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‘He’s a Different Person Than I Used to Know’

Serial cheaterDear Chump Lady,

The past several months have been some of the worst of my life. Three months after having a baby, I discovered that my husband had some sort of relationship with the 46-year-old neighbor across the street. We had just moved in and got married when I was pregnant, so he immediately started the affair soon after. I don’t have anything against being 46, I will be too someday but he’s 34 and I’m 36 and I never thought this would be someone he would cheat with. He had a history of porn addiction that led to erectile dysfunction, which should have been my red flag, but he assured me he was fully recovered and obviously I got pregnant so everything was working fine. How naive of me.

I tried to go to counseling with him and he went one time. He never admitted to cheating, but instead turned things around on me and said I’ve been horrible the whole marriage. I was pregnant during most of our short marriage and we only fought a couple of times so this was news to me. Within a week, he had filed for divorce. When I asked why he’s divorcing me he told me “I have my reasons”. I also have an older son who he was what I thought an amazing stepfather to. In fact, everything about him was so loving, sweet, affectionate, etc. that I was completely blindsided.

Over the past several months he refused to move out so we had to live together in hell, but I was happy to not hand over the baby overnight. During this time he immediately hit up all of the dating and hookup apps and hired a transgendered escort (found this in his financial records). Shamefully I made a fake profile pretending to be 19 and he of course went for it. He’s like a different person than I used to know.

We recently had to go to mediation for timesharing of the baby and I felt bullied by everyone there to agree to 50/50 custody, which I am not comfortable with. He charmed everyone by showing up in a suit and acting like father of the year. He was so convincing that my own lawyer told me “Wow, he’s really good looking. Now I see why you married him.” Needless to say, I stuck to my guns and did not agree to 50/50. I also found a new lawyer.

I’m still struggling with how I let this person fool me. I’m struggling with him dating other people (why on earth do I care??), I’m struggling with what I thought was our happy life together being nothing but a farce. I play everything over and over in my head. We seemed like such a good match and I was so grateful for him and our life together. My question is this, how do I stop torturing myself mentally? How do I become okay with all of the unfairness and feeling that I have no answers or closure?

Thanks

Jo

Dear Jo,

He’s not a different person. You just finally saw the rat bastard he actually is — the cheat-on-a-pregnant-woman, lying, porn-addled limp dick loser. Of course he divorced you first — jig was up.

You saw behind the mask, so he had to do some quick calculations — expend a lot of kibble energy to reel you back, with your unreasonable therapy demands and accountability — or discard. He took the simple option. With a flourish of blameshifting, because “he has his reasons” — he can’t accept responsibility for his appalling actions.

I’m still struggling with how I let this person fool me.

You’re a loving person and you invested. Please don’t blame yourself. It’s very hard to lose the dream of what you thought it was. Instead of beating yourself up, kudos for fighting back! It’s been only three months since D-Day, and you’ve already fired a lawyer and rejected 50/50 custody. Way to be MIGHTY!

I hope you’re documenting all his adventures in dating for your new attorney. I’m so skeptical of cheaters who want 50/50. It generally means they don’t want to pay child support. Co-parenting with a fuckwit is a long shit sandwich buffet. Pace yourself. CN can weigh in with how they cope (get parenting software! Devote yourself to the Zen practice of grey rock.)

I’m struggling with him dating other people (why on earth do I care??),

Because D-Day was a few mere months ago and you’re reeling. It’s emotional whiplash. You were in love and invested. His utter disinvestment is shocking. If it didn’t shock you, I’d wonder what’s wrong with you — it would mean YOU were pretty shallow! Of course it hurts!

Rationally, you know this man is a toss of a soggy Kleenex of a human being, but it takes time for the heart to catch up. I swear in time you won’t care who he’s dating, you’ll feel profoundly sorry for them, (except for the neighbor lady, she can rot).

I’m struggling with what I thought was our happy life together being nothing but a farce.

You were real. That’s all you control. What kind of monster pretends to invest a child, create another, and then cheat on their mother? I’d be struggling not to thug-kick him into next week.

I play everything over and over in my head.

That’s Untangling the Skein of Fuckupedness. It’s a coping mechanism. Being chumped is traumatic and it takes quite a bit of time to accept it. As I say here a lot — the pain is finite. But it’s totally normal to replay what happened over and over again to process it, especially in the beginning.

You can’t understand him because you aren’t a callous motherfucker. There isn’t a lot of subtle shading or nuance in what he did — it’s BAD. Like, eject him from your life forever and fuck his reasons BAD.

