(No, not really. I’m just trying to mess with Google Analytics today.)
Many people tell me they wish they’d found Chump Lady sooner, before their ex inflicted another affair/ran off with the 401K/impregnated the schmoopie — but alas they were googling “How to save my marriage” instead of “How to leave a cheater.”
So, all you sleepless 2 a.m. chumps, who just got pummeled by a D-Day, who want to save their marriages after infidelity? Rest here awhile. I know you’re not ready to hear it, I know it’s not the message you were hoping to find, but hey, I’m not going to charge you $399 to “affair proof” your marriage or bullshit you.
Here’s some real advice about How to Save Your Marriage After Infidelity:
Recognize that it’s dead. No! It’s all a terrible mistake and they’re really sorry! I hear you. You’re just going to try harder and be stalwart, and it’s all going to turn around. Sorry. That’s not how it works. When someone betrays you, in the most intimate and humiliating fashion, you cannot trust them. You cannot feel safe or intimate with someone you don’t trust. Sure, you can stay married to such a person, but you won’t feel connected to them. You know that movie Gravity, where Sandra Bullock is floating in space, untethered from the obliterated space station? Millions of miles from years from earth and the oxygen is running out? That’s your marriage.
But you DO feel connected! You have all this shared history! And you’re going to fling yourself at the cheater and FORCE the goddamn connection. LOVE ME, YOU BASTARD! That’s the Humiliating Dance of Pick Me. Stop it. You don’t control dead things.
Don’t I have some secret recipe to give you control of dead things? What, do I look like a wizard? No. And anyone who promises you such a recipe is a fraud. WE DON’T CONTROL OTHER PEOPLE. What other people do and how they feel is utterly beyond our control.
I’m sorry. I know the powerlessness sucks.
Realize it’s not your fault. Pay no attention to the blameshifting. You didn’t hold a gun to their head and force them to create dating profiles. You might actually suck, but you did not make your cheater cheat. That’s completely on them. People have agency and many options including therapy, divorce lawyers, and honest conversations. They cheated because they wanted to. It’s that simple.
If you have any hope of saving it (assuming you think resurrection of dead things is a desirable outcome), you have to be prepared to enforce your boundaries, even if that means leaving.
Yes, that’s totally counterintuitive — to save this thing you want so badly, you have to be prepared to walk away from it cold. But that’s exactly what you have to do — you have to love and respect yourself enough to have deal breakers. If you won’t enforce your boundaries (such as “break up with Schmoopie,” or “show me a credit report,” or “get an STD test”), then you’re sending the message that you and your boundaries can be trampled on without consequence. Let it ride? That’s essentially sticking a sign on your forehead that says, “ABUSE ME.”
But they would never do that!
They already did.
Finally, know this — you’ll survive. You’re more than the stupidity and appalling judgment of your partner. Infidelity is no measure of your worth. Whatever some fuckwit dished out, you’re still you. Don’t internalize their crazy.
I’d also suggest not staying married to it either.
This one ran previously. That thing’s still dead. Don’t touch it.
I woke up this morning after having a terrible nightmare that I was still married to Asshat AND I was sure he was lying and cheating, but was staying. What a relief to wake up and realize he was actually GONE! After 30 years of marriage, I am relaxed, happy- giddy almost, to greet every new day. I spend 30 years walking on eggshells, believing his lies, and praying that it would get better… it did. He’s gone.
As a side note, twice this week I have had the opportunity to share the three channels of the narcissist with friends as they are trying to navigate relationships with their own narc. When I said “charm, rage, and self-pity?”, a light bulb went off above their heads and they thought I was a freaking genius. I said nope, I just learned it from a brilliant chump and chump nation. Knowing what you’re dealing with makes all the difference. We are mightier together.
So glad you are so happy. I caught mine cheating about week and a half ago. Found dating profiles, a empty confirm wrapper and text messages between him and a woman. One in particular. Texting her all hrs of the morning telling her to wake up! I am so mad at myself cuz I did kick him out, then I brought him back! What is wrong with me?? I called him trying to work things out, he said he knew I lost interest in him from the way I looked at him I don’t have time for him didn’t want to have sex with him. How? There’s no connection! And those made me feel bad, I blame myself for pushing him to cheating. If I payed more attention to him had more sex and looked at him lovingly and made him feel special he would of never done what he did. So yes I blame myself. That’s why I brought him back, cuz it’s my fault. Do I trust him? No. Everyday is a struggle as I still feel he’s talking to someone. Even though I made him txt that woman and tell her he has a wife and has to end it. He did. But I don’t know if there is anyone else right now, or someone new.
I’m fucked right now, don’t know what to do as I blame myself and feels bad that I pushed him all the way to have to seek what he was missing at home, outside.
Magdalena, he has guilt tripped you good, you did not push him to do anything, did you read the article? You did not put a gun to his head and make him meet other women, text other women, etc. He chose to do that. I don’t think you have superpowers/magic that is powerful enough to control another person…you did not push him away. Look at it this way, if he felt pushed away, why did he not talk to you, why is he not talking to you about it, why is he not fixing it, why is he blaming you for his shitty actions?
My ex claimed it was because we didn’t have enough sex too. But he never acknowledged that he just expected sex as part of the marriage package and he did not one g-d thing to make me want to have sex with him. We had very young children and he gave me zero help. Twice a year I’d have a meltdown about how little he did, he’d send me flowers, promise to change, and go back to his beer, video games, and long naps while I did everything else.
If you think it’s true you all didn’t have much sex, look a little deeper. But I know plenty of people on this board had plenty of sex with their cheaters and it didn’t save anything.
Don’t accept the blameshift.
One morning, after a lovely evening of me cooking a great meal and wonderful sex, the cheater woke up, made me tea, warmed up my car before I left for work, and held me really tight, kissed me, and said I love you so much. I saw that later that day he emailed a woman he had met on an airplane (and gotten her email address) to see if she would go out with him.
So how did I cause this? How could I have expected this? We had lots and lots of sex and a seemingly great relationship.
They do it because they want to, nothing else.
Wow that’s like me! I had to do everything too. All the house work, cooking , groceries. I also work 3 jobs. I admit I like working lol. But I could have used some help. He just sat there!!! Say there!!! Did f….nothing. I asked, I talked about it, explained why I could use some help. Than he complained I’m always tired and don’t have time to do anything with him. So I said well that’s why I’m always tired cuz o have to do everything, I told him if I didn’t have to I wouldn’t be so tired and I would have more time. Yet he made me feel bad for saying anything, said I’m always bitching. So after asking over and over I just stopped asking or saying anything and the resentment built.
Magdalena sweetie, he took you for a ride. He used you. You were willing to do all the work and there was no reciprocity. He didn’t think about you, do a few household chores without you asking to make your life easier. You were a wife appliance. And when you were too tired to supply him with sex as well as clean house, clean laundry, food etc he dropped you. You never pushed him away, he didn’t love you enough to be a thoughtful, caring, helpful life partner. He’s just a parasite.
I know it hurts like a bastard and I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with this. If he really wanted to be with you he wpuld have taken more care of you. It was never you, sweetie, you’ve been used by a lazy, selfish cheater. Please keep posting and read Chump Lady’s wise words. Hugs x
This really hit home, your post. And the few below as well. I actually cried reading it because I know it’s the truth, yet I refuse to see it! Why I don’t know. But yes you are all right. I mowed the lawn and shovelled snow. Yes like a damn maid, omg I fail to understand what has happened to me. I was never this stupid and blind!
Be kind to yourself. It’s called love that makes you blind.
I too did all the work, tended to my alcoholic wife, did the lion’s share of raising the kids, shutdown or did it myself rather than ask her to help because it would just trigger a fight. I had sex with her even when she smelled like a bar fly and was too drunk to stand up.
You are still taking tokes of hopium. The hope they will be that person again you thought they were before their mask slipped. The hope that all those years and sunken emotional and financial costs are not for nothing.
But, they weren’t for nothing. Remember, you loved honestly, and loving people will always love that about you. Your love was very much real and therefore your side of the story is real even if their’s was a lie.
The question that made me put down the hopium pipe was – is this relationship acceptable to me? And my honest self (my head) said, “Fuck NO!!!”
What also made me reclaim my pride and self was when I realized she cheated because 1) she wanted to, 2) she felt entitled to, and 3) I wasn’t a consideration, and that’s a matter of character. Character doesn’t change, it just gets sneakier.
So he sponges off of you, doesn’t help around the house, won’t sleep with you because you are busy taking care of him and working to pay for everything, sleeps around and blames you for everything?
What a keeper.
You are already a single lady, just with a grown up toddler to take care of. There’s nothing to miss apart from the “attached” title.
I lived your life; I worked, kept up with the kids, house, meals, laundry, cars, house and car repair over 15 years. When my ex cheated I walked (boundaries). I now only have 2 children to care for, lol! So I have less laundry, less cleaning, less cars, less meals to prepare. I have it so much easier! His cheating made me realize I deserved so much better. So do you! Find the courage to walk away and save yourself. Your not a maid, cook, slave to him-he committed to being a partner and didn’t hold up his end of the bargain. You are already making it without him and you don’t need diseases that go along with the cheating. You got this girl!
