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Dear Chump Lady, I apologized to him for cheating on me

Dear Chump Lady,

Like all other Chumps, I never thought I would be here. I met the love of my life when I was 18 and he was 22 in the most magical, serendipitous way possible. (Or is that the story I tell myself?) Anyway, we were both in college, and 6 months later I was diagnosed with cancer. I moved in with him almost immediately and he cared for me both physically and mentally. I felt like he built me up to be a strong person who wasn’t afraid to pursue her passions. I struggled for about 3 or 4 years with physical side effects from the cancer. At some points I was bedridden. All he ever did was care for me and show me unconditional love.

We were married 4 years ago (and have been together 8 years). Immediately after we married he said he wanted to have a baby. I was a little hesitant — I had just started graduate school — so we waited a year and I got pregnant immediately. Neither of us have any real experience with children but we were so happy. Our daughter is now 2 1/2.

This summer (our daughter had just turned 2) my husband got very sick and had to have a major surgical operation. We didn’t have any childcare over the summer so I spent the summer taking care of our child and trying to care for my husband as well. He could hardly eat and he lost a significant amount of weight. Somehow he would run once a day and drink at night, but then he would be confined to the bed. I believe I did my absolute best to take care of him, while also realizing that he probably has an alcohol problem.

Almost immediately after his surgery he became extremely cold. I was hoping he would be back to his normal, energetic, supportive self. Instead, he asked me not to touch him, he wouldn’t look me in the eye. When I begged him to tell me what was wrong he would cut me off and leave the room.

I booked a vacation to cheer him up. One day into the vacation, he left. We had brought my parents along so I was just vacationing with my parents for the rest of the week. I thought he just felt ill. When I got home, after several hours of him telling me that he didn’t love me any more, he confessed to having an emotional affair with his colleague. He told me that he loves her. He also told me that if I looked at their text messages he would immediately divorce me.

It’s been about a month and a half since he confessed to the emotional affair. Nothing legal has happened yet. I don’t even know if I want a divorce. But I have to see him everyday when we trade off parenting responsibilities. Some days when he drops our daughter off he screams at me. He’s yelled that he hopes our daughter never grows up to be like me because I’m such a spoiled brat. Other days he collapses on the floor, convulsing and crying uncontrollably. Other days he shows up and is so emotionally drained he cannot form words. He tells me these mood swings are my fault, that he only feels this way when he sees me, otherwise he’s completely emotionally stable.

We are in marriage counseling. He told the counselor that he is unhappy in the marriage because I do too much parenting for our daughter. As in I don’t let him do enough. THAT’S why he is unhappy. Because I’ve been too helpful. He had an affair because I’m too helpful.

Yet, I still feel sorry for him. After he told me about the emotional affair I fucking made him a lunch for work. At therapy he told me he’s just biding his time, waiting to choose between me and the OW. And I APOLOGIZED. And he expects me to be more understanding and more compassionate. What do I do? I need a strong dose of badass from this community.

Sincerely,

He had an affair and I made him lunch

Dear Chump,

What to do about what?

That lunch? Cram it down his lying, cheating, blameshifting pie-hole. If he wants to know why you’re choking him with lunchmeat, say you’re having a “mood swing.”

Chump, compassion for his fuckery is NOT what is needed here. Compassion for YOU is what’s needed. Why are you allowing him to treat you this way?

He is a COWARD. An abusive coward.

And you just THINK you need him to be strong, but the fact is, you’re already strong. Let’s count the ways you are strong.

1.) You survived cancer.

2.) After surviving cancer, you had a child. Even though you were afraid at your inexperience, and how much more you could take on with your studies, you took on the enormous investment of raising a child and putting your body through childbirth.

3.) When your husband was sick (self-inflictedly so?), you cared for him and your child and managed to hold everything together.

4.) When he betrayed you, and devastated your world, and threatened abandonment of you and your daughter, you tried to find compassion for him.

You are a GOOD, STRONG PERSON.

Now, let’s look at him.

1.) He’s sick, but he has time to run, and go out drinking. Childcare is on you.

2.) He’s sick, but apparently a-okay with destroying what health he has with alcoholism and not seeking help. (Another way of abandoning you and your daughter.)

3.) He gives himself permission to pursue a new relationship (aka “emotional affair”) instead of ending the relationship he’s in, or working to strengthen it.

4.) Instead of owning his AGENCY, he blameshifts. You don’t parent right. You’re spoiled, etc. He won’t answer questions, he cruelly withdraws and leaves you guessing.

5.) Instead of deciding his life, he’s torturing you to decide it for him, by leaving him, so you’ll be the Bad Guy. (And he’s doing this in front a quack therapist who is LETTING HIM behave abusively! Goading you into the pick me dance! The shrink did not call that out?!)

You need this man like you need a tumor on your spleen. I’m sorry if he was once a supportive, loving partner who morphed into a fuckwit — but you’ve got to deal with the reality you’re dealt. He is a fuckwit. Who is abusing you NOW. Frankly, I wonder if he didn’t prefer you all broken. Because fuckwits are like that. And here you are, so mighty, so he needs a Schmoopie.

Schmoopie lets him feel powerful through triangulation and pick me dancing. Two women to make feel off balance, whom he could abandon at any time. Who “need” him. One gets uppity? Run to the other. Keeps him in cake.

Okay, so you apologized to him for failing to be Worthy of His Indecision. It happens. No one gets broadsided with betrayal and navigates this shit perfectly. When in crisis, there’s fight and flee, but also fawn. You fawned — because you’re naturally, understandably terrified. I’m trying to tell you there’s  nothing to fear except wasting more of your young life with a fuckwit.

You have all the strength you need. He does not bestow it upon you.

He wants to abandon your family? The proper response is: “Go right ahead, motherfucker.”

YOU DECIDE. Stop being passive and take back your power.

He told me that he loves her.

Bye, bye motherfucker. Go be with her.

See how that works? All that’s left is logistics. Doesn’t he take a suitcase, or will Hefty bags suffice?

He also told me that if I looked at their text messages he would immediately divorce me.

I don’t need to see your text messages, because your behavior is one big GUILTY message.

See how that works? He wants to tell you this is an emotional affair, but God forbid you question him. That’s okay, the evidence is in plain sight — he’s not invested in his marriage and he’s treating you abominably. That’s either alright with you or it is not.

I don’t even know if I want a divorce.

Do you want to spend the rest of your life making a fuckwit sandwiches?

Please call a lawyer and start protecting yourself today. Get up out of the crouching position and take back your life.

You’ve got this.

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.
  • “there’s nothing to fear except wasting more of your young life with a fuckwit.”

    Right there.
    Right there

  • Hi, based on your story I think his actions sound a lot like mental illness. It seem like he is falling and flailing to grab onto something. It’s very worrisome. That said, since he is being abusive toward your marriage, you are disqualified from being able to be an active helper in this situation.

    It sucks. It just plain sucks. Hopefully he gets some help and is able to calm down. In the mean time, please protect yourself and your child.

    • I totally agree, I have a good friend that had a very similar experience with her ex. He was totally unpredictable. The mood swings and anger and sadness. He is now diagnosed as bipolar and can not have unsupervised visits.
      I think you need to make sure your daughter is safe in his custody. If he is screaming at you in front of her that is uncool. But what if he is screaming at her too?
      Take steps to insure your daughter is safe and that you are safe. Good luck and a good lawyer can really help you wade through this turmoil.

      • I would probs document the lying on the ground crying and stuff, just incase it gets worse and you have concerns about him looking after your child.

        After a while these people have to choose between looking crazy and having responsibility, because just like he’s had 2 partners for a while he’s also trying to have pity and responsibility and that the 2 don’t go together.

      • It’s true that it sounds like a mental illness, but hang on. Mine did too.

        I really believed I was dealing with a mental issue, which is why I stuck it out in the pick me dance for as long as I did. I married in “sickness and health,” and I felt that this was sickness so I would not abandon him.

        His behaviour was so uncharacteristic. To this day, family and friends are still astonished that he cheated. He still lies about it all to manage the image of it all. Theories abound by all who know him…it’s a mid-life crisis or identity crisis (the most popular theory), it’s depression that he is masking because he doesn’t understand how symptoms manifest themselves in men (I can buy this one), it’s a mental illness – a breakdown, he might have a brain tumor.

        He lost tremendous weight. Spoke of severe anxiety that he claimed he only felt when he was with me (cough…guilty conscience at play…cough). Even admitted that his feelings for the OW were like an addiction to heroine…”I know that she’s no good for me and no good can come of it, but when I’m not with her, all I can think about is how I can be with her again.” It was all nuts.

        I later learned that he had been watching porn regularly for years in our marriage (his father had a porn addiction). Our 11 year old son just caught his father watching porn in the middle of the afternoon while at “daddy’s for the weekend.” My ex was mortified when I told him what his son saw him watching and how it made him feel “uncomfortable” and “scared”.

        My ex’s behaviour is still strange. After 19-20 months of being in relationship with this woman during our marriage, he has now been with her for 19 months since he left the marriage. Yet, no one has met her except one friend (who was a cheater in his marriage) and a couple of old fringe friends – the kids haven’t seen her, nor his family, nor his good friends. People have seen him out completely drunk out of his tree with a woman “who is dressed like a tramp.” The kids have told me that his doctor told him to quit coffee to help curb his migraines. I’ve heard of him having migraines more times since he left the marriage than he did during most of our marriage.

        But, here’s the thing…I cannot not know what is going on with my ex-husband. First, I’m not a professional. Second, I got fired from being his wife. Third, I cannot help anyone who does not admit to needing help. Whatever his issue, and there is no doubt that there are some serious issues, there is nothing I can do about it. I wish I had realized that sooner or I wouldn’t have spent more than a year destroying myself trying to “save” him in the awful pick-me dance. I wouldn’t have allowed him all the excuses and free passes on his horrible behaviour towards me and our family. Even in mental illness and addiction, accountability is still paramount.

        Do not get pulled into some sense of being the one to save him and limit how much of your energy you are putting into figuring out what his behaviour might mean. You need to put the oxygen mask on yourself so that you can protect your child from all this chaos. As has been stated above, document all of these behaviours (even better, record them if you can) and get him out!!! Go no contact as much as you can and expect the crazy to get even crazier. Protect yourself.

        Now is not the time to think about saving the marriage. Your marriage has gone somewhere and it’s not here. Something else has taken its place, and you don’t want that. Hold him accountable and send him off to take care of his own shit.

        • 4.) Instead of owning his AGENCY, he blameshifts. You don’t parent right. You’re spoiled, etc. He won’t answer questions, he cruelly withdraws and leaves you guessing.