My question is this, how do I stop torturing myself mentally?

By getting busy. Your job right now is to navigate yourself out of this nightmare with a good attorney. Focus on ACTIONS to build that new life, and iron-clad boundaries as you go forward. Like, more movies with friends, less rumination and stalking his dating profiles. Like, more time at the gym punching things (find one with childcare), less time dwelling on fuckwit rejection. Like, more time with career, schooling, or online certificate to become the most kick-ass single mom you can be, less time wondering if your neighbor has rug-burn on her knees. See how that works?

Stop torturing yourself, because he’s done quite enough damage. You REBUILD. No torture!

How do I become okay with all of the unfairness

Take a number in a great big world of Hideous Injustice.

I’m not being flippant. There is a lot of fuckwit-inflicted suffering in this world. After being chumped, this experience should make you more empathetic to others, and more intolerant of fuckwits. Ultimately, that’s a GOOD thing. We need more angels. In the future, you can be an angel and pay it forward to someone who is suffering unjustly.

and feeling that I have no answers or closure?

You have an answer — he’s a fuckwit. What he did was UNACCEPTABLE and that’s why you’re divorcing. Zero to work with. No such thing as closure, so please avoid him and the Relationship Autopsy.

It’s dead. Don’t poke it.

Jo, you will survive this, I promise. I know you will because I did, and a few bazillion people who appear on these pages did too. And right out of the starting gate you are far mightier than many of us were. So I know you’re going to be okay. Big (((hugs))). It gets better.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • Jo, I too was blindsided by a narcissistic fuck wit, charming, a.k.a. love bombing, and so handsome. On the outside he was the perfect husband, perfect father and always present. No hint of unhappiness in our marriage when I got blindsided by the bomb. Total devastation, my daughter was 10 didn’t understand how her dad could do this. I treated myself to Tracy’s book “Leave a cheater gain a life“ just before Christmas and two months after I played the pick me dance… Read it cover to cover in one day… laughed a few times and it literally spelled out for me what happened and what to do next! Life saver.
    Hang in there Joe, single parenting is tough, but even you will be surprised how mighty you are and will become. Hugs

    • Agreed, Narcissism me too got hit in this face with a brick after 21 years of marriage and TRUANGULATION!😡

    • I too was blindsided by my seemingly wonderful 2nd husband. We were in an amazing relationship for a few years, bought a home together, he lived with my children and I for a couple of years and then we got married. Everybody was thrilled that we made it ‘official.’ He was the most generous, supportive and loving stepfather to my children. He was their rock and mentor. My children and I had all been through a lot because my first husband – their dad – had serious mental health issues and a personality disorder. Although husband #1 did his best to be a good father, he refused treatment and ……well there are no words unless you live through this kind of stuff. That marriage did such a number on me that I stayed single for close to a decade – I was scarred. I stayed busy working, raising my children and spending time with friends.
      Finally, I got up the courage to date and eventually I met the man I thought was the most wonderful person on the face of the earth. I could not believe my good fortune and thought that good things come to those who wait! My children loved him, my friends and family loved him, his family loved him – everybody loved him. It was like being in a fairytale, he was the easiest person to be with. This man had a wonderful relationship with his two kids in their 20s, was a good son and a successful businessman.
      We ended up buying a home together and he became the most amazing stepfather to my three kids. He treated them like his own and provided kindness, support and stability. They absolutely adored him. His children and his parents came over very often and we would all have wonderful family dinners together – he kept saying how blessed we were that everybody got along so well.
      We got married in year 4 and shortly after things started to change slightly – it was mostly a feeling on my part. He was still the most wonderful husband and stepfather but he was growing increasingly distant. He kept telling me it was work and that everything was great and wrote me a beautiful over-the-top loving birthday card. Finally one day, I did a Google search after he changed screens when I walked in the room. I saw that he had been googling “how to leave your wife.” Long story short, I was traumatized beyond belief and only through more sleuthing did I find out he was having an affair. When confronted, he told me he wasn’t happy and gave me a bunch of silly reasons for wanting to leave me and adamantly denied that there was anybody else. When I told him I thought he needed help, he agreed and said he would get therapy but that it wouldn’t be so that we would stay together. The next day I sleuthed some more and found proof of his affair, yet he still denied it even with the evidence in front of his face – then he said it had been over for a few months and it had nothing to do with him leaving me etc. It took over a solid week of me asking questions (and his answers not making sense to me- the lies were endless) to finally get the truth. They had a plan. He was going to leave me and she was going to leave her husband and eventually they would live on fantasy Island together. She also has 3 kids. He had started this affair with his coworker a few months after we had gotten married. Apparently it started off as a friendship.
      After doing the pick me dance for a month and sending him articles on the affair drug etc while being in shock and denial, then sobbing for a couple of months while trying to be the sane parent for my children because they were also abandoned, blindsided and traumatized – I finally found this site and it has been a lifesaver. I have been caught in the cycle of trying to figure him out and struggling to accept the fact that he sucks -because he was loving, kind, amazing and considerate -except for this. I have been extremely depressed and this has hit me way harder than the loss of my first marriage even though I had three young kids at the time.

