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‘Should I Divorce Him?’

Dear Chump Lady,

My husband of 15 years had been having an affair for over three years. Should I divorce him?

I feel like our marriage is over, but I haven’t left him yet. I threw my wedding ring into a canyon in Utah, but I’m still living with him and clinging to the idea that we can “work it out”. Mostly out of fear of being alone, but also based on the belief that I should give him a chance to make amends. Your book encourages chumps like me to pay close attention to the cheater’s actions and zero attention to their words, and this is what I’ve observed:

1. On D-Day, I demanded that he end the relationship, and he did, as far as I know. I know that he hasn’t seen her, but I have no way of knowing if they have talked or messaged, thanks to apps like Facetime and What’sapp.

2. Soon after D-Day, I demanded that we sell our house and move away, and he begrudgingly agreed. This isn’t as drastic as it sounds because we were already building a vacation home, and I proposed that we make that house our primary residence. I told him that I would divorce him if he didn’t agree and that he would lose the house anyway, which is what a lawyer told me. So, he fixed up the house, closed his business and sold all of the assets (because he ran the business out of the house), and negotiated an excellent price with the buyer. The new house is going to be awesome and the area is amazingly beautiful, a paradise really. But he wasn’t happy about any of this. He complained constantly, told me that all of this was really hard for him, and got angry and threatened to leave me every time I wanted to talk about his affair.

3. I asked him to go to therapy with me, and he did, but I had to make the appointments and beg him to go. He went a total of seven times and complained about it every time, so I stopped making the appointments for us, and continued to see someone on my own.

4. Since we moved, he has been working on the new house full-time and I have been working part-time on my own business and part-time on the house. I took control of our finances by depositing the proceeds of the house to an account that he does not have access to and by closing his business checking account, which he used to hide his affair expenses. He got angry about all of this, but he let me do it and doesn’t complain about it very often. I have been out-earning him for a few years now and managing all of our expenses, so he isn’t sacrificing anything but his privacy and his illusion of masculine power.

5. Since we moved, he has spent most of his free time with me. I asked him to stop going out to the bars by himself, and he has abided by this new rule, though not without complaining about it. When he was cheating, going out for “a drink” was his cover, along with various business excuses. Now we do things together or stay home together. We don’t talk about his affair. If I bring it up, or look at his phone, or question him on his whereabouts, he gets angry. Then he shuts down, refuses to speak for the rest of the evening, or when he’s feeling feisty, threatens to leave me.

6. He has apologized, but those are just words, right? He has also said that he didn’t have sex with her, that she was just a friend, but I don’t believe him and it drives me crazy to think that he is still lying to me. He did tell our therapist, soon after D-day, that he might be in love with her, which only proves my belief that he did have sex with her. He has shown himself to be a very capable liar, so I don’t believe anything he says right now.

It’s clear to me that staying married to me is his best option, both financially and socially. I told all of our family and friends about his affair, but actually divorcing again (he was married before and unfaithful) would bring him a shit ton of shame. He is very attached to his image, especially in his old-world hometown in Austria where all of his family, including five grown kids, still live. Given these circumstances, I don’t know if his actions mean that he still loves me or if he’s just trying to hold on to his cake. Is he even capable of loving someone? He obviously didn’t love me the same way I loved him. I want to give him a chance, but is it too risky for me? Is staying married to him my best option, or should I file for divorce?

Paralyzed in Paradise

Dear Paralyzed in Paradise,

Well, it wouldn’t be paradise without unicorns, would it? (sigh)

Let’s break this down item by item.

On D-Day, I demanded that he end the relationship, and he did, as far as I know. I know that he hasn’t seen her, but I have no way of knowing if they have talked or messaged, thanks to apps like Facetime and What’sapp.

That’s the crux of it — you don’t know. You can Trust But Verify (marriage police academy) or you can trust. I don’t see your husband here tripping over himself to reassure you. It’s more like you’ve got a gun to his head and he’s on a Reconciliation Death March. (They should have a John Philip Sousa tune for that.)

You’ve frogmarched the perp, disarmed him, enclosed him, and have him under surveillance. Will he reoffend?

Oh hey, sorry, wrong set of questions — Will he like you better?

How exactly does all this unilateral Save Your Marriage shit feel? Like your marriage is 10 times stronger now? If “stronger” means better fortifications to lock down his dick…

If you were hoping for greater intimacy between you now that the Threat Has Been Contained (I hear moats are back in style…) — I don’t think it’s working.

What kind of marriage do you want?

I demanded that we sell our house and move away, and he begrudgingly agreed.

Like THIS marriage? Where you need something from him and he sulks? Where you’re Captain Mean Mommy and he’s the Naughty Rascal? Does anyone respect anyone here?

 he wasn’t happy about any of this. He complained constantly, told me that all of this was really hard for him, and got angry and threatened to leave me every time I wanted to talk about his affair.

Wow. He sounds all in.

I asked him to go to therapy with me, and he did, but I had to make the appointments and beg him to go.

See, your first mistake was thinking that by staying, he wanted to repair the marriage. He let you shuffle a few cards, (He sold his business! He must care!), but you’re still Captain Mean Mommy. You could explore that in therapy, but you’ll sit next to the tissue box alone.

I took control of our finances by depositing the proceeds of the house to an account that he does not have access to and by closing his business checking account, which he used to hide his affair expenses. He got angry about all of this, but he let me do it and doesn’t complain about it very often. I have been out-earning him for a few years now and managing all of our expenses, so he isn’t sacrificing anything but his privacy and his illusion of masculine power.

You’re the one with an illusion, Paralyzed. You’ve got the illusion of control. He gets to punish you for it. Works for him.

Now you’ve got MORE responsibility — earning an income — and he’s got less. And unless you tied this down in some post-nup you didn’t mention, what’s yours is his, whatever account you have it in. Don’t think he doesn’t know that.

And again — is THIS THE MARRIAGE YOU WANT? Don’t you want to be among equals? Or do you want to swap out one abusive dynamic for the other? Ha! Now I’m in charge! Choke on it! is NOT the stuff we waltz to on our silver anniversaries.

Now we do things together or stay home together. We don’t talk about his affair. If I bring it up, or look at his phone, or question him on his whereabouts, he gets angry. Then he shuts down, refuses to speak for the rest of the evening, or when he’s feeling feisty, threatens to leave me.

Another cozy evening in together. More boardgames? Or some rousing threats of abandonment? Let’s see what’s on Netflix!

Seriously. Really? Guy cheats for one-fifth of the entire duration of your marriage and you can’t talk about it? Ever? Not even in therapy? That working for you?

He has apologized, but those are just words, right?

Sorry is as sorry does.

He has also said that he didn’t have sex with her, that she was just a friend,

He is a cliche.

It’s clear to me that staying married to me is his best option, both financially and socially

Is it YOURS? That’s the only question that matters here. All though it’s hard to know about his social life, what with all his chaste invisible three year relationships.

divorcing again (he was married before and unfaithful) would bring him a shit ton of shame

Clearly NOT. Because he got married and cheated AGAIN. No shame the first time, no shame the second time…. He has an established  pattern of fucking up with zero shame.

old-world hometown in Austria where all of his family, including five grown kids, still live.

Huh. I wonder what those kids could tell you about his sorries and his shame. How convenient for him that they’re on the other side of the world.

Is he even capable of loving someone?

That’s skein untangling. Don’t go there. Do you want to invest THE REST OF YOUR LIFE with someone who doesn’t love you?

Yeah, I answered that one for you. He doesn’t love you. People who love you don’t cheat for years, lie, get defensive, refuse therapy, and financially exploit their partner (which is how I read “You want me to quit my job? Sure, now watch me not work again.”)

Anyway, it really doesn’t matter if he loves you — do you love HIM? Is this treatment acceptable to YOU? You don’t have to keep someone in your life because they might! with proper encouragement and 6′ fencing! “love” you.

is it too risky for me?

Depends on what’s in danger. Your self-worth? Your sanity? Your safety?

If you don’t care about those things, then hey, there’s nothing to lose.

Please, set your unicorn free.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • He didn’t cheat once for three years.
    He cheated every time he interacted with this woman, over a three year period. That’s a lot of cheating.
    You could be miserable with him for the rest of your life, he will punish you with sulking and being begrudging but eventually doing the least possible to be seen as complying.
    Or you could be happy, without him around to punish you for his adultery and without dragging a begrudging carcass through life.
    Lawyer up or choose to be eternally miserable.
    Good luck. I wish you well.

    • I think I saw this movie and you are playing the role of Kathy Bates.

      Congrats! You have managed to trap a rattlesnake in a canvas tote. What’s your plan now?

      Also, be warned, if this doesn’t work out for some reason in the next 25+ years, you may not only have to give him half the proceeds of your house and your retirement funds, but also pay him alimony.

      There is nothing like paying a cheater’s rent after they have moved on to make you question your life choices.

      • That is just the shit sandwhich most male chumps get the way system is rigged. There are exceptions of course my chump buddy who turned me on to CL is a man who got alimony from his cheating wjfe.

        • There are plenty of female chumps out there who were the sole income earners too. Ask me how I know.

          The system is to protect people who gave up their careers to take care of children, which I think most people would support.

          Unfortunately, in most states there is a narcissist sized loophole where a husband (or wife) can refuse to work, parent, or help around the house and instead pursue strange and still end up with half of everything.

          • I was a stay at home mom. Gave up career to raise children. Married 15 + years didn’t get any alimony. Ex quit working so I get minimal child support and he has to pay 1/2 health insurance. He’s behind on both. The system is screwed up with who get what.

            • The best advice we can give our kids (male and female) is for anyone who is “stay at home” to keep at least some hand in the career arena–even just a little part-time work, taking courses, going to conferences, reading and staying current, or preparing to change careers when going back to full-time. You never know when you will be forced to earn a living again because of illness, accident, divorce or death. That’s just the fact.

            • Yep, mine got fired from a 6 figure job ( too busy using his company laptop, car, and doctoring expense accounts), neglected to tell me, didn’t pay COBRA, we went without insurance, until I took he first job that came with benefits, then “magically” couldn’t find a full time job ANYWHERE. Meanwhile, I’ve got 2 kids, living in a friend’s basement, struggling to find work in the new state I moved to, and his lawyer comes after ME to pay HIS health insurance AND alimony? SAY WHAT?? He finally found full time work (making less than $30K theoretically) and I get ~$320 a month for child support, split between 2 kids. He found a loophole in the child support collection unit policies- our divorce was final in one state, and we both moved to different states, now none of the CS bureaus will process my court ordered CS collection, so he sends money when remembers.

