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‘We Had a Good Life. Why Did He Cheat?’

Dear Chump Lady,

I come to you as perplexed and heartbroken. When you think about how many people experience this kind of betrayal, it is really a sad thing. I had been with my soon-to-be ex-husband for almost six years. Despite his two children from his first marriage, (and another child he found out about during our marriage that was 4), I always maintained a confidence and proud disposition regarding my marriage to my husband. He was charming, funny, and we just seemed to really enjoy each other’s company. A year into our relationship, he proposed, and we were married a year after that. Fast forward, we had a daughter who will be one next month and just purchased a home.

On D-Day, I finally decided to check the phone bill when he wasn’t answering my phone call or returning home. I saw a number — and not just once or twice, but all DAMN DAY LONG. I called the number. A woman answered said number and declared her name. I asked who the fuck she was. She hung up.

I spent the next hour dissecting every text and phone call on that bill, and when I realized it had been going on since December, I literally screamed. And began bawling like crazy. In the midst of my bawling, I also got out every possession he had in our home and put it in a nice big pile in the garage. I texted his apparently Very Close Friend and told her to let him know that the jig was up and I knew what they were up to. I then left a voicemail on cheater’s phone instructing him that his things would be in the garage and he would be hearing from my attorney soon.

That was that, in my mind. Not only had he been cheating for many months and very blatantly, I completely carried us financially. He makes pennies because of all his other child support. The deception and cheating on top of the money made it a very easy decision for me. That being said, I am struggling with several things. Why? Why didn’t I get to yell and confront him? Why would he leave our really wonderful home, life, and daughter to shack up (and as I would find out later, impregnate) a woman who has 7 kids already?!??!!

How did I not KNOW??? I am not a stupid woman. I just made the stupid mistake of trusting my husband. I believed his excuses and really felt it was something I was doing to make him so upset. When in reality, he was purposely picking fights with me to leave and validate his behaviors. Disgusting. That being said, Chump Lady, will I ever recover? Will I trust again? It’s all so daunting. I really do feel like he died though. The person I thought he was died the moment I discovered how deceptive and cruel he was. I mourn that man I thought I knew. What can I do to get answers to these questions? I know the answers don’t matter, but they float around in my brain at night.

Relieved but Human in TX

Dear Relieved,

You are only ONE month out from D-Day. ONE. And you threw the motherfucker out. You didn’t pick me dance. You didn’t ask him for reasons why. You didn’t read a hundred save-your-marriage books on Amazon. You didn’t go to a therapist who asked you to own your part in his being a cheating, abandoning fuckwit. No. You packed up his crap, righteously placed it in the trash, and THREW THE MOTHERFUCKER OUT.

A standing ovation here from Chump Nation. Well done, Texas. Well done.

And now you’re standing there in the wreckage, with an infant, wondering what the hell happened to your life. You’re untangling the skein of fuckupedness. Why would he do this? What made him into this sort of person? How did I not see what was happening? Untangling the skein is a coping mechanism and frankly, it’s a rather useless one. The fast track to healing is no contact, not analysis. Just stay out of his orbit, communicate through lawyers, and get support to help you through this terrible time.

I know you want to untangle anyway. Sort through that wreckage, look for the black box… Untangling the skein is an expression of grief. It’s going to take awhile to accept what happened and who he really is. But I’ll answer your questions anyway.

Why? Why didn’t I get to yell and confront him?

Because you’re smart. As you said, the jig was up. There was nothing to be said. In that horrible moment, you had clarity. Don’t wish for the fog that comes in on little chump feet. You spared yourself the mindfuck of his excuses and blameshifting. There is zero satisfaction in confronting a cheater. Either they stare at you contemptuously and derive kibbles from your sobbing, or they mindfuck you with faux regret and you start seeing unicorns.

Texas, you confronted him with consequences. That’s the only confrontation that matters.

Why would he leave our really wonderful home, life, and daughter to shack up (and as I would find out later, impregnate) a woman who has 7 kids already?!??!!

Implied in this question is the assumption that he should recognize a good thing when he has it. That being wonderful is some defense against being chumped. It isn’t. I’m sure his first two children and wife thought they were wonderful, and it wasn’t enough. It’s not about the other woman, if she’s a train wreck or if she’s a National Merit Scholar, it’s about CAKE — having the respectable face of married normalcy, AND an extra portion of affair kibbles. It’s about gaming the system to his advantage.

And Texas, he did not LEAVE your wonderful home — you threw his ass OUT of it. He’s with this other woman because parasites need a host.

You wanted to believe you were special. Instead, you were of use to him. It’s not that you’re not special or deserving of love, it’s that he’s a user.

How did I not KNOW???

Every chump asks themselves this, Tex. To answer this question, I must balance not blaming the victim with acknowledgment of red flags.

Let’s start with not blaming the victim (you). It’s difficult to imagine things we would never do. Here’s an example from my own chump story — when I married him and moved to another state for his career how did I not know that he was cheating on me the whole time, had a mistress of 20+ years, an assortment of other affair partners, and a grown-ass kid? Answer? Because I’m not a sociopath. How on earth could I imagine that host of horrors? It boggles the mind.