      Now we are getting ready to sell the home and my children and I will have to move again. My youngest – a young teenager, sobbed in his arms for close to an hour and begged him to stay and to get counselling. Heart wrenching. He hasn’t been living with us for the last few months. I saw a lawyer, and I’m in therapy. He doesn’t fit the profile. He gave me a fair settlement without a fight, came over every time I needed to cry and talk to him (yes eek I know), and helped with anything I needed help with.
      He looks depressed and very remorseful and yet once he made his decision he was absolutely not changing his mind. He said he was being selfish, I should think of him as a bastard and I should move on. He actually cried in our living room once because he was afraid he might not get to be with her (if she didn’t leave her husband ). He was unrecognizable to me. This married woman with children is apparently his new soulmate.
      I have this obsessive need to tell my story over and over again. Thanks for listening! I am in my 50s and I’m hoping my pity party will stop eventually.

      • I’m so sorry you’ve had to join Chump Nation! But welcome! You will get to meh. It takes time. We’ve all been where you’re at. Hang in there. The most important thing is knowing that you’re not alone with your story. We’re listening! Take care of yourself. Find the one friend who won’t mind hearing you repeat your story over & over again. Love yourself.

      • Moving forward, I’m 52 and waited until I was 41 to marry , and thought I had also been lucky! That good things come to those who wait. Not. I wish I knew the answers, I know I felt stupid, and humiliated, and he had fooled everyone too! It’s sickening. So I’ve learnt they’re covert narcissists? Who knew?? Mine too was very sorry,( that I felt that way) denied evidence that he was fucking his howorker that was 17 yr.younger and married, and trying to conceive with her husband of a mere 1.5 yrs!
        I think we all would like to know how do you truly move forward, after being duped by these complete MFers? Mine also lied on his financials, hid money, I’d prove that he lied, but NO ONE CARED. So how do we trust again? I guess with one eye opened, and spyware?? Because it’s nearly impossible to truly ” know” someone. These con artists fuckin fool everyone!! And like good conditioned women, we give them the benefit of the doubt, or write it off as, no one is perfect type of stuff, not realizing it was the tip of the iceberg from hell!! And WTF, why is it that they always seem to come out on top??
        I did the same, told anyone initially, it just fell out, it’s part of healing. It’ll stop eventually. I’m so sorry, and for your kids, they are heartless pricks. So very disordered. I was lucky I had no kids with my con man. Just step that sided with him. I wondered though, like my shocked girlfriends, who’ve also divorced porn addicted narcissistic assholes, are there any deceit men? Seems few and far between. Best.((hugs.))

      • Yes being blindsided by these wonderful’ spouses who turn out to be wolves in sheep’s clothing I’d common. My cheater lied to me from day 1. Yet he was the most devoted, loving, caring husband you could hope for. He cheated often. Even convinced me to try open relationships & cheated then too. They are true sociopaths. Trust that it gets better and that they truly suck.

      • Movingforward – I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Our stories are very similar except my husband has never shown remorse or kindness, he opted for anger and self righteousness. He also was very close to my older son and after he filed for divorce he wouldn’t even say hi to him…who does that? We’ve had a lot of conversations on how men should treat their families etc but he’s just an innocent kid. I tried so hard to pick the right person for us and he was the only man I dated that ever met my son.

        Hugs to you Movingforward, you are not alone. I’m also an “oversharer” lately. I told my freaking veterinarian that my husband left us..it helped with lowering the bill but still..I’m usually more private. I’m rooting for you.