  • As chump lady says: What is in this for YOU? It certainly does not sound fun to me – you are basically dragging a moping toddler around. Also I am suspicious about his diminished earning power, you doing the finances, and you spending the evenings together.

    As I understand he is in business for himself – would that not make it very easy to skim money from the business and engage in relations in office time?

    What does your gut feeling tell you? At one time in my relation I remember clearly thinking ‘if my life was a book this would be a sign that he is having an affair’. At that moment I shrugged it away – guess what …. 1 month later I find out he is having an affair and is choosing the love of his life over the existing wife and pre-teen kids. Never underestimate what your subconscious brain is telling you – you are probabely picking up signs that the cheating has not stopped or you would not have written chump lady.

  • There is no way he did not have sex with this woman, especially in a three-year affair! He feels entitled to lie to you. Please run. Run fast.

  • True and honest humility does whatever is necessary for as long as it takes. It may be difficult and uncomfortable, but there is an acceptance of it being the right thing to do to make amends.

    I honestly thought that I was getting true remorse during my separation from my now ex-wife. She talked at length about the affair. She got workbooks and scheduled time to work on them.

    I should have listened to my gut even then and filed for divorce. She was the one who initiated the separation because of my “volatile emotions” after I discovered proof of her affairs. Then there were days that she just didn’t have time to comfort me when I was having a hard time with everything. Still her remorse seemed mostly genuine. That is until she moved back.

    Even though I don’t have any solid proof, I believe that the seemingly real remorse was an act to keep me from filing divorce while she continued the affair and/or had others while separated. When she moved back she was committed…but only to “starting over fresh”. The attitude became exactly like the person in this letter. She wouldn’t refuse to work on things, it just became much more of a struggle to do so because of her passive aggressive attitude.

    Suddenly I was the horrible husband who “made all the rules now” and expected her to “live her life under a microscope”. I became the bad guy again. In other words, I became the perfect excuse for her to have another affair. I don’t know if she did, but in the end I filed for divorce when I found out an affair partner contacted her and she neglected to tell me about it.

    I believe that unless someone is willing to own up to their mistakes each and every day for the rest of their lives if necessary, then it’s truly not worth trying to work through it. Ask Chump Lady says, cheating is about entitlement. Can someone who is entitled enough to have an affair suddenly do a 180 and devote the rest of their life to making amends to another person? That’s where that fabled unicorn comes in. I want to believe it’s possible, but I’ve never seen it.

    • People who love you don’t cheat for years, lie, get defensive, refuse therapy, and financially exploit their partner …

      unless someone is willing to own up to their mistakes each and every day for the rest of their lives if necessary, then it’s truly not worth trying to work through it.

      Voila’ No unicorn. Just a garden variety lying cheater.

    • When you get made the bad guy, it’s another form of gaslighting. You know damn well you’re not, that the cheater is the screwed up one. But it really messes with your mind.

      My ex’s OW/wife said as much to me. “Your kids are having a hard time because you won’t be friends with me.” Like WTF.

    • Well, I have been reading all the posts for some time now feeling somrhThing has been going on with my husband and his need to have other women in his life for companionship. He has insisted he is not init for sex but he cant communicate with me.
      I went to counseling once by myself and then stupidly agreed to try coup,es counseling. Even after the counselor told me he has a need to be mean to me. What the hell was I thinking. I should have listened to everyone here!
      Counseling together was Saturday and it was awful. I’m crying the entire time and trying to ask if he wants me in his life. Yes he says. When the counsel
      Lord asks him to say something nice about me he drew a comp,eye blank. Could not think of anything other than after much prompting he said he appreciated that I have told people about how one time he rescued a woman from being beaten up because I supported him. That was it. When she asked to say something he appreciates about our relationship there was nothing. 30 years with this man and he has nothing positive to say about me or our relationship. Wtf.
      Then that night he tells me that he can’t have intimacy with me because I the past he only did it to p,ease me and that he never really liked it anyway. The last few times it did not work so he decided not to even try anymore. He also told me that he has never initiated sex with a woman they have all come on to him. I’ll be the first to call bullshit on that one.
      So what the hell am I doing?
      I was stupid enough to cancel a meeting with an attorney cuz we were going to try and work it out. I’m calling them this week and begging to reschedule!
      And the therapist thinks we are doing so well.
      CN. This man has no feelings for me or our relationship. I see all the things everyone has posted on here and did not listen! I told my best friend today I gotta get out. She said I have been waiting years for you to say that. He has not been a good husband to you.
      I’m going to listen this time.
      I would like insight on if they hate you that much and you are the bane of their existence why don’t they just leave. Ok well in his case I forgot to mention he does not work. Decided to retire without talking to me and makes a very small pension. I make good money and pay for health care and everything else. Consider me a huge giant super chump in capital letters!

        • Entitled people are very transactional in nature. He doesn’t want to work. You make good money, provide health care, and pay the bills. That works for him. Plus, he can do whatever he wants. All wins for him.

          What’s in it for you? He doesn’t care, so long as he gets his.

          Time to put the loser in your rearview mirror.

            • So sorry you are going through this, AC. I’m glad you’ve read alot here, please keep reading and posting. You’re brave and wise to let go of a relationship that isn’t acceptable to you. There will be a lot of work to do emotionally as well as practically, you could join the sub-Reddit to get more support. All the best to you sweetie!

              • Some of these people manipulate and abuse by demanding sex, others by withholding.

                You have a withholder there, and what a nightmare that is. It maters to you, so of course he has a headache every night forever. (Except with porn, or with pretty much any woman who is not you.)

                Nope to all of that. Withholding to punish? That’s a ongoing abuse that it is far better to live without.

                Vibrator and a nice stretch of private time would be an entirely better choice, particularly since the vibrator was created with much more creativity and empathy than that guy has or will ever have.

                Buh-bye to him. 👋

      • Another Chump, he actually retired and didn’t discuss it with you! That is outrageous. Unfortunately for you and with the length of the marriage it may not be the best for you but please follow through this time. Keep your mouth closed and get to a lawyer for your options. Take back your life. Good luck dear.

      • If you have evidence of his affairs, keep it someplace safe. If you do not have evidence, then try hard to get some. If you can prove he had an affair, you may not have to pay him alimony. As it is now, with him retired and you earning more, you might have to pay alimony unless you can prove he cheated. Even in no fault states, cheating can be taken into consideration when it comes to alimony.

      • The question is: why don’t YOU leave? Or file for divorce? They are perfectly happy with a spouse at home and affair partners elsewhere. He doesn’t leave because he likes his life this way.

        One of the “forsaking all others” deal is that when you marry, you get not just a financial partner and a sexual partner, you get a companion, a friend. If you don’t have that, it’s time to cut yourself loose.

    • My husband cheated 3 years ago. In fact, D-Day was exactly 3 years ago today. Since his affair, we’ve moved and now he works from home. The problem is (one among many) he treats me as if I’m the one who cheated. His puts MY life under a microscope. He checks my phone, snooping through my messages, texts, and even my time sheets (I clock in and out of my job via app on my phone) to see what time I clock in and out. If there is any time discrepancy, he thinks I’m being deceptive. One time I had a glass of wine after clocking out and he totally thought I had slept with someone in the 30 minutes it took for me to clock out, have a glass of wine, then driving home.
      The only reason I am still married to him is because I cannot afford life otherwise. We have two small children and two large dogs. He has control of all finances. We do have a joint checking acct, that only I contribute to. I don’t think he’s cheating now but his behavior gives me insight as to how deceptive he was when he was cheating.

      • Dear island chump, I don’t know where you live, but reading your post made alarm bells go off. This kind of monitoring is abuse and I worry about you. I hope there is a women’s shelter or abuse hotline that you will tap into at some point. Especially if he steps up the monitoring. You are being kept prisoner. Please be very very careful If you decide to make an exit plan, do it quietly. In Canada, here are some numbers http://endingviolencecanada.org/getting-help/ But if he is monitoring your phone perhaps enlist a relative or friend to provide you with information. Please have a backup plan, perhaps an “emergency word”, that when you say it to your backup person over the phone it will mean “come and get me”. You have rights. You can even talk to the police about your situation. Pre-empt any phonecalls your spouse may make on your behalf (ie telling the cops you are crazy). You are allowed to be concerned for yourself, your children and your safety. All the best to your brave heroic self.

      • Please stop contributing ANYTHING to your joint account, especially since he contributes zero. Open your own account in a different bank and don’t give him access. This is very controlling/abusive/parasitic behavior.

      • You have a job. He doesn’t get to control your money. Have your paycheck deposited in a separate account and then write a check for your share (a fair share) of household expenses.

        Financial control is abuse.

  • You sold your home, you left everybody you knew, for him, for a new start. Was it out of embarrassment.
    You seen to be making all the effort.
    He betrayed you, but your treating him like a naughty boy.
    He threatens to leave you, your not allowed to talk about the affair, who does he think he is.
    Its your choice, I think you would be better on your own.
    The affair was his fault not yours..
    What makes you think you can trust him, you trusted him before remember

  • Dear PiP, try to imagine how wonderful your life will be cheater free. When you are deep in the police state of making sure your cheater isn’t cheating you lose sight of this.

    Right now you are desperately trying to prevent him cheating on you. Because he betrayed you in the worst way; he did that. That was his decision. Nothing you did forced him to do that. Nothing you can do will prevent him from doing it again, and again.

    You will have more time for you once you don’t feel the need for surveillance of your STBX. Your bank accounts will not suffer the depredations of a cheater supporting his whore habit. You won’t have the humiliation of being forced to have STI testing, again and again.

    You can get to know peace once you kick him out. Kick him out. He sounds like dead weight. Divorce him and be free.

  • Paralyzed in Paradise

    Your item 6 , 3 years and NO sex !!, Just friends mmmhhhh Riiiggghhhtt

    I am glad you don’t believe it .

    You know he has lied to you repeatedly for 3 years by saying he is going for drinks . You know he is a cheat and is skimming money .
    I know its hard thinking you are going to be alone ( trust me i know this feeling ) but what is 100% worse than being alone is being lied to and disrespected

    But as CL said is it acceptable to you? Really ask yourself this , you know deep down its not

    In good news territory CN i got my divorce through on Friday 🙂 36 weeks from D day and i am done hurrraayy 🙂

    • Karenb6972, congratulations on getting your divorce. I hope the terms were favorable to you. I’m so glad you are officially free of that narcissist. Your life will surely continue to improve. I can not wait to be divorced.

      • Thank You CL & Thirtythree

        Feeling mighty and its all thanks to you CL & Everyone on CN

        Its scary starting life again at 45 but it beats living with cheat , lair and thief

        On wards we go 🙂 xx

        • ((((karenb6702))))

          I have read your posts. I have seen, and felt, your strength.
          YOU are MIGHTY!

