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‘He Returned and Acts Like Nothing Happened’

Dear Chump Lady

I have been with my husband for 22 years. We have 4 kids, 3 teenagers living at home still. In the last year I discovered he has cheated….actually cheated seems to not be strong enough a word. He has fucked his way up and down the country for the last 6 years. Prostitutes, dogging, random women, bar staff in the hotels he stays in for work 5 days a week. If it has a pulse he has been humping it.

My 3rd D-day was a couple of months ago, although they don’t feel like D-days because he won’t own up to much, only the stuff that he can’t deny. Although he spent hours attempting to deny the casual sex dating site messages that I managed to hack into — messages containing his dick pics! Apparently wasn’t his dick but someone remarkably similar with the same name, age, underwear, but not him. He is the master of the mindfuck — deny everything and whatever evidence you happen to have will magically disappear.

Anyway, I finally lost it and told him I want a divorce. He stormed out. I felt mighty for approximately 20 minutes until he came back and declared that he was going “to fight for me!” (I did ask him who exactly he was going to fight.)

I was immovable. I told him he can’t fix it, I don’t want to fix it, I dont love him, I won’t ever trust him again, I will never have sex with him again, etc. He cried. He begged…. for about half an hour. Then said, “I’d better go do some grocery shopping.”

One hour later he returns and acts like NOTHING has happened! I mean, WTF? He has since transformed into the perfect husband and father. He COOKS! He is pleasant to be around. I am being civil at best but won’t hug him or sit near him. I can barely look him in the face. Meanwhile he is picking out a new kitchen and family car and asking where I want to go on holiday next year.

I want him gone, but I have run out of energy. I am booked to see a solicitor to start the divorce and am booked on to the Freedom Programme (UK support group for abused women) and seeing a counsellor. But something in my head/heart just won’t click into place. I just can’t see how this limbo will ever end and the longer it goes on the more I doubt myself.

I am reciting “trust that he sucks” like a mantra but when I see him acting so lovely I start to wonder if I imagined it all. My best friend is on speed dial purely so that she can remind me that he is an asswipe. My counsellor constantly tells me her own version of Trust That He Sucks. I don’t believe in unicorns and am trying to be strong, but I feel like he is gradually chipping away at all my strength. It would be soooo easy to just give in and go back to blissful ignorance, but I know I can’t ever forget.

I am not scared of being alone — I am dreaming of that day. I don’t care if he is right now with some slag. I genuinely wish he had had a proper affair and left me for her. Why does he have to hold on so fucking tight?

Christmas is coming up and I feel like I am the one destroying my family, not him. The kids are revelling in having a dad that is finally fun to be around. How the hell do I tell them that as soon as they get the dad they always wanted I am going to send him away?

Sorry this is such a long message, but my head is a mess. It feels like my options are all varying degrees of fucking awful and I am all out of mighty.

Will this limbo ever end?


Dear Undiscovered,

Yes, this limbo will end the minute you test his sincerity. Remember, the mindfuck has three channels charm, rage, and self-pity. He’s on a charm offensive now. Otherwise known as the “honeymoon” period in the cycle of abuse. Giving you what you begged for — an engaged, loving, attentive husband and father — keeps you hooked on hopium. He’s testing your resolve. Are you REALLY done? Do you REALLY not care? Is that REALLY a boundary?

Take a big step back. If he truly cared about the enormity of his transgressions, he wouldn’t gaslight you and pretend like nothing happened. He would respect your boundaries, admit fault, and move out. Most important, he would own Bad Guy status with the kids, accept responsibility and absolve you.

He prefers manipulation.

Think about what a mindfuck this is. If I was a boorish dinner guest, and I spilled red wine all over your white sofa — would the proper response be…. charm? What if I shut up about my golf game and became the witty, engaged guest you’ve always wanted at your dinner party? Or flattered you? “That’s a lovely dress you’re wearing, Undiscovered. That color really suits you.”

YEAH, IT MATCHES THE WINE STAIN ON MY WHITE SOFA. You’d be livid. This would be an obvious distraction from my sin — harming your sofa.

The proper response would be to immediately address what I did wrong and take responsibility. Pay the cleaning bill. Buy you a new sofa. Apologize. Not sit on the sofa, continue to enjoy your hospitality, and pretend like nothing happened.

He has since transformed into the perfect husband and father. He COOKS! He is pleasant to be around.

Bitch cookie. This is basic partner stuff. How worn down are you that pleasantries and cooking matter THIS much? Okay, the man can flip an omelette. He has a hooker habit.

I feel like he is gradually chipping away at all my strength. It would be soooo easy to just give in and go back to blissful ignorance, but I know I can’t ever forget.

Don’t doubt yourself. His “transformation” is a form of gaslighting. He’s not trying to make it better, he’s pretending it never happened. It’s the I Fail to Understand Your Hostility mindfuck — how you can you be so unkind to one so wonderful? It’s impression management for the kids, so you’ll be the Mean Mommy who makes daddy go away.

Stay strong. With the help of your counselor and the Freedom Programme, make a safe plan to leave him. Trust the professionals on this. I’m glad you have a team. It can be dangerous leaving one of these freaks.

It may not feel like it now, but the best thing you can do for your kids is not model abuse. I’m sure he will flip the channel to Sad Sausage self-pity for the kids. Again, be all business and as no contact as you can be. Divorce is the natural consequence of abuse. He doesn’t get to risk your health, steal marital resources for sex workers, gaslight you, and conduct a double life. That shit is not NORMAL. It might feel normal now, but that’s because everyone is beaten down to accommodate his entitlement.

He fears CONSEQUENCES. He’s not bothered by his behavior, or he wouldn’t indulge it six. straight. years. of it. Steady on.

Will this limbo ever end?

Yes, it ends when you say it ends. You’re enjoying the intermittent rewards of his “good” behavior. You’re rightfully exhausted. He’s wearing you down. The oasis from drama feels nice. But it’s all a mirage.

Often we don’t want to upset the mirage, because of the crushing grief we know is waiting on the other side. I didn’t matter. He really did this. It really happened. Choose grief over hopium. The pain is finite, but abusers will keep using chumps as long as we let them.

You want to stop the limbo? Challenge his “good” behavior.

“Thanks, Bob. The omelette is nice. But if you really want to demonstrate your apologies, please sign this divorce settlement. That would go a long way to conveying sorry.”

(flip!) RAGE.

“Bob, please explain to the children why we are divorcing, and what you did to necessitate this sad outcome.”

(flip!) SELF-PITY.

He won’t do the fair thing, the right thing, the kind thing. He only does the self-serving thing.

Why does he have to hold on so fucking tight?


It’s not love, it’s control.

Break free. He cannot force you to stay married to him. Get OUT. Safely. With the help of those pros. We’re here for you too. You can DO IT.

He thinks he can buy you with the price of a new kitchen? Fuck him. You’re not one of his hourly lays. You’re worth so much more. Time to act like it and end the limbo.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Don’t forget to get yourself tested for every STI under the sun today. And again in a few months (as your physician advises). Don’t let him in your undies or slip you any tongue.

    It’s not “just” your heart and mind he may have harmed.

    • Yes, STD testing. I write that so often and I forgot here. Thanks for the reminder.

      • Many Chumps forget to inform their physicians and they are your ALLIES. Well, they should be anyway.

        You so rarely miss an anything. I am a little chuffed that I was able to mention it for you.

        • Yes good point. Thank you

          I did get tested about 18 months ago and was clear. I guess I had been hanging on to that but I know he has been with women since, so stupid really.

          On the plus side I found a pack of unopened condoms in his bag (1st d day) which he swore were planted as a joke by the guys at work. I didn’t believe him but couldn’t prove otherwise so had to let it go.

          Plus I was distracted by the fact that after much pressure (an hour of me repeatedly asking (“What is this rolled up paper with white powder inside?”) he admitted to snorting our sons adhd medication.

          Although as the condom pack was unopened maybe it’s not a plus at all….

          • He stole your child’s medication? This man is perfectly willing to put your child in harm’s way for his own jollies. Please recognize that you need to protect your children from this person! (I’m so sorry)

          • “he admitted to snorting our sons adhd medication”

            *jaw drop*

            Basically – he’s hooked on amphetamines. Get him out of the house. He’s dangerous to all of you. This is only the tip of the iceberg. PLEASE.

            Report it to HIS primary care physician (you can do this and no, the physician won’t inform YOU of any drug test results or anything else – but you can alert the physician).

            Get your finances separated posthaste. Get him out of the house. It’s only a matter of time before he brings his tweaker friends over or tells them where he lives.

            • He is hooked on any high he can get.

              He drinks half a bottle of bourbon a night, every night. Thankfully he is a pleasant drunk, nicer than when he is sober. He got the doctor to prescribe him anti anxiety meds because apparently this all stressing him out so much hahaha

              The very first lie I discovered was that he was buying fake viagra off eBay. Tried to say it was for a friend which I believed for ages. Until I found a credit card transaction to an online sexual health website. He let me freak out and think that he had an sti for a whole week before i connected the dots and realised it was for viagra. He said he was too embarrassed to tell me ffs! He then said he uses them for wanking when he is away. I know where he hides them and have been counting them and he uses 10 pills a week!

              His is an out and out addict. Realising that nothing will ever be enough for him was what made me finally face the truth.

              • Oh and porn! So much porn….you wouldn’t believe it. How he hasn’t physically injured his little man I will never know lol

              • I’d rather live with a cheater than an addict. And I’ve built a whole website around leaving cheaters so….

                Please, GET OUT of this marriage. Don’t second guess yourself for one iota of a simulacrum of a second.

                This guy is a TRAIN WRECK. And the kindest thing you can do for your children is be the SANE parent. The sane parent is not always the popular parent. The sane parent is SANE. Living in this madness is insanity. END the marriage. Get out SAFELY, but get OUT.

              • Yea, you better get homie out before you end up having to wheel his od’ed body out. Sorry to be morbid.

          • On the plus side I found a pack of unopened condoms in his bag (1st d day) which he swore were planted as a joke by the guys at work. I didn’t believe him but couldn’t prove otherwise so had to let it go.

            No, no, no, no, NO!

            Look, you do NOT have to have proof so ironclad that you could base a court case around it. You have a cheater and a liar. He has a packet of condoms in his bag. OF COURSE he’s going to claim his mates planted the packet as a joke.

            Do his friends know he’s been fucking pretty much everything with XX chromosomes?

            This is a weak-assed lie. I will tell you how to tell when he’s lying to you. Watch his mouth. It moves. He is lying.

            This was one of the hardest things for me to grasp. CheaterX had always made a big deal out of truth-telling. However, once I became savvy as to how his behavior changed when he’d been around Schmoopie, I realized that he was lying pretty much all the time.

            Talk with your solicitor and file. Once you file, let the kids know that you’ve filed because their father had been cheating on you for years and after Dday #3, you realized that you could no longer give him second chances. If they’re teenagers, you can tell them that he’s been cheating. You still don’t have to editorialize his moral character–just say that you’ve had enough.

            • Yep that truth telling thing.

              He has always had such an issue with lying….as in hating other people lying. Me, the kids, co-workers.

              Even now he will bitch about people that lie while I am sat there thinking “Are you listening to yourself?”

              So bizarre

              • Undiscovered, that was my ex too. Made a noise about honour and honesty but broke promises, lied to me ans spied on my emails after d-day. He also said he’d fight for me – must be in the Cheater Playbook. Instead once I said he could come back, he moved out of our bedroom, nothing at all changed and eventually I told him to leave after my daughter said she was scared of hus temper and he swore at my son which led to my son googling why he shouldn’t kill himself. It was only then that I told him to leave. I could have saved me and our kids 9 months of anxiety and confusion, if I’d seen the red flags. Your husband is not marriage material or even good father material. Please, please get out now before he feels he has control again and that you won’t make any more fuss. Then he’ll go back to his old ways – they don’t change and there are no unicorns.

              • When we stay with a dog we start to get fleas. I felt I was being dragged down morally by my ex. Up became down, down became up.

