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He Says I’m “UnChristian” for Divorcing Him

Jesus CheatersDear Chump Lady –

I’m 6.5 months since D-day and filed for divorce 2.5 months ago. My daughters are 17 and 20. The 20 year-old and I discovered the affair after returning from a family vacation (which he skipped again) and the house was magically clean and all visible signs of me hidden. His response to my questions about it was “Why are you so suspicious? You should be grateful I cleaned.” This man has never cleaned anything ever.

Then I found more direct evidence and confronted him. It’s almost comical how he reacted just as I read here so often. Lies and lies and lies. Then, a week later, he finally “tells the truth” and expects to be instantly forgiven because he told the truth that he has been having an affair with a co-worker for 2 years and had her living in the house in our absence. So now that it’s no longer a secret, can work on the faulty marriage that made him “susceptible” for his “lapse of judgment.”

I pushed him to move out after 6 weeks. He does have very regular contact with the younger girl. The older one is off at college, but we split the holiday break. We each had a week with the girls. I am trying to be kind and not interfere with their relationship, but….

He sends these horrific, preaching texts to me about how I have unChristianly caused extreme, abusive emotional trauma to the children because I pushed him to move out and then filed for divorce. I am keeping him from the girls and “exploding our family.” We are very religious and have both held prominent positions in our congregation, so his preaching at me is so ironic I want to scream.

My problem is that I very much worry about what he is telling the kids. They ask me specific questions about the affair, which I refuse to answer, saying that it would not be healthy for them to know stuff like that. Now, they are mostly adults and quite mature, but he is their father and I fear that he is painting me as the cause of all their pain. His father is a pastor, so he speaks Bible fluently. He recently told me that I am evil and have been invaded by Satan.

The therapist says to not put the kids in the middle — I get that. I don’t want them to think they need to choose sides. But how can I know what the heck he is saying to them? Can I even ask them? Can I ask the older one, who is not a minor? I trust that he sucks, but I won’t give them the information required for them to trust that he sucks – there isn’t enough therapy in the works to deal with that. So I just ask them to trust ME, and that I am confident in my decisions.

How do I stop this madness? Can I even try to counteract it, especially when I don’t know what he is saying? How do I stand up for myself against unknown accusations?

I would appreciate some practical advice. I am working on temporary orders, and I wonder if I should push for limits on his time with her.


Sarah in Texas

Dear Sarah in Texas,

Jesus cheaters are so tiresome.

Did he ever stop and consider that fucking his co-worker in your home was un-Christian of him? Hiding your things for Schmoopie, erasing your presence. What would Jesus do? Scrub the shower more vigorously? Your husband is a fuckwit.

Tell the girls dad had an affair and that’s why you’re divorcing. If Satan is going to invade, you may as well invite him in, fluff the sofa cushions and pour some tea. Tell. Don’t editorialize, don’t slop your heartbreak on them, just a basic few facts of why you’re divorcing, “Dad’s had a girlfriend for two years.”

The only hesitation I would have is if your settlement is somehow contingent on your silence? At 17 and 20, is parental alienation even a thing still? A person who would base care of his children on his impression management is the kind of shit who’s probably not going to contribute towards college anyway.

You can get a 60-day divorce in Texas, so maybe you tell them after the papers are signed and right now your answer is “I’ll tell you after the divorce is finalized.”

He sends these horrific, preaching texts to me about how I have unChristianly caused extreme, abusive emotional trauma to the children because I pushed him to move out and then filed for divorce.

What’s that Texas expression? “People in Hell want a cool drink of water.” Oh, he doesn’t want a divorce? He should’ve thought of that when he was schtupping his co-worker for two years. So sorry he doesn’t like the consequences.

I am keeping him from the girls and “exploding our family.” We are very religious and have both held prominent positions in our congregation, so his preaching at me is so ironic I want to scream.

Don’t let him blameshift this divorce on to you. He’ll do it anyway, it doesn’t mean you have to listen to his bullshit. Block his texts. 17 and 20 year old women can make their own arrangements to see Dad. You don’t manage these relationships. In the right now, you could screen shots this harassment, send it to your lawyer and have your lawyer firewall this shit. Or you could take the cheaper option of total no contact. Crickets. He wants an emotional response. Don’t give him one.

My problem is that I very much worry about what he is telling the kids.

You don’t control that.

Read that again. Maybe tattoo it on your arm for easy reference. You. Don’t. Control. That.

He’s a lying liar who lies. And the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. All you control is your response to this nightmare, so maintain your dignity and navigate yourself out of this mess. Remember, you’re modeling strength and resiliency to your daughters. You’re behaving how you would want them to behave if anyone ever abused them. Don’t carry HIS shame.

You know the truth. You’re living that truth in your actions (you’re divorcing him). Trust that truth.

They ask me specific questions about the affair, which I refuse to answer, saying that it would not be healthy for them to know stuff like that.

My position here is that I don’t believe in gaslighting children, even with the best of intentions. That doesn’t mean they’re entitled to the gory details, but they should understand the basic facts of why their family fell apart. “Dad had a two-year affair with a co-worker. That’s unacceptable to me, so we’re divorcing.” And you can tell them this is very painful and that’s why you don’t want to get into the details.

Concealing the truth isn’t about what’s “healthy” for them — it’s about impression management of your ex. They can sniff that bullshit out. Besides, it sounds like your eldest daughter already knows. Don’t make her conspire against her sister in silent secrecy. Ugh.

Now, they are mostly adults and quite mature, but he is their father and I fear that he is painting me as the cause of all their pain.

Face that fear. He is doing that. And it’s unfair. And it hurts like hell to be cheated on and then have your character assassinated. Every chump has been there.

You don’t need to comment or defend yourself. You have EVERY RIGHT to divorce him. It’s the logical, sane thing to do. Let your actions do the talking for you.

Kids figure out who their parents out in time. Let them have their relationship with dad and figure out that relationship themselves.

His father is a pastor, so he speaks Bible fluently.

Oh hey, here’s a Bible verse. “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

He recently told me that I am evil and have been invaded by Satan.

And who wouldn’t want Satan on their legal team?

(Eye roll) Whatever, Dude.

The therapist says to not put the kids in the middle — I get that. I don’t want them to think they need to choose sides. But how can I know what the heck he is saying to them? Can I even ask them?

NO. DON’T ASK THEM. Let them have their relationship with their dad ALONE. Your job is NO CONTACT with your ex. Asking them is putting them in the middle and WTF, Sarah, do you really want this report?

“Oh Dad says you’re Satan’s handmaiden and you sacrifice goats on a pagan altar each Thursday. Oh, and you’re bitter.”

STOP IT! You don’t control what he’s telling them. And it doesn’t MATTER because you are DIVORCING him. Fully expect he tells them self-serving shit.

Raise your daughters so they pay attention to what people DO and not what they SAY. You could internalize this too.

I trust that he sucks, but I won’t give them the information required for them to trust that he sucks – there isn’t enough therapy in the works to deal with that.

You do NOT have the job of getting your daughters to trust that he sucks. They don’t want their dad to suck. That’s their right. They may conclude this and they may not. I think what you really want is to not be blamed for this divorce. I get that. And I believe in telling people the truth — but then you have to LET GO. (I struggle with this too.)

You can tell them why you’re divorcing (his affair is a dealbreaker). Then you have to let go of what they do with that. They very well may blame you for the divorce — at first. Kids like cake too at the chump’s expense. NOPE. Not gonna do that. Keep modeling strength and sanity.

How do I stop this madness? Can I even try to counteract it, especially when I don’t know what he is saying? How do I stand up for myself against unknown accusations?

Yell at the wind? You can’t stand up to “unknown” accusations.

You’re not on trial, okay? You’re allowed to divorce this horrible man for deceiving, humiliating, and abusing you with his long-term affair and mindfuckery. That is permitted! And if your Bible church doesn’t like it, shame on them! Find a better church.

You will make yourself crazy if you try to counteract the nonsense that comes from your ex. Your divorce speaks plainly and clearly. Leave it there.

I am working on temporary orders, and I wonder if I should push for limits on his time with her.

You have less than a year of co-parenting. She’s a young adult. Let her determine how much or how little time she wants to spend with her father. If she’s like most teenagers, she’ll choose to hang out with neither of you in favor of her friends. It sounds like her living arrangements, primary custody, are with you. Solidify that and let go of the rest.

It’s early days, Sarah. The kids figure it out. Please take impression management of your ex off your plate.

Big ((hugs)).

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  • Sarah, good on you for taking action to end this. That takes the cake. You go on vacation and he hides your pictures and has another woman live in your house. He is the one who did this and do let him put this on you and make you the bad guy. I believe you don’t need to tell the kids every gory detail but it is ok to tell them what is acceptable and what is not in a marriage. The truth. I am going to divorce because he had a long term affair and lied to me all this time. He allowed the woman to come into our home. That is the truth without the gory details. Block him. Like CL the girls are old enough so you don’t need to hear from him. Cut him off immediately. Like right now. You will feel better. Please be prepared as best as you can for people to turn on you. Just remember if they do they were never your friends.

    • “He allowed the woman to come into our home.”….Also, he committed adultery with her in our bed.

  • My thoughts – and I’m pretty sure I’d have to do it – is text him back did he know exactly what “thou shalt not commit adultery” meant? And then go no contact!

    • I would just set that up as an auto-response on every form of messaging. And change my voicemail message to that to. Let every attempt at contact be met with, simply, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’.

      • That’s a brilliant idea! I would also make SURE his pastor father knows all about his little boy’s cheating too. Talk about the brass neck on these bastards. And instant DARVO, did you notice?

      • Dear Sarah in Texas,

        For 40 years, I was married to a man who professed to be a committed follower of Jesus. But in his spare time, he blew through at least 14 APs and ultimately, left me for his Married Howorker.

        Here are my tips for you:

        (1) Go Zero Contact as much as possible (use Gray Rock if you must discuss your younger daughter). Let your attorney be your mouthpiece.

        (2) Limit all communication to emails only. Simply don’t respond to phone calls, text messages, carrier pigeon or smoke signals. Forward all emails, texts, cards, letters, documents, etc. directly to your attorney.

        (3) Consider adding a tag line to the bottom of every email: “Thou shalt not commit adultery. Exodus 20:14”.

        Or how about, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Hebrews 13:4”.

        (4) Always tell your children the truth — about everything. Use age-appropriate language and don’t editorialize, but do tell the truth. If you cover things up, spackle, or submerge the facts, and then your children find out later that you weren’t honest with them, they may never trust you again.

        • Yep, we’ve gotta overcome this bizarre idea that all children, no matter what their age, need to be kept as far away from the truth as possible.

          Like you, they have the right to know what happened to their family and why and who was responsible for what.

          At the ages that your daughters are, they know how sex works and via their friends & the internet they probably know more sex acts and sexually descriptive terms than we do.

          What they don’t know why Mom is divorcing dad…so you simply tell them.

          Like CL said, no need to get overly detailed but you sure as F aren’t gonna lie for that waste of skin

          As I see it, the problem arises because we are disgusted by the wrong things.

          (I’m using my story for the examples below)

          Sex? Not disgusting.

          Something we all do, the way we created these two amazing children.

          Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s just okay…sometimes it’s used to sell cars. So while yes we do it without our clothes on, it’s really nothing to be ashamed or disgusted by.

          Group sex? Also not disgusting, although not something I have personally engaged in.

          But as long as everyone is honest & safe, there’s really nothing “disgusting” about sucking 3 dicks instead of just one, or banging your best friend’s wife while he gladly watches.

          Lying? ALWAYS disgusting.

          The worst thing you can do besides physically hurting another human being. A bad, awful terrible idea whether it’s about Ukraine, your whereabouts last Thursday or if you remembered to walk the dog.

          Stealing? ALWAYS disgusting.

          Anytime you deprive someone of use of either their property by stealing or their consent by lying, you are a thief and need to be destroyed.

          True in all cultures, true in all religions and just as true for a 6 year old as a 60 year old.

          Blame-shifting: ALWAYS disgusting.

          The inability to accept responsibility for one’s actions is BY FAR THE MOST DANGEROUS EXAMPLE a parent can provide a child. Because once that child sees how EASY things are when you just blame someone else, they will start to do it over and over and will adopt the mentality of your husband, that if you yell “not my fault” loud and long enough, people will believe you.

          …when a family is destroyed by an affair, the biggest mistake we can make is to HELP COVER UP WHY because it fills the kids’ minds with uncertainty about what happened.

          Then they bring that uncertainty into THEIR relationships because you lacked the courage to tell it like it is, that some people don’t care if they hurt others, some people lie and steal because it makes them feel great inside and that their father’s actions indicate he is one of those people.

          One final thought: as a religious Christian, you are surely aware that Jesus Christ did not “Request” the Money Lenders out of the Temple, nor did he “not take sides” on the subject of the temple being overrun by Money Lenders and he sure as heck didn’t refrain from casting them out, just like you did.

          In fact, even a cursory reading of the Bible shows that if you were an unrepentant sinner (particularly one abusing a position of power) Jesus was basically an asshole out to wreck your shit.

