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‘Don’t Call It Snooping’

Dear Chump Lady,

I need to get on the soapbox and say this.

Back when Horace the “Porn Addict” and I were clients of the couples therapy arm of the RIC (well, I was a client and he was a tourist), I used to catch hell from everyone concerned over “snooping.”

It went like this: I’d sense something was wrong and ask Horace about it. He’d lie. I’d live with being blamed for being suspicious, unsupportive, and emotionally withholding until the cognitive dissonance got unbearable, and then go looking for evidence. I’d find it. I’d confront him with his lies. I’d catch hell for “snooping” from him and our therapist because I had “violated his privacy and his trust in me.”

Yes! Oh the horror, oh the shame! I had violated his trust in his ability to lie to me without being caught! I had violated his privacy by going after information he was withholding that directly affected my life, health, and physical safety! Information I would have had in a healthy relationship! And that was so much worse than his lying, because that poor addict was Having a Relapse and deserved tender care!

The therapist actually gave me some good advice: If you don’t trust him, you shouldn’t be with him. That was the only time the RIC ever told me to trust myself. Unfortunately, it took me a long time to hear it, because I was all about marriage policing, hopium, pick-me dancing, and remodeling an ass into a unicorn. (There’s a reason that show never made cable.) The RIC encouraged all those things — but finding out the truth if the cheater didn’t want to give it was Terribly Wrong.

I’m out now, and life is getting better, but I want to make a few points about the RIC’s horror of “snooping” to those who might still be caught in that expensive mindfuck. You cover it in Snooping in the Modern Age –,
but this is for the guilt-ridden and for those afraid to “snoop” because the RIC books have taught them it’s a terrible betrayal of timid forest creatures who might be forced to relapse into their addiction! or return to the AP! if they can’t trust you to trust them when you have absolutely no reason to trust them! The whole situation is a not-at-all-cozy mystery in which every clue points to the picturesque little hamlet of Heslying Major.

1. Privacy and secrecy are different. Privacy is what you get in the bathroom (assuming you don’t have pets or toddlers) when you are legitimately using it. Secrecy is when you sneak in there to email Schmoopie or wank to images of trafficked women after understanding that’s a dealbreaker to your spouse.

2. Cheater lies or declares “I don’t owe you that information!” when asked for it? Shouldn’t have gotten married, then. Spouses owe each other truth and transparency. The exception is a spouse who is fleeing abuse and practices temporary secrecy in self-defense…and that would be the chump.

3. Looking for information that directly affects your own life, and that is unjustly withheld by a dishonest person, is not snooping. It’s discovery. Let’s start calling it that.

4. Needing justification for leaving is something attached people feel. The unattached person can lie, cheat, or desert on the slenderest excuse. Attached people, unfortunately, often need a D-Day or three before they will walk away from decades of attachment and devotion, even when they are beginning to understand they can’t save someone else. And people who have been mindfucked by abusers and the RIC often need some hard facts before they can reset their compasses to point back to the truth.

When I finally gave up and got the information I hadn’t had, it all fell into place, and I found my marriage had always been a sham. I left without further therapy or confrontation because I was done. He wasn’t exercising his right to his sacred privacy. He was preserving his cake and kibble supply while practicing mindfucking and other forms of abuse. He never intended to change.

Practice discovery, and the truth will set you free. But don’t call it “snooping.”

Thanks. I feel better. Hope I didn’t inadvertently plagiarize you, because I’ve read so much. Thanks for helping me get to where I could write this.



Dear Madge,

Thanks for the guest column on this three-day holiday weekend. I would only add that no one can sustain hypervigilance for very long. The Marriage Police is no way to live. Unfortunately, a lot of chumps give in and don’t push discovery because the battle for transparency is exhausting. Which is just another way of saying this shit tends to be doomed. If you’re Trust But Verify, it’s already over. Wake up and realize it.

In an era where Google knows what I ate for breakfast, “snooping” seems pretty quaint. No one wants to live under a microscope (and God knows abusers use surveillance on chumps too) — again, I say, DOOMED.

End the Cold War, call a lawyer. CN, anything to add on the subject of “snooping”?

Ask Chump Lady

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  • Thank you for this. I remember my counsellor saying why do you need proof, you know what’s going on you just need to leave( I found a gem of a counsellor). Just this past year I had a boyfriend who I was getting serious with( as in talking about a future together). He had purchased me a plane ticket and we were going out west to introduce me to his son and family. The week before we were to leave, I had a gut feeling something was off. I snooped and found sexting messages to another woman( did I mention he cheated on his wife which ended his marriage… I should have walked away when he told me that). Anyway he was doing it while he was cuddling with me on my sofa ( it was our habit for me to lean back against him while facing the tv and he would put his arm around me—he was texting her with his free hand.. it took the whole week for me to decide I couldn’t go on that trip and another 2 months to finally dump him after he spent the whole summer “punishing “ me for snooping( he said his friends were shocked at what I had done—ya right! I just said then they don’t know what you did). The woman was a “friend” he had met the previous summer and “ I just talk that way it means nothing” He wouldn’t take me anywhere for the entire summer-just came to my house every weekend and expected to be waited on. I’m still mad at myself for putting up with that. I do know better thanks to CL and CN. Anyway I guess I still had some chumpiness in me. I dumped him on September 8. Onward and upward…better to be alone than with someone who treats me like that.

    • (((Newlady15)))
      Good for you for getting rid of that that that…words fail me!
      Please do not be mad at yourself. You are such a lovely person, with a genuine loving heart that you were willing to share with another human being. But, this person was capable only of taking, not of giving. He was NOT your type of people.
      It wasn’t easy,but you did the right thing in the end.
      He ( it) will be sitting on someone else’s couch now.
      You fluff your pillow sweet lady,
      Keep going toward the light.
      YOU sure are Mighty!

      • Awww Peacekeeper! That brought tears to my eyes—happy ones because you are so right. I have to know my worth and that I am a catch for the right guy! Or for myself!!

    • What is up with them “secretly” texting while with spouse/family? On the day between DDay and kicking him out, I realized that he was sitting on the couch watching tv with the kids, but phone was angled so that no one could see it. Obviously texting one of the AP or trying to arrange a hookup. All I can assume is that that was part of the thrill (“I’m such a naughty boy!”), but also that it sums up how much he had checked out of being a husband/dad that he didn’t really care to hide it from anyone.

      • Turned out my XH, who I discovered from ‘snooping’ ( I was a bloody good snoop!) was living a double life as a swinger for at least half our 24+ year marriage, even spent time in hotel rooms with various fuckbuddies and/or prostitutes on our wedding anniversaries and valentine’s days before coming home to me. Beggars belief.

        • Ally same. I discovered my (now ex) husband was into swinging. He had two phones. Was always texting in the bathroom. He secretly prowled various internet sites propositioned hundreds of women and men (couples) When I confronted him he denied homosexuality said he just did it to the women while the men look on ( All unprotected of course) He had faved pics of some ugly woman attached to some swing contraption looked liked she was about to be catapulted into a wall! The point being if they want this life of hedonism they should stick with their own kind – not take marriage vows and stop lying to their spouses & kids putting health & lives at risk.

          • Wait.. isn’t swinging something one does _with_ their spouse?? I “love” how they all take on these terms used for valid, consensual relationship styles to describe their deception, cheating, and putting your safety at risk. I got lots of policing because supposedly I discriminate against polyamorous people according to serial cheater ex and the flying monkeys. *rolls eyes*

          • Nurse meh, exactly, I dont care what adult antics you wanna get up to but don’t get married and have kids FFS. Sounds like we were married to same bloke! During my ‘snooping'( well my solicitor did tell me to be a detective!) I uncovered over 200 sex tapes he had made with various people over at least the last 13 years of our marriage going by the recording dates. Such a narcissist to video his hapless ass fucking all and sundry. One was even of him giving a bj to a bloke in our living room whilst I was at work and kids were at school. He had also purchased a treadmill which he kept in the hallway but never used…..until I found him using it on one of his videos with a very large lady who was wobbling all over the place on it as he enjoyed her from behind. Think that’s a rather niche fetish! Oh and i tracked him to several swinger websites where he was arrogant enough to use his regular online name as his member name ffs, what a twat, and to top it all on one of those sites he had reviews!!! Yes,people had left him reviews after having had sex with him. I hit yo the point where i was uncovering more and more ludicrous things week by week. Caught him wearing ladies thongs, found a large gym bag full of gimp gear in the garage, found his paperwork documenting a night in a fairly local hotel when he apparently going out of town on business… few days later the 10 sex tapes made over that night showed up in his stash which he didnt know I had discovered. Turns out he had a hoojer there us various other swimmers gets turning up at all hours to enjoy sharing her whilst he streamed it all live on the internet for money!!! Like I say, I stopped being shocked by what I found it was just incredulous.

            • Ally…. wow, just wow. I’m so thrilled you are free and I hope to goodness your panels came back free of any incurable diseases.

              He was literally assaulting you with a deadly weapon and poisoning you every single time his disgusting genitals touched your body ????????????????

              • Motherchumper, I was fine, as it was I had a medical.issue that meant I wasnt sleeping with him for the last few years anyway – a situation he declared he was fine with, obviously I now know why, he’d been doing the whole swinger thing for many years longer than I’d stopped sleeping with him. He was also financially abusive, I reckoned he owes me nearly £200k of ‘his share’ of our last 10 years together as apart from his half of our mortgage he paid for nothing. I was rooting the bill for my mortgage half, all food, clothes, all utilities and household bills, all stuff for kids, and paying off sone horrendous debt he had got us into.
                My lawyer said if we hadn’t been married I could have claimed it all back.
                But he turned out to have a £400 a month hooker habit as well as his swinger mates sessions which he got for free.

              • Mindy, that’s because my XH was not just a narcissist, he was also a sociopath. And the level of narcissism in sociopathy is immense. I researched and learned so much about narcissism. I learned how to “grey rock” in order to give him no kibble whatsoever, it took a lot of doing but I got good at it. I had to reach myself not to react to his fits of drama. And I knew I was doing the right thing by leaving when early on in the divorce process he declared that our 17 year old epileptic daughter was now solely my responsibility and he actually walked past her and left her when she was having full blown grand mal seizures. On two separate occasions. That’s how fucking special they think they are and how little regard they have for anyone else on the planet, wouldn’t even help his own daughter when she needed medical support. Hes a total piece of shit.

          • Nurse meh, my husband told me he was bored with our sex life, and I was too frankly. Also fairly normal after 25 years together! So we pumped it up and it was great. That was very short lived and he was bored again. I was feeling so inadequate. He stopped having sex with me altogether. I asked him repeatedly if he was cheating on me and he denied it. On D-Day, he finally told me what he’d been up to. S&M clubs, swinging, hookers and now a sex slave that ultimately broke us up-I kicked him out! He was having unprotected sex with his slave. I keep wondering…what’s next? That strange, addictive hedonism doesn’t seem to stop but keeps growing. I’m new to all this and still in shock. Sometimes my mind goes wild thinking what he was up to while I was sitting at home with our daughter, waiting for him to come home and spend time with me after “a long, hard day at work”. It makes me sick. I’m traumatized by the thoughts. Also, after he told me everything, I lay curled up in bed in the dark sobbing for 3 straight days. He came to check on me and tried to have sex with me then while I was crying. That scene plays in my mind over and over and is one of the biggest insults I’ve ever received from anyone. I wonder if he was turned on by my weakened state. What is wrong with these people, and how did I not know what he was for 25 years? It blows my mind how sick this shit is. ????????????????

