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When You Want to Leave, But Just Had a Baby

Dear Chump Lady,

I have been married for almost 3 years and we have a one-year old. I discovered he was cheating with random strangers when we were engaged, and, in true Chump style, I paid for us to have expensive couples’ counselling. I chose to believe the arrogant psychologist who told me that he was ready to get married and would stop.

Lo and behold, there was another D-day shortly after the wedding with fresh evidence. I decided to leave him after four straight days of fighting, and was talked down by my mother who asked us to try everything before giving up. More rounds of counseling. I know I should have followed my instinct at the time.

Now we have a baby and my husband complains about my hypervigilence. He had installed a linked tracking device on our phones so that I can see where he is, but I deleted it last week because I really dislike the.person I have become.

The truth is, I still want out. It has just taken me a long time to reach this conclusion. I am unhappy and can never feel “in love” with him.

I am frightened of sharing custody with him though. I want to be with my son and my husband’s family is psychotically religious in a way I am not comfortable with.

Sincerely,

Waffling and Feeling Down

Dear Waffling,

((Hugs)). I’d feel down too if I were surrounded by this many awful people. A cheating husband. A quack shrink. A mother who doesn’t have your back. No wonder you’re blue. All your instincts of self-preservation have been squashed and second-guessed.

It’s time to find your mightiness.

Your in-laws are going to be psychotically religious if you stay or go, so let’s not predicate our decision on the Jesus freaks, okay? I find it helps to break problems down into digestible bits, so let’s start with Fear of Who Will Influence My Son If I Leave.

Who will influence him if you stay? What underscores I Think The Patriarchy Is Swell more than staying with a cheating husband and his Skip The Unpleasant Cheating Commandment hypocrite parents? You’re not protecting your child from that influence — you’d be validating it with your presence. Voting with your feet means something — you’re not there to tolerate bullshit.

I am frightened of sharing custody with him though.

This is worth unpacking and I don’t have enough details to go on here — are you scared for your child? Are you in a domestic violence situation? Or is this the very understandable fear that you don’t want to lose time with your small child?

If you’re in a domestic violence situation (the phone tracking works both ways, that concerns me), call the domestic abuse hotline in the U.S. or www.womenslaw.org, which has a legal aid clinic online and a repository of every divorce law statute in the U.S. CN, if you’ve got resources for other countries, please put them in the comments. (That will help with resources as we’re redoing the site, thank you.)

I would talk all of this out with a lawyer — many do first hour free consults, so shop around. This is the great shit sandwich of divorce when you’ve bred with a fuckwit — having to share parenting with a fuckwit.

It’s a long game. But I want to tell you as someone who is at the end of it (I began when my son was 4, he’s 22 now), that it’s survivable. Having lived it and having read hundreds of thousands of stories here, the general pattern is that fuckwits aren’t terribly interested in the mundane details of raising children or paying for them. That’s bad news if you were expecting responsible co-parenting. That’s good news if you were hoping for more time and all the moral influence.

Raising your child outside the orbit of a fuckwit is the sanest, healthiest thing you can do for a child, IMO. Is this the IDEAL situation, of two invested, loving, attentive parents? No. But that’s not your fault because you only control YOU. Fuckwits tend to remain fuckwits. Good news is that YOU are a loving, attentive, invested parent. Kids need at least one sane parent and you’re it.

Staying will NOT transform a fuckwit into a good parent or good partner. You do NOT control that. And tolerating abuse will degrade you and model awful things to your child.

Leaving and captaining your own ship models resiliency. You can create a safe, stable environment in which to raise your child. You can love again and surround yourself with good people. You do control how you build a new life.

Somehow you got shit models as guardians. That shrink. That mother. I know many parents push reconciliation as its the culture’s default position, but is that the kind of mom you want to be? I’d rather be the Mama Grizzly. “You cheat on my child and they’ll need a spatula to scrape your remains off the sidewalk you cock-poxed motherfucker.”

Be the guardian you never got.

The truth is, I still want out. It has just taken me a long time to reach this conclusion. I am unhappy and can never feel “in love” with him.

Honor your conclusion. I think this is a conclusion you reached three years ago. Forget the language of “unhappy” and feeling “in love.” It’s natural to not be elated when you’ve been devalued, or to feel “in love” when you rightfully don’t trust your partner.

Commitment doesn’t feel happy or in love all the time. Adulting is about showing up. But that decency — your commitment and your adulting — can be weaponized against you. This “I want to leave” conclusion is NOT about transitory feelings — it’s about safety and not having anything to reconcile with. This man cheated (AGAIN) and your reward was a four-day fight.

