? Think about your child. Is that what you want your child to learn by watching you? Or do you want to set the example that when someone chooses to hurt you, puts your life in danger, and disrespects you then you take control of your life and work to do better, to be better, to expect better for yourself?

      You deserve better and it is out there. First you have to divorce the fuckwit and then you have to figure out why you didn’t expect to be treated with dignity and respect. What in how you were raised or grew up created inside you the feeling that this is OK? Find the answer and fix that. Then start the process of deciding what you are looking for in a partner. Define it. and don’t settle for anything less.

      • Yes. I don’t think enough can be said about this aspect of your situation Hannah. As you try to convince yourself of what you know is best, but your emotions don’t match, consider why. CL’s barbed wire monkey analogy is real and important. You almost certainly learned to feel as you do about “Bob” from the examples modeled before you your whole life. The enormous clue is your mother’s maladaptive take on things. In how many subtle ways was her essential cynicism put before you? In how many imperceptible ways were you taught that the attributes of a cad, or the difficulties they put you in, were attractive, exciting or even just normal, familiar and therefore secure? You would be putting the same before your own daughter if you allow him in your lives. She will seek the same attributes in the men she has relationships with, regardless whether she knows the consequences of those attributes are crap. Heart knowledge versus head knowledge. The heart wants the attributes its familiar with and has long ago defined as home. The little signs and indicators that a guy is a man-child dick in this case. (And sometimes in some not so little ways – can’t keep a job etc.) It’s a long way to redefining them by their true results. Don’t let your daughter see these attributes and begin to wire them in as her emotional cues and standards.

        • Damn TKO – this makes perfect sense. Wow-of-wow this explains so much in multi-generations of my family and those close to me.

          • I had the same thing. my mom was like oh I support you whatever you do. And when my serial cheating ex wanted to stay married me she actually CONGRATULATED me. She is a PhD, not any uneductaed housewife. But she herself was the other woman to my step dad when he was still married to his ex wife. So in her mind well good people engage in infidelity and it is just something that happens. this was NOT ok with me and I felt so betrayed by her in a way that she didn’t want more for me or think I deserved better but thought I could accept this. I did not and I left and she did support me ultimately but I’ll never forget it. I do think it is generational and that there is so much training historically about a woman NEEDing a man. Even though I am very well employed. hang in there. I’m with you.

        • TKO,
          Nicely put.

          I would add a few more words to heart knowledge vs head knowledge since I know I have to look at something from many, many different angles before something clicks for me and all falls so clearly into place.

          Something that helps me with this is knowing that heart knowledge – our emotional nature is irrational.

          Nothing has ever made that ‘feel’ more real to me than when I was engaged in the pick – me -dancing. My head was completely rational and proceeding without mishap while my heart was screaming in a voice I had never been aware of. When the x would leave, I would be confounded – I simply couldn’t bring the 2 aspects of myself together in a cohesive manner and now I know they can’t join. They are separate entities within me and my emotional nature does indeed have its own wisdom that I needed to trust.

          • Johnathan Haidt in his book “The Righteous Mind” has a great analogy of intellect and emotion. It is the elephant and the rider. The elephant is emotions that is very difficult for the rider that is intellect to control. I never expetienced this more when I was begging for reconcilation and knew better at the same time. Fortunately she turned me down and I am mostly past that except the elephant likes an occassional puff of hopium still.

            • I’ll say upfront my ex-wife didn’t cheat on me, she separated from me first and then started dating some other dude. After a year we talked about reconciliation but that fell through. Then at the two year mark we talked about it again, this time going as far as going to counseling. The first year I desperately wanted her to come back. The second year I still did, but it was like you said, it was becoming a head versus heart thing. My heart still wanted her with me, though my head was screaming at me that my heart was confused, it wanted to reset things back to before she left and hurt me so bad. But there wouldn’t be any going back. I wanted her back but my head was warning me, within a year you are going to burn with resentment. That she dated some other guy for years while you were single, depressed, alone. She’ll be all loving now, wanting to come back, but what happens when she settles in and takes you for granted again, or gets angry at you irrationally. I very well might end up wanting to leave her and that would just make things worse.

              And yet still, still I pushed on. To be fair we were married for 13 years and had a happy marriage. Well thankfully, THANKFULLY SHE decided not to reconcile. In hindsight she was just going through her last spells of uncertainty that she was making a huge mistake, and after canceling with me got engaged quickly thereafter and is now married to the guy. I’m still single, now even years later, and honestly I can’t say I ever completely recovered, mostly I just changed. But one thing I am convinced of is that things would be ten times worse if I was with her. Stupid heart. I still dream about her, dream we get back together. But I also dream we have massive huge fights at times so it balances out.

        • TKO-nicely stated! Trust that your instincts are correct.
          Just a suggestion that Hannah might want to tell her Mom that she does not need to hear the advice that accepts such behavior, and that she could really use her support right now. To let her Mom know she refuses to take it and is already feeling very alone. Maybe there is a chance she could stop hearing this hurtful short range advice from someone whose support would be very helpful right now.
          Chumps are people that see the good in others and project their own innocence onto others that often don’t deserve it. At work and in all relationships really.