          And exactly what OptionNoMore says above.

          He lost tremendous weight. Spoke of severe anxiety that he claimed he only felt when he was with me (cough…guilty conscience at play…cough).

          I got the same crap. Lost tons of weight, he was so lonely and relationship so awful it as making him ill apparently. Close friends were very worried about him. And had he carried on any longer I had NO IDEA how badly this would have ended but it wouldn’t have been pretty. Hmmm see any similarities here. I had the person silently withdrawing from me. I thought it was maybe depression or something but not it was all me. Ha ha. Silly me for not realising through the many mixed messages and OUT AND OUT LIES I was being told.

          It’s just dressed up mental abuse on you a the blame shifting and inability to take any responsibility for it bears out. It’s kind of kindergarten level. You took my apple away from me and I don’t like it. Infantile self pitying nonsense.

          How dare he go through all his history with you and then turn like that. Why did he turn? Because of the OW. Simple as. Disgusting, they all are just out and out cowards and liars.

          • They lose weight to look sexier to the Schmoopie, regardless of what they say to you.
            My ex turned that anorexia gene on, just like an addict
            He just wasn’t hungry!
            Amazing dramaqueens

        • OptionNoMore,

          My jaw should be broken by now for, I swear, it has hit the floor so many times when I have read someone’s description of their experiences that practically mirrors my own.

          It is resting on the floor now as I sit glassy eyed at my computer screen thinking this is just too, too strange but as CL says: ‘Cheaters are Cliches.’

          I could have scripted your first 4 paragraphs – skipped the next 2 paragraphs – then picked up from there to the end.

          Twin brothers separated at birth???

          You worded it perfectly but I did the dance for well over a year completely believing the shit I was telling myself about his behavior. That is what shocks me the most now – MY BEHAVIOR.

          Yes to the original poster – cut bait and row away as fast as your little arms can row. I forgave the x years ago when he confessed and I stupidly thought it was over, he was repentant and totally in love with me….

          Fast forward 30 years. It wasn’t over – he was just more cleaver at lying and cheating and lying some more and now I know he was indeed totally in love with HIMSELF. The kids and I were used as Plan B for 30 years.

          RUN. Protect yourself as others have said with good, sound legal advice. Do not be swayed. Whatever gets documented on divorce papers stands forever so do not cut corners which may save you stress in the short run but in the long run you will be hurting yourself and your child so, protect yourself, protect yourself, protect yourself.

    • Alcoholism looks like a mental illness. Some people think it is. But in my opinion, drunks are just unstable, liars and self centered. Alcohol was wasband only priority, he literally would get angry if he didnt drink.

      You can help someone who doesn’t want help.
      You can fix someone ever especially someone who doesnt think they are doing anything wrong.

      • And a lot of people with mental illness medicate with alcohol. Could be one or both. Still not acceptable behavior. We choose our behaviors.

      • I’d go forward and read the text messages and copy them. What matters are his actions; they tell the story loud and clear. That will help you with believing he’s a lying asshole.
        Alcoholism and mental illness don’t justify blame shifting, emotional abuse or cheating.

        He left a vacation after one day? OW catch on to the duplicity and give ultimatums because cheaters demonize loyal spouses.
        Get your evidence and instead of confronting him, see an attorney.

          • Read the text messages, print them out, and give a copy to both lawyers if he files for divorce. If he doesn’t file, then you should.

          • Thank you so much for the comments! Okay, this community has given me strength. I got a lawyer, had to actually call the police and file a report since I wrote this story, and I’m no longer making fuckwit sandwiches. I am filing for divorce as soon as my lawyer writes the parenting plan. Thank you guys for the support!

      • This.
        I was married to an alcoholic. The weird part was, I didn’t realize what was wrong with him at first when his drinking got so bad. His behavior became strange and over a weekend, he became manic, then stated to hallucinate. I thought he was having a stroke or a psychotic break. I only saw him consume two drinks. When it got bad on Sunday night that weekend, I called 911, and when the EMT’s got there, they asked me how much he’d drank. I told them I had only seen him drink 2 drinks….then I opened the cabinet where we kept the alcohol. It was FULL of empties! Apparently, his MO was to drink just a little in front of me, sneak and hide much more to get his fix, and dispose of the empty containers while I was at work. I had no idea this was going on. When they got him to the hospital, his BAC was .33! This was almost a year before I got him out of my home. He continued the “sneak a drink” pattern, thinking I did not know he was drinking. The last OW he was with was enabling this behavior……

        • The breaking point for me was when the dickhead pinned me to the bed by putting his knees on my shoulders and threatening me with a broken whiskey bottle. I had taken the kids to see a rugby match and in that time he had drunk 16 beers and half a bottle of whiskey (I know exactly how much he had drunk because I had been to the recycling plant that morning). When I came back he had “lost” his bottle of whiskey and accused me of taking it (the same one he later broke and held to my neck). THAT was when I called our work’s staff counsellor late at night and he said DO IT. IF YOU DON’T DO IT NOW HE WILL KILL YOU! So I did, I went to the hospital (although I had no bruises at that point). They gave me a report and I went to the police station to report him, and the rest, as they say, is history. He would have killed me – it didn’t start off like that but it was certainly heading there. He is diagnosed bipolar and maybe self-medicates with alcohol. I don’t know which came first but the treatment was there for him to take and in the end it was up to him to take it, not me to take it for him!

          • Attie,

            To this day I wonder about a diagnosis with the x. While we were married he always presented as depressed. When he hooked up with OW he turned into someone I didn’t recognize, I am talking invasion of the body snatchers here, and what I witnessed was very manic behavior.

            He was dead sober and had been for decades. (AA member)

            Yes, alcohol masks mental illness yet even in sobriety there are those who still stay in denial about their mental health issues and, it is now my opinion , that they are very dangerous critters because they operate with stealth like precision – stone dead sober.

            So glad you had somewhere to turn and you got sound advice and that you took it!

      • Excuse me, if a husband had a completely physiological brain cancer which causes him to start throwing things at whoever is close to him, should you and a child stay and put both of you in danger? Because, you know, he’s got a disease? This is a completely realistic scenario. Or you would protect both of you and just run as far as possible?

    • “since he is being abusive toward your marriage, you are disqualified from being able to be an active helper in this situation.”
      That permission is something I needed to hear ten years ago, thank you @in.light.of.grief! I left when I realized the cheating and abuse were character flaws, not symptoms of his mental illness. The guilt of leaving his care up to his parents ate me up for many years; I thought I should’ve tried harder to let it go because he was sick. The time I wasted on those mental gymnastics is the only regrettable thing now.

    • To me it sounds more like the bizarre behaviour of an abusive drunkard than it does mental illness. Raging and crying jags are common with alcoholics. So is the exhaustion she described, when they’re hung over.
      This guy is such a drunk he went out boozing every day while recovering from surgery (I’m guessing it was with the AP). The post surgical “running”, OTOH, was likely also an excuse to get out of the house to see the AP.
      So if I’m understanding this right, he sets out for a “run” (seeing AP) after which he “goes drinking” (drinks with AP).
      That’s sneaky and calculated. It doesn’t sound like mental illness.

      • This is all untangling the skein. The question is does Chump want to stay in a marriage with someone who behaves this way?

        I don’t see anything to work with and the guy is abusive and blaming her. He’s got enough gray cells to rub together to do that.

        • I finally stopped excusing fuckwits poor communication skills, i.e. not answering texts and phone calls or having conversations, when I discovered over 2000 text messages and phone calls to OW. yep – its a choice not a disability.

        • Chump Lady you’re right. I found support in this website, in my small community, and within myself. Since I wrote this post he came over and openly screamed profanities on my porch in front of our young daughter. At that point I decided I’d had enough. No more sandwiches. I filed a police report and hired the top divorce attorney in our state. Thank you everyone for showing me my worth.

      • He actually was going on runs! I would see him outside. It was insane. But he would also run with OW so there ya go…

    • Cheating looks a lot like mental illness. I think this is not a good statement to say to chumps. As a chump, I know how easy it is to twist a comment like that and say “mental illness is a physiological disease. He can’t help the way he’s acting. I’m gonna stick by his side because a physiological disease is like cancer and I would never abandon someone with cancer”. And so on.

      God – with my ex, I had him diagnosed with aspergers, OCD, and depression…. But nope. He was just a selfish, manipulative asshole

    • Lunch Lady, my XH-serial cheater who also said it was “just” emotional (it wasn’t), and blame-shifted, and raged to me and kids continues to act like Rumplestiltskin with these fits whenever he doesn’t get his way. It’s been 5 years since DDay! Therapist who witnessed this abhorrent behavior said it looked like Bipolar 2 also. I felt compassion and tried to “help” and give him time to get help before filing. He continued abuse, openly seeing OWs, hiding money, threatening me. Refused to stop using pot, snorting adderral, drinking to excess. I finally went no contact, filed, demanded a psych and parenting evaluation (he walked away from any visitation to avoid those). He chose to see our kids 3 hours last month. They are teens now and his raging and continued relationship with OW has completely destroyed their relationships with him. He tells them it’s all my fault… screams at them, says horrifying abusive things to them (how they have always been “big disappointments to him.”). My heart breaks for them. I spend all my energy being the sane parent and being kind and loving and NO CONTACT with him.

      These types get worse, not better! Protect yourself and your child ASAP. Childhood trauma at the hands of s parent is a lifelong burden.

      • Living with a raging alcoholic is unsafe for LunchLady. Not to even mention a toddler.
        I realize she loves him, but his anger and outbursts will get worse. Its too late…can never go back to “the way we were”. He’s morphed into something evil.
        X did this too, he just got worse and worse. Treated me horribly.
        Lady, I can promise you he will damage your child if you stay with him. My daughter (not his) is a young adult now, and has anxiety, a gastric disorder, other problems. All because she internalized his emotional abuse, yelling at her, threatening her when I was asleep. She did not tell anyone at the time. She worked at night while in high school, came home late and he’d be waiting for her, always drunk. She was biding her time…until she could escape to college. She only lived with him 4 yrs.! Her problems did not manifest in her physical body until years later.
        The point is…Protect Your Child. I certainly regret being so chumpy that it cost my child her health.

      • Great points. Also was told it was just EA ( it wasnt either). The threats around seeing the texts suggest this aint either. Either way the guy is being abusive and that is not going to improve.

        • Agree. Get tested for STIs. My first thought when she wrote that he abandoned her on vacation, was that he went back to be with OW now that his wife and child were out of the way for the week.