            • Chumptastic he came to check on you and tried to have sex with you while you were crying tells me this piece of shit has no insight whatsoever! That is at the core what is wrong with them – no insight, no empathy, entitlement, addictive risky behaviors. Now I hear echoes from the masses of ‘consenting adults’ Yet its ok to subject his spouse to sex with hundreds of ‘swinging’ strangers without her consent? Because that is what a wandering dirty dick/vagina does. For every one they exchange body fluids with you dont know how many each one of them has been with – hence the difficulty of contact tracing at the GUM clinic. I am sorry you went through this too. 25 yrs is a long time but better to spend the next 25 cheater free and in sane clean healthy living! ((Hugs))

        • This is all so dreadfully familiar. My X was on his iPad, phone and/or laptop literally all the time he was home. It caused countless fights with me nearly begging him to put down the devices and be with me and our daughter. In utter frustration, I went to see a therapist who suggested my X had a very high need for private downtime so I needed to leave him alone and stop nagging. He also advised that I should never snoop because he has a right to his privacy.

          So I stopped nagging him and he merrily went on with his device usage. Fast forward to D-day. I discovered his cheating via credit card charges while I was out of town – he had a gigantic fuck fest with hotels, bars, planned parenthood charges (to get swabbed when it was all over). After I kicked him out, my post-snooping revealed the lengths and depths of his cheating – the google searches for “how to hide cash”, and “how to open a PO Box to receive packages”, and “French love poetry”, and “best gifts for your lover”, and countless BDSM sites, local escorts and many sites where he bought his AP gifts for their S&M adventures, bought her clothes and gifts galore. At the same time, it was my 50th birthday and I received from him a big, fat NOTHING. Not even a card. As crushing as my snooping experience was, I’m glad I know some of the truth – I suspect it’s the tip of the iceberg. It revealed that I wasn’t crazy for feeling so isolated and frustrated, and my friends and family can snap me out of my depression by reminding me of what I found and what a complete and utter fucker he is. And oh, P.S., when I confronted him with all of this information, he said it was my fault that he needed to cheat. Adios motherfucker!

          • Mine kept gaslighting me telling me I was crazy. It got to the point where I put employee monitoring software on his laptop and I discovered Craigslist antics, prostitute visits and an incredible amount of time looking at and saving porn. To the point where he spent a good 12-18 hours per day. No wonder he couldn’t pay any fucking bills….He worked for himself and conned me into paying everything. ASSHOLE.

            The software was free and it was called ActivTrak

            It changed my life having that proof. All he could talk about was me prying and how dare I check up on him. Not about what he was actually doing.

        • Ally- same here, my ex led a double life as hugely popular BDSM Top. In three different states no less. Men would take out Craigslist ads for him. Huge ego trip for him. He’d be arranging hookups while we are all watching TV. I set him free to rule the MSM universe 5 years ago. Hope it’s working well for him.

      • The Friday night before XW left I took her and my son to the movies (instead of taking her out to the place where she was see her AP right in front of my face for months). She texted him the whole time we were watching the movie sitting right between my son and I. She did this shit for months, I had suspicions and snooping confirmed. As soon as she knew I figured it all out and I told her that I wouldnt be taking her to the place where she cheated right in front of me for a year, she left the next week……on a Friday. They are fucking fuckwits.

        • The nerve of this woman. I’m sickened. I’m so sorry you had to spend the last year of your marriage in this hell.

      • Cheater ex was texting his work whore at our daughter’s soccer game while holding my hand. Chumpy me assumed he was texting his sister. Good grief I was so stupidly naive.

      • I think you nailed it…..doing it while with their kids, wife, parents; that’s a major part of the thrill. Like with porn. Then it becomes the only way they can get turned on….it has to have that “dirty” element or it’s just not enough. They really are creeps.

      • What is with the “naughty child” persona that is so alluring? I don’t get it. My cheater called his trips with Schmoopie as the times they “played house”.

      • My STBX, who refuses to leave our home, sits with us on Sunday movie/pizza night and texts his girlfriend(s). Our 4 kids and I watch him text all evening. Then, between texts, he puts a stupid remark out there about the pizza or movie to make it look like he is present. I can not wait until we don’t have to watch him do this. It’s like he doesn’t care that it is hurtful to all of us.

    • Ballsy move! Well done. We already know what it’s like to be miserable with a cheater.
      In the words of Whitney Houston : rather be alone than unhappy.

  • I gave him a couple of chances over 2 months- he did not like to be accountable. Snooping they his gym bag and meds drawer and counting cialis was how I found out about the 5 year affair. He denied it at first and snooping to get his credit card number and calling them was how I found out about multiple hotel stays. Snooping was Putting a tracking app on his phone (with his permission) and then snooping thru his mail and finding a tag for a signal blocking pouch for him to keep his phone in so I couldn’t really track him. I confronted him and he agreed to not use it. Snooping was checking the tracking app and seeing him go out to lunch and asking him who he went with and having him blow up at me and blame me for his affair. That was it- a week later I told him I was done. Not because I didn’t love him. Because it didn’t trust him and I was not going to live the rest of my life snooping! I live in peace now- 2 years out and I relish my peace. All is good! I thank my snooping for setting me free!

  • If it were not for me snooping. I would not have found out how long the affair went on. I would not have found out that he secretly went to a lawyer to file for divorce. Snooping actually helped me. He was going to blindside me with a divorce. I was able to hire my own lawyer to protect myself. His grounds for divorce was the credits cards I got(He was only giving me $400.00 a month to pay bills). I used the credit cards to pay the taxes and household bills. He never told his lawyer about his affair with Skankella. He stopped the divorce so we could work on the marriage. He dumped Skankella and it went well for awhile. I noticed a out of state number on our cell phone bill. I spidersenses went off. I signed back on to his facebook account. And he was talking to his ex from high school. I asked him he denied it. Said he thought it was me trying to trick him. I called his the women right in front of him. He still denied talking to her. I packed his clothes in garbage bags and told him to leave. Marriage police is no way to live.

    • I fancied myself quite the Nikita after my sister warned me to find out for sure if he was cheating because if I asked he would certainly lie.

      I NEEDED to know for sure. So after having enough proof, I hired a PI to ‘proove my proof’. I will NEVER forget the FEELING I had when I presented him with my discovery and HE WAS MAD I hired a PI and said he would never get over that. ?!?!?! My mind exploded and I am amazed how it ever repaired itself. Not knowing what was happening to me was so overwhelming.

      The utter Mind-Fuck of them being angry at ‘snooping’ is something to behold isn’t it?

      I really like renaming it from snooping to discovery by the way. This isn’t some petty being nosey thing. It is survival at that point.

      • I’m a chump with my own story, but I’d like some advice about a situation involving my mom. About 2 years after my husband cheated on /abandoned me and our 1 & 2 year old babies, I went to work as office manager for my stepdad. In the regular course of organizing his things I found evidence that strongly pointed to an affair, but no smoking gun.
        It was agonizing to have to bring this to my mom, so I felt like I needed more evidence. I got a hold of his laptop and made records of his search history. Still no smoking gun but very damning IMO when all put together. 110+ text messages a day for 6 months straight with someone named Cheryl. 25 different Google searches about where to take someone dancing downtown on Valentine’s Day, while telling my mom he had to go to a real estate conference and couldn’t be with her on V day. Vaguely flirty emails signed with pet names with someone named Martha. Various trips by himself, but several meals for 2 on his credit card.
        I begrudgingly gave it to my mom who naturally lost her mind and confronted him with everything I’d found. He found a way to explain it all away, my mom stayed with him, and I became the focus of his wrath. I was banned from entering the house and have been for the past 3 years. He’s called me every name in the book and believes I’ve violated his trust in an unforgivable way. He hates me. I loved him. It’s horrible.
        Chump nation and CL have helped me to stay strong to help recognize his behaviors for what they are. But what I struggle with now is the brokenness of our family. At a time that is already so difficult for my kids with their dad gone (hasn’t visited them in 5 years) I want family unity so badly and it’s just in pieces. My kids don’t get to have “grandmas house” growing up. That is devastating to me. My mom has negotiated a way for me to be there so long as he’s gone, but I tried that and the terror of him coming home and me being there keeps me away.
        Now I’m getting signals from some around me that it’s time to repair this. That I should at least apologize for my part (snooping, or discovery based on today’s post) and try to make peace so we can at least be able to have holidays at mom’s for the years she’s got left. I struggle with this. I’ve read this site for years about my own marriage. I know the tenets of CL. Yet I do feel like I did something to violate his trust, therefore an apology for my part is in order. Whether he cheated or not can never be known, only assumed. But it’s hard to get the words out because this man not only kicked me out of his life like it was nothing, but my babies too, so I know he’s a narc and possibly more. The apology would be made with eyes wide open, if you get my meaning. It would really be made because I just want some semblance of a normal family life for my kids who have already been robbed of so much. Advice appreciated.

        • I recommend you find healthy people for you and your kids to have relationships with. He’s showing you who he is. Your mom is showing you as well.

        • Sorry but IMO no you don’t apologise

          You had your reasons to suspect he was up to no good and with what you’ve been through you are probably 100% right

          If he had nothing to hide why be mad at you ? Even if you did snoop you were looking out for your mum . You had a perfectly reasonable cause .
          If he had nothing to hide he should have said something like “ I know what you and your 2 precious babies have been through and I’d never do that to your mum . You as my step daughter and my step grandchildren mean everything to me I’d never put that in jeopardy . I have talked with your mum and we can see how much you care and I’ve shown your mum all my emails and text messages so we have full transparency “

          Instead you got vilified and banished ( he’s hiding something )

          I know you love your mum and you want your babies to see their grandmother maybe she can come to you ? Maybe meet in the city for a coffee or the park etc

          But don’t apologise for looking out for your mum . Good luck x

          • Agree with this 100%.
            It’s such a shame your mom needs to put up with this man. If he wasn’t up to no good and he genuinely loved you, your kids, and your mom, he wouldn’t have responded the way he has.

        • Nope, don’t apologize for his actions. He’s the one who banished you and your kids. You have nothing to apologize for. If he wasn’t cheating, then why was his reaction so drastic? Because he knows you see him for who he is. Now he has to isolate your mother from you to keep control of her.

          Invite your mom to your house. Your stepdad is who you think he is, all the signs are there. One day, your mom will do something about it. Or she won’t. The point is, this is not your situation to fix.

        • It sounds like you busted him and the only way to cast attention away from himself is to attack you.

          If it were me, I’d go pick my mom up to have her visit at my place. I would not apologize. For God’s sake she’s your mother. You have every right to want to protect her. And you’ve been down this road before so the idea that you have to find photographic evidence for it to be true is ridiculous. You said you’ve got enough evidence, so if it walks like a duck . . .