      • Desperation is never a good look on anybody, male or female. And it attracts users and abusers.

  • “You were always going to be alone with him.”
    Whether he stays, he goes, you kick him out, he leaves on his own. YOU will remain, YOU will always be, the sane, present, loving parent.

    D I V O R C E

    Hannah, you asked Chump Lady, she told you.
    Dear Sweet Lady, Mother of a precious Child, read the archives, Leave A Cheater Gain A Life.
    It is all told, (like a Bible) here.
    Please read all that you can.

    You got this Hannah, you are already Mighty, having the courage and the strength to come here.

    We all hear you and we have your back!
    Stay strong. Stay Mighty!

  • I’ve lived this. The lead in the household and finances? Check. Moving? Check. I managed and executed the entire move without any help from him. Feeling like a mother and resenting him? Check. Carrying us financially while he was unemployed and excessively gaming? Check.
    And throughout our entire 4.5-year relationship he engaged in what I gave the umbrella term “fuck shit” i.e. sexting, flirting on various messaging apps, exchanging nudes, inviting women to our house while I was away for work etc.
    Whether or not he physically cheated during that time is unimportant. He would, given the opportunity. As would your husband.
    A lot of the time, these Peter Pan cheaters come off very fun and sparkly. They have a way with words and a way of showering you with attention that makes you feel like the whole sun is shining only on you.
    They are easygoing and very content to let you run the show. Mine certainly was, and that played right into my control issues.
    Hannah, are you the one doing all the meal planning? Grocery shopping? Cooking and cleaning? Child rearing?
    While he sits on his butt, gaming and flirting with other women?
    Leave, Hannah. He won’t change. He can pretend to for a short period of time, and you will assign great meaning to acts of basic adulting (just like CL said) but he will always be an untrustworthy, lazy manchild.
    And no, he won’t grow up and be great for the next woman. It’s not about the women. It’s not even about you, his wife and the mother of his child. It’s about who he is.
    Leaving someone while you still love them is the hardest thing. Do it anyway. Building a life that isn’t the one you wanted, imagined, and worked so hard to create, feels weird and pointless to begin with. Do it anyway.
    I’m 16 months out. It’s been a hard road, and still I sometimes miss “the good times.” I stop and reflect for a moment, and then I go back to enjoying the life I gained.
    I own a beautiful old house in a new town, 100 miles from where I lived with the Lying Cheating Bastard (LCB). My career is flourishing and taking off in exciting new directions. And I’m not working nearly as hard now that I’m no longer dragging along 180 lbs of dead weight.
    And LCB? He’s living with his mother, hasn’t seen his kids (from a previous relationship) since Christmas, and seems to be doing what he does best: sparkle and shine with no action to back it up.
    Hannah, now you know what kind of partner to stay away from. You’ve developed a finely tuned fuckwit detector. It will serve you well, going forward.
    You’ll gain a great life for yourself and your daughter. Heck, you already have. Because face it: did he really contribute in the first place? Or was he little more than a hologram husband?

    • Oh, and: the woman who “left him because he wasn’t over his ex”? Did you hear that from him? Because if so, it’s a lie. If she left him, it’s because he’s a deceitful fuckwit who refuses to adult.
      But I bet that line played nicely when he came running back to you.

    • Walkaway Woman, you just described my life with my ex. All except for the cooking and cleaning- he gladly did that, in fact we used to joke that he would be a perfect stay at home husband if we could afford it! The gaming obsession, chronic unemployment, his refusal to adult when it came to bills and finances (when he did work, he gave me his paycheck, he didn’t even have a checking account when we met, then he screamed at me that I needed to stop being his mother), having women over when I wasn’t home, oh and running off to stay at his dad’s house every time we got into an argument.

      I just wonder why I ever was interested in him in the first place.

      • They don’t want to grow up. They choose a responsible adult to marry. They dump the adulting on the spouse. Then they scream that you treat them like a child.

  • It’s extremely difficult to wrap your mind around the depth of betrayal like this. Cheating usually comes with extras like financial abuse, gaslighting etc…It’s horrible and it hurts like hell. Chumplady is right, character change is a process that requires humility and he’s not even admitting to what he’s done yet.

    The future you thought you had is gone and has left a big void that you can’t fill right now, this will just take time. You need support to get through this and CN understand.

  • Count me in with this aside from the gaming:
    “I’ve lived this. The lead in the household and finances? Check. Moving? Check. I managed and executed the entire move without any help from him. Feeling like a mother and resenting him? Check. Carrying us financially while he was unemployed and excessively gaming? Check.”

    Truth be told……it is actually easier to get everything done and handled for me and my son without him around. The sane parenting is easier without the lies, gas lighting and manipulation. My son adults better than he does. I do’t have to clean up after him and he can make simple meals. You might figure out that his contributions to the family were so small that you don’t really notice his being gone when it comes to housework, supporting your daughter and making a life.

    Hannah, after you disconnect from the fuck wit you might just find that the single life suits you fine. Being the sane parent isn’t always easy and its not meant to be fun but stop trying to co parent with someone who doesn’t want the job and just do right by your girl. Raise her to believe she can rise above this crap and show her how to manage life, even when its not easy.