          That’s why they killed him, IIRC.

          Stay strong, keep reading everything here and don’t for second let anyone tell you that Jesus Christ won’t be proud of you when you lay out the facts to your girls.

          • It seems like many of Jesus’ “woe to you Pharisees…” speeches started with the Pharisees picking on someone else. (ie. Why do your disciples eat with unwashed hands?) Jesus stood up for the people they were picking on and then exposed the Pharisees hypocrisy. I love Jesus. And the Lord Jesus Christ was not bitter for exposing the facts of that hypocrisy to other people…He was just right.

        • Thank you for this.

          I was the kid in that situation. My mother actually listened to a quack and tried to “keep me from knowing”. That messed me up more then had she been honest and blunt. Please don’t do this.

          Here’s the thing. Often people who are narcissist enough to pull this crap on their partner, also play similar games of mindfuckery on their children. By gas-lighting your kids, you deprive them of a warning that they’ll need to have some boundaries with X parent and not take everything said parent says at face value. Honesty about said person’s actions also throws a kid into a spin when the parent decides to mess with them/manipulate as well as the kid has a gut feeling that somethings off but gets no validation. It’s like hiding the actions of a touchy older cousin, telling your kid that “Cousin X’s some sort of saint” and then letting said cousin babysit said kid.

          P.S. Please fire and report that “therapist” if s/he actually told you to gaslight and lie to your teenage and adult daughters. I’m dead serious.

          • “as well as the kid has a gut feeling that somethings off but gets no validation.”

            This is important. I was one of those kids that was terrified of not knowing why something was off. My mother couldn’t have told me because she didn’t realize that she was being abused until it got so, SO bad for two years before the divorce. A strong, independent woman with good career, surrounded by friends, and yet treated like trash at home… It messed me up and of course I had a relationship like that, too. I don’t blamr her and I wouldn’t blame any victim of abuse, but at the same time I believe it’s important to change this mindset that so many of us have – that the less kids know, the less it impacts them. It’s bullshit. They always KNOW something is not right. They just don’t know what exactly.

            There probably were other signs of their father being a selfish mental abuser before the affair was discovered. And maybe they can figure out what those signs are when you give them more context and that will help them avoid it in the future. It’s not about choosing sides, it’s about not hiding things. I agree with CL and these comments, telling them what they want to know once and then letting them draw their own conclusions is the way to go.

      • I am divorced from a cheating pastor. For far too long I thought if I could just say the right thing in the right way or share the right passage of scripture that he would smack himself on the forehead and say, “Oh, no! What have I done? I repent of my sin and will never speak to the other woman again! I return fully and wholly to the wife I told God in a vow that I would ‘love and honor ’til death do us part.'”

        And then I realized I would never be the Holy Spirit in his life and I went No Contact (which I regret not doing from Day One.)

        On the other hand, he liked to beat me up with assorted scriptures and once sent me a message after I went No Contact that he prayed for me “that I would one day climb off my high horse to allow God to heal me of my bitterness and hatred of him and Miss Plastic Parts (a former ‘friend’ of mine) so I could fully be what God wanted me to be.”

        Don’t quote scripture to him–you’re just casting your pearls before swine. “Even the demons believe, and tremble”–but it doesn’t change their behavior.

        Remember that old saying about not wrestling with a pig? –You just get dirty and the pig likes it. Quoting the ten commandments to him won’t change anything and by doing so you’re not really going No Contact/Gray Rock, you’re just trying to have the last word. Save your breath for productive activities like getting on with your life!

        • The problem is a heart issue and their relationship with God. I am fixing to divorce my covertly abusive, probably narcissistic husband of 27 years and we have not even filed the divorce yet (I am the one that finally broke down and told our 16 year old daughter but I have already gave her some heads-up that divorce may be happening due to his unwillingness to repent or forgive me for causing him seriously injury after he chocked me during a heated argument) but he already took his ring off, goes to bars to play poker and “watch the game”, takes our adult son (26) with him while my STBX talks about wanting to chase ass and get laid but throws in my face that he has never felt closer to God!

          I get that he may have suffered a narcissistic injury because he did not get to dump me first but he fails to realize that I have sought counseling and support for over a year…..working on healing so I can be the mom God created me to be for my daughter. I have worked with my counselor on helping me cut the trauma bond to my husband so I can let him go and be at peace.

          I pray for God to keep my heart clear of bitterness, resentment, and contempt so I may not lower my standard to get even, get back at him, or retaliate but instead, remain at peace, have joy, and take the high road.

          I loved my husband more than life itself but it was not reciprocated. While living in the same house but in different rooms, God showed me what surrender and letting go looks like in my situation. I feel that God wants my daughter and myself away from my STBX but still have compassion and unconditional love for him. So I asked God to help me unlove my STBX as my husband and instead, love him like a brother in Christ. That process has been the most painful, heartbreaking, and difficult of it all but I am there now……although still healing from the long-term emotional, sexual, psychological, verbal, and physical (very few times) abuse…..I feel strong but at peace. My joy comes form worshiping God and knowing that He will fight my battles for me if I surrender them to Him.

      • Wow. This hits close to home for me. My two oldest are no longer speaking to me due to info from their father. It’s the only explanation as to why anything has changed. The younger of those two doesn’t know who to believe. He told me this about facts that have come up. (He accused me of of turning off his iPad plan after he called and had the pin code changed)I do not speak ill of my stbx at.all. I’m trying to take the high road and CL is right. It hurts like hell to be the innocent party and get blamed. I do fear that I will lose my relationship with my kids due to his damaging talk. My counselor keeps telling me to be the stable parent and eventually they will see through his lies. I sure hope so.

        • Hi Steel,
          You are incredibly strong. I’ve never commented here before, just lurked, but I wanted to let you know that I admire you and your perseverance. Often, we are put in the position of doing the thing that is best for us as opposed to the thing we really want to do. But less often are we put in the position of doing the right thing even when it’s deeply unfair. Your courage is just remarkable.

          • awestruck,
            I am so glad you commented, and I agree with you, Steel Magnolia is very strong. ( love the name).
            The thing about CN is that other Chumps feel the pain of the posting Chump.
            Their strength shines through and we wish each other well.
            No one ever walks in exactly the same shoes as us, but we have been forced to shop at the same shoe store.

            Please keep posting, you are very wise and sincere!

        • As my ex was hot and heavy into the affair, he made sure that he had my younger son cut me off (2012). I was never given a reason. Divorced in 2016, and to my son, my ex is the good one! ( especially since he writes bigger checks than I do). I now have an almost one year old grandson that I have yet to meet. ( Oh, but the whore has babysat!). Not being able to defend oneself is horrible. The collateral damage of my ex’s Sociopathy is beyond painful.

        • Ahhhhh the “High Road.” It’s an old cultural narrative that can often pressure victims to keep their abuser’s secrets. Don’t fall for it Steel Magnolia! Let’s change that narrative so the High Road comes to mean Speaking the Truth.

          • This is a great point…how often we Chumps are told to take the “High Road” which has somehow come to mean not speaking out about the willful, abusive actions of another person

            Yet what kind of example does that set for our children?

            “Remember kids, always do the right thing…even if the High Road Narrative means there is no real downside to doing the wrong thing!

            As your father, I want you to know I fought for my values of honesty and accountability but ONLY UNTIL other people became uncomfortable.

            Let me be clear, the moment a peer mom I barely know suggested that we should ‘let bygones be bygones’ I junked my entire value system because I might get the #sadz if anyone were to think I was no longer on the ‘High Road’”

            Yeah, no thanks…I think I’ll continue never lying to anyone about anything: I’m pretty sure that’s The High Road

  • He’s cheating then claims to be religious, moving her in when she’s on holiday. He’s living on a different planet.
    Planet penis more like
    The children are teenagers they can pick when they want to see their dad. There be off to university soon, I suppose he wouldn’t think how this situation would affect their high school finals.
    I hope he provides for their university education.
    Your husband is being ruled by his penis

  • Hugs <3 I'm a devout Christian too. My STBXH has not accused me of being un-Christian, but he does want to take the forgiveness of Christ without the repentance and change of heart. I belong to a very conservative baptist congregation, where many believe that in God's eyes you stay married even if you divorce on paper. So they don't see even adultery as grounds for divorce or they see that divorce doesn't free the person completely so as to re-marry. I think that's unbiblical and I haven't been attending recently. This is so very hard as it is so I'm very selective of who I want to talk with.

    My daughter is only 11 but I have promised that I will always be honest to her. So I told her matter-of-factly what her dad has done and that it is unacceptable to me, without getting into details. I told he has been unfaithful, committed crimes and lied. I also told her that she can ask me if she wants to know something and I'll answer her honestly, but I won't tell any more until she wants to know.
    I find that when children ask something, they are ready to hear the answer.
    Anyway, children deserve to know the truth about why their family falls apart. I also won't be taking blame for him, lying for him or keeping his secrets for him.

    • “Taking the forgiveness of Christ without the repentance and change of heart”. Wow! I love this. Forgiveness has always been an issue for me because mine always apologized. I thought something was wrong with me because I stopped living in forgiveness for him. But now I realize he has no repentance or change of heart. Thanks for starting that so simply and beautifully.

    • Forgiveness of Christ comes from a divine source, and god can deal with it. Being Christ like may be the goal of christians but it doesn’t mean it’s a natural state, and doesn’t undo all consequences. Forgiveness can happen, but that doesn’t mean everything goes back to good. It means you are done being mad about it.

      God also said people have to respect the laws and governance of their people, meaning they had to obey laws. That’s why if a person kills someone, they can be forgiven by god but they don’t get out of jail.

      Your marriage is a similar covenant, you develop your boundaries and laws. He broke them. Therefore, divorce. Also, divorce minister has lots of info on why divorce is biblically and religiously acceptable and people who try to be all weird about it are frankly pointing at slivers when they could also have planks and all that.

      I am from a house of two ministers. The holidays when I visited shortly I heard about a woman in their congregation who had split from her cheating husband and then recently reconciled and my question to my parents was ‘well… what was the church supporting? Generally I hear a lot about how god hates divorce’ and their response was ‘God also isn’t fond of people who break promises and give no other alternative. We are all worried Because she seemed happier alone and we don’t know what he said to make it right. We hope it works out because that’s what she wants but… well… “ it’s probably as close to gossip as my parents have ever accomplished and it gave me insight into how they have come to see the humanity of marriage differently than when I was younger. They were very much the people who thought there was no excuse. You could always fix it. Pray. Give it to god. All that. Now they see me hurting and divorcing and they don’t know why, because that’s an agreement I have with the man I married and they are confused but I am glad to know they would support me. People in the church often speak rhetoric because they don’t know first hand. Sometimes they have been blessed with a life where they don’t have to see this all unfold and so their empathy sacks don’t fill up right. Their understanding and ‘put yourself in the situation’ suit doesn’t work because they literally cannot imagine how bad it is and how bad it hurts and they have never had a serious one on one with god about divorce and if they should maybe step off the silly soap box because they are making others feel awful. Seems like that should be some kind of anonymous word document note that could be dropped in the offering plate with a few good biblically minded Pro divorce Books for the minister to investigate or at least suggest their flock be a bit less assholey judgey pants

      • I love this! I was considering printing out your comment and passing it on to my minister before I even got to your last paragraph!

      • My minister, who also married me and Mr. Sparkles, had this to say when I told him of the divorce… “As Christians, we want to believe that God brings people/things to us. Yet, we must also believe that God will remove people/things from our lives that are not his will for us.” Helped me immensely as I was feeling I had failed God (or maybe even that God had failed me by not stopping Mr. Sparkles from cheating…?) Either way, me and God are good and my cheater is still a cheater, but now someone else’s problem.

        • I’ve always admired your minister’s realistic, comforting and practical advice whenever you share this story, ICSTMC. He (and God) read your heart and gave you the words you needed to let go.

      • Creativerational – *****wonderful response***** I’ve been divorced 15 years now – but similar story to what you speak of. He is still “mr. religious” completely accepted by his very religious family and parents. The churches he is a part of have rejected ME for leaving him. He cheated with men over our almost 21 year marriage. I have never gotten remarried (haven’t met anyone I’d consider anyway) because of all that “God hates divorce” and if you get remarried you are “living in adultery”… blah blah blah. Of course, he moved on and married (his words) “a Godly woman who is a widow”. Yes, she is a widow as well as divorced 3x as well. He has never admitted to anything and as someone else wrote above – he calls me bitter and unforgiving – he has never admitted and never shown repentance. I have been no-contact for about 11 years now. Its all good from my end – I have a peaceful and free single life.

      • When I left a man who beat me and the kids I was told that “God hates divorce.” I was also told by one man that he was glad his wife “put up with him.” And then one woman who had never had to deal with any beatings ever told me that I made a decision too hastily. I should have waited to see if he changed. She told me this about a man who threatened to kidnap my babies and hide them from me. That’s when I was done with the evangelical Baptist church. It’s all a load of crap. It’s all about control. God doesn’t want me to be abused.