                If you do split tell the kids about the cheating at that time. Otherwise I guarantee he will poison them against you.

            • Yeah, this guy’s friends… woof! Planting condoms everywhere and can’t buy their own Viagra…
              get new friends or get a new lie!

          • This should be a dealbreaker right here. He’s an addict. He’s stealing his child’s medication. Do you realize how deeply screwed up that is? Do you realize what living with an addict is doing to your kids? One of the first things you need to do is get yourself into counseling for families members of addicts. There is a lot you need to learn and you have very little time to help make sure your kids don’t walk down that road, too.

            If you think he’s changed because he COOKS, and you are normalizing the addiction by staying married to him, you’ve got your priorities backwards. Your kids may be relieved that their father isn’t behaving like he’s batshit crazy but that’s no reason for you to allow THEM to decide the whole family has to live this way. He’s an addict. You can’t change him. You can’t control him. And you can’t cure him. Save yourself and your kids.

            • OMG.

              First time I’d hear “I snorted…..” Done. Gone. Get the everluvingfuck outta my house.

              This guy is around your kids? Drinks a bottle a day? Admits to snorting drugs? I don’t give half a shit whether he stole them from your son or he bought them on the fucking street corner. HE SNORTS AMPHETAMINES.

              Not parent or spouse material, wouldn’t you think?

              I won’t even unpack the porn or the lying or the problems with other people lying—that is a rabbit hole and it’s not even worth discussing.

              This guy is a fucking street addict with a roof over his head and a meal ticket. I would not go pick up a homeless heroin junkie under a bridge and let him sleep with me and down the hall from my kid—the only difference between homeless heroin dude and your husband is a roof. so why is this guy still existing in your life in any way?

              I get being supportive for you and that was my first impulse—but the list keeps growing with his bullshit and he is still there…..why? He’s “wearing you down” with “niceness”? Niceness erases SNORTING AMPHETAMINES? Drinking a bottle a day? (but he’s a nice drunk) HAVING THIS NEAR YOUR KIDS?

              Yeah. No. Just no. This is endangering your kids. If you don’t have the strength to get out for your OWN sake—FFS—get your kids away from this freak.

      • A person that can do all the cheating that he did and easily breeze back in to be the “perfect” husband will just as easily float back out to cheat again, again and again. There are no feelings for you or respect for the marriage. This is all about making life easy for himself.

        Take your resolve and make the first step. If your husband truly wants to be the best father, he will continue doing so. If no, well, there’s your answer. You are not responsible for his behavior or relationship with your children.

        Get out now before he gets bored and goes looking for more strange. It’s inevitable.

  • Mistresses, prostitutes, dogging??? Seriously, and he’s still alowed into your and your children’s presence? Blimey!

    • ” A dad that is finally fun to be around” did it for me.

      Good luck ridding yourself of him. We’re rooting for you !

  • It’s about control
    Its coming up to Xmas he’s playing happy families. the teenagers like him playing dad, he wasn’t acting like a proper dad, he’s a Disney dad. They can see him in his flat or house. A new kitchen is that the compensation for cheating. Who is really paying for the kitchen.
    He has issues do other people think he’s really nice.
    He could have sti (s)
    You know you deserve better
    Good luck

  • Also, don’t trust him to tell them the real truth about why he needs to move out. YOU tell them, in his presence, but before he can poison them against you. You have three teenagers. They can smell hypocrisy and bullshit so don’t let him set you up as a liar to them. Uncomfortable truth-telling is your mantra from this day forth. Keep it straightforward and simple.

    “Your father has been unfaithful. More than once and for years. I did not know; I do not approve and we are getting a divorce. Questions?”

    • There’s a lot I like about this! Since you can’t know or control what he’ll say, it’s good to grab control of your own narrative.

      Whether you do it in his presence or not is a safety question that only you can answer, but I like the idea of everyone knowing that everyone heard what was and was not said as a matter of principle.

      Most important point of this piece of advice is, your kids need to know you’re leveling with them, one way or another.
      Wise advice.

    • I agree with No Shit Cupcakes. Tell them now, and tell them in his presence. The damage done from doing otherwise compounds over time, as I have reason to know.

      • Thank you

        I have to admit this one is a struggle for me. My son is 15 and already calls his dad out on his hypocrisy. My adult step daughter has always defended me over her dad. She has even joked in the past that he probably has a secret weekday family.

        But our twin girls are 13 and still idolize him. I would feel like I was punishing them rather than him.

        I was planning on saying that he has lied to me a lot. That would make sense to them because they know I won’t abide lying.

        My son is a bit of a problem child at the moment. Nothing horrific, more bad attitude issues at school and refusing to stay in class, but I see some of that entitlement attitude showing in him and it scares the shit out of me. Plus his dad has always made misogynistic jokes around him and done the whole “go on lad” thing whenever he talks about girls. Thankfully my boy is incredibly respectful with girls because his sister’s and I reality check him constantly. So I may tell him more than the girls. He will probably guess anyway.

        I will tell my step daughter though. We are close…despite the step thing I am her closest parent emotionally…and we talk about everything.

        • I promise you, you’re 13 year olds are going to find out sooner or later. I understand how you feel. I remember wanting to “protect” them from the truth about their father. I should have protected them from abuse and modeled strength for them right out of the gate. Four years post-divorce, all of them know everything. The last one to find out (the youngest) wishes she had been told sooner. It would have saved her a lot of confusion

        • You really have to tell all of them at the same time. Otherwise, you are setting up one or more to keep important information – information that can change their lives in an instant – from one another.

          If she doesn’t know he’s snorting ADHD meds, then she is more likely to trust his lies when he’s high. If she doesn’t know he’s cheated on you for years (behind your back = cheating) then she is more inclined to spackle like a pro on his behalf.

          I seriously suggest finding and attending NA meeting for family members. Also family counseling for you and the kids. His, yours, joint – he hasn’t only been lying to YOU. He’s been lying to all of you and stealing assets to fuel his habit.

          He stole his son’s medications. He SNORTED his son’s medication!

          One of the kid’s is showing nascent entitlement issues. Is he the one whose medication was stolen?

          Family therapy is probably going to be ordered anyway, so get a jump on it. NA for family members may be a huge help too. I bet there is a lot of stuff addicts say/do that none of you quite recognized.

          I am so sorry this has all landed in your lap. At least it’s before you or the kids are informed of his alternate life by the cops.

          • No shit cupcakes,

            What you said is in my opinion is BRILLIANT advice.

            This is classic family dynamic addiction -dysfunction.

            NA is good but Alanon or Celebrate recovery good as well. I go to Alanon and hired a celebrate recovery coach. It has been so important as I push forward.

            There is only one way this story ends if you do not get out….your husband’s addictions are out of control he WILL take your whole family down. I do not say this to scare you, but this has been my experience, and I’m in a support group and it’s the experience of everyone who is with an out of control addict. He also sounds very smart to some extent because he knows what to do to make you happy. But like lovely CL said…he’s a manipulator. I would say of the highest degree.

            Undiscovered- the man you loved is now an imposter. You are not dealing any longer with the same man….sniffing your son’s meds is just mind boggling to me but that’s where he is at. Someone mentioned this is the tip of the iceberg. I promise you it is… haven’t even done serious surveillance or voice activated recording and your finding these things. Imagine what you would find if you decided to become Nancy Drew.

            I feel for you. You have a lot of kids depending on the stability of this family but he’s a sinking ship. Your on the titanic. Your standing over a graveyard.

            Everyone I loved told me the same thing. It’s hard to hear. Prayers and hugs being sent your way. CN is straight talk. Listen to these ladies and gentlemen….they won’t steer you wrong.

            • Geanie,

              I hear you. Luckily I had a very good friend who stared me down in the ‘early’ days and told me point blank that he would take me down with him. I hated hearing it but I knew it was true. My lies to myself just weren’t working.

              I know what was hard for me was that the x is a covert passive aggressive narcissist or, to put that into CL’s terms, a TFC – Timid Forest Creature. They are deadly and I am only getting that from my head to my heart slowly – 2+ years from Dday and about a year of NC.

              I will second you on finding a good strong Al-anon group too. That has been a god send to me as well. Sitting in those rooms for awhile makes it clear that this stuff only gets worse and you can see that in the people who don’t ‘get it’.

              Yes, this is all so hard to swallow but it is necessary in order to Get A Life – one must first save themselves via getting out….

        • Kids are so smart, aren’t they ? They can sense a phony like your stepdaughter did with the comment about his having a secret second family.


        • “She has even joked in the past that he probably has a secret weekday family.”

          That’s not a joke. That is an observation and I would pay attention to it. Sure, it may be a form of gallows’ humor, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she was closer to the mark than anyone knows for certain. Yet.

          Alert your attorney.

        • you reality check your son but leave your daughters in the dark? i know you think you are trying to protect them but in all reality you are setting up your daughters for a lifetime of pain. yes, they idolize their dad, and yes, it will be painful. however, by telling them the truth, plain and simple, no added details or descriptive words on dad, you will be helping them see the truth. do you really want your daughters to have blinders on their whole life. you act like you are punishing your daughters because telling them the truth about their lying,cheating father is your fault or their fault. you are placing the blame on someone else and making excuses for your husbands choices all so you dont hurt your daughters feeling.. .. .. i hate to tell you but dad already doesnt worry about your daughters feelings. Do you really want them to idolize a man who doesnt care about their feelings, or their mom? You should focus on teaching your daughters to own up to the truth, and how to work thru their disappointment and pain rather then setting them up to cover up and make excuses for a man they love.

          First thing to remember is that YOU did not do anything. YOU did not blow up the family. YOU did not fuck around. YOU did not cause your children pain. YOU did not break up the family. all that should righteously be placed on your husbands shoulders. You tell your children the truth, comfort them as they cry and teach them how to heal. You show your children that actions have consequences and how to set and keep boundaries. They can still love their dad, just give them the chance to decide that based on the truth and not the facade/lie dad is showing them.

          it sucks. he fucks around and hurts many people over it. and you are left to pick up the pieces. i have been there. good luck

          • This, so very much this.

            Rehearse what you tell your children. It may be a huge relief to them, as teens have huge bullshit detectors. You may discover that your twin daughters sense that he’s bad news but are trying hard to stand up for him because they sense how the other children feel.

            Keep things simple. Let them know that you became aware that your husband has been cheating on you. You had a Dday #1 and gave him a second chance. You had a Dday #2 and gave him a third chance. You have now had Dday #3 and he’s used up his chances. Let them know that you’re working with a solicitor and that things will be very hard until the dust settles, but things will get better, and that you love them all.

            Your children may also ask about “proof.” Try to avoid going down this rabbit hole. Indicate that the real issue is this: marriage is based on trust and their father has broken trust with you too many times for you to remain married. Stress that you know that this is hard for them and you are not asking them to take sides. You’re just letting them know the truth behind the divorce.

        • Leave him FOR the kids – so they don’t grow up to marry addicts and cheaters, and so they don’t become addicts and cheaters themselves.

          Modeling healthy boundaries is the only way. It’s not okay for him to drink everyday, to a snort drugs, and to cheat on you – no matter how good his is at playing nice. The good doesn’t cancel out the bad.

          (I hear plenty of serial killers were handsome and charming.)

          Also agreeing that he must have been desperate for speed to attempt to snort your kids meds. You don’t START with snorting adhd meds – his drug use goes far beyond what you think.

        • Please don’t tell just one and let her go on day by day witnessing the dysfunction but unable to talk honestly with het siblings. My 13 yr old dd found out the truth months before my boys, and it screwed her up so much. Please do as suggested and tell them all together. Yes your girls will be heartbroken, but you’ve alteady seen what dishonesty did to you. The girls will get over it, children are resilient, and they won’t be living a lie where they are just dolls, props in the cheater’s bid for security and an easy life.

          • Artist,

            Good advice. I told mine all at once too. One ‘got it’ the other two have minimized it all but, as they say, not my monkey, not my circus.