        • Jo and everyone thank you so so much for your replies. I’ve never been a member of an online club – what away to start! Jo, what you’re going through is the worst but I am amazed by how much strength and energy you have. There is absolutely no way to say to be happy that you’re getting rid of him now… what you’re going through is a nightmare. I can just offer that in my 1st marriage, my H who was a great father and provider etc. (with increasing MH issues and an undiagnosed personality disorder at the time) kept leaving me and returning. Of course this came with blameshifting. Because I had little kids, and felt certain that his devastating and rejecting behaviour was because of his mental illness, I kept trying to help him by seeking out treatment and accepting him back. Finally therapist #5 told me I had to leave or there would be nothing left of me. That wasn’t enough, later on my mom told me I had to leave because of the way she saw him talking to me and treating me our home. It was like subtle contempt. I got accidentally pregnant during one of our reconciliations – he left and returned again and I stayed until my youngest was two. Then the years of being single until finally meeting 2nd H, well vetted ‘Mr. wonderful’ who turned out to be a lovely cheater and lovely abandoner.
          It’s shocking even to me, that I did the pick me dance with 2nd H cheater. After the wreckage of marriage #1, I promised myself that if I was ever with somebody who said they didn’t want to be with me, I would never ask why and just tell them to leave. I didn’t follow my own advice.
          I’m sorry that you have been dealt this ridiculous hardship but I’m happy that you’re getting out sooner rather than later.
          I didn’t get full custody in my 1st marriage. I didn’t have indisputable proof that he was not capable of parenting – it was 50-50. Those years of worrying every time they were with him were draining beyond belief. Luckily my children have turned out fine and he did his best to be a good father even though he was a crappy husband and ridiculously difficult to deal with as a coparent. The agreement would frequently be broken when he was really not doing well and then I would take the children full-time.
          Good luck to you, and I really hope you get the parenting equation you want. But if you don’t, rest assured that sometimes the worst partner can still be a decent parent. Apparently some people can compartmentalize their empty souls.
          Although your’s didn’t even say hi to his stepson after screwing everyone over -that’s lower than low -so keep up the good fight. Take care, and give yourself a lot of credit.

      • moving forward- I can see you are still too kind, too empathetic and too hopeful. your husband is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. im really sorry you’re hurting. he may have cried but that’s bc he is scared to loose. he knows what he has done will “look bad”. he doesnt care about you or your kids. he only cares about himself. he may have left you some money but that doesnt mean anything to him so it’s no sacrifice to him. he is a lying covert narcissist. and more than anything, he is not who he portrayed himself to be. it’s hard to accept but best to move on and look forward. you have your kids and their love. lean on your friends and CN. I hope he gets coronavirus!

        • Thank you triple, You are very right he didn’t care about the money. He even said it’s only money ….he just wanted to relieve a little bit of his guilt. What confuses me, is I’ve spent way too much time reading and learning about the cluster B personality disorders, covert narcissism, disordered people etc. He doesn’t fit any of the categories. Even my therapist said his behaviour doesn’t fit anything she’s seen before. But being a wonderful step father and amazing husband and then suddenly just leaving for an office affair to someone who is also married with kids is very off behaviour. I always wonder if anyone else has a cheater ex who doesn’t fit the disordered people profiles. Anyhow time to focus on me!

          • Movingforward,

            Your cheater sounds exactly like mine. He gave me everything I asked for in the divorce (I think I was exceedingly fair). I asked for the kids 4 days a week because I didn’t want to be without them for too many days in a row, he said fine. He probably would have given me full custody, but I thought that would be bad for the kids … He always looks sad and guilty. He constantly feels sorry for himself. Just the other day in defense to me saying something about how unfair it is that I have to deal with the aftermath of his bad choices, he said he “lost a lot of people he cared about” (meaning my family members). He did this as a favor to me because I deserve better than to be with him. Instead of putting in the hard work to try to figure himself out, he left for my benefit? He says he’s not sure why he started the affair or what was “missing” from our life together. We never fought. I made life very easy for him. He fell for a Co-worker who was also my “good” friend for over 18 years. They both worked for my mother. I was blindsided …. Both marriages are gone, and they never even ended up together. He still lies to me about stuff if he thinks it will make him look bad. When I ask him why he continues to lie about this stupid stuff, he says it’s to protect me. It is AWFUL to have to deal with a person like this. He is a weak coward who only really cares about himself.