This situation is completely unsustainable. The way forward is to take care of yourself and your child. Talk to a lawyer, gather all your financials, and make a plan. We’re here for you — you can DO IT.

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.
  • Before you head to that lawyer (and hopefully interview several) and copy all your personal and financial documents and store them someplace safe, take off the 2-way tracking.
    It’s in your best interest to get your plan and papers in order without your husband seeing where you go and what you do.
    Tracking him is useless.
    Him tracking you can easily be twisted against you by a cheater. Don’t give him any information until you are ready to.
    Cheaters always turn into people we never imagine they could be when faced with consequences.
    You have our support. It’s scary and a life you didn’t plan on but we all survived and most of our kids are doing better than we ever thought.

    • correction, tracking him is helpful because you can be busy getting your ducks in a row while he’s out and you know exactly when he’s about to pull in the driveway.

    • Or leave that phone at home and unused when calling hotlines, attorneys, allies and get a burner for your own protection.

      Gotta buddy who will drive the phone around for you in pointless circles? Non-stop and with nary a peep?

      • Totally agree about having a friend help you, but be careful on choosing your “buddy”. Do you have a relative that you can trust?

        Unfortunately, I confided with someone for months early on and then found her driving my Ex’s car the same month my divorce was final. I couldn’t believe she would stab me in the back, but my eyes were opened and I now realize there are users in this world. No idea what she told A**hat & The Whore. These are the shockwaves that hit after the earthquake.

        Switzerland friends are out there and not necessarily detectable early on.

        • Can I just underline that comment, highlight it and put in flashing letters.

          Backstabbers be plentiful … be VERY careful. I am completely aware how paranoid this sounds but I learnt the very hard way. The friend/s you confide in need to be bank vault secure. Best to stick with those who were YOUR friends long before he showed up. Trust you gut … which you seem to be doing.

          I had a few painfully learned lessons in this area – more than shock-waves, they were earthquakes with their own richter measurements. Good luck (((hugs)))

  • Truly, you only need one sane parent. My first husband was bipolar, left the marriage after asking me “if he could date” (spoiler alert, I said no) , kidnapped my two-year-old daughter while he was in a psychotic state and I didn’t know where she was for two days. Later I found out he had taken her to the beach so he could meet up with an old girlfriend and as babysitters used the two teenagers behind the desk in the lobby, who were stoned when he came to pick my daughter up – his defense was ” I didn’t know they would do that because I didn’t know them at all.” ( this is how you know he was still psychotic when he got back, that he voluntarily told me this. :-)) This man became a judge through the political work that I did for him , and I still had to sue him twice for back child support . I turned the child-support into my child’s college fund, she went to Stanford, she has her PhD and is is a professor of economics and is now very happily married and expecting her first baby. I’ll spare you all the gory details of all the other crap that went on coparenting with her father, but the point is you CAN do it. It is actually easier to do it NOT living in the house with someone who is insane and disrespecting you. I had a girlfriend thank me for the example I was setting for my daughter that women don’t take shit like what her father was dealing out to me . I know it seems overwhelming and heartbreaking at the moment, but you got this! Please keep your eye on the light at the end of the tunnel and keep moving forward!

    • Falcon, I will think of you every time fuckwit screws up with my Asperger’s son. Stories like yours help us get through this mess.

      • My fuckwit called was trying to accuse the bus monitor of abusing our autistic son just today. She is paranoid and delusional. She once accused one our sons behavioral therapist of having an affair with me and abusing my son with therapy techniques to get performance out of my son to impress me. Not because I was worth having, but because she was jealous of her and wanted to steal her family. She also accused me of fathering my renter’s child 8 years after my vasectomy.

    • “It is actually easier to do it NOT living in the house with someone who is insane and disrespecting you.”

      R’amen!

    • Falcon Chump “You are my inspiration.”
      Pretty sure mine is a narcissist with extreme mental illness. The things he says and does are crazy! But his sister had a mental breakdown many years ago and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He has several aunts who have been in and out of the psychiatric ward and diagnosed with several things. All this was family secrets only disclosed after many years of marriage and children. I divorced him for cheating. I don’t count on him parenting and my children take care of each other when they are at his house. Because you still have right’s even if your crazy. Example of his crazy- My youngest said he won’t take her to Wendy’s because it has a 555 on the door and that means blah,blah,blah. He sent me a check to reimburse me for health insurance which I am required to find and provide because both attorneys thought he was to stupid to accomplish this and when the kids got hurt I would be screwed. Back to point he made sure to hunt for check 123 because 1 means and 2 means and 3 means. You get the point.
      Despite the fact me and the kids have moved twice and lived with friends After all the threats and nonsense he pulled our oldest stays on A honor roll and says she going to a fancy school. I hope she gets a scholarship or I am going to be working 14 jobs to pay for it. My Ex refuses to work and has been on a almost 3 year sabbatical as he calls it, with his daddy paying all his bills. While I am supporting me and the kids and the child support doesn’t cover much.
      That’s the one thing that keeps me going; that I am teaching my girls not to tolerate abuse in any form, even from family. Thanks for letting us all know it can turn out good! Because I have a long road ahead he blew up our life with the affair the week before my youngest 5th birthday. Almost 3 years in and 10 more to go!