            Mine are all grown and I know it will take time for the shock to wear off and for them to really get how messed up their father is – he is a serial cheater which boils down the fact that our entire marriage – 30 years – was a complete and absolute lie.

            The children all lived through this behavior which was kept from us all up until the end so what they witnessed was a TFC who was the laid back nice guy….yep he was getting laid so in order to keep that supply coming he had to be nice so as not to blow his cover.

            Self Image huge to him ….. respectful family man – degenerate on the side. It has taken me awhile to swallow that pill so I know it will take time for them too but I did tell them pretty much all at once so I know that information is in there:

            He lied.
            He cheated.
            Our entire marriage.
            Not okay for me.
            I did try.
            He chose to walk away.
            Wanted other women more than he wanted his own family.
            None of it was my fault.
            None of it was my children’s fault.

        • Tell all your children, even the 13 year olds. Just make it age appropriate and without judgement. You are divorcing their dad, they are not divorcing him.

          That sounds really easy, it’s not. Get a few close friends on speed dial to lay it all out. I was not perfect at this. I wish I had been. As you start to eat shit sandwiches and, in my case, the asshat is telling lies to your child, his family and anyone else who will listen it becomes hard not to snap and ‘enlighten’ folks. Just makes you look crazy, maybe a liar and anything negative you can think of.

          The 13 year old might act out a bit, the step-daughter won’t want to be in the middle, etc. You will get through this. Keep in mind you are teaching your kids actions have consequences and you don’t get to choose your consequences.

        • Undiscovered,
          You can and you must tell the twins the truth. I guarantee you if you don’t you will regret it. What your husband will do is get in their first with his own narrative and blame you. What will happen next is the twins who idolize him will turn on you. When he finds out you are serious about this divorce this nice act will go right out the window and he will get vicious and use the kids against you. This is very serious with this substance abuse issue. Please listen to the group here and get away from this guy. This nice act is to manipulate you.

        • Tell all the kids the truth. Without the boring details, my parents lied to me about something that would have made a lot of things easier to understand had I known the truth. It caused major trust issues, mental health problems and anxiety that I will probably carry for the rest of my life. There is no such thing as protecting someone from the truth, especially about a father.

  • My husband did the same thing. Offered to remodel the master bedroom where he f*cked his mistress while I was out of town. Started driving kids to school, grocery shopping, cooking. I’m thinking, “where the hell has THIS guy been for the last 20 years?” Please get him out of the house, and make him tell the children WHY. No gory details, but that he chose to cheat and that breaks up a family. He needs to leave so Mom can heal and feel safe again. For me, getting him out required signing a statement that he was not abandoning the family, but rather moving out at my request due to mental anguish of living with my abuser. He sucks and, sadly, that won’t change. But it is not your fault and you do not owe him anything. Just protect yourself and your kids. That’s all that matters.

    • My ex suggested we take out a loan to remodel the kitchen, attempting to re-secure me in two ways, 1) by appearing, finally, to become a partner in home maintenance, and 2) by obligating me to the loan, more sunk costs, and an additional hurdle to divorce negotiations.

      Luckily I was by then wary enough, and strong enough, and my ducks in a row enough, to tell him I had no intention of taking on debt with him.

      They are masters of manipulation.

      • This is so crazy. My STBX husband also wanted to remodel the kitchen after I gave him the ultimatum of meeting my conditions for reconciliation or we would divorce and he said he didn’t think he could meet my requirements. I actually had to ask my attorney to specify that there would be no remodeling or tool purchases until after the divorce. It must be in the “cheater handbook” to remodel the kitchen if your wife refuses to rugsweep the affairs.

        • I think it’s symbolic. You know, the kitchen as a heart of a family and wife (kitchen) appliance who needs a bit of renovation and maintenance.

            • His mother gave us £9000 to do the kitchen a while ago and before I told him I wanted a divorce I had been avoiding booking a kitchen consultation. It just didn’t feel right when I knew I was gonna kick him out.

              But when he has been told and then he decided to go ahead with it and booked it himself I thought…fuck it! Its not like you didn’t know. You might want that money for a deposit on a flat but that’s your choice not mine.

              Ultimately the kitchen is a disaster right now and I figure it will make the house either nicer for me when he has finally moved out or easier to sell if need be.

              We went to the appointment and honestly it was awful. I felt like a fraud sitting there acting like a happy couple choosing their dream kitchen. It made me feel sick and made him believe I bought into his charm bullshit. I hated myself.

              But hey the design is gorgeous lol – joke…..mostly

              • Mine put our house on a home tour as I was planning to leave him. Just fake your way toward safety. Talk to the solicitor. Get the divorce ball rolling.

        • Geez, I got the “remodel the kitchen” too! Plus redo the garage–and buy me a new car. They really are all the same. Divorce is final, but I thought I’d call his bluff and said yes to the car and guess what? He GHOSTED me. Disappeared. He never meant it at all, just impression management. Now I’m NC again. Can’t afford to violate my own boundaries again. He is a liar and a cheat and lives some sort of sick toxic double life. After 28 years, I have no idea who this shell of a person is.

        • I flipped this script and remodeled after she left.
          My adulterous ex wife put me through a battle to keep the family home our teenage sons were living in. She did not have the means to make the payments, but was determined to not let me live there. A housing market crash, recession and two failed sales did the trick. Even then she told the escrow company agents a sob story. Consequences are a bitch…
          Soon after closing I enlisted my sons in remodeling. We got out the tools and gutted the place. Rearranged the interior walls to create another bathroom and way nicer master bedroom with walk-in closets and built-ins. The kids got to pick all their paint colors, carpet and fixtures. They learned how to swing a hammer, work with plumbing and electrical systems. (My oldest went on to remodel his first house)
          The ex was fully exorcised from the house, especially the bedroom.
          In a couple years I met and married a fellow chump. She loved living the new house and when circumstances changed, we moved back into her dumpy house. I proceded to exorcise her cheating ex by remodeling that place too. She loves her new kitchen.

          • After buying him out I have been slowly redoing my home too – got a new floor laid all downstairs just last week. Bathrooms and new floor upstairs next spring. And I can do all this because (a) I don’t have his lazy arse sitting there farting on the sofa saying no to anything, (b) I’m no longer paying for at least 40 cigarettes a day for him, and (c) I have 10 times more money in the bank than when he was here because I’m no longer paying for rounds of drinks at the whore bar out of the joint account and no longer buying his “little boy’s toys” (which he never looked after anyway). I love it!

            • I had more money in my savings account with one income and a much bigger mortgage payment. I still haven’t figured that out…

              • Dangola, Bruno, I wish you were my dad! I would love to have learned some remodeling skills. You sound like a great parent that gave your kids some real valuable life skills *and* a bonding experience with making a home together. You rock!

          • This story made me smile. Thank you. Your sons really got some awesome skills from you.

        • Karmama,

          Haha. Mine talked about trimming trees…..
          The trees didn’t get trimmed.

      • My ex asked me for $10,000 on the Wednesday night I covertly figured things out to fix our roof that he had promised for six years to fix. The month before we had a stream of water coming into the hose.

        By the grace of God I did an Oscar worthy acting performance and he didn’t suspect. Two days later he asked for a divorce due to a technology slip the prior day.

        Don’t these stories all sound similar?

    • Mine was already moving out although date not come yet and we put in new radiators, a shower and we took up the carpet and had the floors sanded and he varnished them. It was bonkers. That was so near D day and my dad dying I need know my left from right but I could see how bonkers is was and fuelled by guilt. To this day if anyone comments on the rads (they are really nice kinda old fashioned style) I refer to them as the Radiators or Guilt. Ha ha. Yes part of the time he was gaslighting me, then being super nice, then being a massive liar and finally be horrendous to me about how awful all our relationship had been all at the same time. It was insane looking back on it. Get the kitchen done if you can make them pay for it then chuck ‘em out. Ha!

      • And using Persephone’s logic radiators are the “fire” that warms the home. The symbolism seems pretty clear.

      • Radiators of Guilt! Hahaha love it.

        I wish I didn’t have a conscience sometimes but I know I will feel guilty if we go ahead with it. It feels like I am giving him the wrong impression. Why I care I honestly don’t know.

    • Mine used remodeling as a way to stay in the house, how could I kick him out with the kitchen torn apart? Right before I divorced him, he had totally torn the master bath apart. I couldn’t take it anymore, I filed for divorce, handed him the papers while he was working in the bath and told him to stop and get out. I remodeled the bath myself, hired people to put in the tile, painted myself, bought new cabinets, new curtains. It was all my design. I loved it and his attempt to stay in my life was foiled.

      I lived for 20 years in homes that were always in some sort of state of remodel. My new guy hires contractors and remodels are done in weeks instead of years.

      • Wow yes! Being able to decorate my house however I want!

        That’s one for the pro column.

        Thank you x

  • (((Undiscovered)))
    what you have described
    is HELL!
    CL, CN preach the way out.
    You wrote your letter,
    now please please please follow the seasoned, expert, advice here.

    Love, kindness, and respect from all of us to you & your Children.

    To your Capital Cheater, charm, rage, repeat cycle expert, show him the door, then change the locks.

    Be strong, be Mighty,
    CN has your back.

    • Thank you so much! To everyone here.

      I wrote the letter because I knew I needed an ass kicking and that you guys were up to the job.

      I am processing everything here and hoping it will sink in and give me strength.

      • Don’t hope. Get realistic. Look things in the face. One of the big issues for people married to addicts is DENIAL. You know things are bad but you need “strength” to leave? I like CL’s analogy for this situation: The house is on fire. Do you need the reality of FIRE to “sink in” and give you strength? Or do you gather up the kids and the pets and leave the burning house? You don’t have to stop and ponder alternatives; it’s either leave or die. I frankly don’t know why you would tolerate your husband stealing and snorting your son’s medication. That’s sick. Your kids are at risk.

        • This.

          Your story has many red flags, but when you said that your husband told you he snorted his son’s medication–that’s not a red flag; it’s a huge neon sign telling you to leave.

      • You don’t need strength, you just need to take the steps! Strength will come later when you are out of the Fog of War.

  • AGAIN, this is an eerily accurate required reading spot-on post for me. The middle of the night my mind plays tricks and tells me I am a horrible person and therefore he had to cheat, with an angelic saint Who Appreciates Him Like I Didn’t.

    I was actually Googling some “Trust That He Sucks” posts a couple of the four times I woke up last night.

    SOS Chump Nation! I am flatlining…..

    Undiscovered, put some middle of the night friends on Speed Dial too. Stick to Chump Lady, Chump Nation, and the counselors at the women’s shelter.


    • Oh Velvet that is tough. How about this – even if you were a horrible person (I”m sure you were not) it is still not a license to cheat. That’s on him. There are character based ways to leave a horrible spouse and banging strange is not one of them. It took me years to realize the impact of his behavior. Living with crazy does not make for your highest and best self to shine through. Here are a few things to try: make a list of all the good things about yourself from before you met him. If you have to, call old friends or family members. I was 17 when I met my ex so I had to go way back, but it was good – and had nothing to do with him. Read that list when you wake up in the middle of the night. Try reading some of the fine books recommend here or better yet, read something that interests you that has nothing to do with relationships – a science fiction, try crime, travel, war, history, music – something to take your mind right out of your current misery. You can’t solve much when your mind is bouncing all over the place. Also, some form of physcial exercise can help. I was always able to fall asleep but then had trouble waking up in the middle of the night. I can’t tell you how many “night drives” I took and stared at the ocean. I promise Velvet, there is a lot of life, a lot of good stuff, a lot of laughter, a lot of wisdom on the other side. Love is patient, love is kind – love yourself first.

    • Velvet, sending support. You did NOT cause him to cheat, you can’t control his choices/behavior, you cannot cure him. You do not have those powers— otherwise you would have caused him to “not” do those things! You can contribute to the situation by enabling or abusing yourself with self blame. We in A.A. and Al-Anon are lucky because we have a clear program of action – after morning meditation and prayers find a newcomer to help- you can help when no one else can. That will relieve the bondage…..I’m so very sorry you are suffering. I with I could go to a meeting and fellowship with you today IRL— I’m here for you!

