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Dear Chump Lady, My husband is a marriage counselor with a double life

Serial cheaterDear Chump Lady,

My STBX is a marriage counselor, so when I met him (a couple of years after leaving a cheating and abusive husband) I was thrilled about the prospect of having a loving and honest relationship. However, after we married, I started to see a side of him that alarmed me. Angry outbursts, gaslighting, blameshifting… it was all there. I made excuses for the behavior initially… he’s really stressed out… his mom has been ill… he is having a hard time dealing with his teenage daughter, etc.

His behavior worsened when his daughter started to steal things from me and my sons and sell them online. I gathered evidence with screenshots, told him about it, and he told me that if I didn’t like it, I could leave. I didn’t want to fail at another marriage, so I kept trying to convince him to give her consequences, etc. He didn’t. But I hung in there because he had been so convincing all along that he would NEVER, EVER cheat on me. (He knew I was insecure about that because of my past).

Well, then D-Day arrived. He claimed that an old cell phone of his would no longer hold a charge, but I thought I’d give it a shot so that I might be able to donate it to our local shelter for abused women. I plugged it into a charger and left to run errands. Upon returning, voila, the phone was fully charged. So I turned it on, to be sure it was still operational, and it started updating. I saw the words in the subject line of an email “I’m VERY interested.”

Huh? What the heck? So I did a little digging and uncovered emails to and from men on Craiglist’s m4m section. The emails contained explicit details about what he would be up for… sucking, f*cking, whatever turned the men on. Oh, and that he is a “bottom.” I had to look that reference up, and then almost threw up when I found out what it meant. And then there were the nude pictures of him, taken in our bathroom, which he sent to these men.

When I approached him with this information, he swore that he is 100% straight, NOT gay, nor bi, and that he NEVER met up with any of these guys. (Although in the emails he told them what town we live in, confirmed that they lived nearby, and told them that he’d like to set up something “regular” for when the opportunities to meet presented themselves).

He was mortified that I had uncovered this information and said he didn’t know why he had been doing this. After he attended some counseling sessions with his “Christian” counselor (nothing against Christian counselors, but I’m sure they’re not going to want to tell him, “Yes, you’re gay.”) he claims that as he understands it through counseling, these email interactions were simply the result of his growing up with an abusive stepfather, and in some twisted way, he was attempting to seek approval and acceptance from males.

I personally cannot see any straight male, even one who had suffered abuse from a stepdad, filling that void by offering and soliciting sex from guys on Craigslist m4m. How about join a bowling league, a softball league, a book club? But telling guys that he loves how their c*cks look and that he’d love to suck on them??? To tell them that he’s naturally submissive in bed and is a bottom?? I don’t think that is the type of connection that would fill any void of fatherly love. IMO, that makes NO sense. Btw, when asked how long he’d been doing this online stuff (because that’s all he will admit that it was) he said around 19 years. Wow. Just wow.

Again, he still swears up and down that he is 100% straight. He wants to go to counseling and “fix” our marriage and he thinks it’s possible because like I said, he claims he never met up with them. I just feel so blindsided and lost. I thought he was the one guy I could count on to NEVER cheat.

I’m sick over it all. I’ve consulted my own counselor regarding whether she would believe what he said about this, and she said, “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck,” adding, “Straight guys would NEVER even think to look at m4m ads, let alone solicit men for sex.”

Thank you in advance for any help or advice you can offer.

Blindsided and Reeling

Dear Blindsided and Reeling,

Don’t stick your head in the mindfuck blender. You’re not going to get confirmation from Dr. Frankenshrink that he’s a duck, a bottom, or a fraud. The longer you stand there checking his stories out (Is he gay? Does this sound gay to you?), the less time you have to RUN AWAY FROM THIS FREAK.

Forget what you think you know about this guy — that he’s ethical, would never cheat, is straight — and go with the evidence — he’s a liar. Ethical? He’s a “marriage counselor” with a double life. Would never cheat? He’s cheating. (Yeah, he gives all his stepdad stand-ins his home address.) Is straight? He’s been sharing his sexual fantasies with men for nineteen years.

Now add in abusive. He’s okay with you being robbed. And mindfucked.

Angry outbursts, gaslighting, blameshifting… it was all there. I made excuses for the behavior

Is any of this ACCEPTABLE to you? Could there possibly be a reason that makes this OKAY?

He feels totally entitled to HURT YOU. And that’s not a gay thing — that’s an asshole thing.

Let him spin his Jesus cheater therapy nuggets to some other mark. You’re not available.

I didn’t want to fail at another marriage…

That’s the crux of it. I feel you. BTDT, I stayed far too long with a cheater because I was afraid of failure too. I didn’t want to be a two-time loser.

But, I got some advice from friends that stuck with me. They were visiting me from NYC after D-Day and I said how I wanted to leave the cheater, but God, this whole second divorce thing makes me feel like a freak. Dana and Sara looked at me and said: “We’ve dated in New York. That doesn’t make you a freak.”

Me: “Really? What makes you a freak?”

Sara: “I dated a guy who said he was a vampire. That’s a freak.”

So, Blinded, you’re not-sleeping-in-a-coffin freakish. You’re not undead. It’s survivable. Look at me! (My incisors are perfectly normal!)

Two divorces sucks, but you know what’s worse? Being chumped.

Ordinarily this is where I give my little “This is not your shame to wear” speech. You didn’t do anything wrong, he’s the bad guy, etc. etc.

Today, I’m going to give a different speech, and I hope you take it to heart.

Never keep doing stupid shit because you’re afraid of failure.

Failure is ALWAYS an option.

I failed at two previous marriages. I chose truly appalling people to be married to. Part of that is on me and my picker. It’s failure. Now, I can give you a lot of good reasons why I made those choices (young, stupid, they didn’t appear appalling… #2 was a total predator) — but “trying hard with bad person” is not a crime commensurate with the punishment. No one deserves abuse, to be threatened or endangered or mindfucked.

Failure is ALWAYS an option.

You can learn from failure. Choosing abuse just means more abuse. There’s only continued suffering with zero enlightenment.

CHOOSE FAILURE.

Blinded, it’s okay to say “Wow, I made a mistake here on Husband #2. He’s a freak, his daughter is a fence, and I’m not going to tolerate another second of this shit.”

It’s okay to walk away, put down the spackle, and own the failure. This was a mistake. I totally got this wrong.

Yes, this person completely misrepresented themselves. When faced with that — you have a choice. You can spackle — or you can leave.

Spackle says, “I CAN FIX THIS!” (No, it can’t.) Spackle says, “Pay no attention to this colossally bad investment in a bad person, I’M STILL HERE!” (How’s that working for you?) Spackle says, “I’ll staunch the pain!” (No, it won’t.)

Leaving (“failure”) is the better choice.

This guy is a scary fuckwit. Let him “fill his void” on Craigslist. Put the skein down, call a lawyer — and go no contact.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
    • I don’t know how long you dated, but assuming it was more than 1 drunk night and a marriage in Vegas, he grossly misrepresented himself. You carry no shame here. It is normal to trust and creeps abuse that. Cut your losses and get out.

        • I agree. My stbx was cheated on by his ex-wife and I too thought that meant he sought a truly “loving and honest relationship” and would therefore be the last person to cheat.

          As pulmafool said, our spouses “grossly misrepresented” themselves.

          While I do think we need to fix our pickers, I also believe that some of these people are so highly skilled at constructing a “false self” that they can keep hidden all but the most vague signs that might reveal their malfunctioning moral compasses.

          They can be SO charming! I call my stbx The Python because he was such a sneaky snake. I was blindsided too. Don’t feel bad for being taken in by someone who is just so damn good at lying and deception.

    • For the regular person, without any knowledge of “sex addiction”, narcissism, – all of the stories here are laughable. They are so freaking unbelievable, that the only explanation is to look for an issue with a partner (this lovely couple therapist is a closet gay, Craigslist hook-up seeker? Wtf is Craigslist m4m?!?… no way)

      For us- it’s the reality. Freaky, crazy, unbelievable reality.
      When we face this circuit – what other fears can we have?