  • This really rubs me the wrong way!
    I don’t have a mother that could approve or disapprove my actions. She passed away 10 years ago.
    But you know what? I am a grizzly mama for my daughter! and that’s why i’m slowly but surely removing the fuckwit from my life. It hurts like a MOFO, but you now you’re done when you’re done.
    you know it too!
    I hate the judgmental looks, pitiful remarks and stupid advice of distant relatives. If my ex was still at home making my life a living hell every day nobody would care! NOBODY!

    Your child is still small, he will not understand anything of it for a long time to come. But one day he will and he will be proud of you for not letting other people walk over you!
    i’m still crying mess half of the time but this doesn’t change my course of action.
    When we remove negativity, lies, fights and disrespect from our lives, we do this for us, but also for our children!
    keep going. hugs to you

    • This is SUCH a good comment, Lamia!

      It’s SO TRUE that NONE of these so-called Switzerland Friends

      or Relatives Who Just Mean Well (RWJMW) were NOWHERE to be seen

      when we were being abused & lied to behind closed doors

      …but once our standing up for ourselves

      causes them even MOMENTARY discomfort or confusion

      they *suddenly* have lengthy opinions

      that are usually strongly-held yet poorly-sourced

      and, in the end, no match for the extremely SIMPLE life approach

      i demand not only from others but also from myself

      “Always tell the truth in every situation. Never tolerate a liar in any situation”

      an anyone suggesting other, lesser approaches to life

      is welcome to F

      right the F off

      stay mighty, people!

  • Its seems you have no support, but you will find that here. Do you feel his family hid behind religion. It will be harder on your own, do you feel like your on your own anyway.
    You need to put yourself first.
    Good luck
    I think you know what you have to do.

  • Dear Waffling
    I feel compelled to offer my advice because I was in a similar position many years ago, stayed for similar reasons to yours – and over 25 years into our marriage discovered he had carried on cheating all the way through, different women, at all stages of our life together. I’m still with him, I hate myself for being such a coward, it’s all apparently ‘fine’ on the surface, but, like you, I feel I can never be “in love” with him again so I now live a lie while he seems very contented – too old to mess around (at the moment and I’m aware that could change) but had lots of fun while he could and has kept all the material benefits of marriage. I’ll tell you what the similarities were: he cheated while we were going out and I forgave him and believed the excuses and gaslighting; he went abroad to holiday with an old girlfriend when we’d been married a few months and I was pregnant with our first child. I believed him when he said ‘nothing happened but I needed to tell her in person that I was now committed to you’. At many points in our long marriage I knew something was wrong from his moods and deliberate picking of fights, but I realise I was afraid to confront it and address reality head-on. I thought about divorce, but I couldn’t bear the idea that our two boys would have to be alone with him for weekends and holidays as he was always mean to them on the odd occasion when I was away for work – nothing you could report to the police but just selfish, shouting at them, making them feel bad about themselves. Needless to say, his family of origin is deeply dysfunctional and this too, like you, was something I wanted to protect them from. The thing is, CL is right – my lovely boys are grown up now, but they felt the atmosphere between us, their self-esteem has been affected by his personality, they haven’t had a model of a decent honest relationship. I feel guilty about this – I don’t know what would have happened if I’d left early on, maybe I’d have felt guilty about whatever happened in that alternative reality. I have always been too afraid to leave him and now I am just numb. Don’t do this to yourself. You know already that you don’t want to be with him. You have your lovely baby and with luck your husband will soon attach himself to someone else and leave you both alone. Go for it, cut loose from him, become the person you want to be – I wish you every good thing for the future.

    • Cheated while dating, cheated in the first period of marriage when everything should be lovey dovey fine – for sure he’s still cheating, or planning to cheat.

      The good thing is that the post writer is no longer in love with him.

    • Persephone – this took bravery just admitting this. Baby steps.

      To the writer – in my anecdotal observations, the people who seem to fair the best in these situations are the one that don’t hold punches.

      In my personal experience, I held my punches in the beginning when I should have ‘dropped bombs on him like Dresden’ not out of revenge, but to protect my babies. It was very chumplike if me trying not to poke the hornet’s nest too much. Big mistake. It’s really hard to change a judgement after the fact.