      • Also sending you hugs Velvet. You know in
        the program the old adage is….stick with the winners….well you know he is not any kind of winner. In fact, he’s the worst kind of loser possible, one who has relapsed in every way. Even if he has not yet started drinking again, with his shitty program, it’s only a matter of time.

        You deserve much better, Girlfriend.

    • Dear Velvet, hugs!! These 2 months are The toughest of the year. There are so many expectations around family sharing and caring. Often times we have to see the fuck wit, least for family get together’s. The only way I get through this time is to focus on taking care of myself, doing nice things for myself. Hot ths, special foods that I like, paying attention to the little things that make me happy. You’re not flatlining, you’re feeling grief which is a sign of recovery. It’s just a phase and it’s temporary. It’ll get shorter and less intense. This recovery from betrayal is a long haul and there’s joy on the other side. Hugs to you velvet, hang in there, stay close, take care of yourself, get some sleep.

    • Velvet Hammer,
      I typed a long post to you and lost it, so, short one here.
      I love you Velvet Hammer.
      It was never you.
      We all have our faults, but Chumps are good people with a big heart and soul.
      I am going through difficult times right now, and I read my own words back to me.
      I know we can do this Velvet Hammer.
      Today, I send a life line out to you, ready, catch. We got this.

      • Thanks everyone for your messages.

        I know everything everyone has said….intellectually, and now a lot of the time my head and heart are in synch….but his Nice Guy persona throws me when I am tired. I listen to podcasts and YouTube videos on low in the middle of the night to counteract the mind movie/thinking attacks, but they have not been extinguished yet.

        My therapist said that trauma activates
        codependence…it makes sense to me….I feel like my decades in recovery have flown out the window….that I am the Identified Patient and he’s the Helpless Nice Guy who was acting in a completely logical way. I need to remind myself and get reminders from others that this is not so….infidelity is a very stubborn virus.


        We all need each other for sure.

        • Velvet – I’m sorry you’ve had a hard time recently. My biggest set back was trying to take a drive with my STBX and realizing it was like “dancing with a ghost”. All memories with no possibilty of a future. I also listen to podcasts as I sleep – many about co-dependents and narcissists. Not sure if the diagnosis is correct, but it helps me make sense of the dynamics. My AA program has helped me remember to do “the next right thing” and “keep my side of the street clean”. I also hear men in the program sharing and realize that many (most?) men are capable of self-reflection and change when they really want to.

        • Hang in there Velvet. You are very wise and you always post great advice on this blog. Take your own excellent advice to heart.

          I have a rule, don’t take seriously any thoughts or fears that come to mind between the hours of midnight and 5am. Everything seems worse in the middle of the night and those fears are not real in the light of day.

          Put on your warrior armor and charge forward! You are more than capable. If you happen to lance a few cheaters on your charge, even better.

    • I have that happen to me too. What works is to concentrate on my breathing. I feel the anxiety building When I wake in the middle of the night and I breathe. In to a count of 4, hold it for a count of 4, release to a count of 4. Concentrate on counting.

      I’m back asleep within 3 rounds. It’s actually kind of amazing…

    • start writing down all the bad things he did and said to you. i know exactly what you mean. i always forget the bad things and focus on the good things. Like you, i overthink and end up wondering if i was wrong for kicking him out and divorcing him. i remember all the good times and things he DID (rarely) for me. .. . which is the reason why i stayed with him for 15 years.

      But i realized for every story someone posted here and on another site i was on, i had a similar story. a story i had completely forgotten. so i started writing those stories down as they came to me. no order, just when ever someone’s elses problem/story reminded me of a similar thing.. .. . . i ended up with 3 whole notebooks before i finally quit (i am sure there are more i could write). This really helps in putting it in perspective. the next time i started thinking “he wasnt so bad” and “we had so many good things”.. .. i pull out one of those notebooks and remind myself how bad he really was.

      maybe you are not a saint but at least you did not lie, cheat and betray him.. ..

      • I was told to do this too, great advice, write it all down…it’s fascinating how different it looks when you read it back to yourself, like you can really see the craziness and abuse.

        Keep a journal, write in it everyday. I have hundreds of pages of my journey back to normal. Looking back it it now still amazes me.

        • Love this advice.

          I have all the screenshots in my phone to remind me but I think I will start a journal too. It can be really difficult to remember how vile he was and how much he neglected me before. My brain gets so foggy when I try to remember.

          • i remember the fog. i couldnt even think clearly until after he was no contact for over a year. for me, i was so obsessed with him that it took me a long time to heal. i had been making excuses for him for so long that i completely forgot all the bad, hateful and mean things he did and said.

            writing it down gave it life. made it real. i was completely shocked on just how many times he treated me badly that i made excuses for or just blew it off. the time he left me in the rain, the time he left me carrying everything plus dragging my then 2 year old and trying to help my 6 year old walk up the mountain, then he got mad at me because i was going “too slow” and we ended up missing the shuttle (there was another one going around but he did not want to have to wait), or the times he let me make all the vacation plans and then bitched and belittled me if i forgot one little detail or if something went wrong.

            i could go on and on but my point is i had forgotten and brain dumped all those times and was shocked when i started actually writting it down. if it wasnt the memory itself that was bad, it was also the sheer vast amount of the number of times he treated me badly. looking back. i now wonder if he ever did anything nice. or if it was all in my head.

            • I kept a log of his behaviour (around 2005 I think) for six months, and it is HORRENDOUS reading! Even now it upsets me! Every second day there was a major incident or a beating or a DUI!

        • Yes!! It was only after a year of journaling that I could finally see how hard I was being gaslit.

          I wasn’t “forgetful,” I don’t “have a bad memory” and I’m definitely not “mentally ill” or “unstable.”

          It only became clear when I had written record and I could see him try to rewrite history and destroy myself esteem in one feel swoop.

    • Remember, he did this to you. You did not and never would have done what he did. You are not unworthy! I’ve read your many posts. I can feel the love for your daughter through them. I see a woman who’s standing on her own two feet, however wobbly they may be, and standing firm for what she believes is right and just.

      I get it – I really do. We are not unworthy – we just happen to pair up with people who lied to us, who led us to believe in them to only find out what that we were married to the enemy. You didn’t know and you were never suppose to know. That’s all on him, VH, not on you. You are not and were not a bad person.

    • Velvet, I was sobbing at the counsellors yesterday and he said “that’s what people put up with when they don’t know what a good relationship looks like”.

      That made sense to me and I believe I can make changes to improve my relationship with myself, my sons, my friends and family…..,and maybe one day, in a time filled with Tuesday’s, a good relationship, with a good man!!

    • Thank you. And hugs to you.

      I struggle to fall asleep bc my mind won’t shut off and I am an old hand at meditation and mindfulness.

      Don’t blame yourself please. That is the one thing that I am sure of. This was not my fault. I spent years trying to be perfect for him and he still cheated. Now that I have seen the women he was getting with I realise that his standards are so ridiculously low it is irrelevant.

      I actually think that on some level he can’t stand me being successful and a mature intelligent professional adult. He spent years trying to make me trashy and cheap, buying me slutty clothes and orange fake tan. When I started loving myself and refusing to totter around like a skank he seemed to ramp up the abuse and cheating.

      He knows I am too good for him so goes out looking for women that he can degrade and demean to make himself feel like a big man.

      I don’t know if any of this applies to you but my point is that none of this is because we are not good enough!

      If anything good has come out of this it is being able to find myself in amongst all the crazy. I had put my needs and intelligence to one side for so long without even knowing I was doing it. Finding out about the cheating was such a shock that it opened my eyes to how much dignity I had given away over the years, but I know who I am and I will never make myself small again for anyone.

      • So very well said, Undiscovered. I can relate to your experience and subsequent revelations. I too pretzeled myself small to make my ex happy. He’s been gone, and I’ve been no contact, for over a year now. I’m rediscovering myself and becoming stronger and happier than I’ve ever been in my life. This is the good that came out of my fuckwit experience.

        Congratulations on your healing and insight. Keep up the good work!

        • Sisu – thanks. I can’t wait til he is gone and I can start living my life the way I want.

          It’s just so odd to me that I can know this but the minute he walks through the door I just want to curl up in a ball again. I still find myself trying to manage his behaviour constantly.

          Cognitive dissonance is a bitch

          • Pretending everything is fine is their MO…how they cheat, lie, steal.

            Undiscovered, I think you are describing the power of neural patterns. They take major time and practice to reroute.

            Oh, there’s that Neural Pattern again walking through the door! I am only just now starting to think of him as jerk as my default….when I am tired is when my mind gets away from me.

          • He is an asshole, but you married a dream.
            Dreams die hard.
            Stay with CL & CN and others that keep you reality based and you will wake up and see things clearly.

          • Your reaction to him walking in the door is a normal one. He abuses you so you want to curl up and hide. This will pass when you’re free of him. Trust me : ) The healing will really ramp up once you’re free from your abuser.

    • The only way out, is THROUGH. Remember that? It’s a straight war, with no end in sight. Best part is likeminded people, and a support network. We all do the best we can. Don’t stress.

    • VH,

      When the student is ready the teacher appears.

      I was at an Al-Anon meeting, one I don’t attend regularly, when a woman I had know years ago appeared as if out of nowhere.

      I went up to her after the meeting was over and it turned out that it was her first meeting back at Al-Anon in years. Why this particular meeting both of us will never know….

      But, what I found out in our brief discussion, was that she had been through what I was going through since we had last had contact years and years ago.

      I consider myself lucky since I have a person with skin on who speaks ‘my’ language and she has helped me tremendously as I slog/trudge through this process which, I am finding, has very predictable patterns contained within it.

      She speaks ‘program’ language so that puts this into a framework with which I am very familiar. She reminds me over and over again that this IS a ‘process’ and that I am still well within the parameters of the ‘detox’ phase. (It has been a bit over 2 years and I was with the x for over 30 years.)

      Every morning I face a sheet of blank paper and the writing begins. A lot about the basic instincts that have driven me my entire life. This betrayal shit has dropped me down into a level of that stuff that I have not visited before. Quite revealing and, as a consequence, what appears on the paper takes me back to a place in my life wherein I find the origins of my ‘old’ ideas. Those ideas have taken on an entirely new perspective as a result and as a result of that something in me IS shifting.

      It has cost me dearly. Everything. All stock in trade. No stone left unturned. But all without malice towards myself this time around.

      Instead I have found something much more gentle and innocent and the thoughts I held against myself are slowly receding as the truth has begun to shine through these chinks in my armor.

      Flatlining just means hang in there sweetie and keep on keeping on doing the work. Hurts like a son of a bitch but there is relief. I never would have believed that just a few years ago but now I can say there is indeed relief.

      As another good friend, who just happened to re-appear in my life too, frequently reminds me when I am ready to toss in the towel, what is Plan B? This said from a woman who has become so physically disabled, all as a result of someone else’s carelessness topped off with someone else’s callousness, that most people would never be able to pick themselves up again but would wallow away in self-pity. That concept doesn’t even exist for her. She is mighty and I am fortunate to have her as an example of what it really looks like to keep on keeping on doing the next right thing when everything else has taken a hike.

      I know you already know this stuff but sometimes I just can’t keep my digits off of the keyboard….You sound like you are right on track – digging deeper which leads to resistance, I need not look, I dare not look…..back into the trenches because, for me, I have exhausted any Plan B’s that I used to use to avoid what I was too afraid to look at.

      There are no boogie men. Just errant thoughts that, if I cease giving them attention (NC) they eventually get less noisy and I am able to not react to them quite so strongly.

      I now sleep next to an old CD player too. Much more of a comfort than what I used to sleep next to. Who would have though?!?! And I am in complete control of how my ‘bedmate’ behaves. 🙂

      Hang in there sweetie. You are in good hands.

  • I had one of those. Master liar and I was stuck with him in the same house for 2 years until the divorce was final. I kept a thumb drive of his conversations and pics with his mistress for every time he gaslit me, it was a good reminder of what a pathalogical liar he is.