            • Lettingo, Yes, your cheater sounds like mine! Mine always looks broken, depressed and remorseful when I see him. I even hugged him once as I thought he might be suicidal. Before being educated by CL. When we were negotiating our settlement he said “if you want more I’ll give you more but there will be no more goodwill between us!”.😂. When I finally got the truth about why he was suddenly leaving ( cheating with married coworker our entire 1st yr married) and asked him why sooooo many lies-he said it’s because it’s hard to tell your wife you’re leaving her for another and he wished he could’ve had some other good excuse. Although I do want to add that DDay there was the hard stare, the blame shifting and him looking like he had been possessed by uncaring aliens. He also knows it might not last with her. He’s also said he’s made a laughingstock of himself at work – he’s an executive and the higher ups liked me, socialized with us and gave wedding gifts etc. Yet, he would not try to work it out with me because she made him feel a little more whole than I did. All of the sudden his step children who had meant everything to him meant nothing to him . Even his adult kids are devastated by his decisions because they had gotten used to their new situation with a loving blended family and step siblings. SUCKS! He was an extreme people pleaser, and decided to blame some of this on that fact.

  • I love all of this except “Take a number in the great big world of Hideous Injustice.” To me, this is like telling Rosa Parks to be happy sitting at the back of the bus. Yes, first you focus on yourself and your recovery, but when you’re feeling better ( and for those of us who already are), what can we do to correct the injustice? Speaking the truth about what happened to the people in our lives? Trying to change the laws/ attitudes that “50/50 custody is best for the child”? Boycotting the Hallmark channel for how it fetishizes the “intact” (ugh) family? C’mon, let’s get creative!

    • I agree, Fangirl! Yes, the world is full of unfairness, but there’s SOME of it that we can fight back against! I love that ChumpLady and ChumpNation are contributing to changing the narrative, and we can keep doing that, in every small and large way possible.

      • Let the justifiable rage be a CALL TO ACTION.

        No more calling adultery “playing around”.

        AND I want legislation that makes taking marital assets a CRIME, (because it’s actually not). I’m a lawyer and when the DOCTOR emptied our joint account, I was startled to learn it did not matter at all to the police. Joint accounts…oops. Lesson learned.

        The DOCTOR also lied under oath and no one cared. He said he had retired and his boss supposedly agreed to say that in court.
        I had to hire a PI who saw my wasband the DOCTOR go to work at the surgery center, with his name on the building (!!), advertising as being on staff, giving seminars on his new cutting edge procedures, and seeing patients! When confronted, he said he was “volunteering”!

        It’ll be very hard to see someone who tried repeatedly to F- me over, and got away with a lot of it. I don’t know how I’ll do it.

        Our son is getting married, and has no intention of inviting his father, which does not please me. But it IS a consequence of the asshole’s choice to abandon his family. If I ever see him again, I will need xanax.

        Thing is, my EX is so uncomfortable around our kids that he has not seen them in over 3 years. True, he might not care at all.

        But I think his fear of being embarassed at having his narrative contradicted – especially in front of schmoopie wife#2,

        is obviously bigger than his love for our children. God, how sad.

        He was gone so much during the marriage, he sort of trained us to make him irrelevant, but now seems shocked that he has become a non entity. We don’t even talk about him much. What’s the word for that? Oh I know…consequences…

        Oh well.

        But the injustice part – that is a toughie.

        So I’ve tried RADICAL ACCEPTANCE — of a grave injustice.

        YES It happened, YES it was WRONG WRONG WRONG AND IT really hurt and really sucked. All true.

        But now we must do whatever we can, to be happy again.

        I heard this^^^ from an Auschwitz survivor…and it has helped me.

        • DOCTOR’S1stWife&3Kids

          I love your comment, and hate your ex husband for you. It’s interesting you mentioned an Auschwitz survivor quote.. when this first happened I listened to a holocaust survivors story on Oprah’s podcast and marveled at how those survivors were able to move forward with their lives. I also have become more aware stories of people that lost children or babies, or people who are suddenly facing a life or death diagnosis. I guess it’s my way of putting my situation into perspective by seeing that so many have unfair situations in their lives. It’s not the pain olympics but sometimes life is just unfair. Although, I go back and forth between this attitude and a bratty “why me” type attitude if I’m being honest.

          • Yes, I tell myself that I don’t have the market cornered on pain and suffering. There are so many different ways that good people suffer.