I totally get it. My husband worked out of town and when he was home on weekends he occasionally mowed the grass. Meanwhile, I worked full time, went grocery shopping on lunch breaks, shuffled kids between school & sports, and ran an internet based business. Now that he’s gone, I realize how little he did. Now I mow the grass, not that big of a deal on a riding mower. He robbed his family of his time, risked our financial health, risked my physical and emotional health all so he could get his rocks off with his married howorker. Yep I’m better off without him – his never satisfied, nothing is enough, insatiable narc needs. He couldn’t watch a movie with me because he’d rather head to man cave and shotgun beers with his internet/fantasy football buds, porn watching, probably used Snapchat with the howorker. Whatever – I don’t need a 40 yo man child in my life anymore.
Badmovie19 that sounds exactly like my life. My husband commuted for 10 years and only came home on the weekend. I realised I was a single mother even though married. Now that he is gone, I have to do the laundry and mow the lawn. Those are the only additional tasks. Nothing really, especially since I get them done faster than he did anyway. Plus, I used to say I had two kids since he was so much work. Losing that extra “kid” more than offsets the laundry and lawn moving. This is especially true since I live in London and my garden is the size of an American living room, lol!
My ex never even mowed the grass- I did that too. Really can’t tell you one thing he did except claim to work all the time for very little income. 2 1/2 years separated and 1 year divorced and I made more income alone this year than we ever made together.
Before he discarded me, I felt exhausted doing so much and I would fall asleep within 10 min of sitting down to watch TV before bed. Post discard, I feel energized since going no/minimal contact. We have young kids so they Facetime him, but other than seeing him at kid exchanges I haven’t had to interact much with him. I get to focus on myself and the kids. The wasband has to worry about his relationship with the howorker, if the howorker will ever file for divorce from her husband, and maybe our kids cross his mind here and there.
You just described my marriage to a “t”. Glad it’s over. Just don’t waste your money on marriage counseling like I did. This isn’t a communication problem. You are deliberately being taken advantage of and you are deliberately allowing it to happen, just to maintain the facade of a marriage. Trust that you are a wonderful person and that he sucks.
So much money on counselling! Fortnightly for a year for me. Then a few family sessions where at the end, the therapist said it was pointless to get my husband to come for a session with our daughter because their relationship had broken down irretrievably. She said that in a round about way but I got the gist. I don’t know if she is nice or just likes hearing the sordid details of this clusterfuck but she does call from time to time to check up on daughter and me.
Maybell – did we marry the same loser?
I think I married him too lol
We all married the same loser. No doubt! We are better without assholes in our lives!
It doesn’t help fan the flames when he paraded hiss 300 lbs around nakkid.
Yep. I was having sex with mine three times a day earlier in our relationship. So we went to a party and he hit on another woman while I was right in the same room. We’d just had sex before we got there. I found out about this happening over 30 years later, after dday. I shudder to think what I *don’t* know about.
It’s not about lack of sex. No ammount of giving them sex, attention or love is ever enough to fill up the void these people have in their souls.
Shit. This sounds like me and my relationship with the covert narcissist ex.
My ex complained about only having sex every few days (it took several hours due to side effects from medication). He then told me he needed three times a day every day. Remember, it still took several hours each time and that didn’t necessarily include my turn… I did worry and try to give it to him every day for awhile. Towards the end of the marriage, I was the only one initiating anything and often didn’t worry about my turn because he couldn’t have cared less and I was in pain anyway. It turns out the pain was from the hpv he gave me. But, I didn’t know it then because the doctors weren’t getting it. It also didn’t help that he wanted to introduce me to bdsm and would sometimes spank me in spite of my telling him not to. Then, he would say “it can’t hurt that much, you don’t like the sound it makes” when I complained. Kind of a turn off for me! So, I was pretty frustrated and regularly had to take care of myself. No matter what crap he pulled (and there was a LOT of it!), I didn’t cheat. No matter what I did, he kept cheating anyway. Don’t blame yourself. If you’re spiritual, remember that God almighty could NOT make people happy enough to keep them faithful. The Bible is replete with people rebelling against God in spite of all that God gave them.
Nothing makes you hornier than a lazy video playing unhelpful lump of human.
Hahahahaha!! Nailed it.
Magdalena, did you unzip his pants and push him into her? I didn’t think so. It is not your fault he decided to get some strange. You are not responsible for his actions. He did that, not you.
It is great for him if you chose to be held accountable for insisting he fuck another woman. See how crazy that sounds? He did that. Not you.
Of course he needs this to be all your fault. If it isn’t your fault, then he is just another lying disordered freak who abuses his wife by cheating on her. He cheated, it isn’t your fault.
Read LACGAL. Read the archives. Interview lawyers.Hire a pit bull lawyer and follow their advice. Get a good therapist who confirms “Adultery is abuse.” You deserve a better life, a cheater free life.
Magdalena, you had a moment of weakness; you missed him and believed his bullshit. That’s OK, we’ve most of us been there.
But that doesn’t mean you’re fucked, fortunately.
First of all, ask yourself; were you happy in this marriage? Did you feel connected, loved, desired?
Didn’t think so.
But did you cheat????
Didn’t think so.
HE CHOSE to deal with the ‘issues’ in the marriage the way he did. You may (or may not, as most cheaters are pretty mediocre spouses even before they cheat) have been 50% responsible for the quality of the relationship BEFORE he cheated. But the cheating is 100% on him.
I know how tempting it is to think that you are to blame! Because then you can be better, and that will make him better! Except that’s not how it works. You don’t control him, either way.
So make yourself an appointment with a good family lawyer, better yet, two or three of them. (Short initial consultations are often cheap, sometimes even free. Find, beg or borrow the money you need for this – it’s your LIFE you’re dealing with!) Gather documentation about your income, his, your assets and debts and financial responsibilities, run a credit check on both of you. (If you don’t have access to that documentation? You need the lawyers more than you can imagine!!!) Bring all that to the lawyers, talk about your situation, and figure out your best approach, moving forward.
DON’T TELL HIM you’re going to see a lawyer, don’t tell him you regret letting him come back, don’t tell him you want to separate, yet. You have not been a ‘team’ for at least as long as that affair, probably never. He has snuck around behind your back to destroy your marriage and harm you, you get to be discreet about protecting yourself.
Even if you’re not sure you want to kick him out right now, see the lawyers. Knowing realistically what your options are is super empowering.
Good luck! Stick around here, and let us know how you’re doing!
You’re so right on point! About how the relationship was. Wow. It’s true I didn’t cheat. No matter how unhappy and miserable I was. I stuck around hoping hongs would change. I’m secret some days I wished he’d just leave. When he did I run back. Wtf is wrong with me???!
Nothing. You are an optimist. Time to get real. He’s not worth your optimism, love and kindness. Bestow them upon people who have EARNED them. Starting with yourself!
What the f*** is wrong with you? How about the fact that your husband has been emotionally abusing you for a long time, and you have unconsciously adapted yourself to that abuse. You are carrying the dead weight of that man–working three jobs and doing all the housework–and you have every right to tell your husband that he needs to be doing more. But when you asked for “help” (a word that implies that all this work IS yours to do, which it emphatically is not), he laid into you; after that, you learned to keep your mouth shut, right? That, Magdelena, is how he trained you. He did it because the arrangement of him sitting on the couch looking for “fun” while you work three jobs and do all the work (aka known as being a “wife appliance”) suits him just fine, and he’s more interested in keeping that arrangement than in a loving and reciprocal relationship with his wife.
His blameshifting onto you the “reason” he cheated is just another tactic.
Once you see the patterns, you can reject the blameshift (and the blame).
Listen to KarenE: Go see a lawyer, and don’t tell him you’re going.
You are worn down and are trauma bonded by overwork (overfunctioning) and abuse. I know that’s hard to grasp, hard to act on, and even harder to truly accept. He may not have beat you or over-the-top screamed/threatened you, but you HAVE been abused. A frog in a pot on slow boil. Little by little over time, you accepted the state of affairs as normal. It isn’t normal and you deserve better.
My scenario was similar to yours. I had been overworked, devalued, invalidated, with resentment building for so many years that I flat out did not like my husband and did not have the time for or want to have sex. No amount of communication or change in my behavior made it even a tiny bit better. I felt hopeless and just hung on to life by the skin of my teeth during most weeks. Then I find out about the infidelity and accepted a disproportionate amount of the blame for it myself because it’s true we didn’t have the intimacy any person deserves in a marriage.
Well, fuck that shit, Magdalena. Turns out he didn’t just cheat when sex was lean. He started cheating shortly after we were married, before kids, before huge work stress for either of us. He cheated at the first opportunity. And if truth be told, he never actually started being faithful when we were dating or engaged or married. He never stopped dating or trying to date.
Let me reiterate some of the great advice already posted: (1) Do not let on to your cheater that you are having doubts about staying together. This is essential. Keep it to yourself. (2) Meet secretly with a great divorce lawyer and start at the very least preparing the filings. Strike first, strike silently. I know neither your head nor your heart want to do this, but they will catch up in a few months. Seriously. They will catch up in a few months. (3) Read Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life (if you can’t afford it, one of us here will mail you a copy), read the Archives here, get a good basic grasp of narcissistic abuse and trauma bonding. Once you see it and understand it, you can never unsee it. You will then know in your head and heart things will never get better and that you have to leave the cheater.
Even if you have to quit one of your jobs to have the time and energy to protect yourself, PROTECT YOURSELF. Big hugs, Magdalena.
You’re right. I think this will help me. I’m going to ride it out, save up money, I’m not going to change myself any longer or do things to please him. I’m going to work, see a lawyer, save, and he will eventually walk. I know that because he told me the last tome when I said I wanted us to go away and reconnect, he said “it’s too late” but I fought for the relationship. I know now why he said it was too late, cuz he had her already paying attention to him and texting. Fuck then both!!!