We project our moral world view on to others. I don’t have a double life, so I assume other people, especially those nearest to me, don’t either. Chumps tend to think of themselves as rational, intelligent beings who make rational, intelligent choices.

You projected your values on to a man who did not share your values. Sure, he may have pretended to, which takes us to the red flags. We can’t control the fact that sociopaths walk among us, we can however, use our powers of discernment and fix our pickers. That means going forward, paying attention to character as it is revealed through actions over time. That means healthy skepticism and having boundaries with users.

So, you were married six years and dated for two. At some point a four-year-old child emerges. Was that during the period he was with you? Or his first wife? Did at some juncture did it occur to you that he was a cheater? How did he explain that child away? This is a red flag of Communist May Day March proportion. So is his willingness to let you shoulder nearly all of the financial burden.

Texas, red flags are not excuses for being chumped. No one deserves to be chumped. It’s never okay, and it’s never excusable. I’m pointing them out so that when you’re scanning the wreckage of this marriage, you focus on the things you can change — YOU, and leave off the things you can’t — HIM.

Will I ever recover? Will I trust again?

Yes, of course you will recover. (The pain is finite and stops on a Tuesday.) It’s early days still. Be kind to yourself and resist every urge to reach out to him. A guy with two other kids, and one on the way, is someone I suspect won’t want to be too involved in your child’s life. I hope he leaves you the hell alone and you have full custody of your daughter.

As for trusting again — the only thing we take away from betrayal is what we learn from it. You’ve learned that you are MIGHTY. You threw that motherfucker OUT. Your mightiness is even deeper than you ever imagined. You’ll parent your little girl and will be a great role model to her. She’ll never eat shit sandwiches, because her mother knows her worth. We don’t get guarantees about other people, but remember, that for one cheating asshole, there are going to be at least a hundred people on this thread alone who will lift you up. Their goodness and the goodness of those who truly love you outweighs the damage of one aberrant cheating asshole.

You want to trust again? Trust your resilience.

This column ran previously. It’s Thanksgiving week. I’m hosting. And I’m working until Wednesday. So it’s reruns.

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.
  • It’s Tuesday. For the first time in 18 months I was in ex’s (our) small town. I wasn’t looking, but I drove past him trying to smooze a new client. I got the chills, how could I have gone there??? Utter astonishment. Ughhhh.

    I was where you were – No Contact, time. You will come out at the other end, I promise.

  • A good life to a serial cheater is in fact finding a host and using others. He doesn’t value anyone. I too packed his belongings and piled them on the porch. I filed a few months later. Why? I had enough of maintaining his image. He too fathered children while married. Acceptance comes when you realize he has no honor or loyalty. He’s a selfish asshole. Good job booting his ass.

    • Me too. I’m almost 12 months out. As soon as I found out, I kicked his whore cheating asshole out. These questions still run through my mind occasionally but not as much.

      I see who he really was now. Will I ever trust again ? Hell no! I don’t trust my friends, my coworkers, anyone at all and I used to be a very trusting person and thought the best of everyone. He broke this in me and it’s just who I am now. It can be a bad thing but I intend on making it a good thing.

  • Cheaters rarely cheat up do they?? I know it is hard right now. Being cheated on was one of the worse things that ever happened to me. My ex cheated with my cousin. Trust me he sure did not cheat up. But, a women with any character would not even entertain cheating with a married man.

    I too was where you were. It does get better. You will see life is so much better without a cheater in it. Please give us an update how you are doing.

  • He cheated because he wanted to cheat, found someone who was willing and did so. That isn’t a reflection on you or of you.

    I am a little perplexed at how you spackled away a 4 year old who magically appeared during your 6 year relationship but the mind is creative when the heart insists that all is well, you’re special – it will be different with you, etc. So you do need to work on your impulse to pick up the spackle but that isn’t a bad project.

    You threw the jerk out. Hurray!

    Since this is a repeat, I hope that you and all of Chump Nation have a lovely Thanksgiving. May the dreaded phrase, “there’s no pie!” or “the oven died” be heard throughout Chumpland. But if it does, may it be a bump in the road, not a yawning chasm.

  • Gentle Reader, I too, want to know how Texas is managing. I envision her fuckwit free, enjoying her toddler and having a Friendsgiving with fellow Chumps. The children will happily play, the food will be delicious, then when the babies nap the Chumps will raise a glass and toast their far better lives. Texas will smile, and continue being mighty.
    I want that for all of us who rely on this site.

    I’m headed to the first Court Hearing this morning. Please think of me and send me strength and resilience. So many chumps before me have done this, surely I can too.

      • Karenb6702, thank you. I’m so grateful for Chumps like you who put their own pain to the side to comfort another chump. It means so much. I appreciate your message of love and encouragement. I needed it!