          If the only way he could divert attention away from himself was to shun you and your kids, fuck him. It doesn’t sound like a place you want to be. You didn’t violate trust. You followed bread crumbs, found evidence, presented it, and got kicked in the teeth.

        • FFS. This is a classic case of “it’s not what I did, it’s your reaction to what I did.” You do not owe that fuckwit of a stepdad any apology. And don’t reinforce his dishonesty and temper tantrum. What daughter would not protect her own mother. I’m sorry your mother is too weak to use that information, but you really had no choice but to present her the evidence as a person of integrity.

          Yes, very painful that your children don’t have a grandparent unit after their own father (term used loosely) abandoned them. But your mother has chosen that path. If she’s willing to see the kids on her own, run with that, but you should not have to eat toxic crow to reconcile with a lying stepfather. Sometimes we can create extended family.

          I know this hurts you, though. Hugs!

        • I do not believe you owe him anything. You already know in your heart that he was and probably is cheating. Unfortunately we cannot make anyone see what they don’t want to see. Your Mom gets to keep him and you by sneaking you all in when he’s not home. She has no reason to step back and look at the truth. She has been emotionally high jacked by the “narcissistic regime.” Of course he is mad at you. He had a good thing going and you ruined it. Tell your Mom you love her and refuse to be any part of her current toxic relationship. I believe that left alone with her fuckwit, without you and her grandkids, things will come into perspective. Plus, now the awareness is there inside her. Cheaters never stop cheating. Next time she will catch him herself.

        • H&TH: I would never be ok with eating that shit sandwich (being around your Mom’s abusive cheater husband) and would never feel comfortable allowing that kind of person around my precious and impressionable children-young adults. Extended family is overrated. I don’t allow any narcissists-abusers into my Inner circle of my one and only precious life. No! There are billions of good people in this planet.

          Invite mom for visits, meals, trips. If she chooses him over you and her grandkids then so be it— her loss. There are thousands of lonely authentic and non-abusive seniors nearby you who would probably love to be part of your world. Try volunteering to get to know them.

        • Sweetie, I feel like I know you from reading your posts here and also your own blog. I know that no one can take the place of your own flesh and blood family but I had the thought that maybe you could visit some local retirement communities or Facebook groups of Grandparents who for various reasons don’t get to see their own grandchildren very much. You could meet some of these elderly people who could really use a kind of “substitute family.” If you find someone who is a good fit for you and your children, you could build relationships with them and fill that family need in all of your lives. Family is not always those who we share DNA with. I wish the best for you and your kiddos. ????

        • (((((((Honey)))))
          I can’t help but feel the tremendous amount of pain and suffering in your post, for your loss of your dear Mother, and of your precious Children’s Grandmother.
          A very close friend of mine once said something to me that I fall back on so often in my life.
          She said, “Where there is life, there is hope.” She would often say this when she or I faced obstacles in our every day life. She had a right to own this statement, as her 17 year old son lost his life instantly in a horrible car crash caused by a drunk driver. Thus there was no life, so no hope for her Child. A great love lost in the blink of an eye.
          While your Mother is alive, for her sake, and for your and for your Children’s sake, I personally feel you should continue to do all that you can do to see her and spend time with her. Of course this will not be easy and only do the best that you can to accomplish this without the wicked step father being present.
          If this proves impossible, tell your Mom you love her with all of your heart and you are there for her but you cannot ever be in the presence of her husband.
          When you ask, “What can I do?” Do what you can, and only that.
          Big big hugs to you and your precious young children.

        • “Now I’m getting signals from some around me that it’s time to repair this. That I should at least apologize for my part (snooping, or discovery based on today’s post) and try to make peace so we can at least be able to have holidays at mom’s for the years she’s got left.”

          Fuck no.

          You did nothing wrong. You were an excellent daughter. You tried to protect your mom, but she didn’t want to be protected. OK – her choice, not yours.

          Now you step back and let her get on with living her life and living with her choices. And you do you. And your kids learn about boundaries, and have a better life.

          But if I were you, I would look at getting away from the ‘some around you’ as well who are trying to bully you into compliance so they can all feel better about themselves and pretend Everything is Just Fine.

          • It really makes me sad when people act like they have to “catch someone in the act” to leave them for cheating like honeyandthehomewreckers mom does. In mostly cases, you just aren’t going to find these creepy cheaters in the sexual act. I mean, I never even saw my ex husband’s whore, much less saw them even together in the same place, anywhere. Yet, his big alibi was I couldn’t prove they had sex. I told him he couldn’t prove they didn’t.

            • Anti, my point is, the tipping point for considering actions shouldn’t be catching a person having sex, it should be pursuing someone else outside the relationship. That’s what I’m going to teach my child. If her boyfriend is communicating with someone else behind her back, and then lying when asked about it, he is a Cheater and will need to go. There are no exceptions to this.

        • you have nothing to repair – nothing that is fixable. You did not do anything wrong. If your mother chooses her cheating spouse over her child and grandchildren that is her sad loss & poor choice. I understand your feelings of loss of your extended family – but, you already have a normal loving family – you and your kids – a Narc and Personality Disorder Cheater free zone. Keep it that way.

  • Yes, I want to add. Excellent post, well explained difference between snooping and discovery, under what conditions you should practice discovery and difference between privacy and secrecy. All very useful and not only for chumps.

    Take care, Made.

  • I didn’t need to snoop he was doing it right in my face . All the sexting, scrolling through naked photos and videos of him getting a BJ . Then shoved his phone in my face and said see Karen is this what you want she loves me and i love her .

    Anyhoo !

    I would say trust your gut . Your gut leads you to know there is something to snoop . I knew in my gut he was cheating but i shoved it down for months . I would never have hid my phone from my Ex but his was attached to him 24/7 . Trust your gut Chumps it never lies

      • As i said on the Subreddit he is the nastiest , cruellest ( i would say man but he’s not a man ) thing in the world . I also posted this in the old archives . He really went scorched earth on me on D Day

        • Scorched earth a campaign to destroy you that never ends. They have to destroy themselves first. Mine threatened me and kids out of a house I built. To move in AP the same day. The scorched earth campaign of a narcissist is the worst thing I have ever seen. 3 years out and just over 1 year divorced and the scorched earth still in full swing.
          Our family Wizard is a tool to use to belittle and verbally assault me. The kids are weapons to continue abuse. My heart goes out to you as these monsters never give up. My dad is now reading the messages and swapping the kids because the legal system refuses to deal with these monsters. They will destroy themselves trying to destroy you. But we are free in so many ways.

  • I snooped only after I had caught her cheating and she swore to me that it was over and we could go to counseling to work on our marriage. That’s how I confirmed she was still cheating and my employee was helping her cover it up. Also how I discovered she was secretly planning on surprising me with divorce papers and had been moving marital funds into a private account.

    As soon as I found out all of this I moved out and filed for divorce. No need to continue gathering intelligence at that point.

    If not for snooping I’d have been blindsided a second time. Sorry, not sorry.

  • My XH viewed thought I was a terrible person for “snooping,” but never once viewed the cheating as wrong or immoral. He didn’t tell me about the OW because he “didn’t want to hurt me.” (What a great guy!) It was my fault that I was upset because I was “snooping.”

    At one point he changed his computer password to “snooping” with the clue, “I know you’re doing this again.” At that point I just stopped telling him about my discoveries, began emailing my findings to my own email address and to a trusted friend. I found a lawyer who told me I could use that as leverage during the divorce to get what I wanted, and I did. The XH didn’t want his ho-worker’s husband finding out about everything.

    The whole experience taught me that some people live in a way where they hide their true selves from others. They should be afraid for the world to view their private emails or browser history. But us chumps, if everyone saw my browser history and email account, I would only suffer minor embarrassment over my tendency to use Doctor Google to self-diagnos every minor ache or pain. Live such a life that your secrets are slightly embarrassing, not morally damning.

  • Is it snooping when it literally falls open at your feet?

    I was cleaning the basement to help sell the house, and as I moved items, her box of journals literally fell open at my feet.

    I, of course, turned through them and discovered patterns of decisions I was now yet another player in.

    I already knew about the AP, but this was a key puzzle piece that I needed to stop dancing and start walking.

    Of course I was accused of snooping. I replied, “I’m your husband, I should know these things.” I laughed rt after trying to explain how it literally fell open.

    Was a helpful, curious little moment.

    • I had a similar experience Tall One. I’d been pick me dancing hard for 2 months when I took his car to the store at 6 am to get some groceries for the kids’ lunches. As I put them in the trunk I found the evidence – receipts for the hotel near his office, condoms, sex toys (eww) and a brown bed sheet that wasn’t clean (double eww). After I busted him he smoothly pivoted to accusing me of cheating too. That’s when I stopped dancing and kicked him out.

      • I have a theory that many people who do disordered things justify it by believing that everyone else must be doing it as well. Thus the accusations that you must be cheating too.

      • Hey Sunrise I’m sorry and you’re not alone. I found lube in our car, and the hidden bag of sex toys in the garage. I was most definitely “snooping” in my own house to find all the evidence. When confronted, my husband admitted to collecting and using the sex toys over many years. The bag had sex toy cleansing wipes to wipe down between each of his whores. How courteous he was! Seriously icky.

    • Related experience of accidental “snooping”:

      As primary account holder, I received a text from our wireless company that I was almost out of minutes. I’d had a conference call on the phone, but didn’t believe it had run THAT long, so I checked the online account records and saw: THOUSANDS of texts, HOURS of phone calls between him and an unknown phone number.

      He was out that morning (supposedly at work), so I called his cell phone (with the land line phone in hand). When he answered his cell phone, I connected via land line to the suspect phone number. I heard it ring in the background and said, “You’re at her house, aren’t you? Don’t deny – that’s me calling her number.” Sheepish admission.

      I will NEVER call that ‘snooping.’ the only time he tried to call it that he was at least honest enough (bitch cookie!) to admit that it paled in comparison to HIS betrayal.

  • I would just add that if you are dating someone, and they accidentally leave their email account open, and you want to browse it without them knowing: Houston, you have a problem.

    The correct response is to close it, and have an honest conversation with your partner about how much you wanted to snoop but didn’t.

    This conversation can either help you both towards trust, or it will end the relationship.

    • If you are in a relationship and they are worried you are reading their email. .. .. then you have a problem. It is not a problem if you want to browse thru their open email. I leave my email on the family computer because I have nothing to hide. If my partner wants to open my email either on my phone or computer. .. have at it. The only reason anyone gets mad about it is when they have something to hide. Anytime my ex asked for my phone I just handed it to him. I never worried about him going thru my texts, call logs, or pictures. I literally had nothing to hide. Him on the other hand, would have to delete shit before he gave me his phone. .. .. I dont want to be in that kind of relationship. If you dont want me going thru your phone or email you are not my person

  • Love/Commitment. At its core, love is a decision to be committed to another person. …
    Sexual Faithfulness. …
    Humility. …
    Patience/Forgiveness. …
    Time. …
    Honesty and Trust. …
    Communication. …
    Selflessness. ………
    Just a little reminder to any fuckwits reading here.