Please see my comment below on “riding it out.” “Riding it out” is for too many of us a delaying tactic because we’re clinging to hope or too afraid to pull the plug.
At the very least GO SEE THAT LAWYER and learn your rights under the law.
Hello, Magdalena –
I know others have weighed in on this, but I want to repeat that you did not cause this. As I sat in my recovery group several years ago for wives of sex-addicts, I noticed that we all have a lot in common – beautiful, smart, giving, kind, good moms…… pretty much everything good. These narcissistic abusers choose us not because there is anything wrong with us, but because they somehow think our goodness will wear off onto their shitty selves. Not enough sex? Talk about it or seek out counseling. Don’t expose us to diseases and the trauma of betrayal.
My “riding it out” lasted over 5 years and cost me financial security and almost my life. During this time, while going to counseling and SA, he drained our retirement account, continued to cheat (I still don’t know the details), exposed me to STDs (which thank the Lord I did not get), and ended up assaulting me less than two weeks after I had a craniotomy for brain cancer (this was the first physical abuse in our 27 year relationship).
I totally get wanting to “save” your marriage and keep your family intact, but almost always this type of behavior escalates. As CL says, they don’t get a character transplant. Please protect yourself, both physically and financially, and be the mighty lady you can be in starting over!
Great post LovingMyself2019!
YOU are Mighty!
Oh gosh I’m sorry you got physically abused, he’ll get his when the time is right.
I hope you were ok and are doing well. I have been trying to work through everything I guess look at it in different angles. I know I don’t deserve this shit, yet I take it. As I said before, I really don’t understand myself or my actions right now.
Great response, KarenE.
Magdalena, he cheated because he wanted to.
Nothing you did, or didn’t do, can control what decisions he makes. And the decision he made was to cheat on you and then blame you for it.
He sucks. He is always going to suck. It will never change.
Him texting her to tell her it’s over doesn’t mean it’s over. He could have texted that but gone right back to her, resumed the affair with her (this time with even more secretiveness) and may be planning his exit to be with this woman once you stop kissing his butt to stay.
Ask me how I know…
This. So very much this!
CheaterX and Schmoopie had a relationship filled with drama. Back in the early days (I hung around because I was lining up my ducks BUT I wasn’t telling him that I was going to divorce his ass), I remember seeing a few texts to the effect that their affair wasn’t working out–whatever that means, given that he was married, lol!–and they were going to break things off.
If I’d been reading any other site than Chump Lady, I’d have been hoodwinked into believing that Really He Loved Me. Nope. It turned out that both CheaterX and Schmoopie had the same approach to dealing with arguments. They each got pissed off. No one would back down. They didn’t look for common ground. Instead, they basically walked away from each other for about 3 days to cool off. During this time, CheaterX would shift from treating me like a piece of gum on his shoe to treating me like a human being. Oh, and CheaterX wouldn’t answer phone calls from Schmoopie, either. He’d leave his cell in his car so he wouldn’t have to hear it ring.
In about 3 days, they’d be back making plans, texting/sexting, etc. He went back to treating me like crap.
So don’t think that just because you catch a text or so saying that things are over that they are truly over. A lot of the appeal of an affair is that it’s a relationship tinged with high risk and high drama. Cheaters get off on both of those things.
That’s a great point! I remember now that the ex and ex-ow had fights and then they kept making up. However, I didn’t get to be a human being when they had fights. Instead, I got treated even worse. When I finally found out how to spy and learned what was going on, I all of a sudden connected the dots on why I was being treated so badly some days. Before we even got divorced, they were broken up for good. I guess having me in the relationship was good for them. I don’t know if it was the extra drama or the extra money in the savings account to buy her stuff or having me to be an emotional punching bag instead of her, but my being around really helped their relationship.
She would go back? Why? Knowing now he has a wife. I wonder though, I have been since I made him txt her and tell her.
The OW waited out 19 months. The last six months, he was always saying he needed a break, claiming he needed to clear his head and asking for my patience and understanding. Did it twice in summer of 2017 and October of 2017. I later learned he spent those nights at her placrr and then boomeranging back home. Each time, she let him come back to her place like a hotel. When he came back in October, he begged me. Swore he had seen the light and wanted ti save the marriage. He cut all contact with her, deleted everthing. He left by the end if the year to be with her. That’s when I discovered the secret email account, created two weeks after he came back in October, apologizing to her, asking for her patience while he clean things up with me to be with her. Yet, he attended a couple’s therapy weekend with me, told me he loved me, started date nights and held me thru several panic attacks that I had never experienced before in may life. Why did this woman put up with his crap? At least, I was a wife with years invested and kids. But her? Because she’s a desperate woman who doesn’t know what real love is. Pathetic creature doesn’t have moral standards. It’s sad. BTW, I latet learned that my ex slept with someone else as he was leaving me to be with her. Yep! She’s got a winner there alright.
Holy crap!! I am so sorry all that you had to go through. Glad you are out. I can’t believe there are women like that out there. I knew, I knew, NO I KNOW he is still in contact with her I feel it. I feel the unease and these anxiety attacks I’ve been getting out of no where. I can’t even eat because my stomach is always in knots. I have no appetite and I’m just sad and want to cry all the time. Yet I can’t because I still have to carry on with life.
It doesn’t matter if he’s still in contact with her. You’re miserable.
To answer your question, “Why do I still put up with this?” The answer is, that’s all you know. You’ve never learned that a loving relationship is give-and-take on both partners. You only know that a relationship is you give and he takes. Well Magdalena, only you can change the dynamics. As long as you continue to give, he will take… for the rest of your life. Is this acceptable to you? Because WE ALL can tell you, it’s not going to change. You cannot control his behavior. You can only control yourself. Blessings.
OMG! No. As CL says.. what’s acceptable to you?
I was married for 34 years thinking we truly loved each other but it was all a lie. I loved .. he liked.
Cheating almost the entire marriage ( found out on D Day )
Please read all the posts here to realize we’ve all been there in one form or another. I avoided red flags for two years while I did the pick me dance.
Waste of time as I humiliated myself trying to keep him. He wanted the OW then told me he loved her, not me. As devastated as I was I knew my physical & mental health was at stake. Being a cancer survivor I had to fight to rid myself of the second cancer, which was him!
Three years divorced & free of his abuse. It’s slowly getting better. My heart still has to catch up with my head.
Stay strong & see a lawyer to gain a cheater free life! You can do it. Bless you ????
Yeah… my ex Husband did the same. He actually stood on my living room, looked me in the eye and told me that if I didn’t start putting out more, he would look “elsewhere” I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t believe it. I should have because that was him telling me he already had someone lined up and was probably fucking her that night.
I should have told him to pack his shit and get out at that very moment.
Same here. Mine threatened to go to Ashley Madison if I didn’t put out more often. He’d already had a mistress for a year by then.
Turns out she wouldn’t put out for him at all after two utterly inept, fumbling, minute-man lays. I mean, this guy literally did not know where the vagina is or how to put his penis in it. It had to be done for him.
You’d think the dude would get the hint that maybe he’s not exactly stellar in bed and therefore was actually getting way more sex than he deserved. But entitled, selfish people don’t believe they have to earn what they want by being reciprocal. You’re supposed to just give it to them because they’re sooper speshul. You must live to serve their whims and pacify the little bawl-babies when The Ego is threatened by the terrible reality of life that they can’t bear to face; that it’s not all about them.
Here, have this, cheaters; ????
I caught mine on Ashley madisson lol. About a week and a half ago. I’m still stupid and trying to work on things. Well I guess trying to learn to let go.
Sweetie, you’re not stupid. You are a victim of long-term emotional abuse. It affects your judgement. It makes you afraid to leave because you lose confidence in yourself. Keep seeking support here and you will find the strength to end this abusive, one-sided marriage.❤
I truly feel week. I am thankful for everyone here. Such supportive community. I will be here with my bill shit for a while lol.
You need a therapist on your side. I got one through the state, for no charge, because they said he was abusing me. I felt abused, but it’s different to hear it from a trained professional. It woke me up. Check with your county, and see if there are resources for therapy for you, so you can see more clearly. It really helps!
Magdalena, you are trying to save the unsavable, change the unchangeable and forgive the unforgivable. Your new life free of this abusive bullshitter starts the minute you let it. It’s a big decision to break free but you owe it to yourself and you owe him NOTHING.
Magdalena, not your fault. He had questions? Felt bad? Felt unloved?
Why not just ask you?
Not your fault he made these choices.
Hon, no. He is lying and using the most common blameshift cheaters trot out when caught, the “unmet needs” fallacy, and it’s just a con to make you take the blame for his shitty character and poor decision making.
You could have greeted him home every night wearing nothing but a see-through thong and a seductive grin and he still would have cheated.
They don’t actually cheat to get more sex in and of itself. They cheat because they get a thrill from novelty, risk, ego-massage, triangulation and moral transgression. That’s what makes cheating sex such a high for them.
You can’t offer him novelty because you are not a shiny new partner. Married sex doesn’t offer risk, moral transgression or triangulation either.
It might or might not offer ego massage, but certainly not to the extent that an affair does.
There was literally nothing you could have done to prevent this other than by not marrying him. Don’t listen to a word this lying, cheating, abusive pig is saying. Now is the time to quietly get your financials in order, collect any and all evidence of his affair, and then file for divorce. He won’t stop and he’s most likely done it before, too.