    • “but he does want to take the forgiveness of Christ without the repentance and change of heart”

      SMH disgusting. My ex used to always put me down for what he perceives is me being “unforgiving.” How that is contrary to our religion because forgiveness is the crown of the believer. So you can continue to hurt and abuse me, fake apologize, not change your behavior at all, not show even an ounce of repentance, and I still have to forgive you each time? Nah homie.

  • “Dad had a two-year affair with a co-worker. That’s unacceptable to me, so we’re divorcing.”

    I would alter that statement slightly, “Dad had a two-year affair with a co-worker behind my back. That’s unacceptable to me, so I’m divorcing him.”

    1) You state that you didn’t know about it
    2) You demonstrate taking your power back. YOU are divorcing HIM because lying and cheating are unacceptable. You deserve better.

    He sends another obnoxious text, reply “Thou shalt not commit adultery”, then ignore or block him. Make his ringtone “silent”.

    The kids may be all over the place for a few years. But stick with the truth. He lied and cheated. When you found out, you ended it. It was the right thing to do. They don’t need to know all the details – just the timeline.

    Good luck!

    • I would edit “That’s unacceptable in a marriage”. It’s not mom’s whim not to accept it.

      • Except that people accept it all the time, especially in religious community. I’d proudly own the CHOICE to divorce him.

        And also that there was nothing to work with. He’s clearly not one bit sorry with the blameshifting.

        • He says the words that he is sorry. He acknowledges that adultery is a sin, but also God forgives him. He does not say that he wishes he hadn’t done it. The big disconnect is that he refuses to believe that it is a reasonable deal breaker in a marriage. The good news is that people in the church (who have noticed his absence) ARE generally supportive of me and the kids. BTW, to be clear, he is not a pastor. STBX’s father is a pastor, and I did tell his parents about the affair.

          • Oh no, a Good With God cheater. They’re the worst! I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this Sarah.

          • Well…, if God forgives him then that’s just peachy! And if you forgive him, you’re doing it for yourself. Not him. But forgiveness does NOT mean that you need to accept him back into your life. EVER! If he is so repentant, he would go to YOU (not just God) and say to YOU, “I’m sorry. What I did was wrong. I will tell the children that what I did was wrong.” And you STILL do not have to take him back. The repercussions for his actions are divorce. You cannot trust this man. He’s a liar and you don’t ever have to have liars in your life. You cannot believe him even if he says that he will never do it again. Why? Because he’s a liar. He has proven just how deceptive he is and that he has no respect for you, his children, or even self respect. And lest you get the wrong idea, it’s not you. He’s got the problem, not you. You cannot change his character no matter how much you wish otherwise. I’m also a devout Christian. Right after I found out (yet again (because I believed he would change)) that he was seeing his skank, he didn’t want to get divorced. I said, “Will you be seeing her again?” He told me that he didn’t know his plans and so I replied, “I cannot be married to an adulterer.” He said, “And THAT’S your problem!!! You’re so judgemental!” If your adulterer throws that at you and mentions the log in your eye (and anything else he can come up with), just reply, “I’m not being judgemental. I’m calling it like it is. You committed adultery so that makes you an adulterer.” “Judge not lest you be judged.” I read an article that cleared up exactly what this means. The author states: “This is one of the most quoted verses in the Bible, usually in a context something like this: “Yeah, he cheated on his wife, but who am I to judge? Hey, we’re all sinners, right? Like Jesus said, ‘Judge not, lest you be judged,’” or “Don’t judge me—if you were really a Christian you’d listen to Jesus when he said, ‘judge not.’” That is, the verse is often marshaled in order to defend against any declaration that a given person’s behavior is wrong (quite often marshaled by the person in question). Effectively, when quoted as such, the verse is understood as a prohibition against declaring any specific action sinful or wrong, since doing so would mean “judging” someone.” As I continued to read, this passage by the author stood out: “While it is true that some things do not require a distinct judgment, others do require a position, and to take no position is to judge it affirmatively (tolerance of adultery is implicit acceptance of it, for example). Surely no one would assume that murder should be ignored and not condemned!” Your cheater chose to do what he did with no regard to his wife or children. You can forgive him if you want (for your own peace of mind), but you do not ever have to reconcile with him. Forgiving does not mean that you have to keep putting yourself out there to be abused again and again. You can forgive from afar. Blessings to you.

            • And how you didn’t behead him on sight when he said “That’s your problem!”, I don’t know! I was flabbergasted when it happened to me, but it I ever heard someone say anything like that now, so help me God…cause I don’t know what I’d do…but I can tell you it’d be UnChristian!!!

          • Is he aware that Jesus personally named it as a reasonable dealbreaker in marriage–the only dealbreaker he ever mentioned? Matthew 5:32. Maybe *that’s* the verse you should set as your auto-reply to his texts, instead of “Thou shalt not commit adultery” as people above suggested. If you think his spin against you towards your children is highly Jesus-based, it might be worth bringing up this verse the next time they ask, especially if they seem doubtful that you did the right thing.

            I grew up as the child of missionaries based in a Bible church in Texas, and this is what I was taught: you should never divorce. UNLESS your spouse cheats.

            You are IN THE CLEAR.

            • Another great passage is Numbers 5: the test for the unfaithful wife. If a husband suspected his wife had committed adultery, he could bring her to the priest and she would be made to drink this bitter water. If she was innocent, it did no harm. If she was guilty, she would bear the consequences for her sin and her husband was innocent in the matter.

              God says we are innocent of their adultery and the spouse who committed adultery is guilty. God doesn’t say, “Well, if her husband gave her sex x number of times a week and made her perfectly happy every second, she is guilty and he is innocent but otherwise, he shares some blame.” Nope, there were no ifs ands or buts. God was pretty clear there.

        • I meant towards her daughters. I think it should be made clear to them that there is a standard for acceptable vs unacceptable behavior in a relationship and it’s not all based on their mom’s perception alone (which I’m pretty sure their father is already pushing for).

  • Ahhh…..Texas Jesus Cheaters whose choice of weapon is a bible. How well I know.

    Texas is a huge state with lots of activities to do other than allowing a cheater mental space. Washing your socks is even a more viable option. Try cheering on Patrick Mahomes, the quarterback from Texas Tech who nobody wanted…….yet will be playing for a Super Bowl ring.

    Quit wasting valuable mental space on David Koresh and get on with your life.

  • Better to be UnChristian than abused, period.

    And besides, “No one should as a woman to forgive an unrepentant sinner, as we would be asking her to do something not even God Himself would do”.

    • Yes! My priest said two things that saved my life: 1. God did not make you to be abused. 2. Absolution cannot be offered for sins without a full confession, remorse and repentance, and a sincere intent to go forward and never commit the sin again. My guess is that the poster received none of that. In fact, I’d wager that NO ONE here in CN got that. I sure as heck didn’t. We need to remember that we are dealing with abusers and someone who physically, emotionally, psychologically, and financially abused you will not hesitate to also SPIRITUALLY abuse you as well. And that is what this kind of nonsense is–spiritual abuse.

      • Besides, forgiveness doesn’t mean no consequences. If the cheater truly does all the right stuff, you can forgive them as soon as the divorce papers are signed, then get on w/your new, cheater-free life.

  • My ex-wife is a Jesus cheater too! Still thinks of herself as a wonderful Christian. Always extremely active in the church. Personally, I think she’s a communal narcissist. in other words she gets her narcissistic supply from volunteering in the church and community. Effort in those places gets you praises from many, while effort at home would only get you the praise from one.

    I don’t know about your case, but I eventually learned what my ex was telling our kid. Every time my ex dropped a bombshell and I reacted with expected anger, our child got to see Daddy being mean and Mommy being hurt. I don’t know if it was intended to drive a wedge between me and our child, but that was the effect it was having.

    I even recently learned that our child would actually be shown the text messages and emails I sent in anger. I was shocked whenever I was told this. Our child was under the impression that I did this just to hurt my ex because I had been played up as being the mean and irrational one. She was the only one who was being “Christian” about it all. Our kid had no clue what was being done that caused me to react that way. It was entirely one-sided image management by my ex to make her look like the good parent.

    So, I think the best way to think about this sort of thing is not what is being said or shown to your children, but what could be said and shown. It seems especially true with Jesus cheaters that they are very VERY adept at image management. It was always in my best interest to be completely unemotional and stick to the facts in all correspondence with my ex.

    • Communal narcissist! I hadn’t heard that term before but it is PERFECT.

      • I hadn’t heard it until recently. It perfectly fit my ex-wife. She would devote almost all of her spare time to church activities and helping others. Very little effort to family time. She saw the time at home as her “down time” where she could relax. My time was to be used to help her in her activities, or take care of the home. My down time was when she didn’t need help from me.

        I was always required to be ready, willing, and able to drop everything and run to her aid. If I didn’t I’d be labeled as selfish and she would yell her common shaming phrase of “I can’t (raise our child, do all this, etc) by myself…I need your help. I guess I have to do everything around here myself.” When I needed help, she’d act all confused as to why. I’d try to keep the house clean and when I asked her for help she’d say stuff like “it’s not that dirty”, “why, is someone visiting?”, or “is your OCD acting up again?” She’d try to play off the more rude comments as “jokes” that I was “too sensitive to get”.

        After the last D-Day caused such a fallout within the church we were going to, that I had several conversations with the pastor. He was an older man who had seen it all. I remember him saying that someone who is truly altruistic is that way in all aspects of their life. They might focus on one thing due to time constraints, but they are still the same in other situations. He went on to explain that he was very wary of the church volunteers who only wanted jobs that could be seen by others because it could be that they were doing it for the wrong reasons. He also said that it’s definitely something wrong with the ones who always says yes to requests for help in church but not to requests for help from a spouse. The are trying to look like an incredible person to many but don’t care what their spouse thinks of them so long as they don’t express their frustrations. He’s had spouses approach him about their frustrations. He said it was a good predictor of a marriage failing when a spouse would get angry at his insistence that serving one another as a married couple was more important than serving the church.

    • Your ex is abusing you, and your kid. The way I’m now dealing with the abuser I know is to treat every interaction as ‘hunh, she’s doing another weird thing. What is her manipulative goal this time?’ It’s hard not to react in the moment (ie, she stepped on my hand; later I wasn’t sure if I was crying more from the shock or the strain of not reacting while I left), but writing it down and running through it with my therapist helps. Pass all interactions with your ex through a lawyer; make ‘my lawyer will reply’ the only thing you text back to her. Be a normal parent to your kid, and in front of your kid, and the kid will figure it out.

      • I’ve definitely internalized how much she truly sucks. I don’t know why it took so long to realize how abusive she really is. I hate that you are going through it too. *Virtual fist bump*

        The awesome thing is that our child is really starting to understand. I have overheard conversations and our kid always begs my ex to promise she will do what she says. I’ve also heard our kid cry out in anger and frustration “but you promised”. I never get asked to promise that I will do something I said I would. Our kid knows who is the trustworthy one!

  • Proverbs 6:32 He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself.

    It bothers me that he would claim to be Christian but refuses to acknowledge his own fuckedupness.

  • Everyone in my opinion deserves to know the truth. Even children. Us chumped chumps made choices and decisions based on lies. Many of these choices were lifelong and life-journey altering and cannot be undone. Speaking from the position of a young woman who discovered my father’s affairs, I wish my mother had told me the truth, validated the solid proof I knew and let me stand on solid ground to make EDUCATED choices. Not gaslight me with impression management bullshit……. only then to be completely dysfunctional and have a conniption fit whenever I had contact with my father. (I’m not saying you are or will do this Sarah, but I’m also a chump and have had some raw reactions to stuff my own son has told me about what his father was saying, aka-blaming me for the “bad marriage” and divorce. We are very hurt humans, sometimes we react from the gut on a low day where our mightiness is absent.)

    My teenage son understood the, “Dad has had girlfriends during our marriage. Now has been with a (former) friend of mine for 3 years. That’s not okay with me for him to do, or for her to do. It’s not a healthy way for people to treat their supposed “loved ones”. It is very hurtful to me. Sometimes I’m going to have a sad day.” He didn’t want or need the gory details.
    At first I was keeping silent, but then I saw how he was being manipulated by my ex and my former friend and decided he needed to know the truth about the “why” his parents were divorcing instead of “because you and dad fought all the time about…..(insert ex’s asinine “reasons” ie ‘mom volunteered at the school too much’)”. That would be a horrible thing for a child to believe. That mild disagreements could and would lead to divorce? That it was justification or reasons to divorce? No way. My son wasn’t going to go out into this world thinking that about relationships.
    How my own mother “rug-swept” and “kept silent” and denied me my truth about my life really messed me up for future relationships. What I was taught was “normal” and “acceptable”, was in reality severe abuse. She trained me to be a super chump and accept poor treatment and abuse as “normal” or “the way it is”. I had no clue as to what a healthy boundary was, looked like, or felt like, and had none.
    Modeling your mighty self now while you are going through this horrendous time, with your daughters knowing the “why” mom is being mighty is a wonderful gift to give them for their future in my opinion.
    It’s so very hard to go through this. It’s not fair. It sucks. The shit sandwich buffet is open 24/7, but go through it we must. There is no other option. Fight for your girls. Keep moving forward. There’s a land of meh I’ve heard about and I think I’m seeing glimpses of it far away over a few more hills, but the shit mountains with diarrhea rivers are mostly behind me.