    Good news is that with him gone for 2 years life is much better. Also know that he reverted to type as soon as the charm offensive got him knowhere. My kids are teens so they manage their relationship (or lack of it) with him and I have little to no contact with him at all. First year he kept trying to suck up to me and tell me he had changed but he has pretty much given up on that now. Have no idea what he is up to day to day and don’t care.

    It does get better, you just have to focus on the end goal. I was running on adrenaline for years.

  • A person that can do all the cheating that he did and easily breeze back in to be the “perfect” husband will just as easily float back out to cheat again, again and again. There are no feelings for you or respect for the marriage. This is all about making life easy for himself.

    Take your resolve and make the first step. If your husband truly wants to be the best father, he will continue doing so. If no, well, there’s your answer. You are not responsible for his behavior or relationship with your children.

    Get out now before he gets bored and goes looking for more strange. It’s inevitable.

  • This type of mindfuckery is exactly what my ex-wife is a master at. Pure insanity for a brief period of time, then *poof*, model Christian. Not just that, but also acting very concerned about my mental health because I’m questioning her sincerity. Those things I thought happened? They never happened.

    I actually have recordings of 3 years worth of her speech-to-text backups. Irrefutable proof of her worst behavior in her voice. She would run away if I tried to play any of it for her. Completely stonewalled me. It was as though it rendered her unfunctioning. She was not going to ever recognize that part of her in front of me.

    For the longest I could never understand how she could act like that. Now I realize it’s actually a very easy strategy, so long as she didn’t have to deal with that pesky empathy thing. Without empathy, it’s the strategy that takes the least effort. For those who have empathy, it would eat them alive. That’s why those who have empathy can’t understand it and are tempted to fall for it. I know I fell for it for years.

    • I did the a freedom programme. It was really useful, especially being with a group of women with the same story. Undiscovered will probably find more tactics that her husband is using to control her.
      It’s really important to make sure your solicitor knows that there’s domestic abuse.
      Controlling behaviour can escalate after separation so be careful have a plan.

      • Pecan

        That’s good to know. I read the book a while ago and it was what made me finally accept that he is abusive.

        Ringing the domestic abuse team was the hardest thing to do though. They wanted a full physical description of him, his licence plate number, details of his tattoos etc. It felt like I was betraying him especially as he has a shotgun licence. I am so scared the police will turn up or something.

        I did keep telling them that he has never been violent or aggressive towards me. That is just psychological abuse.

        But I am looking forward to meeting with people who have been through similar stuff

        • Abuse is abuse and it escalates. The professionals know what it looks like, please listen to them. I know it feels mortifying, but you have absolutely NOTHING to be ashamed of or second guess. Reaching out for help is the sanest, healthiest thing you can do in this very unhealthy situation. That voice that told you to call is the self that loves you and protects you. Listen to her.

  • Please do not let this fuckwit ware you down. That is what they try to do. He is the same man that lied and cheated on you. Had so little value for you that he put your life at risk by screwing strange women. He does not want to lose his cake with the thick whipped cream icing. Divorce his ass and let him be free to screw anything with a pulse.
    Do not make the same mistake I made. I tried to work on the marriage after I found out about my EXs affair with my cousin. My Ex refused to talk about his affair. Acted as if nothing happened. He cooked for me. Helped around the house. Stopped bitching about chores. He even stopped verbally abusing me. But, he refused to talk about the affair. Then I find out he was secretly talking to an ex girlfriend from high school. I confronted him with the messages. I even contacted the women and she confirmed that they were texting and talking to each other. apologized and said she would not contact him again. And she would contact me if he contacts her. He denied that he was talking to her. Said he thought it was not her. That It was me trying to trick him. I packed his bags and threw them in the driveway. Cheaters rarely change. Please do not fall for his bull.

    • Cuzchump. Thank you and don’t worry I am not fooled. I know he is still at it.

      It’s just so difficult to face him and stay strong. I still hate seeing him hurt which fucks with my head. I genuinely hate the guy but when he starts to cry it breaks my heart.

      I still worry about where he will live. He has no real friends to turn to.

      Right now the status quo is easy but I am only maintaining it because Christmas is so close. I will have to dig deep to find my mighty again in January by which point I will have a solicitor and all my financial ducks in a row.

      • No need to worry about where he will live. He is not your problem anymore. And if the shoe was on the other foot and one of his skanks wanted to marry him. He would divorce you so fast you would not know what hit you. And he sure would not care if you had a home to live in. And there is a reason why he does not have any friends. He is a big boy. He chose to cheat now he can deal with the consequences. Start getting your financial ducks in a row now. Open your own bank accounts. He can not be trusted.

      • Don’t worry about his “hurt”. In my experience, they don’t experience hurt like we do. They cry crocodile tears to get you to do what they want so they don’t have to face consequences. The tears are for themselves, not the hurt they caused us. To them, we are objects to be played with, not humans with feelings. They don’t care about us any more than they care about the faucet on the bathroom sink.

        • It’s funny actually….I have started listening to his words more since I discovered CL and CN. When he is upset he will say things like “I can’t live without you” or “I need a hug”. Never “I hate seeing you so hurt”

          After d day #2 he appeared upstairs where I was in bed sobbing and told me that he had tried to hang himself….in the garage…while the kids were in bed! I had to go take the noose down. I went nuts at him for being an inconsiderate POS. But it worked because I lost my nerve and didn’t tell him to leave like I wanted to. Even though I knew it was just bs and emotional blackmail.

          I genuinely thought when I was a soggy mess on the sofa that he would see how much he had hurt me and leave like I asked him to. I now never expect him to behave in any kind of reasonable way.

          • If he claims he is going to, or did, attempt suicide, call 911 (999 in the UK, right?). Let them deal with him. I bet you he won’t try that tactic with you again.

          • Tell your lawyer this. Tell the Programme people and absolutely call the UK emergency number. This is CLASSIC abuser shit.

            You need an escape plan. He really sounds unstable. I’m worried for you.

              • Thank you

                I have been in touch with Women’s Aid here and they have been wonderful.

                Also registered with the Domestic Abuse Team and am waiting for an initial risk assessment where they will help me put together a safety plan.

                I am not convinced he will hurt me and he doesn’t tend to rage at all. His cycle at present is pity party and charm but he does know very well that I can’t handle conflict and anger so I have no doubt he will try that soon.

                I have told him though that if he threatens suicide again I will ring 999. When I told him I wanted the divorce he didn’t even try to threaten it.

                All this said I will follow all the advice about safety plans because it won’t matter if I don’t need it but if I do I know I will be prepared.

                Thank you all for caring. I have gained more clarity today than I have on my own in the last month. I feel stronger already

      • Undiscovered,

        The x saw me cry. He saw me hurt. He saw how our children reacted.

        He turned tail and walked out.

        My story is far from unique.

        My story is absolutely predictable.

        If you don’t believe me, read the archives.

        Trust That They Suck

  • I’m currently living in the same house as my shady husband who filed for divorce from ME two months ago when I caught him lying about texting our skank neighbor across the street. We had a three month old at the time he filed. At first he avoided me like the plague but now he seems nice and comfy living in the house together and likes to play super dad with the baby but doesn’t pay for daycare, clothes, baby gear. He drops a package of cheap diapers and wipes on the counter occasionally. I think he sees the baby maybe four hours per week.

    Needless to say, having to live under the same roof is a NIGHTMARE and I believe once you get out you will find clarity. It’s a constant mindfuck to live with one of these manipulators once you know the real them. Thankfully I have zero desire to reconnect with mine..maybe because he left me. Regardless, having to be around him and pretend like he did nothing is infuriating. I realized a few days ago that trying to convince him of how awful he is doesn’t work. So I’m silent. I think I’ve aged ten years in the past two months. Good luck, stay strong

  • Ewe, this whole post takes me back to those dark days. This kind of mindfuck is a tough one. How can they act so normal when all this just happened. It felt like I was living in a Twilight Zone episode for so long. I wish someone had laid out what was going on the way CL did just now. I didn’t frame it the same way but I chose the hopium. Or more accurately, I chose nothing and just let everything keep happening. I sort of enjoyed the facade of normalcy for a while. But, of course, it was a facade it doesn’t last. I chose the hopium and he left anyway.
    That was a long time ago and I’m glad for it now but I could have saved myself a few years of misery if I had listened to myself and put myself as a priority. I was so worried about the kids and them thinking badly of their dad that I didn’t factor in the toll it would have on me.
    I’m happy now, he still exhibits the same type of weird narc behavior. My kids are now young adults and they have a good understanding of his faults. He is their father and they love him but I’m not sure how much they trust him. But my point to you Undiscovered is that my children survived and so will yours – if they know what you and they are dealing with. Go with the truth – they can handle it and step out of the way of your children’s relationship with their father.
    Good luck and remember to take care of yourself. We are here for you.

    • ” How can they act so normal when all this just happened.”

      I remember that. The ability my ex-wife had to carry on with life like nothing happened. I thought for sure the amount of evidence I found would have her dissolve into a puddle of her own tears. If I was in her place, I’d have to be hospitalized and sedated. Not her. Just carry on with everyday life. Way too busy to have time to talk. I’d have to be patient. Then she didn’t feel “safe” because of my “volatile emotions”. She’d have to have a counselor present to talk about any of this stuff. Oh, and she was too emotionally drained to talk about it more than 1 hour per week (more like 30 minutes). Plus, I’d have to respect her wishes and stop the conversation when she had too much. Then she’d need at least a day or two of not talking to me at all about anything before she could “recover” from this great emotional upheaval.

      I put up with this for nearly 6 months before I just quit. I detached and gave up. She didn’t like that at all. I wasn’t interested in doing the pick me dance anymore. It felt so disgusting and I finally realized why. She was trying to make me feel like I was torturing her, week after week, by demanding to know the truth. If I could just get over it and stop wanting to talk about it, then she wouldn’t be emotionally hurt every week.

      It was all a complete load of BS. I found out an AP had contacted her but she didn’t tell me like she swore she would. In the message it made it obvious that they had contact after D-Day; when we were separated. There was another lie exposed. Then she had the nerve to blame-shift. Said she couldn’t tell me, because I was crazy and there was no telling what I’d do.

      Chump Lady has it right. Charm, Rage, and Self-Pity. Apply liberally and often. If one doesn’t work, quickly switch it up. I honestly can’t believe I put up with this ridiculous game. It definitely took a toll, but I’m so very thankful I don’t have to deal with that any more! The relief from that level of stress is hard to describe. I still amaze myself with how calm and relaxed I feel.

      • This is my STBXw, 1000%

        Except I gave her both barrels (lawyer & forensic accountant) the day after I busted her

        But even now, she acts like the now-documented years of embezzlement & secret credit cards & faking business trips

        Can’t be even *referenced* outside of the legal process, because to do so make her “fear for her safety” or and proves that I am “acting like a jerk” about the destruction of our family by “using it to embarrass her”

        It’s breathtaking, heartbreaking and quite disturbing… but we are lucky to have CL & CN to help keep everyone REAL real about our shared situation

        Stay mighty!

  • I truly hope undeveloped reads this post, because what she’s dealing with is something I know well as my ex was like this.

    Playing dumb is a form of gaslighting, and it was what my ex did best. Do something shitty and then ignore it…..just pretend like you have no idea what the problem is and it’ll go away.

    I’m going to guess that this is a tactic he’s used successfully throughout the marriage, just like my ex did. The day before I told him I wanted a divorce he had woken me up out of a deep sleep to scream at me….he was pissed off because I had the nerve to be upset a week after finding out he’d kept his ex gf on the side our entire relationship. I got the same thing as undiscovered….bullshit, followed by “he’d do whatever it took”, followed by I must just want to be miserable because I wouldn’t play dumb and pretend everything was fine and I wouldn’t just “trust him”.

    The day after screaming at me he literally sat down next to me, put his hand on my leg and gave me his phony smile like he had no idea what the issue was. I lost it and told him I was done.

    An hour later he’s pretending like nothing happened, trying to kiss me, and asking me to come to bed.