    • All of us wish it was “just” a brain tumor that turned our X Asshats into the rat monsters they eventually became. I still can’t believe that I wasted 30 years with my particular “mentally ill” selfish, lying, cheating, cowardly, abandoning dickweed. Many of us put up with so much before the final breakdown and boiled away like the proverbial frog putting up with it.

      Doesn’t matter what he has got. I would never tolerate similar abuse from strangers so why should I accept it from the person who is suppose to love me as my life partner?

      Hat tip to the poster the other day who stated it perfectly, “The turd they were with their spouse, in their home, is who they really are.” Hope Schmoops is enjoying it.

    • my doctor said to me, you are the least qualified person to help XH. This applies to the LW. When someone is projecting all their issues on to you there’s no possible way to interact that’s helpful, only harmful. LW should step away.

    • his mental illness is alcoholism and infidelity – neither of which you can help. take care of you and your child and let him find other support. that is the only help you can give. he has given you license to set yourself free. no guilt! hugs! you are mighty!

  • My question is, how did he suddenly fall for his co-worker while he was home from the hospital recovering from his major surgery? I would surmise that their relationship started BEFORE he fell ill. Puts a whole new twist on the situation.
    But regardless, dump his sorry ass!

    • Either that or he met somebody at the hospital when he had surgery.
      Regardless, he’s an abusive drunken pig and she needs to lawyer up and keep the child away from him until he goes into detox and gets treatment.

      CL is right. This guy has a problem with his wife being competent and strong. He was great with her when she was sick, and as soon as she recovered, he wanted her to get pregnant, thus rendering her helpless again in his mind. Now he’s angry that she’s a good parent and was able to take care of both their child and him when he needed it.

      • This. Who knows he may have been getting sick thrills from having a partner who was sick and thought she may have been going to die giving him widower kibbles and a good excuse to drink. He may have been able to hide his disorder for longer because she was bedridden and couldn’t keep tabs on him but sooner or later the disfunction was gonna come out. He’s fucked up and whether it’s an affair or his drinking and is trying to divert by blaming her instead of addressing his bad behaviour and alcoholism. She needs to get out of his orbit ASAP and ignore hoovering attempts. And tell people who can give her perspective and help. All the best

        • I knew someone with an official diagnosis of NPD who was great in a crisis. It’s kind of hard to square with the image of narcissim as being about self centeredness. I think the power imbalance was an aspect, but of course the help came with a side order of control. Also there was an aspect of image management. Maybe the LW will look back on this period later on and realise there were significant strings attached to the support.

          • My cheater was great in serious crisis but the tedium of daily life undid him and he became an abusive tyrant. They enjoy looking like the level headed hero in didaster but cant deal with life

          • Pecan,

            Thanks for posting this.

            The x was good in some crisis too, not all, just some…and that is what would puzzle me when I began to question his fitting into the narcissistic personality profile. You are right because his behavior at those times was about his centrality. He would show up as long as he was in control and looking good and then he would make a B-line for the nearest exit. I, of course, always felt lucky to have had his help when given – my hero.

            Just enough positive attention to keep me hooked and off guard.

            Another stone in the sack of responsibility/self condemnation I have carried on my back unknowingly has been released to the growing pile beneath my feet.

        • I’m sure he used his role as caregiver of his sick wife to attract affair partners.
          Oh isn’t he wonderful / his wife is so ill it’s not like he’s really married so it’s okay to carry on with him.

        • Wow! I never thought of this. Well, he was always certainly a “protector” because I was sick and the 4-year age difference made him feel like he needed to “teach” me in a lot of ways. Now that I’m cancer free I have two masters degrees and a high paying job. I do really feel like things started to shift when I needed him less. Not that I didn’t need his support, but I was certainly more independent. When I stand up to him now when he is drunk he gets the most upset. I even had to file a police report based on his behavior. Also, our therapist said he gets pleasure from me crying in therapy. I have a lawyer now and I’m filing next week.

      • Very insightful chumpupthevolume! CL was spot on with her assessment of cheaters when she wrote, “Frankly, I wonder if he didn’t prefer you all broken. Because fuckwits are like that. And here you are, so mighty, so he needs a Schmoopie.”

        There’s a huge difference between ‘actions’ and ‘acting’. Very early on I questioned the ‘he loves me; he loves me not’ fluctuation.
        And too, as long as we are broken yet believing in those breadcrumbs we press on. It’s the slow boil until we know. That’s when cheaters twist the knife and leaving a chump broken takes on a sadistic twist.

        • Yes, some cheaters demand you be the adult so they can feel free to be infantile, then resent you for it and find a schmoopie to make them feel powerful. Others want you to be the infant so they can control you, and whether they succeed in getting it or not they come up with an excuse to find a schmoopie. The bottom line is they just can’t have equitable, reciprocal relationships, and yes, they are sadistic and enjoy the hurt they inflict.

          I was on a very slow boil for 32 years and had no idea what was really happening. He was always sorry for his “insensitivity” and things would improve for a while, until he was “insensitive” again. It was the usual cycle of abuse, but I didn’t even know what emotional abuse was.
          He turned up the heat after he started cheating and now I know it was abuse all along. So I have decades of this to unpack.

          How are you coming along, doingme?

      • It’s about control. He cared for her when she was sick to sink his hooks in her. Then he married her to take her off the market. Then he wanted a baby to take her out of school. When she managed to do both, he had himself a crisis to give her another yet another job. When she was STILL competent, he tried to destroy her emotionally with his outrageous behavior. If she gave up a paying job to care for him over the summer, bonus points! Taking off to parts unknown during a vacation with her parents was intended to humiliate her, as well as to test to see if she’d jettison the planned holiday to chase after his worthless self.

        Disordered people need to be central. They need to be at the top of the heap, even if it means tearing others down and climbing over them to get there.

        Lunchmaker, please, please, step away from the dragon. Gather your courage and assets and child, and get safely away. Get a lawyer. I’ve seen this scenario, and it won’t get better, so you need to get up from your chair and leave the casino before you lose any more of your precious life to this fool’s game.

      • In the dick’s notes he said I spent too much time with the kids.They were little at the time. I felt guilty about that for years, but he never talked to me about it, never got a sitter. Then I read something…..a healthy, secure man loves to see the mother of his children care for them. Narcs feel threatened by the attention their own kids get. They don’t understand the self sacrifice involved in caring for a defenseless child……what horrible broken people. Lawyer up and start healing.

        • ‘I didn’t think when I had a child I’d lose a girlfriend’ – that’s what I got. Boo hooo hoooo. Same as, didn’t arrange for me to have time out, I’d have to just do that myself and I did but probably that was frowned upon. Didn’t take time himself which I would have been totally fine with, never arranged a sitter for us, a some time for us away. Never tried to do anything in that regard and it’s natural for your life to be taken up with your children. OK yes there is a balance and that balance is hard and maybe I got it wrong but how dare you dump that on me years late when you did nothing about it. All about them Hope Springs, you are exactly right. Poor poor me.

      • Yes! Yes yes yes! I hear you. I see it now. It always needed to be about him and even though I feel in many ways that these 8 years with him have just been lovely until the affair (which btw is now a full blown affair and not just emotional) I actually start to see where things have ALWAYS been about him. Little things, little digs, times when I wasn’t allowed to make decisions. He never let me into our online banking because he wanted to be the caretaker and pay the bills. Now I see that thousands of dollars are missing just within the last week. He’s literally left me with no money. Thank goodness I have a well-paying job and now a kick ass lawyer.

  • You need to get out now. Do not wait 34 years like I did. He has shown you what kind of person he is. He has shown you what he thinks of his wife and child. He is blaming you for his affair. He is the typical gaslighting, abusive cheater.

    Take it from me. My Ex and I met in high school. I was 16 and he was 18. I adored him. We got married when I was 18 and he was 20. We had two children with in 4 years. I found out 34 years into the marriage that he was having an emotional affair with my cousin. He continues to deny that they had sex. But, no one dates for 4 years and does not have sex. He blamed me for the affair. I did not give him enough attention. I did not like to go to bars and play pool. I was boring. He thought that I never loved him. See the pattern. It is never their fault. You are young and mighty. You do not need a fuckwit in your life that is only going to bring you down. Show your daughter that it is not ok for a man to cheat on you. Your husband showed you what he thinks of your marriage. Believe him. Please do not waste your young life on this man.

    Go see a lawyer. Get checked for STDs. And I would suggest that you meet him at a neutral place for visitation of your daughter. This was he will behave himself and not continue to abuse you when he picks and drops her off. Your daughter does not need to see her father making an ass out of himself. Be the bad guy file for divorce. You will see that once the cheater is out of your life you will truly be free and at piece.

    • ((((Cuzchump)))
      That is the thing about CN, heroes abide here. Brave Chumps who have walked in another’s shoes. Someone who totally gets it, AND is willing to share, to preach to others, suffering through much the same shit sandwich.

      Posting Chump, you have been through so much and you are still standing. That alone makes you Mighty!
      Please please re read your letter to CL again and again, and read all the heartfelt advice.
      I think you know in your heart, and in your head, what you have to do- leave him, get a lawyer, protect your precious Child.

      Big big hugs to you, sweet lady. You can do this!
      CN believes in you!
      ❤️

  • My ex, wouldn’t help me parent the children after allergic reaction. Heart stopped. But managed to go to ow. He said last week I should get over it its been 3 years. But he still won’t be honest, you deserve better and you know it they believe the hype the ow or om gives them

  • Grown men dont really have emotional affairs. He is having sex with her. Which is also the reason he doesn’t want you reading his texts. The writer made it sound like he is not living at home but he is abusive during child exchanges. That is the real him. Some men like to have a weaker, or sick partner because it makes them feel better about themselves. Wasband would help people at the drop of the hat and would give the shirt off his back for a stranger but at home he hardly lifted a finger to help me and was very possessive over his stuff. I asked him once why he was like that and he said doing things for people makes him feel good. Of course, being the chump I am i understood and accepted that answer until weeks later it hit me why doesn’t it make him feel good to help his family instead of strangers?

    He might had bern a good husband but he IS not a good husband NOW. You are waiting for him to return to the man he WAS.. .. . But he wont. I waited for years and years. He just steadily got worse and treated me so badly. I put up with so much shit, waiting for him to return to that loving man I married. I suspected many affairs but only have proof of 2. The second time I divorced him. I was so broken at the end. My soul was tired and I had not been a good mom for years. I was emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually and financially broken.

    I hope this doesnt happen to you. First of all, you have to believe he is having sex with the ow. Second, you have to accept that he is being emotionally, verbally and mentally abusive to you. And then decide if THIS is how you want to live.