          Happy New Life ❤️

          • Thank you so much and again Thank You for every ones kind words help and support
            i honestly think i would have died if i had not found CL & CN when i did.

            Love to you all xx

            • Well done for setting yourself free. Best wishes for your new life … on your terms. You’re a strong woman, don’t ever underestimate your worth!

          • PPI
            It sounds to me that your forcing this man/child
            to live with you & your accepting his continuing abuse, He’s lying to you but your analyzing his behavior. You have nothing to work with. Unfortunately you don’t have a good marriage. Your the only one in it.
            What must he do to you to realize he doesn’t want to be married.
            I understand how you feel because I was in denial for two years before I finally served him divorce papers. Starting over after 34 years is frightening & heartbreaking but every day I push myself forward to a “cheater free” life.
            It’s hard but I rather be alone than being lied to
            & cheated on any longer.
            Stay strong 💪🏼 & throw his cheating butt out the door. You deserve better. ❤️

        • I filed for divorce at 45, divorced at 46. Now 47. Lot of life is ahead of you. Restarted my life. Having a blast.

        • Karenb6702,
          I understand how you feel. My divorce is final on 12/26/19 after nearly 22 years of marriage. I just turned 55 a couple weeks ago and have full custody of twin 13 year old boys. It is scary.

          • Calichump, I was 53 when I got my divorce (I’m 61 now). Married 26 years. It may not happen immediately but life will get better. In fact I LOVE my life now and wouldn’t change it for the world! You’ll get there!

    • Well done for setting yourself free. Best wishes for your new life … on your terms. You’re a strong woman, don’t ever underestimate your worth!

  • I see your dilemma. I’m in one as well. He cheated, was on dating sites, I found a condom wrapper. He tried denying it all. Couldn’t with the sites cuz I had pictures. Still denies the use of the condom. But I know he had sex with someone. It sickens me. Yet when I kicked him out I begged him to come back. Why? I don’t know. I don’t trust him at all. He also gets angry when I bring things up, gets all frustrated and stopped talking. The other night we were supposed to go to the movies, I was feeling unwell, he caused me of faking being sick because I didn’t look sick. Started to sulk, was getting upset. So stupid right? Yet I can’t let go. Do I want this for myself? No! I don’t. In the past I had no issue letting go, with him, I feel stuck. I don’t know if I’m brainwashed or what.
    But as for the cheating, I also don’t know if it’s stopped. Him and one woman were getting pretty close. When I bring things up, he also threatens to leave. Told me when I’m at work he’ll pack up and go I won’t even know when. Like really? He cheated yet he’s threatening and putting down ultimatums. I don’t understand my situation, but I do understand that this is not ok.
    Who’d want to spend their days wondering stressing, feeling insecure and so on. I know he doesn’t really love me.
    So yea I bet the sulking, temper tantrums, shitting you out by not talking, and all the other wonderful things. This shit is not ok. Why we put up with it? That’s what I want to understand.

    • I’ve been there too! You’re not brainwashed. It’s the same thing I experienced; it’s cognitive dissonance. I truly believed that my ex-wife was a good person. I didn’t trust that she sucked. Then whenever she behaved like an entitled monster, I had to change one of those things. Either her behavior wasn’t that bad and I was deserving of it or she is truly a horrible person.

      Only once I completely believed she is an extremely entitled person with strong narcissistic tendencies, could I see her behavior clearly.

      • Thank you for that. Excellent insight. I think we also feel the behavior is somehow a reflection on us – be it the pride of our judgment of choosing a spouse or believing a bit of their rewritten narrative that we are to blame. Why is it that we internalize the dissonance so well? I wish I knew.

        • Really good point! I think I internalized the dissonance so well because I felt like I made the right choice when I asked this woman to be my wife.

          It’s a double whammy if I then have to accept that she really sucks. It’s difficult enough to apply the label of “horrible person” to anyone unless you’ve been around them for a while. I had to first rescind a previous decision of “someone I think would be good to marry” before I could apply the label of “horrible person”.

          In other words, it’s hard enough to accept that they suck. I also had to accept that I was fooled.

          • Sweet, someone on this site once said, “It is the easiest thing in the world to trick someone who loves you.” I keep that in mind when I feel badly for being so blind. She tricked you and that says everything about her. That is her shame.

            • Eh, don’t feel ashamed for being young, for falling for the culture’s “that’s my soulmate” idea, for not recognizing disorder when someone is trying hard to fool you.

    • Magdalena –

      Call it anything you want but clearly it is all about keeping YOU on shifting ground while he does *whatever* with *whomever* he pleases. I strongly suggest you look into the laws in your jurisdiction (online) to get an idea of how divorces work in your area and what you can expect to see happen. Separate your finances – or at least open up an account in your name ONLY in a DIFFERENT bank. Not a different bank branch – a different bank or credit union. Start shoving money aside for an attorney and to find a place to live – solo.

      Listen to his words less, watch his actions, take note of how you feel and respond. Anxious? Palms sweaty? Mouth dry? Hyperventilating? Constantly on edge? Bad stuff.

      Good luck to you.

      • You say because you are afraid to be alone, most likely. Or because you are accustomed to abuse. Either way, the only way to a happy life is to change what you are doing.

    • Mag, what helped me understand and finally file was first finding a therapist who understood narcissistic abuse, trauma bonds, and the cycles in a narcissistic relationship. The very first thing I told him was that I wanted to stop loving him.

      Still, despite being told he was a narcissist I didn’t buy it until I saw R Grannon’s video describing covert narcissists. Each and every year you lose a part of yourself as you repeatedly go through the cycles. You my friend, need support to get out.

    • “Sulking, temper tantrums, shitting you out by not talking”!!!! Sounds divine, I can understand EXACTLY why you would want to stay with that – NOT!!!! Please get away from him. Next time he threatens to leave offer to pack his bag for him. Call his bluff but MEAN it! The Twat left almost 10 years ago and although I have dated I live on my own. I will NEVER live with someone again because I don’t need to take their bullshit – sulking, temper tantrums, shitting you out by not talking! Please save yourself more years of misery Magdalena!

    • Magdalena…….a therapist once told me that she had worked for Family Services in the past. And she would have to remove children from very abusive homes. Some of those children had been badly beaten, and even burned by their parents. And many of those children would BEG to go home. Because they feared the unfamiliar more than what they knew.

      • Mitz, that’s it exactly. It’s the fear of the unfamiliar and being alone. Then you take a minute to think about the sheer terror (in my case, four years) of living with someone you can’t trust and on whom you depend for everything. The certainty that you simply cannot live without them. The churning stomach from anxiety, not knowing if they’re cheating again. The shame of seeing yourself be overly nice to the jerk when all you get in return is emotional abuse – just because the unfamiliar is more scary than the hell you’re currently living in. Let me tell you, my divorce journey has been awful, but each day gets better and I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. And I LIKE IT. I can be true to myself. I see that there are plenty of people who like my company and think I’m a worthwhile individual. It is so freeing. Although I am 54 and was with the jerk for 25 years, I see a bright future for myself.

        • Once the confusion clears (this takes no contact and whatever distance you can put between you and the cheater), life takes on more and more meaning and possibility. It’s important to ask “What do I want?” Many of us did not ask ourselves that question for years or decades because we were told in words or deeds that the answer did not matter. Stop that shit. Now. Examine the possibilities. Weigh the alternatives. Prioritize those dreams, aspirations and immediate goals. Explore the various paths to get to them. What I think all chumps have in common is an uncommon ability to commit to a goal, and the patience, persistence and competence to move heaven and earth to make it happen. Give yourself permission to design and implement the perfect life for You. It’s about time.

    • “In the past I had no issue letting go, with him, I feel stuck.”

      This is great insight. It’s good you’re looking at your own skein.

      So what is different now? Why are you stuck with this one but not others?

    • One thing I have to say when it comes to words vs. actions. Yes, you should pay more attention to actions than words when it comes to cheaters (and in general really) but there are some words that you should pay attention to:

      “I’ll leave if you talk about this”
      “I’ll pack up and go and you won’t even know when!”
      “Stop talking about it or I’ll leave you.”

      Threats. Emotionally manipulative threats are words you should pay attention to. And take seriously. Not in the sense that you should shut up and obey, but in the sense that these are control methods. Listen to them when your partner says them to you because they are signs that you need to get out.

      Speaking of, maybe CL should do a blog on words and phrases that you *should* listen to. There’s more than just these.

      • “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Nope. Verbal/mental/psychological is its own category of abuse. Covers threats, cut-downs, “jokes”, gaslighting, et bloody cetera. Mindfuck!

        • Yup. There are some words that are absolutely intended to hurt, manipulate, control, and intimidate. There are words to ignore (like the word-salad coming out of people like Esther Perel and her ilk) and there are words to take seriously, like threats to leave if you don’t comply.

        • I had a friend in high school (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth) who would respond to the sticks & stones rhyme -especially from teachers- with:

          “Bruises fade, bones heal, but emotional scars are forever”.

          I wish more people understood that.

    • I’ve been happily cheater-free for four years. The more time that passes, the more gob-smacked I am to come on here and read these stories. Why the hell are you still with this person, why would you want to be! What is the motivation to stay with someone who cheats and then treats you like you’re the bad guy? And yet that was me. What was I afraid of, that staying in that situation was somehow better than an unknown future? Anything is better than abuse! Why did I treat myself so shitty? Thank god it’s all in the rearview mirror.

      Come to the other side, Stuck-Chumps, life is grand here!

    • You want to understand? Start researching trauma bonds, Stockholm syndrome, the cycle of abuse, intermittent rewards, domestic violence, emotional abuse. Inform yourself. Knowledge is power. As you gain understanding of why you feel stuck, you will switch from being upset to being really really angry. You will see what he is doing and what he has done to you and you will want to free yourself. You won’t like him one bit! You will get the urge to escape. You won’t be able to undo what you know.

      Get the understanding and get out. We are here! Hugs!!!!!

    • Magdalena–you’re suffering from a trauma bond. Years of subtle abuse can turn a secure person into one scared of his or her own shadow. The abuse cycles with some semblance of kindness. This intermittent reinforcement creates a bond that it is tough to let go of. Read up on trauma bonds (Kim Saeed is a good place to start)

      Next time he threatens to leave, tell him not to let the door hit him on the way out. Let him do you the favor of taking a hike so you can heal. Sending hugs.