    • Good Luck thirtythreeyears! Keep breathing. I had a meditation piece on my ipod for when there was waiting. I hope you have a judge who is able to see through the shallowness of your ex. You are MIGHTY! Many hugs

      • ChumpedChange, I visualized breathing in strength and resilience and breathing out fear and anxiety. Thank you for your encouragement!

        • Hello 33years, I’m so happy you survived the first court appearance. I was scared to death. The judge could see through the fake charm and smarm of the cheater. We only had a couple of hours. Once the cheater left the room, judge shook his head and said this is a very difficult case. Cheater had sent defamatory emails to my lawyer. His two personalities were noticeable to the judge, who could only make recommendations at that point. It was ages before a second court date could be arranged as cheater was always unavailable. I had made a reasonable settlement offer in the interim and he had dismissed it. By the time the next appointment came around, he had changed lawyers. I was pretty much beside myself although I followed all the rule books and did not lose my shit. I did not look at him nor interact with him during any of it.
          So, what I want to say, is that the second court appearance and a second judge (!!! so friggin scary) took the entire day. Judge made sure we arrived at a signed settlement that day. At the very end he called us back a second time to make sure that it was written in the agreement that I would have access to our business books, and that we change our current corrupt accountant (who had been found in the interim to have been fine 100,000 for fraud.
          There was a lot of “discovery” that blew my mind. Anyhow, I got a fair deal- all his retirement fund (a lot) and spousal support enforced by the provinical government.
          Hand in there 33 years! I was 56 at the time, am now 63.
          I also had to go through another series of legal shenanigans due to our business. I don’t even know why I am not dead from the stress of it all.
          Just keepputting one foot in front of the other and trust your heart. If something feels amiss, you van bet that you are right. Ask for what is yours. 50-50 is the law after so much time together in the marriage. For sure he is hiding things. For sure the judge knows this- they expect it when there’s a private business. They can “impute” income even if he is hiding it. They expect cheaters to hide money. It’s par for the course of living a double life.
          Do everything you can to stay healthy and sane for yournext appearance. And if you smell something rotten, don’t be afraid to dig around.
          hugs to you

    • Thirtythreeyearsachump,
      You will feel an electric surge of strength, love, and power.
      It is your CN family, right there, in your heart, cheering you on, supporting you every breath of the way.
      ❤️

    • I love your beautiful vision for all of CN, and am sending you good thoughts and lots of mental hugs! You can do this!

    • My thoughts are with you. Please report back and help educate those who will follow. I’m leaving a 30 year marriage, as well. Hope it goes well. Hugs.

      • Lemonhead, thank you! I need hugs tonight. I learned today to always eat before you go to court. I was too scared to eat. I also learned to take a book. No electrical devices were allowed.

      • PennStateGirl, thank you. I am mighty because I didn’t throw up in the courtroom today. I am mighty because I left an abusive marriage. Thank you for reminding me!!!! I’m still trying to believe it.

        • 33, Your attitude is so encouraging! Even to me and I’m years out. Remember this strength if you hit an almost inevitable bump in your divorce process. My goodness you’re mighty!

    • @33 years… I was 25 years. I took the divorce all the way To trial and ended up with 82% of everything —-I’m in a community property state. Do not back down fighting for what is fair! XH has a far greater earning potential than me because I was a SAHM for 8 of those years….. judge said he wished he could have given me even more! That was after the second failed mediation where an ex-judge mediator said I would never even get 50-50…. I knew that it was worth letting the trial judge decide. You can do this!

      • MotherChumper99,

        This is important for people in 50/50 states to read because, as was my experience, lawyers are often wrong. I was told I wouldn’t get what I did but I went for it anyway and I got it.

      • Hey Texas! You give me hope that I’ll make it to Meh. I’m losing weight too. No more need to eat my emotions. I’m so glad you kicked him out and that you have your daughter. Now you are dating too! I salute you! I can’t even make eye contact! Thank You for taking the time to let us know how you made it. You are a mighty woman!!!

      • MotherChumper99, thank you for the encouragement! I worked hard so he could make all that money and have his precious career. I won’t back down.

    • Stay confident. KNOW — without ANY doubt whatsoever — that you are doing the right thing. Stay tough and go for it ALL!! Let the judge decide what is fair. But if you go in and immediately back down, you’ll get far less than you deserve. You ARE doing the right thing. You worked hard for your retirement. And the dick owes you.

    • In Place of a Curse
      by John Ciardi
      At the next vacancy for God, if I am elected,
      I shall forgive last the delicately wounded
      who, having been slugged no harder than anyone else,
      never got up again, neither to fight back,
      not to finger their jaws in painful admiration.

      They who are wholly broken, and they in whom
      mercy is understanding, I shall embrace at once
      and lead to pillows in heaven. But they who are
      the meek by trade, baiting the best of their betters
      with extortions of a mock-helplessness

      I shall take last to love, and never wholly.
      Let them all into heaven – I abolish Hell –
      but let it be read over them as they enter:
      “Beware the calculations of the meek, who gambled
      nothing, gave nothing, and could never receive enough.”