  • Sarah, I am not a Christian, but my parents divorced when I was 13 years old, so much younger than your daughters. My mother (who never ever spoke to my father again after more than a decade of abuse) tried her best to make us maintain a relationship with him, even forcing us at some points. She never tried to control what we thought of our father, and she also told us the main truths. I am 33 now and I am sure that I don’t want any more details. My sister stopped talking to him only 3 years after divorce (she was 13 then), and I kept seeing him, and loving him, for many years after that. However, my father sometimes tried to turn us against my mother. Even though I still loved him, I always saw it for what it was and never responded to that. He would try to make her seem the villain, but the alcohol addict who never admitted to it, never kept a steady job and never ever paid a dime in alimony was him.

    As ChumpLady said, you don’t control what he says or how your daughters feel, but hopefully they will see through his bullshit too. “Satan has invaded you” does not seem a compelling argument to me, even for a Christian. So who was he invaded by when he was screwing someone else? The bullshit cheaters try to make us believe!

    You are strong to divorce him in your context, and I wish you all the best.

  • Sarah- Therapists that tell you not to tell the children about infidelity are tiresome and indirectly favor the cheater. Marriages breaking apart for no reason is scary-more so than one parent treating the other badly. And they certainly would figure it out. You don’t have to teach them that cheating is ok for his sake. As for asking what he says about you, it’s irrelevant. Either he says the same BS to them he does to you. Or he’s like my ex and pretends to be concerned about you to the kids to appear superior since he knows you are angry with him. They both suck. He can’t do what he’s doing and say things about you that make it ok so whatever he’s saying is going to piss you off. He’s an ass. So sorry. And don’t sweat anything you’ve done so far that you wish you hadn’t. You are handling a bomb fallout as best you can. ❤️

  • He doesn’t speak Bible that well. In addition to forgetting the part about not committing adultery (and lying) the New Testament is pretty explicit about the conditions under which divorce is allowed. You are absolutely justified in divorcing a cheater. I find Jesus Cheaters especially revolting. I’d rather deal with a blatant, godless narcissist than someone who uses religion to treat other people like crap.

  • ”You don’t need to comment or defend yourself. You have EVERY RIGHT to divorce him. It’s the logical, sane thing to do.“

    And it’s biblical.

  • Sorry devout Christians, but among ten commandments there’re not one but TWO condemning adultery. One is thought shall not commit adultery and the second one – though shall not covet your neighbours wife. As to forgiveness, Jesus did forgive an adulterous woman but only because she deeply repented. She came, washed his legs with her tears and dried them wire her hair. Even if you forgive it doesn’t mean that you have to accept the cheating partner back.

    You don’t model resilience only to her children. My friend proudly told me that her great grandmother left her abusive husband with only their child on her back. This was at the end of 19th century.

    • Yup. She will be modelling excellent behaviour / resilience also to many others in her church community who may feel too cowed to leave their own cheating spouses.

  • Your strength of conviction will be an inspiration to your daughters , if not now in the future . You already know you are not to blame and they will see through any nonsense he attempts to yarn. Your confidence yet heart driven empathy for your daughters’ well being is absolutely warrior -like . I too heard the pick and choose bible verses most which didn’t apply but merely sounded all fire and brimstony . Adultery is mentioned in the bible quite often and nowhere is it justified . In fact of the 10 commandments it is mentioned twice, making it 20% of faith base law.

  • I am speechless at the spectacular hypocrisy of this “pastor”. Blame-shifting Jesus cheaters make me especially sick. Like Chump Lady says, I’d just have a standard response of “THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY” any time he throws Bible speak at you. Broken record.

    In my own world, the traitor I married considers himself a financial genius and me a total idiot. I found out after he moved out that he had been hiding money from me the entire 20 years we were married. Six figures. Cash. When I brought it up in mediation, he said he talked to a lawyer that told him that HE had a good case against ME for “mismanagement of funds” during our marriage. That clearly I wasn’t acting in the best interests of our family considering the number of personal items I had.

    You read that right.


    Just more proof that divorcing him is logical and sane.

    “Pastor” in this case stands for Perfect Asshole, Satanic Traitor Only Regurgitates.

    • Omgosh. What a fucking lunatic. But he can hide money and lie about commitments of marriage/fidelity? I was told not to say anything about the second time…. “Think of the family and what we have been through”. Yah bc of you, idiot. Tell that to your ho-worker. I almost took out a billboard on the freeway. If I heard “I promise I wont do it again” again, I was going to to be in an orange suit. Not really, but the thoughts were there!

      Man i love this site, i am not alone.

  • D’day for me was six years ago. My story in a nutshell ex is a closeted gay Jesus cheater who from the moment he finally came clean felt no one needed to know. His reasoning, by confessing it was all in his past and that my being angry with him was just the outworking of my own on going sin. There was no going back for me and with our youngest diagnosed with cancer a month following D’day I had to focus on her wellbeing than putting more futile effort into a marriage that was nothing more than a facade. In the weeks and months that followed Ex played the victim, and with my filing for divorce provided him with all he needed to make his story stick. It was academy award winning. It was so convincing that he was able to hook another woman in less than 9 months and was back serving in the church in 12. For a long time I struggled with the lies that were filtering back to me. He would convince anyone who would listen that he was the victim, he carefully omitted that he had cheated and that he is into guys. Everything in me wanted to set the record straight. One day a good friend (aka XSIL) said to me that I needed to stop, that I did not need to prove myself to anyone or try and convince people that he was telling lies. Because those who knew me and had my best interest at heart knew the truth and those who bought into his lies in time would eventually see the truth for themselves because there was no fruit to his claims of being restored. And I have to say she was right. 6 years on life is very different. I have grown, I love being no contact and when it is broken for any reason as it was recently for his mother passed away. It was like sliding into the twilight zone. He no longer affects me because I am no longer investing my time in what he thinks, says or does. My kids and his family know exactly who he is and because I was able to stop buying into his special brand of crazy and feeding the greedy little narc kibble I have been able to find my way to Meh, I have a great relationship with his brothers and the XSIL they are more my family than his which is good for my kids to have that relationship. Your ex wants to upset you, he wants you to retaliate in any way he can because it will feed his narrative. I’m sorry but, You are not his wife or someone he cares about you are just a support player in his narc fueled play for one. Disengaging is vital to you finding solid ground and until you do it enough times he will use anyone he can to keep you in that supporting role, especially your kids and they will do it unwittingly because they do not realise they too are just a support act.

  • Oh, CL… you had me at “Jesus cheaters are so tiresome!”

    I am a highly faithful person. My trust in God got me through many a dark day during my devalue and discard (and subsequent divorce)… lol… my own little trinity come to think of it. ANYWAY… here is what I believe:

    – Satan (if you believe in that) is in your Cheater… not you. You were betrayed by someone who is weak and lacks the moral character he so righteously preaches (me thinks he doth protest too much)?

    – God does not want us to live in abusive relationships. THAT IS NOT HIS WILL. That would be your cheater’s will exerted over you and the kids.

    – You cannot control the narrative. My stepkids (much older) have seen actual personal ads, pictures of their Dad online, and IMs popping up on computer screens from his online sex buddies… and they still love him… they still spend time with him… I don’t control that, not even with the son I share with my fuckwit.

    – 17 and 20 are great ages for your daughters to see a faith-filled Mom and woman exerting her right to live an honest and Christian life (the commandments do sure come in handy here… not just adultery, but lying, coveting, you name it)

    – the first time you “catch them” is never the first time they cheated… if we really had that kind of luck, don’t you think we’d all be winning the Powerball lottery more often?

    You just keep doing you. Tell your truth (keep it simple). You have a cheater free life ahead of you.

  • Advice to tell the girls the facts is correct. Treat them like the grown women they nearly are and they will step up to that level and have the appropriate respect for you and growing disdain for him. Tell.

    My adult daughters were on about a 6 month delay in processing the grief behind me. They initially believed it had nothing to do with them but as their idiot father revealed his true nature they realized how they were also thrown overboard in favor of a cheap twat who is the eldest daughter’s age. He abandoned them too and insisted they get over it and toe his line of self-serving bullshit. They refused. It took a little while but they see him for what he is and are now NC with him. I didn’t poison them against him, they just finally tasted the bitter cyanide in the kool aid he was ladling up for them.

    If they are also church-minded young ladies I think it will be important to show them that he is abusing the church and the Bible with his spouting of admonitions against you for his own sins, bashing your family into a pulp with the Good Book which is absolutely the craft of the devil. Perhaps a pastor outside of your own church can sit with the 3 of you to hash out that part of it so they are clear your STBX is operating from a place that is absolutely unholy. He is trying to control you all with his false words and you can fight that.

    • Right on, Now I.C. and ICSTMC!!
      The realm of the demonic is absolutely hellbent on destroying families. Craft of the devil is so very accurate!
      I waged spiritual warfare within my own home daily before X left. He was indwelt by many different evil spirits. I displayed no fear and used the Word of God to get his vitriolic abuse out of my face, speaking directly to the demons.
      Jesus stated over and over, “Fear not”. Worry and fear are two sides of the same coin.
      Tracy is right, as always. Let none of us ever worry about what exes are saying. The badmouthing will occur and the lying will continue.
      People close to the cheater generally find out they’ve been conned. Karma arrives, God punishes; we all reap what we sow.
      That is a basic universal principle, whether one believes in God or not

  • “Keep modeling strength and sanity”

    So many wise word in CL’s response to you Sarah.
    This statement hits home to me.

    Your letter to CL touches my heart. I too had two daughters at DDay time, well one was forming in utero, her sister had just turned three.
    Even though my story is different in that cheater stayed I still went on to be the present, sane, loving parent.
    I do believe I have always modelled strength and sanity, but would often lose these virtues and had to fight hard to revive them, but I always did, and will.
    Sarah, your journey now is very very difficult, but all the things that CL told you, and that CN will preach to you, take strength in all of this Sarah. Let them guide you toward the light.
    Always remember, it was never you, it was, and is, always on him.
    A husband and father who brings another woman into the family home while you are away, and then BLAMESHIFTS everything onto you, well, what does it even matter what he thinks or says or wants.
    Sarah, you are so Mighty for immediately taking action.
    Your daughters will soon figure out who is the sane, present, loving parent. Your STBX has none of these qualities. He is shallow, selfish and ignorant. Good luck to him in having any future good kind of a relationship with his own flesh and blood Children. He is going to need it.
    In the meantime, Sarah, be you, the one with morals and integrity, hold your head high.
    You have always put your daughters first place in your heart, where they belong.
    Stay strong sweet lady.
    (I am with you every step of your journey).

  • Sarah, it stings to be betrayed once, and then have the perpetrator betray us again by flaming us, and trying to twist our children against us. It’s double and triple abuse. It shows their character. They have no shame, no guilt, no humility. My ex cheated for 3 years, then convinced our kids that his behavior was all a case of ptsd due to his friend’s death. And yes my kids bought it. And they blamed me for not understanding. And for destroying the family. He played the sad sausage. He slept holding my nightgown and made sure the kids knew that! He told the kids I refused family therapy. I did. It was incredibly punishing. He is their father and they chose/choose to turn a blind eye to his behavior. So I have to center myself in the truth and realize that I can’t control or influence my children’s view on him. It sucks some days. But it would suck more to have to ‘wife’ for this human turd.

    Please block his emails. My lawyer read copies of what he sent to me and offered to get a court order to block electronic communication from my ex. I declined, but for the first year I had a friend read his emails to tell me if there was anything of importance about the kids in them. After that I totally blocked his emails.

    I was raised Christian too. But I know that what he did to me was sick and wrong, and even my priest told me to leave. My ex knows I am religious, and he tried to use that whip over me as well. I never fell for that. No religion I know obligates us to stay with an adulterer and liar. He shit on our vows. I was with him since I was a teenager, and he shit on us. Every encounter with him is an opportunity for him to abuse you more. Go no contact for your mental health.

  • “He recently told me that I am evil and have been invaded by Satan.

    And who wouldn’t want Satan on their legal team?”

    That is funny!

  • Thank you, Chump Lady. Some words are hard to hear, but all true. We have handled logistics via text and done OK, but then it becomes a text war. I will contact my attorney and try to fast track. It’s hard to manage the financial end since everything is joint. But my lawyer will know what to do. I thank God for you, Chump Lady, and Chump Nation, for support esp during the times when it’s hard to be strong – can’t sleep, behind at work, feeling like a failure. I think one of the best parts of Chump Nation is the unending stories that Affirm that this betrayal IS actually as traumatic as it feels. Because the cheater thinks it is not a big deal and that we chumps are over-reacting. After 25+ years of marriage, he knows how to push my buttons to get an emotional response and then use it against me. I hate it, but you are right that I can’t control it. Pray for me as I try to go No Contact.