      You’ve got this!

    • I went on something called the Freedom Programme in the UK for women who have been the victim of domestic abuse. You learn about the tactics of the abuser. Being a bad father is one of them, so you are too scared to leave the kids with them. It’s designed to keep you in place.

    • Dear Defeated Chump,

      It’s not too late for you. I’m 68, living alone and loving it. Your sons can learn from you re-inventing your life. You aren’t “defeated.” You don’t need to be afraid and “numb.” Even if you continue to live in the same house, if you are afraid, you can make a life of your own. Or you can sell your home, buy a duplex and move into 1/2 of it. There are many ways to organize a happy life. Don’t give up on yourself. You only get one shot at life. Read here. Hop over to the Chump Lady Reddit forum. Read the Facebook CL page. Read CL’s book. Start imagining a new life and how YOU want to get there. Big hugs. Time to stop looking backward. Live in the present. Gain a life.

      • Thank you so much LovedaJackass – this is encouraging. I am 65 and feel ancient but I’m not looking for another man so who cares. I am carving out small spaces for myself – making a separate Will to leave everything to my sons, keeping all my finances separate and continuing to work, planning holidays on my own. I’m now good at keeping myself psychologically separate too – when he starts the gaslighting (not to do with lies about other women now but trying to convince me in a kindly tone that I’m weak and have anxiety issues etc) I’m able to stand apart mentally and realise that he has the psychological issues, not me. He gets very cross when he sees it’s not working, then has to back-pedal until the next time. It’s tiring though and I don’t want to do it forever. It’s great to feel you and others are out there and understand x

  • Waffling – Your story combines such vulnerablity and strength. Let CN wish for you and steer you toward the future you and your child deserve. Please take comfort in knowing your husband simply doesn’t have a future to offer. Stay in touch. Hugs.

  • Waffling. Please get to a lawyer and keep quiet. Don’t tell him anything. Don’t tell anyone else who isn’t supportive such a your mother. You have your whole life ahead of you. Don’t be like some of these other ladies on here who spent 20 30 and even 40 years waiting and got the same result. You can do it.

  • Dear Waffling,
    I had a similar situation 24 years ago. I should I have taken my newborn and left then. But I stayed… for 22 years. I had 3 more children with him. And he continued to cheat and lie and deceive…
    Dont wait like I did. I had 22 years of the shit sandwich, and I’m finally starting to heal from the toxins.
    You need to listen to your gut instinct and get out asap.
    We are here for you. My only regret is that I didnt have the courage back then that I do now.
    (((HUGS)))

    • My regret is exactly the same. I remember my youngest son, six years old at the time, crying when he heard me say I wanted to leave. I didn’t have the guts, but in hindsight I wish I did.

    • Here’s the think I learned when I left my now-ex despite my many fears that I would not be able to function alone, after spending too many years in a marriage that was lacking in reciprocity and intimacy even before I found out why.

      You actually build the capacity for courage by doing something courageous. It’s additive. One small step enables you to take another, and then a larger step. And soon you realize you can run.

      • “You actually build the capacity for courage by doing something courageous.” What a profound statement, and one with such application in these interesting times we are living. It is comments like this one that keep be coming back to this site even though my Tuesday came years ago. Thank you.

        • Yes, this is how courage and kindness and other character traits are built. Just as becoming selfish is built by doing selfish things.

            • Go for it!!! You can do it!!! I was married 26 years, no children, thank God!! It sure made it easier for me. But even if you do have children, they will be better adjusted than living in a house full of deceit and turmoil!!!!! I grew up in that kind of environment and I know how hard and embarrassing it is for a child to have to have other children talk about them and their family!!! Go now, and don’t look back!!!!!!!! I’m praying for you! 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

        • Yep, courage is a muscle too.

          Keep building it. Then all of the things that seem too hard right now, too heavy to even think about bearing, your courage muscle will make those things so light you will casually toss them onto your shoulder with one hand … and dance!

          Brave, powerful and strong = Mighty.

    • That’s my story too. Make the move now! Good luck and try to think of the fear as your body telling you that you need to act.

  • Dear Waffle,

    Everything in life has a price. From your story it seems that the price you and your baby will pay if you stay with fuckwit is far higher than the price to pay if you leave. And you will pay atrocious interest rates if you stay.

    Chump Lady always reminds us of how we chumps hate all those sunken costs. And that is the number one thing that gets most of us in trouble.

    Get out now and you will save a lot of heartbreak for you and your precious child. Take care!