    • Yep, count me in on this too. My life was SOOOO much easier after he left (and I had money in the bank for once)!

      • I know Attie.

        How did I go from making only 25% of the family income to being responsible for everything and not losing the house or going into debt? Where did all that money go for all those years?

        I can’t even fathom that I am saving for retirement AND building a rainy day fund little by little each month after so many years of desperately trying to make ends meet. What changed? I removed the fuck wit who made three times my salary. I doesn’t sound possible but it’s true!

  • I am sorry you are going through this. It is a kick in the stomach to realize your marriage was a fraud.
    Continue with the divorce. Please get checked for STIs. Run a credit report. These fuckwits usually do not stop at cheating. With you lawyers advice open accounts in your own name. He could empty out your joint accounts.

    Your Mother gave you the wrong advice. Not all men lie and cheat. Cheating is just another form of abuse. It would probably be best not to go to your Mom for advice. You will soon realize that living cheater free is liberating. You will not have a man child to hold you back. You got this. And I am sure you have a bright future.

  • It’s very, very, painful to mourn the end of a dream. But he will never become a mature, trustworthy partner. A man is who he is at his core.

    People like him are perpetually bored and looking for new highs. They are a curse to live with. They can love bomb and play nice for awhile. Then they go looking for a buzz somewhere else behind your back.

    • “Perpetually bored and looking for new highs.”

      This is so true! Ex dumped a lot of money into expensive toys and hobbies. It didn’t take him long to become bored with a hobby and he moved on to the next one. Many unfinished projects and toys I had to deal with when I kicked him to the curb. He had no interest in taking them with him to his new life with Vajayjay.

      About a year before Dday, a surprise Harley was delivered to the house. He had ordered it not so much to ride, but to see my reaction. He may have ridden it a handful of times. I later found an email to his brother stating that I was ok with him getting it which he apparently didn’t appreciate? I figure he was looking for a reason to justify the OW.

      Same with the marriage, same with his OW’s, same with his job. All good and exciting for a while, and then He was bored and looking for the next exciting person/ thing to fill him up.

      • Same girl, Exactly the same. I came home once and he had traded in my car on a truck. Always the new toy, easily bored and looking for the next gadget. I hear he now has a pelaton, of course he does.

        • Oh yeah, my wasband always needed the latest phone, bigger TV, newest IPad, etc. We both made decent money but we never seemed to save anything. We never even got to go on a family vacation, but he made sure he saw his favorite band and football team multiple times last year. We would do a credit card balance transfer for 0% interest and then the card we paid off would have a new $4,000 balance. Narc cheaters bleed $! It’s all about instant gratification and that can be a shiny new toy or whatever woman is available.

          • In the book, ‘The Sociopath Next Door,’ she lists 3 characteristics of a sociopath on page 126:

            ‘A sociopath is someone who:

            “fails to conform to social norms;
            who is never monogamous; (Note the word ‘never’ here.)
            who fails to honor financial obligations.” ‘

      • Bored and looking for a new high.
        One reason my Ex said he cheated with my cousin was she wasn’t boring. I was boring and did not want to go out to bars and play pool. She never complained and she gave him compliments all the time. She was always happy and upbeat. I paid all the bills and did all the chores around the house. While he went off playing pool and who knows what else with her. He failed to realize that he never complimented me. Was actually verbal abusive and nasty to me for most of our marriage. I did not use that as an excuse to cheat. He needed to make me the villian to justify his cheating.

        The OW is fun and exciting. These fuckwits are empty inside and can not truly love anyone. They seek the next thrill at the expense of the wife.

  • I have told this story many a time here on ChumpLady but I think it bears repeating: I know a man who cheated on his wife decades ago. They were both in their 20s, he cheated with several co-workers and his wife only learned about it when she went for an annual exam and discovered she had 2 STIs. Much anguish and fighting ensued. But, they went to counselling, he worked his ass off and I would put money on the fact that he never cheated again. I believe with all my heart that he is, in fact, a unicorn in that way.

    But here’s something that’s rarely discussed: the wife is not. Yeah, I believe it’s only a unicorn (mythical or at least verrrry rarely seen) Chump who can be lied to, infected with disease, betrayed, wounded yet shake herself off and be seucrely happy in the marriage again once the abuser has mended his ways. They are both in their 70s, now, and she still has to leave the room when watching a movie that depicts cheating. She looks back on the years of their young marriage with grief. She strongly advises her grandkids to consider remaining single forever. So, even in the extremely unlikely cast that your cheater mends his ways and never again strays… you’ll still be with that guy who thought it was okay to treat you like crap.


    • TC, you are absolutely right. I don’t want to be married to somebody I feel like I have to police, be a parent to, whose past behaviors (if indeed they are past) dictate what I can/cannot watch on TV without being triggered.

      BTW, I love the acronym PISD (“pissed”) for Post Infidelity Stress Disorder. I am VERY pissed. I am pissed that I have to have annual paps, that I wake up from nightmares crying, that I am triggered by really stupid stuff.