    • Prayers going up, dear Sarah. You ABSOLUTELY MUST go no contact. Block his texts and calls – these text wars are keeping you trapped in the toxic cesspool of your ex’s disgusting behavior. God is calling you forth OUT of this cesspool.
      Your ex is so caught up In serving the flesh (Romans Chapter 8) he is spouting useless nonsensical crap. Block all contact. You walk away and give God the room to deal with him.
      His Apology/trickle truth without full repentance is meaningless and further offensive to God.
      Look up Divorce Minister and read his e-book. I’m holding you and your girls in prayer.

      • Hi Sarah, I’ve included you in my prayers too.
        Divorce Minister is a great help.
        Your soon to be ex husbands accusation about you letting satan in is sheer projection on his part. Was he looking in a mirror?
        God weighs our hearts.

    • I will pray for you. Yes, your ex will try to contact you for the purpose of goading your emotions. It’s what they do. But, there are many good articles on No Contact, and on the Gray Rock Technique, for times when you are forced to have contact/communication.

    • Dearest Sarah,

      He knows how to push your buttons because He INSTALLED them. You’re going to see this fact one ☝️ day. On said day, You will be armed with the button removal tool and become a Samurai in its Use.

      What I see in you is a Godly woman struggling in your faith, then being pulled away and back again by doubt. This too shall pass.

      I struggled with the God of my understanding immediately after D day. I cussed Him out for the ridiculous state of my affairs ( no pun intended). We had a brawl of sorts. Then He says to me, “It’s cool Son. You’re Angry. Are you done yet? I got your 6!! now shut up, listen and let me do my job Yeh!?”

      And as is His way with me -in my limited number of trips around the Sun (Son), I came to intimately understand the true depth of betrayal Yeshua felt. He told the town whore, “Go and sin No more”.

      God’s plan for us all is simple. To be Happy, Joyous and Free. That’s it! The biggest gift of All was our free will to choose, experience and learn how to do just that- with a clean ???? heart ❤️ .

      I cut ties in 10 months with my Jezzabell. I chose the biblically sound divorce option.

      I told Our Adult children (x3) the truth. I shared one screen shot with them of a post hook up conversation with one of her Co-adulterers. That was enough for them to make their own decisions. .

    • Praying for you, Sarah in Texas. You’ll be alright. God doesn’t give us burdens we can’t handle. You are strong and will get through this. Channel your strength in order to go NC.

    • Go for full custody even if youngest is 17. Go for alimony for all the years of your marriage. Put in divorce decree he pays for college, keeps life insurance with daughters as beneficiaries, health insurance at best plan regardless of premium, daughter not required to meet and be around affair partner during visitation til she is ready and he pays for counseling for your daughters and you. Go for more than 50/50 split of assets. Talk to a certified divorce financial planner. Always start high and negotiate down. I try to talk about the financial side because once the reality of the horrible betrayl and derailment of your life plan and dreams sinks in, you’ll wish you’d taken care of yourself monetarily at least. Strike while the iron is hot.

  • Clearly he is a sociopath and you need to give your daughters enough information to understand this. I’m not sure what part of the affair they’re asking you about but it kind of sounds like you haven’t told them that he had an affair and brought this woman into your home?

    With them being 17 & 20 I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to share that information with them. They need to know who they are truly dealing with.

    If your daughters are completely ignorant of the true nature of his character then they could easily be dating and one day marrying people that are just like dad because afterall, as far as they know, he’s a great guy.

  • Sooo the devil invaded his loins and deposited them between the legs of Jezebel and then Satan invaded your body, Sarah, and made you bring consequences for the adultery he is clearly not responsible for…Boy that Satan, planting such terrible ideas in your head….nay walking you zombie like to the divorce lawyer who is no doubt also clearly a possessed minion of the devil himself…… Hmm….seems like a good exorcism should cure all ails and bring family back together? No?

    On a serious note, please do not stonewall your daughters. It’s just as damaging to them as their fuckwit father trying to fill their heads with insane lies. They need to know the truth and when you stonewall, you leave them floundering and questioning their sanity. They know intuitively or simply rationally and logically that dad is a fuckwit, but they are seeking to verify. When you stonewall, you deny them truth and also come across as someone they can’t fully trust right now – lie of omission. They need you to be sane, to be their rock.

    That doesn’t mean you tell them gory details, but it does mean that you tell them factual truth about what happened, why their family suddenly blew up. The older daughter already knows anyway. No doubt they talk.

    No question their father is blowing all kinds of smoke and lies and rage and charm and self pity and blame shifting their way. They will ask you hard question, you need to have the courage to answer them in an honest, factual manner. Be the model and sanity and reason, be their rock. They’ll figure it out fast enough. Just don’t stonewall them because the unknown, the unanswered questions, the “you can’t handle the truth” response creates bigger nightmares than the actual truth. Imagination is always worse than reality and when your responses are so cryptic, all you are really doing is fueling their imagination, fear, and uncertainty in terms which one of you they can believe, who can they trust or whether you are both messed up and they need to step away from both of you.

  • I think it’s fair to be pretty candid, like saying something along the lines of “Now isn’t the time. When some time has passed, I can share a bit more. Right now, everything is too intense and raw and it’s not fair to put you in the middle of our relationship issues by sniping about each other to you. You know the most important information and I’m not keeping any major secrets from you about anything. The only thing I’m not discussing is the details, and that’s not really necessary for you to grasp the crux of the issue.”

    I’m just thinking there might be room to (a) reassure them that there’s not another shoe to drop, (b) reassure them that your intended outcomes are honesty and integrity, and loading them up with salacious detail would lack integrity for you as a parent, and (c) gives them an opportunity to understand, via your behavior modeling, that sniping about the other parent is actually unfair and mean to them and puts them in the middle.

    Your ex is clearly mean and extremely deceptive by nature. Your daughters will understand this more and more over time, and it will be painful to grasp. Your strength of heart is clear in your letter and that will shine through.

    My words are just suggestions. You will find your right path. ⭐

  • During our reconciliation “no change” connected with a couple of female religious cheaters.
    Soon after that, guess what? Satan was now in our house since”I” could not recover.
    Apparently satan wasn’t at our home when she was inviting the pedophile into our home. It was my pain that invited the lord of the underworld in….sigh.

    On a positive note this week. I had my first date in 28 yrs. lord I was Labrador loyal.
    It was unintentional, but the date was on a Tuesday! Ha!!

      • Thanks Doug for the bit of male validation,

        It was nice.
        She laughed WITH me at most of my jokes. I can be damn funny. She listened and took turns in conversation like an adult should and she seemed to be interested in me.
        It was nice.

        You know the big difference really was within me.
        For a guy who lost his mother(i am an only child), divorced from his 24 yr marriage, had to put down his last dog, his only daughter went off to college and all within the last year. I am doing pretty well and it has been the result of 3 years of intensive “swimming in my own pool”. Doing my work on codependency and female validation issues. I gave up on “no change” and started working on me.
        Those needy issues are just no longer there when I am in the presence of a woman.

        It was very nice.

        • That’s great to hear.

          Dating again is not easy.

          Thank you for giving me hope. I had a rough day and to know that someone with as many challenges are you can make it through, is extremely valuable. I’m only 8 months out and have been doing the work but it can be tiresome.

          Keep being awesome.

          • One of the best tools that saved my life, literally, was a good set of wireless ear buds.
            I became a podcast addict. I could pick a subject that moved me forward and have hours of wonderful distraction from her bullshit swimming in my head. Jordan Peterson was my go to. He enabled me to think around personal corners that I had never considered. I found as a men dissembling ourselves pc. by pc. opens the door to a whole new healthy aim. Once “no change” imploded my family. My aim was lost to me. It has been a very long road and I still find myself pausing, but I have put my faith in my Mountain Guide and am walking toward a new aim.

            Good luck brother.

  • Keep it simple. “ Your dad did some things that are not allowed in a marriage and it hurt me deeply. It means we can’t stay married anymore. I’m sorry this happened because it wasn’t just me that got hurt but also the two of you.“

  • Sarah, your ex is a master of jackassery. Block those sanctimonious emails or get a lawyer to intercept them. After texting me in the middle of the night (on our 10th wedding anniversary) that he was moving in with his girlfriend, my ex then sent crazy long emails lecturing me about “how to coparent” and what I could and couldn’t communicate to my 3 heartbroken children. So the issue was never about HIS actions, just about what I was doing wrong as I tried to carry on with my life. I am not religious now but grew up in a VERY conservative church that my mom and brother are still a part of. My brother is now seeking full custody as his children were in danger when they were with his ex wife who is an addict. Her mother sent long lectury emails and texts to him telling him that this was so sad for her daughter and that “…a real Christian would have handled this differently”. Oh REALLY? What would be the appropriate Christian response here, Julie? Let the minor children continue to suffer? Hope that they don’t die?
    I am not a theologian but I am pretty sure that God loves us and doesn’t want children or adults to suffer the mindfuck of dealing with sanctimonious assholes. Block him and tell your kids the truth. And be proud of yourself for knowing that you and your kids deserve a life free from his ridiculous lies and justifications.

    • Yeah, active addicts don’t filter reality the same way other people do. My husband overdosed on heroin in our house and our then 10 year old daughter and I were home at the time. Doesn’t see that it was harmful to our daughter. I’ve got full custody. He has no visitation. And won’t. He can preach all he wants, but his actions put the kids at risk. We have to be the sane ones.

      • No, they don’t deal in reality and their enablers don’t either. I am so glad you and your daughter are safely away from him.

  • On DDay, my 13 year old son commented “Well, now, I guess dad isn’t following the ten commandments now, is he?” He said it in a sardonic voice. My husband is a bible thumper. Always criticizing my level of faith. I didn’t know what I was talking about. HE knew the Bible. HE read the Bible. Shortly after DDay, my husband took our 13 year old son aside to explain why the part of “though shalt not commit adultery” didn’t apply. He is a man of his word, a man of honor, and is going to do the right thing and marry the woman he cheated with. They really are a special brand of crazy.

    Our two children see him for who he is. They were there on DDay with me and found out at the same time. They know him. They are glad we are divorcing. They want no contact with dad. At all. And they haven’t seen him.

    A good friend of mine commented that even though my husband was always spouting scripture, his actions never aligned with his words. That despite me being shaky on verse, I’m living a Christian life my husband tried forcing down our throats. Even if I weren’t Christian, I would still be living a better life because I’m honest, kind, empathetic, loyal, loving and caring. I’m respectful to others. Husband is none of those things.

    Good luck Sarah. Do tell your daughters. It’s their truth too. It’s their family that got blown up by your cheater’s actions, not just your marriage.

    • I think cheaters have a problem with self awareness and hypocrisy in general. Whatever moral code (Christianity or other) they try to enforce on everyone else, it doesn’t seem to apply to them. Sometimes they make excuses, other times they just doesn’t enter into their brains at all that their actions might not be aligning with their outwardly presented moral code.

      • In my experience, it isn’t exactly hypocrisy (they don’t think “I don’t have to obey the same rules as other people”), but rather that they think there’s some exception so that the normal rule doesn’t apply to them (“twu luv”, typically). The effect is the same, and it looks the same to us on the outside, but this allows them to believe that they’re not disobeying the rules they expect everyone else to adhere to, but just that the rules aren’t relevant for their particular situation.

        For instance, I think my XW would feel bad if she admitted to herself she had stopped loving me. Instead, she decided that she loved me *too much* and all the love just got used up. It’s a neat trick if you can pull it off without your head exploding.

        • In recovery communities this is known as “terminal uniqueness.” My husband has it in spades.

        • In my ex’s case I think he was even more oblivious than that. A week after DDay when we were supposed to be reconciling and I was on board with that and he was the one who was waffling he tearfully told me about how awful Schmoopie’s husband was to have cheated on her and how kind she was to have taken him back. He said this with seemingly no recognition at all of the similarity to our situation at the time. He didn’t make excuses as to why he wasn’t a jerk to have cheated on me and why I wasn’t kind to be willing to take him back. It never even crossed his mind at all. It was very hurtful because the message I got from that was “Everybody’s feelings matter but yours.” That kind of gets to the heart of the whole thing with the cheater attitude.

      • “Whatever moral code (Christianity or other) they try to enforce on everyone else, it doesn’t seem to apply to them.”

        AKA narcissistic entitlement.

      • “Whatever moral code (Christianity or other) they try to enforce on everyone else, it doesn’t seem to apply to them.”

        YES! They really think they’re the exceptions to rules. They’re “special.”

  • I’m also of the camp that believes that it’s important to be truthful to the children. Since your children are 17 and 20, they can hear that truth as adults/near adults. They’re old enough to know about infidelity. They know it’s wrong. Telling them that you filed for divorce because you discovered their father has been carrying on with a 2-year affair and that adultery is a deal-breaker is perfectly legit. You’re not trying to get them to hate their father. Their relationship with their father is on them. If they press you for details, you can pass, saying that this is very painful for you and that you don’t want to put them in the middle while it’s still raw. However, once the divorce is final, you will answer their questions to the best of your ability.