    • I was codependent, hopeful and i think sort of addicted. I knew it wasn’t ok and even while i cried, sitting on our closet floor would say aloud, to myself, “you’re never going to leave him so why cry?!”. But I did leave. I put myself on autopilot (a crying, scared autopilot) kept taking steps to divorce while trying marriage counseling and eventually (a year post D-Day #3) divorce was final. When you know it’s wrong but you want it to be right you keep trying. We have 2 daughters, he makes close to 400k a year and will only keep making more, has a perfect body he works on evry morning with now 3rd affair partner and everyone thinks he’s a stud. He lied, gaslit, cheated while i was pregnant both times, had unexplained “moods”, called me a bitch on evry bday and left me sad and confused by yet another mood, to fill the stockings every Christmas Eve… Still i wanted what i thought could be had. He’d apologize, cry, say he was going to kill himself even. He’d compliment me, we’d have great sex, he’d be so good with our girls then he’d yell, “why wasn’t the kitchen clean?” What’s wrong with you?!” when i didn’t stop cooking and homework to go give him a kids hello, get moody and mean and withdraw inexplixably and then come back, “sorry”. He was cheating all along. (14 years of marriage) over and over with 3 different women I know of. Gym rats. He would meet his current affair partner in parking garages, elementary school parking lots, for lunch when he told me had was in meetings, it at the gym, during my grandpa’s then grandma’s funerals… We stay because we’ve been conditioned because we love the idea of them and what they should be, what things could be if only… i also easily left a few cheating boyfriends in the past but my husband was near impossible for me to leave. But I did. It’s been two years since it was final, I’m 44. It’s good to be free of the pain and policing. My girls are happier and my relationship with them is even closer. Get yourself sorted out financially and write down your thoughts and your plans for the future. Get a financial advisor who specializes in divorce and if you have kids think of everything you want for the present and future cause it can’t be negotiated later. Above all Take care of yourself.

  • my D Day over 5years now and still have bad days but mainly good now and I have a lovely boyfriend, anyway now we have no forums am just wanting to ask CN a question ,I have found out that my grown up son has been cheating on his girlfriend, ( were due to marry June 2020) he reckons that nothing happened just messaging each other, ( he worked with her) and he came clean pretty much straight away, changed jobs , cut contact (as far as we know) anyway he now says its because he is suffering with depression etc, this has caused lots of triggers for me, and I told his girlfriend to walk away, passed the CL book onto her to read, but she wants to work it out, depression and cheating? anyone’s thoughts please

    • Coming from a chump whose depression came prior to D-day, and with all due respect, what your son says sounds like an excuse. Cheating is a choice, or at the least, a result of poor boundaries. There were issues in my relationship, but cheating never crossed my mind. I’m so sorry this is happening to your family.

    • You’ve fulfilled your obligation by speaking up (good!) and now as adults whatever they decide is up to them, and on them.

    • When I was (mildly) depressed I didn’t feel like doing anything, didn’t want to go out, do sports, socialise with my friends or flirt with men. I just wanted everybody to leave me alone so I can stay at home alone with my sadness.

      Lack of libido is one of the main symptoms of depression. So no, your son didn’t cheat because of his depression but because he’s learnt it from his father. He also learnt from him ‘it wasn’t me’ excuse. We can’t hold depressed people accountable for their actions, can we.

      Anyway, you did your best and now it’s up to the couple to decide what next.

  • A three year affair and there was no sex???? Sorry, no one dates for 3 years and does not have sex. Cheaters are cowards and will never tell the entire truth. My ex had a 4 year affair with my cousin. He also denied and still denies that they had sex. My ex said that he would not do that to me. Really? He snuck around behind my back. Spent who knows how much money on her. But, he never had sex with her because he would not do that to me???? I also tried to work on the marriage. We agreed that he would stop the divorce and he would never contact her again. We made that agreement in Aug of 2017. I later found out that he was still in contact with her until mid September. I used to police his facebook and audit his phone bills(I figured out his passwords). I noticed a message from his high school girlfriend. And numerous texts and calls between the both of them. I asked him about it. He lied. Even with a printed out phone record he denied having contact with her. I packed his bags put them in the driveway and never looked back.

    Is this the life you want to live? Do you want to police a man child? Your husband has shown you how he feels about you. Now believe him. He will cheat again. And why shouldn’t he there’s never any consequences for his behavior. Get a good lawyer. See how you can protect yourself financially. And please get checked for STIs. Cheaters rarely change.

  • Dear Paralyzed,

    What happens when he has his 2nd affair? My husband was cheating on me while we were going to marriage counseling because he felt such shame about his first affair that he was not able to talk about it with me without professional help. I wish I was making this up. Kid #4 was 11 weeks old when my husband told me his girlfriend was pregnant. And then his brilliant idea was that his girlfriend could save on childcare costs if I watched the two infants at home together.

    As much as I wanted to believe that he was the man I married, I dug my head in the sand because the reality was too painful.

    Seven years after he told me about his affair (that I now know wasn’t the first), FW has moved in with his married boss, left bills unpaid for months, and is pushing for 50/50 custody.

    Cheaters are very capable of leading double lives. All it takes is for one woman to “understand” him, and he will cheat again.

    I’m so sorry.
    I’m sorry. I wis

    • SSSF, I am really wondering about when (not if) my husband will start another affair. I have cut him loose so he spends all his time with OW, the mother of his second child. However, he is in Switzerland and she is in Vienna so he still has lots of time on his hands and I now know he is incapable of being alone. He texts me (when not in Vienna – his silence tells me exactly what he is up to) in what feels like an attempt to turn me into the OW for Schmoopie.

      What has my alarm bells ringing is what he tells me about his psychiatrist. He knows how many times she has been married, has turned her on to my favourite ballet dancer and any number of other personal details about her. In my various times in therapy, I never learned anything at all about my therapists. I can’t help thinking he is having an affair with her. If not her, someone else soon. His email stash for the past 20 years shows he is totally capable of conducting multiple affairs plus a few side emotional affairs concurrently.

      Whatever thread of decency might be there, people like him will never be able to conform to societal morality rules. He thinks they are stupid and that they don’t apply to him. What this site gives me is the knowledge that this is not usual, and he really does suck. There is no hope of anything better with this guy no matter how ashamed he is.

      BTW, mine wants us all to go on holiday together as a family too. He wanted my daughter and me to make the trip to Vienna a couple of weeks after the birth to meet the baby. He also suggested we buy a flat next door to her so we could spend time there with baby and not have to stay in a hotel. He is ridiculous.

      • Wombot. I am telling you that absolutely takes the cake. Make it easy on yourself. Watch both babies. Unreal.

      • This galling crap right here takes the friggin’ cake!!! “Kid #4 was 11 weeks old when my husband told me his girlfriend was pregnant. And then his brilliant idea was that his girlfriend could save on childcare costs if I watched the two infants at home together.”

        OMFG!!!!! That is straight up bonkers. I’m so sorry you experienced that at such a vulnerable time as the mother to an infant and 3 elder children. Holy shit.

    • The 50/50 custody is so he doesn’t have to pay child support. You will bear the burden of all the bills/expenses for the kids.

    • Nothing says you exist to be used like the suggestion that you babysit the AP’s child to save HER money. So very caring of the ratbastard to suggest it. I’m guessing that if you look up asinine in the dictionary, you might well see his photo.

  • ” If “stronger” means better fortifications to lock down his dick…”

    They make those but I wouldn’t bother. Consult a few more lawyers and figure out how to divest yourself from him before he claims he’s broke and you have to pay him even more money to get rid of him.

      • Yeah, that’s why I said not to bother. Trying to provide a wry chuckle – not indicate that she can or should drag this corpse of marriage around or bring it back to life.

  • Remorse for one’s actions does not allow for anger every time the matter is discussed. It does not allow him to ditch therapy and act like an spoiled, entitled little bitch. He should be grovelling at this time and making you feel as secure as possible. Instead he is playing You’re Not the Boss of Me and threatening you.

    Since he has demonstrated zero remorse or guilt for gravely hurting you, it is simply not possible that he loves you or that he is a good person. There is nothing to work with here. He will continue to hurt you. There is no relationship on his side of the equation. He does not reciprocate anything he is given. His ego is completely central, not your marriage.
    You will eventually feel enormous relief that this chaotic and disordered person is out of your life by evicting him from it completely.

    • I agree about the remorse business. My husband ran back to Schmoopie’s bed after I found 20 years of emails detailing multiple affairs. He then tried to repair things with me. I asked him when he last slept with her and he admitted he had gone straight back to her. I told him to get lost and he threw a fit.

      He told me to imagine how bad he felt when I found those emails and why couldn’t I understand why he needed to have sex? He then said he had been honest with me and I was totally unreasonable and he would not speak to me again until he had calmed down. He sleeps with Schmoopie and I am the unreasonable one! This is how these people think.

      I am also pretty sure this was not the only time during our reconciliation he slept with her. Her emails outlining how he owed her as much as he owed me and how much she realised he meant to her after their renewed intimacy tells me all I need to know. Even the fact that he was able to go right back to her when I found the emails says loud and clear that he had been involved in an inappropriate relationship with her all along. Had he actually broken it off like he implied he did, there is no way she would have allowed him back in her bed.

      These are broken people. They will die broken people. They won’t change. They won’t find happiness and they will never make anyone else happy. Sad sorry truth of the matter…

      • Yep, mine continued to fuck the Hamburger Whore after I found out about his Craigslist adventures with both men and women, not to mention all the barflies he met while “getting a drink” and various and sundry other things (exhibitionism, voyeurism, obsessive porn watching, phone sex, sexting, Snapchat, WhatsApp and Facebook nonsense, etc.).
        He continued to fuck her for months, all the while claiming that there was nothing else he needed to tell me.
        He only confessed after that skank tried to extort money from him by threatening to tell me herself.
        He is finally OUT after two years of “reconciliation” and I file this week, hopefully. We just need to iron out the financials and then 91 days after I file it will be over after more than four decades of abuse.

        • I’m so glad he’s out. What a scumbag! You’re well on your way to a fuckwit free, abuse free life. Congrats.

          • Thank you!
            I am struggling now, but I just think about this past week, where he ramped up the anger and was secretly making new living arrangements.
            On Friday I told him that I couldn’t take it anymore. I had nothing left to give him. He solicited me for sex and I turned him down.
            I then asked him to leave immediately.
            That’s when he told me that he was moving Monday (today). He found someone (a friend, well pretty sure that the guy is just a friend) who had a spare room in his house.
            I asked him when he was going to tell me that he was moving, he said he was going to tell me Sunday.
            So, he asked me for sex, knowing all along he was leaving. Dirty rapist. Notice that he didn’t tell me he was leaving BEFORE he asked me for sex.
            I kicked him out Friday.
            Since then he has played the sad sausage channel exclusively after leaving. He says that it’s “sad” that I would throw away 42 years of marriage. He threw it away by cheating throughout the entire relationship, but of course it’s all on me (pretty much word for word what he is telling everyone).
            Waiting for rage to commence shortly.