      I want a partner whose actions line up with their words. Cheaters appear to be VERY good with words, so we need to be careful and pay close attention to follow-up actions.

      • I thought was the only one who had nightmares. I would have nightmare(still do) that my cousin is laughing at me. While my horses are taken away. She keeps laughing and saying I got your life now bitch. Say good bye to your home. Say goodbye to your horses. I wake up in tears.

        It seems that my ex and my cousin seem to have no conscquences. Even though I am in a better place I still am haunted by the betrayal.

        • I still have nightmares 6 years out. At least once a week. Usually that he is trying to kill me, or that I find I am still living with him and once I realize it, am awash in fear.
          I’m not sure this will ever go away entirely after muliple therapies (and 25 years of what I realize now, was insanity and a lot of spackling).
          But I can say I am on the whole ECSTATIC to be out of it.

          • I too am years out from Dday and am still plagued by horrendous nightmares alternating with insomnia. That’s what PTSD does. Your body and mind can’t stop reliving the fear and pain. The hypervigilance will never go away for me, I fear. I will always be wary, worried, and easily startled. There is some evidence that betrayal trauma may be permanent in some form for some people. Because you can’t really quit human relationships (even if you give up romantic ones), ergo you can never really get away from the stimuli that triggers you.

        • I have nightmares too. Usually they are him just showing up announcing he doesn’t want to be divorced any more (the same way he announced he no longer wanted to be married). Then he proceeds to move into my new place and act just like he used to. Like I’m going to just pick up where we left off doing all the adulting and catering to his every whim. It wakes me up in a cold swear and usually ruins the whole next day as I work to shake off the dread and hopelessness it leaves me with. I’ve decided I will know I reached permanent residency in Meh once the dream goes away for good. The hood news it is down once ever two months or so.

  • Hanna,
    There’s sometimes this thing that happens with a dissolving marriage…the chump questioning whether divorce is the right thing. It happened to me. My friends were saying “get a lawyer” and “file now!” I even had a marriage counselor meet with us and she pulled me aside at the end of session and said “Get out now. And get STD tested” And I still asked myself that question. But the answer is clear. Chump Lady’s point is brilliantly simple…he is the same unemployed cheater now that he was then and you have raised a little girl, gotten a job and even relocated for a job. You are on an upward trajectory. Not him.
    And then, here are all the good things: a) Your daughter is young and will not have to go through the pain of watching this all play out as a teenager. That’s better, trust me. b) You are young (anyone who had the capacity to give birth only 4 years ago is young) and you have so many good years ahead you will spend without that fuckwit in your life. Trust me-it beats having this shit go down in your fifties. c) You didn’t give up a career or a job. You maintained YOUR throughout this. Your losses are minimal. These are all great things that don’t seem like much now, because of the pain, but you will come to appreciate them. It’s just that the pain at seeing what seemed like a life plan, and the gaslighting that eats at your memories-that is overwhelming at first.
    You are in a good place! You really are!

  • Hannah,

    I’ve been there too, and filing for divorce was so freeing. I understand wanting the intact family and to be with your daughter’s father. It’s an idealized notion of family that people like us just don’t have. You can stay and try to project this vision on the rest of the world, while knowing the reality, or you can leave his sorry ass. Staying essentially means becoming his secret-keeper, keeping his lying and cheating ways away from public viewing. But you were not the one to lie and cheat. Do not become a liar for him to spare yourself or your daughter the humiliation. Live in the messy truth and rebuild your life. It is freeing!

  • The only skein to untangle here is your own (and remember, your daughter is watching!). I think your Mother’s comment might tell you more about why you think you had a Unicorn (instead of a fuckwit) and why you should accept unacceptable behavior… how many shit sandwiches did you watch her eat?

    The blessings to be found in this shit show are many:
    – You are mighty… you’ve already kicked him out and are getting your ducks in a row to file
    – You are the sane parent… keep child support and custody top of mind in your divorce process
    – You lived the first year of your daughter’s life without this fuckwit, you can live the next 14 until she’s off to college (you can’t begin to imagine yet how wonderful it will be without your parasite X around)
    – You have already found ChumpNation and ChumpLady… you have a survivor’s instinct

    It is natural to grieve over what you lost – but get clear on what you lost… you lost your dream of a loving, mutually respectful husband and co-parent… but losing a characterless fuckwit, not a loss… and only time will help you see that clearly.

    You’ve got this Hannah. Trust us… you’ve got this.

  • Hannah,
    To all the great comments above, I just want to add: it’s sounds like you’re still quite young. (20’s? Early 30’s?) Please leave now, while it’s still possible to build a very different life and enjoy it for a while. You’re also only Six! Days! Out! It’s AMAZING what you’ve accomplished in that time. Many of us were puddles on the flooor for weeks after discovery.