      Failing of the marriage? Oh my… at this point we should be PROUD to be capable of seeing how ABNORMAL they are…. how crazy their double life is.

      Fail? NO

      That is being called SANITY

      Run.

  • It is probably true that his therapist fed him that “seeking male approval” line of BS.
    Cheater’s therapist thought the same. At least that’s what cheater said, so take that for what it’s worth.
    And Chump Lady is right; who cares WHY when you already know WHO, WHAT, WHERE.
    Please get tested for STDS as soon as you can, because these M4M hookups almost never include condom use.

    • It seems almost all cheaters go bareback. Afterall, if you aren’t concerned about the emotional health of the spouse you are cheating on why would you care about the physical health. Flee now before you mired down in more muck. Hugs.

      • Bareback is right. Mine was able to convince pro sex workers to not use condoms. He thinks it was his prowess. Whatever. It was GROSS.

        I got a positive HPV test, you know, the one that causes cervical cancer. Although my last test indicated it had cleared, I am not convinced, and you can bet my once-every-5-years pap smear has now become an annual test for me.

  • He is not soliciting for a partner, he is soliciting random, craigslist guys for unprotected sex.

    These double life people are the worst. He has decades of this behavior to show you how DEEP this dysfunction goes. It does not matter if he is polyamorous or bi sexual, he is endangering your life with his covert choices.

    He is not allowing you ANY choice in the matter. It still stands out to me how he is worried about his IMAGE, and his beard of a family, than the danger he has put you in.

    That’s where the buck stops for me. I hope someday you see it this way, too.

    People don’t sexually interact with partners for random sex without having random sex. That is what grown up people do. Get yourself checked for STD’s today.

    This is not what you signed up for.

    • @Magneto 👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻 This: “These double life people are the worst. He has decades of this behavior to show you how DEEP this dysfunction goes. It does not matter if he is polyamorous or bi sexual, he is endangering your life with his covert choices.”

      My XH was a life-long serial cheater with women, so I found out. It really does boggle my mind and seems like “the worst.” Thank you for saying so.

      No shame in divorcing two cheaters…. I had to also— 28 years apart. I think shame would come from staying now that you know…. what kind of self destructive acts would you be committing in doing so?

      Get out— ASAP!

  • “Angry outbursts, gaslighting, blameshifting” . and let me guess…since he is a counselor, he claims that his behaviors are all very self aware and you are taking it all wrong. One thing I have learned in my older adulthood is that a person who thinks they are self aware while simultaneously BEING very unaware is a really messed up person.

    This is a really serious version of fucked-up that no one can fix.
    Thing is…maybe when he was young, it was more socially forbidden to be gay…I can almost see why people in the past hid their sexuality (yet what a cruel thing to do to a spouse) but not today. He was divorced and had kids and nothing stopped him from being his true self.

    He could have just come out and lived it but instead he found another beard and very selfishly arranged social cover nevermind what it did to you.

    The fuckedupness is strong with this one. There is no fixing. (I know what it is like to spend YEARS trying to fix the unfixable)

    Run, run like your hair is on fire.

    • My ex is like that, apparently self-aware and emotionally intelligent. He says he didn’t realise he was in love, just had ‘deep feelings’ for his friend. When I talked about how the kids felt – Ex: “But I didn’t abandon THEM!” Artist: “But that’s how they feel!” Ex: “Oh… yeah…” Scary.

  • Second time loser here. First married to a man/child
    married one year, second cheating narcissist married 34 years. Obviously I’m terrible at choosing husbands but
    each time they appeared to be moral honest men.
    I desperately tried to keep my decades long marriage
    together but my ex wanted to sleep with one nite stands then a serious affair. My mental & physical health was
    at stake from the discovery of the Owhore so I served him divorce papers. It’s almost 4 years I’m divorced but free of the deception & abuse.
    We are not to blame..they are. We deserve respect from
    the one who promises to love & honor us.
    Stay strong 💪🏼 Good luck to you 🍀

  • Even without the gay cheating, you need to leave. His daughter is allowed free rein in your house to steal your belongings & those of your children? And sell them? You’re being terrorized in your own home. You and your sons cannot feel safe there. Kick the Cheater & his klepto daughter to the curb, get STD tested, and live a peaceful life!!

    • Yeah the behavior of the daughter is concerning to say the least. What happened to her during her formative years to make her such a mental mess? He’s a therapist and he doesn’t see his daughter being a kleptomaniac a problem? Tells his wife to leave if she doesn’t like it? Yikes, where to even begin with this dysfunction?

  • Blindsided, I feel you. My ex was also doing some low key gay hookups (along with affairs with women). Could I *prove* he’s gay/bi/whatever? Did I ever catch him in the act in the Home Depot mens bathroom? Well…no…I never physically saw it…but when enough of the pieces fit and your spouse has all the markings of cheater behavior, when you can prove that they’re a liar and an abuser…what’s the point in needing more?
    My biggest concern was for my physical health. It’s not fun to go into your gyno and tell them you need STD tests because you fear your husband has been having affairs…but the shame lies in the person who places your health as risk. I’m also concerned for yours, please be careful with yourself and close your body and mind off to this man. As of right now, his biggest fear is his biggest secret being exposed…and you have the key. I figure he will do most anything, tell you whatever you want, to keep this under wraps. Please be careful and don’t be ashamed. More of us have been in your shoes than you realize. ❤️

  • It won’t get better. It won’t get better.

    Click your heels together and repeat after me. It won’t get better.

    You thought you had the wizard of trust and fidelity – that gaslighting blameshifting LYING bottom weirdo behind the curtain WILL NOT CHANGE. Do you really want that? Do you want your sons around that?

    Mine too kicked off post Dday with the “I was seeking male love and validation because I felt my father didn’t love me”. He abandoned that fairly quickly as it wasn’t playing so well with the crowds. (Over ten years of hookers and gay clubs). Once he knew I was serious about our marriage being over, he revised it to the standard Because Dull Sexless Controlling Wife.

    Gather your mighty, get yourself and your boys into that Balloon of Realism (not failure), cast off the ropes of abuse and head into the wide blue fuckwit-free yonder.

  • “Success is failure turned inside out”
    Two bad marriages here too. Both ex-husbands left for OWs. Both ex-husbands spent the entire time of our marriages using me to finance the household bills and expenses, all the child-rearing, the housework, etc.
    I’ve been free of ex-husband2/The Evil One for four years now after part of D-Day was seeing the Craig’s List messages he had sent out with a picture of himself, his phone number, and our address.
    Those images are seated into my brain.
    Exh2 stole from me and blamed my sons. Exh2 lied, cheated, and stole, and I spackled like a boss and held on determined to not fail at this marriage. But I did.
    I failed at being a meek, mild doormat.
    I failed at turning a blind eye for the sake of keeping the peace
    I failed at keeping quiet when he hurt me
    I failed at keeping his abusive (never physical, but everything else) treatment towards me secret and started telling people
    I failed at putting up with the bullshit
    I failed at caring about his feelings in the end because he “wasn’t happy”
    I failed at allowing him to gaslight me another minute
    I failed at wanting to stay in a marriage with a man that didn’t love, respect, nor care about me
    I failed at placating him and doing everything he wanted to keep him happy ignoring my own happiness
    I failed myself for a long time
    Now, four years later, I’m failing still — at giving a fuck about him or his life with OWife and her two kids. I’m still a failure at the dating game— that is, I no longer will compromise not settle for anyone ever again that isn’t exactly what I want.
    Get out now.
    Enough is enough.
    I’d rather be a failure than a doormat another day any day.

    • Amazing! You have just described the my life with ex-hole…
      I’m failing at not blaming myself for his lack and lies.
      Onwards ladies, onward!