        • my gosh, your ex husband dr sounds like a total selfish douche. I’m so sorry you had to realize that so late in the game.

          my ex was never mine bc he was living a triple life for about 6 months of our relationship but a double life for the entire 2.5 years. busy business man – yeah right. more like busy adulterer and an overall major twat.

          he has since disappeared like a ghost, back with his first girlfriend. hasn’t asked about his daughter once. the real him came to life after D day. it was incredibly hard for me to digest. he also lied. lied on drs reports at our 12 week scan (planned pregnancy btw!) that our child was his first child (he has two with his first girlfriend), lies lies lies. the amount of lies will blow your mind. straight out of a movie, a horror film. his work colleagues and mates were all in on the scam. he’d ask me to marry him all the time. I have assets so never showed an interest in marrying him for the sake of not having to formalize our wealth. lies lies lies.

          I hope they all get coronavirus! it seems to get more men ha!

          ps : any future relationship of mine will have full transparency and I will be checking phones and emails. if that means I never be with anyone again then so be it. it’s better than being lied to. and anyway, any normal guy will understand my future conditions seeing what I’ve been through

    • I didn’t read it that way at all.

      I read it as “there’s a lot of injustice in the world”; this is your encounter with it. In fact, CL said such an encounter with it should make us more empathetic and she urged us to “pay it forward” to help others.

      It’s easy to get caught up in the particular unfairness we are subject to as the spouses of cheaters. I certainly did, and it helped me to realize that “bad things happen to good people” all the time, and it’s a rare and lucky person who goes through life without suffering from injustice of some kind.

      • Same. “Life wasn’t meant to be fair” is some quote form somewhere … TRUE dat. A lot of energy can be wasted protesting: “But, but, it’s not FAIR!” Energy better used getting Mighty.

        None of us are OK with injustice etc, but we have to just step over it and head for Meh..

        I’d love to recommend to you Jo, and to CN, this, on “ambiguous loss” & “complicated grief”:
        https://onbeing.org/programs/pauline-boss-the-myth-of-closure-dec2018/

        Or look up Pauline Boss.

        And also, mentioning just another tool that some of us needed to add to our kitbag. Six months after Dday I’d used all the tools collected over my 50 years, (and after losing a daughter in an accident and training as a psychotherapist I had more than a few), and eventually agreed to anti-depressants.

        They gave me the ballast I needed to stay upright, and not keep getting knocked over by the exhole. And I did it because if my ship went down, my kids would drown too. Very glad I swallowed my pride and accepted the meds. They brought clarity and stability. Got my head out of the mindfuck blender.

        It’s 3 years from Dday this month and though it’s not easy, that terrible pain is long gone.

    • I think the meaning is whatever you do, it might not help. You can (and should) speak your truth bit the cheater might dress nicely and persuade most of the people you’re the problem. You might end up with less money and less support. There might be no karma fot a long time, if ever. You’ll have to put up with coparenting with a disordered person. This is a shit you might need to put up with, not not doing anything about injustice.

    • I read it as “You’re not alone. Life didn’t single you out. Everyone encounters injustice.”

      • Not everyone. Nasty, selfish people create injustice. They often don’t experience it. It may be why they have so little empathy and compassion. That and being disordered fuckwits, of course.
        Injustice, as CL says, teaches us the value of those feelings.

      • I read it as validation of the injustice: “You can admit that the situation really blows. Even if he can fool everyone around you including your lawyer (!) we don’t buy it. We’ve been there, we believe you, and we’re on your side.
        We’re completely unimpressed by Sparklesuit Handsomedick.”

    • I’ve been reading here a long time. Tracy would never tell us to be happy with sitting at the back of the bus. Her message is that you can only control the things you can control. She encourages us to speak our truths and fight the good fight. What she does NOT encourage us to do is to wallow in the unfairness of it all. Know that it is unfair, acknowledge that but don’t get stuck there because that won’t help you either.

      Speaking your truth and fighting the good fight is not wallowing.

    • My version of this is “Bad things happen to good people for no reason.” I get the “everything happens for a reason” and it makes my blood boil. Is it that I am a horrible person and deserve this? Or is do they mean that I had to live 20 years a lie squandering my youth to salvage something in old age? Neither of these options gives me satisfaction or helps me move on. Resilience is all we have.

      I fully agree with fighting against the nonsense of 50/50 custody. Having grown up in a divorced family, such an arrangement would have horrified both my sister and me and most certainly would have been something for us to overcome rather than a benefit to our development. I honestly could not imagine anything worse than having been made to do that in my preteen and teenage years. And that is coming from someone whose life has been turned upside down by infidelity.

      After a year and a half, I have some distance but was blindsided at the weekend by the news that our not-yet-divorced Prime Minister, father of an unknown number of children and serial adulterer, is having yet another baby with yet another mistress. It sent me into an anxiety attack and I took the bold and potentially stupid decision to post on Twitter what this type of behaviour does to the people in this guy’s life. I may live to regret that but it felt like taking ownership of what was done to me rather than hiding my shame as if I am the one responsible.