    • I like the idea of seeing “sunk costs” in relation to outrageous interest rates. I invested a lot in my marriage, and got terrible returns. The price I paid for my marriage included compounded interest rates that would equal the gouging of the predatory practices of payday loan companies!

  • Living in his family of origin your husband’s emotional maturity never happened. You are dealing with a child. Since you already have a child you need to let go of the large one. He will impede your ability to parent your child effectively. He’s brought all of that baggage with him. I’m sure you’ve been told this 1000 times but his behavior has nothing to do with you. He would do this with anybody. That’s just who he is.

  • Also, when dealing with extended family in these situations, never underestimate the power of “Don’t disrespect my parenting”. They pull their shenanigans, you get your kid out of there. You are the sane, stable parent. You have the power to be able to keep these people away from your child without you being present. It sucks, but one thing I’ve learned through all of this is that I am Mama, I have the power to keep my child safe from their antics. You do as well.

    If you have ANY reservations about his parenting, have your lawyer use any means necessary to get the custody agreement more in your favor. You would be amazed at what a court will grant if you are willing to show them his true character.

    And take it as a badge of honor when someone calls you a Mama Bear. All it means is that you will love and protect your child to show them how to survive in this world. You’ve got this.

  • I understand this thing about needing only one sane parent.
    But what when there isn’t one or he/she is incapacitated, or something (ex. hostage situation, no financial means, conspiracy all around)?
    My experience is that had there been some patriarchy still in place in my life, that is, both or at least one of my grandfathers back then when I was around age 10 and further on, I would not have ended the way I ended up.
    Over 50, discarded, back to my place of origin, to take care of elderly mother and for-ever traumatised sister. With not enough financial means owing to no-fault divorce—which did exist under what is called patriarchy, and would have been my only protection.
    In all honesty, I wish I had the protection of sane and honorable men. I have always felt that way. And I dearly miss my grandfathers.

    • I meant: “fault divorce did exist under what is called patriarchy, and would have been my only protection”.

    • There are multiple ways to use the word patriarchy — most specifically there’s a large gap between familial patriarchy and the patriarchal social construct that minimizes, denormalizes, exploits, and invalidates people who are not men. It’s important to sit in the same definition when discussing the word.

      I, too, feel that more having healthy, supportive men in my family life would have been a game changer. This is especially true due to frequent skeevy sexualization and other forms of psychological and physical abuse. If that’s what you mean, I get it and have similar feelings.

  • One nice thing about fully admitting to yourself that you don’t want to stay in the relationship is that you don’t have to care what he does anymore. I don’t know if you’ve hit that groove yet, but I remember the relief when I hit it – I wasn’t going to have sex with him anyway because I knew I was done, so he could have smashed his genitals right into a petri dish full of herpes virus for all I cared.

    That took a lot of energy out of the “navigate insanity to maintain status quo” bucket, which was all energy I could then put into a “line up these ducks” bucket. That was a game changer.

    I feel for you and your dear child. I also 100% believe a healthy, stable household is of primary importance, and a household with a deceptive abuser is neither healthy nor stable, regardless of outward appearances.

    My heart goes out to you.

  • The more you put this off, the harder it will be on your child. I’m going through this now with an 11 yo; it adds so much pain and heartache when the children are old enough to understand.
    Find your mighty and BE a Grizzly Mama.

  • My ex always needed me more than I needed him. But then he fell for someone and it gave him the impetus to leave me and our one year old. I gave him as much custody as he wanted but he is probably one of the most selfish people I have ever known. He rarely took his son for a whole weekend. So avoid a custody battle and offer joint with you as primary cause your baby is little. Don’t demand he do custody when he tries to cancel. Don’t get the child’s hope up that daddy’s coming to get him. Keep your expectations on very low. Don’t need him for anything but a monthly support check. So yeah. I cried a whole lot over that man but I was ashamed to ever admit how relieved – yes, relieved – that he was gone. Man, you don’t know how heavy that 500 lb gorilla is til he hops off your back. And a word to the wise. Don’t let anyone know how you feel. And don’t let him trap you with any more children. Get a job and stash what you can. Leave your phone home for any private appointments. Go. Be free. Listen to your picker. When your mom butts in, tell her the nineteenth century just called and they want their advice back. I’m so sorry, my little sister. This wasn’t supposed to be this way. My ex was my hero and I wasn’t clear headed when it came to him. The worst thing he stole from me was my trust and piece of mind. I made it by measuring things by one day at a time. I survived until one day I realized I was living and sort of happy. Poor but happy. Btw. That boy of mine. He grew up to be a wonderful husband and father. And very kind to his dad in spite of knowing what a weak individual he is.