      • You’ll get there with that, I know I did.
        I blamed myself for a long time, then I just stopped and realized I did everything I could to be a good wife, he chose to be a colssial narcissistic asshole.

        • Oh yeah. Been there and doing that. I failed at being the doormat he wanted, though Goddess knows I tried! (He then told everyone how controlling I was – LOL) And I haven’t dated since I left either, ’cause I also refuse now to lower my standards just to have a date with someone. I lowered my standards at everyone’s urging and married the XAss. Never again.

          • Right?!?!
            I have no desire to train or tutor a grown-ass man in his to be a respectful, loving partner sexually or otherwise.
            Oh, The Evil One/exh2 told anyone that would listen that I was a ruthless, lazy bitch and he did everything around the house and took care of our Autistic daughter solely, because I was too lazy laying around the couch playing Candy Crush and other shit like that.
            Lies, all lies.

    • “Failing” upwards & forward now.
      I’d rather be a “failure” than the doormat that I was too. I was being a bad example to my kids. This wasn’t a marriage. It was a one-sided game where I was always the loser.
      Not playing anymore.
      Get out & find the peace that you deserve. These cheaters don’t deserve us.

    • Well said UnsinkableMollyX! This list of “failures” – in reality, successes – is an excellent summation of the chump experience.
      My ex so badly wanted me to be a doormat – was forever accusing me of trying to wear the pants in the family. I really had no choice – someone had to do it since he was failing miserably in the role.
      Like I always tell people, it wasn’t a marriage, it was a battle – a battle to try and keep my sanity and my sense of self alive. He wanted nothing more than to completely obliterate it.

      • Yes, you said it Laura!!!
        I felt like I was in a battle too. I thought I was going to crack under the stress and strain of the stress he was putting me through.
        He couldn’t keep a job and was always trying to do side businesses or hobbies that of course he wanted made a financial priority…nightmare!!!
        Karma’s a bitch for him though, LOL now he’s the sole bread-winner for the OWife, her two kids, and OWife’s grandmother living there. 😂🤣
        Sucks doesn’t it, chief??? 😂🤣😂🤣

    • Unsinkable, your Litany of Failures is inspiring reading. I’m taking a screenshot to remind me to celebrate my failures. I have real shame about staying married so long to a man who did not love me. Your Litany of Failures reframe those feelings. I am a better woman because I failed at staying married to my military cheater.

      Thank You!

      • You’re most welcome, 33Years!!!
        I had to tell myself this all the time in the beginning:
        A bad day as a single mom is better than any “good” day I ever had with exh2.
        I’d rather be single and alone than still be married to that narcissistic abusive nut job any day.
        🥰♥️🥰♥️

  • Come, join us. Heal and learn to be happy with yourself. Your marriage was over before you said “I do” . You can’t fix gay because it is not an illness. It’s a permanent part of a person. You keep looking for answers, instead start looking for your life. The strangers here will be more loving than the man who shared your bed.

  • In 19 years, he had physical relationships, not just online lurking.

    He’s not sure about his sexuality. Fine, go explore but do it without you. Sounds like him and his daughter have some behavioral issues that needs some counseling of their own. In my momma’s words, you cannot fix what you didn’t break. Run, honey, like your hair is on fire!!

    • My h knew…. I had absolutely no problem with ta, gay people, straight people, polygamy, – anything that goes along the line of two consensual adults doing whatever they like to do.

      I had no issue with any of that.

      However, what I was very clear about- is what I want ( before we got married we had many discussions and I told him) – I was interested in monogamist relationship with him as a partner. I even said that in the case something will change and he will think about anything else- to be honest about it.

      What I got?

      Cheating liar with a face of a chorus boy… double life from day one- dating, engagement, marriage.

      He was SO GOOD in hiding it, I’m still amazed by his skills.

      Anyway, trust that they suck

  • I have told this before. It bears repeating. Shopping I overheard a very attractive woman talking to her friend, the store owner. She was talking about her divorce. Her husband, a man very well known in the community, was handsome, and charming, and he loved bombed her. She was a sophisticated woman but had no defense against the way he rushed her into marriage. She said he was wonderful until they actually got married and immediately begin to treat her with such disdain and contempt that she almost had a nervous break down. She thought that something surely had to be wrong with her because he was such a well thought of person. Of course money talks and he was rich. She stumbled onto some information and got a detective involved. It took no time to find out that he was gay. She told the woman his being gay did not bother her and she understood why he felt compelled to hide it. But she sued him for his treatment of her, his behavior. He had nearly ruined her. She came close to having a nervous break down thinking that was something terribly wrong with her because of his treatment. It’s an interesting story because not only was she divorced but the judge gave her nearly all of her ex’s assets. This was before no fault divorce in our state and the judge allowed the truth to come out before he made his decision. In this case the judge was right.
    You should never allow another person to make you feel small and worthless. Get out. There are better things for you to do in your life then put up with this another day.

  • I disagree with the failure. You are not a failure. You trusted and put in the work. He failed the marriage. You have the courage to walk away. Do not take on his shame! You are mighty!! I am twice divorced. The first time was to an abusive narcissist and the second to a passive aggressive emotionally abusive cheater. I was the sane parent for my children and they are amazing loving adults who are my absolute joy and both men have no relationship with their children. The loss is on them!!!

  • I don’t see how you could be happy in this relationship. And I doubt your kids could be happy in it.

    Stay long enough and it will all be your fault for not being ‘understanding and compassionate’ to his lies and deceits. He will turn the tables and make it all about YOU, and your ‘shortcomings’. And you will get depressed and anxious.

    You didn’t fail, you married someone who hid his true nature. He committed fraud.

  • You did not fail. Your husband chose to hook up with men. Your husband is a fraud. He has shown you how much he loves you. He basically lied through his teeth during the wedding vows. When you caught his daughter stealing and selling your personal things. His answer was if you do not like it then get out. He has shown just how much he cares. I suspect the marriage is just a front on his part to hide that he is gay. He failed you. Now leave and do not look back. Get checked for STDs. These fuckwits do not practice safe sex. Do not let him to continue to abuse you.

    • This man used his wives as beards to hide in plain sight. Plus he’s a Jesus cheater. Double whammy.

  • Why? Why do people do this ?? I won’t cheat on you i know what you have been through blah blah then go and do it !!

    I was cheated on by my Fiancée & my Sister when i was 22 . I stayed single for years after that . ( I have never seen or spoke to my sister since then either )

    I then met my husband ( STBXH) I told him all about it he assured me every day he would never do that , he doesn’t have it in him he is not that type of man .

    He IS that type of man as it turns out .

    But why do people we trust use our biggest fears and insecurities that we are open and honest with and use it against us ?

    I am so sorry Blindsided you are going through this its not your shame to wear

  • I’ve been divorced twice. I stayed for many reasons and a big one was I didn’t want to be that twice-divorced loser. But you know what? I made terrible choices. I own that now. I’m not proud of two failed marriages but I am proud that I finally owned my shit and am doing the work to make better choices.

    There is no addressing the level of fuckefupness in your husband. He has issues you cannot begin to address and if he does address them he will very likely leave you for a man.

    When we date as Chumps we all want to avoid being chumped again more than anything, so we tell our stories too soon. We tell them to predators looking to exploit our weaknesses. Leave, take some time to come to terms with the awful things that have happened. Save your children from a second bad marriage and work on your Picker. Be choosy about who you share you story with. Once you get out and have some space and time you will look back and see the red flags. Learn from that and go be Mighty.

    • YES—> “When we date as Chumps we all want to avoid being chumped again more than anything, so we tell our stories too soon. We tell them to predators looking to exploit our weaknesses. Leave, take some time to come to terms with the awful things that have happened. Save your children from a second bad marriage and work on your Picker. Be choosy about who you share you story with. Once you get out and have some space and time you will look back and see the red flags. Learn from that and go be Mighty.”