            • You will feel weak and vulnerable in the beginning but just remind yourself of all the betrayal he has put you thru and then you file and get mad. Don’t contact him, don’t reply to texts. I know it will trigger you many times. Call a girlfriend or family member instead. Stick to your guns and list everything you need to do bedore, during and after divorce. Get documents together. Store them safely away from where he can find it. And most importantly, make sure you stay mighty. You only get one chance to get this right and you deserve everything. The emotions will ebb and flow especially after the divorce but put them in a bag and revisit them tomorrow. You are a strong beautiful person! Don’t forget that! Xo sweet

              • Store away where he can’t find it* I think you know all this but just a reminder. I was down this road too and I barely had the strength to work or sleep or eat. You do get thru this baby steps at a time. Xo

            • OMG this brought back a memory. It happened the night before he left. We had FINALLY sat down to hash it all out (so I thought, I knew something was wrong, didn’t have any idea the extent of what he was doing behind my back, I thought we were just going through a tough spot in our marriage) and for the first time in months I felt like “wow we actually connected again” even though at the end of the conversation he thought it’d be a good idea to stay in another room, which broke my heart but I thought “hey we are going to work on it, we’re gonna go see therapists, doctors, get levels checked, the works!” And he asked me if it would be wrong to have sec even though he would be in another room. My chumpy little heart was so happy at his “sudden turnaround” that of course it wouldnt be wrong. We are gonna start a new path tomorrow! I came home from my overnight shift the two mornings later to find him gone and he had already found another place to live.

              During wreckonciliation when I asked him why…why the dog and pony show when he KNEW he was leaving me anyways (apparently it was supposed to be the next day, but issues happened that postponed it to the next week so he found himself in a pickle LMAO) and why having sex with me. His response to what I had held as a pivotal moment in our marriage?

              Because our sex is amazing and he was high (which he didn’t disclose to me u til after we had sex) so why not get one more in?

              Wow. What a bunch of pieces of shit these guys are. I gave myself to him that night, and he fucking USED me worse than I ever thought imaginable.

              I’m 8 months out from wreckonciliation and am I ever glad to not be in my marital home anymore. Dealing with some sadness lately but life will be better down the road I know it. It will be for you too!!

      • Absolutely right. Somebody here once called them raging toddlers with adult appetites. Trying to get them away from their schmoopies is like trying to take a toy from a two year old having a tantrum.

    • Well said, ChumpUp. Remorse really doesn’t allow any possibility of anger. Thanks for your insight.

  • The look on a cheater’s face when they threaten to leave and you say, “yeah, the way things are going, that would probably be for the best, though I’d appreciate it if you could keep me posted about the move date and I’ll need your new address for the paperwork as soon as you have it” is unmatched in the book of cheater face-looks.

    (In the end, I still had to basically throw him out, load his truck, etc., because he was just bluffing about willingly giving up delicious cake.)

    (Also, CL, that line about the moats was a real coffee spitter! 😆)

    • That is so true. My ex followed me into the kitchen one night after an argument and said to me, “I can’t see any way out of this other than a divorce,” and when I whirled around and said, “Good, because that’s what I want, and I’ve already seen a lawyer,” the look on his face was priceless. He never thought I had it in me. It never occurred to him that honest and direct me would be capable of acting in stealth for my own self protection, even though he’d been hiding his secret life from me for years.

      • This – exactly this. Mine never thought I’d leave. He convinced himself that my belief in family would trump finding out about the secret life. He said he would stay as long as he could do what he wanted and not too worry he’d spend time with me -WTF? He seemed surprised that other people didn’t see his cheating as evolved. He still takes no responsibility for his actions but at least I am gaining a life without him. He taught me some very painful lessons but GTFO if they choose themselves over you repeatedly- life’s too short.

      • He moved out, because he wanted a divorce and had a sad sausage. I found 800 minutes per month to a ho-worker after the fact. The best reaction though, was when I FILED for divorce on Valentine’s Day. His response: “What the fuck? I thought we were going to work out all the financials together. Now you’ve lawyered up? What the hell?”

        That’s right mother-fucker. I lawyered up. Now I have the house, the dog, the paid-for suv, alimony, and big-ass chunk of his 401k. I also don’t have to look at his lying, high as a kite, narcissistic rat face anymore. Not bad for chumpy little me..

  • Living as the marriage police is not a life. Really. Don’t be with someone you have to beg for. I got tired of begging. It was never enough. I sat and cried and begged for a hug from the man and he had the audacity to tell me he slept with another woman because I never showed enough interest in him.
    Set your man free to do what he pleases. If he wants you you’ll never have to chase him. If what he does pleases himself and everyone except you, it’s time to pack up, cut your losses and move on.

  • Paradise, you are a complete control freak. You now control every aspect of his life. You think this will fix things. There are two things you can’t control. His heart and his mind. I am telling you this is not going to bode well for you. This guy does not want to be with you. He has not gone along with anything to help or save your marriage. I would bet the farm he doesn’t even like you. Because of your actions and the status now you will pay dearly. I guarantee you he is just biding his time. I am afraid you are going to learn the hard way you can’t control everything.

    • Yikes, Gentle Reader. Sounds a bit like victim blaming. She’s not a “control freak” nor is any of this “because of your actions.” She’s had her world turned upside down and is grasping at some kind of control, like most of us do when we experience trauma. Be kind. She’s trying to navigate a no-win situation the best she can think of, and she’s here for advice. Most of us here at CN have been there.

      • And she’s doing exactly what the RIC recommends, the mainstream way of dealing w/infidelity. That tells us nothing about her personality, only that she’s following the most common advice about how to deal w/a highly traumatic situation.

    • We cannot control others, not the entitlement, gaslighting, manipulation, lies, cheating, addictions, porn, or to sum it up, disordered.

      You never have the upper hand with a cheater. Looking at all the demands they shouldn’t be confused with expectations.

      The Limited’s idea of being married was and always be the same as being single. He lives in a similar locked down environment. Still, she patrols his free time, monitors and controls his phone.

      We can allow ourselves freedom. I found that; why be hostage to setting up a moat as a self imposed prisoner wasting energy and your life. Build a bridge and get out.

    • If he didn’t want to stay with her he’d have left already.

      Also, have you noticed that he cheated in his previous marriage, too? He’s a cheater and he likes to cheat. Nothing to do with her.

      • She’s the one who should get out. My point was about the illusion of having control by making demands, moving, earning more money. Believing we have control in her situation is self confinement in my opinion.

        The reference to the Limited was that in my absence five years later she’s in that role.
        Hope that clarifies.

    • I think that was a well-aimed although maybe overly hefty 2×4, exactly what Paradise needs right now. Not victim blaming.

  • Paralyzed in Paradise,

    First of all you’re not in paradise. You’re in hell. I should know since I lived almost the exact same life. Your letter could have been written by me after my dday because I stayed with the cheater another three years. Besides the full time job that actually paid me money, I was a member of the marriage police force and frequently checked his phone and our telephone bill to make sure he wasn’t in contact with “her” . The ex begrudgingly went to therapy appointments which I made and dragged him along so I could be delighted by an hour of him chewing nervously on his fingernails and looking constipated every time the counselor asked him a question. That went on for about 7 times and I cancelled therapy.

    If I talked about the cheating he would make very thinly masked threats to end the marriage. This worked in both shutting me up and making me dance prettier. Of course I also demanded that he never see or speak to her again and since they were living together a few months after we split, I am sure he abided by that rule…….NOT.

    You have to ask yourself the questions that CL posed; most importantly “Is this acceptable to you.” I suspect that somewhere deep inside your heart you know it’s not but everyone needs to get to that conclusion in their own time. Chump Nation will be here for you either way.

  • The situation you describe sounds like a living hell. You never reestablished trust. What you have is the illusion of power and control.

    His history gives insight into his inability to change. I’m curious why you believed he wouldn’t cheat on you since you had some insight into his lack of character? Did your relationship overlap his first?

    Yes, you should divorce a lying cheater who has a long history of infidelity.

  • I did the marriage police thing for 5 years. It wasn’t necessarily for love, but I couldn’t bare to break my children’s home. It’s exhausting and a terrible way to live.

    I finally decided to divorce him after depression set in (and it will when you’re on constant alert and have to avoid reconciling the knowledge of who your partner is while simultaneously holding their hand in public) that getting off the couch became a struggle. I realized having an intact household but with a stressed out, depressed mom wasn’t in the kids’ best interest.

    I assume he stayed with me the whole time as I take care of myself, am highly educated and outearn him…not because he loved my soul. The affairs never stopped – he was a monster. Your husband seems similarly wired.

    The peace I felt after finally leaving – Phenomenal! The kids did struggle initially, but 5 years out, they’ve rebounded and have a new found respect for Mom.

    My main regret – I didn’t leave as soon as I discovered who he really was.

    • Lifeis good- you reminded me of years of no energy, joint pain and problems (he rubbed me the wrong way!) facial neuraligia, knee problems, and frozen shoulder three times. I faked it all the way through because I knew he was never going to help me. “…that getting off the couch became a struggle. I realized having an intact household but with a stressed out, depressed mom wasn’t in the kids’ best interest.” I didn’t understand that I was depressed!!! I knew that I wasn’t a depressive person. I couldn’t be. That just wasn’t me. And yet it was.
      I’ve been out now 6 years. Now I am 63- my health is better that it ever was when I was with him from 33-55 yrs old.
      Life indeed does get better without them. Just about all my problems have disappeared since I left. (not that it didn’t hurt very very much, I thought I would die from the pain of it) BUT – Wow! Life IS gooood. “My main regret- I didn’t leave as soon as I discovered who he really is”

  • Kick his sorry, lying, cheating ass out, Paralyzed. Stop putting lipstick on that pig. He should be bending over backwards to fix this. He’s not. That’s NOT a reflection of your worth. That’s him being who he really is, someone who lies and cheats and does not like consequences for his deceitful, deplorable actions.

    Be a woman who stands up for herself and won’t tolerate being shit on by that fuckwit. This is not what you signed up for. Respect yourself because he doesn’t. It’s not you, sweetie. It’s him.

  • HE WAS MARRIED BEFORE AND UNFAITHFUL.

    HE WAS MARRIED BEFORE AND UNFAITHFUL.

    HE WAS MARRIED BEFORE AND UNFAITHFUL.

    I don’t know what you are going to decide, Paralyzed, but you reminded me why I am getting divorced. What you described in your letter to me not a marriage but a miserable game of Warden and Prisoner. Getting my thinking straight was like getting out of a hedge maze the size of an ocean, and now that I see I can never unsee.