  • Wow- what an amazing group of people on this site! Relieved here, and my daughter and I are doing so wonderful!! Reading this today was very inspiring- I haven’t heard from my ex in around a year and a half and things are calm and great. I’ve dropped almost 50 pounds, gotten back in shape, and it’s early but I have been dating someone great! Even if I hadn’t met anyone, by life is in a wonderful place and I feel grateful for the support and advice this site provides daily.

    • Such a lovely update! You were mighty from the start and your new life is a reflection of your strength and resolve. Happy Thanksgiving – you are an inspiration!

    • Congrats Relieved!

      I love hearing chump success stories!! I am so glad you are on the other side of this and enjoying life without a cheater! Thanks for the update and I think you should change your ‘name’ to mightybadass in Texas! You rock!

    • Thanks for the update! So happy to hear you are doing well!! Happy Thanksgiving to you and everyone here at Chump Nation. 🙂

    • Your update is sunshine on the shoulders of all of CN.
      Many hugs to you and your precious daughter.
      You are so Mighty!
      🙌💪🙌

    • Congratulations on your new life! It is scary at first, but glorious once you are on the other side. I am so happy for you and your daughter, and hope you have a fabulous time creating your own family traditions with her.

    • @RelievedInTexas— yay you! Your actions those years ago and update will bring comfort to so many of the newly Chumped here that are terrified and devastated.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you!

    • Great news! And you haven’t heard from him in a year and a half when he had a new daughter, your instincts were spot on tossing his ass out. As a male chump I can’t comprehend not seeing my kids. It doesn’t even compute. Their disorder is mind boggling. Congrats and happy holidays!

    • Thank you for chiming in, it is rare to get a reply on a re-run letter and this feels great.

      You are incredibly mighty in throwing his ass out immediately, congratulations on making a great life.

      I envy that you had the fortitude to act and take zero of the soul-raping bullshit a confrontation usually brings. I am still damaged by being told how awful I was as my X skipped off to the bed of a chick half his age. He was obviously the bad actor in the situation but after his horrific attacks I crawled away feeling like I should go ahead and die. It has taken more than 2 years to crawl out of that hole. Very good for you!

  • I recently saw the term “hobo sexual” on a site LOL!!!

    I think back to the first guy I dated right out of the Shute. He was definitely one of those guys. Last I know, he’s been living in his car for a couple of years….no one wants an old narcissist!!!

    I have learned ( the hardest way ) to look for reciprocal gestures, kindness and employment when wading through the cesspool of the dating world.

    I hope this chump is living the best life – loser free!!!

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American Chumps this weekend ❤️

    • Hobosexual…oh my…I think this is the sort of men that the successful 20something women in our culture have to pick from. My daughter is still grieving the loss of her beloved who refused to move out of his mothers basement and learn to adult as well as he played video games.

      Im only peeking in today, a few weeks ago, I realized that (as much as I believe this site is a really good, healthy place to work out our shit) as a person 14 years out from my first Dday and 7 years after Cheaters death, I was keeping myself stuck by starting every day out thinking about him and what he did to me. I am just about to board a plane for our (me and Col Greatguy) trip down the Rhine where we will end up in actual Switzerland.

      I love everyone here and I wish everyone a great life !!!

      • Unicorn No More, I have to say that I have always appreciated your input here. Even when I haven’t had time to read all the comments, I would search specifically for your comments. I was married for 24 years and divorced 2 years ago. As a fellow practising Catholic, your wisdom has helped me enormously and I’m so grateful that you took the time to share your story, which was sometimes sad but always inspiring.
        Enjoy your holiday and your life with Col Greatguy 🙂

  • Mine could be retired, traveling with me, enjoying our grandkids. Instead, a strained relationship with his kids, working until he is 70 (cause Ho wife had no debt, no savings and way younger), loss of respect of family and friends. IDK, will never get it. I always thought we had won the game of life.

    I am ok though, but I still sometimes wonder about what happened, but gotta put that skein back in the basket.

    • Livefortoday2, if you think he doesn’t regret what he’s done, you are wrong. I’m sure he thinks about the good life he had with you and feels like the piece of shit he is. Reality has a way of doing that and it punched him right in the balls. He deserves it.

      • I wish that were true, Warrior Princess, it would be so satisfying! But if my Ex, and a few more narcs I’ve known, are examples, they don’t regret their choices in the same way we would. First, even if not right away, they work their way around to blaming us for ALL of it. If it’s all our fault, they have nothing to regret. They were, in some vague way, forced to do what they did, and soooo ill-treated after discovery! Secondly, the regrets they may have are that they calculated wrong, that it would have been more advantageous for them to either not cheat, and keep the good stuff we brought into their lives, or perhaps better yet, to cheat more carefully, so as not to get caught. Not the regrets of healthy people, who recognize both the harm they’ve done themselves and that done to others. Rather, the regrets of someone whose only thought is their own advantage. We were good spousal appliances, and they didn’t evaluate their other options well enough before trading us in, that’s all.