      I think in the same way an animal predator in the forest can smell fear, human predators can smell fear of infidelity and violation. The people most afraid of this happening to them are ironically the people most likely to delude themselves when it is happening again — because it is so painful to admit being duped again. These nigh on sociopaths fucking know it if you give away your story too soon. Think about it: Why would telling someone about your past make them more trustworthy just to keep you safe? This is a character thing. Observe their character. Do they have long friendships? How do they treat other people? Are they overly misanthropic and anti-social? As lovely as it is to jump into whatever dream someone paints for us, we need to take some time to objectively observe people – especially us – and not be afraid to check ourselves. I know some people are very good cons. But I think a lot of us can smack our forehead against a wall thinking of the obvious red flags we waved off because we so badly wanted to feel like we found what we wanted. Don’t love bomb yourself either.

      • Well said Chumpawumpa!
        One thing that I learned from my fraudulent marriage (my stbxh is a serial cheater with both, men and women) is that I failed to take the time and observe all of what you mentioned, but most importantly I failed to notice his family dynamics. His dad cheated on his mom, they stayed together. Mom had to survive, so she learned to lie. Dad made all the financial decisions and is verbally abusive to my mother-in-law. Both my stbxh and his brother didn’t want to take over the family business because dad was too controlling. My brother-in- law passed away this year, and to save a buck, my father in law donated his body to a University. In his mind, his son was a drug addict, and he was dead, it really didn’t matter how he was discarded. No burial or spiritual services for his son.

        Lesson learned! Get to know the family before you start a serious relationship.

  • Blindsided, failure would be staying with this lying, abusive, manipulating man. Leaving would be a victory. Please leave, and keep posting. Hugs to you ❤

  • Let’s not even introduce “gay” or “bi” into this.

    Mine wasn’t a counselor, but the story is the same. Craigslist for random men and women, prostitutes, internet for orgies and swing clubs, tributes to strange women, visiting strange women at their homes in the middle of the day when their kids are at school, massage parlors for little tugs, strip clubs, men in bushes, men in cars?, transvestites, transgenders.

    This has nothing to do with gay or bi. This is pathological behavior. Add in the lies of omission, outright lies, dissipating of assets…

    Let’s not give them the PC card of “I’m gay but of an older generation when it wasn’t cool” but it’s ok to lead a double life screwing family #1 and family #2 when you knew all along you were a scumbag?

    Power and control. Power and control.

    Run. Your house is on fire and you have to save yourself.

    • Hi Nveragain–great advice! 🙂

      Welcome Blindsided, just like you and Nveragain and BeardBoy (below), this is my story, too.

      “…he claims that as he understands it through counseling, these email interactions were simply the result of his growing up with an abusive stepfather, and in some twisted way, he was attempting to seek approval and acceptance from males.”–I got this same story from my X, only he claimed it was his own father’s abuse that was driving him to do it. His father was horrible man (as I unfortunately learned in person eventually after I married into the family)–I didn’t know what was going to come out next about my poor spouse’s past. So, I stayed and slogged on for another 17 years after DDay1, until DDay2, when I pulled the plug for good because it became so so obvious I was simply being used as a front. (And I do mean for GOOD–I second all the “it gets better” comments above.)

      I agree that the gay thing doesn’t erase the cheating, lying, and abuse. For what it is worth, though, given your husband’s background, his mindfucking line may be influenced by an entire industry: the gay conversion ministries. This winter/spring I listened to Radiolab’s “Unerased” series, and the whole thing helped me make so much more sense of what was going on with my X–especially the episode on John Smid (https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/wnycs-radiolab/e/57438421). The convoluted logic and the obsession with acceptance/approval of abusive males enacted in sexual acts… it all seemed like a pretty well worn social/cultural script after I’d listened to this series. That doesn’t forgive it AT ALL, but it may help you get some perspective. This is a personal problem of character with a layer of cultural crazeeeness on top.

      Anyway, don’t wait for him to come out, don’t wait for him to apologize, just put on your walking boots, pack your bags, and move on. Your life will be so much better–so much easier!–without his denial, latent anger and shame, and abuse!! Like others here, I not only count myself as a proud member of Chump Nation, but I also sought the resources of the Straight Spouse Network. Their podcasts (Straight Spouse Voices) are especially great. In addition to all the good advice you have gotten here, I would encourage you to make time at some point for IRL meet-ups and support meetings–I have found them very healing.

      Good luck!! You can do this–and who cares what others think! Your safety and sanity and serenity are all PARAMOUNT!

  • A book I literally just finished reading and which you might find helpful is “The Gay Husband Checklist for Women Who Wonder” by Bonnie Kaye. She talks about almost all of the signs you have described and how abuse ties into it all. And she does a wonderful job countering all the self-doubts about how you could have caused this or how you can ‘fix’ this.

    One quote from the book that I loved: “Prolonging questioning of your failures in the marriage serves no purpose at all. If you failed at the marriage, it’s because you were in a no-win situation. You were set up for failure, not success. Success was not an option. If you had been in a marriage with an emotionally healthy straight man, all your efforts of being a supportive and loving wife would have been appreciated and, in fact, cherished. So don’t use your marriage with a gay husband as a map for your future relationships.”

    Hugs, Blindsided and Reeling. It is a hard road but everyone here is right that leaving is the much better choice for your ultimate happiness and sense of self-worth. There is no way to win in the situation you are in, and you deserve so much better.

  • I dunno. You might look st this as that you are a two time winner. But My goodness. I wouldn’t want his dick in the same house as me and my children. It’s not that he’s gay. It’s that he’s got a kink perversion and is promiscuous with other filthy dicks. That’s just too skeevy for words. So glad you discovered the truth. Here’s the thing I see – this isn’t a failure. This is a bad transaction – one that doesn’t ever need to added to your resume. This job never happened. You’re just returning a damaged purchase. Is she really his daughter? Who knows. Just get the dissolution paperwork done and move or clear them out. And take the position that it never happened.

  • When you’re deceived and lied to that is never your fault. I went through an awful craigslist discovery years ago myself, and got out. If we had the facts up front we would have never chosen these people plain and simple.

    For the sake of my sanity and my kids I made a plan and left. I’m not dating at all and allowing myself a long time to heal. My kids keep me super busy so I have no time for shenanigans and no one can rock my world to rubble anymore with devastating discoveries, lies and gaslighting.

  • My ex is highly thought of in our Christian community. Pillar of the community type of guy: always smiling, laughing, with great charm and warmth of manner. I thought I was getting a good man with good morals – he didn’t want to have sex before marriage. I agreed, as his love letters promised me that he would more than make up for it on our wedding night. The wedding day arrives, and he is full of joy and laughter. He kissed me heartily during the ceremony. Little did I know that was the last kiss he would ever give me. On the drive to the hotel from the wedding reception, the mask dropped. Gone was the warm, charming man who seemed so happy to be with me. In his place was a disdainful, contemptuous, cruel man. Our wedding night was horrible. I could not understand why he wanted nothing to do with me and could only assume I had done something – or had neglected to do something – to make him behave this way. But I hadn’t had time to do anything yet! The entire honeymoon consisted of me trying to get close to my new husband and him acting super bitchy and refusing to have me near him. I was crushed by the time he went back to work the next week. He had undermined every attempt on my part to make our honeymoon special. And of course I was such unreasonable for asking him why he wouldn’t touch me or kiss me or allow me to hold his hand. He refused to discuss it. It never got better. He never had an epiphany and came around. I was unwilllingly celibate and faithful to him for thirteen years. I fought tooth and nail for thirteen years before I left. The abuse was awful. Since I left, he has retained his golden boy status, while I have been shunned and accused of having no family values. Nothing is mote important to him than his good-guy image. It hurts and it sucks mightily, but I have been learning that what others choose to think of me is irrelevant. I have no control over others, or over how I am perceived by them. I can only control my own thoughts and actions. Only now, three and a half years later, am I beginning to get out from under the trauma and the shame his abuse causes me. It is getting brighter a little at a time. And I am getting to know myself – and I actually impress myself sometimes! I am pretty cool, if I do say so myself.