      The really pathetic thing though was that some guy was answering me and telling me how awful my husband is for not taking his vows seriously. This went back and forth a couple of times and helped me to feel seen. Until, that is, he mentioned he too had his “adventures” but would never leave his wife. WTF?!! I am so angry. We have a lot to do to teach people that these “adventures” aren’t a bit of harmless fun on the side.

      • I know exactly it nearly destroyed me I had to fight back so hard from the depths of mass depression, not even an explanation! The system in Canads is useless they tell you to just “MOVE” on, how after 24 years of marriage and two kids?

        • You are so right, Carol! Even if a judge orders divorce settlement, anyone who is self-employed can make it look like he has nothing so he doesn’t have to pay a cent. Lawyers see it coming and won’t even take your case. Defeated before you even begin. Accept shit sandwich and move along.

      • WomBatMom,
        Sing it from the rooftop sister! More of us speaking up & taking on the nonsense out there will (eventually) make a difference. It’s gonna be a slow go to change but, it starts with all of us here. Chump Lady is ONE person who has significantly changed the narrative for thousands. Just think how we (the thousands) can effect change as well, one by one.

        P.S. It’s a good thing that asshole guy responded to you the way he did. It was sure a good example of ‘point & proof’ of the kind of fuckwits out there!

        • Oops, I didn’t give CL nearly enough deserved credit for change. Should of said hundreds of thousands or perhaps even MILLIONS. If it’s not at millions yet, it will definately get there. My point is, see how much difference one person can make? Most of us may not have it in us to promote change as CL has. Every one of is though does have the ability to change the narrative for at least a few others, especially our own children.

          • Something else I’m gonna add from the OnBeing website:

            “When it comes to cultural change we excessively fixate on the critical mass and underestimate the catalytic quality of the improbable few. The ‘critical yeast’ — these small, unlikely, combinations of persistent people committed to a new quality of relationship — dwell before and behind every instance of social change that truly shifts what is possible and transformative across generations.”

            John Paul Lederach

      • The guy was trolling you. He pretended sympathy to get you to let down your guard, then bragged about what a slut he is to upset you.
        He’s a horrible person and there are lots of them on social media. I’ve had my life threatened on Twitter, was told to kill myself, etc. It just rolls off me, but if you’re more sensitive, it’s a good idea to check a person’s past tweets before you engage.

      • Wombatmom, I agree with your view of our PM and his dreadful behaviour. I’m a Brit Chump. I’m horrified by the normalisation of affairs in the UK. They are practically patting men and women on the back for ‘living their best lives’. There’s no consideration for the left behind, blindsided, cheated chump and the quite often impoverished and exhausting circumstances they find themselves in. The adulterers generally don’t even have the trouble of issuing divorce proceedings because the only grounds for immediate divorce currently are adultery (hard to prove if not admitted) and unreasonable behaviour (which gets in the way of amicable financial settlement). The chump ends up having to be nice to the adulterer just to keep the financials and children discussions friendly. Then they refuse to pay the costs of the divorce proceedings paid in advance by the chump to gain freedom. And no one does anything about it. But Boris is a virile hero amongst some in England and Wales. My only caution is that his previous wife who I have some time for had an affair with Boris when he was with wife 1. He had two affairs at least while married to wife 2. Some karma there. I’ve no doubt that the fragrant Carrie with her hatching baby will be replaced when he ceases to have use for her and another young lady comes along. His track record stinks.

        • Madge2, I find divorce in the UK totally bizarre. You need fault (e.g. adultery) but then it makes no difference at all in the settlement. I feel raped by my lawyer who suggests I move to a smaller house because I am “over bedroomed” even though I spend more time in my 3rd bedroom/office than any other room. Now because I am currently looking for a job but when I actually do have a job, I work from home 2 to 3 days per week. I need an office! Then she tells me to sign over my pensions to my husband. Then asks if my daughter is going to stay at her performing arts boarding school. Why is she asking me? She is supposed to be fighting for me. The answer depends on what she does!

          Since she was useless and burned up way to much money to be considered a good investment in this process, I got rid of her. Now, as you say, I have to suck up to my STBX so he will agree to what I want. It is a better strategy since I have two things he wants. Being able to say he is friendly with me helps him rehabilitate his image. I also assume that he sees me as a route to getTing his relationship back with our daughter. She is proving to be insightful and mature beyond her years (13). I don’t think she will ever reconcile with him. The minute this deal is signed, he will never hear from me again. In the meantime, it is all carefully choreographed to allow my survival in a system that says there is no obligation on a partner not to lie, cheat and steal from his family.