    I just want to offer you this cautionary tale. I was only 30 when my STBX had her first affair (we’re both women). I stuck it out, because we had a 2-year-old daughter together and STBX was so very contrite. Guess what? Life continues getting harder, esp. when you have more kids. In my case, 14 years after the first affair (and having added another kid to the family), my STBX turned to another affair to cope with her narc mother’s death – and this affair was much worse than the first. I’m not saying “once a cheater, always a cheater.” But CL is quite right when she says that most people who would cope with adult life in these ways (escapism, grasping for supply in various forms outside the marriage) just aren’t capable of doing the long, hard work of deep personal growth. My STBX is smart, capable in many areas of life, and a lifelong pursuer of health, therapy, and New Agey stuff. I thought she had worked through her crap after the first affair. Nope! And you, Hannah, are saying that your person isn’t showing even those basic signs of self-reflection. So, please stick to your guns and Get A Life while you’re still young. Even if he never cheats again (unlikely!!!), CL is right that you’ll always feel like the lonely grownup. All best to you – it will get better, after time and with a lot of support. I hope you’re seeing an individual counselor who really gets you!!!

    • My cheater also used his father’s death as an excuse for the affair! Said he “fell in love with the woman who supported him during his father’s death.”

      What do you make of it?

      • I was also accused of not being there for my ex when his father died because I didn’t know what questions to ask. I am not a mind reader. It tried to be there for him, but he wouldn’t talk to me. Years later he used that as an excuse to fuck around and leave me for someone who he thinks would have gotten it right if he had been with her instead of me.

        • My ex was the opposite, I had a hard time after my father’s death. His excuse was that I wasn’t myself, wasn’t giving an effort, withdrawn, melancholy…. well duh. I just lost my father. I was all those things, so instead of support or suggestion of therapy, let’s go fuck a ho-worker who also conveniently had a “terrible marriage” and a husband who didn’t understand her. They were perfect for each other!! Both complete shitheels out for their own neediness, not caring for your spouses pain because it’s always about them.

      • Yes, the “dead parent” thing is very interesting. It makes a twisted kind of sense, Karma Train, that your cheater would devalue you because you showed actual grief. Smh.

        But the fact that many people start an affair after the death of their own parent is frequently mentioned in the literature on infidelity. The RIC is trying to untangle the skein, of course. Cheaters and therapists want us to have empathy for how awful it is – and I do, to an extent. I saw firsthand how shattered STBX was after her mother’s death. But the lesson now seems different to me: I can have empathy, but I can also see that losing a parent is exactly the kind of adult-level challenge that many cheaters don’t have the tools to handle in a healthy way. STBX kept going back to that, over and over, as if to suggest that it’s the Worst Possible Thing that could ever happen, so I should trust her now that the Awful Event is over. But, as a cancer survivor, I know too well that MANY awful things can happen in life. Even if STBX never actually cheats again, I have no evidence that she will not throw me under the bus in some other way when life gets tough. (Since I’m here with her all the time, it must be my fault, right?)

        And the death-of-parent thing also really illustrated to me the limits of STBX’s own empathy for me. I did try to be there for her after her mother’s death – I certainly provided a lot of logistical support with the kids etc. while she traveled back and forth over the last few months, and I tried to provide emotional support as much as possible. But first of all, I was never going to be the one-stop comfort solution for STBX in her grief, because her mother was an overt narc who always was a jerk to me. I was not exactly bereft to lose her, though I was willing to put aside my own feelings to an extent (so chumpy!) to support STBX and our kids. But that was never going to be enough for STBX, who evidently needed something from me that I was never going to be able to provide without totally ignoring my own emotional boundaries.

        Also, as ChumpInRecovery so rightly puts it, I’m not a mind reader, and STBX wasn’t really telling me much about what she needed in her grief. She slept with a stranger from a bar only 3 weeks after her mom’s death and turned it into a full-blown affair. Finally, despite the fact that STBX tries to excuse her actions due to her trauma over losing her mom – and I get that it was a real trauma – she also makes the other cheater-playbook move of complaining that she was unhappy for years beforehand. YEARS! She has come close to admitting that she was thinking about an affair for a long time before it actually happened – and again, it started just 3 weeks after her mom’s death, so that event clearly was not the only factor.

        This is what happens, I think (based on quite honest conversations with STBX): people with whatever toxic brew leads to cheating (no need to untangle the skein here) struggle with adult commitments over time, as stressors build with the mounting demands of family and careers. They no longer get the supply (ego kibbles) that they once did from their partners. They might act out in smaller ways – my STBX had very emotionally intense friendships, for example, but I am not naturally jealous or controlling. For other people, it might be porn, or other addictions/escapism – but the point is that they’re not ACTUALLY screwing other people, so they can give themselves a big pat on the back for being good. THEN, a parent dies, and either they finally have the golden excuse to do what they’ve been wanting to do for some time, OR (like my STBX) they really lose themselves and have no healthy way of coping.

        To me, it doesn’t much matter whether the cheater intentionally uses the death of a parent as a cover for cheating, or not. Either way, it’s manipulative to suggest that the chump was not adequately supportive to the cheater in their grief – it’s just another flavor of blame-shifting. And either way, the cheater will need to do some serious work to try to resolve whatever issues led to the cheating under those conditions. We chumps don’t have to stick around to see whether that work is successful or not. My therapist keeps reminding me: “STBX is grieving her mother, and you’re grieving the relationship you thought you had. What makes her grief more important than yours? Moreover, she doesn’t have to try to reconcile with the person who caused her grief.”