    • And a reminder for us Chumps too to help us identify the fuckwits who don’t practice these behaviors.
      It took me years to identify that my spouse was a fuckwit. Thank you.

      • NY and Renee. Good reminders.

        I just dumped a guy I’d been seeing for the last 6 months. He kept his online dating profile up after promising 3 months ago to delete it before it auto-renewed. It has since auto-renewed because he “forgot”. One night after I got home from an early dinner with him (he had to work in the morning), I looked at his profile on the dating site – I just had a gnawing feeling in my gut. He was active within minutes of me leaving his house. All the while, texting me that he was going to bed and “sweet dreams!” with a kissy face emoji.

        I concocted a story and told him one of my girlfriends saw him active. He said he only opened an email (which was entitled “For ‘Joes’s’ eyes only”. In it, there were his daily matches. He clicked on a link and it took him to the dating site. He claims he wasn’t active on the site because he didn’t type the site into his browser – he only clicked on a link. Nice mind fuck. I told him to go off on his own – I want someone that wants to be with me. He then blame-shifted and said “You don’t like my kids!”. I have never said that and always was kind to them. He then recanted that statement. He never showed any remorse, just debated me about the validity of my accusation based on his chosen method of getting into the site. He also got mad that I “questioned his integrity!” and that he was “butt-hurt!”

        I’m 6.5 years out from marital d-day and still read here. Thank God for this site.

        • Not showing any remorse is a big tell. To me, it shows that what they are doing is treating you like an object, and using you. Sad. We have so much to give! We need someone who gives just as hard.

          • Thank you FreeWoman and I agree. It was disrespectful at a minimum. He knows my history (he claims he was a chump as well). I want someone that is all in for me, not someone that keeps me as an option until something “better” comes along. Been there, done that.

            Nothing to work with. The only “apology” was: “Sorry we’re in this situation.” (the situation he caused). If not for this site, I would have probably accepted what he said as remorse.

            • NoKibble, I’m so proud of you. I’m even further out than you are, and I still read here regularly, too. Some days it’s almost too painful to remember the clutch-my-gut agony, but I find that I really need the regular smack-in-the-face reminders that no, not everybody shares my values and priorities. “Look at what they do, not what they say” is my constant reminder to keep my distance until any acquaintance’s true character is revealed. And that goes for all new “friends,” not just possible romantic interests.

              I used to agonize that my life would never be the same, and now I exult that “my life will never be the same.”

  • The mind bending aspect is that once a chump has finally hired that badass lawyer, the chump then has to find as much evidence as possible should discovery be necessary.

    Depending on the state or country, length of marriage, shared children and economic disparity, the onus is on the chump to produce as much evidence as possible. Evidence of financial abuse, spending marital money on an affair partner, time away from family (“business travel” so one spouse should stay home with the children) is all on the shoulders of the chump.

    Do you think that they won’t lie under oath during a deposition? Will they deny credit cards when the statements are produced in front of them? We could all write volumes about what they will lie about to everyone, including their own lawyer!

    Want to call it digging? Whatever it’s called, DO it. You may need every document you can squirrel away. Things you may not think you need may turn out to be significant once you’re in a position to start connecting the dots.

    I don’t call it snooping or discovery. For me it will always be called self preservation. Or all that evidence that helped me recover after the cheater left me, paid for my badass lawyer and gave me the financial resources to get a life!

    • When I first asked ex to leave it was over lying about porn and being abusive . I started individually with a therapist and when I told him I found ex on multiple dating sites including Ashley Madison he thought I was in the wrong . I didn’t even go through his phone or email ! I just had a feeling so I created profiles on the sites and there he was !

      While I couldn’t prove he cheated at the time , I divorced him anyway because he did other shitty things to me .

      I was dxed with genital herpes right after the divorce and I had not slept with anyone else .

      If a therapist makes you feel like you are the bad guy or the problem , find another therapist!

    • Rebecca, exactly! I couldn’t afford an attorney and a PI, so I asked my legal counsel all the Do’s and Don’ts of investigations, and I jumped in with both feet. My STBX seemed to forget I’m a librarian, so I have top-notch tech and research skills. Not only did I dig into social media, I found a second email address, a script for an antibiotic commonly prescribed for herpes, a florist bill, and when I hit the shoppers’ card account, I found gift cards, more flowers, and Hallmark cards. We own a business together, so with a few online requests, phone calls, and a visit to the bank, I was able to to find a hidden savings account, and a trail of monkey business with our finances. Once I produced photos of his auto in hotel lots, I was labeled a “stalker.” He was just miffed I gamed him. All legal and with the blessing of my attorney. (I have to say, some of the best caffeine and junk food I’ve had was on stakeout.) I played it like “Survivor.” He may have thought he played me for a fool, but he sorely underestimated the lengths I would go to prove his infidelity. By the time we got to our first hearing, with all the photos and documents I had accumulated, he had no choice but to admit to the adultery. And, with the money I saved on the PI, I was able to hire a forensic accountant to investigate his sketchy dealings with the business. No stone unturned, I say. Do what you have to to make a life for yourself when the nastiness is over.

      • I’m extremely impressed and found it amusing.I too, was a pretty good investigator. Even though, some close to me told me to just leave it alone, I said “Hell no!” If it wasn’t for my efforts and my intuition to get truth, so many more people would have fallen for my cheating ex wife’s lies and gaslighting.

        I needed to know just how horrendous she was to be able to walk away because she was amazing at gaslighting. I obtained so much info that even if she had been remorseful and wanted reconciliation, there was no coming back from her lies, manipulation, and affair. Getting the truth from my own efforts helped the heartache and helped remove the rose-tinted glasses.

        But each time she got caught, she’d still lie, she’d blame me for my “need to dig for dirt” and “how she needed to feel safe” to discover how she was being caught. Haha. What a terrible person.

  • Forget snooping. This is surveillance of a suspected criminal in the act of committing crimes against the marriage. Lying, cheating, theft (of time and resources) and fraud, just to name a few. If I’m going to bring legal action against you, this is collection of evidence. Those with nothing to hide, hide nothing.

  • After 35 years of what I thought was a good marriage it took me 2 years of denial to discover he was a lying narcissist. When I was almost done with policing I finally caught him at her home early in the morning. If I hadn’t “snooped “ I would probably still be with him.
    I know now he was biding his time in serving me divorce papers when he’d retire to run off with OWhore.
    But I beat him to it by having him served divorce papers at OWhores Home. He’d get angry with me when I questioned him but the lies never stopped.
    It’s almost 3 years now I’m living in peace and truth.
    He’s now with another woman since the original OW passed away. Monsters do walk among us ????

  • People who have nothing to hide , hide nothing . I fully expect and understand the concept of “trust but verify ” blind trust is a fools paradise . All of our accounts are open and linked to each other . I’ll never be sorry for any discoveries I make and for any confrontations forth with . I made that mistake once. Never again

  • Yes and yes and all that. I had to confront Sparkle Dick with hard proof in the counselor’s office because my meek efforts to get him to ‘fess up didn’t work. His response to being found out with proof in hand was anger-provoking. The therapist kept asking him if it was true all the while daggers flew from his eyes and he was all about his privacy being invaded. I should have walked out right then, but being the Good Wife, long-suffering and patient, I was going to fight for our marriage. And you know what? I knew in my gut he was cheating, but I believed him when he said he loved me and me only. The initial proof was discovered by accident. The rest of the proof was easy to get. Turns out he was pretty careless since I wasn’t really a snooper – until I had to be – and it literally made me sick.

    Like Madge, our marriage was a total sham. From Day One he kept women on a leash. Lots of them. He was well-skilled at his craft since I wasn’t his frst marriage-go-round.

    I would add this: take pictures of everything you find. The mindfuck might cause you to forget a lot of stuff or be confused when he spins his lies. Take pictures of everything. If it ends up being nothing, then delete. Offload the photos onto a memory stick (or two) on a regular basis and wipe your phone. Keep the photos in a very secure place.

    I fought for the marrige for a long time but also kept taking photos. It made it easier for me to wake up and smell plastic roses because he was still courting multiple women while we were supposed to be working through things. I just didn’t realize he was trying to work through so many women as his personal form of therapy. When the time came to go to the lawyer, I had printed off the photos and wrote dates on the back them sorted them buy women or subject and had in hand a box of hundreds of photos. Expensive but necessary. Photos of him and her (and her and her and her ad nauseum), texts, emails, other miscellaneous things to establish that was I was saying was true because Sparkle Dick is an excellent liar and an excellent gaslighter. Without proof, no one would believe an iota of what I was accusing him of.

    Trust but verify? That’s nuclear diplomacy, not a marriage.

    • I would like to add that if you are being abused, take photos of yourself or any damage that he/she does to the house. I also saved a copy of everything on my best friend’s computer.
      One more thing. The Worm always made me feel uneasy. Looking back, a few months into the relationship I was in high alert and engaged in reconnaissance missions. I’ve been with my current husband for three years and have never felt the need once.

      • My colleague had me go down to our shower rooms and undress to my underwear. Then she took photos of my bruises, back and front and forwarded them to me and herself. I gave them to the doctor at work later and also I saw when I filed a domestic violence complaint against him that HIS lawyer had a copy in his file – obviously given to him by my lawyer. I don’t think his lawyer tried too hard to defend him!

      • I would take photos and immediately email them to my friend and my own secret email account. The cheating psychopath had been fired so he didn’t keep a regular schedule. In the early days of shock and fear I didn’t have time to transfer photos to my computer or memory stick.

    • T&A….. on the issue of trust but verify, I couldn’t agree with you more . It truly is not a normal marital theory forvsure. Sadly the Chumped get skiddish in future relationships and everyone suffers. Not right but unfortunately true. At least in my experience. Yet another piece of the damage done

    • TAAAAT – take photos of everything is great advice. DDay morning I took photos of his phone, hundreds of texts between him and his ex wife while he was in the shower. My gut had been screaming at me for months but I was told it was all in my head. I never accused him of an affair as I thought he was trying to protect me from the drama his ex wife and kids caused him/us but each time I asked what was going on I was told it was all in my head, I wasn’t sleeping well after a tough year (traumatic year it was looking after his granddaughter, supporting his seriously mentally ill ex wife etc etc). I dropped him at the airport that morning (he lives interstate for work and had for 2 1/2 years) When I finally spoke with him a week later he thought I had only read the message and started to outright lie and spin everything . It wasn’t until he realised I actually had hard evidence and called him out on the outright lies he got angry, refused to talk about the messages as ‘I was choosing to believe them not his word‘ (the messages were his fucking words) and told me that I should delete them for my own well-being. I refused to delete them and said I would not lie if asked why I had left him. No contact since then (14 weeks) and he hasn’t even tried. He is keeping his head down as he knows that I could expose everything to his friends and family (who all hate his ex wife and now AP with very good reason) Take photos of everything as the lies will keep coming and the mindfuck will continue if you don’t.

  • I believe only the chump feels anything moral about privacy and trust. The cheaters know they are losing control when the investigation begins. It cannot go well for them, they are guilty. They can no longer say it is our jealousy, or an overactive imagination that is the problem. It is what they did, what you have evidence of.