    Reassure them both that you respect that Jesus Cheater is their father and that they have the right to maintain their own relationships with him, but you’re not ever going to put them in the middle–including passing along messages.

    For divorce support from an evangelical Christian perspective, check out He also has published a book.

    It will drive you nuts that you don’t know what your Jesus Cheater is saying about you behind your back, but Chump Lady is right: you don’t control that. What you do control is YOU. You get to model sanity and resilience.

    • I’ll check out that site and book too, thanks. My Jesus cheater, when in rage after I told him I wanted a divorce, shouted at me that “honesty is not the most important thing in the world”. “Oh yeah, what is?” “Jesus Christ!” he stated victoriously. “And what does Jesus Christ say about lying?” ” I haven’t lied to you in months!!” (We’ve been together for 21 years..)
      When I told him I wasn’t going to lie to our daughter for him, he goes to shout at her (she is locked in the bathroom, crying): “Don’t listen to mommy’s lies!”

      I was so mad. I’m still mad. I’m her solid rock, the safe and honest person. How dare he gaslight her that I’d lie, to try to crumble the trust that she is in solid ground with me. I know that in the end he just sabotages himself with that kind of bullshit, but it upsets me so much for my sweet daughter’s sake. She is 11 years old, really bright and intuitive and has a lot of faith.

      I have promised to always be honest with her -like the time she came home from pre-school and asked me why I’d been lying to her that Santa isn’t real, because everyone said that he is? I told her that while I am not always right and I don’t know everything, I’d never intentionally lie to her.
      She had some perception distortions at that time and that has pretty much gone away during the last few years, but with a super sensitive child like her it’s especially insidious to lie and gaslight. Grrrrrr.

      The people at my church are ignorant of personality disorders. When JC cries and says he is sorry, the think it’s what they would be feeling in that situation – genuine remorse. Even though they know about what he has done and how he has lied, they still believe what he says.

  • Ugh. I guess I am still at square one trying to understand how these people can do such horrible things and still have the ability to feel self righteous about it and turn it around on those they hurt. They DARVO and make the victim feel like the one who is causing the problems, in fact they outright insist it is the victim who it causing the problems. I can’t stand the injustice of it all.

    I guess I am flunking CL University and need to go back and re-read how narcissists even exist again. I can accept that they do and not allow one to hurt me ever again, but I still stub my toe on understanding how in the hell they think this way at all, how are they allowed to even exist in nature. I need to get that naivete out of my own head. I think once I can fully stop fighting it will be when I reach my Tuesday and can simply know it just like I know the sky is blue.

    • “stop trying to untangle the skein of fuckedupness” aka (their thinking) you will never figure it out because your not like them! I remind myself this with every stunt my ex pulls- Grey rock the best I can with 2 children with him. I am not at Tuesday- Probably 10 years when I can cut all ties. But everything in my life is peaceful; except “communication / contact from him”. Hope this helps you!

      • This is really hard to grasp, but it makes total sense if you step back and realize that if you’re from Planet Normal, there is no way that you can understand Planet Dysfunction. Trying to figure this out leads you down a rabbit hole and sucks you more into their world. This is actually what your cheater is trying to get you to do. Once you’re in their world, then you are lost and trying to figure out how things work. You’re also isolated, you give them more centrality, and you’re much more vulnerable to abuse.

        Just trust that they suck. Once you do, you realize that their actions are not normal, that they operate from a sense of entitlement which will always excuse any of their actions, no matter how heinous.

  • Miss Sarah In Texas,
    I can certainly empathize with worrying about what someone else says about you. My kids and I spent 2 years after D-day the next town over; when we returned to our former little hometown, my ex had been busy spreading her propoganda. You should see the dirty looks I get pretty much anywhere: the community pool, kids’ activities, the grocery store. The owner of the tire shop where I used to get my Michelin’s will no longer take my money. Even people who know the truth have ostracized me. I have been banned from the barber shop I used to go to, as “it’s not about who’s right or wrong, but about hurting that person afterwards;” apparently, putting the fact that she was a cheater on a legal document made her cry, and was just so mean (sob).
    That said, with your kids, I think they are close enough to the crime to know the truth. Just be brief, with no details: “Dad had an affair for 2 years. He admitted it to me himself. It hurts me to talk about the details, even to you all.” They will figure it out for themselves, especially if the Office S*x Dispenser starts hanging around.

  • There actually is a way to counter whatever tall tales the idiot might be spinning, and that is to live your life with the same steady faith and ethics you’ve always brought to it, and with the same well worn moral compass firmly and familiarly in hand.

    Among the many advantages of this approach is that it is freeing. Information about him? Contact? Reconnaissance? Counter-spy reports? Karmic updates? You don’t need or want any of those. You just keep going on the path of your one and only life.

    I understand the fear that the children will be sucked into the same vortex or lies and confusion with which the idiot has consumed so many others, but they have an advantage when it comes to reaching escape velocity, and that advantage is the one and only you.

    Since a spiritual perspective is meaningful to you, consider this: a key feature of goodness is that is abides. It endures. Evil and lies constantly shift, erase, confuse. They have no steady identity, no core, no depth.

    But you? You endure through it all, your deep character perhaps further enriched by the awfulness you’ve experienced, but not essentially changed.

    I believe kids and others will ultimately notice that and take it to heart, but even if they don’t—even when it seems as if every single person has foresaken you—you abide, because ultimately you can only be who you are, and that is a beautiful thing.

  • x found false accusation was a great way to get my attention and compliance. x also tossed the accusation that I wasn’t a good spouse (appliance) as defined by our (supposed shared) faith. x was just throwing lots of wet noodles at me, trying to find something to stick.

  • If a child of any age asks a question, they are able to hear the answer. Don’t embellish with details; if they want more information, they will ask. But it’s best not to lie to children, nor to leave them hanging when they feel uncertain.

    • That’s exactly what I’m saying and how I’ve dealt with my daughter’s questions regarding anything serious, for example questions about sex (where do babies come from?) etc. Our relationship is very close and she trusts me to be honest with her. So anyone trying to accuse me wrongly is not easily believed by her. Thankfully. STBXH tried to gaslight her into believing that I’d lie about what he’s done 🙁

  • the man is CRAZY. So typical of the cheater-not that cheating is problem, but your reaction TO IT IS THE PROBLEM. I say answer all questions honestly. I wouldn’t use, “he allowed a woman into our home” which sounds so passive-I would say he brought another woman into my home and my bed while I was gone periodically for the past two years, I will not tolerate his cheating, lying, deception. What you accept is up to you. I do not require you stop loving him. But I must require it of myself.

    • Ok. So, it’s not murder or child abuse or any other heinous sin that’s the problem…it’s just our reaction to it that’s the problem. We should all let evil flourish without consequences… No, sorry, their logic doesn’t work.

  • I am not intimately familiar with the bible but even I know that “though shalt not commit adultery” is on God’s top ten list. I seem to recall that there is even something in there about adultery being a valid reason for divorce.

    • // I seem to recall that there is even something in there about adultery being a valid reason for divorce.//
      I wish it did say that, but it doesn’t….is allowed for “porneia” (is the greek word), which means fornication or harlotry for those in the process before marriage called betrothal, but not for adultery after marriage, which is a different greek word (moichao). Once married, there is nothing in the bible that ends the “covenant” of marriage except the death of one of the spouses (Mark 10:11-12, Rom 7:2-3, if you wish to refer.) Adultery would certainly be considered a violation of the covenant, just as would abuse, gambling, etc, but doesn’t end the covenant, though it is certainly reason to live separately. I know, I know…”kill the messenger bringing good tidings of such great joy.” The apostle named Paul gives us instructions if we do, indeed, divorce…we are to remain unmarried or reconcile (1 Cor 7:11). In the next verse he says “to the rest,” which means the betrothed who haven’t covenanted yet, he also believes a betrothed spouse can divorce another if their partner is an unbeliever in Jesus as the Christ (doesn’t apply once married, though). In reality, it’s a painful study for a believer. For me, this topic is the most difficult to peruse here at the site. I am grateful to CL and for those who share here each day. Peace!

      • The meaning of porneia is widely debated. My greek lexicon says it means “Illicit sexual intercourse”, then it gives examples like adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, incest. It seems like some churches want the definition of porneia to be really broad in the case of single people (ie. no going even to second base with your significant other when you’re single, no pornography, etc), but then the definition of porneia becomes really narrow when applied to married people who are being abused with adultery.

        I would hope whatever you believe about porneia, that you don’t see it as a reason to put your health and safety at risk. Many churches focus on reconciling the marriage, even when it is dangerous to the safety of the faithful person. A lot of times, when we need the most support, we get it the least because reconciliation is seen as more important than our safety or well being.

  • I heard the same thing, over and over. “But I thought you were a Christian.” That was before I found the Golden Ticket of Infidelity. TicketS. Multiple affairs over the entire marriage. What a shame that I thought I had to have a Golden Ticket to begin with, when it was actually the day-to-day neglect, contempt, and mistreatment that ruined my marriage like a slow case of Alzheimers, rather than the hit by a bus D-Days.

    The church is just starting to figure out that telling us to love unconditionally is RIDICULOUS. Would you give those wedding vows to your daughters?! “I’ll remain faithfully married if you beat me. I’ll remain faithfully married if you fuck around on me.” Egads. If you’re a Christian, you recognize the truth about UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. God may love people unconditionally, but He doesn’t remain in relationship with them unconditionally — to be reconciled to God Himself you have to REPENT. Deep and long-term repentance. (See Chump Lady’s amazing posts on Genuine Naugahyde Repentance.)

    Pick up Gary Thomas’ new book “When to Walk Away — Finding Freedom From Toxic People.” As much as people want to tell you that What Would Jesus Do is stay and love unconditionally and eat lifelong shit sandwiches, Gary tells a different story, of a kick-ass Savior who walked away from toxicity. Yeah, no one really likes to talk about the red-letter quotes “Don’t throw your pearls before swine, to be trampled under their feet,” or “Shake the dust of your sandals and move on.” Or even “Get behind me, Satan.” (I think this often when picturing my ex-husband/Jesus Cheater. In fact, it’s occurred to me that I’ve never seen Satan and ex in the same room together. Hmmm….could they be one and the same?)

    Tips for answers for church folks (who may be sincere, but sincerely wrong about “Love him unconditionally):

    1. I’m tired of being tested for STDs.
    2. I didn’t have a problem with my marriage, but his girlfriend(s) didn’t like me.

    I discovered pretty quickly that tossing out a zinger like those let people know I had a Golden Ticket and basically shut them up. (I know some Chumps will say you don’t need a Golden Ticket or an explanation, but if you’re a Christian Chump, you’ll likely want one and feel the need to defend yourself.
    It’s easy to say You don’t owe anyone anything, but Christian Chumps who want to stay in their church might feel differently.)

    By the way, for anyone dealing with a Jesus Cheater and often the Church That Supports Them and blames YOU for leaving — don’t lose your faith over it. Share just enough to explain why you left and wait to see their response. Then leave the church if you have to, but don’t walk away from a faith that’s sustained you because one church is clueless about wolves in sheep’s clothing. (Duh…. read your Bible, preachy people, Matthew 7:15, in RED LETTERS.)

    Sorry for the dissertation, but this struck a chord. Btw, I am six years divorced, two daughters who now see the truth about their dad, remarried for almost three years to a wonderful, Christian man, also a Chump, who is everything I ever dreamed of in a husband. Hang in there. IT GETS BETTER. <3

    • I agree, us Christian chumps should never walk away from faith and Jesus. It’s not God’s fault Jesus Cheaters make a mockery of His love and forgiveness and that the church is be legalistic and cruel about marriage and divorce. If they care about my marriage to JC more than they care about me, I choose to not attend.

  • One of the most affirming things for me when I was going through the divorce from Cheater #1 was having my Jehovah’s Witness friend actually lead me through all the bible references to adultery being wrong, God hating adultery, how it is one of the only acceptable reasons for divorce, etc. I was raised Christian, but not necessarily the most devout. So when she pointed all this out to me, I was relieved in a way, because I had truly tried to save the marriage and like most here had nothing to work with. Her biblical references and reasoning just underscored what I was trying to tell myself – that a marriage cannot be saved by only one spouse.

    It also helped when Uncle Priest tried to talk me into saving the marriage “for the sake of the baby”. Hey, um, Uncle Priest, can I share this bible verse with you? I found it very enlightening. Let’s just say he ended the conversation pretty quickly after that.

  • Just beware that the stbx husband and family is simply trying to manipulate through the label “unchristian.” They know you value following Christ. So, they are pulling that “lever” of shame to get you to do what they want you to do–namely, end the divorce proceedings. My ex and her family did a similar thing with me calling me a bad Christian. Consider the source. And consider what they are doing by invoking this shaming label. You do not need to give them any power in this. So, they think you are “unchristian”… rich coming from someone minimizing their child’s infidelity and the child who broke multiple Ten Commandments.