    • Lucky you ! Mine is a more selfish asshole he wanted joint custody so he didn’t have to pay child support. I was a stay at home mom and he wanted to leave me with nothing. Kept all marital assets for over 2 years after he threatened my life and was advised by the police to leave- I left with the kids. Still takes the kids every minute he can by court orders; because as he has said and posted he will turn them against me. Them walking away is a blessing – The true Assholes try to harass, stalk and torment you long after the divorce is final. I don’t need his piddly child support or anything else. But narcs are only happy after you are truly destroyed and he is still trying almost 3 years later.

  • If you are the primary parent and want the most time with your child, the younger the better as far as your custody goes. Good luck.

  • IMHO (in my humble opinion), the heart of Chump Lady’s reply:

    “And tolerating abuse will degrade you and model awful things to your child.”

    You cannot hide this abuse from your son. Children always, ALWAYS see what a chumped parent tries to hide. They may not understand, but they see. ALWAYS.

  • Amiisfree,
    Every time I see your name I think of empathy, kindness, understanding, and all good things❤️

    The thing is, what Waffles wrote, it is clear she sees through her cheater, she does not love him, she knows he is NOT there for her or her precious child.
    She has come to CL, CN who reach out to her with expert advice topped with understanding, love and kindness. All gifts tied with heartstrings.

    Open these gifts Waffles, savour them, follow their path to a cheater free life.
    Be thankful that there is a CL, CN, reaching out to you.
    Stay strong.
    You can do this.

    Xxxxxxxx
    peacekeeper

  • Thank you Chump Lady and all of the posters!! It’s so eye opening to see I can find support outside of my primary social circle. It gives me strength

    • Good, glad you are getting support here. Know you don’t owe a man a relationship for any reason, kids or not. Wishing you the best of luck in your journey.

  • My best friend’s father has been having a second family for 30 years. He never divorced her mother, even when produced a love baby with the OW, only few years younger than my friend is. My friend’s mother never asked for divorce either. She is very religious and believes it’s her cross to carry.

    My friend has been my biggest supporter throughout the mess of my own divorce. She always hated, and still does, at the age of 46, this big elephant in the room that her father is. Being right in the middle of this sick agreement, where nobody dares to call things as they are. The pretending that they are a family while her father leaves half way of Christmas dinner to attend another one. She hates him for what he did to them. She did grew up with both parents and still ended up in a life long therapy. When I told her that I hope my daughter will respect me for my choices one day, she said “I know she WILL”

  • Waffling, my heart goes out to you. I too had a baby when I found out my H hadn’t stopped cheating when we got married— I caught him before then but we were young and I gave him second chances. When I found you he was cheating with my own sister that was the final straw. He made a play for custody to reduce child support but I fought. After the divorce he moved to Alaska and in the ensuing 30 years has only seen his daughter a handful of times. She grew up to be a remarkable, wonderful person. Sadly, I did not fix my issues (in my defense, I was 22, had a preschooler, Was raised by narcissist alcoholic cheating abusing mom and dad (dead when I was 15)) and I married another cheating narcissist who charmed my Sox off in law school. We were married 25 years, 3 kids. He discarded and abandoned 5 years ago. I was blindsided and devastated as have been the kids, but they are surviving.

    I can see so many red flags now….. thank God for CL …. I have a new understanding of myself, my vulnerability, and these dynamics.

  • It might feel lonely a few times, I have to be honest plus it probably feels lonely being partnered with a cheater right now, but you’ll have a peacefulness in your soul you’ve not considered possible for a long time once you take positive steps.
    I’m not keen on the lonely, but I am very keen on the peaceful soul, and I found out who my tribe were and they’re pretty delightful. Ordinary people are extraordinary in my sight. They don’t have to “be there” for me all the time, but we root for each other and get together often. I hope you find your root-for-you tribe very soon, on top of us lot, obviously. x

  • Dear Poster, I was in the same position you are in two years ago. My son had just turned two months old and my husband walked out, same issues of being irresponsible and cheating on top (which got confirmed later, my suspicions were correct). I felt tons of fear and guilt but guess what made me take on single parenthood? Because I knew that with him it’ll be 30+ years of misery and pain and crushingly low self-esteem and fear of being abandoned. But if I leave him, at least I get the chance to build my life anew. There is no dead end in the case that you leave; a certain, painful dead end where you are now. It’ll hurt like crazy, he might even move on way more quickly than you will, you will have many many sad nights. But remember this, poster; your child and you deserve a better life. You deserve good people to model good relationships to your child. You can’t let his toxicity bleed into the next generation. You are enough on your own; no one will come to your rescue like you can for yourself. Now go out there, rally whatever resources you have, and show him what the right thing to do is. Take him to school so your child can see what a sane, smart, wise, and most of all BRAVE parent looks like. I am still working my way out of the huge mess my ex left, but he can’t even look me in the eye (and he also remarried right away to the same woman. Which hurt so much but I am glad he is out of my way!!). I have managed to fix most everything, but my son is seeing a glowing mother who gets shit done. He is a happy, welladjusted, growing and smart child. With my ex now I realize I was basically dying slowly. So hang in there, be strong, and rally whatever you’ve got. I am rooting for you, with an intensity that is ridiculously high.