      • @Wreck: He’s lying. Making excuses. Manipulating. He knows you love to untangle the skein of his fuckedupedness so he feeds you “reasons.” The real thing is that he has an alcohol problem and he’s an entitled jackass.. He has character issue. Why he does things? Because he can or because he sees a benefit or because it’s easy.

  • Hi All, Hannah here.

    These are all hard truths to swallow. I appreciate the support and tough love. I am in individual therapy and hoping to increase my visits to help cope. Your stories help me see clearly and remember what is important.

    Also, for those that asked I am 26.

    • I am so glad you’re helping yourself through this and seriously – at 26 you have many years of fresh air ahead of you. It still sucks to go through this but it’s so much better to go through it now than later.

      Better days ahead!

    • I knew you were young! : ) Treasure it and love yourself. And be glad you got out before too much time was wasted. : )

    • Hannah, I am so happy for you. You have so many happier years ahead of you. I’m crying tears of joy that you won’t stay for decades of abuse.

      Don’t worry if you have to try several therapists before you find one who helps you. I went through several before I found a freshly graduated, young kick ass therapist. She is my earth bound angel. When she stated “Adultery is abuse.” my healing started.

      I am so damn proud of you. It takes courage to make these changes in your life. You got this.

  • Dear Hannah,

    Oh, I’m so sorry you’re going through this heartbreaking situation. Your story really hit a nerve with me… My XH started cheating on me just 3 months into our dating relationship, but I was crazy in love, and trusted him completely. If only I’d paid more attention, or I’d had more life experience (we met at age 19), I would’ve seen red flags waving from 50 miles away.

    When I figured out that XH was cheating (we were married 12 years at that point), I immediately filed for divorce and had him served at his place of employment. He later told me that was the worst day of his life. Good! That wake up call was exactly the effect I was going for. He was scared out of his mind that his life was going to abruptly change, and he wouldn’t be able to be a full-time parent to our triplet sons, then 6 years old. He straightened up his act, went into serious psychological counseling, did a lot of work on himself, and actually had a total “character transplant“. He became the husband he should’ve been from Day #1. I (foolishly) agreed to terminate the divorce proceeding so we could make a fresh start. Sadly, it took me another 28 years to realize that all he did was take his cheating, lying and betrayal so deep underground, there was no light to illuminate them; he was nothing more than a papier-mâché man after the balloon inside had popped… fragile, empty, weak — and extremely damaged. He was a chameleon, and kept trying on women (or perhaps more accurately, he kept trying on “costumes“), experimenting with whomever he needed to become to successfully groom the next affair partner. He finally dumped me for the older and much richer Married Howorker (AP #14), and together, they torpedoed two 40-year marriages, devastating the lives of 14 other people. I could’ve saved myself a literal lifetime of deceit by adhering to the one ironclad rule I made early on — “You cheat, we’re done” — but ultimately, didn’t follow. The bottom line is, when you set a boundary, KEEP IT!

    Hannah, please let this man go, in every way possible. No second thoughts! No more chances! No contact!

    • How did he keep it so far underground? I suspect as much from mine but can’t fathom what tools/tricks he is using.

      • I thin the point here is that’s none of us can be the marriage police. We’ll never know all the workarounds, and we shouldn’t have to. If we can’t trust our partners – whether or not we have the evidence in hand! – that says it all, right there.

      • Why do you care about those tricks? You know what he is. Put your attention on your new life.

  • Hannah, you’re very courageous.
    Keep going! And reward yourself along the way, because what you’re doing is tough but necessary.
    I’m not a fan of “retail therapy”, but at the beginning, I bought myself a new pair of sneakers, and some black, punk, shit kicking boots, because symbolism.
    And after taking care of everyone else, it was time to take care of me.
    Both the shoes and boots are now shot to hell, but I can’t seem to take them out of my closet.

  • Hannah,

    Be happy to learn this ‘only’ 4 years in and leave the sparkling fuckwit NOW. I fully agree with the previous e-mails : they don’t change, you are the adult parent and it is easier caring for the kids without dragging the dead weight around. I was left with my kids when they were in their early teens and apart from the sperm donation it was the best thing their father did for them. Oh, and another Vote on the STDs as well – I got HPV infected and had to have a procedure done from the consequences.

    Get out and get out now.
    The fuckwit was bad news from the start.

  • Game room chat affair is definitely game over. Not spouse material, and not awesome dad material.

    It hurts. It’s a life changer, but good to know. Everything will ultimately be better without that to contend with every darned day.

    Working through the escape is not much fun, but very worth it for you and your child.

  • “. . . men say dumb shit and all men lie and cheat.”

    No they don’t.

    What a sad way to view the world.

    • And I know all the men who read this blog (and sometimes even comment) would beg to differ.

    • Agree. I am an older woman and know many fine, honest, and loyal to the end men.

      One of my biggest supports through all of this has been a male friend of mine -without ulterior motives on either of our parts. Clean and respectful.

      You will recognize one when you meet one and get to know one. Very different energy from cheaters/narcs.