  • Sarah-I was in your position up until recently. My kids are 18 and 15.

    I was SO concerned that they wouldn’t see their dad for what he truly is.

    I decided not to worry about it-and low and behold-the kids are NOW understanding why I left their dad.

    It DOES happen. You don’t have to do ANYTHING to make it happen.

    The cheaters eventually show their true colors without any assistance from the chumps.

    They can’t help it because they don’t change.

    Your daughters will realize how much you are there for them and he is not. Divorcing has a way of doing that. Once they realize that it was and is YOU who put them first-it will be blatantly obvious.

    I was so afraid that my STBXH would come out smelling like a rose because he does so much image management-but smart, empathetic people can see right through him.


    • I wish it would be easier to see through my STBXH. His therapist is even smitten with him and doesn’t see his manipulation. He actually just called me and sort of defended STBXH. (We’ve gone to couple’s terapy with him in the beginning and I saw him a few times on my own. But he feels now it’s best not to see me individually as he has conflicting loyalty to STBXH.)
      The people in my church don’t see through him. I didn’t. Nobody does. My family, who are all Christians, stand by me though. And my daughter says she understands why I wanted to separate, even though she is sad about it.

      That makes it so hard not to go crazy thinking that it must be me, if almost everyone thinks he is genuinely sorry and his sadness is real, how can it not be? But I believed it for 21 years and it got me screwed. Many times. And I’m still here fighting my tendency to feel sorry for him and to believe he is being true.

      • Miss Guided-I had some people whom I believed were LIFE LONG FRIENDS. Ride or die. We used to tell each other that.

        Since I left my cheater-those people thought I was being TOO harsh with him-even tho they know what he did to me.

        I cut them out of my life. Blocked them on FB, blocked their numbers on my phone-went no contact.

        It took me a full year to do it-and I was so upset at them-but now-I feel liberated.

        Your daughter saying she understands but is sad-that is AWESOME!!!! Sounds to me like those are truly genuine feelings I would have if I were a daughter going through this-and that the two of you have a great relationship if she was willing to confide that in you.

        It does take time-when you get frustrated-just remind yourself of how HAPPY you are that you aren’t in that horrible situation any more and you are FREE!!!

        • I’m ready to dump people who make me feel like shit. Enough is enough. I have my daughter, family and a few friends. I never want to se SIL again, she is a monster. I’ll get through this. Thanks ❤️

        • Stbx’s therapist called me. After talking with me for a moment he said I had a lot of anger. No shit Sherlock. I used to have no anger toward my cheater, but now realize it’s healthy to be angry when wronged.

      • My ex’s therapist was smitten with him too! Ex would take him special bottles of wine…
        I think they mostly talked about how angry I was when I found out about the double life and how nobody could withstand that sort of anger (poor poor ex – he was the real victim). I’ve heard the only people a narcissist destroys are the spouse and children – a narc can keep the impression management going to fool friends quite easily. It’s one of those horrible unfair things that takes a good long while to truly accept. My ex was down on his knees sobbing begging me to forgive him and give him a second chance. What an absolute waste of the two years it took for me to see the truth and kick him out. Neither of my children 21 and 23 speak to him.

        • In the old testament law the adulterer was to be stoned to death, thus making the innocent party widow and free to re-marry. Now we are under grace, we have mercy for the adulterer and no not punish by death, but should we now punish the innocent spouse by making her pay for the adulterer’s sin for the rest of her life? It makes no sense that living under grace we would be kinder to the offender and harsher to the victim.
          Another thing is that God Himself gave divorce papers to adulterous ”wife”, Israel.

          • Agreed. I’ve had the same thoughts, wondering where the grace is for the person who is being harmed. I mean we don’t excuse murder, child abuse, theft, violence, etc. by expecting the person who was harmed to continue to endure pain while the offending party gets no consequences. Why make an exception for just the commandment on adultery? I don’t believe Jesus does this. I believe He experienced these same sufferings and rejection and He has nothing but tender empathy and love for us.

  • You. Don’t. Control. That.

    I think in flowery script, tattooed around my left ankle, it would be a beautiful thing 😀

  • Sarah,

    Be intentional about hanging onto your faith. My Jesus Cheater and his family suffocated me with “anonymous” letters in the mail, text messages and e-mail. I was not forgiving enough, I was too angry, I was not Christian enough . . . It got in my head. I began to dread any thought of practicing my faith. One more thing he tried to take from me. Don’t let this happen to you.

  • I haven’t read all the comments yet so, someone has probably already mentioned this. What about the marriage vows he took IN CHURCH & BEFORE GOD OF FORSAKING ALL OTHERS?! He didn’t keep those vows. Thus, your marriage is now null and void!

    Religious hypocrites like him piss me off to no end! They use & twist the Bible to suit & serve them. Since you are also a leader at your church, I’m sure you can come up with more scripture then he can to counter act the crap he’s throwing out. You know, things about lying, deceiving, forsaking all others, not coveting your neighbor’s wife, not committing adultery, confessing your sins, ect. I only know the bare basics of the Bible but gee wiz, even I know those. I’m sure you know a whole lot more which gives evidence that if anyone has let Satan in, it is HIM!

    Tell your daughters the truth! There have been enough secrets & lies by him already. Not telling them the basics (2 year long affair) will damage your daughter’s more in the long run. You don’t want them to grow up and stay in a marriage where they’re abused (cheating IS abuse), are lied to, disrespected, etc because they believe they should stay in a marriage no matter what. If they have this belief, they will stay even if physically abused, if their husband does criminal acts, if he abuses their own children, etc. Of course you dont want that. Let them know that it’s ok to stand up for theirselves & refuse to be treated that way by anyone, even their future husband!

    • My church leader wanted to know that I’m not wanting to divorce JC just because he bought drugs and had them delivered to our home a couple of dozen times, since you know, it’s not as bad as cheating, which he did for five years before dumping me for his ho-ho before, BUT I’d already forgiven that and taken him back, and if he hadn’t now cheated, did I really have grounds for divorce? I told that since he was never honest and never told me everything that was going on, how could I forgive him – if I didn’t even know what I was forgiving? And he said he was sorry, but he wasn’t – he regretted for coming back to me! He wiped the floor with my forgiveness. And he continued with emotional adultery after I took him back. And the drug thing is totally not a minor thing. But it’s really all just a big clusterfuck of entitlement and manipulation, I don’t need to pick it apart for a “proper” reason.

    • “For from WITHIN, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,” -Mark 7:21 (Jesus said this. He said our sins come from WITHIN, not from whomever we can blameshift them onto…)

      “29 This is the law of jealousies, when a wife goeth aside to another instead of her husband, and is defiled;
      30 Or when the spirit of jealousy cometh upon him, and he be jealous over his wife, and shall set the woman before the Lord, and the priest shall execute upon her all this law.
      31 Then shall the man be guiltless from iniquity, and this woman shall bear her iniquity.”

      -Numbers 5:29-31 (The test for the adulterous wife, note verse 31 where it says the faithful husband here is guiltless but the adulterous wife is bearing her iniquity).

      “She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”
      -John 8:11 (When Jesus didn’t condemn the woman caught in the act of adultery to stoning, he put the onus completely on her to go and sin no more. He didn’t blame her husband or anyone else. He held her responsible).

      “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” -Romans 12:19 (God says he will repay. We may not see it when He does, but He says He will).

  • Oh ya, and being a true leader at your church would be for you to teach others that God doesn’t expect them to tolerate being abused. Again, CHEATING IS ABUSE! Teaching that message might just end up being the most helpful thing you do for the congregation & humanity as a whole! Good luck!

    • The thing in my church is that they say that you can separate and live apart if it’s necessary, if there is physical abuse or infidelity or something serious – but you should only do that with the intention of wreckociliating. So the expectation is to keep being entangled and mindfucked.

      • You can do that…., but then you’d still be tied to a liar and a cheater the rest of your life. The bible gives you a get-out-of-jail-free card when someone commits adultery. You may not have gotten that card with his drug use, but you certainly got it with his adultery. Cash it in and run. Don’t walk. Don’t pass Go.

      • The issue I see with wreckonciliation is what happens if the person pretends to be sorry and manipulates others into believing they’re remorseful? The other spouse is taking a huge risk that they won’t be cheated on or abused again. And what if they are cheated on or abused a second time? Do they need to wait around to wreckoncile a third, fourth, fifth, sixth time? While being at risk for STDs, broken bones and even death? Really? The way I see it is that Paul at least gives TWO viable options. 1) Depart and remain unmarried. 2) Reconcile.

        So, even for churches who only believe in separation, it seems like choosing to remain unmarried rather than wreckoncile is a choice that is given to someone who departs. I realize some people tend to cast those who would choose to refrain from wreckonciliation in a negative light. But, I don’t think it’s hard hearted or bitter or unforgiving to refuse to put yourself in danger. I think it’s self defense. I don’t see the scripture saying that it’s wrong to choose option number 1 either. That being said, I’m not someone who only believes in separation.

  • I vacillate so much about the kids. They are figuring it out. They ask why. I don’t tell them about the girlfriend. I tell them there is a why, they are right, but it’s not something they need to know although they may want to. It is between mom and dad. They do know that Dad hurt me. Older has figured out it had something to do with ex best friend. He’s going to hit puberty soon. He’ll figure it out.

    Reason for this process… Kids need to have a relationship with both parents, especially as for bio kids they see themselves made of “half” each parent. My learning is that if I give them information directly that possibly changes their relationship with Dad so much as they blame him or cut him off, and don’t develop a relationship. They may later (much later, like a decade or two) regret that they lost that chance for a relationship (good, bad, whatever – their relationship with Dad, not mine) because I gave them the info, and it could backfire on me. They could transfer anger to me.

    It’s not gaslighting to state that there is a reason, and state that you won’t share it. They figure it out themselves, then it doesn’t backfire on you. They will figure him out. If they ask me to confirm their specific suspicions, I will.

    It’s so hard to figure out what to say. Kids in the fucking middle. Asshole. I have faith in them. They are intuitive and empathetic boys. They can tell who the same parent is. They will figure him out. I won’t interfere with that, although I’d love them to hate him now. I want them to figure him out. I don’t want them to be told who he is before they have that chance.

    I hope it’s a right way to do this. I think there are so many right ways, as many as there are families. I wish it weren’t so fucking hard.

    • I took this approach (hadn’t found CL at the time, and this is often what couple/family therapists recommend). When my kids did figure it out, they were devastated, and while angry at him, also very angry at me.

      It was our daughter (age 12 at the time, about a year post separation) who caught on, said nothing to me, confronted him, he lied about it to her, she waited, asked him again, he lied again, she presented him w/all the evidence, he admitted it, minimally. (Gee! That sounds like the same crap they pull w/us!)

      She was so mad at me, because I had COLLABORATED in his lies, I had hidden the truth from her and her brother, and the worst for her? That I had allowed them to try to have a relationship with their father WHILE ACTIVELY HIDING FROM THEM WHO HE REALLY WAS.

      She knew her father was unreliable by that point, had known for a long time that I was the only parent who really worked to keep the kids’ needs front and center. So finding out I had lied to her was actually worse than finding out he had. WHO could she trust? Can you imagine being 12 years old, a year ago your life had been pretty good, and now worrying about THAT? Her brother, a year older, was less visibly upset, but I think it really threw him off base, as well, and impaired his ability to share much w/me for a long time.

      Don’t gaslight your own kids. If we had separated because our partners were addicts, or violent, or criminals, or irresponsible and couldn’t keep a job, or kept gambling away the family’s money, we would be honest with our kids, ideally without bashing their other parent. Just stating the facts, in an age appropriate way, not dwelling on it or bringing it up again and again. Why would cheating be the only reason for separation that we keep a secret? If it wasn’t too bad for them to do, it’s not too bad for their kids to know about.

      Let kids have a REAL relationship with their other parent. One based in reality, not in illusions and wishes. STOP SPACKLING for your Ex. And protect your relationship with them at the same time. It took a long time to repair that damage with my kids, and I have told them many times that I was doing the best I could at the time, but would definitely go back and change that decision, if I could.

      And that whole ‘don’t make their other parent look bad because somehow they’ll think this means they’re bad too’ thing, that doesn’t even make any sense to me. Every kid knows they are the sum of MANY people (somehow my daughter came out more genetically related, in appearance and personality, to my sister than to me!), and their own personalities and experiences as well.

      Every kid needs to know that adults make CHOICES, and those choices have consequences – but their cheater parent’s choices don’t define who the child is, and I don’t think any child would think so. When the opportunity arises, point out their cheater parents qualities and strengths, and admire those in the child when they show up. But kids know they are not just 50% each parent, nor destined to be so.

    • I don’t think there is one right way – there is the right way for you and your family. My boys were 16 and 18 when I found out. I didn’t tell right away (based on therapist’s advice but she said tell when they ask) but I eventually did. For me speaking up made me feel free. If people are okay with the cheating I am not okay with them (my kids are the only ones who can be Switzerland – and only one of them sorta is but he still doesn’t condone what Dad did).