    For me, I needed evidence to convince myself that what my gut told me was accurate. Once I had enough evidence, I was done. I spackled and did not want to believe at first, but then I got angry, and worried about the extent of the betrayal. I was insulted that someone who was supposed to have my back was sticking knives in it, at my expense. I was supposed to love and trust, and continue to provide kibbles to respect a cheater’s right to privacy?

    I watched an interesting documentary about Roger Stone on Netflix this weekend. He is proud to be called the Prince of Darkness, proud of his lies and manipulations, and justifies everything he does when he can “win” at any cost. He and his cronies all intend to get wealthy, and they do not care who they rob, or what lie they tell to do so. He says if you hate him and his methods, it is because you are weak. So chumps, we are weak for having values and morals, and expecting people not to lie. Stone and his cronies have been investigated, by law enforcement, and found guilty in a court of law, and complain their privacy has been violated. They are not getting a fair deal. Seriously? How big of a chump are we supposed to be?

    When I was in the 5th grade I started a diary. I discovered my mother routinely read it. That is a violation of privacy. What harm could I have been doing in the 5th grade? This was long before the age of the internet. My parents were control freaks. They wanted to control my body and my mind. I had no say so in anything, and I was expected to obey without question. This feeling of violation stuck with me, and I have strong feelings about privacy and minding my own business. I do not like internet companies snooping on my searches, and making assumptions about my buying or personal habits. If I research lung cancer it does not mean I have it, or that I even smoke. The difference is I did not ever promise my parents that I would believe what they wanted me to believe, or even act like they wanted me to act. I was born into that situation. I don’t promise anyone on the internet that I intend to buy anything, or that I have any particular habit or interest.

    When you marry someone else, you stand up before family and friends and you make vows to love, honor, and keep only unto each other. When you make those promises, but have no intention of keeping them, and instead set about using marital resources and having sex with others, in my opinion that is a criminal act and you should be able to prosecute. You cannot claim privacy when you are actually wanting to cover up bad behavior. I agree with CL, it is not healthy to stay on the marriage police force for a long time. Get the evidence you need, then get out. Start a new life with people who do not think you are weak for having values. Don’t let anyone get away with stealing from you and lying to you. Consequences should come to those with bad behaviors.

    • Yes. I spent too long in the cycle of yet another D-Day. I wish I had done “one and done” and gotten out the first time. Codependence, fear of poverty, and the RIC kept me at lather, rinse, repeat for far too long.

  • Im a current chump working through this alone. I dont have any family nearby to help me and my BFF moved across the country. H had an emotional affair with his moms friend who he works with at Kohls…where at the peak of their relationship they had texted over 3500 messages in one month (which happened to be December). He bought her jewelry, kissed her and shared long hugs. They went for long walks around a nearby pond after shift. They went downtown together alone in a car unfer the guise of a charity function. He would text and email her while next to me, at our daughters tournaments and on Christmas morning. He would be in the bathroom so long i was concerned he might need a doctor (or extra fiber). He gaslighted me, told me i was OVER REACTING. His mother has told me its all my fault (a cheater herself who thinks her BFF would be a better wife and mother and so has blocked me and dismissed me in favor of her) and we have been in a year long silent treatment. I have been accused of DESTROYING lives for accusing them of an affair. They didn’t have sex…so he didnt cheat. Theres no such thing as an emotional affair.

    My requests for accountability have been denied. He doesnt HAVE to be accountable to me (he should not be married). Yes. He admits he hurt me but i have totally over reacted and my anger at his refusal to acknowledge what he did is unjustified. I wont even mention the porn my 15 yo daughter found on his phone.

    So…while i have enough to walk out…i stay. I stay because my daughter shouldnt have to suffer because of his selfishness. She is in the last couple of years in her high school. She is a national champion in her sport and about to go world. To divorce would mean she would have to give all that up. 3 attorneys have said hes the type of ass who will drag things out so he doesnt have to pay squat. So…im doing my time until shes left for college. Then i will graduate too.

    It sucks being alone in this. Not having family who would stand behind me to fight him and his family (all of whom have cheated and think its ok because they had a reason to) is hard. Im beaten down. I am a true chump.

    • I think it would be better to call yourself a former chump. You seem to have a deep understanding of what is going on, you trust that he sucks, and you have clarity about what is the best course of action for both you and your daughter at this time. Don’t sell yourself short Chump L! Your situation sucks, but you are mighty (((Hugs)))

      • I agree with KathleenK. You are in transition. You have a short term plan & a long term plan. You have 2 competing needs: 1. Help your daughter complete a plan already set in motion. 2. Get out when her situation is stable.
        I felt the same way. I had 3 in college when I understood fully what H did for 30 years. I am waiting until May when the last one graduates. I knew it was taking some risk, but that was worth it to me in order to see the last 3 kids get settled. I just went to see another attorney in December as the end is coming near.

    • This is so hard to through and hard to stay through. Sounds like you’ve got a plan to stay for your daughter. Did you receive any advice on how to line up your ducks for when you are ready to leave?

    • Please tell me you are working with those lawyers to get your finances secure in the mean time. If he’s capable of cheating, he’s capable of draining marital assets, opening secret accounts, etc. etc. and then leaving you and your daughter high and dry at any time. Maybe there’s a way to protect yourself and your daughter but not have daughter give up her activities? He could drop the bomb on you at any point. Also staying with an abuser like this teaches said daughter that this is acceptable behavior, which could be far more damaging to her in the long run.

      • An attorney was able to look at my assets & tell me why they were not at risk. It would be helpful for Chump L to run it by a few in the free consultations. I was also able to go through “worst case scenarios” with one attorney, for instance, if he wee to be arrested.

  • I particularly appreciate the distinction between “privacy” and “secret.” My ex, in addition to carrying on with an ex-student, decided that his sexual excitement at dressing in women’s lingerie meant he was transgendered. The night I told him I was done and had already consulted a lawyer, I also told him I wanted an honest relationship with our son, which initiated a meltdown and blow up (my ex’s closet is precious to him, more so than anything else in his life), after which I backed down to the extent of saying that although I wouldn’t tell our son that his father had decided he was “a woman in a man’s body,” I was going to say that we were divorcing because of an issue with his father’s that it was his father’s to tell him about, and if he (our son) wanted to know what that issue was, he could ask his father. My ex then said he would be tell our son, “Some things are private.” The real truth, however, is that for years my ex maintained a secret life. His lies and deceptions kept from me information I needed to be able to make decisions about my own life, and he did that deliberately.

    • One can truly have the legitimate secret of being closeted trans. There’s a LOT at risk personally with coming out as trans. But seeing an affair partner?? No, that’s not a secret. That’s just being an entitled asshole who is actively putting your health and safety at risk and destroying your family.

    • In the UK right now there’s debate over legislation that would offer a spouse of a trans person some protection against simply having to stay married and now be in a same-sex marriage (or opposite sex marriage, if the couple was same sex to begin with).

      If the person transitions, the spouse has to consent to remaining married to them – it wouldn’t be automatic any more. Otherwise they can seek a divorce from the transitioned partner.

      This is to respect the rights of a spouse who often has no say in their partner’s transition, and a system that tends to prioritize the rights of the transitioning person over the spouse.

      I see this as a promising tipping of the scales towards the rights of spouses generally – that there are two people in the marriage, any marriage, and that transitioning is a choice that you can make, but it affects your spouse as well.

  • When ex moved out, telling me that his relationship with Dream Princess was over, he left his Facebook open at our house. That’s how I found out he had seen her. When I asked him if he’d seen her he lied twice to my face. This was a huge problem for my son when I told our young adults why I was divorcing him. I told my son that I felt able to do this because from the start of the discard ex had been secretly reading my emails about the situation to his sister, who has been amazing and supports me unflinchingly. I know that because ex quoted something word for word that she had written to me, despite not having been in contact with her for months himself. I tried to explain to my son that ex had been spying on me since d-day whereas my action was justified, but he found it hard to get the difference!

  • Practice discovery, and the truth will set you free. But don’t call it “snooping.”

    A million times yes to this!

    If only I had practiced this decades ago! So many parts of my life would be different.

    This is a tremendously important guest column for newly minted chumps of any age, especially the young ones who have decades of “gaining a life” ahead of them.

    My mother would parrot to me “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” after being confronted. How wrong this is. Sometimes I wonder if this affected some of my future decisions. I think she liked the way the words sounded. Who knows.

    CN, listen to Madge!

    • My ex would say that to our kids. “What your mother doesnt know wont hurt her” and then “dont tell your mother”. .. … my kids struggled for days before they ended up telling me. They always felt bad for telling me the truth because dad told them not to tell. I would explain that dad should not put them in that position. That it was always ok to tell the truth because lies are bad. And dad was wrong for making them keep secrets.

      • Mrs Vain, I’m still furious that over 20 years ago my now ex told my 8yo daughter to lie to me, again with the “What Mom doesn’t know won’t hurt her.” It was also combined with his usual mantra of “I work hard, and I deserve this.”

        He did massive gaslighting damage to not only me but also to our daughter, and for that I will never forgive him.

        PS: Years later, she told me about it, and I’m proud of her. After we both discovered the Victoria’s Secret receipts in his car on DDay, she wrangled with the betrayal. After a bit, she came to the conclusion that “He’s my father, and though I don’t like what he did, I want to have a relationship with him.” Poor kid, she’s still in the “trust but verify” stage with her own father.

    • If “what I don’t know won’t hurt me” has to be my mantra, I don’t want to be in that relationship. My mom used to say that kind of thing too. She’d also say “all men cheat”, which of course gave me the willys when I’d fall in love with someone. She was a lovely person, but some of her views about relationships were so backwards. Alas, she was married to my cheater Dad for 21 years before she got up the courage to fire him. I think he really messed with her head.

  • My ex used to say “you have the perfect job for you, as you like to pick out things that people do wrong”. I am a Financial Regulator. As he never told me anything about his affair, reason for his sudden retirement, compulsive gambling, the emptying of a joint bank account and stolen safe deposit box, at the end of the divorce I provided him with a six page dissertation of my discoveries. My final statement to him was “how did I do now”?

  • Madge – what a great guest-column and boy did you hit the nail on the head (more than a few times!)

    My comment would be this to anyone who might be ready to go looking for “discovery”… tread lightly and make sure you are really ready to see, process, take action when you find what is really out there.

    I installed a keystroke tracker that gave me access to his Internet browser history as well as his multiple email accounts. I found out that I was married to a man who presented himself online as Single, BiMWM, Attached Male “open to anything”… a man who was looking for sex parties and trolling Craigslist hookers that were of all walks-of-life. Suffice to say, I was not equipped for the shitshow I bought a ticket to by installing the software. And as such, I reacted emotionally when I should’ve kept my mouth shut, captured more and more evidence, got my ducks in a row, and hired a lawyer.

    As it went, I fell down the RIC rabbit hole and stayed for another 7 years of lies, gaslighting, couples counseling, etc. And, then he left me for another woman because I had stopped having sex with him (‘cuz I knew I couldn’t trust not getting an STD from him).