    I say go thru his phone, get proof. Start lying up your ducks while he is distracted with new sex, pack the things that mean a lot to you and start saving money. If you have a joint account, take your name off and start an account with just your name. Talk to a lawyer.

    Goodluck

    • MsVain,
      Wonderful words from you today, thank you. I too waited for my good husband to reappear. My wait wasn’t as long as yours, but soul crushing all the same. I’m not the mom I was and should be for my son. I hope I can recover some of that, but I’m so exhausted, SOUL exhausted, I don’t know if I’ll be the any of that back.

      I hope new chumps heed your words. DONT WAIT.

      • Mrs.Vain. Me too, me too. 36 years by the time we were divorced. It just got progressively worse, until he cheated then I took him back, followed by 4 years of pick me dancing and the worst abuse ever including financial abuse that finally destroyed my ability to retire, taking my entire life savings at 56 years old. Im 4 years out and my biggest regret is staying as long as I did, closely followed by taking him back when I did. I should have left when my son was born because he rejected our newborn son. He is now a 27 year old very special man, empathetic and loving like his mom I am very proud to say. Because he had no money he stopped the car and handed over a cigarette to a homeless man just on Sunday. He makes sure his girlfriend has decent lunches for work, just two examples. The ex (Wackjob) just doesnt care what he missed out on.

      • I don’t want to imply any criticism of you but do want to say something. I rationally completely understand my mother that she’s married to a disordered person and didn’t have insight, skills and support to deal with my father, his disappearing tricks, emotional and verbal abuse,
        who threatened her continuously to abandon all of us (I understand now that even in absence of OW, this was the way to make her pick me dance).

        But my emotional self is angry with her. All I can think of is my childhood being spent watching these two together in playing their games and us children being forced to participate in them .I couldn’t leave because I was a child. She could, after a while she realised she was in a toxic relationship. Instead, I feel like she chose to desperately try to please the father instead of choosing a normal environment for us children.

        Please,choose being a sane parent instead.

        • Persophone – This was brave to admit, but important to acknowledge. It took a long time in counselling for me to admit how angry I was at my mother. I always felt guilty for being angry at her because she had suffered so much at my father’s hands and sacrificed so much to protect my brother and I.

          The counsellor helped me realize that what I was angry about was all the needs that didn’t get met growing up because my mother had to be so focused on surviving being in the abusive relationship. The reality is that my mother is beautiful, became strong, and sacrificed a lot for us, but my mother also had a huge chunk of my childhood in which she just didn’t meet all of our needs. It just the fact of the matter. She’s not a bad person for it because she was a victim of her circumstance.

          But, she was the adult, not me. Her inaction or indecision to empower herself made me have to grow up too soon. Issues I face today stem from all of this. No doubt, my father is at fault for all of this. He’s the monster. But, to some degree, my mother was his accomplice in his behaviour. A very unfortunate fact that all of us who stayed longer than we should have might need to acknowledge in the ways that we might have failed our kids.

          It’s not the end of the world. We redeem ourselves when we awaken to ourselves and our situation. We remove the danger and stay strong for ourselves and our kids. The sooner that gets done, the better.

          • Option No More

            I could have written your post. My regret as a mother is not bolting sooner. My Kids saw it before I did.

            Ugh. I have apologized to them but unlike the DOCTOR, who thinks muttering a vague “wish some things had gone differently”

            my apology is real and it’s merely the start of a long conversation in which I listen to them about the pain of staying too long.

          • OptionNoMore,

            I seem to be following you around today 🙂

            Similarities again with my mother BUT she got jilted. My father left her with 5 kids in an era when divorce was not common. My mother was completely blind sighted. There was no support for her as an abandoned spouse amongst her immediate friends and, as she found out, most were pseudo friends – all for appearances due to my father’s inclination for social climbing/status that was rampant in his profession; he was a doctor. She was left with few friends. Insult on top of injury.

            I was terrible to her – angry etc too but found out that my anger stemmed from the fact that she was the easy on to rage at. I had already been abandoned by my beloved father – that is what he was in my pre-teen eyes and heart- so I did what I now know is ‘normal’. I blame shifted just like my father had because to blame him could mean that he would further abandon me – we saw him on weekends – court ordered. She was the one who still did all of the work and he was Disneyland dad – none of us dare complain to him as he was money bags.

            My mother is long dead now. My anger has turned into deep compassion for what she had to bear and she did it remarkably well considering she was also physically disabled.

            Healing relationships really is a process and is life long since I am quite old now too.

            My own children, I think, are still some what shocked at what transpired under my roof. All are grown. Two witnessed his behavior but he kept it at a minimum so they didn’t really get the full-blown behavior – he moved out shortly after Dday. One of my children got it right off of the bat and cut off any communication with him. None want to discuss him, “Why would I want to waste my time talking about him when he doesn’t really care about me/us?”

            The x is a TFC so they experienced him as a loving, good natured man. None suspected his double life – he is a serial cheater and cheated for their entire lives.

            Lots of deception. I am still struggling with ‘really’ getting it – the lies and how good he is at it and now the blame shifting and behaviors I have seen since finding CL and CN.

            Anyway, just wanted to chime in on mother stuff since I have that is my history too.

            Comforting to know things do get resolved in our hearts with time and circumstances and understanding.

            • It really is such a double-edged sword with our mom’s. I also treated my mom badly as a teenager, saw myself as smarter and stronger than her. I knew it was wrong, even at the time, and alternatively would feel very guilty. It was a pendulum of emotion and actions.

              But my mom was the one who stayed. Stayed stable for us, responsible for us, a good moral example for us, nurtured us, provided for us. She took the hits and endured. She was patient and kind – all the qualities that Corinthians calls for in the Bible by St. Paul. I am a good person today because of what she did for us. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for her. My mom is Queen.

              ElderlyChump – I hope that your mom found happiness despite the struggles. I hope that you also have found your peace. You married “your dad” in a sense. It’s like ice in our veins to realize that. We always think we’re so much smarter, and yet the pattern repeats when the healing wasn’t properly done back when it should have been.

              I am determined to stop the pattern in my children. That is why I do the hard work of healing now – lots of counselling for myself and the kids, lots of stability and consistency. I am very blessed to be able to provide for myself so I’m not at all dependent on my ex. I kept the marital home so the kids didn’t have to lose their home, school, friends. I haven’t gotten myself into any serious relationships that have involved the kids, so no complications there, they have my full attention. Lots of examination of feelings, learning to express needs, lessons on morals and ethics, self-regulation.

              So, when I learn of people who are struggling with infidelity, I always point out the importance of taking care of themselves in order to protect the kids. We have a higher calling to reset the impact of intergenerational trauma. We empower ourselves to say “ENOUGH!”, the pain stops here. I will absorb the damage, process, heal and emerge gloriously for my own sake and the sake of the generation that come after me.

              • OptionNoMore,

                I would love to know there is a way to stop the trauma but I know better now.
                Yes, I am different than my mother’s generation but despite all of the years and years of hard and determined work I did on myself I still got blind sighted. (By years and years I mean decades. I am persistent if nothing else:)

                The abuse I sustained was not what I expected because it was not what happened in my home.

                I don’t mean to discourage you on your journey. All you are doing is wonderful in allowing you to heal and your children to heal but having expectations on how that will manifest is a set up for self blame down the road.

                I know I felt certain that by teaching my children a moral code by which to navigate and by providing a strong spiritual foundation they would be able to navigate whatever their lives tossed at them.

                I laid the tools at their feet. All have distinct personalities of their own and ways in which to deal with their issues and I have to respect that since their lives are their lives.

                I have come to know that all the work I have done on myself has impacted me in positive ways. The wisdom I find here allows me to see that what the x did was not my fault. When I read so many stories just like my own the weight I carried of feeling responsible for ‘him’ keeps dropping off. I had a lot of baggage after 30 years which I didn’t even know was there.

                My children had a stable childhood too. It got upset and tangled after Dday when the truth came out. Up until that point, we were the couple on the block that others envied. Their trauma deals with dealing with the knowledge that what they thought their past was, wasn’t and that the man they thought there day was, isn’t.

                Thanks for your reply and I wish you the best with yourself and your sweet kids. They are so lucky that you found CL and have been able to implement what you have learned in a sound practical was for them so that they can have a stable childhood.

    • “Wasband would help people at the drop of the hat and would give the shirt off his back for a stranger but at home he hardly lifted a finger to help me”

      Yup, same here. For my ex, the helping strangers had two benefits. First, it was image management. Second, it was a shit sandwich directed at me…it also showed me he could be helpful, but refused to help me.

      You’re right MsVain, once the abuse starts, it only gets worse.

  • Right now, call lawyers. Call as many as you can. Hire the best lawyer you can afford. Gather all the documentation you will need, make copies, hide a copy of everything. Put cash where only you can find it. Take your name off joint accounts. Put a freeze on your credit. Get tested for STIs. Take pictures of the condition of your home and your belongings. Make a GoBag, everything you might need for you and the baby for three days. Put that in the trunk of the car. You might have to escape. Be ready. Now ask your lawyer how to kick his crazy ass out of your home. Do that. Oh and document everything. Write it all out and hide that. File and divorce him. You are being abused. This is abuse. There is nothing to work with here. Save your baby and save yourself. Get out now.

    Don’t be like me. I tolerated his abuse for decades and it got me nothing. My deepest shame is that I stayed.

    • Like the other long time chumps, I was married to THE DOCTOR for 35 years.

      Biggest regret is staying too fucking long. I have asked my children to forgive me for any failings I have as a mother but my biggest one is that I did not leave their dad earlier.

      THEY were the first ones to say this to me and now, 3 years post DDay, I smh.

      I wish to God I could go back in time (my actual regret is not having a time machine) but I cannot.

      I CAN warn younger women not to repeat my mistake. Learn from those of us who have been there, and done that.

      Get out now. Your husband is like an aggressive reoccurring cancerous tumor. He will never meet your needs again.

      Save yourself, and model for your children what women of strength and dignity do when they are betrayed and abused. (They rescue themselves.)

      Keep us posted.

      • I knew my marriage was a mistake right from the start. I wish I had left him before we had kids to be honest. And no “he didn’t give me my wonderful kids”! Had I married a good man I could have had those same wonderful kids with a good man who treated them and their mother well. I have no idea how they turned out so well, to be honest, although, to be fair to him I know he loves his kids. But nobody should be treated like that! I SHOULD have given my kids a better father!

        • Same! I actually tried to leave him once before we had kids. I had the car packed and everything, An unfortunate turn of events he was tipped off and intercepted me and began to love bomb better than ever! SMH that’s my biggest pain is that I should’ve given my kids a better father.