      Yep, it’s hard but I actually am glad my kids have learned this lesson young. Be very careful who you partner with and know that stuff happens so never completely base your decisions on another. Yes, compromise and love but don’t do it blindly like I did. I believed so much in goodness and love that I wasn’t paying close enough attention. Quite frankly I was sleepwalking through my life and now I am awake.

      • Yeah I get this other method too katene. My view is, I’m not gaslighting. (“manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.”) I’m not even lying. I never do. The truth. Nothing but the truth. But not the whole truth. And I tell them there is more, and I am not telling them, now. They know I’m not telling them. That it is intentionally. And that they are right that something happened. Etc.

        . My kids are young. Telling them all (age appropriate or not) is a lot. A lot. I’m waiting. They can ask directly, and I will confirm, or at some point when they are adults, they can wonder and I’ll tell them. My active anger against my ex has dissipated. I just don’t care about him any more. And I’m glad I didn’t tell my kids anything while I was angry. I thought, they should know who he really is!!!!! And now…. Now I’m not sure they need to know from me. They are so smart. They need to figure him out for themselves. They will. They will figure out the good and bad, the strengths and weaknesses – of both of us. They have to learn to navigate relationships, and I’ll help and support. And they will accomplish it.

        I should add: my ex doesn’t badmouth me to them.

        Anyhow. Love to all of us as we parent these kids through betrayal. I agree with deee… So many different kids, no one size fits all. We’ll all get through it… Somehow… And it will suck for a while right? And then we’ll have kids who see us.


    • I chose to tell my 11-year old, but I also told her that if we never married we would not have her, and that would be sad because we both love her and she is very much wanted. I never trash her dad and I always talk in the light of the good news – that there is forgiveness for all sinners who repent. And we include him in our prayers. I’m such a Christian Chump, I still harbor a small flicker of hope that God will turn his heart toward Him in true repentance. What I do differently now though, is I don’t sit around anymore holding my breath and waiting for the next pile of crap to land in my lap. I’m taking ownership of my life and drawing my boundaries. I don’t make any promises to him whatsoever, but I won’t completely rule out him changing either. Not sure if I’ll be around for that, but for his own sake I hope he does change..

    • That logic is the same as not telling kids they are adopted until their teens. Let’s not ‘upset them’. Let them grow up in a fantasy world.
      Doesn’t work. The truth is the best way to go, as painful as it is. You can’t go wrong with the truth.

      • Hi Mitz, I meant to reply to your comment here but it became its own comment later in the thread. Best to you.

  • Quoting my husband, “When you put “organized” and “religion” in the same sentence you’ve got trouble”. Decent believers, and non-believers, have one sure thing in common. They don’t cheat.

  • Also: ” thou shalt not lie” and the only allowable reason for divorce in the bible according to Jesus is unfaithfulness. what a jerk your almost ex pastor husband is. the greatest hypocrisy are these types. yes even worse than my fuckwit – which is going some!

  • Looking for contact info via google:
    Lucifer, Esq.
    Family Law expert since BC.

    (*at ages 17 and 20, they probably knew some time ago-and just want you to love yourself enough to get out.)

  • Dear Sarah,

    I know how you feel. My horrible ex used to use religion against me all the time (we’re Muslim). I spoke about this with clergy who surprisingly gave it to me straight: he’s abusive. Stop seeing him. STOP. I didn’t listen for my own stupid reasons.

    Then one day, I don’t know what happened to me, but it hit me not only that he sucks, but just how much. And once I grasped how much he sucks, all of those attempts to use religion against me stopped working. Why would I take religious sermons from a man who doesn’t pray, doesn’t fast, doesn’t donate to charity, has a criminal record, and sins ALL THE TIME? I may not be perfect but you know what? Neither is he. And if I don’t use religion to put others down, he can’t use that to put me down. Especially when he doesn’t feel rules apply to him.

    Then I remembered one of the sermons I attended. It spoke of the devil and how the devil isn’t an enemy of God because he doesn’t believe in God; it’s because he has no humility, is entitled, and thinks himself better than others. In Islam it is said that the devil, while not a fallen angel like it is believed in Christianity, is a jinn/spirit who worshiped God so fervently his status was equal to the angels. Then God created Adam (peace be upon him) and asked for His creations to bow down to Adam as a command and respect, and the devil said NO. Why? Because he thought he was better than Adam.

    All of that to say that your ex husband will call you the devil and make himself seem morally superior to you, but that’s the devil’s work. That’s his impression management, entitlement, and arrogance. You stay humble. You go NC. Jesus (peace be upon him) advised us to turn the other cheek, but he also said in Matthew 7:5 to remove things from our own eyes before pointing out the things in the eyes of others. Since he’s incapable of self-reflection, show him your cheek, turn around, and never speak to him again.

  • Hi Sarah,

    I truely think you must tell them that you are divorcing because he was unfaithful AND I think that you must make it clear to them that you did not want or choose this for your family.

    Explain that you respect marriage and understand that your Christian faith does not condone adultery and why. Perhaps you could even read the passages that allow divorce for adultery together. You must talk through what you believe repentance, and forgiveness really are or they may not understand. Your husband is blaming you for his infidelity because you were not a perfect partner, was he perfect and did you need to cheat because of this?

    My boys are much younger than your daughters are and they get it. They also now understand the pain that cheating causes to everyone despite their age and lack of experience. They don’t hate their dad but they don’t blame me. You cannot protect your girls from the pain of the fallout from this but stand up for yourself here – you did not want or cause this.

  • Yeah I get this other method too katene. My view is, I’m not gaslighting. (“manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.”) I’m not even lying. I never do. The truth. Nothing but the truth. But not the whole truth. And I tell them there is more, and I am not telling them, now. They know I’m not telling them. That it is intentionally. And that they are right that something happened. Etc.

    . My kids are young. Telling them all (age appropriate or not) is a lot. A lot. I’m waiting. They can ask directly, and I will confirm, or at some point when they are adults, they can wonder and I’ll tell them. My active anger against my ex has dissipated. I just don’t care about him any more. And I’m glad I didn’t tell my kids anything while I was angry. I thought, they should know who he really is!!!!! And now…. Now I’m not sure they need to know from me. They are so smart. They need to figure him out for themselves. They will. They will figure out the good and bad, the strengths and weaknesses – of both of us. They have to learn to navigate relationships, and I’ll help and support. And they will accomplish it.

    I should add: my ex doesn’t badmouth me to them.

    Anyhow. Love to all of us as we parent these kids through betrayal. I agree with deee… So many different kids, no one size fits all. We’ll all get through it… Somehow… And it will suck for a while right? And then we’ll have kids who see us.


  • what led now ex to ‘come out’ with his adultery was hearing the gospel reading of the woman caught in adultery, who yes she is forgiven, and not condemned. But at the end, Jesus says go and sin no more
    I think he must have stopped listening a split second before the final bit. I wasn’t there as I was away, but he also said he’d planned to be there with OW, but she forgot to go. You couldn’t believe that a supposedly intelligent man could interpret this passage as it’s ok to screw around with his wife’s fellow Sunday school teacher because Jesus says it’s ok. But he did.
    I never did a session with her that included looking at the 10 commandments, but that would have been interesting. Her father was a clergyman all his life and her mother was also very active in the church, so you would have thought she’d have picked up how wrong it was somewhere along the line. I’d known they were ‘meeting for coffee ‘ when she was working near his work but foolishly thought that the only thing being dipped in the warm and wet was a biscuit,.

  • Something interesting, really creepy but interesting, that I came across some time ago, is that there is strong evidence of genetic matter transferred between sexual partners. It is proven to happen in experiments done with flies. When I read about this, I immediately thought about “and they shall become one flesh” and how I always thought it sounded strange, and I used to think it was just a metaphor. But what if it is more than that? Bible is so stunningly accurate.
    Anyway, it gives much pause, and a very good reason to abstain from sex before marriage and it also makes adultery all the more horrible.

    • I don’t think this means what you think regarding sex before marriage!!! The idea is that if the semen of two males is mixing next to the same egg, there is some possible link of something transferring into the egg from male 2 even if the sperm is from male 1. But having sex in high school and college and getting married and having a kid at 30…… That high school dude’s out of luck with transferring himself over somehow.

      Agreed that adultery is every worse – now it could be your genetic baby but inclined by the om as well. Great.

      Let’s not mix there’s two up (haha see what I did there?).

      Also I should clarify that I’m not glorifying genetic parenthood. Just sighing at the many yet unknown betrayals of adultery.

  • No actually it’s not. In my view (disagree but please don’t be rude) – I need them to figure their dad out for themselves. I’ve learned and seen that it backfires otherwise, even with just the facts. There is no good way. There are lots of different ways. My path may also backfire. We all make our best judgments in our circumstances.

    If you follow my path, in your circumstances, then to you that may feel like fantasy world is happening, and it may be! To me it isn’t. I’m very straight up. I just say, you’re right, he did something that hurt me. I’m not going to talk about it with you, now, it’s between him and me, and what’s important is for you to know that I love you and you are safe.

    I don’t feel the need or desire to inform a 4,7 (now 8,11) year old kids about girlfriends, infidelity….. They have no real understanding yet about marriage, relationships, commitment. 11 is getting there. So when he stops asking me “what happened” and starts asking me “did Dad have an affair” I will answer that. They have their own world to navigate. I’m not adding the burden on them, “dad had a girlfriend, and that wasn’t ok with me.” So then f they love Dad they are loving something not ok with Mom that hurt mom? No thanks. They’ll have enough fuck up from this. They are biologically and evolutionarily required to rely on and love their parents for their survival at these ages.

    My kids, my circumstances. Yours may be different. I’m not swimming against a mis-informative stream. My ex doesn’t feel like he did anything wrong. Like no remorse. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t say anything about it to them or anyone, although everyone knows. He moved on in his brain before I found out. He has little emotional capacity at all. If I felt they needed to know for some reason to protect them, I’d tell them. I do not. I see them figuring him out, and interacting with him at a surface level. They get it. I’m not managing their relationship.

    Let’s not judge each other. I get that there is disagreement and hostility here. Our choices don’t have to align. If you don’t agree with my perspective that’s ok with me. I welcome constructive feedback and disagreement but I’m feeling attacked.

    • Lotus Dancer – it sounds like you are an intelligent woman who has put a lot of thought into figuring out what is best for you and your kids. ((((Hugs))))

    • Lotus Dancer, “So when he stops asking me “what happened” and starts asking me “did Dad have an affair” I will answer that. They have their own world to navigate. I’m not adding the burden on them, “dad had a girlfriend, and that wasn’t ok with me.””

      Have you considered that
      1. in not answering your children’s equations you are keeping them in the dark and frightening them?
      2. why do they have to ask for the information specifically? That reminds me of being told ‘you didn’t say it in the right way’. I experienced that as abusive
      3. What is so wrong about ‘what happened’? Why can’t him trying to make sense of things, be seen as a CLARIFYING thing actually making his world safe?

  • LotusDancer
    Each one of us does what we feel is best in our circumstances.
    I hear you, and I understand.
    My circumstances are so different from most and I have done what I believe to be best for my two daughters, who are grown now. I know that any long ago truths would crush them now, especially the youngest, and I will never ever do that.
    Being the sane, present, loving parent is never easy.
    Big hugs to you. Your posts are very wise.

  • Surely, if he was so knowledgeable about the Bible, he would have read 1 Corinthians6:9, “Do you not realise that people who do evil will never inherit the kingdom of God? Make no mistake — the sexually immoral, idolaters, ADULTERERS, the self-indulgent, sodomites, thieves, misers, drunkards, slanderers and swindlers, none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.”

  • Always good advice on these boards. I really stick with the “bummer – wow- cool” trifecta when responding to stuff my kid says about my ex, couples with the neutral “well, I disagree with your dad, I make different choices.”

    He will trash talk you to your kids, if even in a passive aggressive way. Your focus now should not be on how to defend your character—attacks like his deserve zero response—but how to fortify your daughters for when they become his direct targets. Soon, you will go no contact and be old news and he’ll need other people to abuse. I suggest you start the work now with your daughters so they can stand up to him when he treats them like shit too.

    I’ve been working with my daughter on this a lot, and it’s been good. She can now recognize passive aggressive behavior and say it out loud for what it is. Progress!

    Best of luck. Your daughters need you to show up for them now, to teach them how to stand up to him. That’s the focus.

  • If your daughters ask questions, you should always answer them. Briefly and truthfully.

    They are trying to work out what is real and what is not real.

    Please don’t shut them down.

  • I’m sorry Tracy but after 34 years my daughter favors greatly her cheater dad and the OWWife. My first X told our daughter it was my crazy ways that drove him away. He left while i was on the delivery table for his OW,and left me with 2 little ones alone in a new State with no family or friends. My daughter adores her cheater dad as he bought her and I stayed the SANE mother. It’s ok…its a long arch as you say and I had to raise my children to be decent. My daughter married a dry alcoholic and they just had their third child. She will understand one day.

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