  • I did all the dumb things, therapist, acknowledge my share, books. Nothing changed. A fuckwit only lives for himself and has image among a host of other issues. In my case, I learned the mother and sister were also cheaters and did a good job hiding their disease. The apple does not fall from the tree. Good luck and smart move.

  • Many cheat BECAUSE they have a great home life. They enjoy the security and other benefits of a chumpy, over-contributing spouse, and they use their extra time and energy to pursue the excitement of affairs. I know my cheater ex-wife did that. That’s why I had to divorce HER, and she dragged her feet through the process. She married an AP, but it’s possible she’s faithful to him—just because she now has less opportunity to cheat.

    • Yes, this!!
      I was so very chummy and so very over-contributing. I earned a bit more than he did so I took on every extra – vacations, car repairs, home improvements, dinners out, furniture – you name it. I didn’t make THAT much more but I was trying to help him out because he had no savings or investments.

      All I did was leave him with enough discretionary income to pay for hookers, visit casinos and take random young women out for meals and drinks.

      Yes, he cheated BECAUSE of the home I provided. I love that he lost all of that discretionary income now that he has to pay his own rent and expenses.

      • I’m with you Skeet. I earned just a bit more than him but we had a damn good income between the two of us (which allowed him to keep buying his “boys’ toys”). Different situation now though!

        • Yep and must admit, I’m delighted.

          The way he eats out and buys crap, along with the added grown up expenses he didn’t have with me like rent, will ensure he can’t frequent his ladies every week anymore.

          It infuriates me that he took my generosity and literally used it to buy time with other women. There he was dropping 200-400 every time he saw an escort, yet didn’t have money for his own car repairs or plane tickets. Couldn’t even chip in when we needed a new sofa.

          He was so cheap when it came to responsibilities or something related to our shared life or nesting in our home, but so extravagant when he was betraying me.

        • Yep same here. I earned more than him and I started a side hustle business so even out earned him further. He picked up kids yesterday in rented Toyota Corolla for Thanksgiving travel because his big truck would be too costly in gas for the hours of driving. Kids stuff barely fit in trunk. I hope his big frame ended up with leg cramps after that journey! Yet he has $ to fly next weekend for his birthday booze fest. Good riddance!

  • Texas, I really wish I did what you did back when I was dating my now ex-wife. She admitted to cheating but lied to make herself into an innocent victim. Told me the “just a friend” guy went for a kiss and she “didn’t stop him in time”. It was a lie, because I found out later she had been willingly cheating for months. I was going to end things for the lie of an “undesired kiss”, but I listened to her pity play and took my first hit of hopium. I was hooked.

    Took almost 20 years from that point to lay down the hopium pipe. It wasn’t all bad, but it will forever be a tainted shit stew because of all the truly horrible things that did happen.

    I have much respect for you Texas! You saw what was happening and took action immediately. You’re awesome!

    • SweetPotatoFlakes says:
      “Texas, I really wish I did what you did back when I was dating my now ex-wife. She admitted to cheating but lied to make herself into an innocent victim. Told me the “just a friend” guy went for a kiss and she “didn’t stop him in time”.”

      Wow! I am cracking up over this one!! I just picture her sitting there all innocent and then Bammm—- surprise kiss that just continues and TOO LATE to back out now, —oh well—– HA! Poor innocent thing, I hate when that happens—-

  • I hope to never again relive those first few months after you find out your partner has cheated. I still look back and shudder. I never want to be that broken, shaking person again, never want to be that sick again emotionally and physically. I was oversharing to everyone! I am embarrassed to look back on that. For some reason I get scared thinking about returning to that place.

    I have found that a lot of cheaters crave novelty. They are empty vessels so they need the constant stimulation of new things, new people etc. Normal people value stability. Cheaters value constant change and flux.

    That said cheaters might hang onto a partner who is young, good looking, or has a good job or bank account. As CL says, they are users.

  • I honestly do not know what I would have done without this site. I filed for divorce last week after 11 months of wreckonciliation. Of course we were also separated during all that time. You would be appalled to hear all the details. Just horrible.

    He would have sex with his affair partner in our bed, and yes, this is a woman much younger, who is friends with our family. He would then proceed to boot her out, and then call another woman and invite her over. That phone conversation would last over 3 hours. He was quite the lethario….playing music, talking about their exciting dates. We love Fiddler on the Roof and he was inviting her for a date to go see it. Nothing feels safe or sacred anymore. I’ve been married 23 years and have been at home all this time being a homemaker. He gaslit me to no end. Just devastating…….Tuesday can’t get here soon enough. He’s also a high functioning alcoholic, well paid executive who abused his power. All of these women worked for him. One was an intern for him while at Walmart. Sick sick sick. I’m assuming these women are spreading their legs for money. Yuck. Just yuck.

    In truth, every month since DDay I have flipped out. I have said things I regret, and it gave my cheater ammo. My last straw was him telling me I was “not normal”

    I guess your lying, cheating, sociopathic ways WERE normal?????