    Eyes wide open is a better way to live for sure, but I wish I had better prepared myself before I went looking.

    • During my divorce I clung to the RIC hope of reconciliation.
      My older brother is a marriage and family therapist and he came across the country for a visit. My XW and I had been alternating weeks at home with kids. My brother who knew the story said that we should look it the home computer’s browser history. Bingo! A treasure trove of depravity and incrimination. Thank God he held my feet to the fire and refused to let me slip into denial. He asked what I was going to do about this? He got me to make that appointment with the attorney.
      I would not have been ready to believe my own eyes about her if he was not there. Sometimes accountability is required to honestly process…

  • Snooping ended the crazy making gaslighting. And out the door he went. He’s been diagnosed with borderline pd now. But gets no help.
    It didn’t stop but I dont question my reality anymore. I know he’s a liar. And abusive. So boundaries.
    Courts been hell for 8 yrs.

  • Yup, I found out then-husband had gotten back together with Schmoopie by checking his cell phone. He immediately tried to turn it around to “HOW DARE YOU LOOK AT MY CELL PHONE AND VIOLATE MY PRIVACY!!!”

    Fuck him. I regret nothing. His behavior that entire month had been nothing but suspicious. I asked him many times if he was back with her and he always lied and said “no” and called me paranoid, etc.

    As far as I’m concerned, he violated his own privacy when he lied to me and gaslighted me repeatedly. Actions, meet consequences.

  • “You know why I cheated on you again? Because you couldn’t trust me.”

    I have many favorite lines of his, but this is still one of my favorites.

    Once I finally let go of trying to trust him, what I discovered made it easier to move on.

    • My ex blamed my need to dig for dirt for us not getting back together. An exact quote was “if you would have stayed home that night (me catching her with her AP), we’d be back together now.” She was so good at gaslighting that she made me seriously question if I saw her kiss him or if it was just a close hug (as if it made a difference).

      She was the worst.

  • At the very, very end I asked him “if you were interested in seeing other women, why didn’t you just tell me?”

    His response “because I knew you would leave me”

    Game over. They know what they are doing is wrong (hence the secrecy). They hide it because they don’t want the consequences.

    • I was about to get remarried but something was tugging at my gut. What I found through ‘snooping’ was that his finances were in shambles and he was quite the online predator on dating sites. Not to mention a receipt I found where he had met a woman for drinks at a place I had previous told him that I never went to. Dodged that bullet.

  • I remember before DD telling XW that she was not a good liar. The funny look she gave me would have been foreshadowing in a film noir movie. But I was in love with her and our family and always assumed the best about her. It is only in looking back with the knowledge I gained by investigating with good reason that actions and motivations became clear.
    She told me she wanted a divorce, but insisted there was no one else.
    It was of course a lie, and once that was certain the veil was lifted and all kinds of misbehavior became obvious. A small amount of investigation turned up so much dirt.
    She has no idea what I know. I keep much of it out of play until the day she tries to rewrite history…

    • Do Cheaters think us Chumps are absolutely stupid ?

      Like we can’t use google , or request a phone bill or check with friends and family as to where they say they are ?

      Its really not difficult to notice when your spouse is at ” work ” until 10.30 pm 4 nights a week and every single weekend but there is no extra money to show for it ?

      • They get swept away by luv, or in the X’s case, by the high of having the neighbor blow him. It was intoxicating for him, and since he has the maturity of a pre-teen, he needed to keep me around to adult. Then, being the greedy guy he is, he wanted us to all sleep in the same bed ???? It really was watching someone lose their mind in slow motion. And yes, they think we’re stupid.
        Then they find out, we know consequences are real!

  • There is a congress woman who somewhat recently cheated on her husband. Her chump husband finally went and “discovered” her with her “lover”, as the headlines put it, (as opposed to fucking another man who was also cheating on and gaslighting his wife.)

    Anyway, the thing that made me just as disgusted as her cheating was that fact that she had been telling her chump he was paranoid. I bet she gave him a hard time for walking in on them when he was supposed to be at home. Grrrrrrr

    • I got all this…..

      She said ” your paranoid, I have never given you a reason not to trust me and I have never cheated”

      She was cheating for a year.

  • XAss had been escalating the devalue treatment for over 2 years. He started accusing me of the things I was beginning to suspect him of. I started to snoop. It wouldn’t have been that hard to find things either – other than having to dig through the piles and stacks and hordes of files, papers, and crap that Horder XAss had everywhere (reason enough to leave him). He is not tech savvy and always leaves his computer on, passwords automatically load, and multiple pages open. I started to look. And then just thought – what was the use? I was sure I’d have found loads of evidence of his infidelity, financial withholding and other secrets. It wouldn’t have helped me in court as we live in a no-fault state and I realized I already had all the reasons I needed to leave him.

    About a year later the AP contacted me after she dumped him and confirmed all the things I had suspected because she did go snooping and found it all, the dating profiles, the cyber sex hookups and more.

    At times I kinda am curious as to all the shit he was hiding. But I’ve just turned the corner onto Meh Street and its more like driving by a car wreck kinda curiosity. Makes much more sense to keep my eye on the road ahead of me and steer my vehicle safely ahead and not get distracted by the shit show on the side of the road..

  • Yep, same with Cheater EX. According to him, we divorced not because of his cheating, raging porn addiction, and fraud, but because I have trust issues and wouldn’t allow him to have any privacy. Every time I started looking around, I always found stuff going on. For a while, I even stuck my head in the sand and refused to check on anything, hoping that he would just do better if I stopped checking up on him. Nope, he went further than ever with it. I finally realized I had to leave when I found out that he had credit cards in my name that I didn’t know about, and that he had used my name in a fraud scheme so serious that I could have gone to prison for it–and I didn’t even know it was going on. Protect yourselves, Chumps.

    • Omg, very similar to my situation with my ex, he started credit cards, lines of credit etc. used my personal computer because god knows I trusted him and never locked anything down. Was zero I could do, my isp my computer my ss# and DOB…so $60k later I’m still struggling to pay it off.. I’m 62 years old.. so really my only recourse is to take equity out of my nearly paid off house., oh well I’m still standing!! They are cruel and heartless I’m just grateful to have gotten out without losing everything! We were not married and my name was on everything.. sooo, I shut down his phone repossessed his truck and cut off the credit cards. He did kick in my bedroom door and threatened me.. it was like a those embarrassing Cops shows, my neighbors got a free episode! He moved quickly after that, as I told him I wouldn’t press charges if he’d get out by the weekend.. AND not do any harm to the property. Being in jail (I knew this) terrifies him., so he moved In With his crazy fuck buddy… you know the woman he was just “helping” yea, helping yourself to her much used pussy.

  • Hi, I’m the OP. Thanks for reading, and I hope this helps someone. I want to say I made three mistakes:

    1. I “fought for the marriage” instead of planning to get out. One chance should have been the maximum.

    2. I kept discovering and confronting. Once should have been enough. I put far too much energy into the pain and skein-untangling.

    3. I kept the focus on fixing him rather than becoming independent so I had real choices.

    If you can’t trust someone, that can’t ever be fixed. Especially in the digital age, you can never be sure they aren’t back to the same old thing. If you’re reading this and wondering whether to leave someone you don’t trust…Leave. Move on. I really wanted to believe the marriage could be saved, and now I regret wasting more years on a delusion.

  • Abandoned, I found evidence.
    That freed me.
    Not only of that conspiracy, but also of that of my family of origin.
    There and then I knew that there are people who seem one thing and are entirely another. Their actions are not necessarily revealing of what their are/do. They are skilled in deceit and self-deceit.
    “You will know them by their fruits”
    Matthew 7:15-20

  • This is a description of my 30’s. You’re right CL- exhausting is one word for it. 11 years I’ve spent in this viscous cycle . I had a sham marriage from day 1 as well. This realization /acceptance, at the cost of my freedom, opportunity , body, youth, health, spirit and time , was met with a counter attack from my ‘partner’ that can be described only as – a mission to destroy . Me that is – for calling him out about what he’d been doing for so many years. I called him out and i was punished for telling the truth about who he is . I approach my 40th birthday next month and I find myself and my child , without a home , without sufficient income or finances to obtain basic needs, without a career , or a higher education – embarrassed, exhausted, indebted , bitter, uncertain , alone and overloaded — with responsibilities that I never agreed or could be capable of managing alone . Prince Charming on the other hand is in Greece with the newest GF , on a romantic vacation . Brand new Beamer big enough for her and her 3 kids . He just bought a 4300 sq ft Waterfront home For his new family . We are homeless. Word to the wise – don’t be a chump. If you are and realize it when you’ve already invested everything- don’t expect the courts to be fair or reasonable. Women, children, victims who are abused , terrorized , violated – are not guaranteed justice from their abusers . Don’t count on anyone helping you – help yourself and run fast . If you have to wait – wait only as long as you must , grab your children and run. Life isn’t worth living when you’re a slave to a narcissist. They cannot be trusted , they will
    Never change . You’re not being honorable To give more chances to someone capable of stealing your identity, taking away your resources, calculating and planning your demise , forcing you into destitution and then placing the blame on you – you’re being dumb . Prince Charming will try to rip your children away from you. Believe it . Run.

    • Oh honey, I don’t know what to say. Your story is so heartfelt. Sending you big hugs and as many wishes for better times as your heart can hold!

      • Thanks – I use to have a playful tone in my writing , hopefully I’ll get it back. I meant every word of my comment above . It’s serious – very serious . People should know what’s at stake and what is possible to lose – even when you never thought there was a chance of losing it. When you have to fight or prove or explain for things you never thought were in question – like your kids , reputation, whether you had an STD . I was so certain that good things happen to good people . I was so committed to being a good wife and mother – I was certain that he would never allow me to suffer . Much less be the cause . I was wrong and there’s no limit to what some will do to put you down in order to appear the victor . If I was the loser – then he must be the winner – right? It’s a living nightmare . I accept your hugs and I accept your vibes and I can’t wait for the day when I’m free from this cesspool he tried to drown me In. I will
        Be free. Not sure what condition I’ll be in or how much spirit I’ll have left . But one day I will be free . Thank you

        • Figured that out!!! But you know what, you sound like I did. One day after ex had beaten the shit out of me and kept me up all night I was at work when the dr and staff counsellor called me in – for obvious reasons. I was at the lowest point ever but a little later in the day they sent me an email to ask how I was doing and I said “tired, but spitting fire” and I knew then that as long as I was still capable of “spitting fire” I would get through it. You sound like a dragon to me (and I mean that as the biggest compliment possible)!

    • Yep. He hid tons of $. Put a lot of it into boats, gear, guns, etc. all that somehow never actually as ‘divided’ during property settlement. No alimony. No child support. After 19 years together, gave up my career to be mostly a SAHM. But at least I have split custody of our teen son and my freedom.

    • Oh my, this sounds like me… time does help of course. I do have a BS Business Admin degree, but having not worked meaningfully for many years made that degree completely useless unfortunately. I actually work 2 FT menial jobs. One job is a receptionist where I get health insurance. The other is 1099 work where I am paid about $4-$5 per hour I put in. It’s kind of abusive and definitely wrong, but I have no choice right now.