    I filed right after that….best thing I ever did. That piece of shit played dumb right up until he signed the papers and moved out. They were sitting on the judge’s desk over Thanksgiving last year and he’s going on about how great it is that we’re still married. What the fuck?

    People like this gaslight by simply refusing to deal with anything, thus putting the onus on you. The status quo works for him so he’s going to fight like hell to keep it.

    He’s not “fighting for you”…..he’s fighting for his nice life. The life where he’s a nice respectable family man who fucks whoever’s he likes as it suits him.

    It would’ve been easier for me to accept his playing dumb just as I did for years and go about my life. But I didn’t trust him, didn’t respect him, and certainly wasn’t going to sleep with him.

    Don’t waste any more time with this piece of shit. File now and grey rock him. When he talks about a kitchen ignore him. I suspect when he’s served you’ll see the real him.

    And don’t let him bullshit the kids. There are age appropriate ways to tell them what’s going on. It’s always easier to blame the one who rocks the status quo. Tell them you’re truly sorry they have to deal with this but this is what it is.

    Get rid of this piece of shit now.

    FYI… ex is still involved with the whore ex that he “hadn’t talked to in years”. I have my sources…..maybe he’ll get lucky and she’ll dump husband number 6, then he can get in line to be number 7. I have a lovely boyfriend and live with my teenage kids in peace.

    • My ex said to me “I wish you would just go back to trusting me” before any extramarital stuff came out. It was in the context of our relationship issues.

      Very telling, don’t you think? That they want to tell us to trust them. Not how it works!

      Glad to here you are in a much better place now. 🙂

      • Yep…I’ve lied about everything that you couldn’t prove but you have a lot of nerve to refuse to believe me now…..’cause I’m a nice guy!

        And its hateful to call my whore a whore ????

        It used to piss me off but now I think the whole thing is funny….clown car at the circus worthy.

        My friends and I call him shitty toupee guy. Dude, nobody believes that your ill fitting jet black toupee is actually your real hair….particularly since you’re 66.

        Thank you…I hope you’re in a better place as well.

    • Kim

      That is scary similar….He tried to hug me the other day and I pushed him off… He asked why and I said because it makes me really angry….do you know what he said? “Oh god what have I done wrong now?” You know like he’d left the toilet seat up or something. I was like….does there need to be something new for me to be angry with you. Is there a time limit on how long I can be angry that you fucked hundreds of women.

      He then went right back to saying he never touched anyone all he did was swap pictures with them. Even if I believed him it boggles my mind that he considers that to be okay.

      The other weekend when I refused to go to his mother’s for lunch because I didn’t want to play happy families, he acted like he’d been slapped in the face….teared up and everything.

      I have given up talking about it because it makes no difference anyway.

      I am glad you got out Kim. It gives me hope that I can navigate this somehow

      • You absolutely can…..simply do not engage him. Period. Don’t explain anything, don’t tell him you’re upset….nothing. When he tries to hug you simply push past him (not angrily….and if you can’t just don’t hug back) and when he asks what’s wrong tell him nothing.

        Tell him you’re not going to his mother’s house but dont get upset or explain anything.

        Do. Not. Engage. Him. It only provides openings for him to bullshit you. Spend as much time away from him as possible. If you must deal with him calmly and without emotion tell him you want him to leave. When he plays dumb do not answer. If you’re sleeping in the same bed stop. Sleep on an air mattress in another room and lock the door. Sleeping in the spare room is what started to drive the point home to my ex, but until the papers were signed and stamped he continued to play dumb. Any emotions from me were interpreted as an opportunity to play dumb and bullshit.

        And get him served now. He will bullshit you as long as he thinks there’s a tiny chance you’ll crack. He has a lot to lose right now.

        • Whatever you do….do not have sex with him. Do not change in front of him….grey rock him.

          This guy is your enemy. Treat him like it.

          • I am perfecting my grey rock. I am civil but don’t say anything that’s not relevant to kids etc. I don’t look him in the face ever.

            If he hugs me I leave my arms at my side’s no matter how much he pouts or bitches. The other day he did that adult child thing with the zombie arms and the give me a hug pouty face while the kids were in the room. I glared so hard he dropped his arms and said “Oh it’s like that is it?”

            I never change in front of him either.

            HOWEVER….I am sleeping in the same bed. The only other option is the sofa and after 3 night’s of the kids asking why, and a bad back plus realising this is not going to be over with quickly I went back to our bed. I wear big pyjamas and turn my back but every night I wake up in a death grip from him. Or have to catch his hand before it goes up my top.

            I know I have to find another solution. I have considered going to hotel on the weekend when he is home. But this is one of those things that I can’t find the strength to change right now because I can’t cope with the drama it will create.

            I know I have to toughen up. I am working on it I promise

            • Sister, I know it’s hard but leave the bed. Take extra ibuprofen for your bad back.

              Sleep on the couch. Tell the kids you sleep better there.

              Get the hell away from this scumbag.

              Keep refusing to engage. Until he’s forced out he’ll keep looking for tactics that will work.

              Why don’t you tell his mother? What do you think her reaction would be?

              • By the way….his treatment of you is condescending. “Oh so that’s how it is”….that’s how you talk to a 4 year old. He’s treating you with a lot of disdain right now…..speaking to you like a toddler having a tantrum.

                My ex did the same thing….flooded me with emails about how eventually I’d realize what I was throwing away. Not that he threw it away with his whore.

                He’s 20 years older and I realized he’d always talked down to me.

            • Get a nice cot. My brother-in-law actually prefers to sleep on a cot when visiting my mom’s. He got something similar to the Redcamp folding camping bed, and it’s quite comfortable and very supportive.

              I, too, slept in the marital bed until I filed. However, CheaterX didn’t have a huge libido and after the first night-time rebuff, he didn’t try for more. Prior to the affair, I think he barely had enough libido for one person. Once he started his affair, he just didn’t have enough left over for anyone else.

              Your situation is quite different. You aren’t necessarily safe in your bed, and depending on the divorce laws in your country, sharing a bed may be problematic.

      • he knows what to use against you. he is using your kind heart against you. mine did the same. wasband knew i loved him, he knew that i hated to see him hurt, he knew that i would forgive him for the sake of the family/marriage, he knew that family is the most important thing to me, he knew that i believed in my marriage vows, he knew i did not believe in divorce, he knew that i was sympathic, he knew that i was understanding, he knew that i was good and kind.. .. .. .. and he used all that against me.

        the fog you are in will get clear once you are not listening or seeing his daily attacks on your head and heart. .. … he acted… he said… he teared up… he is hateful to you one minute and tearing up the next. … oh god what have i done now? translates to oh god what have you found out about now.. .. he doesnt care about your actual feelings. he just wants you to stop bitching at him. he wants you to go back to the good, old, dependable wife appliance that you used to be. he is only pretending and acting until that happens.

        the more stonewalling, projecting, gaslighting, and twisting of your conversations goes on.. the more fog you stay in, .. the better off he is. he gets away with it because you allow him to do it. you will never get the truth out of him. at some point you will ask yourself, do i want to live like this for the rest of my life.. .. and when you decide that you dont want to live like that you will get out. .. .

        i understand not wanting to stir things up so close to christmas. but try not to cave in with his bullshit. you wouldnt hug the guy who mugged you and stole your purse. this guy has done more then that to you. use this time to line up your ducks. get all your financial records. get all your birth certificates, ss cards and shot records for your kids and put them in a safe place (truck of your car, in your office, at your parents, in a offsite storage). Start taking out things that have sentimental meaning to you because those are the things he will break or take (your grandma quilt, your dads tools, your moms lamps, your kids baby blanket, pictures, videos, cards). do this when he is not home and put in a safe place. get your bills, bank statements and anything else printed for the past 6 months and in a safe place. and anything else that you dont want to lose. my daughters exhusband took all the baby bottles that i gave her that she used when she was a baby, he took all the dishes, towels and even her jewerly.

        start looking into lawyers. the more lawyers you talk to the less lawyers will take his case. so even if you cant afford a lawyer, try to go talk to them so your husband cant get them. start looking into renting a house if you are not going to stay in this house. you can do all this without saying a word to him. remember HE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND. as soon as he finds out what you are doing you will see the rage come out. (which is when he will start to break YOUR stuff). he already sounds like a jack ass… .

        stay safe, be strong,
        good luck

    • Ug I got this same thing “you just like being upset,” and “being mad at me is how you have fun, you’re so twisted.”

      As if it’s not normal to be irrevocably hurt when someone destroys your life.

      • FYI, this was in response to Kim, a few posts up. Not sure why it ended up here.

  • This is the text I received this weekend……I want to believe he is sorry, I want to believe he is going to be a better man, I want to believe that we could possibly reconcile. Oh wait…. I heard this before after the last OW broke up with him.

    I knew the cycle, experienced it before but still I cried and hurt this weekend. I ate a pint of Cherry Garcia. But I did NOT reply or make any kind of contact. I know it’s the right decision but it still kicks me in the stomach every time I get these kinds of message. I do practice limited contact but I still have little ones at home that require basic communication to secure divorce enforced payments.

    If anybody get a chance please send his text through the UBT. Reading from the UBT always makes me smile.

    That was a mistake, you guessed right I allow …..access to my phone when that was said. I knew it wasn’t right. I regret every day that I allowed her to have that much control over me. I made some really bad decisions then made even more to not have destroyed our family for nothing is. Truth is I needed counseling for years, and I think we needed marriage counseling. It was a mistake to stop once we got to …….I am sorry I said those things and I allowed her to pressure me into saying them. I know I hurt you but it wasn’t true. I know you don’t believe me but I don’t regret marring you, just how I treated you

    • I am certainly not the UBT translator, but even I can see that
      I regret every day- means: I regret every day that you know what kind of crap I am doing and are asking me to stop

      I allowed her to have that much control over me: She was a mythical beast- like that dragon in game of thrones. How could I (a mere mortal) not remain in her presence and be hypnotized. I mean, yeah I could have not spent any time with her at all, or I could have talked to you about stuff…but why would I do that?

      Truth is: Something that I am not even remotely acquainted with. I mean, it’s so boring.

      I am sorry I said those things: because now you are making my life really uncomfortable. I was much happier when you believed …well, what the heck. Who knows what you believed- but it sure was easier for me.

      I allowed her to pressure me into saying them: because again- she is like Wonder Woman’s truth lasso. Oh wait, no! that’s not what I meant. Sheesh man.

  • Couple things to add here, although nothing is new under the sun with these nuts jobs! I over(stayed) for 3 decades while he did the Wash, Rinse, Repeat. He was always testing me to see how serious I was with following through on divorce. It was all before I found CL & CN, I had no point of reference. Listen and read closely to the wisdom shared. Believe it, they really do SUCK. Your guy is not going to be the exception bc he can suddenly cook, run errands or hang with his family. The most important thing I want you to know is “SECRETS MAKE YOU SICK”. You and the one being harmed. Just let all of the truths you know sink in and decide if its worth him breaking your heart, your mind and lastly your body!

    YOU have to love you….. He has absolutely NO concern for you my dear!

    • All it means is that he’s a piece of shit who was capable of these things all along but couldn’t be bothered until it suited him.

      It’ll stop the minute she cracks.

  • OMG, this is the reverse order of what my Narc Ex did! Mid-summer (while his mother was visiting, ’cause by this point I was viscerally afraid of his anger, bc of previous very convincing physically threatening behaviour) I told him he was just to unpleasant for me to live with any longer. Too moody, too negative, too uncaring, with me and the kids. I was done. Told him I wanted a separation (we were not married, but together 13 ys at that point, two tweens).

    Affair #1 had occurred 5 ys prior, we had wreckonciled. With all the efforts having come from my side, of course.

    He told me very clearly that he didn’t want us to separate, and asked for a chance to improve his behaviour. I caved and gave him that chance. He became SO MUCH nicer! Less moody, made much more of an effort, just more caring and present, for the kids and me. We were all so much happier! We all lavished attention and praise and affection on him. Of course even our sex life (always frequent but had been lackluster, given the crap relationship) improved!