    I have said it here before; I was in therapy the entire 27 YEARS of my relationship, and I now know he was having affairs THE ENTIRE TIME. So I wasted a bunch of money and time that I cannot get back, ever.

    The ONE line from Shirley Glass’ book I will never forget, ironically in the chapter TO THE AFFAIR PARTNER (?!!!!!)

    “A man (woman) with a history of infidelity is a poor choice for a life partner.”

    Nuff said.

    • He was so unhappy! He was always attracted to Asian women! (I am Caucasian, blonde, blue eyes). He became a person he didn’t like because of our marriage! We were incompatible! They had lots of sex! They cooked together! They slept and exercised the same! They could read each others’ minds!

      YET…..

      After he moved out to the apartment he had lined up with his “sole mate”, before he even moved out, what did he do?

      He was caught on Tinder by our daughter when she was using his phone. The “sole mate” caught him going to the massage parlors.

      That’s his best thinking. And it’s a clear and present danger to me, AND our daughter.

      They don’t change. They just move on to a new mark.

    • Spot on, Velvet Hammer. The best predicator of future behavior is past behavior. So to answer your question, Paralyzed, YES! YOU SHOULD DIVORCE HIM.

  • I tried and tried as well. I felt I had to give it a good try, just in case he was remorseful. All that happened is that we were both miserable.

    My antennae were always up, always looking for signs of him lying. Sure on the surface at times it seemed like we were making it. But underneath it all was anxiety, and feeling ashamed of my marriage. The purity of the relationship was no longer there. The respect that you need to have for your partner.

  • CN, raise your hand if this sounds very familiar (marriage police, begrudgingly going to counseling, etc.) and later found out he was still cheating all along. *Raises hand* Get out while the gettin’s good, Paradise. Best wishes. Life’s pretty good on the other side. <3

  • Living as the relationship police is toxic behavior and will damage you emotionally.

    The reconciliation industry wont tell you this. They want you to believe that controlling another person and locking them down and policing them is healthy and promotes healing.

    It’s borderline abusive. It’s red flag behavior for domestic violence. The fact that someone cheated on you doesn’t give you permission to lock them down and police them. The fact that they go along with it doesn’t absolve you from your choice to control them.

    That’s why trust but verify, relationship police, and cheater lockdown feel so bad. You know it’s wrong but you do it anyway because it’s what you’re told will fix things and that’s all you care about.

    The trauma of leaving a bad relationship is finite then you start healing. The trauma of staying in a toxic relationship and controlling and policing your partner is ongoing and does continued damage to your emotional health.

  • Paralyzed in Paradise,

    Unfortunately, your marriage is made of papier-mâché. Do you remember those art projects we all did in primary school? The teacher blew up a balloon, and you were tasked with covering it with thin strips of newspaper soaked in watery paste. You spent a lot of time getting your hands dirty, shaping it, forming it, watching it dry, and then painting it. And when you were finished, the teacher poked a pin into your project to pop the balloon on the inside. What you were left with was something that looked pretty on the outside but was completely devoid of substance or weight on the inside. Papier mâché is an illusion… and so is a marriage where two people are clearly not on the same page.

    As someone who was forced to start over at age 60, I suspect you’re not paralyzed at all, but you’re simply afraid of being alone. Who isn’t? It’s undeniable that your husband has been having sex with the other woman (selfishly exposing you to who-knows-what STIs, so please get tested), has been lying to you for years, and is only staying with you out of financial benefit to himself. It may look like he’s caving in to all of your requirements (selling his business, moving away, making a weak attempt at counseling) but in reality, he’s just slapping more of those sticky pasty strips of newspaper on your marriage so you’ll shut the fuck up about his affair. IS THIS ACCEPTABLE TO YOU?

    Unless you want to spend the rest of your days living this colossal lie — policing someone whose only ambition is to bob and weave around your demands with the least possible amount of effort — you need to GET REAL and come up with a solid plan to move forward without him, starting with hiring a bulldog of an attorney who can protect your legal and financial rights. Sure, facing the truth is scary as hell, but it’s time to stand up for yourself, your dignity and self-respect. Don’t waste one more day on your papier-mâché relationship.

  • The thing is that unless you have him under house arrest the chances are that he will do it again down the road. Even at home he could be checking out dating sites and in touch with other women.
    It sounds like a 24 hour job and uphill all the way
    What have you got to lose here if you are the main earner anyway? Yes, it could all come good in some mysterious way but its the liklihood is that it wont. At best he will resent you and you will resent him. At worst it will implode and end anyway.
    Meanwhile time is passing that could be spent building towards a future where you can sleep at night. There is little here to save.

  • PiP, you’re not in Paradise, you’re in The Bad Place.

    The reason you’re never allowed to talk about the affair is because, if it isn’t continuing in secret (believe me, cheaters don’t own up, they just get better and being under cover) he’s mad at you for making him end it.

    1) Three years. Yes, he had sex with her. Cheaters don’t carry on three-year affairs with no sex. Normal, not-cheater grown men don’t carry on three year relationships with no sex. Point is, there was sex.

    2) He doesn’t love you. He doesn’t like you. He resents you. I would say he stopped loving you the minute he decided to start having an affair. But he probably hates you now because you found out, sold the house (where he could be close to his AP) and moved him away from her. He resents you for taking him away from Schmoopie. His resentment is unwarranted, considering Schmoopie never should have been there in the first place, but I guarantee you, his mopey, angry, begrudging attitude is pure resentment. Every time you make him stay in, every time you bring him somewhere with you, every time you don’t want him going “out for drinks” alone, he internally crosses his arms and thinks “Okay MOM.” That’s not love. That’s not a happy marriage. That’s playing Penis Police to a tween boy who’s had his first erection and wants to play with it.

    3) Piggybacking off that, the forbidding you from talking about the affair and his threats to leave you if you bring it up is part of that. For one, you are forbidden from talking about it because it makes him angry that you moved him away from Schmoopie, so if he stops you from talking about it, he doesn’t have to think about it (or he just stews inside his own head.) There is also the (very, very likely) possibility that he is still communicating with her, or he is cheating with someone else, and he forbids you from bringing it up to keep you away from the evidence.
    The threats to leave serve two purposes: It gets you to shut up, and it keeps him riding on you as a meal ticket. You’re out-earning him right? You’re in charge of finances yes? That’s real good for him. It’s not shame he’s worried about, he’s worried about losing the money you bring in that supports his ass. He doesn’t care about you being his wife (we know this by the fact he had a three year affair) he cares about you covering his bills. He knows you’re scared of being alone. So he knows he can threaten you with leaving and you’ll drop the subject. You’re not controlling the situation, he’s controlling you.

    4) He was married before and was unfaithful. HE WAS MARRIED BEFORE. AND WAS. UNFAITHFUL. He’s not remorseful for what he’s done. He’s mad he got caught. Again. This is a pattern. He will cheat again. But there’s good news in this: His first wife was not special, the schmoopie he cheated with in his first marriage was not special, you are not special, and the schmoopie he cheated on you with is not special either. No one is. There’s no magical Love to Transcend Time here. There’s no One and Only True Woman For Him here. Nobody is special. It’s HIM. He’s the common denominator. He’s been unfaithful in both marriages with different AP’s. This is HIS problem. He’ll do it again. Whether with you, or yet another wife/girlfriend/schmoopie/whoever. He’ll do it again because it’s a problem with him and his character. It’s no measure of who you are. It might be hard to see right now, but that’s something you can take comfort knowing. It is NOT YOU.

    5) This is just my personal opinion but it sounds like the whole situation is absolutely miserable and you want to leave. You wouldn’t be here asking about it if you didn’t. I think you do, I think you hate this, I think you want out, and you needed someone to tell you it’s okay to do that. You already know you should. So do it. This isn’t a marriage anymore, you’re the warden in an emotional prison and you hate the job. Leave. Let someone else stand guard over his cell. Go live your life.

  • I would make it a point to bring up his affair (aggressively) and when he says he wants a divorce, tell him fine, you’ll help him pack his bags. Tell him to go live with his skank. He’s a shit bum (as my father would say) and for any husband/partner to say I think I am in love with AP to the therapist, you have nothing to work with and why would you want to? This is no way to live and he’ll end up leaving anyway or worse he could be planning your demise. This man does not love you, he doesn’t like or respect you right now either. Get rid of him. Again in the words of my father, you may think he is better than nothing, but nothing is so much better.

    • KB22 you are exactly right. Paradise needs to confront him again and not back down. Tell him unless this is discussed it is hard to move forward from here. When he shuts down and threatened to leave instead of her shutting up she keeps at it. When he says he will leave divorce whatever that is her out. Tell him to leave now and pack his things and out he goes. That can be her way out now.

      • Paralyzed may think she is now in control but her husband is still running the shit show. When she brings up something he doesn’t want to hear he threatens divorce and she shuts up. So she is still dancing to his tune. On top of that he is miserable. There is no joy in her household even though she lives in paradise. This is no way to live. She needs for him to get a job, so she doesn’t have to pay spousal support and buy him out of their home.

  • Whoa, what a Monday post.
    Thank you for reminding us why we got the fuck out of Dodge.
    I can feel the torture through the screen while reading.
    Pain of staying>fear of leaving=action time
    Life is far too precious.
    Ultimatums=It’s over.

  • My goodness, are you just bored to death having to police this dude? Get the house finished then kick him to the curb. He is entitled to his share so face that now. Maybe make him an offer to leave. But the shear boredom you have to put up with every day must crush your brain. He just ain’t better than nothin.

  • Wait until he gets a job; then divorce him. Plan your exit now while you have a shred of dignity left. The longer you play Mommy Cop, the less dignity you will have.

  • Hold on a minute New Woman. I am not victim blaming. You missed my point. No where did I give any reason or excuse for why he cheated. Did you read all the actions she has taken? I have not said anything that isn’t true. She has taken completely control of every aspect of his life as the results of his cheating. This will be to her detriment. She should have stayed where she was while he had the business and divorced from there. He apparently now has no business and I am not sure if he is working. After he established residency in their new place he can come out pretty good. He will get half of the cash and the half of the equity. As I said this is not going to turn out well for her. She cannot control his feelings and what he will do going forward. I can tell you they will not live happily ever after. By her controlling everything she have put herself in a worse place financially. After all that he threaten to leave her whenever she mentioned his affairs. The only thing she should do now is get legal advice on where she is in this now. The other I bet I can right. Because she has taken control of everything he is going to start resentment of her and he is going to treating her badly if he isn’t already. This is not going to go well for her.

  • If there was ever a case to be made for NOT staying with a cheater, it’s this. You can’t have a happy marriage where you don’t trust each other.