  • He is showing you who he is. Believe him. He really is selfish and abandoning and does not care. This is not a phase or something you did to him. This is him. This is who he is.

    Is this what you want your daughter to think is OK? Is this what you want her to see as normal so when she grows up she finds people who are users and abusers a comfortable place to be? This is what you need to consider. It’s not just about what you can take and what you can handle its about what you show your child is normal and acceptable. Is this the future you want for her? You know all that do as I say not as I do crap? This is the kind of thing our children learn to do from us. We can tell them all we want not to fall for this crap but when we immerse them in it and raise them to believe its OK because we accept it then we can only blame ourselves when they repeat the cycle because that is what we have trained them to see as normal. Do better for you child by showing here that you and she deserve better.

  • A couple of years ago I decided to spend the day reading blogs and forums written by Chumps. What I thought was true is true. Cheaters are all exactly alike. Throw in some blame shifting, lying, yelling, drinking, disappearing, fault finding, etc and you have a typical cheater. It doesn’t matter if he took care of you. It does matter that he blames you. You are married to a lying, sneaking, no good cheater. That is your get out of jail free card. So go. Don’t look back. People keep trying to change others. It never happens. He is not going to change.
    Btw, that lying on the floor crap? That’s a temper tantrum…….by an adult. Please let the other woman have him. She’s getting a real gem.

    • My ex would fake angina attacks when he wanted to get his way. It’s pathetic.

      I had so many good reasons to leave, and every time I put up with his disrespect I lost a little more of my self esteem.

      Instead of a clean break we had multiple separations. It put the kids through hell. And didn’t make me look very good to them in the long run. I hurt my kids by dragging the shit show out. I will always regret that deeply. A clean break would have been soooooo much healthier for my kids. You can’t possibly be a functional parent while putting up with a cheating nut bar’s theatrics.

      I found out later that my ‘loving’ partner had been lawyer shopping during our visits to marriage counselors. He wanted to know how much he stood to lose financially if he left us for OW. A lawyer told me this in confidence. Sobering.

    • RE: The lying on the floor crap

      Yep my ex did that do. The last day I saw him over two months ago before his grand finale disappearing act, he went through all the cycles of narc: rage, victimhood, extreme victimhood, indifference, and then poof. Gone. In his moment of extreme vicitmhood, he was lying on the floor, claiming he was having a heart attack. “Call the ambulance”. I was in the other room, as he yelled this in a faux feeble voice. I knew he was lying, and I also knew he was never far from his cell phone because he needed to text schmoopie for kibbles. He could have called himself if he really needed help. They are lying sacks of crap. Also, he would lie and say his mother was so upset that I wanted to divorce that SHE was in the hospital. All lies! Yeah everyone in his family became victims of me when I decided to divorce. Funny how that works.

  • 1)
    OK, you got the baddassery you requested. Now, it’s up to you. No amount of other people’s badassery will save you from knowing how f’ed up a person or situation is and staying in it anyway. Your child needs a solid parent and your should-be-ex isn’t one. It’s down to you. (I’m only toughlovin’ you so harshly because there’s a child getting hurt by all this, and the hurt’s not small, based on the behaviors you’re describing.)

    2)
    Really, if you look at the text messages, THAT’S his low bar? What the hell is he hiding there? And everywhere else? Not that it matters, because you’re already living in a razor filled tornado. What’s a little salt at this point?

    3)
    He’s dangerous. The behavior you’re describing is murder-volatile, given enough time. Please consider him dangerous. Those first 72 hours after you leave will be the scariest. He wouldn’t still be with you if he didn’t feel entitled to own you, so his reaction is likely to be intense and scary. My two cents are, don’t tip him off, just line up your ducks with a lawyer and figure out an exit plan.

    Good luck.

    • Yes, my first thought was that he’s dangerous. Add in the fuel of alcohol too = poor decision making which can lead to violence.

      Shannon Watts met her future husband/killer, Chris Watts, when she was at the lowest in her life. I think shen was newly diagnosed with Lupus and he took care of her right away. Took her to doctors appointments after only knowing her a short time. She later went onto describe how wonderful he was when they first met. Lord only knows how long until her Prince Charming started to show her who he really was. After he started his affair, he started exhibiting all the oh so familiar patterns we here at CN all experienced.

      Lunch Lady (the writer of this letter), please consider him dangerous. He’s showing himself to be very unstable and the alcohol is making it worse. He’s also could be endangering your daughter — drinking and driving? Intoxicated and unable to care for two year old daughter when she’s in his care? Take all the great advice you are being given and get going on divorcing him. He’s not the person you thought you married. He fooled you. A lot of us here at CN was fooled, so don’t beat yourself up for it.

      I saw this meme a year or so ago that said, “If you have to choose between me and someone else. Pick them.” We should never ever want to be with someone who “has to” decide if they want to be with us or someone else. We are never “lucky” if they picked us. We will then spend the rest of our relationship dancing the Pick Me Dance.

      And don’t feel ashamed or bad for apologizing to him. I bought my husband flowers two days after D-day. My girlfriend brought flowers to the house for me and when he walked in the home, I told him that friend gave me flowers. He said and I quote, “I wish someone would give me flowers.” So Pick Me Dancing Martha had flowers sent to his work that next day. See, we all do stupid stuff when we are in shock and fear. I also made him lunch every day to take to work, because my EX-pastor said I needed to do more things to make him feel loved. ((((HUGS))) to you Lunch Lady.

      • “If you have to choose between me and someone else. Pick them.” We should never ever want to be with someone who “has to” decide if they want to be with us or someone else.

        Ooo…this one hit home. That is why I chose my screen name. There was a quote I read by Maya Angelou, “Never make someone a priority when all your are to them is an option.”

        All this angst that cheaters demonstrate over their “dilemma” of who to chose. It really crazy when you think about it. Why did we even contemplate playing the pick-me game? Why did we even allow ourselves to become an option in our own marriages?

      • Martha,

        We must have been dancing to the same drummer 🙂 I too bought things for the x. I too see now it was all due to shock and fear and shock and fear but really shock because I simply couldn’t comprehend that my then husband of 30 + years would walk out on me and our children with someone he had know less than a year.

        Incomprehensible to me although now, due to CL and CN, I know it was absolutely predictable.

        Love your meme. Never would have believed I would be grateful that he chose ‘them’ but, today I am. Gratitude, yes, but still the pain etc from all the stuff I now see that was going on and how he treated me and the kids. Topsy turvy world in my healing mind – I am getting used to the discord. Old dogs do learn new tricks 🙂

    • Please believe that he is dangerous. I NEVER thought my husband would kill me because even now I know he still loves me, always did (he’s just seriously mentally ill)! But in the end, if the mentally ill person refuses to accept the treatment that is offered your best bet is to get the hell out of Dodge. After so many beatings, which got constantly worse, I finally wised up to the fact that “yeah, he COULD actually kill me”. And no it wouldn’t be intentional but he was just so out of control. In the end it doesn’t matter. The end result would have been the same wouldn’t it – me dead! I’m not making excuses for him, and I seriously will never have anything to do with him again now that both our kids are married and we live on different continents. I no longer wish him ill but I know damn well that that guy was capable of killing me, so please get out of there!

    • OK I’m showing my age here. I remember an Ingmar Bergman film years ago about divorce. the protagonist was a divorce counselor and she and her husband are going through a divorce. she said, as a counselor, never be alone with your spouse when going through a divorce because even a calm reasonable man may turn violent and it happened to her in the film. I always remember that. when we were separated I never was alone with him. honestly I also didn’t trust myself – there were times when I felt so much rage I could have hurt him.

    • I’ve received a heafty dose of badassery and I’ve hired an amazing lawyer. Going to serve him with divorce papers next week. Shit, you’re right about the time after I serve him being the scariest. I already had to call the police and file a report on him since I wrote this post. They’ve been patrolling around the house since just in case he come see by. I will be extra careful.

  • We all are such chumps. On D-day confrontation, the Dickhead yelled that he cheated because he was in a sexless marriage. And, I apologized, for not being a better wife, for making not making my man feel appreciated, for having a female body that had gone through menopause and didn’t always want to work.

    In truth, I was a very good wife and damn it, I made him lunch.

    We do all of these things because we love the people in our lives. That’s how it’s supposed to work. You treasure them and they treasure us too. Only some people, like your husband and my ex, don’t love the same way. They take and don’t give back. They don’t see us being supportive and ready to help – they see people who owe them, or even worse, people they can use. They string people along sucking whatever life they can until that person has nothing left to give and they toss them aside.

    Don’t be that person – take your daughter and get the hell out! You are his wife, not plan B, and you shouldn’t be treated as such. He’s cheater (people don’t act this way over some emotional affair), he’a a user (in more ways than one) and he’s not a good person. Your life is worth more than all this.

  • Re-reading, I realize he may not live with you, but it’s hard to tell. Either way, consider that he’s legally and financially interwoven with you while you are married. Whatever that does and doesn’t mean where you live, it has to be a huge risk on many levels.

    Staying married can be considered condoning in some courts. Legal advice is critical.

    • ((((Amiisfree)))
      Oh, how I wish I had had an Amiisfree.
      ( I just had to say that)
      Thank you for being such a strong voice and advocate on CN.
      You are a treasure to all Chumps!

  • Love the cartoon!! Perfect.

    He can’t and won’t make any decisions that are real. He will cake walk. He won’t file for divorce or separation. He will move out to appease the OW who is demanding it. It makes him ‘look’ single. So she gets off his case and keeps her twat open. He will run back to you; sad sausage, anger, charm. Depends on what he wants. He will try to drive you crazy so you move on. But he doesn’t really want you to move on. Cake.

    In fact, when you do move on and get a new boyfriend who has an interest in you and your child…I bet that’s when he really snaps. Some get religion and others kill.

    Lawyer up now. It is sometimes easier to make large moves to new states before filing for divorce and having a child custody agreement. Also, protect yourself financially. He could easily open credit in your name and use the money to impress his other woman. Each month that goes by is another month of no child support. I’d get him outside (not inside) and film him doing his tantrums, crying and craziness. Just act calm and bland around him. Don’t get sucked up into his drama. That’s one of his goals. To have a codependent drama triangulation thing.

    He’s not a mature man. See Tracy’s real Naugahyde remorse

  • Yes. They prefer us broken and in need. It’s kibbles because they are then the mighty hero that built you back up.
    But if you heal and become strong, you’re a threat. So they either tear you back down, or find someone else to make them feel important, or both.