    The kids and I had never been happier.

    He got an opportunity at work, very challenging step up. Would require him to work out of town, 4 days a week, for several months. He actually consulted me about whether he should take it! How healthy! I agreed, under the condition we talk about how to protect our relationship under those circumstances.

    Of course that talk never happened, and by then I was done w/pushing and pulling and trying to get him to participate in our relationship, so I didn’t pursue it. Off he went, flying out Monday mornings, coming back Thursday evenings. I tried to stay in touch by phone and text, especially ’cause I understood (better than he did) how little he enjoyed being alone, ever. His participation was lackluster, as usual.

    I think it took 2 weeks for me to sense something was off. He came home all moody and withdrawn again, the kids and I were tiptoeing around again. Over the next few weeks he got more and more distant – the exact same way he had done during that first affair. I found confirmation of the new affair, w/a colleague at the out-of-town work site. I confronted him, told him I was done, he seemed perfectly happy to accept that and move on w/Schmoops. (Changed his tune about that, later, of course, but hey, narcs ….) He later made it extremely clear that those amazing changes he had made previously were done TO MAINTAIN WHAT HE WANTED, which was the wife/kids/house life he had, AND that he was intensely bitter and resentful all through that time about my having ‘forced’ him into that.

    So my message is; DO NOT THINK THIS ‘CHANGE’ MEANS WHAT YOU HOPE IT MEANS! It means that your hopefully-STBX will do ANYTHING to get what he wants, even finally be the husband you actually wanted, all those years. What he wants right now is to restore the status quo from pre-DDay, and/or to keep eating cake, or to gull you so he can pull the rug out from under you later, or to settle things down and enjoy until HE decides he’s had enough.

    DO NOT THINK he is treating you better because he values you (except as a wife-appliance), or values his kids’ intact family (except as it benefits HIM and looks good for HIM), or that he has had some kind of revelation and change of heart.

    HE IS WHO HE IS. And he has CLEARLY shown you who he is with his past behaviour.

    Run, sweetie, run!

    And DEFINITELY find a way not to have to live with him – that just allows space for mind-fuckery and confusion and pain for you.

    Get out. Do what your head knows you need to do. I promise your heart will catch up.

    • And I reiterate what Kim said; my Ex’s and your husband’s sudden good behaviour is just PROOF that they were always CAPABLE of giving us what we needed and deserved, and to the kids to. They just couldn’t be bothered, or resented having to ‘give’ anything at all.

      That, to me, is actually WORSE than when I figured he wasn’t capable.

      It’s not that they don’t understand, or can’t. It’s that they don’t give a fuck about us, their own kids, or anybody else except themselves.

      • Karen – exactly what you said!

        I honestly thought he was autistic for years because he couldn’t stand to be hugged or show affection in anyway (unless he wanted sex).

        This sudden affectionate cuddly cutesy act just pisses me off so much because he is showing that he actually withheld on purpose for 20 years!

        • He didn’t withhold on purpose, being nice to you just wasn’t something HE wanted.

          Right now HE wants to be married to his wife appliance who can keep his life running while he boozes, takes drugs, and cheats, so he’s playing nice – because for the first time it benefits HIM.

          (Spoiler alert – alcoholic drug addicts who spend their time on porn and their money on affairs are awful at adulting and need someone to do it for them)

          You really aren’t anywhere in the equation, it’s all about what he wants.

  • I told XAss I was done with the gas lighting, with being constantly being made to feel guilty over things that I had not done, with dancing harder for someone who really couldn’t care less how I was as long as I wasn’t causing him any issues. “Don’t need any grief from you.” was his favorite saying to shut me up. For over 2 years I danced and tried to be everything for him and get some kind of reciprocity.

    So after I said “I’m done” to him and told him in very easy to understand words that is was now up to him to respond, and that the window of opportunity to save our marriage was rapidly closing. He just pretended that everything was o.k. and went back to ignoring me, refusing to address the issues, and playing his mind games. And yet, he walked out of the bedroom days before my scheduled flight to leave the village, and told me that “he just couldn’t wrap his head around the fact that I didn’t want him to come with the kid and me.”

    Such a mystery. Head scratching. Where did this all come from? Everything was going along so well….And he just can’t understand why I’m so unhappy and just can’t let things be as they are??

    I’ve had to split custody 50/50 with XAss and the kid now has to deal with Dad’s emotional manipulation 6 months of the year. I am hoping though that when kid is with me at least he’ll get an idea of how life can be without constant turmoil, drama, and emotional manipulation around a selfish asshole’s wants. All I can do is model and give him my love, and hopefully, in the end it will be enough.

  • I am so sorry you are going through this. My husband also refused to move out of the house after being caught in affairs with his work whore and the neighbor whore. I had to use the legal system to force him out and it took about six weeks. All the while he pretended like nothing happened and started acting like a decent human being. He thought throwing me a bone would get him out of trouble since it had always worked when he disrespected me in other ways. Bitch Cookie. It has been said here many times, but I made my needs so small that a simple gesture like unloading the dishwasher or acting like a parent became huge “atta boy” moments.

    My cheater is one of the Jesus Cheaters. I would say Phillip Forgiveness with a dash of Willy-We’re-All-Sinners. The first time I intercepted a vague, but compromising email from the work whore, he made a big production out of asking me to watch the movie entitled Fireproof with him. It’s a Christian production about a couple who saves their marriage (but no infidelity or abuse). I guess his repertoire is limited because when I caught him full-on cheating, he asked me to watch it with him again. I hope you’re laughing. What? Really? Because it worked the first time?

    You will feel euphoric when you finally get him out of the house. The overwhelming sense of peace is transformational. Wake up each morning and ask yourself, “What is the single greatest thing I can do today to get rid of this loser?” Then do it.

    • “Wake up each morning and ask yourself, “What is the single greatest thing I can do today to get rid of this loser?” Then do it.”

      Love this ^

      I am seeing a solicitor next week. I think I will start working on the finances tomorrow

      • Be very careful, Undiscovered. Your letter makes me feel very uneasy- maybe because there is a low level violence to all of his self-pity and delusion. Exhole was the same- always pretended nothing had happened when he had erupted into a snarling vengeful demon child. Then to the world a charming, warm human being when it was in his interest. Told the kids “I’m leaving the door open” when we were separating- as if it was all my fault the family was breaking up. Never apologized and went on a scorched earth attack to “starve me out” after we’d separated. which lasted years.
        So please my dear- you sound very bright and smart, be very cautious- use your backup people, and have a safe place for your kids to go to that is also built into your plan. You will feel stronger knowing they can be safe if you have to make a sudden move.
        Quietly go about your business. all the best to you. This shit is serious, and your partner knows how smart and sweet you are. He is a pro at manipulation.

      • Don’t ever believe he won’t screw you over at the first chance. He does and he will. He’s playing you like a fiddle. Buying his sad sausage acts gives him the time to really do a number on you. These people are PREDATORS. They rely on our indecisive, waffling nature to f us over.

    • My e-wife is a Jesus Cheater too. Two of her affair partners were as well. The first one committed suicide when his wife tried to leave him. The other went back into full Christian overdrive with mission trips and the like. He had a long history of doing this. Getting caught and then coming back to Jesus. I had too many people tell me he has a history of this and simply doesn’t care. He’s just skilled at checking off the boxes once he’s caught so it looks like everything is finally fixed this time around.

      After d-day, my ex-wife had the nerve to say he was a better Christian and father than I was. Funny, I thought God looked at what was in your heart? I’m sure acts of service in the church, to try to dupe your wife into forgiving you, probably works against you.

      Still, he was back in the choir within 6 months. Until an anonymous link *wink wink* on the local city forum appeared. It linked to public legal documents showing his professional license was suspended previously due to inappropriate conduct with two female patients. It seems that the church was unaware of this ever happening. It got around to enough of the congregation to cause an outcry and he was removed from any public church service.

  • Yes, I had a husband do that too, even before I brought up divorce. He wanted to quit working his job and “start a business”, using the home equity. Starting a business started with buying a new motorcycle and taking a vacation, and refusing to even outline a business plan. He transformed himself into a charming, engaged husband. I asked him about his drastic change, he called himself “version 2.0”. So I made use of him to do some of the home repair projects I had a list for that were needed to sell the house. After a weekend of uncomplaining chores, he again brought up the equity loan, and I again said no, and he reverted to the abusive normal.

    Here’s the other thing to keep in mind with your stbx. He’s likely lining up his financial ducks behind your back, taking things or transferring them to his name (new car paid for by who?), working out a new host for a free place to stay. Lock all financials down. Remove anything you actually need and value from your home or anywhere he could access it. You can do this, you don’t have to explain anything to him, just trust that he sucks and he knows you don’t want him anymore.

  • Of course he is being “good” .. .. . you caught him!!! it is just like a 2 year old getting caught eating cookies on the table before dinner. he knows you told him not to do it but as soon as your back was turned, he sneaked a cookie. When you catch your toddler in the act, isnt he super loving, or funny. he has to hug you, maybe tries to make you laugh. and tells you “i wont do it again, mommy. i promise”.. .. .. and maybe he really means that promise. maybe he tries super hard and really WANTS to be good.. .. but as soon as you get distracted with something else and your back is turned. your toddler is back to sneaking out a cookie or two.

    your husband is doing the same thing. maybe he really means it and really WANTS to be good. but the thing is, it is not in his character. he cheated on your for 6 years. behind your back. THAT is not the type of man who is just going to magically be good now that you caught him. i think NOSHIT Cupcakes said it perfectly with “Your father has been unfaithful. More than once and for years. I did not know; I do not approve and we are getting a divorce. Questions?” Your kids are old enough to understand that. You might even say “Your father has been cheating with hookers and coworkers for the past 6 years. I do not agree with that and i have a hard time handling/dealing with this. We are getting a divorce”. .. … might be surprised but i bet your kids already know. when i told my then 8 and 12 year old sons, they already knew more then i thought they did. when i asked them what they thought i should do, both said that i dont need to be hurt by dad anymore. i think they would have been disappointed in me had i stayed with him.

    Oh, and you can explain to your kids that they will still have their dad. but their relationship with their dad is between them and their dad. explain that you are not doing anything that should effect their relationship, although it will change from what it is now. instead of having dad home, cooking, and being pleasant, they will have to visit dad in his own house, he can cook and be pleasant there. tell them that you will never try to come between them and their dad but it is dad’s responsibility from now on to develop their relationship. my boys were really upset because wasband stopped coming to visitations and ended up moving 3 hours away. at first i tried to call him and remind him to come to visits and remind him that his boys needed/wanted/cared for him. but i ended up getting more abused by him and his demon woman. so i told my boys that i tried but i cant force dad to come visit. i explained that it is the daddy’s job to do things for his kids, it was not mommy’s job to make daddy do it, nor was it the kids job to remind daddy. Daddy has to do it on his own. then i apologized to them for picking a bad daddy and said i hoped he would step up. i also told them that no matter what happens with daddy, that they would always have mommy and i would never leave them (believe it or not, the 8 year old really needed to hear that said, he was actually super worried that i would leave like daddy too)

    Dont let his charm undermine your standards. it never gets better.
    Good luck

    • Such great advice here – copying and pasting into my “keepers.” Thank you!

  • My X constantly turned it back on me, when I started looking into her childhood to “help” her find her why. She would point at my childhood and say, that is our problem, your father! sigh…..

    I finally in my own mind, with the help of my therapist took it to the most extreme.

    Even if I had told her, go out and have all the sex you want, with who ever you want.

    This would have still been her CHOICE and DECISION to break her own marital vows and her own moral integrity with married men.

    No matter what they say or come up with, no matter how small of an excuse. It is theirs to OWN, PERIOD.

    Rant over.


  • Chumps away from cheaters create powerful lives.

    I never see posts about any chump who regrets getting the fuck out. 19 months here, learned so much about myself, love, fear, courage, growth. 19 months is a blip on the radar. Can’t wait to see what 2 years feels like.
    Rear view that shit and get feisty. Your future self is already thanking you for it.