    I just can’t do it anymore and have tremendous admiration for this woman for throwing this slime ball out. My guess is she is doing a-ok. Keep up the good boundaries. Seems like most of us on here are empaths, and also co-dependent. Alanon has been a lifesaver for me.

    • It sounds like you are doing awesome! I know you probably don’t feel like it now, but from my point of view, you are.

      I was gas-lighted to no end as well! I believe my ex-wife is a communal narcissist; she gets her supply by volunteering for anything that will get her noticed in the church or community. She constantly used the persona of devout Christian to gaslight me with. According to her, I was the one with a problem. She said I’d see things that “were perfectly innocent and twist them into the most malicious interpretation possible”. Her “devout Christianity” was a perfect cover for her multiple affairs until I found 3 years of phone backups that showed a completely different side of her.

      I got to see a truly horrible monster in graphic detail and I too flipped out. Said a lot of horrible things that she used against me. When I tried to show her all the horrible things that came off her phone, she would go completely blank and leave. Refused to even acknowledge or accept that was her. Only wanted me to believe the “devout Christian” persona was real. That she was simply incapable of doing all the things that I had irrefutably proof of her doing.

      I know your devastated…but you are moving towards a freedom that is priceless. Hang in there! Best wishes and regards.

      • SweetPotatoFlakes,

        I honestly believe the “Christian” or other religious cheaters are the most evil of all the cheater types. My XH is the same as yours. His “Christian” persona is the perfect cover for his double life. And he would do the same as your cheater — “She said I’d see things that were perfectly innocent and twist them into the most malicious interpretation possible”. To have my own faith in God and fellow so-called Christians used against me, was just as devastating as being cheated on. The one place (my former church) where I thought they’d have my back and be my safe place, turned out to be full of wolves.

      • Oh Sweet Potato Flakes, this is so awful! Using God as an alibi?? I mean it is just so absolutely sick.

        I can so relate. The good executive, family man, who loves his peeps…..what a crock, jig was up. It took me along time to realize it though.

        If I were your x-wife I would be afraid that I would burst into flames upon entering a church. Geesh.

    • Genie, you are not alone. A lot of us chumps, including me, gave our cheaters ammunition to use against us. I honestly believe they intentionally provoke us to get a reaction out of us and then they use our reaction to their abuse against us as evidence to our “instability, she’s crazy, not normal, etc”. Your STBX is disordered and you were just reacting to his pathology. He’s projecting himself onto you. When he’s say to you, “you’re not normal.” He really means, “I’m not not normal.”

      I totally understand when you say nothing is sacred anymore. The sad fact is that nothing is really sacred to them. Not even marriage vows. I was with my XH for 23 years and he said to me, “At least we’ll always have our great sex memories.” You see. That’s all that was “sacred” or important to him. Not the pregnancy’s and the birth of our two children. Not all of our shared family history. Tons of happy memories. Family vacations. Holidays and family traditions. None of that was sacred or important to him. He only values sex, so of course he had a Freudian slip and told on himself by saying “we’ll always have our great sex memories”. He is so gross to me now and just the thought of him sends chills up my spine. The whore he’s with deserves him as they both have the same character and morals.

      ((Hugs)) to you, Genie. It gets better each and every day.

    • Genie! I feel for you so deeply. Mine always said the same thing, he would tell ME that I’m “mentally ill” and “abusive.” Of course, if pressed for examples, it was always something ridiculous like “you always forced me to use GPS, that’s abusive.” 🙄

      They win by keeping us confused, hurt, and unsure of ourselves. They know if they can do that we will never be Mighty.

      Go no contact. The house always wins. You win when you walk out of the casino.

      • I love the “walk out of the casino”. I had no choice but to walk out as I knew the love he had displayed was not genuine. Feeling unloved and knowing you are watching the mask slip is one of the most horrific things to see…..but what would have been more horrific is NOT seeing it.

        Thank you for the comments everyone. This place is a refuge.

    • Your are mighty for separating, getting him out of the house for 11 months and then filing.

      The “you’re not normal” is a cheater classic. First words out my cheater’s mouth were that I was severely mentally ill and needed to be locked away in a hospital! Sure, asking your lying husband why he’s texting a young ho-workers at 1am is definitely grounds for commitment. ha.

      They are cruel, sick animals, who go for the jugular when cornered by the truth. All the gas lighting pre d-day is covert, but after it’s blatant.

    • Narc cheaters use your reaction to there bullshit against you, so they can call you crazy. My ex-nar-opath (Narc and Pychopath) after I said I was filing for divorce. I met the devil x 1 with more zeros than I can type. He was a monster on a mission; he did millions of truly horrible things. I reacted to one and he tried to use that against me the whole divorce. Never reacted to anything else he did-Gray rock. His millions of horrible things outweighed my one. I still have to Co-parent (More like Counter-Parent) I haven’t communicated one word to him in 6 months. Our daughter needs glasses so I am going to have to communicate that because the school wont (dread and misery coming my way). Don’t beat yourself up! Just go gray rock, and never engage again; it will save you. Buy a punching bag, start a Journal, run everything cheater say’s through your own bull shit translator. Wishing you a cheater free life.