  • When mom said “all men lie and cheat,” she is absolutely wrong. There are plenty of men out there that don’t lie and cheat.
    What an awful piece of advice to give your daughter.

    • This is right up there with the comment that one of my grad school friends was told by her own emotionally abusive mother: “sex is something that men expect.” My grad school friend was a hot mess. Her brother was physically abusive towards her. Her mother told her that this is the way that boys are. The father was kind but allowed the abuse to continue.

      There are plenty of good, honorable men out there who love and cherish their spouses as true partners. Don’t settle for less, and given that this is the home environment, work with a therapist to unpack those FOO issues and fix that picker!

  • I keep looking at those words: “He was okay with you doing ALL the heavy lifting. No reciprocity. No fellow adulting. He’s not partner material.”
    The ex-Douche was very successful in business, and he told work buddies, “You’ve got to have a mule.” Someone who does the heavy lifting with no reciprocity. I always thought he was just joking around, just talking tough to fit in with the boys. He used to tell me (again I thought joking around) that I was his “home mule” and he also always had different “work mules” as he ascended the corporate ladder. It hurts to read CL’s words but she speaks the truth. Now ex-Douche has to find another mule.

    • Lovely to refer to women and people beneath him on the work ladder as “mules” (heavy sarcasm).

    • I keep looking at those words: “He was okay with you doing ALL the heavy lifting. No reciprocity. No fellow adulting. He’s not partner material.”

      Let me look at those words again.
      Cheater gold digger sad sausage STBXH came into my life 40 years ago.
      He was not a reciprocal partner and he did the adultering that he wanted not to adulting that was needed

      After five years of separation, I am moving my stuff out of what was formerly the family home this coming week and going to leave him with the place that he neglected and is now run down and just a shadow of the former home where there was cleanliness and order and love and traditions and happiness and children and enterprise. And also dysfunction and unhappiness and pain and frustration.
      I see clearly that my recent insight “what they do belongs to them;
      what you do belongs to you,”
      is very apropos in my situation.
      I’m moving ahead with my life without the person who betrayed me and our family and what is right and good in life…39 years after we were married.
      While I was married to him,
      I didn’t realize that I am a pretty great person because being around a person of that caliber and the lying and cheating created anxiety and self-doubt.
      I wasn’t respected or appreciated by myself or by him. I didn’t know the right thing was to get him out of my life.
      Being away from him allowed me to see things more clearly.

      And I hope this for you and her.

  • I had wonderful friends who told me from the get go to ‘protect yourself’. It felt like betrayal but I did it anyway and I am glad I did. I couldn’t see the light; they could.

    Now I am beginning to see what they saw and I am 2 years out but I was ‘in’ over 30 years so I know this takes time.

    Lawyer up ASAP.

    Protect yourself financially.

    Protect your daughter.

    Go NC ASAP if possible – grey rock if not.

    Read, read, read here until your head feels like it is going to explode.

    Remember that our emotions are completely irrational so don’t give in….Yes, go ahead and feel your grief, but beware when the old fantasy tapes start to roll and you feel like giving in – giving him one more chance when he comes knocking in self-pity/remorse mode.

    Remember the cycle: Charm, Rage, Self-Pity and DARVO tactics all laced with lies and gaslighting.

    Best of Luck to you and Big Hugs

  • Your first chump move was putting his name on the birth certificate and having him in your lives at all. Never do this with fuckwits. When the divorce happens, you’ll find that “Coparenting”is expensive and no fun either, because to do it the way the courts want you to you have to pretty much live in the same town. This prevents you from getting the distance you need to move on.

    If I only had a daughter and she was only 4, I would try to just get far away and not ask him for any money, cuz the money comes with strings attached (the “coparenting” one). Assume you are a single parent and move on. See what your lawyer says to do.

    The best piece of advice I ever got on here when I was on the cusp of divorce came from Chumpinrecovery, who said, “The only thing you may have control over is when the divorce happens, and if you wait too long you won’t even control that.”

  • This is the line that jumped out to me: “Trust issues were overcome.”

    Back in the day, Sr. Mary Margaret Grammarian made us all diagram sentence, looking for the subject the the verb. With a yardstick in hand. Please don’t freak out if I invoke her now.

    The subject of this sentence is “trust issues.” The verb is “were overcome.” But not that the verb is in passive voice. That is, the subject isn’t the agent, the person or persons doing the overcoming. Normally that age would be added at the end of the sentence, as “by ——.” Trust issues were overcome by —–.
    Here, that agent gets chopped off. So you just have a sentences about trust issues but no idea who did the overcoming. Now flip that around. Who is the natural subject. ___________ overcame trust issues. Who were you talking about? It won’t be Bob. It could be “We” but I’d see that “we” as him pushing you to “overcome” and you deciding to take him back and he did just enough (marrying you) for you to believe you had won the pick-me dance and he wouldn’t leave you or “seek attention elsewhere.”

    Know you’re worth. You stepped up and had the baby. You forgave him for being the guy who let your Mom pick up the slack when you were pregnant and for leaving altogether when you had a newborn. You forgave him for not working and for not paying child support. Where do you get off the second, third, fourth chance train? When is enough enough?