  • There’s already so much life experience and sound advice posted. I’d like to add that your reaction (making him a sandwich after his terrible behavior) isn’t your fault at all, and is nothing to be ashamed of. It was a survival instinct, and you did what felt most likely to keep you safe in that moment.

    It’s helped me to hear, from a therapist, that my ex groomed me over years to react basically the same way you did. I comforted him when he was upset after abusing me because I’d been isolated (he somehow managed to drive off my friends and keep his own) and trained to value his feelings above mine (sudden anger, unpredictability, needs careful soothing plus acts of repair and contrition from me to calm down). The worst abuse began when I was correctly diagnosed with depression and started taking meds. I didn’t need him as much and I made new friends, and that’s when the shit really hit the fan.

    None of this is your fault, but you need to leave him to protect your daughter. Your local women’s shelter may have some valuable tips on what to do next, and how to protect her as well as yourself. I wish you all the strength in the world.

  • “And he expects me to be more understanding and more compassionate. What do I do?”

    What is more important, a disordered person’s disordered expectations or YOUR expectations?

    What are your expectations of yourself? You should sit down and name them and then go back and see where you have failed yourself. Because you have, you have let yourself down in serious ways.

    Stop with the marital counseling immediately and find a good therapist for yourself. Figure out why you’re more concerned with his expectations than your own.

    If you can’t get to a good therapist then at the very least google codependent behavior. It’s so critical that you put the focus on fixing yourself. It’s time to stop trying to fix him.

  • I’m sorry you’re going through this. My cheater was also so supportive and showed unconditional love too. Until his double life got found out. That support & unconditional love is just image management. Once you’re no longer of use they drop it and become their true selves. Cruel heartless motherfuckers. Run like fuck and don’t look back. Unlike a lot of us you’re still young enough to start again

  • “One gets uppity? Run to the other. Keeps him in cake.”

    My ex-wife would do this with every man she had ever dated before me or cheated on me with (except the one that committed suicide whenever his wife was going to leave him). She claimed the men would contact her “to reminisce”. According to her, she didn’t do anything wrong because she wasn’t the one trying to contact them. She leaves off the part about how she enthusiastically participated in “reminiscing”. She couldn’t possibly be rude and ignore them…that might cause a kibble supply to dry up!

    Even after her last physical affair stopped, she kept talking to him up until I discovered evidence of their affair (most likely contact continued but in a more hard to trace way). Apparently once the physical affair stopped they magically went back to being “just friends”. However, I’ve found enough of these messages where these men “reached out” or stayed in regular contact. Nearly every one of them contain some variation of “so how’s SweetPotatoFlakes treating you lately?”.

    I think disordered people realize the kibble multiplying value in being an underappreciated spouse. They want to maintain the appearance of being a potential affair partner or easy lay without coming out and actually saying it. Apparently in bizarro world, admitting you are willing to cheat is an atrocious crime…but acting like you are is just being the likeable person that you are. Then whatever these men happen to do is on them. She didn’t go looking for an affair.

    Even if they are treated wonderfully, all they have to do is act like they are not. In other words, it didn’t matter if I was a perfect husband (I wasn’t)…all that mattered is that she was a underappreciated wife. If I didn’t tow the line and keep her sated with kibbles (an impossible task), she had a multitude of sources to turn to.

    • “I think disordered people realize the kibble multiplying value in being an underappreciated spouse. They want to maintain the appearance of being a potential affair partner or easy lay without coming out and actually saying it. Apparently in bizarro world, admitting you are willing to cheat is an atrocious crime…but acting like you are is just being the likeable person that you are. Then whatever these men happen to do is on them.”

      Sounds just like women who refuse to discuss or use birth control event though they become sexually active. The reasoning is that being prepared means you’re planning on having sex, and if you’re single and planning to have sex, that’s an indication you aren’t moral. Better to just say, “Overwhelmed in the moment,” and let yourself off the hood.

    • Sweetpotatoflakes, “except the one that committed suicide whenever his wife was going to leave him”? Say what? How many times did this guy commit suicide? I found out that my ex was telling people in the “skank bar” that I used to beat him up when he came home from work every day – found it out from my hairdresser to be precise! I just burst out laughing as it was so ridiculous. But firstly, he would have (a) had to go to work every day – which would have been a plus and (b) he was a US marine and I’m just little ol’ me so how the hell I beat him up every day is beyond me!

  • As you cut the crusts off his pimento loaf, as yourself this;
    1. Why do I feel like ANY of this is ok?
    2. ^^ Re read #1.
    Stop. Just dead stop.
    Any relationship with this man is a zero win situation, with a zero value partner. (I’ll come right out and say it.)

    Find a quality I.C. and start moving on. You have no choice. It will be now, 6 months from now – or the GIFT of going through this when you are 50 with this man.
    Find a better human.

    • Magneto, ain’t that the truth. If a person can’t cut the crust off his own pimento loaf do you want to remain married to him???? When we first got married I always moved my toiletries to the back of the small cupboard so that he wouldn’t have to “knock them over” when he tried to reach his own toiletries – this would leave to him throwing a hissy fit! Why oh why do we accommodate their juvenile behaviours?

  • He’s trying to force you to be the ‘bad guy’. Meanwhile he has a girlfriend.

    Tell him that you don’t do 3 in a marriage. I can’t see a healthy marriage on the horizon for you with him, I think that ship has sailed. Now it’s a matter of damage control.

    My ex preferred me when I was dependant or sick. Doesn’t say much does it?

  • Tell him he needs to leave now. As friends. You’ll always love that guy who was there when you needed him but you accept that it’s over. This doesn’t have to be a big blow up. Pack his stuff and leave it by the door. Yeah it’s gonna rip you up inside but you’re going to have to fake it. I have no idea why he’s melting down like this. My husband did all sorts of horrid stuff like this. He was pushing me to end it because he didn’t want to be the bad guy. But he was and I let it go too long. I hated him bitterly for a long time. But I let him go and surprise. I’m happier and more successful that I ever dreamed. If I stayed with him I would have stayed in that weakened position forever. It’s not always clear when you are in it but the Lord works in mysterious ways. Get a good settlement and go. Be free. Be beautiful. Be happy. Go.

  • I was also told that if I “snooped” on her correspondence with the OM she would bail immediately.
    It’s not really an effective threat. Go ahead and go! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  • If you live in a One Party Consent state, please record parenting exchanges. You’ll be glad you did once you file and he magically transforms into the sane, stable superdad. Also, screaming in your face is abuse, doing so in front of a child is child abuse. Call ze cops.

  • Please read all the posts from us Chumps that have wasted decades of their life with a cheating partner.
    You have nothing to work with in your marriage. You seem to believe his lies & are still trying to work it out with marriage counseling! After all the cruelty & suppose “emotional affair” your being has lighted.
    No such thing as an emotional affair it’s always physical.
    He’s a coward to tell you the truth. Like CL says .. what is acceptable to you?
    Please for your child & your mental health serve him divorce papers to rid yourself of this cancer in your life.
    Stay strong 💪🏼

  • Every day what Chump Lady says makes more and more sense. Listen to her now. It doesn’t matter that your soon to be ex was “ill” at the time this went down. That doesn’t make you somehow insensitive. I got the same load of crap. It was a torn Achilles that occurred when he jumped off the couch to cheer on the Denver Broncos. I wasn’t sympathetic enough. Then he fell in love with the person that he had already been cheating with, but had continued to pretend to be a loving husband because he was hoping his feelings would “change”. But my “callousness” showed up when he tore his Achilles and he realized his own mortality and he had to make this change for him. It’s all the same. So your husband was sweet and supportive to you when you had cancer… I’m thinking you didn’t need that much sweetness and support. You probably kept most of your pain to yourself and embraced the life you won back by fighting for yourself. And he sounds like he took the support you offered during his “illness” and didn’t appreciate it-he just made it not enough. And he refused to embrace life but instead clung to some self-made illness. That doesn’t make you inadequate or unloving or a “spoiled brat”; it makes him an emotional vacuum. I know it’s hard to listen to Chump Lady at first. You maybe think that you couldn’t be that detached from this former life. When I found her book, it helped me immensely- but for a year I could’t actually follow her advice. I sometimes felt like I was sneaking around behind chump nation’s back doing the chump-like things I wasn’t supposed to do. And suddenly it all falls together and you realize that every last thing she says is right. You didn’t cause this. He doesn’t want to be part of your family-then his problems are not yours anymore. And that’s not being selfish. That’s being strong. Good luck!!!

    • I’m thinking it’s possible that the surgery put a damper on the cheater’s extracurriculars, so he started acting out. It’s hard to hide that double life when you’ve got a 24 hour caregiver.

    • I think your spot on MadKatie. I imagine part of this cheaters story that he’s telling himself is that OP didn’t look after him as well as he did her when they had their respective health crises and somehow resents that she probably didn’t pay him all the attention he feels she ‘owed’ him but instead made concessions for her babies needs too and that prompted him to devalue her. And yeah, his care suring cancer probably wasn’t as great as she thought it was and he was possibly delighted to be able to look like the good guy while simultaneously being able to do questionable things behind her back more easily because she didn’t have the capacity to be more aware of what was going on. He sold her a classic bait and switch exempt there was no change he’d always been a shitty asshole but she just hadn’t the context to see it.

  • Dear Sandwich Maker,

    You sound a lot like me. My exes received way more apologies from me than they deserved. If I could go back in time, I would have kicked these guys to the curb at the first sign of disrespect/abuse from them.

    Please protect yourself—ensure that you have control over your money—at least a bank account in your name only to give you some ‘run money.’ The one thing I did right in my divorce was, shortly before my husband filed, opening an account in my name only with a little less then half of our cash so that I could rent an apartment with my kids. I ended up needing that money for rent. My ex-husband broke the law many times and surreptitiously drained money from accounts while blaming me for stealing from him (I never committed any of the crimes of which he accused me—classic DARVO behavior on his part.) These psychologically disordered abusers have no conscience and few, if any, limits. I understand the desire to hang on, hoping your beloved partner will turn from Mr. Hyde back to Dr. Jekyll. Unfortunately, in probably 99.9% of cases, Mr. Hyde is what the abuser is at the core and Dr. Jekyll is just the veneer. This is really tough, but you are young, dedicated, highly competent—odds are in your favor if you ‘strike out on your own’ with your child now. (I wish that I had.) If anything, showing that you refuse to tolerate abuse will make the 0.1% of unicorns take notice and change their tune in a bid to get you (abused partners, chumps) back. Put on your battle armor now. Your future self will thank your present self.