    This is one of the reasons I fully support the rights of gay people to be themselves in society and to marry. Not only are gay people human beings who deserve to be happy, but if society were fully accepting of gay people, beard marriages would be obsolete.

    • I also think people should be allowed to be openly gay, but I think you are wrong that this sort of thing wouldn’t happen anymore. There are people who inflict this cruelty because they can and they want to. They enjoy it. Our culture fully sanctions heterosexual men staying single and having sex with lots of women–yet my ex chose to marry and have children and lead a double life. Why? He didn’t “need to.” He led that double life because duping someone was the FUN part. I don’t think it matters. I have known a man who led such a double life while working in musical theater at a super liberal university. Uuum, if there is any world that openly accepts gay men–that’s it. In fact, probably 50%of the men were openly gay. He was young, in an accepting community, surrounded by many gay dating options. He chose to cruelly inflict abuse on a woman for several years. It turns out that he was also a nasty, son-of-a- bitch in ways far outside his hiding his sexuality. I agree with the poster above who said it is not to do with being gay or bi. It has to do with power and control. No one has to abuse another person. Ever. Think about it. They could have just stayed single and conducted secret sexual meetings without involving a third party. Just keeping the secret was always an option (since keeping secrets obviously isn’t the part that bothers them–they are happy to have to maintain a vast web of lies to a partner). Stealing someone’s life was an unnecessary addition to their plan. If this sort of person were openly gay with a partner they would STILL be screwing around in a double life. If they were heterosexual, they would still be screwing around and tormenting a partner. Asshole is an equal opportunity designation.

    • I think as a society we are supportive of gay rights. The days of hiding in a closet should be well over. Of course there will always be haters and whether they direct their anger at different races or people that do not align with their religion/politics they’re just gonna hate. They enjoy and are very comfortable with their anger and hate. That will never change. However, being a nasty piece of work is just that, being a nasty son of a bitch, no matter what your preference. Your ex did marry you for cover, no doubt and it is true many gays/lesbians married the opposite sex to comply with society’s expectations. The marriages were a farce and more than likely not happy for all involved. However, to torture and treat a person miserably is no excuse. That has nothing to do with being gay or straight. So sorry you had to endure his abuse for so long.

    • Do you mind my asking – was the marriage never consummated? Wondering what made you stick it out for 13 years in a sexless-from-the-start marriage instead of getting the union annulled. No judgment at all, btw. I know we talk ourselves into things for all sorts of reasons. If you’re not comfortable getting into it, I totally understand.

  • Aside from taking everything your husband said his counselor said with a grain of salt, please don’t imbue counselors with some extra, supernatural, morals and/or knowledge. They’re people, doing a job, like everyone else. Case and point: I worked for a counselor as his office manager. Not only had he been married 3x, he was messing around on his second wife while courting his third (or was that his second with his first?). Anyway, this guy was giving OTHER PEOPLE marital advice. I didn’t realize until just before he fired me (actually he ‘wasn’t firing me’, he just said he didn’t want me to work there anymore…) that he was probably a full blown narcissist.

    Good times….

    • Excellent point, Granny K. There are great therapists out there, and also some wingnuts. Look outside the Christian counselling community. In my experience, some Christian counsellors (and pastors) err on the side of enabling abuse and gaslighting targets of abuse in the name of preserving “good family values”.

      • Yeah, if I had to do it over again, I would have steered clear of my EX pastor. He further abused me by rationalizing, justifying and minimizing every single thing my XH was doing to me and did to me the 23 years we were together. He went so far as to say to me that the reason my XH had so many women “friends”, was because he “felt more comfortable with women as he was raised mostly by women.” Hogwash! My brother was raised by a single mom and had three sisters. He doesn’t have close female friends that he goes out with. He hangs around with guy friends. The “Christian” pastor also lied to me a few times and said one of those famous narc sentences, “I never said that.” If it ever comes out that the pastor is leading a double life. I will not be the least bit surprised, as like my XH, he has disordered thinking and ways too. If only I would have put toothpaste on my XH toothbrush every night like the pastor and his wife do for each other, then for sure my XH would have never cheated (heavy sarcasm)! Oh, and this other little nugget: “Annie (pastors wife) never denies me sex.” Yeah, my fault for not being a sex slave to a pathological lying, serial cheater, porn and stripper addict.

        And on the other hand. My first counselor was a Christian. She was the first person who said to me, “He sounds like a narcissist.” So they aren’t all bad.

        • I credit my priest with saving my life. He was the one who encouraged me to leave, aswell as divorce and annul. I will never forget when he looked me in the eye and explained that my husband’s secret double life with prostitutes was abuse and as he said “God did not make you to suffer abuse.” I think Counselors of all stripes and ideologies can be good or bad. Shitty people are in all walks of life and socio-cultural groups.

          • My Catholic Deacon also told me to care for myself and not worry about him. He later presided over my marriage blessing to my great nowhusband.

          • Yes, I was about to break into a million pieces and consulted our Parish Priest, expecting platitudes and a few Hail Mary’s. I swear, he was so kick-ass. My hero. He totally set me straight that I was not to stick around for that abuse.

    • Absolutely agree with this Granny K. The OW is now pursuing a Masters degree in couseling. I feel sorry for her future clients.

  • Have worked for a Battered Women’s Shelter …. “I gots to know”……. did you erase the phone before donating it ? LOL

  • Don’t forget to check out Straight Spouse Network. Another venue in which you will feel less alone and hear similar stories.

    Run to your physician and get checked for STD’s. Run to every attorney in the county and a few in neighboring counties and consult with as many (for free) as possible.

    Divorce is NOT the worst thing that can happen to you. Nor is being a “beard” to someone who is a liar. STAYING WITH someone who is a professional liar and mind flayer – THAT is the worst thing that can happen to you.

    Don’t leave yourself vulnerable to further abuse, please!

  • In this instance, the STBX being in the closet DOES matter. I have absolutely nothing at all against gay or bi people and I believe strongly that they should be able to be open and marry whom they choose.

    I have a serious problem though with someone in the closet (usually due to religion and/or family) and then pretending to be straight and then marrying a straight person.
    This is a terrible thing to do to someone and constantly pretending to be someone you are not leads to resentment and the poor treatment of the victim you conned into marrying you. It’s very wrong but it partially explains her STBX’s poor treatment of her.
    Blindsided needs to run from this guy !!

    • I agree. I think it’s even worse when someone then tries to PROFIT from their years of lies (see William Dameron).

  • About Christian counselors, some are good some are bad. Some are licensed and some are not. Always avoid the ones without state issued licenses. They have NO professional accountability. They offer crackpot theories that no one is gay, but it comes from childhood abuse. They are not fact based, but always bend reality to fit their personal, narrow understanding of the Bible. Expect the same level of denial about marriage and divorce.
    I have used two different state licensed therapists who were Christians and were pretty good. Especially the woman who told my ex wife that if she was unhappy in the msrriage she had many other choices besides adultery.

    • Ah, I’ve been to state licensed counselors who absolutely accepted and drank the RIC koolaid and encouraged me to keep trying with a double-life leading narcissist. I also had one priest with no counseling license who told me to get the hell out of that marriage and away from my abusive husband. Licensing does not ensure a good moral compass. Look at the stories of all the member here who were married to therapists. The RIC is fully stocked with licensed counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists giving shitty advice. Hell the OP’s husband probably had some nice state issued certificates on the wall and He was the double life leading liar in the scenario. Some counselors are good…some are not so good.

  • Christian counselors are no different than any other sick person who hides behind someone or even a church to blend in to “normal”. This letter was disgusting on every level and I hope @blindsided and reeling RUNS.FOR.THE.HILLS. Today ….. he’s is dangerous, deranged, disordered, perverted and god only knows what else he is capable of. IMO he may have set you up with the phone charge incident so that you would find out. NOT FIXABLE …..!