    • GenieBob, good luck and hugs, you’re Mighty! Ex also loved Fiddler On The Roof, so ironic considering the central married couple and their life.

  • Some of us work toward goals like owning a home, having financial security, raising children in a moral environment, and sharing life with a compatible partner. Others live in the moment, and are always distracted by whatever is new, or shiny, or different. Those who live in the moment do not have the capacity to develop roots, are bored by dependability, incapable of working toward a future. Sometimes, especially when we are young and or vulnerable, these shiny folks come along, and we believe they share our core values, because we want to believe.

    They will never be like us, or have our feelings or commitments. They lack empathy and capacity. A frog cannot fly — no wings — so it hops along from one puddle to the next. There is no kiss from a princess to transform that frog into something he is not. Fairy tales are distractions from reality. You don’t need to wait and dream for your prince to come, and save you. Save yourself, look around for another person with demonstrated values like yours and become friends.

    It is not that planners cannot dream. It is that our dreams are different from those who constantly hop about looking for the next puddle.

    • Old-school fairy tales teach hard lessons. Mostly along the lines of “Life is tough — it’s tougher if you’re stupid.”

    • “A frog cannot fly-no wings-so it hops along from one puddle to the next”

      Thanks Portia (I always read your comments). That one goes in my “Chump Lady/Nation Nuggets of Wisdom” journal.

  • Texas,

    I know you can’t see it, but I’m playing Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman” on my tuba in honor of YOU! Rest assured, CN hears you roaring!

    Girl, you did absolutely EVERYTHING RIGHT when you found out your lowlife of a husband wasn’t who you thought he was. As CL said, there was no hysteria, no pick me dancing… nope, you just got right down to business and threw him and his shit out the door. Now, your challenge is to keep the momentum going; please go full on zero contact and stay as far away from him as possible.

    I look back on my own situation and wonder why I didn’t do exactly what you did: rise up, be strong, and take action. Sadly, I was the typical shellshocked, skein untangling, pick me dancing, emotional train wreck of a chump — not a good look on anyone — and oh, how I wish I’d handled everything differently. But as Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better”, so if I am ever unfortunate enough to find myself in this situation again, I will remind myself of what you did so mightily and follow suit.

  • My RedSandals,

    I really appreciate the kind words! I really do. I’m not sure where it came up…i had been walking on eggshells for months and when i found out what was going on, i was out. It was a very long couple of years fighting him for the custody i needed to keep my daughter safe and away from his certifiably whack job crazy girlfriend, but that is all in the past. He followed our orders for 5 months, and then his gf got tired of him having to go to his parents house for visits because she wasn’t able to be around. This was over a year and a half ago. I’ve heard nothing from him. I have really worked on healing myself and being with my daughter. Your whole life needs a reboot when someone betrays you that way. It makes you question everything. I have been dating, but just recently got good at it. I don’t regret starting to date because i needed practice at it. You are so vulnerable after these situations and you don’t even realize it. I have been dating a really wonderful man for a couple of months and things are going well, but i am not in a rush and we are taking it slow. I will tell you one thing I have had to continuously work on since everything is my fight or flight responses to situations with men i date. Most times, it’s fine to say, you know what, i’m not ready or willing to handle this and call it quits. But sometimes your brain has trouble decipering what truly is a bad thing after trauma and maybe what just needs some work and communication. I have had a therapist through all of this and it has helped tremendously. Single parenting is no joke, but I keep my mental health/physical health at the forefront so i can be a better parent to my girl! To anyone who is deep in the trenches, stay strong!! Start a new normal! Being mistrated by someone is ok, but when you look back you will see it as the blessing it is to be free of them and be able to see people like them a mile away.

  • I appreciate everyone’s kind and encouraging comments. I can tell you, the road isn’t easy. But it gets better everyday. After a grueling legal battle, I fought tooth and nail to get the conditions I was comfortable with regarding my daughter’s safety.I had to forego some other things, but I ultimately kept my daughter out of an unsafe environment. My ex had already moved in with his new pregnant gf who already had 7 other kids, 1 she lost custody of, and was just an overall whack job. We ended up having to send her a cease a desist letter because she was driving by my house, calling my work, sending police officers to my house, calling child protective services, etc. It was a very crazy time! But..that was over 2 years ago. Things have been very calmed since he stopped visiting ( 5 months after we signed papers.) It was too hard for him to visit with my daughter at his parents house where he was required to go alone. We are doing great! My daughter is 3 and she is thriving. I have been dating, but I have just gotten good at it. Dating is important, especially when you are learning how to again, but we are all very vulnerable for some time so recognize that and try to keep it in check. Self care is huge when you are going through these things! I make my health a priority as well as my sanity. To all the new chumps, hang in there, it gets better!! There are still good people in this world because my new guy is a single dad and he is just wonderful. Happy holidays everyone!