    • “I never see posts about any chump who regrets getting the fuck out.”

      LOL! So true!!

  • Oh and this- I gave way too much of my emotional energy to others. I tried cutting it in half (for starters) gave myself that half. I was starving for it. Self-esteem began to build, what I put in quickly produced real results in my life.
    They took so much, for so long.

    Give your emotional energy and time to you. I promise you will be shocked at the results, if nothing else.

  • I’d be very leary of him borrowing money to fix kitchen or buying a new car. Just complicates finances for divorce and wouldn’t trust what he’d actually do with the kitchen money. Often this type will cause financial ruin before they go.

  • This is really abnormal behavior. It would freak me out. I say this after doing a lot of work post-cheater to get myself in order. It’s very different when you’re in the middle of it. Confusing, devastating, draining. It’s hard to give up on dreams. It’s better to give up and find better dreams that can be achieved, though, or at a minimum clear some space so that something new and wonderful could emerge when the nightmare emotional rollercoaster ends. I hope this evil douche doesn’t wear you down, Undiscovered. Robbing someone of their basic sense of reality is unconscionable. To me, that is what he is trying to do. Lots of great information here today. I hope it gives you strength.

  • The freedom programme is a lifelong blessing to you. We call it “how to spot a baddie at 50 paces club”. Enjoy. Dont miss a single class if humanly possible. Have fun (it is fun too). X

  • Plausible deniability. The game of politicians. Also narcissism and gaslighting. Also the game of politicians. And cheaters.

    It took a girl on girl porn gif to bring my marriage down. He told me it was a guy! Sharing girl on girl porn? Not plausible buddy. That was the breaking point. I’d caught him sucking our lawyers dick years prior while I was pregnant. I’d told him not to cheat and do that shit out in the open as I wasn’t going to stop him from coming out of his festering closet. He still cheated. Just moreso.

    Just know that this is gaslighting. Look up plausible deniability if you really need to know that he sucks. Know this is the idealise phase of the cycle of abuse, diary how long it lasts then how long the devalue and the discard phase last. He won’t stick at the charm offensive. They can’t, because it’s not sincere. Stick to your guns. You’re not the bad guy here.

  • This sounds EXACTLY like my 2nd D-Day!!

    That day-I calmly told him I knew everything and that we were over.

    He proceeded to walk by me several times and kiss the top of my head, pat me lovingly, help clean the house, anything and everything he could do to make everything seem like nothing had happened.

    He went out and bought a new trailer since our old RV was on it’s last legs.

    He raged out me when I went out with my girlfriends for my birthday-proceeding to tell our kids what a horrible person I was-then the next day, act like none of that had happened and asked what I wanted to do for my birthday!!! (I flat out said “Nothing with YOU”).

    It took me awhile-and that whole ass kissing-to-sad sausage-to-raging lunatic (many times over).

    CL is right-you have to make it happen for yourself.


  • Married 22 years? Oh, he was cheating for more than six of them. You can take that to the bank. The kind of creep who bangs hookers has always been a cheater and always will. Don’t forget that many of these women are trafficked. He knows that and doesn’t care. He’s one small step above a rapist. He’s a misogynistic POS. Do you want your kids exposed to that? They are not going to get the dad they always wanted. His good behaviour is *temporary* until he has you bamboozled again. Then he goes right back to his old shitty ways. You can bank on that, too.

    You have everything to lose and nothing to gain by staying with this asshole. You know that, but your heart just hasn’t caught up to your head. Make your escape plan and run for your life.

  • “Christmas is coming up and I feel like I am the one destroying my family, not him.” <— THIS is the entire reason he’s acting like a model citizen. The moment the most freakish of these freaks is found out, they rush into strategizing reputation and narrative management. I didn’t even have kids and, when I finally dumped him, I wondered why he always fought so hard to stay together when he would always fall back into treating me like shit and acting like me and the relationship were such a burden? 1) Sadism of the personality disordered but also 2) I realized his main objective toward the end is to make you look 100 percent responsible for the end of the relationship while looking like a shining unappreciated star. They don’t want things to get better. They want you to dump them, and they want you to look like a crazed wreck when you do it so they can walk away to whatever gullible audience they have and say “Oh MY, she’s so MEAN … and, if you ask me, a little crazy …” This is why you need to just immediately get away from these motherfuckers. If they won’t get away on their own, air that dirty laundry out loud and see how fast they run. But do it when your calm and in your integrity.

  • He’s a coward. Doesn’t want to be without you. Isn’t prepared to face the consequences of his actions by having to explain why the marriage imploded. Doesn’t want to be the bad guy during the holidays. He’s embarrassed and looking to maintain his image to the outside world.

    I remember when mine badly wanted to work on the marriage. I got the man that I had wanted for so long, and he wasn’t even doing that much differently, just engaging with me more and being pleasant. It was October of 2017.

    Within a few weeks, I started to see the cracks. He couldn’t hold out without returning to his obsessiveness of being with the OW. By early December, he announced again that he wanted a legal separation and would be gone by Dec. 31st, even if he didn’t have his own place yet. I pretended through the holidays that everything was okay so that I wouldn’t ruin anyone’s holiday. Broke down on Boxing Day when I discovered the secret email account between him and the OW that showed that almost the entire time he was “saving” the marriage with me since October, he was really managing the impression of his leaving so that it didn’t look like he was leaving me for this woman.

    Get the lawyer to issue him a letter that states clearly that you are seeking a legal separation as of that moment. Sure, keep it to yourselves until after XMas, if you want, but get it in writing that the separation date is Dec. X.

    Get him out of the bedroom immediately. Get him anywhere that proves that there was no “marital” relationship during this time.

    First though, get all your documents in order. Separate the credit cards. Change all your passwords on everything. Collect evidence of his infidelity on-line (I’ve got an entire binder of emails that shows without a shadow of a doubt that he was cheating).

    If he has to stay in the house for legal reasons, then talk to your lawyer about the implication of you leaving the house to ensure that it doesn’t shut you out. Personally, I wouldn’t leave so that he has no claim to keep me out. However, I would be concerned about the potential of this man to rage once you shut him out of the bedroom, collect documents, issue a legal letter announcing a separation and create some serious boundaries of communication within the house to make it through the holidays. Make it very clear to him that if he does not respect your designated space (particularly the bedroom) and attempts to force you to have conversations with him that you don’t want to have, that you will consider that a threat and call the authorities.

    I promise you that he won’t stay nice for very long. He’ll start to accuse you of all manner of things. Get ready for the nasty, but hold your ground.

    Tell your immediate family right away. It’s his problem if he’s uncomfortable around them during the holidays.

    Best wishes to you. This is a tough time of the year, and so much of this happens around the holidays. Enough so that it’s really a “thing.”

    Stay strong. This man is no good. This is not sincere.

    • Phew Option no more! You told my story. Once the papers were served, he went berserk and called the cops ON ME! my lawyer had prepared me for all manner of horrors but I was still a quaking shaking mess when it played out. I’d asked a neighbour to be a safe place for my son, and I’d kept my set of papers handy to show the cops when they appeared and also called my lawyer.
      Yes, this man is no good.

  • I haven’t read all the comments, but all I could visualize as I read this was a great big turd floating in a punch bowl. When we see the turd in the punchbowl, we don’t ignore it and scoop the punch out around it and leave it in there. We turf the whole damn lot. That’s what needs to happen here. He’s tainted everything and he will continue to do so – he needs to go. Dogging, and the other stuff. I’ve stumbled upon all kinds of revelations on the internet, but that dogging stuff looks like the most low-down animalistic bottom of the barrel kind of compulsion-based sex, finding and degrading the most diminished, drug addicted, addled dregs of humanity, and fucking them. Dude is not only abusing you, but likely fucking people with no human agency left. He’s that debased. Protect yourself before you catch something truly life-threatening. I feel for you and I understand completely where you are coming from. You sound like you have got the right support. Don’t let him continue to degrade you, be mighty!

  • All the great advice! So glad I belong to CN. My only comment is that the cheater who explains that he has condoms in his bag/briefcase because the guys at work put them there as a joke- that’s the cheater who has bragged & boasted at work about all his conquests & sexual acting out! Why else would anyone give a married man condoms? We chumps are always the last to know because we’re not the best audience for this behavior. Hearing about their betrayal isn’t entertaining. Make a list of all the advice here & get to work! “Get on your feet! Get up & make it happen!”????

  • Every time my cheater charmed me back he acted like he never did anything wrong in the first place. It was as if his horrible deceit and transgessions were merely chalk on chalkboard to be erased. Alas, the charm only lasted for so long and then slowly he would revert back to his sneaky duplicitous ways and then get very, very, ugly if I called him out on anything. Ugh, for too long I smoked the hopium pipe (actually only a few months, but a few months too long!) I knew I had to follow my head and not my heart. The evidence was clear – he was a serial cheater and didn’t give a fuck about me or my well being. I knew if I didn’t walk, he would give me a lifelong venereal disease or aids and I would never forgive myself for knowing better.

    Trust your gut. He is manipulating you because he knows how to; please don’t let him. Put your head, heart and health first. He will destroy you in more ways than one if you let him.

  • I understand that part of the problem is practical; how to literally make him physically go away. When you’re exhausted and he’s playing confused and loving, it feels insurmountable.

    Only you know what he might do or what lengths he might go to so I’d never suggest putting yourself in harm’s way if he’s likely to go postal BUT if he’s not, you sit him down, ideally in the presence of family, and order him to leave. Get a large friend or two to ”help him” pack and agree a date in the very near future to ”help him” come for the rest of his things. Where will he go? Not your problem.

    A lot hangs on financial independence, so I suggest you work out your living costs for the next few months and try to ensure you have that money safely somewhere and remove yourself as far as possible from any accounts he has access to, or at least contact service providers and get it on record what is going on to mitigate him roping you into his financial incontinence.

    If you have decent earning power and are happy to leave, then I suggest you do this. Get your ducks in a row, when he’s out (possibly screwing someone in a hotel bar), you get your stuff and get out with the kids. Just do not allow any part of the ”it’s all fine” lie and facade to continue. Do not entertain those conversations.

    If you feel safe to do so, clarify that you will out him to literally everyone you can think of if he isn’t prepared to come to the party, so to speak.

  • Hi Velvet,
    Sorry if it was already mentioned but it is called trauma bonding. You may need distance to get your strength and perspective back. It took me 1 year to cut the trauma bond, despite horrific abuse. And cheating of course acts like it is nothing. Sick fucks. Get STDs done. Get regular pap smears on for cervical cancer. Reminder for self too.

  • You can find a UK specialist family solicitor in your area through the Resolution website
    If you start the process now you should be free by next Christmas. I waited a whole year after my D day to start proceedings. I should have done it earlier when he was still feeling guilty and offering me a better financial settlement.

  • Hi Undiscovered! I live in London, and went through discovering eight years ago husband’s double life of rampant infidelity, serious substance misuse/addictions, his nearly successful suicide attempt, controlling me through threats of suicide. Outwardly though? he’s an adored, fit, progressive, charming guy. Absolute mindfuck. All this happened when I was newly pregnant with second child. It took years to complete the divorce and I’m still rebuilding my life (kids are overall in good shape – I am a sane parent who turns up every day) and healing from the huge trauma of all of it, though have come so, so far in this rebuilding and healing from where I was. Found chumplady three years ago (needed it eight years ago!) – essential. Happy to chat offline if that helps, given we’re in same country.

    • Freetobeme- love your name. Pretty much sums up where I want to be asap.

      Yeah my husband is like that to some degree although he has been struggling to keep up the good guy act in the last few years. Had a couple of bullying complaints against him at work. But as a whole people love him.

      One of his work mates messaged me and asked what was going on recently. When I said that he was a cheating lying twat and I’d had enough. His reply was “I hope you can sort it out. You two are mint”

      He didn’t even try to defend him and discount what I said. I just replied with “I doubt that very much”

      It would be nice to have someone in the UK to talk to. I have an amazing support network but none of them have even been through a divorce.

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