      Working so much sucks, but there is a a bit of therapy in it too. I am making my way despite some bad odds; that feels a little bit amazing some days. I don’t like to think about where my head would be if I had leisure time to sit around and think about the mess I ended up in, the lost 25 years, etc. I work so much I just don’t have much time to dwell on it. Haha!

      I am so incredibly relieved to be away from that sociopath, but knowing his life is all happy and wonderful pisses me off beyond words. He has nice vacations, new cars (3 in 5 years to be exact,) big house, the last O-Whore living in to do all the chores. They both cheat on each other she is younger and in it for the money, he wants a willing deviant sex partner and domestic workers so it all works out beautifully for them both.

      The more time that passes, even tough I’m so tired, the more I am just happy he is gone. About the moment I became pregnant (we planned the pregnancy) with our first child he did a 180 on me and it was bad since then– 1997 (DD1-2007, DD2 2015 (Then found out it had been since we first met) Divorce final late 2016.

      Peace has a price. You can always make money. The whole experience completely trashed my health, stress is so toxic. You cannot buy your health either…. peace is worth it, I promise. I’m so sorry for you because awful financial repercussion make everything about recovering worse, but I KNOW you will be okay. Please believe me. XO

  • God, this brought back memories. I don’t miss the marriage police days. I was told I was “crazy”, “paranoid”, “a bitch” for seeking the truth, checking the stories. I ran across the printed discovery I had from D-day and realized I had kept it to remind myself I wasn’t all of those things, I was justified in my suspicions and to trust my gut instincts. Sadly, I think I still need that reminder due to some of my family members who still remain in contact with him. My only regret is not leaving him that same year. I spent 6 years in a false reconciliation. Six wasted years playing marriage police in a futile war of transparency. I never want to live that way again…it was exhausting and toxic and took its toll on my heart, body and mind. I’m shocked and grateful every day that I survived it all. I am enough now, but lucky and grateful to be with someone that I can trust. I thought I would be untrusting forever but it’s amazing how being with someone who is transparent and understanding (he was cheated on too) can help you continue to heal. I say continue because I did a lot of work on my own which is essential. I could have done it all on my own, he was just a little bonus prize for all my hard work. Be strong CN. Believe in yourselves.

  • My ex used to watch the transactions on our joint bank account all day on Saturday’s. Then confront me at the end of the month that I’d spent $1000 on retail that month (for context, together we had a gross monthly income of $14k). Gee, I dunno! It’s almost spring, we have growing twin toddlers who’ve outgrown last year’s spring clothes, the Easter bunny needs gifts, and I’m cooking a big Easter lunch for family!

    All his while I drove a salvage title minivan. And he stuffed cashes up the coochies and down the throats (along with his dick) of stripper/hooker people. Every time I think of that asshole doing that shit behind my back, while I’m out buying shit for our kids, my head about explodes.

    • Yep I lived the false equivalencies like this for years with Dr. Cheaterpants. He just couldn’t believe the credit card bill each month but I was the only one doing any household shopping for groceries, clothing, kids sign ups for sports, etc… Of course, him having the latest hobbies and spending thousands on those or his famous eating out twice a day with friends wasn’t the problem.

      • Add my ex to the Thrifty McShifty list. Constantly setting budgets while throwing hundred$ away in $trange-change every month. I will never, Ever forget the day during Reconciliation attempt, that he complained about a $1.39 bag of gummy peaches at Walmart being ‘expensive’. Prompted a come-to-Jesus meeting right there in the candy aisle. It was kind of Epic.

        • This is one of those type of stories which I never get sick of. Like Tango the Talkative Parrot.

          The idea of a come to Jesus moment in the Walmart candy aisle offers so many possibilities. I BET it was epic.

          ChumpLady has enriched my imaginative life so much.

    • Yeah, Babs. That sucks and I can relate. In my magnificent chumphood I was eating cold sandwiches and freezing my ass off camping with my daughter for her outdoor education while my husband was spending lavishly on meals, hotels and gifts for his young girlfriend, who was also my client. Fuckwits seem to have no boundaries to their fuckedupness.

  • Here’s a funny thing: when I served with the marriage police my intention was not to catch my ex out lying it was the opposite I was desperately looking for evidence that she was telling the truth (spoiler alert- she wasn’t)

    • Oh, this comment really hit home for me. I remember that too. I sooooo wanted to discover that he was telling the truth. I remember the sick, sinking feeling that he might not be. And then the punched-in-the-chest feeling of finding out for sure that he had been lying.

      • I never realized it, but that’s what I was doing myself. Trying to “Catch them being Good”, like Mr. Rogers or someone like that says. Unfortunately, in my case that never happened because he was a selfish, creepy asshole who felt he was entitled to commit adultery. I was always disappointed by what I found.

  • I caught my cheater the morning after I put a tracker on her car. (Legal in our state). After years of feeling that something was wrong, talking to her, asking for counseling, I found my wife in the backseat of her car with my 3 daughter’s high school basketball coach. Visual confirmation is the best and the worst. Best because there is no denying what they were doing (BJ). Worst because you have to live with that visual every day. And then discover in depositions that the affair had continued over 10 years.

    • Sadby, how awful. I stopped short of the visual confirmation for that reason. Not that I could’ve walked into a strip joint or ‘spa’ inconspicuously anyway. I worked with a private investigator on GPS tracking then sent him in for the visual report.
      I suppose if it had been an actual ‘affair’ I might’ve DIY’d it, but wasn’t going to chase my dirtbag through the gutters.

  • Once that final curtain fell and the mask was off, my super sloth skills went all out! For 3 decades I listened to his BS but never believed most of it. His lying had gotten worse with age I guess that’s normal. To me everything was full game. I searched high and low into anything and everything during our divorce. It was quite shocking to say the least but it helped me to vet this stranger who had called himself husband and father to my family for a long time. He had NO time to prepare for the shredding I gave him, Im sure there is lots more that I didn’t uncover.. It doesn’t matter though, there was enough that I discovered to figure the hell out of what he had always been up to.

    I will say this “SECRETS MAKE YOU SICK”. Never again will I be dooped by a sneaky, lying, cheater pants. Its truly unbelievable the lengths they will go to get off! I could write a book about by discoveries. And I am PROUD I snooped until I was satisfied to divorce his ass and expose him to the world. I believe this is why most X’s hate afterwards so much, they can’t take the shame!! He ruined his life not mine!

    4 yrs now trickster Xh is gone from my life. Everyday gets better!

  • Madge, BRAVO!

    I don’t have a problem with the term “snooping” but Discovery sounds pretty damned good too.
    If people can trust their guts and walk away on that alone, great. Red flags in the first months? Buh-bye. But years, kids, property, bank accounts etc….this Chump did her due diligence in order to react appropriately (& cut out all the bullshit & gaslighting). It took months to gather & assemble the puzzle pieces. They were HARD months, not recommended for the faint of heart. But having seen the brutal dance other Chumps went through-the heartbreaking push & pull between lies & love, heart & head- I vowed to get the truth, & therefore, the power.
    Not to be too cliche’, but we have to know ourselves & be true to what we need to walk away with absolute certainty. I knew I needed that certainty before closing a 25 yr chapter of my life.
    Now I have no doubts, no questions or what-ifs. And that feels Snooper-Duper????

  • Our “marriage counselor” spent our first session berating me because I wasn’t supportive enough of my poor sex addict (barf) cheater husband. Apparently he’s a plant who can only grow at his own pace. I needed to stop expecting decency, truth, or even fidelity at the time because he was “sick”. He needed my support, poor little prostitute banger. Needless to say, I never went back and divorced. Best choice I could have made. Now he’s cheating on his girlfriend and I’m so thankful he’s not my problem. Getting out was the hardest thing I ever did and I now know it’s because I was truly attached to him. Not quite 2 years divorced and I’m finishing my masters in counseling this year. I’m just one person but I’ll be fighting the RIC with everything I’ve got and spend my career helping chumps get out!

    • Yay, go get em! You’ll be using this horrible thing that happened to you as “education” to help others and make the world a better place. I love it!!!

  • I’m a snoop and proud of it. Well I am now. If they are withholding the truth, then all’s fair as far as I am concerned. After DDay and once I started taking no crap, Cheater just wanted everything to blow over and go away. He didn’t want any more fighting and awkward conversations, so he didn’t tell me that he’d lent OW money to set up her own pad before he’d broken it off with her. I discovered all this because I cracked his computer and found their explicit emails and the conversation about the money, hacked his other email account and his bank accounts and found the corresponding transaction, in the thousands. When I asked him about lending her money, he denied lending her any, until I presented him with the proof, and gave his reasoning for deceit as he didn’t want to fight anymore, so it was easier to lie/deny. I was a lot smarter than he gave me credit for and that’s his weak spot, is that he thinks he’s being clever. I say get it, not just for peace of mind to confirm, yes, that is what you are dealing with, but to get what’s fair. Collect that data, don’t let them know about it no matter how mad it makes you, and then get what’s yours.

  • I snooped once on dday and found out a lie from his mobile phone. It was nothing to do with the four year affair I found out about after he left.
    I chumpily apologised about looking at his phone and was upset with him for lying to me. That was the day I asked him to go to counselling or leave. He didn’t seem worried about my snooping and left. Probably relieved I only found him out on an everyday lie not the big one. I was devastated but now I’m glad he left.

  • Plenty of snooping even after XW changed her phone passcode (I guessed it, she wasn’t very original). She’d deleted all messages between her, her sister, and the AP for around 6 months, after messaging her sister daily for years. Yes – think triangle. I only got the messages afterwards reminiscing or jealously arguing about the AP. I even got pics XW had sent, which I correlated with timestamped messages to get the AP’s number from our phone bill.

    The saddest one for me, though, was when my youngest (18 months at the time) knocked over XW’s gym bag with a ball one night she was out (with the AP as it turned out, while I looked after our two toddler kids), and out fell her wedding ring that had been “missing” for about 8 months prior. I was livid.

  • I wasn’t a snooper, even though there had been two previous DDays. DD#3 came about when the cheater left his facebook messenger open on the home computer. He always used his tablet, but for some reason he logged in on the desktop in the house and didn’t close it. When I saw those messages popping up right before my eyes, there was no way I could keep pretending. I confronted him and all hell broke loose. I went looking for more incidence. I found his written journal and took it. He was livid. I not only read the whole thing, I took it to Staples and made a copy of every page. Through the journal I found out the emotional affair started in February 2019, and became physical in May. He also very handily had a page listing the dates on which each new step in their relationship developed. Hugging, kissing, full on intercourse. I am very grateful that I have written proof. It keeps me from doubting myself or believing his lies. Funny thing is, I confiscated his tablet when I dumped him. I paid for it, so I kept it. It is still logged in to his facebook and messenger. I snooped on him for three months after DD#3, then quite because it was holding me back from healing. I found out that he lies to his friends and family, too. I also got the low down on his drug dealer. I guess he found a new one to supply him in the town where he moved to.

  • I hated that I was reduced to the role of inspector gadget to figure out what the hell was going on in my own life but the ex asshat left me no choice.