While he’s got you agreeing it’s your fault is a great time to get him confessing to things that can be used against him. But get it in writing. For example, you text or email him, asking what you can do to make yourself as appealing as his affair partner (use her name if you know it. If not, get it.) Ask him all manner of questions about their relationship, when and where they had sex, etc. in such a way as if you’re trying to learn how to keep him interested in you. But you’re really doing it for information which could leverage a better settlement in the divorce. Massage that every-thirsty ego just a bit and you’ll be shocked how much damning info dumb cheaters will give up. I got a written confession from both the cheater and his married howorker mistress of 5+ years. ????
As a result, I now have all the shared marital assets and half his income forever.
You won’t regret protecting yourself. You will regret staying with a fundamentally untrustworthy person who has the gall to blame you for his shameful behaviour.
Don’t forget to collect info from his phone; texts, emails, gps data or google maps timeline data, photos, search history. You might find there are others. You might find, as I did, that he was googling information on his divorce options in preparation for leaving you.
Also get a credit report to look for any hidden funds or credit you don’t know about. Don’t forget to get tested for STDs.
Do it all on the sly and lawyer up.
Good luck. Please stop accepting blame for his asinine choices.
And take YOUR financial information out of the marital home. If there are any paper check stubs, find someplace else for them. Take pictures of all possessions when he isn’t home. I’d open my own savings/checking account and apply for my own credit if possible.
Magdalena, so leave. You are already doing all the work yourself. I promise it will be much easier with him gone.
Maddalena, that is a blameshift right there: if you would have done this, I wouldn’t have cheated. He hasn’t even said he’s so sorry to hurt you or shown any remorse, but insteads to put his behavior on you. It’s immature thinking at best, gaslighting at worst, an “oh look over there!” rather than talking about his bad behavior. That’s also holding you to ransom – see, if you behave, I’ll behave – and that is blackmail my friend. Get the fuck out and stop blaming yourself for his piggish behaviour. It’s not your fault. He could have come to you and said, Honey I notice we’re not as intimate and loving lately, what can we do to fix this? But I don’t think he’s the type anyway, as a lot of them are immature, lazy and would secretly rather have cheap junkfood kibbles from someone new that front up and improve their existing relationship. Because having someone new who thinks your wonderful because they haven’t seen you in the wild when all your gross little habits are at play is just cheap and dishonest, and delusional, which a lot of them are. It’s not you, he’s a man-child.
After many many years I still dream of cheater #1 being in my life and it makes me sick. I find though I only dream of him when I am under stress. The job I had back then was also stressful and I also dream I am still at that job, again when I am feeling stressed. Always a relief to wake up:)
I’m just about to sign my moving contract. After two year of denial and six months of bargaining/pick me dancing, I plan to have all my belongings with me. The last couple weeks of CL articles were perfectly timed. I feel like I’m stepping off a cliff but, with CN’s help, I’m hoping for a soft landing.
Or maybe you’re at the beginning of an exhausting climb, but you will love the view once you reach the moutain’s top!
“I feel like I’m stepping off a cliff but, with CN’s help, I’m hoping for a soft landing.”
You have a parachute strapped to your back and that cliff is an illusion. It’s trompe l’oeil. So you’re over prepared!
Great perspective! I am in a similar place, about to officially end my marriage of 15 years and I have no idea what the future holds for me and my kids. That being said, I do gain strength from this site and knowing that others have done and are doing it and have found happier lives without a cheater dragging them down. My wife has broken me, but I now feel ready to rebuild!
So happy for you! I’m still stuck like an ass making excuses for his behaviour. No idea why. It’s like I have a certain picture of him in front of me, the nice person, and my subconscious has the real picture. Cheater, liar, just that one has a hard time coming through. I am also so happy and grateful for this site and everyone here. I don’t feel alone any more.
So stop. You can still be struggling with the “what happened to the nice person” issue while you line up your ducks to leave.
Your conscious mind knows what’s up or you wouldn’t be on this site. It’s the fear holding you back. He’s lazy. He lies. He’s abusive. And he cheats. Is that acceptable to you?
Find a therapist or counselor who works with abused women. Re-read what CL wrote. There’s no saving she things. That’s just a fact. But if you cut loose from them, you can build the life you want. Turn your attention to yourself and how you want to live–not how you want to change him into an actual man instead of a baby/man.
Read Debbie Mirza’s The Covert Passive-Aggressive Narcissist, and you will see why you believe that nice-man image still. I’ve had to reread it over and over again to get to meh–in addition to rereading Chump Lady’s book.
I am going to read it! I have been following everyone’s advice here. I am reading I am making lists of what’s acceptable and not to me. I know he’s not who I want him to be, he doesn’t care about me. I know. But why than am I so stuck on the “him” that he is when he’s nice and caring and loving? I can’t get that out of my head. Financially I’ll be fine without him, things will be tighter but I’ll be ok. So I don’t know. I really don’t understand why I am allowing this. It’s like my brain is not letting reality come through and when it does it over clouds it, quickly, with oh but he’s nice and he pays when you go out or go away. Fuck!!!
It helped me to think about how I’d advise a friend or sister in a similar situation. Would you want your best friend or sister married to a guy like your husband? Would you advise your best friend or sister to stick it out and hope for the best with this guy?
You like that he is attentive and generous on date night and vacations. That’s all well and good, but you aren’t dating. You’re married. You’re supposed to be life partners, and he’s not being a partner. He’s not only opted out. He’s actively undermining it.
Please don’t ride it out, Magdalena. I made so many mistakes in my leaving the cheater process, but the one thing I did right (granted, after 18 months of fence sitting and wreckonciliation) was file for divorce FIRST. It was empowering and gave my self confidence a little lift. Don’t get me wrong. It was also gut wrenching and terrifying. But at least I made the decision. I walked away from a person with character and behavior that was unacceptable to me.
You are, as someone mentioned earlier, heavily trauma-bonded. I was too. An extremely confusing and frustrating way to live.
You will not be able to see and understand things clearly until you are away from him. After I got free, I was astonished at all the crap I had tolerated. While enslaved, I kept thinking of X’s “potential”, and “wtf happened?? He wasn’t like this in the beginning!”
Sweetheart, we were ALL fearful/apprehensive about ending our marriages. It truly sucks. But I promise you, your life will be much better without him. He will only get worse; I read that here in many, many posts. Because it is the absolute truth. Abusers become more abusive with age.
Bless you! You are in great company here 🙂
“I know But why than am I so stuck on the “him” that he is when he’s nice and caring and loving? I can’t get that out of my head.”
The reason you are stuck on the ‘him’ is because of those small intermittent crumbs (reinforcers) he doles out to keep you hostage. He loves me he loves me not was one of the first signs I was with a manipulative covert narcissist.
Every year I’d get an anniversary card professing his love and appreciation, with a small bunch of flowers. My needs were managed down repeatedly.
His date with Nanthony between the hotel, dinner and casino, and breakfast the next morning cost around 300.00. Weeks after Dday he booked a vacation. Yes, and after years of tolerating abuse he said he couldn’t get anywhere with me.
There’s the financial rape, spending marital money on bar whores while criticizing my spending money for kids private school; it was my money mind you.
The biggest impact of staying is on the children. There’s NO moral compass for the entitled. He took his daughters on dates at the OW’s houses, fluckimg while kids played in the other room and blaming thousands of dollars spent on porn on his son.
Do you see cheating I’d the tip of the iceberg.
Hey Lemonhead, I too planned to have all my belongings with me. STBX changed the locks. Get all your belongings out in one fell swoop. Hire a moving company. That dusty bastard still has my belongings. Be super careful of personal safety.
I hope to get my personal belongings back soon. The first court hearing is this month. What the hell will he do with my books? He doesn’t read? Why the hell is he hoarding my Kitchen Aid mixer and cookie cutters. Do whores make cookies? Did he learn to sew in order to use my machine? Do whores sew? Get all your stuff and don’t look back. I’m still mad he has my antique dress makers form.
I still struggle with believing raising 3 small children alone makes sense. What if he never cheats again? What if I’m alone forever, I didn’t sign up for raising kids alone. There is no amount of spousal support to replace having a live in partner.
I’ve moved out, I’ve tried to move on, but I still question if its the right thing to do every day. Not sure what will help me get to the point of being ready to file.
Look into a post-nup. Work on your financial independence. Talk to a lawyer, or do all the research you can on settlements. Consider a settlement that would pay your insurance, or education expenses.
When you’re with someone who is abusing you, you’re already alone. You’re alone with someone undermining you. And you’re modeling dysfunction to your kids. Being alone alone is a step up.
Focus on what it is you’re really frightened of and drill down on that. If you had the financial means, would you do it? If you had the emotional support, would you do it?
Staying is no guarantee of security. Time is a valuable asset. You have years to rebuild and that’s different than being left in your 50s, or not having the years to develop yourself or your finances.
I’ve run this site for 7 years and the stories of resilience continue to astound me.
And remember that old TV show, “Kate and Allie,” where two single mothers decided to live together and raise the kids so there would be live-in support. Or consider my cousin, whose husband died after she had a 3rd baby, 3 kids under six. Her mother moved in and helped. You could find an older relative to help with the kids, like Elizabeth Warren did, or a neighborhood friend who doesn’t want to live alone. Think outside the box. There are many, many ways to organize your life. You aren’t stuck, except in your own mind. And there’s no reason why you can’t eventually find someone much better and re-marry. But you can’t do that while sitting on the fence.
If your X has custody rights and pays support, you have that, so it’s not like you are 100% alone, anyway. The story you are telling yourself isn’t helping you.