  • f course you want out.

    “I discovered he was cheating with random strangers when we were engaged…”
    “…there was another D-day shortly after the wedding with fresh evidence…”
    “Now we have a baby and my husband complains about my hypervigilence.” Of course he does. If you are hyper-vigilant, you are going to catch him, again. He gets caught cheating over and over and you pay for the couple’s counseling and listen to the arrogant shrink and your not-helpful mother only to be rewarded by blame shifting, i.e., complaints that the problem is you being worried that he will cheat again; as the past predicts the future, chances are your concerns are right on target.

    When you do your custody agreement, you can ask that you be in charge of religious training and that at age 16 or 18, the child can choose for himself or herself. You can be very specific that your in-laws have no role in this aspect of your child’s life.

    Meanwhile, document what he’s up to. You have evidence of two affairs. While you are still living with him, start noting how much time he spends with your child and what he does when he’s in charge of Kiddo. Once you stop tracking him, pay attention to how much he’s home and what he does with that time. Documenting may help you get more custody.

  • Happened to me. I stayed. Had another child. He cheated. I was done. He left.
    Now I have two hurt little people instead of one.
    More damage was done by staying longer. To all of us.

  • I wish I would have left after DD#1, but I believed his lies of contrition. He did that because he didn’t have another monkey in the wings. Four years later, he and Howorker linked up, after 9 years of working with each other. She ended a 20+ year relationship and he left a marriage of 25 years. They are now married.

    I’m glad my children are older, because I don’t know what I would have done if I knew she was tucking them into bed at night and attending school functions. Honestly, I don’t think the outcome would have been good. You have time to leave with, presumably, no “one” in the wings. That way, if he does enter into another relationship, you can build a bridge with her, and not seethe with anger when you child is with her.

  • Oh boy do I know this level of crazy. I got pregnant after D day 1 (angry break up sex) after 3 years of trying (number 2). Love bomb was on! As soon as we had baby he said we should finally have that wedding (was a good chance for me to lose baby weight).

    But here’s the thing. He never stopped screwing the two OWs he was screwing through all of it, well, one of them ended up friending me then felt sorry for me so bailed, but the one I blocked kept on going, apparently dumped him a few days before wedding (I’d say she found out about it), then I have evidence it still went another few months. At the end of that year my mum died and he predated on the next one (who 4 years later I finally got evidence of after 3 years of sensing it). They are still together today, but she’s just a front for his closeted AGP and homosexuality. They pick up guys online (have evidence, messages, pictures) pretending they for her but really for him (I know cos that was the pick me dance I got forced into playing too).

    Weirdest thing is, about a week before that baby was born, he asked what we’d do if he came out with red hair. Well we’re not sending him back buddy wtf do you mean??? He meant he needed a strong name. That long term OW has red hair, same colour as my son (but shes ugly), and I bet they had a real special bond over him being “theirs” in some sick whacko way. She’s childless btw.

    Wish I kicked him out then. Kept my babies to myself and sent him on his way. Only plus side is I made him have a vasectomy after my son was born. I couldn’t are my kids having siblings with these lowlife desperate women. Downside of that is he never used a condom again, except with the guy. Says a lot about his misogyny right there.

  • I recall wanting to leave shortly after our child was born. I was a sucker for the Disney fairytale ending and spackled over so many red flags. I was distraught and exhausted, he was out a lot.

    I was not only raising a new addition but had two elder children from a previous relationship to deal with practically on my own.

    He’d blow in and blow out, focus on fun and showing off his daughter whilst I tried desperately to maintain stability. It wasn’t until he found my replacement that I plucked up the courage to start this journey to Meh.

    I wish I had listened to myself, followed my instinct and been the one to initiate leaving. I was scared and had become dependent on him for security. He left anyway. He chose the most difficult time for me to do so. His callous disregard for me and his step children has been unimaginable.

    He now plays Disney dad with the OW. He’s “fully engaged” with our daughter. I spend my time healing, rebuilding and continue to focus on stable/sane parenting.