  • Texas, you indeed should be commended. A lot of us took months (years) just to get to the point of filing for divorce. In my case, I was thinking w/my heart, not w/my head, and I should have been bold enough to say “get out” as soon as I found out. Indeed, I wasted time doing family therapy and just shaking my head and not agreeing that I played a part in the divorce. So, continue moving on w/your life as fast as you can, and don’t turn back.

  • Texas – So good that things are going so well for you. It’s sad that ex just up and left his child. But from a mother’s point of view, so many of us wish we didn’t have to deal with the ex at all.

    • OptionNoMore,

      Not to put too fine a point on it, or step on anyone’s toes, but father and mother chumps both would rather do without the traitorous ex. It’s the personality and character flaws in our former partners that we’d all love to save our kids from continued exposure to (and in most cases, definitely in mine, we’d love to save our kids from the ex’s affair partner as well. They’re almost always as screwed up as the ex, I believe).

      This is not a gender or sex problem. It is universal. All you need is a shitty character and/or personality disorder. Or worse! There are just too many goddamn fuckwits like our exes out there, screwing up relationships w/a committed partner for what they see as personal gain (a new host for the parasitic ex) and frequently their family’s lives.

  • They cheat for the same reason a pyromaniac sets fires and a kleptomaniac steals. It’s who they are. It’s what is in their brain. They don’t bond deeply, they use people, and they are good at scamming people. It’s a perfect mixture of destruction.

    Unfortunately once you realize this you will never trust anyone ever again. I wish I could, but I know I won’t.

  • To All Chumps – 75 year old survivor, 3 years out from D-Day after 40 year marriage

    Happy Thanksgiving and remember “Chin Up the Best is Yet to Come”

    • Oh My dear invisible friends, I thank you all for the love and encouragement I felt from Chump Nation today.

      Court took way longer than expected. We started an hour and a half late. The Judge spent over thirty minutes explaining how we had to be reasonable and fair. That the law provided guidance for cases like this where there was such inequity in income. I don’t think the judge was talking to me. I’m the SAHM without a career or a degree. STBX still wouldn’t settle. We are going to trial in January.

      STBX was scary angry. His breathing was all loud and huffy. I thought I would throw up being in the same room. I don’t think his lawyer likes him. His lawyer was bright red in the face after a brief , loud hallway conference with STBX. His lawyer told the Judge STBX wanted a trial. My lawyer walked me to my car and I drove several hours home. Home to my little shack, that has become such a sanctuary.

      I was awarded retroactive temporary spousal maintenance. I don’t think he will pay. He was so pissed. He makes big bank, he just doesn’t want to pay me. I’m just glad that theoretically I’ve been provided for temporarily. He wants all the resources. He thinks they are all his.

      Now I can get back to knitting, creating sweet Ukelele music, singing and working out and enjoying my cheater free life. Thank you for sharing your stories, your woes and your triumphs. I have benefited from your collective knowledge and experiences. Thank You Chump Lady and Chump Nation. I lived through today, with your support.

      • Thanks for the update 33. I know the anger can be scary but it bodes well for you. If he is that angry he knows it might not go his way.
        Enjoy your music and your workouts – January will be here soon enough. Stay strong and take care of yourself.

        • I would encourage you to have any alimony taken directly from his pay and given to you. My ex was also very angry as I was a SAHM – 32 years married. He was not as scorched earth as yours though. Hugs to you,

      • (((((Thirtythreeyearsachump))))) and a whole day of keeping your cool and making it through!
        I can only imagine how exhausted, yet relieved, you must feel.
        You should be so proud of yourself, you made it through.
        Your story reminds me of Feeling it’s struggle with her fuckwit. I hope she reads your posts and gives you encouragement and advice.
        So many Chumps here have walked in the shoes of others.
        Please know you are never alone.
        I applaud your strength and send you many many hugs.

        Xxxxxxxxx
        peacekeeper

        • Unfortunately, no consequence by judge unless money is involved. All the court cares about is distributing assets. At least in NY. I would look at receipts on credit cards and talk from a financial perspective. The rest of the dirty laundry will show up this way.

    • Lemonhead, the subject of infidelity did not come up. He has a couple of weeks left to produce the records for a claim on his Financial Affidavit that claims he pays for a “Life Insurance Policy to insure Child Support Payments”. Our children are self sufficient adults. There is no child listed on the section for “Children not of this marriage”. Looks like the 32 year old hood rat might be pregnant. Or perhaps it is all a big mistake. My lawyer said he is angry because this will all be revealed during the trial. He could have settled. He didn’t. It was clear to me that his lawyer found him to be a pain in the ass. I imagine he doesn’t listen to his lawyer either. LTC Asshat doesn’t like to be told what to do. He thinks he is the smartest guy in the room.

      I don’t understand how all this works. I am trying to educate myself. I’m trusting my highly regarded lawyer.

  • Darn ballsy chump!
    I’m curious. Why did you take him on with two kids from a prior failed relationship and one that he ‘discovered’?

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