Thank you for replying. I know I need a divorce. But it still feels utterly devastating to do it. It feels like a failure. I’m just still in that space where you have to act before you understand or feel good about it. I appreciated all of the graphic imagery of resurrecting the dead because that’s not what I want out of romantic partnership, its just so hard to let go of who I thought he was since he’s still a very active and engaged father.
It’s not a failure to assess your situation and act to protect yourself and further your life. A divorce is the failure of a relationship, not a personal failure. Relationships take two people. You can’t save a marriage by yourself.
He will cheat again, trust that he sucks. Don’t be me and wait 12 years to move on from something that never got any better. He has abused your trust, you will never be able to trust him again, so even if he did not cheat again (highly unlikely from reading so many other stories here and other places), you would not be able to trust the lying, cheating, abuser that you have chosen to live with…
Stuck, I was in the same position with three children. Your cheater fills you with self doubt; that’s how it begins. Then you wonder what the OW has that you lack; we all do it.
You will never have power or control in a relationship with a cheater. It will always be lopsided.
7 years ago when my children were young, my husband had an 18 month affair with the neighbor. She was his soulmate. The “soulmate” told me that he had cheated before, when I was pregnant with my youngest. I found ads on craigslist, “Happily married man looking for sex.” I was terrified to leave. He promised that he would never do it again. We paid $$ to save our marriage and carried on. 6 years later I caught him in an affair with a married patient. And as usual, she wasn’t the only patient he tried to get after, she is the one who said yes. She bought him a $500,000 farm to live on until the divorces are both final and she can join him there full time. My biggest regret is not leaving the first time. I would have had my life rebuilt by now. Instead here I am in my mid 40’s starting from scratch and in a custody battle with a disordered person. Leave now.
Sorry about the custody battle but you are in your mid 40’s still young trust me. You will also make smarter choices than maybe you would have 7 years ago. I wish you all the best.
Con men. Every one of them.
I ask the same questions. What if he really never cheats again and really changes than I’ll be losing out on a good person. He acts so loving and stuff too. Yes he doesn’t do shit in the house and all but he’s nice and pays for everything when we go out or go away. I’m fucken confused frustrated and just messed up in my head.
Magdalena – read the archives. This exact scenario is covered by Chumplady over and over.
For what it’s worth I had a cheater that did naff all around the house. Being a single mother is easier as I’m doing what I did previously including yard work and the kind of jobs men usually do round the place, he didn’t know one end of a hammer from the other and I do it without having to nag the fuck out of his ass and work myself up. Kids also are happier as it is more peaceful and he wasn’t around much for them anyway so they have adjusted really well. He’s a dusty bum and they never change for long. You are in the fog and need to sort through the emotional crap that takes times. I’m nearly three years out and went back and forth. You can’t put a price on peace of mind and he hasn’t changed his dusty bum ways.
Magdalena – they don’t change. He cheated and lied to you. He’s a cheater and a liar, that’s his character. He will do it again. Read the Chump Nation archives about unicorns.
Can i ask a question about they never change please
Now is this they never change for us spouses ( Chumps ) ? Or they never change full stop ?
I always see and trust me i devour the archives that a lot of chumps found the cheater in another affair some times years later and some have had many D Days so my thought is they never change for us .
I can’t honestly see my STBXH ever cheating on the OW why would he ? He has got exactly what he wanted & she is pregnant with his child .
So i am never sure about when i read they never change cause maybe they do any they remain faithful to the AP
Karen: To answer your question. Yes, sometimes they stay with the OW. There are a few different reasons why that may be. Remaining faithful to the OW and ‘changing’ are not necessarily related.
Sometimes they just need to keep face but are still the same selfish Ass.
Or sometimes maybe divorce/breakup may have been more than they bargained for and they are lazy asses in so many ways so it may just be easier in their mind to stay with this current appliance than get tangled up with another.
In my sisters case, her ex, a former macho Man my way or the highway guy, is now being controlled by the cute perky younger little former OW who is now his wife and basically a psycho that rules his world.
Another man who married his OW, a guy who I was dating’s brother who he went on and on about how much happier his brother is now, two peas in a pod etc. (I of course no longer date this guy–). Well, I saw up close how empty their relationship was. It was just off. Weird. Definitely not loving.
As far as getting what he wanted, I don’t think they really know what they want further down the road than ‘now’. And, THEY ARE TWO CHEATERS together! ( or cheater/ knowing accomplice). Yikes! Hopefully he never cheats (or her on him) and screw up anyone else’s life. The world is a better place if they are just stuck with each other! And for sure YOU are better without him. He knows he is a cheater, he knows what he has done, and his is fine with that. Who cares what happens with their relationship other than it would be easier for you if you only had to deal with one looser going forward than two— That’s all that matters to you now.
What Wonder said. They never change from being liars, selfish and entitled. They may never cheat again but that’s because they found a partner who tolerates all their character flaws. Not cheating isn’t a sigm that their character has changed, it’s a sign that they’re with someone who has no boundaries or is unable to enforce them. Remember the cheating isn’t about you and how pretty/funny/sexy you are. It’s all about them and their character. Cheating is just one sign of a disordered character.
Karen, I believe cheating is a reflection of poor character. As CL often states, they don’t get a character implant.
My theory about the disordered is they largely withhold. I believe the withholding permeates every last aspect of the relationship. It may be obvious in the pouting type who ignores you for long periods. However, I saw it in his excuses for shared experiences as well as activities I’d suggest. For those and there were many, he’d find an excuse. I’m taking sbout hiking, cycling, golf, vacationing as well as affection and support.
The changes you fear, his ability to do those things with another are not imaginary. Reportedly, he does everything I wanted to do with a classless evil whore. You see it wasn’t that he couldn’t; it was withholding to fit his false narrative about his loyal forgiving wife while he led a double life.
Don’t think for a minute he will suddenly change. Admittedly, he stated he’d dump her too. He also stated it was ALWAYS about the thrill of the chase.
And alas, I couldn’t get a dog, a fucking DOG! She had pets he poses with. So you see they are Chameleons, ever adjusting the mask until the next.
I’m happy to say my life is much more fulfilling without the Limited.
Two cheaters make a better couple than a cheater and a loyal spouse. They are actors; don’t let the performance be your reality.
He’s conning you. They know how to play women.
Magdalena, HE IS NOT A GOOD PERSON! He’s already shown you who he truly is and what he’s capable of — lying, cheating, gaslighting, etc. This is truly WHO HE IS! You said, “He acts so loving and stuff too.” The key word here is “ACTS”. He’s acting loving to keep his wife appliance around for only reasons that he knows. For me it took 23 years until his mask of “Mr. Nice Guy” finally fell off and stayed off for good. Well, it stayed off for good just for me, but for most others, the mask is still firmly planted in place. The first time I thought he was cheating was way back in 1992 and I had many more occasions where I thought he was again. It wasn’t until 2014 that I finally caught his hand in the Whore Jar. That’s a whole lotta years wasted on a serial cheater. Don’t be me! They don’t change. As it was said above, this is his character. It’s very difficult to change and to improve your character. Saying sorry and promising to not to do it again, doesn’t change someone’s character.
It is normal for you to experience these doubts that you might have a unicorn that you’ll miss out on if you set boundaries and shut this down. Lots of “what-ifs”.
Here’s what I finally came to in my mind, if he actually is a good man who is confused. The separation will allow him time to find that good man again. That good man will seek help for his disordered behaviour, confess to all he’s done and do what is right without any expectations from me.
It been 22 months and it hasn’t happened. Instead I’ve come to learn so much more about his behaviour and other things he lied about in our relationship. The scales have fallen off my eyes and I no longer think of him as a prize that I’m sad I lost.
Thank God I “lost”. She can have him. My emotional and physical health has improved so much now that I have rebuilt a life without him. I can honestly say that I am so relieved he is gone. I don’t want him back, ever! Counselling helped me come to realize that there is no way that any of what he did was my fault – the post-traumatic stress symptoms are gone.
Magdalena – Honey, you must put yourself first, put your children first by taking care of their mother. You are vulnerable right now. You are experiencing “spaghetti brain” where your judgment is not clear because it’s trauma-driven. You need to give yourself time and space away from the source of manipulation, your husband. Your husband is not the man you thought he was – that man is dead. Take care of yourself.
Magdalena, let’s play that scenario for you. Let’s say he is that unicorn that never cheats again.
On the other hand you also have the power to see into the future. How, you ask? Everyone on this site has lived this nightmare. Some stayed 10, 20, 30 years after the first cheating scandal to only make themselves smaller to survive the rest of those years, to only find out they are still cheating. Either multiple partners or one long affair. Our tribe of chumps can tell you what living their life has been like. Marriage police, lack of trust, continued abuse, financial ruin, diseases from sex with multiple partners…the list goes on and on.
It is a miserable way to live and one that you don’t need to choose. But it has to be when that lightbulb goes off for you. No one can force you to do something you’re not ready to do. You won’t be able to justify anything until you see that light. I mean that in a hopeful way. We all have been through this, the beginning stages are hard. It’s unfathomable to believe that someone you loved has done something this treacherous. But he has, and it has always been about him. It’s never been about you. No matter how much he blames or tries to say you’re the problem.
It took me quite a bit of time to understand that he was the problem. His needy narcissistic pathetic behavior brought us to our demise. My role, as a wife, may not have been perfect, but I never deserved his abuse. He could have walked out and divorced me. But they are cowards and liars that enjoy the best of both worlds. My hope is that your pain is shortlived and you are able to help yourself sooner than later. That you’re able to see through the bullshit and save yourself the pain. We all wish you well and we are here for you.