    My advice, if you know you want to leave then plan it yourself. Don’t wait around for him to pull the rug from underneath you. Don’t let him call the shots or hold the power. Strategy and planning are key. Stealth is another key. Circle the wagons, the ones who you know will support you. Keep your cards close. Line up your ducks and set yourself free! You’ll be glad that you took action first.

    Please don’t be me and let him screw you and your child over. The people who suggest you wait or try anything to “work it out” do not have your best interests at heart. They do not know or want to admit what some of these cruel uncaring partners are capable of. Listen to your gut! You know, we know you know and we are here to give you the courage to take this step!

    MIGHTY hugs!

  • If you want out, you can get out. Now explanations necessary.
    Clearly you have more than enough evidence of poor character. But even one incident is enough to say enough.

    See that lawyer. Figure out the best outcome for you. Leave him to his screwed up religious parents.

  • Waffles, you are not alone. I have no advice. Just empathy. I’m in a similar situation where I have stayed because I fear for my children to be alone with their father, who sleeps until noon and lets the 4-year-old fend for himself, including playing outside in the backyard alone as his dad sleeps (I was sick in bed with the stomach flu, and had to get up to parent, because he sure as hell wouldn’t). I suspect he is bipolar. Three of his immediate family members have been diagnosed with it. All are unmedicated, and act like sociopathic Cluster Bs. His dad is a wife beater, and eyes the female relatives a little too long for my comfort. I must protect my children from that.

    In the years since Dday, I have been diagnosed with a rare disease that will eventually leave me disabled. I just need my health to hold out until the kids all graduate high school.

    In light of this, I told him I wanted a divorce last spring. He threatened to quit his job, cash in our 401K, and live off of it while moving across country to be where the kids and I would relocate. He said he would go for 50-50 custody, nevermind the fact that if he does acknowledge the kids at all, it is just to yell at them for something that kids do. He never plays with them. Obviously, shared custody would be so he could avoid paying child support. He targets our oldest for emotional abuse because the child is everything that the fuckwit will never be. The child refuses to be left alone with “dad”.

    I am afraid of him and his state of mind if I would leave, and I don’t have faith in the courts to protect me or my children from him, because he works in the court system. I am also terrified of becoming disabled, and having the kids taken from me and given to him. I have no one to help us at all. But that is all out of my control, and I can only deal with today.

    I understand not feeling “in love”. That went away with the last DDay and was replaced with contempt and disgust. I don’t care what he’s up to anymore as long as he is leaving us alone.

    I suspect there are quite a few of us here who are unable to leave just yet (YET!), reading and absorbing the advice. Stay the course. Our “mighty” is coming!!!

    • It seems like the more rope you give irresponsible parents that won’t take help for their XYZ issues, the more quickly they end up hanging them selves with it. May you stay healthy and happy, I suspect everything will work out in the best way given what you’ve said.

  • It is a horrible predicament to be in for sure. My XH tried to force me to abort our fifth baby. My sister pointed out this was abuse and I remember replying hopelessly – what can I do? I had four kids already and another on the way. We weren’t at all rich, but weren’t too poor to support another child, he just thought four was enough. I struggled on for another 15 years in the face of increasing verbal, sexual, emotional, psychological and spiritual abuse before finally realising that he did not appear to love or care for me at all and couldn’t wait to get away from me. In the end he was actively preventing me from practising my religion. A moment of clarity amongst my usual FOG – why on earth would I pick the man who didn’t love me above the one who had never ever let me down? Best decision. While he was away on a 3 month sabbatical without me, I got a lawyer, rented a flat, began separating the finances and left the day after he got back from his holiday. Almost three years out, hard going but so worth it. Parenting a 14 (now 17) year old with XH has been trying in some ways but nothing like the trials of so many of you heroic members of CN who coparent long-term with f**kwits, psychos and vicious and dangerous ratbags. Worst is the effect his disregard for his kids as individuals separate from him has on them; he makes it so hard for them to really love him in any meaningful way. That hurts me on their behalf, but hey, if they want to keep a relationship with him and meet him on his turf and his terms, that is up to them. I admire their spirit.

  • I wanted to leave when I was pregnant with my second child. I knew the marriage was over and he wasn’t going to change, it would only get worse, which it did. I got zero support from my mother, even when showing her concrete proof of what my husband was up to. I started planning my exit when my youngest was 3, went back to work full time, put my kids on my healthcare plan, got all my financial ducks in a row, met with lawyers etc and served him with papers a year and a half later. My kids were 5 and 7 when the divorce was finalized. I wish to God I had left when my youngest was a baby.
    Get out now before your baby is old enough to see and absorb what’s going on, you can do this. Don’t endure any more abuse from your cheater husband. Surround yourself with a strong support network and plow ahead and be mighty. You and your baby deserve the best. Good Luck!

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