    On a side note, my dad cheated on his first wife (not with my mom, but another woman). Mom knew this when she married him, and spent their entire marriage paranoid he would do the same to her whenever he went on a business trip (which was often).
    If you have any doubts that the OM/OW — or anybody else in the future that gets involved with your spouse — somehow won a “prize,” or got a more improved version of your spouse, let the example of my parents show you otherwise. Anyone who gets attached to a cheater gets the worry and sleepness nights that you used to have.

  • Should u divorce him, I kind of feel like you already have, but brought him along for the ride Selling off every thing , moving , sort of getting your ducks in a row , u just haven’t made it final There’s no way U can continue to live with him the way u are now, your unhappy he’s unhappy and when men get unhappy what do they do? Go looking for something to make them happy Make it final move on with your life be happy

  • I wish I had left my cheating X Asshat after the first affair. But I know that I can say this only because I have the gift of hindsight and the spectacular final destruction of the marriage through another affair and his abandonment of me.

    During the first horrible time, 9 years before he finally left me for a gurl half our age, he was in control. His lack of remorse, his hints at being oh so troubled, his tuning up the the band for my pick me dancing, his failure to pursue neither me nor the OW#1 twat, this was ironically how he had control. Because he just sat there in his dirty diaper I figured we were OK and was too scared to force anything for fear of being seen as unforgiving and harsh. He was an asshole and I let him be so that I could keep him.

    I know that there is nothing that could have made me leave him then and I just had to be clubbed over the head by his ultimate abandonment (moving out of the house while I was away; I got an e-mail as my notice). So I get it if you want to keep laying good money on the betting table after having lost, hoping to win it all back and get to normal.

    It just simply won’t ever be OK. Really– the people chiming in here saying it never gets better living with a cheater and playing marriage police– believe us and do what you need to now to free yourself. Don’t let him steal any more of your life only to eventually leave you for some twatwaffle chick who “understands him.”

    He will blame you in the end as he leaves you. Don’t let him do this.

  • Paralyzed in Paradise, I almost wonder if this is a real letter. Let me see if I got this right:

    You agreed to a committed monogamous relationship with your H;
    H carries on a secret and long-term sexual and emotional relationship(s) with another woman/women(?) for years;
    H isn’t sorry;
    H refuses to do any of the work to change what is wrong with him that caused him to abuse you this way;
    H won’t permit you to process the incredible grief and anger that HIS actions have caused you;
    You are supporting him financially and putting yourself at risk of having to pay HIM alimony;
    You are playing the horrifying role of marriage police 24/7; and
    Instead of taking immediate actions to preserve yourself, you write to CL for permission to save yourself when you know good and well that she will tell you to LEAVE if you do not like this relationship as is. Run like your hair is on fire. Run like your life depends on it! Do not stay for the “money!” Leave to preserve the money! Get the best lawyer there is and follow their advice to the letter. Every minute you spend with this fool is another sunk and lost cost. You only have one life to live and each moment is precious. Do not waste another minute on this POS. If you are going to “marry for money” (I question this value, but if this is ok with you, so be it) at least have the good sense to find a man who supports YOU financially and respects you and does not abuse you and potentially kill you with HPV, HIV, HepC!

    If you find you cannot do what is rational, then find a good therapist who specializes in narcissist abuse, breaking trauma bonds, and do the emotional work to face your fears and heal yourself. A lot of us have been in your shoes and with no-contact, we have come through to the other side and see how absolutely baffling this is.

  • Update for Chump Nation!!

    A couple things have happened since I sent my letter to Chump Lady.

    Just two weeks ago, my husband and I went out for dinner, and I asked him if he would sign a post-nuptial agreement. I explained that it would include a clause about infidelity and that the guilty party would get nothing in the divorce. He got angry and said, “Now you’ve crossed the line!” He got up, put on his jacket, and walked out of the restaurant. So I sat there for a while, paid the bill as usual, and then I thought, “Yes, you’re right, I have crossed the line, the line between being miserably married to you and being free! Free of you and all of your bullshit! Free to put myself first! Free to state my truth and act on it!

    I went out to the truck where he was waiting for me (because his dramatic exit was nothing more than a show), got in, and said, “I want a divorce.” He didn’t say anything, just started the truck, pulled out of our parking space, and drove down the street. We were just two minutes down the road when he got pulled over for speeding. Sweet, sweet justice.

    Thank you all for your comments. WarriorPrincess, you were especially kind. And Kara, thank you for giving me permission to end my marriage. I’m not being sarcastic; I really needed to hear it. The RIC had convinced me that I needed to forgive and reconcile. Then I found Chump Nation, all of you bad-ass bitches, and confirmation of my true feelings, my integrity, and my strength. Thank you for reading my letter and for taking the time to respond. I appreciate it.

    I have filed for divorce, he is moving out at Thanksgiving, and I am going to finish building my house on my own!

    • I love this. I can just see the “how DARE you” attitude manifested in a dramatic exit and speeding worthy of a ticket. (Both of which are of course your fault, right?)

      There is a reptilian part of my brain that wonders whether you were taking a chance getting in the car with him, especially since he easily could have run that speeding truck into a ditch, off a bridge, or worse.

      But the upshot is fantastic to see in print. So glad you found this community, and I hope you keep coming back as the legalities play out.

    • Wow Paralyzed no more, that is GREAT news. I think you have to weigh up everything in your own mind until you come to the line “that needs to be crossed” don’t you. You did so well. I’m so happy for you!

    • I am so glad for you. Thank you for taking time to respond since I think Chump Nation really dislikes it when we never hear a peep, Tracy too.

      How dare he declare how far is too far.

      And yes, protect yourself physically now as well. I wouldn’t get into any more cars with him as a start.

      Best of luck to you!

    • Dear PARALYZED NO MORE, I salute your mighty. You are a bad-ass bitch.

      Please take precautions for your personal safety. Chumps will tell you this is a dangerous time. He is going to be pissed that you kicked him off the Gravy Train. Take photos of everything. Send them to the cloud where only you and your lawyer have access. You already separated your finances so that’s done. Get tested for STIs. Freeze your credit. Do not think he will go without a fight. He will no doubt come hoovering back when he figures out it is hard out there for a cheater. Don’t not believe him when he tells you he changed.

      I am so relieved that you kicked his dysfunctional ass to the curb. Your life is going to get so much better. My cheaterfree life is amazing! I can’t wait to hear that you are divorced, healing and loving your new house. You got this!

      • Dear Thirtythreeyearsachump,

        You made me smile! Please tell me more about your cheaterfree life. What makes it so amazing? I turned 50 this year, and I’m having a hard time envisioning my future. What did you do to make the transition?

        BTW, I did get tested for STIs, still waiting for results.

        • Paralyzed, I wrote you a book. Deleted it. I’ll summarize:
          Therapy!
          Filed first.
          Moved to another state.
          No contact.
          Studied LACGAL.
          Read the archives.
          Come to this site daily.
          Joined a gym.
          Joined two knitting clubs.
          Joined a Ukelele Club.
          Build and maintain my boundaries.

          My life is so much better since I put me first. All that energy I spent trying to appease a man who would not love me is better spent on me. I am my very own Mama Bear. I care for myself like the wounded child I am.

          On the surface I’ve lost so much, friends, family, home, belongings, my beloved dog died, I live in a shack and I am financially strapped. Yet this life is so much better than living with an abusive man. Adultery is abuse. Once you internalize that fact you are on your way to a better life.

          I’m fifty-nine years old today. I feel renewed. Old Thirtythreeyearsachump figuratively died of grief and now I am new thirtythreeyearsachump. I am rising like the Phoenix from the ashes of my former life. You can too!

          • Dear Thirtythreeyearsachump,

            Two knitting clubs!?! You are the ultimate bad-ass! And I bet your shack is really cozy. Thank you for the list, it is inspiring! And I’m sorry you lost your dog; I know how hard that is. Especially when the dog loves you more than your husband ever could!

            Thanks,
            PNM, fka Pip

            • Pip, that dog was a far better man than my STBX. He was loyal, kind, brave and he adored me. That dog had better manners than my STBX. He never once deceived me. I miss the dog. I do not miss the STBX.

              I so enjoy my knitting clubs. I needed the knitting mentoring. It is far more than knitting. I like to joke “What happens in knit club stays in knit club.” Those women provide human contact and support.

              I am proud of the shack. It is clean as my hands can make it. I’ve decorated it with renovated curb finds and thrift shop purchases. I sewed curtains and pillow covers from old sheets. It is cozy now! My son sent me a heated blanket and now I am warm! I’m grateful for the shelter of the shack. It is so much better than living in luxury with a liar.

              You will complete your dream house and in time your walls will sing! You are on the path to The Land of Meh.

    • Whoot to you! Can you even imagine how wonderful it will be to complete that house, with finishes and choices that you’ll make independently? It will truly be YOUR home – no bad energy from your past. Just yours to enjoy – both now while building and in the future as your special place. THAT will be an absolute paradise!

    • So glad to hear it. The court can divvie up the property, he can get a damn job, you can fumigate your new home to dispel his memory, and live a better life in Paradise. You are mighty!

    • Good news!! Thank you for the update lovely and all the best on the road to Meh! Much mightiness!

    • The dude crossed the Grand Canyon when he took up dating while married. But hey, it’s on his faithful wife if she expects accountability, right?

      I’m surprised he waited in the car, hoping for contrition on her part. Back in the day, Fucktard x walked home three miles after making a scene in a restaurant. Just to give me time to think about what I’d done. And what was that, you might ask? I was wondering about how he’d suggested going out (as usual) and hadn’t paid a restaurant bill in over a year.

    • Fantastic!

      As Chump Lady says, the pain is finite. Yes, you make more than he does, so the shit sandwich is that you’ll likely take an initial financial hit (but find a GREAT lawyer for help with this). However, you’re obviously intelligent, resourceful, and with much better long term prospects.

      Your cheater may very likely start to realize that cheating comes with consequences, and while he can expect a settlement, it’ll not be enough to maintain his current lifestyle. I predict one of two things: he comes back apologetic (but these are crocodile tears) or he hooks up with someone who can support his lifestyle.

      You will truly enjoy not having to deal with the drama. Take a bit of time to fix your picker so that you’re much better prepared to establish and maintain boundaries in your next relationship.

  • A New Woman,

    Thank you for defending me. Gentle Reader was excessively harsh in her comments, and regardless of her intention, I felt attacked. Name calling of all things! I thought the point of Chump Nation was to support each other by sharing our experiences, not to further abuse others! I know what abuse looks like now, and I will not accept it!