Magdalena I am in a very similar place as you. I have no proof my husband is cheating though he has made it very clear he needs to have other women friends for companionship.
He can Beverly kind and everyone loves him as he is a nice guy. But I don’t trust him and I am at the beginning of getting my financial ducks in a row. This shit hurts as I find out more and more he is not who I thought and he is gaslighting me. And I think but he can be so kind and sweet and pays for everything, etc.
on the other hand he is blaming me for everything and taking no responsibility for any of his mean comments and dismissive , devaluing of me. I want you to know I am right there with you.
Oh no. I feel it for you. I so. This is pain, heart break, all in one. I can’t even describe it. I caught mine though. I saw his dating site profiles, on his iPad, I found a open condom wrapper in his laundry bin. He tried telling me it was from him and his supervisor messing around at work. He’s a 48 year old man! He said they were putting air in it. I know how that sounds and I have to laugh, I obviously don’t believe any of that. Yet I stay, yet I beg, yet I’m the one willing to compromise and do things to please him so he stays. I’m willing to work on things. I made him text the woman and tell her he can’t talk to her as he has a wife, he did it, I watched him. But…..I am very very sure he is still talking to her. I just know it. I am trying to open my own eyes to what this really is, yet they are choosing to remain closed.
I am at a loss and hurt. Can’t eat, anxiety attacks. The whole works. I question what is wrong with me mentally lol. We’ve been together 6.5 years.
Once is enough. It takes agency to tell repeated lies, plan a time to meet, pull out his credit card to pay for a hotel, buy lunch, dinner or drinks. Let’s not forget that it’s one AP that we know of…
Cheating is abuse. Once you find out they do not change because there are no consequences. On the other hand the chump suffers tremendous pain, is exposed to STD’S and doesn’t feel valued. Assholes cheat.
Please don’t give away any more years of your life. Your life matters. YOU matter. Right now the undeniable difficulty of raising three children will hold you back, but then you will have retirement security to worry about or health issues or or or. It is never a good and convenient time to take your life back, but I promise you will regret giving so many years to someone so undeserving. I say this to you after giving someone 30 years when I discovered cheating at year 10. It is a heartache that I can never have those years back. Hugs.
There is never a good time; there will always be a reason (“or or or”) not to leave now.
This is SO TRUE. Telling ourselves that we WILL leave when the school year is over or DS/DD has graduated or we get our finances in place is really our fear or hopium or denial speaking.
We tell ourselves we’re being rational, that we’re in control of our decision making, that we’re making a responsible decision. But really, we’re not.
We’re just not ready yet–whether because we’re afraid or still smoking hopium or in denial.
You can spend a lot of time temporizing. I spent a year and a half temporizing after I’d decided I was going to have to divorce. And I spent a year and a half after D-day pick me dancing and trying. And I’d spent a good many long years before that in a situation that was not acceptable to me, but instead of acting on that, and initiating divorce, I kept trying to make it acceptable, by trying to be a better wife.
CL is right; we don’t control others. We can’t control others. Nor do we “force” them to cheat. All we can control is our own actions.
I am so sorry you are here and with 3 small children. Here is another thing to consider, being a single parent is hard, but my EX was not caught cheating until my kids were older (14 & 15) but what I found out after the BD and my trying to figure out what to do was that he had been telling my boys behind my back what a lazy stupid wife and mother I was for at least 10 years. My son says he remembers rants as far back as 5 years old him telling them he will divorce me. They never had stability and it undermined my trying to love and raise them. I never knew, EX would spend an hour yelling at them about what a horrible wife I was and them come in a kiss me and compliment me. Never once in 20 years had the EX mentioned divorce. They were hurt and confused and felt stupid for loving me. I know if I told someone other than here this story, they would think I was crazy, I had to know he was abusing the kids like that. But I did not, I thought he loved me and my kids, as much as I loved him.
Here I am 5 years past BD and 4 years post divorce and the kids are doing well, in college and we have a much better relationship. Lucky for me he over played his hand and they caught on before BD. After he was gone, parenting actually got easier in so many ways. They do not speak to him and we have worked thru what was lies and abuse. It was hard but worth it.
Never underestimate how much damage they can do whispering in little ears.
Just a side note, they are his kids also, but in 5 years he has done nothing for them except just what was required and quit any financial help the day they turned 18. He cancelled their health insurance, which they needed desperately while in school and has left all the taking care of them to me. Therefore they are MY KIDS, my loves and my life. I would marry him again in a heartbeat to bring them into my life, but would have ended it sooner when the red flags started appearing. Hindsight is 20/20.
Yes, and often they are working on the sly to ALIENATE your kids from you, and the closer the kids are to the teen years the better this tactic works. Many people have waited and hoped, only to find themselves estranged from their own children due to their douche bag spouse. Get out while the kids are young!
I found out from my daughter that my ex spent his time from when his affair started trying to turn my oldest child against me so he wouldn’t have to pay child support. Raising children alone is easier than raising them with someone who doesn’t value you (cheating). Leave while they are young.
I had two young children and I suspected that he was cheating but had no concrete proof. The emotional abuse, however, was there. I chose to stay.
My oldest has been arrested, had three car accidents and spent a month in rehab all before he turned 20. The youngest is pretty much a hermit.
I love them both and they are improving but I should have left when they were young.
They both became an obstacle to The Worm’s girlfriends and he treated them as such.
Trust me on this, get out and give your kids a chance at a better life.
When my narc-ex left my son said his life got easier and my daughters migraine headaches cleared up. Who says having your spouse around is helping with child raising? My life got a lot easier with narc-ex out of my house – I was already doing everything inside and either diy, omitted or sourced out the rest (home maintenance, yard work, cars). It was less stress to do so without his continuous sabotage, gaslighting and condescending behavior
Stuck Pick-Me Dancer, I stayed for the kids. Thirty six years of tolerating what I now know to be abuse. Both of my adult sons were relieved when I left him. Both of my sons have told me that they wish I had divorced him years ago. Because while he was being an abusive husband, he was also an abusive father. I deeply regret staying. I’ve apologized to my sons and asked their forgiveness. We are all so much happier now.
Recognizing that it was dead was the one that messed me up. The first time my ex-wife (then girlfriend) confessed to cheating (minimized to appear a victim), I got a little sad and told her to leave…that it was over.
She freaks and begs me to not do this. I agree to talk more about it. Then she goes and sees the other guy after leaving my place. In the end I gave her another chance. However, years later when retelling that story, she says she picked me over the other guy. Then she would remain “friends” with him from then on. I believe that something happened between them after we married, but she denies it.
Recognizing it is dead is the best way to treat any cheating. Be sad and move on despite its protests that it is still alive. If you don’t, it’ll turn into a zombie and shamble around and follow you until you are forced to kill it.
Good for you Lemonhead! Interestingly enough after the final DDay I felt as if I was standing at the edge of a cliff with him screaming jump. Instead, in hindsight after divorcing him I climbed a mountain. Along the way I found bits and pieces of strength, hope, compassion, self respect and peace. It’s a journey worth every step! Keep taking those steps!
Chump Lady is right.
Game of Thrones chumps…..watch that episode where Khal Drogo is brought back from the dead by the witch after Daenerys Targaryen pays her with her unborn child, and he’s propped up with that thousand-yard stare, an imbecile with flies buzzing around.
That’s what your “saved” marriage will be.
I cannot live in denial and live.
Me. I paid the $399. I also asked ex-wife if I could do it after SHE left. Ugh, wtf was I thinking???? Still not sure why it hurts so bad. Does anyone have any correlation between abandonment issues and chump-Dom?
BBM It’s really hard for some of us chumps to admit that there are things we can’t control or fix.
I’m a codependent “fixer” chump, with a streak of optimism and cheerleading that is is overbearing. Can’t adult? Don’t worry, I’ll do everything for you, because I love you! Have a sadz? Well, turn that frown upside down because I took a second job to earn more money to buy you things and take you on trips! Are you happy now? Do you love me now?
Ug… chumplady is the only thing that is helping me break through the fog and realize I can’t control how ANYONE treats me. That’s on them.
I want to recommend a you tube channel callEd Deborah Cooper she is a sassy lady who helps you keep your picker straight and stay grounded when dealing with narcs and men children. She runs shows such as WTF Tuesday and DNN Dusty News Network. I love her she is strong and wise and very funny.
Yep Exactly. I am working on this right now. I keep telling myself I can’t control or fix him. Or anyone else.
BBM, it hurts when your spouse beats the crap out of you emotionally, with an aluminum bat. It hurts when your spouse nukes your life, past, present, and future. It hurts when your spouse puts your heart in a wood-chipper, a bullet in your brain, a knife in your back. And does all this with the help of an assistant.
I love your posts! Always.
I want to share a quote with you that I wrote from my heart years ago, ( it is in the archives somewhere)
“When someone beats you on the inside you can never see the bruises. You can only feel them.”
Love, peacekeeper ????
THANK YOU SISTER FRIEND!!!
Yup, I was told by a therapist that I had mild Dependant Personality Disorder. It was torture to be alone at first.