  • I am so sorry that you are going through this. Chump Lady responded to my letter earlier this summer, in which I described how my wife of 15 years had secretly cheated on me for a year…with a woman. Chump Lady was spot on with her response, which set me on the road to the better place I am now. I owe her.

    I discovered the affair in March during our kids’ spring break ski trip (fun!). If I could go back in time and reach out to the me who discovered this in March, here’s the advice I would give myself.

    1. Get out. This relationship is not acceptable to you because (a) she cheated and (b) she is same-sex attracted. You did not sign up for this on your wedding day, and you would have run screaming from the altar had you known.

    2. Get out. The gaslighting in this situation is going to be intense. You will be blamed for causing the situation and asked to “own” your part in this. That’s bullshit. How can you own the fact that your wife hid her same-sex attraction? Do not attempt to process 99% of what your wife tells you. I had to hear things like “I’m not a lesbian”, “I’m not bisexual”, “I’m pansexual”, “I’m gay”, “I’m straight”, “I’m attracted to the person”, “I don’t want to be gay”, “I’ve been attracted to women for the last 20 years”, and “I never said that I’ve been attracted to women for the last 20 years.” Just get out. It doesn’t matter. You know what you need to know, which is that your spouse is same-sex attracted, and you didn’t sign up for that.

    3. Get help. I joined the Straight Spouse Network, and started attending our local area meetings. These meetings saved my life. I almost feel normal again because I have listened to and shared my story with other people who have been through this special kind of hell.

    4. Most therapists suck because they do not understand how to process the Straight Spouse phenomenon. (Maybe there are some good ones out there…I just had a remarkable ability to not find them.) I had a therapist ask me if I would be open to a polyamorous relationship, and he pushed me on it quite a bit. Are you serious, dude? Chump Lady and fellow straight spouses will set you on the right track.

    5. Get your own place. I cannot tell you how therapeutic it is to be in your own safe space away from this nonsense.

    You didn’t deserve this. It’s not your fault. Hang in there. Not sure if you can reach out to me directly, but glad to talk.

    • “I had a therapist ask me if I would be open to a polyamorous relationship, and he pushed me on it quite a bit.”

      WTF?

      Glad you’ve escaped. Is the divorce over with or are you still in the midst of it? Still glad you got out!

      • I’m in the middle of it. It’s hell, but it’s a cheerier version of the hell I was living. And the other side looks really bright.

        I hate this the most for our three amazing kids, but I’m doing what needs to be done. I’m not going to suffer in a fraudulent and abusive relationship that saps all of my life energy from me — they deserve a dad who is happy and can give them happiness, need a dad who has the energy to keep up with them, and need a dad who can demonstrate what an honest relationship looks like.

        • It IS bright on the other side, BeardBoy–I’m divorced now, and the new normal is so much healthier than the old! Dear son made it through and grew in amazing ways (sometimes with growing pains, but that’s normal). My relationship with my son is now better than ever, and he appreciates our new life and the values I stand for. (I’m not kidding, he actually said this to me the other day–and he was not trying to borrow the car or get some other favor.) Good luck–your kids will be fine if you take good care of yourself and are honest and loving with them as always. Sending you all the best!

    • I forgot to mention that I have a gay brother, who graduated from a Catholic high school in 1994. He never pretended to be straight with anyone. He suffered for living with truth and integrity, but living a life without truth and integrity was not an option for him. He was always his “authentic self”. He was lucky that my family was very accepting and supportive — 25 years ago, this was a rarity. But it still was far from easy for him.

      My brother is furious at my soon to be ex wife. He lived his life with integrity, while she lied to my heart, mind, soul and three precious children. She lied to everyone. My brother says she’s not welcome in the LGBTQ community, particularly after the difficult journey he took over a quarter century ago. He’s also furious that she allowed me to invest deeply in her based upon her tremendous deception.

      One final thing. If your husband comes out as his “authentic self”, it’s very likely that his authentic self also sucks. It’s not a gay thing. It’s a crummy character thing.

          • Love this–great point to add. They have a character problem–they had the ability to choose. Even after all the cheating and lies, my family and friends and I tried to send the message to my X that we would support him if he came out–and he kept insisting he was totally straight. Whelp, then! He likes the lies and secrets, and cares not for truly authentic, loving, and supportive relationships. Therefore–he isn’t part of my/our tribe. End of story.

    • Please keep in mind most sociopaths or severely dysfunctional people will go with the person that suits them for the moment. Doesn’t matter straight, gay, pan sexual, etc.

  • For the first time, I’m typing a comment without reading all of the previous posts. The original poster sounds so much like ME. I, too married someone I thought would never cheat following a disastrous first marriage to a confirmed cheater. I married a former Benedictine monk, a Christian man in a “helping profession” — he was a registered nurse. Tom claimed to be a fellow chump (only this was years ago, before the Chump Lady was clumped) and was in therapy, read “The Road Less Traveled” and “I’m OK, You’re OK” and seemed to be a kind, gentle, Christian and enlightened man. We married on the second anniversary of our first date.

    The anger outbursts, blame shifting, projection, minimizing, name calling and nitpicking started the day after our wedding. Still, I stayed and tried to “work on our marriage” because I was so sure he would never cheat. He was a good Christian, a former monk! (And evidently I didn’t learn after my first husband cheated with a nun.) So when he was screaming at me and throwing things, I comforted myself with “at least he would never CHEAT.”

    I left him when he strangled me into unconsciousness and left me on the highway — just me, the clothes on my back and my dog who, defending me, became a “pain in the ass” to my lovely, kind, gentle and CHRISTIAN husband. It wasn’t until after that I put the pieces together and realized that he had been cheating on me all along — with men. With religious men like our pastor, monks and priests from his former monastery, men he met in nursing school. One of his former classmates’ long-time girlfriend told me she was breaking up with her boyfriend because she thought “he and your husband are too close. They’re having an affair.”

    If it hadn’t been for that little attempted murder episode, I would have stayed with him, dancing the Pick Me Polka instead of establishing my own home, filing for divorce and going “no Contanct.” I am urging the original poster to leave her Jesus Cheater, lawyer up and block the douche from email, social media, etc. Don’t wait until he escalates to physical abuse and attempted murder — he might just be more effective at it than my ex. I understand not wanting to fail at marriage a second time . . . I’ve been there. But believe me, failing at marriage is better than living with an abuser . . . Or being dead. Really it is!

  • Just last night, I read an article on the characteristics of a covert narcissist. When it came to describing the characteristic of victimhood, it did an excellent job of explaining the difference between a real victim and a narcissist playing victim.

    A real victim is concerned enough about their suffering to seek support and treatment because their suffering is unbearable. The people they seek will be their family and friends, and then the professionals. They will be willing to engage in therapies or programs or activities that help them process their trauma with the hopes of obtaining authentic healing from their suffering.

    A person with narcissistic tendencies, who is playing victim, will usually avoid the real work of healing. They might seek brief professional advice to justify their victimhood, and then ride the train. They think they’ve got themselves all figured out and don’t need further professional help (as it just “makes things worse” for them). They will only reach out to family or friends who validate their victimhood, but will more likely seek the company of people who are isolated from any other sources of “truth” and will not be able to corroborate the story the narcissist tells them. The narcissist will not seek healing, although likely to steep themselves in a lot of “self-healing” practices as a guise, and thus appear to be very self-aware.

    This is what you are dealing with. Always be aware of the person who goes to one session of counselling (or just a few), becomes enlightened by the few minutes of advice provided at the end, and then thinks they have all the tools to move on by themselves. Even if his odd behaviour is the result of “daddy” foo issues, has he engaged in a process of healing and making amends for his behaviour that will entail further professional help in working out his issues of sexuality and his unethical/destructive choices in his marriage?