    The very first time I decided I had be the marriage police was also my dday. I knew something was horribly wrong and I started to suspect that he might be fucking around so I took the liberty of becoming informed. I didn’t consider it snooping, I thought of it as educating myself.

    I should have just divorced him then and there. What they do not tell you in the RIC brochures is that after something like that happens, it is quite literally impossible to un-ring that bell. I never realized how much I took trusting him for granted until I didn’t trust him….at all.

    During our 3 year stint with wreckconciliation, I continued in my role with the marriage police and in addition to it being exhausting, it also felt akin to snooping. The only positive thing I can take away from that experience is that it was instrumental in helping me see that I was wasting my time.

    Any cheater that gets upset over their faithful spouse ‘snooping’ is only upset because it threatens their delicious cake and kibbles. For the first 24 years of our marriage, the ex intermittently rummaged through my purse, and after cell phones became a thing, my call logs for no particular reason. I now understand he was projecting his shitty behavior on me. And even though I didn’t particularly care for him going through my purse, especially when he took money or my last stick of gum, I rolled with it because I thought that was all part of the deal of being married. As it turns out, not so much for him.

    Whatever. He is now a little thing that I like to call, not my problem anymore and so is the RIC.

  • Attorney told me she didn’t want to hear any intel during the first visit. An absolute No-no. Reading is a different matter.

    Screenshots of text messages between xw and AP1 on her phone gathered (in shock @ 3am with heart racing) while she slept proved everything I needed to know. I left the most damming printed image of their post hookup text conversation with attorney- ‘the smoking gun’.

    Xw awoke frantic when she came out of our bedroom and saw me perusing the truth on her missing phone. Demanding/raging I delete it all from my phone. Too late. My Eureka moment. You’re busted and I have the proof. Let’s work it out followed.

    Enter hyper vigilance mode to discovery of the “How Long has this been going on” question?
    What do I do now? Etc. etc.

    The weeks Preceding this, I had observed the subtle behaviors xw exhibited. The “Tells” poker players use. Research followed on “signs your spouse is cheating” to verify my “something’s amiss” feels. Xw was getting sloppy, just like her vagina. Caution and fear required adoption of OpSec principals on my part for the continuation of my truth seeking.

    To avoid post discovery DV accusations, use of a digital VAR was advised when interacting with her alone.

    Backstory was I almost caught xw 6 years beforehand but proof was fleeting and my hunches I later dismissed. GPS activity seemed normal. Nanny cam reviews non-conclusive.

    VARs are useful tools to mine the rabbit hole ????
    for reality. Remember The 1st Rule of Fight club.

    My intel-gathering window of opportunity closed within a few weeks after AP1’s discovery. Xw moved in with AP2 and abandoned the marriage. The demarcation line was drawn.

    I got busy with affair clean up legalities which took 10 months. Opsec led to gray rock to total NC. A lot of pain shopping in between.

    So,.. this word “snooping”… is a deflection.
    Replace it with Intelligence Rendition, truth seeking or Unicorn microscopy. WTF ever!!

    Reframe the fear of using technology as a survival tool for self protection. Learn about Opsec and more importantly personality disorders. Be true to thine own self.

    Did you know that a huge percentage of cheaters control the phone bill? The internet bill? I didn’t.
    Edward Snowden and Julian Assange showed the whole world that there is no privacy in modern day communications equipment. Watergate did too.

    My 84 year old mother taught me growing up to never to say or write anything that I wasn’t willing for the whole world to see.

    • I like the term reconnaissance when talking about it. Yes, snooping is a euphemism to make it all sound less than it is. A mindfuck, as Tracy would say.

  • Still together not yet out Snooping, can be a could thing also bad , Husband cheated says he stopped seeing OW But not so true , To find out he made plans to spend Valentine’s Day with her , snooped to find that out , which was good to know I guess , but now can’t stop thinking about it . He’s having his cake and eating it to We’re in a trial separation , living in same home for financial reasons So since being in a trial separation he thinks he can do anything Which isn’t true and will catch up with him soon I have another few months to make it through until I can file , , Just don’t know how I’m going to make it , He’s living here in part of the house , And dating OW Who he tells me not to worry there JUST FRIENDS There more I know cause I snoop I found things out , I have friends that have told me things , . I keep a journal of all that he’s done , And one day soon . All my snooping will pay off I hope Snooping is good just don’t get caught

    • I thought snooping was hard and hurt for a little while too. But, unfortunately, I also felt his actions made it necessary and that I needed to do whatever I needed to do to protect myself. Since you are on a trial separation, technically he doesn’t get to have his cake and eat it too. He doesn’t really need his laundry done or meals cooked. When my ex wanted to be separated, I canceled the joint credit card and just made supper for myself. I told him we were separated so he could go get his own supper now.

    • Out Soon, Just curious—why do you feel the need to snoop? I thought that you had already decided to give up on the marriage to a man who is not treating you with respect and kindness and is committing adultery. How does more snooping help YOU?

      • I haven’t really , All this is confusing to me I’m having a hard time believing all the things he has said and done to me just to get what he wants , So snooping backs up the horrible things I afraid to see I guess , I had said I was going to get out soon Cause I’m tried of people getting down or mad at me for still being married to him . Sorry for misleading u

  • Great article!

    While I was married, my husband used to secretly read my email although he, not I, committed adultery. He later told me that he had to do that to protect our children (from what I don’t know) as it sounds as though he, not I, was hitting our pre-school children with a belt while I was at lab. I later discovered he was siphoning money from our accounts to pay for sex with prostitutes and doing some shady things in his business to make himself look poor. I later asked him about the business write offs and he told me that they were none of my business.’ Oh yes, they were/are as we were married and had/have minor children together and the money that was used for sex with prostitutes was supposed to go into the children’s college fund.

    Now, over five years since he officially left, when I offered to give him the holiday (today) to spend time with our children while I worked at one of my multiple jobs, he got mad at me for not giving him the exact hours of MY custodial time that HE wanted, called me a string of insulting names, and then threatened to withhold child support. I told him that he could complain to the Court. He says that I am selfish and abuse HIM. I have never abused him. While we were married, he hit me.

  • The mistake isn’t snooping. It’s what we do with that “snooping”. Theoretically, some people would just leave if they felt something was “off” and feel no need to verify. However, it can be hard to leave a marriage. Sometimes, you need to know the truth in order to make decisions about your future. It could also be helpful information for other reasons. Maybe the snooping/discovery leads to finding out information that could be relevant in custody decisions. Maybe it also leads to concrete proof so the cheater can’t lie about what really went on and try to turn your church against you. Maybe, it leads to a better and faster divorce settlement since they wouldn’t want this proof to go public. Maybe, it leads to proof of money and assets that were hid.

  • More accurate terms than “snooping”:
    *discovering the truth
    *seeing behind the lies
    *insisting on reality
    *finding out the story of my own life
    *protecting myself from further abuse

  • Little late to this post on “snooping” but I would also add being accused of jealousy. When your partner is inappropriate with a woman (or man) and you take issue by confronting the inappropriate behavior, that is not jealousy. That is taking a stand and saying hey, I have a big problem with you treating me like dirt, insulting me and acting like a total ass.

    • Thank you! I was accused of being jealous by my ex, of his two best friends, the second one being the girl he left me for. In either case if I could be said to be jealous it was more because my gut told me he was being more honest to them than he was to me. That’s intimacy.

  • A THERAPIST said to me “What do you keep looking for? You would’ve already found it by now, if there was”. WRONG!!!!!!!!!

    I didn’t know what I was looking for, but what I did find is something that definitely crossed the line for me.
    I walked out because of that and never needed to know more. That was enough for me to make up my mind.

    My thoughts in that moment were: “That’s what he’s CAPABLE of”. No, thanks.

  • I think it’s an awful position to be in. That feeling that you know something’s off; and you want to reconcile that in your brain. That is, you want to find information that proves that you’re WRONG. You want to feel that your radar is defective. That you’re being paranoid etc. At some point, snooping becomes the only viable (but still shittiest) option. I’ve snooped a few times in my life and I’ve found something EVERY single time. Maybe there’s a lesson in there about trusting your radar; but that’s the thing…when you’re being lied to, and you sense it, it’s very hard to trust your radar because of the emotions involved.

    Maybe this just speaks to the character of the partner. That is, if a partner is truthful with you then you end up not feeling that weird radar ping. I’m hoping that’s the kind of partner I end up with…otherwise staying single sounds good.

  • The whole “snooping” argument is a form of DARVO: Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender. So when a cheater starts the “you shouldn’t snoop” argument, what you can say is: “You’ve got this backward. The problem is that you are cheating and lying and keeping me in the dark about something I have the right to know. Blaming me for being smart enough to catch you cheating and lying is just showing me that you are a manipulator on top of that.” And for a flying monkey, “You can say, so your moral standard here is that it’s OK for one party to lie and cheat and expose your spouse to STDs and spend marital assets on a mistress, but it’s not OK for the victim to get evidence of being cheated and lied to and stolen from. I guess if someone breaks into your house and takes your TV or steals your car, you won’t call the police and ask them to ‘snoop on your behalf.”

  • Snoop Dogging (a/k/a Discovery) gave me power which enabled me to win the pre-divorce, divorce and post-divorce war.

    I kept a book of it all which I still have. Every now and then I take a look at it….amazing….what I would have been deceived with had I not won the stealth war.

    I was getting crushed in the stealth war initially, but once I knew I was in a war and acted accordingly (stealth ninja, grey rock, discovery, stealth planning ahead, let the cheater think she has me on the ropes (a/k/a rope a dope) while I strategized), I won.

  • Snooping becomes a problem when it stops being about discovery and starts being about continued policing and checking for new updates. Once you get to that point you’re not only violating your partner’s privacy, you’re accepting the diminished role your partner has put you into.

  • I snoop, and I’m not ashamed to say it. To me, snooping is sometimes a necessary evil.
    If a person won’t tell the truth and be honest, you do what you must to protect yourself and uncover lies.

    The narrative is often that all snooping is “bad” and it’s abusive, or an attempt to control one’s partner.
    While some do unfortunately snoop in that way, I prefer to snoop in a way that is about putting my mind at ease.
    In my case, it’s gathering information that puts me in a more empowered position (knowledge is power).
    That way, I can make better decisions.

    “Snooping” is an invasion of privacy but as CL says, people forfeit their right to privacy when they choose to deceive others.
    After I found out my husband had visited Chaturbate (an interactive porn site) and I connected the dots with some other weird behavior, snooping wasn’t a problem for me anymore. I don’t have access to his social media but I read texts from his female coworkers.
    One of them (I’ll call her Kate) texts him constantly with all her problems.
    And then there was one text from him where he asked her to help him choose an outfit for a work function. That pissed me off, because I’m his wife…he could have asked me. No other woman should be doing that.

    He was upset to find that I check his phone, but that’s what happens when you lie and act in dishonest ways.
    When his phone stops buzzing with texts from her (mostly not work-related) and he puts the brakes on this “friendship” with her, then I’ll trust him again.
    Until then, I won’t apologize for snooping.

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