I tried to save my marriage. But, the trust was broken. I could not live with a man who thought so little of me that he chose to cheat with my cousin. Not only did he cheat he also told her about my early menopause. He told her all about the difficulties I was going through. Menopause kicked my ass. He lied about me and told her that I never cleaned the house. That I spent all his money and could not keep a job. He said I was a nutjob and would flip out on him. What he did not tell her was that he only gave me $400.00 a month to pay the bills. Refused to add me to his health insurance because it would cost him to much money. That he verbally abused me for most of out marriage. He did not tell her that I earned more money than him. That I did all the chores around the house why he bitched that he was overwhelmed. I was betrayed as the nasty bitch of a wife. And he was the poor abused husband. What hurt the most was that I was so easily replaceable.
Doesn’t matter what you did or didn’t do, whether it was truth or lies, trust that he sucks! I’m smoking the hopium pipe heavily right now, absolutely frozen indeed, but the mantra trust that he sucks keeps going through my brain. At 61, I’m hoping it shocks me into sanity soon even though he’s being a unicorn right now…(((hugs))).
Cuzchump, you are irreplaceable. That skank is a lowlife just like him. He admired a woman who took selfies on the toilet. Disgusting!!!! You were truly better than him and he knows it deep in his whoring little heart. He didn’t replace you he just found somebody who was willing to cheat. He had to devalue you to feel better about being a whore. Don’t let him decide your worth. He sucks, probably literally.
“If you have any hope of saving it (assuming you think resurrection of dead things is a desirable outcome), you have to be prepared to enforce your boundaries, even if that means leaving.”
In other words, they need to RESPECT you and that is SO much harder after they have crapped all over you and now have a track record of doing so. Do you hear the sound of hoofbeats behind you? Don’t look for unicorns – or even an equid. It’s a soundtrack they play to disguise themselves. DON’T TURN AROUND!
It is so much more fulfilling for Chumps to go in their own direction and leave the cheaters behind.
When the subject of reconciliation comes up on chump lady I’ve used the analogy that reconciling with a cheater is much like the movie “Weekend at Bernies.” You drag around a corpse (your marriage); propping it up for the whole world to see hoping everyone believes it is still alive. It’s a heavy burden for the chump (marriage police force and pick me dancing) and it smells (blame shifting and crying over schmoopies). It’s a corpse; it’s what they do.
In meantime while rigamortis and decay are setting into the marriage, they also infiltrate your self esteem until you are a shell of your former self. There is only one thing to do with a dead marriage and that’s bury it; often known as divorce in most circles.
Only when you bury it, can you move on to a better life. Only then can you stop wasting time with someone who doesn’t deserve another moment of your precious life.
Thank you for this image!! I’m totally going to imagine carrying “Bernie” around when I start to get sentimental.
I keep losing my posts lately, will try to make this short.
I want to make a shout out to the amazing Chumps I have come to know here. I read of your struggles, your heartships, your obstacles, in your journey with a cheater. So many of you show such strength, determination and true grit. Your transformation is astonishing, really like a miracle. I see it. You don’t see it at the time, but it is there. Trust me, it is there.
As an older Chump, ( pick me dancer, cheater stayed, reasons not pretty for those who know some of my story), I often ask myself, if there had been a CL, CN, in my time of need would I have had the courage, the fortitude, to have LACGAL? I like to think that YES I would have. Things would definitely have been better for my precious children and for myself. Yes, definitely better.
It is such a good and wonderful thing to find CL, CN. Read here, read the archives. Real life stories. Real life advice, real, true love and kindness live here. Miracles happen here.
Take advantage of it all dear Chumps! LACGAL!
I realize now it was trama bonds wanting to stay and make it work, putting my worth in someone else, taking the blame, turning my back on my morals and values, minimizing my needs, and other codependent shit. All stuff I am working on now. I am angry at myself because I was such a chump at the end but it had to happen to gain a life. So, I tell myself to be kind. I was being manipulated and gaslighted for a long time. It’s hard and lonely at times but at least I have roof over my head, a safe place for my son, and my supports are in place to keep moving on.
If people from cults can gain a life so can I!! They have to over come greater mountains than me. I am resilient too. Chump Power!
Seconding the horrible effects of trauma bonding.
One of the best methods to get you to focus and see clearly (and away from their word salad mindfuck) is to make a list:
list all of the kind things your partner has ever done for you or sacrificed for you/your family– with the caveat — that DID NOT somehow benefit them.
I did this and it was shocking. I literally could not think of one thing. Everything he did somehow benefited him.
But, but, but….he made me a lovely steak dinner…..ONLY BECAUSE HE WAS HAVING STEAK ANYWAYS and it was convenient for him.
He asked me to move in with him, he must be committed and love me…..HE WANTED THE EXTRA $$$$ and a wife appliance.
He loves having me around and never wants me to go anywhere without him….BECAUSE HE KNOWS IF IM NOT THERE HE WILL CHEAT.
Etc, etc. Make your own list.
Now make another list:
of all the loving , kind things you did for him. I bet that list is a mile long.
Once you see it written out (or not written on his side of the list) you cant unsee it.
When everyone in your life is telling you he is a no good loser who is abusive and a bad partner and you to too good for him…..but you are waffling with the wail of…HIS POTENTIAL…..that’s how you know you are trauma bonded and have cognitive dissonance.
When you feel you just love him so much that you cant live without him, but the other half of your brain is whispering “he is a piece of shit”….and now you wonder if YOU are the crazy one: Trauma bond!
My trauma bond lasted about a year after my final dday. It was awful. But going through it made me stronger.
Therapy, yoga, body talk, kay king, exercise, sleep….all helped.
And trusting that he sucks.
And reading Chump lady daily.
Hand up here. Wish I had found chimp lady 4 years earlier before the fam reconciliation and gag worthy Re-marriage in Central Park. Before he stole my life savings at 56 and my jewellry and my vehicles and …and.. I would have at least demanded a post nup which most likely would have ended things right there because he couldn’t possibly have ..CONSQUENCES!
Still best advice ever! Woke up to people shooting me in the heart. 3 or 4 different dreams last night ALL of them ending the same way….me dead after someone shoots me. They all had remnants of asshat and smoochie but the theme was the same and my feelings were the same – Will people love me when I’m gone? Will my kids miss me? Will he miss me? Was I worth anything to him? Was my life worth anything here on this earth? Needless to say how powerless I felt in the dreams, I woke up feeling powerful and determined to make it the best damn life I can! Thanks CL. Hugs CL nation.
One step is to stop caring about what happens after you’re dead. Live well while you’re here. Make an impact. Don’t cede your power to other people. You can answer back to the question of whether YOU were WORTH ANYTHING to the Asshat. Well, he married you. He had kids with you. And he used you. So he had to see some “worth.” The difference is that cheater define “worth” as: you having something he can take from you without reciprocating. You are “worth” something to the cheater if he can use you like a gas pump. So your idea of worth (valuing people for their own sake) and his (how can I use people?) are not the same.
In 16 days I will be 6 years from D-Day, the day I discovered Jackass was into something with the MOW. (For those who don’t know, Jackass was the relationship I jumped into after I ended a marriage to a substance abuser.)
Since then, I’ve done my relationship autopsy and identified the behaviors that got me into bad relationships and (as my therapist reminded me yesterday) kept me there even though they weren’t in my best interest. Lack of self-care is very high on that list. Faulty ideas about relationships is also very high.
Since then, I’ve gotten my finances in order so that I can stay financially independent and solvent in spite of having MORE expenses because I ended the marriage. I’ve figured out how to maintain a huge yard with trees and challenging topography. I’ve replaced all manner of things, HVAC, garage doors, security lights, porch screening, doors, etc. I’ve developed a whole new network for socializing and strengthened my friendships. I’ve experience major loss and mourned. I added another cat to the mix. I lost weight, kept it off for 3 years, gained it back and am losing it again–this time for good, I hope. I’ve developed boundaries. I have new standards for romantic relationship, centering around what’s in my best interest: living alone but being connected to others and plugged into relationships with people of similar mind, who value kindness and reciprocity.
I didn’t leave. I was discarded in a cruel and ruthless fashion in both marriage and the subsequent attempt at a relationship (dare I say, rebound?). But even people who are discarded have to LEAVE. They have to leave that idealized notion of the relationship that keeps them pining after a disordered, lying, gaslighting cheater. They have to leave a way of life that keeps their own self-interest off the priorities list. And they have to re-define what self-interest is. It’s not in your self interest to minimize your needs; to twist yourself into a pretzel to stay in any relationship; to tolerate abuse of any sort, including lies and manipulation, as well as physical, emotional, and financial abuse.
Read CL’s book. Go read about the cycle of relationships common to narcissism. Read Dr. George Simon on “manipulative people.” Read the archives here, all the way back, CL’s posts as well as chump comments. Get a therapist who is about saving YOU and not saving the marriage. You can’t have a marriage anyway if you are disappearing as a human being because you’ve lost your sense of who you are and what is acceptable to you.
You can’t save your marriage after infidelity.
Only the cheater can.
He must be totally remorseful, take ALL responsibility, meet all of your demands, make none of his own, and realize that it’s totally up to you whether you stay together.
Does that sound like YOUR cheater? I didn’t think so.
The take away here is no matter what we do we can’t save a cheater! I am a living witness, I stayed over 3 decades. When my mask finally came all the way off 5 years ago, WOW. And his fake recovery, fake apologies, simply couldn’t last bc he was more invested in THAT life than my life. I thought like many chumps we had a great marriage, 3 amazing young adult children, grandkids and we had survived his indiscretions etc. We were heading into our retirement years. I believe God saved me from him relocating me even further away from family and friends. Instead he got the knock on the door serving him with divorce papers. Never in a million years did I expect him to turn into an ugly monsters, refusing to support me after 32 yrs of shit sandwiches.