    No!

    Then, get out. No positive change for this man is registering anywhere on the horizon. He will only equip himself with more alibis and ammunition to mess with you. No straight man would do this. And this is also an insult to any ethical, principled gay man too.

    • My XH called the EAP (Employee Assistance Program) ONCE and talked over the phone with the counselor ONCE. According to XH, the counselor said it was fine he left the marriage if he was “unhappy”.

      He went to my female Christian counselor twice. Tried manipulating her with his charm. He refused to go anymore as she was onto him and his ways.

      He manipulated our (my now former) pastor for a good two months. He had the pastor eating out of his hand. No doubt pastor needed to keep in good standing with XH as XH was the one who would continue to tithe $12,000 to his church/business. Pastor needs money to keep his business running, so no need to be so judge a pathological lying serial cheater. Never ever again will I go for a pastor for help. One time was enough to realize most churches are run by men who protect the other men in the church.

    • I stopped going to therapy because I did actually think reliving the worst stuff over and over was counter-productive. Worse yet, I had to fire one because he was insistent on examining what I thought I had done to make my spouse cheat. At first, I went along with it. But after I came to my senses, it became clear that I didnt make anyone become a lying sack of shit.

  • I am on break at work and can’t read in detail, so this my duplicate other posts — if even ONE hookup occurred with a client, current or former, it’s abuse of power that is illegal in many places.

    In case that angle is important, even though it’s not the core point.

    To our writer, I feel deeply for you, and you seem to already know, it is time to let go. The first step is the worst step. 💚

  • You married a man who has lied to you about the most basic of things: his sexuality.

    Get an annulment and dropkick this creep (and his probably molested daughter) through the goalposts. They are NOT your problem.

    Good luck

  • I want to put this out there more plainly: There isn’t anything disgusting about any legal, consensual sexual persuasion. There is nothing wrong with being gay, bi, “a bottom”, wanting to have sex with a lot of people etc. What is always wrong is lying and cheating. Plenty of people who enjoy the sexual persuasions above do it without being awful gaslighting assholes to people. I do think maybe less people would be as fucked up as this woman’s husband if we lived in a world that didn’t constantly shame people for living the way they really want to. It’s not an excuse for his behavior because he fuckin is what he is now – a personality disordered freak. I don’t think people are made that way though. A series of very fucked personal and cultural influences usually go into that person becoming the nightmare they are today. So if you think you’re doing anyone any favors here by shaming people for their honest sexual preferences, please stop. That’s not the issue here. It’s cheating, lying and abusing.

    • “There is nothing wrong with being gay, bi, “a bottom”, wanting to have sex with a lot of people etc. What is always wrong is lying and cheating. Plenty of people who enjoy the sexual persuasions above do it without being awful gaslighting assholes to people.”

      “That’s not the issue here. It’s cheating, lying and abusing.”

      This – a million times this.

      • I agree. I’m a very old-fashioned Christian of over 30 years standing and would never put my values on anyone else. Imo it is indeed the manipulation and abuse that’s the problem, not the sexual practices.

    • However, if lying, cheating, and abusing people is your “kink”, then your kink IS disgusting…
      I’m not one for kink-shaming, ever – but I am sick and tired of people trying to claim a free pass just because they get off on cruelty.

  • The problem is we look at the marriage as a failure on our part, because that is part of the social conditioning we have. Our world has changed considerably over the past few generations, but the mythology of marriage has not been updated. In my grandmother’s day they lived in rural communities, with elementary education available if they were LUCKY. The patriarchs who ruled their lives (Fathers, Uncles, Brothers, Husband etc) saw no practical purpose in educating women. They were regarded as possessions, fit for cleaning, cooking and childbearing tasks, and of course sexual partners (all for the purpose of procreation, of course.)

    There was no Craigs list, or easy availability of partners of any persuasion because they were isolated. Those who lived in cities and towns may have had more choices, but still, the males had to work to produce income to support their families, and that took up most of their time. The entire world has changed, but still we are encouraged to wait for marriage for sex, and marry early to prevent out of wedlock children, and somehow be compatible with the same spouse we found attractive at the ancient age of 18 (or less) for the rest of our life. We might live 90 years now days. No one promised happily ever after but fairy tales. Most men were not princes, and they didn’t live in castles either. Neither of my grandmother’s ever worked outside of home, had their own money while their husbands were alive, drove a car, or was allowed to make any decision about her own life. That does not sound like paradise to me.
    We need to be more forgiving of our own attempts to make a life for ourselves. No one ever learned to ride a bike without some skinned knees. Naturally, mistakes will be made. The important thing is to learn from those mistakes is to pick yourself up, stop blaming yourself, and go forward building the life you want to live. Be thankful you have a choice.
    Con’s are good at what they do, they learn by repetition, they have no moral barriers to keep them from taking from others or telling lies. They gain nothing by admitting to being liars, thieves, or perverts. They only care about their own pleasure, and they live in the moment. They don’t feel guilty, and only act like they do if they think it might buy themselves some more time at your expense. Monsters walk among us every day, in all classes, and all professions. Learn to take care of your own interests, and set your own boundaries. Don’t believe in fairy tales, they don’t end with happily ever after.

  • These types of people are pathological and born that way. Meaning that no amount of therapy is going to fix them. People who actively enjoy harming others exist. There is a term for that – sadistic. They don’t change and they aren’t made, they are born that way.

    It’s important for chumps to wrap their mind around that. To understand that no amount of spackling, therapy, counseling, crying, begging, and pleading is going to fix the problem. In fact, he or she, enjoys your pain and your distress. It’s like catnip to them. This has nothing to do with the person’s sexual orientation, society, upbringing, etc. All that is just more excuses and more spackling not just by chumps, but by society at large. These perpetrators of abuse are too often portrayed as “victims” of life, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. This really needs to be talked about a lot more than it is.

    Please just open your eyes and get out. Marriage is NOT a success and divorce is NOT a failure. True failure is wasting your life on an abuser and exposing your children to that. If your husband was even remotely sane, he had an option to simply remain single and do whatever he wants with men on the quiet. Unfortunately, he is not sane, he actively sought out a sham marriage with a person who is vulnerable to abuse and…..commenced abuse.

    He knew you’ll put up with it and so targeted you as a perfect victim, intentionally, purposefully, with malice forethought. Unpleasant as it may be – please think on this long and hard. I hope it gives you the strength to leave. You are married to a dangerous, pathological individual and his sexual orientation is the least of your problems.

    • Yes, I got the ‘authentic self’ speech along with the ‘no one person can fulfill all your needs’ speech and the ‘you have never satisfied me sexually’ declaration. That last one stung. But now that I know what my EXH is exploring these days, I thank God every day I am free from his brand of crazy. His ‘authentic self’ apparently wants to orchestrate consensual non consensual kidnappings and gang rapes of his non monogamous partners. At the end of the day, I am happy to be free of a liar who feeds off other people’s vulnerabilities and never takes responsibility for his actions. He lives in his narc parents’ basement now and he’s never had to face any consequences for his lack of character. I just wish I didn’t have to share 50/50 custody of my precious children with him.

  • Ugh. Cheating XH’s OW was married to a man who has ads all over Craigslist wanting to fuck everything. He said he was a ‘bottom’ too…..I also had to look it up !! Eeewwww. Disgusting and gross to do when you are married !! SO, cheater XH was banging the OW who was married to a dog fucker and coming home to me. Nice, huh?
    RUN, girl, like your hair is on fire because it is.
    No way has he been cruising CL m4m for 19 years and NOT acted on it.

  • This is very similar to my story. I discovered Craigslist m4m, and to this day my ex denies he’s gay. Lots of emotional abuse, manipulation, financial abuse, gaslighting … counselors who supported his denial and helped him weave excuses about not being gay… he was bullied, he just wanted validation, etc.