  • Al Anon.
    Get yourself to Al Anon!
    Al Anon is for people in relationship with alcoholics.
    You will get emotional support, knowledge and skills to deal clearly with your husband’s alcoholism. Don’t worry, they have heard your story before and many in the group will have lived it. They will not tell you what to do, but they will help you find answers. You will be in a community of supportive people.
    Go to Al Anon….

  • THIS!!! It is amazing how these fuckwits get in front of cops and judges and suddenly they are the picture of reason and can very convincingly paint YOU as the unstable, irrational, liar. If it is legal where you are do it. Frankly, I’d do it anyway (not legal advice–just personal cover your ass advice). I got plenty of evidence of my cheater’s double life of prostitutes. My state is completely no-fault and family court would not have cared. But cheater cared very much that his public image in the community, church, and his work not reflect the truth of his sick sexual use of women in a criminal activity. Get evidence of everything regarding infidelity. record and document abberant behavior. If he flops to the floor in an hysterical rage dial 911 and let them know you fear for his safety due to his mental health. If he threatens himself or you–do the same in addition to calling the police. Do not make threats to do this. Just do it so you have documentation to limit his unstable alcoholic ass’s custodial interaction. Make no mistake these displays of rage and instability are calculated to coerce and frighten you into behaving how he wants. Admit it (this intimidation)is abuse. Contact a domestic violence advocate group and get documentation that you have needed their services.

    Also be aware that while he is “dithering” apparently and you are in indecision he is off finding lawyers, probably draining accounts, emptying 401 K’s, diverting bonus checks, stashing cash you don’t know about, running your credit cards up. He is also no doubt already spreading poisonous lies to your friends, family, employer (anyone who will listen) that you are unstable, abusive, a liar. This is what they do. So that by the time you tell anyone what’s going on–they won’t believe you. It is what these assholes do. They control you as long as they can. When they can’t do that they work hard to control how other people see you.

    Do not tell him any of this. Do it all without his knowledge. When you have your protections in place. Have him served. You cannot counsel and mediate and reason with predators!

    • I live the Chump life Jojobee describes. You can’t control what abusers say, but you can to some extent shield you and your dependents from financial abuse.

    • This>>>>!!!!>>>”Also be aware that while he is “dithering” apparently and you are in indecision he is off finding lawyers, probably draining accounts, emptying 401 K’s, diverting bonus checks, stashing cash you don’t know about, running your credit cards up. He is also no doubt already spreading poisonous lies to your friends, family, employer (anyone who will listen) that you are unstable, abusive, a liar. This is what they do. So that by the time you tell anyone what’s going on–they won’t believe you. It is what these assholes do. They control you as long as they can. When they can’t do that they work hard to control how other people see you.”

      Some of the best advice I got pre-Chump Lady, was to file for divorce ASAP. XH did not see it coming. He was taking his good old time and who knows what he was planning to do while he was dragging his feet. For sure he was seeing lawyers. Filing “froze” the financials. Make sure you making copies of everything related to financials and any other document you think might be important. Don’t tell him you are doing it! Get the copies out of the house and leave them with a trusted friend or family member.

      And for sure he’s slandering you behind your back. I never in a million years would have thought that my now XH would have started a lie-filled smear campaign. But he did and he started it within days after D-day. And the Lord only knows what he had been saying behind my back to his ho-workers and female “friends” all the years prior to D-day. So tell yourself that he’s smearing your good name and you will not react in any negative way that will give him “proof” that you are unstable or whatever else he’s saying about you. Months after D-day, I started to get really angry and started to react to what he was doing to me. He then had proof that I was “unstable”. I never acted that way before D-day and it took me awhile to get back to the calm me that I normally am. I wish I would have found Chump Lady right away, because maybe I would have known better to act out my anger.

  • IMO, these are the some of the most dangerous types of cheaters. The pathetic ones are the most manipulative; this is the origin of their power. Beware those who would use your own caring heart to run you over in service of their needs.

    • From my last partner, I got something similar to what Lunchmaker got from abuser, ‘Can I have the weekend (at work with his young work subordinate) to think about whether I want to stay with you or not?’ I was so offended by this and other statements he had made over recent years that I told him to pack up my stuff. Unfortunately, I quickly went back to my chumpy self and basically begged him to stay with me. He didn’t, he discarded me for his work subordinate, now second wife. I have been conditioned to abuse by many people (a relative and several exes). I am incensed for Lunchmaker.

      By the way, Lunchmaker, be prepared for continued attacks by your husband over the next several years. My criminal-minded ex-husband, even after divorcing me, still routinely harasses me, oftentimes taking me to court and preventing preventing me from getting medical help for our kids, even the one who has special needs. Joint legal custody means that I cannot secure for my kids beneficial, much needed care (e.g., medication, psychotherapy to deal with trauma) as my ex-husband blocks my attempts. The one good thing about being divorced in my case is the physical separation (separate homes) protects me a bit—my ex-husband now has a slightly harder time stealing from me and hitting me. Worst decision I ever made—marrying a monstrous human being.

  • “does too much parenting of child”

    I got that also from cheater X. She also said she was jealous of our child. The therapist looked at her like she was a space alien.

    Translation: cheaters have to be central, have to have the spotlight, receive all the attention, have to feel special. This is why they flirt every chance they get. They are throwing out fishing lines to see who will bite. They trade their body for attention.

  • Dear Lunchmaker:

    Regardless of why he’s behaving the way he is, the most important–the CENTRAL question–is this: is this acceptable to you?

    I’m guessing the answer is No.

    Look, you’re in marriage counseling. That works ONLY if both parties are interested in rebuilding the marriage. He has told you that he is not. Instead, he blames you and emotionally abuses you in the counseling sessions. Also, that counselor is a POS. They’re more interested in collecting your money than in calling your husband on his blameshifting. If they were honest, they’d tell you that you have nothing to work with.

    So, let’s look at the facts:
    * He tells you he isn’t in love with you.
    * He confesses to an Emotional Affair (by the way, he’s lying. It’s physical).
    * He threatens to divorce you if you check his texts (you should totally check his texts the next time he’s passed out).
    * He’s moved out of the marital home.
    * He drinks too much.
    * He writhes on the floor and cries (you should get this on video).
    * He refuses to take responsibility for his behavior during counseling, preferring to blameshift you.

    Why do you want to remain married to someone who is capable of the above?

    See, you’re waiting for the unicorn, the reappearance of the man who was by your side during your cancer. You feel you OWE him the benefit of the doubt.

    No, you don’t. You gave him the benefit of the doubt through marriage counseling, and he’s not participating in good faith.

    Go to a good family practice lawyer in your area. Explain that your husband has told you that he no longer loves you and that you are gathering information about divorce and child custody. Explain he is no longer in the marital home (in some states, this counts as abandonment). Show a video of him screaming at you and writhing on the floor. Ask what you can expect in a divorce and what you need to do to prepare yourself for a favorable settlement and custody. Indicate that you are likely to go through a high conflict divorce once your husband discovers that you’re really going to go through with this and ask if the lawyer has experience dealing with disordered individuals.

    Go to at least 3 of the top family practice attorneys in your area. Most will do a low-cost initial consult, and they will also let you know their rates. Stick with the facts of your situation. Don’t use the lawyer as a therapist.

    Then make your plans.

    Your plans should also include individual therapy for yourself, with an eye to finding a therapist who understands trauma bonding and abuse.

    This shit isn’t going to get better. Get out now.

  • Dear “Lunch”,

    Your husband must be mentally ill! He served you a shit sandwich with a side of trauma bonding, you swallowed it, and then, you said “Yes” when he offered you a second helping because you thought that would help.

    This. Will. Not. Get. Better.

    Please take care of yourself and your little girl by getting out NOW!

    > Get a barracuda of a divorce attorney.
    > Get an amazing therapist.
    > Go as close to Zero Contact as possible.

  • So he can’t decide between you ( his wife and mother of his child ) or a whore that will sleep with married men ?

    What a dilemma for him !! Poor soul

    It’s not a choice between a brownie or a doughnut your his wife ! You know a human with feelings so I suggest you make his choice for him and leave with your precious child and start a new cheater free abuse free life .
    The divorce summons should make his mind up !
    Sending you hugs and support ❤️

  • I feel like a year ago this was me. He was off vacationing with Snooki and I was doing his laundry. It took several months for me to find my bad ass but I haven’t looked back since.

    It seemed like every day/ every week I was taking the smallest baby steps. One thing at a time. My life looks completely different now. I bought an income property 2,000 miles away and am living peacefully with my pups. Finally filing for divorce next week. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you start putting yourself and your energy first.

  • This was a very painful read for a lot of reasons. You are in a controlling, abusive marriage. You have been since the beginning. Your husband’s behavior is escalating. There is a type of abuser who seeks out women in need. He was caring to you when you were at your weakest, he is openly attacking you now you are not wholly dependent on him. There are men who coerce women into having children in order to control them and ensure they don’t leave. These men see their wives and children as possessions not people. These are the men who kill their wives and children. You husband ticks all the boxes of a man like this.

    I hope you contact a domestic violence helpline to see the support that is out there. Please don’t get caught up in untangling his behavior. There is nothing you can do to change the situation. You are operating from opposite needs and perspectives. Please be safe. You sound like a strong, caring and intelligent woman. It would be such a shame for the world to lose that.

  • Trust he sucks. Get yourself sti tested. Gather as much evidence as you can. Check bank accounts and get yer ass to a lawyer. Do you want this guy to be a role model to your child on how to behave? and how its acceptable to scream and insult mummy? Run, dont walk to the nearest exit. Imagine your child all grown up and going though what you are now. What advice would you give? You would tell your child they deserved better. So what about you?

  • Hire a lawyer now, get those messages subpoenaed and FILE for infidelity and abuse. Get custody, alimony and freedom do not go through Mediation.

  • None of the judges I know (and I know many) in the vast majority of states will make a decision based on infidelity. My husband diverted marital funds to prostitutes to pay for sex with them, physically, emotionally, and verbally abused me, and repeatedly committed perjury. With the exception of only one judge, my several judges did nothing to address this behavior. (The one judge thought that my husband was full of BS and set up, without me even requesting it, what is tantamount to a restraining order. This order has probably protected me to some degree.) This being said, I agree with Chumpfrog that mediation will probably be a complete waste of time in Lunchmaker’s case as it was in mine. In my state, we are forced to go through at least one mediation session. In creating a divorce decree for divorce from an abuser, I recommend making the decree as specific as possible. Give an abuser an inch, he (or she) will take a million miles.

  • As it has been said here before regarding cheaters “Trust that they suck”. He has shown you that he sucks. The person you thought he was no longer exists. Gone! (maybe never really existed). Listen to the advice here of your fellow chumps. We completely understand how you’re feeling and know what to do.