I have gone through every single emotion penned here on CN. Read and reread all the wisdom here. YOU are worth saving yourself. FORGET cheater, they are FUBR. Im a survivor, no longer a victim and I hold my head high. It does take time for the truth to sink in. On my 60th bday 3 years ago I went skydiving to prove to myself “I got this”. Life can be a freewill at times. My advice 1 time of cheating is enough. Don’t waste your time for 3 decades believing his lies …. Run for the hill. YOU are worth. You can do it!!!
Yes, yes, yes.
Save yourself. I am almost 3 years into a divorce that may not see the end for another few years.
Do NOT lose your resolve.
Do NOT give in or give up.
And yes- you are going to get eviscerated.
These fuckers believe they are the victims. Manipulative fucks. They can’t handle adulting, and what we are entitled to such as spousal support, assets, property, child support, and etc.
It felt good when my lawyer during the domestic relations meeting for support brought up his under the table job and his lawyer got up to go to the bathroom and my lawyer chewed him up and I got an extra thousand dollars in support. I think it was planned because it was so surreal what lawyer leaves their client in a domestic relations meeting? At this point that’s my karma having the courts tell him what I am entitled too. It felt so good! To see him seething. ????????????
Love the parachuting. You’re a mighty woman.
***Free Fall — not freewill
I bought Leave a cheater gain of Life about a month after D-Day. I made mistakes and I wish I would have read it that next day! Days after I found him with ow…I researched how to save my marriage. I thought he had my best interest in mind. I gave him access to my 401k. Ha! Nope! Thank goodness I found this! I left a cheater!!!
Are you aware of the save your marriage adds all over your page?
I think it is important to remember that everyone does not learn/believe/heal/ on the same time table. I did not take the time to fix my picker between relationships, so I had two in a row that were bad. I also learned I had some family of origin problems going in, which contributed to me being a slow learner. I would not recommend many of my choices to anyone. In spite of this, I survived, finally figured it out, and am now thriving. It was not easy, it was not what I expected, but since I wanted to stop the pain I changed ME.
The hardest things for me to learn were to forget about sunk costs, that you cannot change another person no matter what you do, and to realize I did not marry the person I thought I married. I married an image, a mirage of a man, someone who had none of the characteristics I thought he had. Other than my choices in men, I am competent and often intelligent in my life choices and at work. It was a terrible surprise to me to find out the extent of my foolishness when it came to husbands. I had to accept that flaw, and work hard to set boundaries about behavior that is acceptable to me.
This work did not save my marriage. This work saved me. You can live without a spouse/significant other. You cannot live without your authentic self. Good luck on your journey to MEH, it is a bumpy ride.
This exactly —–> “The hardest things for me to learn were to forget about sunk costs, that you cannot change another person no matter what you do, and to realize I did not marry the person I thought I married. I married an image, a mirage of a man, someone who had none of the characteristics I thought he had.”
Once I figured this out, the rest was relatively easy. 33 years together and I do not miss him at all because he was NOT REAL. My marriage was a figment of my imagination. How can you miss someone who never really existed? I much prefer to live alone with truth rather than coupled to a lie.
I love your post, Portia, especially this: “This work did not save my marriage. This work saved me. You can live without a spouse/significant other. You cannot live without your authentic self.” This is the bottom line.
ChumpLady I just want to say your very smart , You don’t sugarcoat anything you tell us how it is , which is great ,Reading this one today opened my eyes to see , that you really can’t believe any thing they say They really are very selfish , it’s all about what they want , U either hope thing will change or your to scared of the future with out them that u put blinders on , Yes he cheated , yes he’s still here , he feels obligated to take care of us he says , , but really he just plotting out his next move I could never in my wildest dreams think my husband would go after another woman land want them over me and our family Your words get me to really think about what’s going on what he did or still is doing , I’m really glad I brought your book , and have u and chump nation to help me out Thank u for keeping it real ,
I had just returned from a trip to visit my mom , Which my hubby in courage me to go , he insisted that I go , anyway , it was like a day and a half that I had been home So didn’t do much around the house , He comes in says he needs me to do more around the house to earn my keep Earn my keep I couldn’t believe he just said that My house is clean , must be something he’s feeling guilty about He does that he does something and instead of telling me about it he wants to lose the guilt he puts it on me . I found out he had a few outing with his Just Friends Girlfriend while I was gone , So to make himself feel better he tries to make me feel worse, I’m not feeling the love, or security , safe place I use to have Its all manipulation on his part . I haven’t made it though the grief part yet that my Friend Lover , protecter Has fallen for Another’ Woman And he has said the most hurtful things Like he never Loved me from day one of our Marriage but he thought he would grow to love me but hasn’t , hurtful words hurtful actions , I don’t want him back I do want to move on with my life I feel stuck , trying to find myself , put me first , See who I am with out him But he keeps bringing the drama back to me , He has made his choice he wants her I just can’t seem to get my head around the fact he doesn’t want me any more in any way , Been married to him half of my life and he wants to throw it away for what A woman who is how we were when we first dated What happens when reality drops in is he going to go looking for someone new Why is it we haven’t done anything but we get punished for it The OW he’s been seeing is moving , maybe he’ll want to go to ???? One can only hope I’ll be trying to find myself for I have been lost for quite awhile , It’s going to be about me for a change I’m tried of thinking and doing for selfish son of €£¥* hopefully get out soon
Dear Lyn, I’ve taken the first steps and separated. It’s going to be a long rocky ride but here goes!!! Be brave, do differently, let’s keep supporting our tribe. Hugs to you ????
???????? I’m in the same place. My hasn’t told me he wants to go be with the OW but I feel it. When I caught him cheating, dating site profiles, condom wrapper in his laundry bin, I kicked him out. Than I begged for him to come back. I feel stupid, he’s still here, but I know he’s not invested anymore at all. I know he wants to be with her. I made him text her tell her he can’t talk to her anymore cuz he has a wife, he did, I watched him. But people here, on CN have been saying their X done that too yet the woman took them back!!! I feel confused as well and can’t wrap my head around the fact that this is actually really over. It hurts bad, been together 6.5 years. So I know where you’re at. I hope soon we will get the strength to just see it all for what it is instead of walking blind wondering why.
Read here and prepare yourself. I didn’t find CL the first time my husband cheated and I had invested 22 years of my life. Thought it was a one time blip – suprise- it wasn’t. All I did was waste five more years with him and a lot more heartbreak (he slowly started treating me with more and more disdain and cruelty). I would start preparing yourself financially and emotionally without saying anything out loud (hard to do but possible). Just remember now there is no such thing as team – he is playing for himself – you need to do the same.
Yes. Thank you for that. It’s funny how we know things deep down inside but it’s such a awakening when someone said it to you. It is team only me now. It’s tire. I know he’s still speaking with the OW as he’s rude towards me and when he does txt me it feels like he’s doing it out of obligation. I can feel his annoyance as well when he has to txt me back. As if I’m nothing but a bother now.
This is going to be hard to play, but as you said he’s playing for his own team now as well. I told him I’ll change things be a better wife to him so he won’t cheat anymore. Yet he’s still the same person, now just more dismissive of me. I won’t talk, I’ll just do what I have to do because I know eventually he’ll leave to be with her.
Dear CL – I believe there is a “tip of the iceberg” cartoon for you to draw! I am yet to find a chump who did not find a whole shit volcano under the veritable tip of their cheaters iceberg.
I often feel like Alice in Wonderland falling down the tunnel. I fall in darkness and hit my head over and over as I find out about more and more lying and crap behaviour… surely I’m at the bottom? No there is always more ???? ???? ????
Yep, little lies here & there revealed. I’m about 100 days post discard & our divorce is pending. We recently exchanged financial affidavits and in reviewing his info I found a few surprises. A credit card I didn’t know about and he paid $1,000 on it prior to discard. The best part was a bunch of charges in another city one weekend. That same weekend I drove with the kids many hours to annual family vacation destination. He claimed to have a last minute work class and couldn’t join us for another 5 days. One of our kids had food poisoning for days so on vacation I got to hang out in the ER while he pretends to be in a class. Nope, he was in another city probably at an annual music festival there and I’m sure spent sometime with his howorker. So many lies! Having an affair is probably the hardest he’s ever had to work in his life.
Bad Movie19, Oh the joys of financial disclosure. I really thought my STBX wouldn’t lie on those documents.The legal consequences surely would force his hand to tell the truth. His Financial Affidavit is a pack of lies, obvious, easily disproved lies. He is desperate to minimize his financial obligation to me. It won’t work. He is digging his own financial grave one lie at a time. I also discovered somebody is pregnant through the financial affidavit. He is paying for Life Insurance Premiums to insure Child Support. Our children are financially independent adults, there is no child support for them.
He has changed the passwords to our mutual accounts and moved all the money to a new account in his name only. How will he explain that to the judge? The banks will not give me any information even with my name on the accounts. Their representatives told me to have my lawyer subpoena them. The same with the credit cards I didn’t know he had. He has at a very minimum financially abused me and is most likely committing fraud.
I am so grateful for our legal system. It has many flaws but forces these secretive whore fuckers to disclose information they are desperate to hide. It is all getting revealed. That others get to see just how abusive and malevolent he has been over the years is liberating to me. I’m not crazy, my own lawyer called his behavior “ridiculous”.
Hang in there. I think your Bad Movie will have a happy uplifting ending!!!!