    He’s smooth enough that he roped in my parents and sister, lined them up to support him, and he and they effectively destroyed my relationships with them – which I now realize weren’t real, honest, loyal relationships to begin with. They all think I’m the one to blame for not “trying hard enough” or being forgiving. They say I failed my kids by divorcing.

    F that! I don’t want to lead a fake life. I’m showing my kids what it looks like to live an authentic life.

  • OUR marriage counselor and my husband had a side deal- construction for free on MC house-
    I found that out snooping through the husband phone. And MC was stupid enough to text.

  • Failure is always an option, but in a team effort, it’s not your personal failure. Marriage is a team effort. You may have been 100% committed, but he wasn’t. You can’t be successful if only one member of the team is making the effort. You can’t be successful if you have different ideas of what “successful” means for your team.

    You thought that success was a loving, honest relationship, and you tried hard to bring that to the table, including providing your STBXH the evidence that his daughter was stealing from you and your son. That was not an easy conversation to have, but it was the right thing to do and the adult thing to do.

    Your STBXH thought that success was having a woman on his arm who could deflect the public eye from his craigslist hookups.

    Now that you have caught him, he SAYS he wants to “fix” things. You can’t “fix” 19 years of gay sex hookups. There’s absolutely zero wrong with being gay. There’s a lot wrong with being a liar and a cheat. If he wanted to fix things, he’d be honest about his sexuality. He’s not.

    He’s also lying about the sex. He’s an adult. Adults have sex. It’s what adults do.

    Once you divorce him, you’ll feel freer. Then take some time out to work on your picker. The fact that you were looking for someone with whom you could have an honest relationship with was a good place to start from, but therapy will help you figure out your boundaries and help you enforce those boundaries better and realize that you don’t have to settle for less!

  • Maybe he was sexually abused by his stepfather. That is not your problem to solve. Too bad he lies to himself and you, his (what number ?) wife about his true nature. Plus he posted what town you two live in in addition to his image which can be reverse searched on the internet. God knows what kind of crazy can appear on your doorstep and do whatever.

    Please protect yourself and your kids and get away from Mr. Down Low Fake Christian Couples Counselor. The failure is not on you but him for being a liar, a cheater, a fraud.

  • Yep, me too, right here 🙋‍♀️, I didn’t want to admit to “another failed relationship” so instead I stayed, endured 5 years of abuse and almost lost my life over it.

    Get out. Greener pastures ahead. Failure is a GOOD THING.

    Ps, I’m guessing the only reason he wants it to make it work is because he can’t admit he’s gay and/or can’t handle being rejected for being gay (self-fulfilling prophecy). He will be happier too if he pursues his curiosity for men. Sell it like that to him if you need to 😘

    • Oh, the only other thing that I’ll add is that I think my ex knew of my fear of failure and exploited it to his full advantage. Remember, you are whole without a partner. Please, please remember that or at least repeat it to yourself through this challenging time.

  • There is nothing about this relationship that should be acceptable to you. Get out. But also, if dude is doing the Craigslist m4m thing, he is NOT “100% straight”. Maybe he just hasn’t admitted it to himself yet. Doesn’t matter not your problem.

    Being gay isn’t easy, even today, but you didn’t deal your husband that hand. He has no right to deceive you, use you, or endanger your health.

  • Twice divorced and now working well below my qualifications in a different industry than I am trained for and experienced in, I struggled with overwhelming feelings of failure and shame for a long time. I was lied to, manipulated, harassed, and threatened by two exes and two bosses, all controlling narcs. I am not a failure, and neither is anyone else who has been abused by these cruel people. There is no “mutual responsibility” for these situations. They TARGET us, just like other types of criminals do.

  • The real failure is staying in a relationship where you are lied to, defrauded, stolen from, and abused. That’s failing to protect yourself, your life, your kids.

    Get out. File. Take your evidence. Maybe he’ll settle.

  • A big, heartfelt thank you to Chump Lady and all members of CN who, in response to my letter, posted messages filled with compassion, great advice, wisdom and encouragement. Thanks to you CL for always telling it like it is. Love your style! And to everyone in this thread, I wish there was a LOVE button to select next to each comment, as each comment means so much. It is comforting to know that there are other chumps who care, can relate, are willing to be vulnerable enough to share their stories of ultimate triumph over the pain and mindfuckery being a chump brought them. Even though it will be a bit scary to get through this horrid situation, I know there will be a light at the end of the tunnel and I will be able to find peace. As many of you stated, I also agree that there is NOTHING wrong with being gay, bi, whatever; I have friends and family who are, and I love them dearly. They are honest and ethical people, which my STBX is not. As CL said, “He feels totally entitled to HURT YOU. And that’s not a gay thing — that’s an asshole thing.” So, so true. He IS an asshole and I will not waste another day entertaining the mindfuckery of trying to figure him out. Thanks again CL and CN. <3

  • Dear Blindsided and Reeling,

    I am sorry you are going through this. It is a shock on so many levels. Many have suggested STD testing. I want to stress how important it is to get tested for HIV right away. “Bottoms” are very susceptible to transmission. This is not to terrify you at a terrible time but to be realistic.

    My former spouse tested positive for HIV and though I never had definitive proof he had sex with men, I did find clues, such as a receipt for a gay sauna. So I have learned quite a bit about the virus since then. Also important to know – he is now undetectable and expected to have a normal life span. The drugs are excellent these days. Please do not let fear keep you from getting tested.

    It is a crazy time for you right now and I want you to be safe, and to be healthy. You are handling this like a champ.

  • My therapist said something to me …… that when a predator “chooses” you it is very hard to see them for what they are and most people will fall prey to them. They have spent a lifetime honing their skills to deceive and manipulate. She said all of the focus on missing “red flags” etc can become victim blaming. If you were mugged you wouldn’t be blamed but we end up with a master manipulator and somehow it is our fault in the sense we “missed” “made a mistake” etc.

    It isn’t. Learn from it, sure….I have and continue to. You may have been fooled but that doesn’t make you a fool.

    The worst part is behind you…you know what he is. Now it’s time to go. It sucks but speaking from experience…..a door to your future just opened, take it. Sunny days ahead just keep going. Don’t think about it all, its too much just set your sights on getting gone…you have time for the rest later.

    I took the plunge and thought my life was over…I’m older, no living family, job, isolated and lost most of adult years to a predator.

    And here I am today. A mere 2 yrs later. I’m alone and the happiest I’ve been in my life. 🙂 Its not easy every day but it is very good MOST days. My worst days today are easy compared to a bad day with him.

    I’m so grateful I moved forward despite my fear and shame. My turning point was a shocking irrefutable moment like yours…..when I realized…if I thought “now” was bad….what would it feel like in 10 more years? What happens when I am even older or infirm? That terrified me. I knew it would not be easier to leave as I aged. And that is when I left.

    You’re not alone.

  • This has been a very helpful thread. I now feel less guilty for not seeing who my ex really was before marrying him. A friend summed up my marriage by saying, “He defrauded you into marriage.” Another remarked that I simply did not know him – from school, work, growing up, mutual friendships. And thus he could make up stories about his behavior, experiences, values and why his first marriage failed. And none of the enablers in his orbit gave me the facts. He was a military officer with a top secret clearance, so the military did not impose consequences on him either. Even his own daughter from the first marriage thought he had changed. She told his sister, “I’ve never seen him so happy.” Her aunt replied, “He was deceiving her when they dated. He hasn’t changed and he never will change.” Wish she had spoken up, but this type even manipulates their relatives. And you can tell by the children, when they have no moral compass, because the parent did not impart one. My brother often says that he has known many people around the world, and worked in a sophisticated business, and he never saw what my ex was really like until he showed his true colors. Everything they said before was a lie and absolutely everything they say when caught is an even more elaborate, desperate lie to buy time to regain the upper hand. So take yourself away from this situation. It will seem hard to change your life or to be alone for a while, but the lack of daily abuse will be the cure.

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