    We can’t “overcome” trust issues. If someone breaks our trust, they have to EARN IT BACK. He never earned his way back. Child support and adult employment? That’s minimal. In this case, earning it back would take years and real evidence of change. Even when you were living him, you were doing all the work. You are married to a man/boy who cheats and lies and plays women off against each other. Imagine you are watching a movie about two people called “Bob” and “Hannah.” Sit down and make a list of what Bob would have to change in himself, in his attitude, in his work ethic, in his view of marriage–and in how he treats you. Don’t make that list full of chumpiness and hopium. Write it like you really want the movie to work out best for Hannah. Is Bob the guy who can do those things, turn it around to be what Hannah always wanted in a husband and father for her kids? Or is he the guy Hannah has to let go so she can choose a true partner?

    • LAJAss,

      Oh My God…I read things all the time and then, wham, its like the reality of what has been said finally, and I mean finally!, hits me.

      This is what has just happened with what your wrote above – and boy did I love diagraming sentences – breaking big things up into little itty bitty bite size pieces – didn’t mean that it made any sense in the end or ever helped me write in the long run…I just like the ‘exercise’ 🙂

      All of these years I have totally had it backwards thinking I was the one having to earn his trust – prove my worthiness etc….I was so blind, so, so blind.

      Thank you for your words today. Another rock has fallen out of the preverbal bag I have been carrying around for so long on my back I came to think this extra weight of it was normal. Your words flipped the light switch.

      Not my issue.


  • Hannah- you are welcome here. Stay as long as you need to and learn from this tribe. We have been through hell.

    I still wonder why those assholes get married at all. I know, cake and kibbles. Unsatisfying answer, but it is so clear that he is only in this game for himself. In the 4 short years of your daughter’s life he has proven that you are not enough, she is not enough, and several gamer babes on line are not enough to fill him up. And he lies to every one of you as it serves him in the moment.

    Go back and review those early archive entries and learn all the Chump Lady vocabulary to help you deal with this. As you set out boundaries expect to watch him cycle through the 3 Mindfuck Channels of self-pity, charm, and rage. Prepare and defend yourself.

    Also, that whole thing where the interim girlfriend left him because “he was not over his ex” (you) is known as his attempt to get that girlfriend to pick-me dance, plus it had the added benefit of giving you a hit of hopium that he really wanted YOU after all. That is what the cheaters do.

    All this and more are within these archives. I am sorry you are going through this but the resources here can help you navigate. ((hugs to you and your baby girl))

  • This is so important. I, too, was responsible for all the adulting. I, too, tried to make things work because I wanted my kids to have a good life. I didn’t want them to suffer because I thought I was strong enough to power through and that my husband must love me and want our 30 plus year marriage to work. His actions never matched his words. He only cares about himself and his actions toward me are abusive. I finally faced the facts, filed for divorce, and moved out. It is hard, but I finally realized that I am better off alone than with someone who is covertly trying to destroy me. I have normal, healthy interactions with other people. I am rebuilding my life from the ground up and it is a beautiful life. You can do this too. You and your daughter deserve it.

    • Me too. I think when abuse is verbal and physical the abuse is obvious. What happened to me was along the lines of neglect. Little barbs jabbing me occasionally but so small I wasn’t sure what hit me and shrugged them off. Little did I know they were accumulating in my subconscious to the point, after 30+ years, I had lost me.

      Now I am making a come back. A long hard road – painful and humiliating in that I see just how blind sighted I was but at least I am now seeing his actions for what they were all along.

      He had all the power. When you know you are only using someone as a object and you are leading a double life, you have access to all of that and no commitment to your victim so, for them, there really is no problem because they are clear on how they feel whereas we, the chumps/victims, are investing all we have in them because we think they are doing the same.


  • Sooooo- he cant lose her, he can’t lose you. This guy (not Man) is afraid to live in the world. It will get MUCH worse as he gets older, too.
    You got the best he had to offer- your daughter! I hope you can remove yourself, and her, and make a great new life! Best of luck
    I don’t have time to read the comments, but do everything CL, Tempest, and LovedaJackass suggest to you, you’ll be golden.

  • He’s never satisfied, is always looking and needs a place where he gets free internet. Why would you settle for that? It’s not a relationship; he’s a loser. Sorry your mother believes all men are cheaters. Raise your bar high. He doesn’t love or respect you.

  • The advice our well-meaning mothers give us can be very damaging. When I told my 60something mom about my ex-boyfriend’s infidelity (first significant relationship for me after 18 years of marriage), she said. ‘Well, he’s been knocked off his pedestal,’ and she encouraged me to forgive him.

    The problem apparently wasn’t his cheating – it was the ‘fact’ that I had put on a pedestal.

    I took her advice, but have since lovingly told her it was awful advice. About 30 years ago, she forgave my father for a long-term affair, while recently admitting that ever since then, she had ‘closed off a part of herself to him.’

    I wish the support of CL and CN had existed for my mother back then.

    Upside: My sister and I have decided that that kind of destructive ‘advice’ ends with us. We counsel our own children, nieces, friends, and each other, etc., in totally different ways.

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