    • I think Gentle Reader was just trying to make a point and not attack you. However, so glad to hear that you are moving on with your new life.

    • Chump Nation is very happy for you.

      It’s hard to know just how to apply The Holy 2-by-4 of Truth. Nobody does it like Chump Lady.

    • I feel you. I laid off commenting after some left went on a tear about how I wasn’t being a good mother by allowing my ex-husband to take my son for 5 hours. Like I had any damn choice in the matter. If I did what she had suggested, my ex could have started a stink in court. Unless I can prove he’s physically dangerous to my child, there isn’t much I can do.

      You don’t owe him anything and I’m glad you are getting out. Throw a good party when it’s final.

      • It stinks that you were attacked. It’s one thing to maybe not use enough tact. It’s another thing entirely to be cruel.

        I am in awe of Chump Lady’s iron fist in velvet glove. I think the secret is: “Hey, I’ve been there, I know why you’re acting like this.” Then use The Holy Hand Grenade Of Antioch. I mean, The Holy 2-By-4 Of Bitter Truth.

        It is always tricky when nerves are raw. Chump Lady is an artist.

    • Paralyzed, I am always supportive but I will call it as I see it. Those who want to criticize what would be your reaction if a man was treating his wife the same way paralyzed was doing her husband? First, let’s get one thing straight. I am no way defending or making excuses for cheating.
      Her own words were I demanded this and I demanded that and regardless of how he felt about it too bad. He went grudgingly. she sold the house, she had them move away, he sold his business and his assets and she controls all the money now. He has to stay at home, not go out or they go out together. Come on chump nation what do you call that? Some of you jumped on me but what would you say if the role was reversed and it was a man doing it to a woman? No one has ever told you about this control issue? Come on now. What is also telling is at the restaurant he said you crossed the line this time and he walked out. you told him you wanted a divorce and he didn’t even answer you! I wish you would have come here before you did all of this. It would have been better to have left him before you moved. I am not a judge or a lawyer but these actions are probably not going to be to your benefit in divorce. 15 years is a long time and I don’t know if you are in the states but here he is entitled to half of all cash, property, retirement, and him not working means spousal support. It’s too late now on that and all you can do is see what the courts in your area will do. Again, I am not excusing cheating whatsoever. Taking control over someone usually does not work out.

  • @ParalyzedNoMore, YAYYYYYYYY!!!! What a great follow-up! I’m so happy for you and just know that life is going to get a whole lot better for you, in very short order.
    Yes to the Mighty!!

  • You’ve got a partner who is unemployed, sitting at home resenting you and not pulling his weight. If he leaves you he may ask for spousal support and will go after your retirement savings etc. Ask him to get a job again to help contribute and watch his response. I am betting he is actually enjoying being on the pigs back. I would also question how the laws are different in the new place you have moved to, ie has he engineered himself into a more favorable juristiction for divorce unbeknownst to you? And although you have the proceeds from the house and business sales in accounts out of his reach, all that money is now liquid and ready to be split. You are at a very vulnerable time, and if he decides to divorce you before the house is built it may ruin your plans to live in it, if he makes a cash grab. You are in a very hard situation, I would grab it by the balls and consult with lawyers as to the best way to structure things so that he doesn’t rip you off. You are holding him prisoner, but he has also imprisioned you. If you trusted him and felt safe with him, you would not have put all these measures in place. You deserve peace of mind, and in this current state, that’s not going to happen. Best of luck to you.

  • Paralyzed,
    What a treat to read your update! Fantastic! Keep reading here to feel validated and stay the course. You are doing the right thing and you have given yourself the opportunity to live a happy cheater-free life.
    Congratulations!!!!! ((((Hugs)))))

  • Off topic, but which canyon in Utah? You know, if there’s a diamond attached it could come in handy to a fellow chump.

    Sorry for your current state. The entitlement is palpable.

    -17 years since DDay. Stayed with him. Married to hope and unicorns. I grieve the opportunities I missed and the memories I don’t have of my kids’ childhoods because of my YEARS of being in such a dark place. I deeply regret my choice.

    CL hit it on the head. You will NEVER know or believe that he loves you. His commitment to the marriage is merely an obligation. Sex or no sex, he violated the boundaries of marriage and gave her what was rightfully yours – intimacy. Infidelity of any form reveals a person’s character or lack thereof. Will he cheat again? I have no idea. What I do know is that his lack of clear boundaries is a huge character flaw and that flaw will not disappear. It’s still there, lying in wait. It will show up in an unexpected way later. Save time and heartache. The attitude you described tells me that it won’t get better. He might not see her again. He might never have a sexual affair. But he is not sorry. He doesn’t respect you or appropriate boundaries. Being his warden is exhausting. Trust me.

  • I always think when I read these posts and partners are unsure wether to leave or not after they have discovered the cheating, the “what if” question. What if you didn’t find out about their cheating, would they continue to do it? For me that answers the question.

    • What if you didn’t find out is one question and the other for me is, was I really happy? In my case I wasn’t – it was like having a low grade flu. I knew things didn’t feel right – his moods, his sex drive, his “friendships” that were always with attractive young women. I never thought he was full on seeing escorts like it was his full-time job – but even so I wasn’t happy. I was on a roller coaster, I was low level depressed, I was blaming myself for all of these feelings and he was more than happy to blame me too and use my depression as yet another excuse to cheat.

      So, yeah if he hadn’t been caught – he’d still be at it but more importantly I’d have the flu for another 30-40 years until I died.

  • He will eventually leave you for some other handy slut and blame your attitude towards his cheating the first time for it. Is that what you want? No? Then leave him first. The timing of your divorce is the only thing you control.

  • All I can say is, I stumbled on this site shortly after D-Day and I drove to the bookstore and bought CL’s book. All these posters on this site kept talking about forging this “awesome life” after divorce, and I thought, how pathetic they sound. But amazingly here I am 1 year from divorce being final and I have a life full of gratitude and joy. Grateful for all the posters here who guided me through those initial dark months. Thank you so much.

  • Also, are you LDS? You mentioned the canyon in UT. I am LDS too, I found my bishop to be understanding, supportive and helped me move house, turning up with the EQP and HT’s (back in the day). If you have a great bishop, awesome, if you don’t, ignore them and do your thing anyway. I think my bishops response was shaped by my absolute determination to shape my own destiny and mark my own path, never asking permission. I politely told them I was moving and asked if there was help available, their answer became a binary yes/no rather than a wishy washy wouldn’t you rather reconcile… it helped them as much as me. There’s a lot of cultural stuff which gets in the way in LDS-dom but I’m still happy, still attending and have the most supportive structure there. It’s do-able. If you have a less effective bishop, feel free to tell them to back off and build your tribe in the ward away from that influence. I jazz hands’d my way through the foyer for months until the women got used to the idea that their husbands repulsed me and I was no threat, and the EQP got used to the idea I wasn’t the Pied Piper to lead the sisters away in to singledom. It works out.

  • I was codependent, hopeful and I think sort of addicted. I knew it wasn’t ok and even while i cried, sitting on our closet floor, would say aloud, to myself, “you’re never going to leave him so why cry?!”. But I did leave. I put myself on autopilot (a crying, scared autopilot) kept taking steps to divorce even while eternally hopfullt trying marriage counseling. Eventually, (a year post D-Day #3) my divorce was final.
    When you know it’s wrong but you want it to be right you keep trying. We have 2 daughters, he makes close to 400k a year and will only keep making more, has a perfect body he works on evry morning with now 3rd affair partner, and everyone thinks he’s a stud. He made my life a roller coaster of happiness to misery and helplessness and up and down, perpetually confused and trying to figure out just what in the hell is wrong now? He lied, gaslit, cheated while i was pregnant both times, had unexplained “moods”, called me a bitch on evry bday and left me sad and confused by yet another mood, to fill the stockings every Christmas Eve… Still i wanted what i thought could be had. He’d apologize, cry, say he was going to kill himself even. He’d compliment me, we’d have great sex, he’d be so good with me, our girls then he’d yell, “why wasn’t the kitchen clean?” or “What’s wrong with you?!” when I didn’t stop cooking and homework to go give him a kiss hello. He’d get moody and mean and withdraw inexplixably and then come back, “I’m sorry. I love you”. Make up sex, deep loving conversations…He was cheating all along. (14 years of marriage, 19 years together) over and over with 3 different women that I know of. All gym rats. He would meet his current affair partner in parking garages, elementary school parking lots, for lunch when he told me he was in meetings, or at the gym. He left me in the hospital after delivering our daughter to go meet up with AP#2. He stayed home to keep up with one during my grandpa’s then grandma’s funeral… We stay because we’ve been conditioned. Because we love the idea of them and what they should be, of what things could be if only… i also easily left a few cheating boyfriends in the past, but my husband was near impossible for me to leave. But I did. It’s been two years since it was final, I’m 44. It’s good to be free of the pain, Jekyll and Hyde moods and oh the gut wrenching policing! My girls are happier and my relationship with them is even closer.
    Get yourself sorted out financially and write down your thoughts and your plans for the future. Get a financial advisor who specializes in divorce and if you have kids think of everything you want for the present and future cause it can’t be negotiated later. Above all know that you aren’t happy or healthy in this marriage and Take Care of Yourself.

  • A friend of mine recommended me this app. She is a mom as well and knows the struggles we feel when trying to navigate between parenting and work. So, I literally fell in love with its functionality. It’s like being omnipresent in your child’s life and still leave some freedom, knowing that it won’t hurt your baby. I use everything the app provides: the location tracking, apps’ monitoring, etc. Love geo-fences. That’s a genius idea to put virtual boundaries and control them. As a teacher, I know it will teach them to consider boundaries in life. Feel free to shoot out an email to info @ kenhowardpi .com if you need an expert help.
    However, it was hard to figure out how it all worked from the very beginning, so I had to call the support. Now, it’s ok.

  • If this is what a unicorn looks like – I hope to never see one!

    PIP, your story tells me that marriage to someone capable of cheating is untenable. Even if they stop. It certainly sounds like, logistically, your husband is not able to cheat anymore, but it certainly hasn’t changed him for the better.

    With people like this, I’m beginning to understand that nothing can change them for the better. They are flawed, disordered, entitled, immature creatures. Even when they aren’t sticking their genitals where they don’t belong, they are crappy partners.

    And, to cheat for three years and commit all of the millions of unethical, disrespectful acts to enable that and be anything but apologetic is unimaginable.

    I guess this is what winning looks like – living with a sullen teenager who follows the rules reluctantly and brings zero joy or engagement.

  • You wrote “he was married before and unfaithful”. That says it all. Leopards don’t change their spots. Sounds like you have a lovely new home (and control of the finances-yay !).

    File.

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