    1. Call Lawyer.
    2. Make Dr. Appt for STD’s

    Betrayal sucks and this will take time, but you will come out the other side.

    • I think that the Chumps who’ve suggested that Lunch Maker’s husband preferred her when she was vulnerable are spot on.

      I know a woman who escaped a physically abusive relationship with a man who triggered red flags with both her family and all of us who knew her. How did she get involved with him? Well, she’d met him casually at work, but it was when she was severely injured at work and hospitalized that he insinuated his way into her life. He was always at the hospital. When she was home, he made it a point to help her run errands. He was always so solicitous. She was so grateful.

      CheaterX had a thing for women in vulnerable positions, too. Schmoopie blipped on his radar because she had a daughter with a severe congenital heart condition. Said daughter became pregnant, which could easily kill her. CheaterX insisted on buying all sorts of baby supplies because Schmoopie couldn’t afford it and the daughter was in high school (the apple didn’t fall far from the tree, and if you let the boyfriend stay in the same home as your daughter, pregnancy happens).

      The point is that some people want to take care of people because they are caring and compassionate.

      Others want to take care of people because they’re predatory and like their prey helpless.

  • When my Ex was acting just like your spouse. I called the police and this is the advice I got “Take your children and go stay with someone he won’t think about. I have seen too many situations like this go very badly.” The abuse shelters can offer you a place to stay and help you find an attorney. The police told me they couldn’t do anything unless he was physically assaulting me. Then use the attorneys the abuse shelters recommend. Don’t expect the legal system to protect your child-They are viewed as property just like anything else you own. Try to get as must custody as possible; because there ultimate goal will be to turn the child against you (mine stated that publicly). Make your parenting plan as specific as possible and do not change it for any reason. If they can get you to give to little changes they will keep trying for big ones till they have control of your life again. Don’t expect them to stop being nasty in messages, phone calls, etc. get communication limited to one platform for your sanity (e-mail or our family wizard). This is part of no contact. Never apologize or admit to anything narcissist use your good heart against you. Save every little detail of there Facebook, text, not showing for kids, affair partner history, etc. and use that to get what you need. They don’t want to be exposed for who they are. Last but not least “Trust they suck”!

  • Just no. Past good deeds don’t obviate you from ongoing good behavior. He’s just not who you thought he was and I suspect has cheated on you off and on for years. But, it ain’t worth finding out. Now that’s he thinks he can treat you this way, he’ll do it forever in one form or another. Get out now, fight for yourself and your kid. Be the safe sane stable parent she deserves and that’s he cannot be.

  • He had an affair and I made him lunch,

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. A lot of us have crazy, nonlogical reactions. At the time of discovery/confrontation, we are scared, afraid, angry, confused, etc. You made him lunch. Possibly because that was a normal thing for you to do. In the craziness, you did something that made sense to you, something to make you feel safe/normal. That is actually somewhat normal.

    I’ll give you an example. After confronting my wife….about her 2nd affair….with video proof…I kissed her goodnight on the forehead. What? Yes. Seriously. I had just shown my wife the video I had of her singing happy birthday to “him” in her lingerie (Marilyn Monroe style), she weazled her way around it, and I went to bed…after kissing her on the head. Crazy! We all do crazy things.

  • Ugh the title is so cringey.

    Go get you a life girl!

    The only thing you have control over is when the divorce happens and if you wait too long you may not even control that.

  • To the Chump who wrote this, my heart goes out to you. I know that one of the hardest things can be to understand how they can go from loving you so much (especially when you felt at your worst) to such awful treatment. I would suggest looking into the relationship patterns of people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and see if they match your relationship. There are a lot of great videos on YouTube that I watched religiously to understand, and I’d be happy to recommend some if you’d like. I know that when I first came to this site and wrote a post, I had a hard time swallowing Chump Lady and Chump Nation’s advice. I thought “wow, he’s not that dangerous” “these people don’t understand that my story is a bit different” etc. So I gave more chances. And it got worse. The sweetest man became physically abusive. The cheating continued and his ability to hide it became more clever. And the damage to yourself becomes harder to repair the more you allow them to play games with your mind, senses and self worth. You came to this site for a reason. You know deep down something about what he is doing isn’t right and matches a pattern many of us have seen. Listen to that voice inside of yourself. It’s telling you the truth. I think you know deep down this is no way to live a life you fought so hard to keep. You got through your cancer. Do not let him try to own the battle you won. That strength you had to do that is still a part of you. And it will get you through this. I promise you it will be hard. Yes, you read that correctly. You will feel lonely. You will think back to when he was kind and long for it. You’ll ask yourself repeatedly when did it all change. The more you can turn to knowledge and information to understand that this behavior he is showing is not unique, the more you will see it a) isn’t you and b) there is nothing to fight for other than a miserable life next to him. Along with it being hard, the only other things I can promise you is that your only hope is to end it. The happy life is on the other side of his abuse. The sooner you accept this, the sooner you heal. We understand how painful it is going to be to go through this. But our community is here for you. As are numerous life coaches and therapists on YouTube/blogs/etc. rooting for you to get through this. You deserve a happy life. He will never care to give that to you as he is showing you now. But you and your daughter deserve it. You can do this. Trust me, the only thing left to gain here is being the one to officially walk away from him. It will make you feel powerful in the aftermath.

    • I also want to add that you should be careful trying to check his phone. I know many other posts encouraged it, but the cheaters can become very dangerous. My ex-husband also became an alcoholic at some point. The physical abuse started shortly after that. I’m also in my 20s and did not expect my life to go this way. But Be careful. And again, as crazy as it may sound to have people tell you to contact domestic abuse hotlines, etc. honestly, be very careful and understand we are seeing the situation a bit more clearly because our hearts are removed from it. They can be unpredictable, and I want to emphasize what others have said about getting your daughter and self safely away from his extreme behavior.

      • I agree. Don’t check his phone. You THOUGHT you knew him, but you don’t. Do NOT assume he won’t get scary-angry, or violent, or threaten violence.

        I heard “if you don’t stop talking about that, I don’t know what I’ll do….” He also threatened to throw a heavy item through my car window if I put it in the garage, which is where I told him I was going to move it (his hoarding had gotten so bad that I couldn’t get to the other side of the basement and I started to move something – which I say is mine, he claimed it’s his, even though I paid for it – so I could get to my own things on the other side of his piles of crap).

        Be smart. Get a lawyer. Don’t tip your hand. I know this is hard, but you know the marriage is dead.

        Hang in there. Chumpy hugs.

  • I never got the emotional affair gaslight but i did get the *nothing happened* gaslight which is the same shit sandwhich from a fuckwit basically. Sex and porn addict too so i dont beleive it. If he’d known the term emotional affair im sure he would have tried it on.

    Don’t believe that bullshit! Everything happened. Next shiny bright thing ie victim happened. Leave them to it. And lawyer up. He’s a lying fuckwit.

  • Oh yes, we all do stupid shit when we are in the midst of the mindfuck. Looking back, I am so glad I took control and filed against the lying POS. I had to tell myself I could always change my mind, but I needed to start taking the steps forward instead of spinning in his crazy town.

  • Sometimes I read these stories and cannot believe for a minute they are real….people cannot be this blind. But, then I remember everything I went through, what I said, how I did the pick me dance and realize, yes, they are real sadly, they are real.

  • Get a new therapist. Any professional that would allow this in front of them should lose their license. He’s engaging in abusive beahvior right in front of the damn therapist 🧐

    And divorce this hoe while you are at it.

  • What?! If you look at his text messages, he will divorce you?! Oh puhleeze! Is he expecting you to be hiding in fear under a table with your knees knocking? What does he think you are—a two year old?

    Sadly, you sound so much like I used to be—terminally nice and empathetic to a fault. ChumpLady has it right. You ARE strong. You ARE stepping up. You ARE the one being responsible one here. That says so much about who you are. You should take pride in that.

    Oh my, I have been where you are. I don’t claim to have the answers for anyone else, but if I were to offer you one suggestion, it would be to get out of your heart and into your head, like RIGHT NOW.

    I stayed whipped around the stump forever whenever I allowed my heart, emotions, memories, and pie-in-the-sky-and-the-sweet-by-and-by visions of how things ‘used to be’ to rule the day. Then, it happened. My best friend—who’d been there, very patiently walking along the way with me through my whole sordid ordeal—casually said to me: “You know Page, he thinks you’re dumber than a box of rocks, doesn’t he?” Meaning: he doesn’t think you’re smart enough to clue into the fact that he’s manipulating you.

    When she said that, something inside me snapped. My answer was ‘Yes! That’s exactly what he thinks!” When I could finally visualize him laughing up his sleeve about how easily I could be manipulated with just a few emotional triggers, I became indignant. The Real Me woke up and said, “Oh no you didn’t!’ In other words, that revelation finally insulted my INTELLIGENCE [the only thing I hadn’t abdicated to him] enough to finally stand up and start fighting to take my life back.

    I don’t know what it may take to get you to a similar point of action, but I say … get out of your emotions and stop allowing yourself to get hoodwinked by sappy feelings. Maybe you can find YOUR way of flipping that switch. But you need to go from terminally nice and accommodating, to terminally insulted and swinging with both fists.

    Slam that door shut, dear. He’s just a pompous, not-so-transparent snake charmer trying to lure you out into into the open—into what’s he’s figured out is your danger & vulnerability zone—where he can manipulate you like a marionette.

    Stay fortified where you have a fighting chance … in your intelligence sector … in your higher mind. Cause, P.S., Long story short: … no one’s coming. YOU have to rescue you. And YOU are the only one you can completely trust right now.

    My two cents based on my experience.

    Wishing you the best. Trust me, it will get better. ChumpNation is proof of that.
    Page

  • PageJPike

    I like what you wrote about your wake-up moment. Reminded me of one of mine – also a very good friend, a usually calm, soft spoken woman – suddenly I heard her voice screaming at me though my phone, “Jesus – He is fucking another woman, fucking another woman….” I don’t recall how many times she repeated it but it was also followed by her exasperated voice saying softly to me, “I don’t know how much more of this I can take.” She could see clearly what I couldn’t see and had been faithfully getting me through those beyond horrible early days after DDay and abandonment.

    Not sure what woke me up more – her admonitions of what he was doing or the threat of loosing her as a friend.

    It has been over 2 years now. She and I are as tight as ever. He is a bunch of bad memories that are loosing their luster on a daily basis.

    NC and grey rock are truly life savers.

    CL and CN introduced me to both and my new life.

    I second all you have written to the OP.

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