          The only good thing is that he lives in another country so we don’t need to see him. BUT, yet another massive injustice is he can go wherever he wants but if I need to move for a job, I need his permission. WTF?! Just writing that sends me into a fit of rage. If I want to move back to the US to be close to my family, I need his permission. He has vetoed it. And yet, he hasn’t been back to the UK in 6 months. Why is he in control when he has admitted adultery and is off being a crap partner to his mistress and an absentee dad to his illegitimate child? I am going insane even thinking about this!

  • Some Untangling is inevitable just cause your brain will be going non-stop till you reach safer grounds.

    It’s a lot of wasted energy, but what you’ll figure out will also be your story.

    Everyone was SO surprised that my XW would do what she did. “Oh not her!” They exclaimed. Even myself was in shock.

    But then I remember the time she went on vacation herself and met some old college friends. Or even when we started dating and her long-time boyfriend was traveling through town. Some memories were big and hurt (like above), some small but equally telling in totality.

    I was in. I was invested. You were in. You invested. It’s what we’re good at.

    This will hurt, you’ll find safer grounds and then rest will come.

    And then you can shake your head in disbelief for even being here.

  • Please read “The Sociopath Next Door”. It’s one thing to be a sex addict and want to change and another to treat people in this callous manner. He doesn’t care about anyone. His lover will get the same treatment. CL is right. To people like him other people are just appliances that he can easily trade in. You were a victim like the next, and the next, and the next.

  • My STBX also cheated while I was pregnant. I remember feeling so alone and ashamed because WHO COULD DO THAT?! He soon after got his AP pregnant. I spent a lot of time spackling and hitting the hopium to survive the journey of new mama hood, parenting, and the trauma of what happened. I didn’t want to split time with my kids physically because he is not a willing caretaker. My STBX was handsome and smart and sooooo charming. But so manipulative. It’s like the floor had fallen out from under me. Now that I’m out of the fog, I just can’t believe what a disgusting low life piece of shit could take advantage of me and my kids like that, and do it to another kid and another woman.

    Over time, I’ve found I’m not alone. There are a lot of losers out there, but a lot of great people, too. Focus on them and you and your kids.

    • Mama, I felt so ashamed too. Worse is that besides the asshole not feeling one bit ashamed, they carry their cheating around like a medal of honor. And they LIE (I like Tracy’s description: lying liars who lie)

      • They do carry their cheating around like a badge of honor. We are still sorting things out and he is finally moving forward on divorce. Been with his sidepiece for 3 years. How are there creatures among us who behave like monsters. Why are we not taught that these things are real and not just in history books. They exist in everyday life!

        • You’re so right that most of us weren’t taught about the hidden everyday monsters among us. We were taught to gear the “bad guys” and steer clear. We weren’t taught that a seemingly regular person could be a bad guy in disguise. We weren’t taught about love bombing. In fact, most of learned from movies, books, etc that the ideal is instant love, instant connection, love at first sight type of thing. Verses being taught that’s infactuation/lust/love bombing.

          What can we do? Chump Lady & CN is the first step. Speaking your truth to others verses covering it in shame & fear of being seen as bitter is the second. Fighting against the injustice (via societies attitudes, the unjust justice system, etc) is a third. The biggest step I believe we can all take in changing things? TEACHING OUR KIDS WHAT WE WEREN’T TAUGHT!

    • So sorry you went through that too. I’d lose my shit now if he got another chick pregnant but his choice in 46 year olds and transgendered makes that unlikely.

      It’s weird, when I was in labor (scary precipitous birth) I thought “where is he? Why is he not comforting me?” I found it weird then but chalked it up to him being scared or whatever. Now I know that the detached person he was when I was in such extreme pain is who he really is.

      • Jo…as time goes, you will start to see the scales fall off your eyes about how seemingly great your cheater was. Small things start to emerge that you see in a different light going back to the beginning. Dealing with covert narcissism is tricky because these people were so good “good guys”.

        Here are some conclusions that I have drawn about my ex. I believe that he thought himself in love with me, but he doesn’t really understand what love is. I believe that he got more than he bargained for when he got married and that he struggles to adult, but then blamed me for his inadequacies because I was so vocal in pushing him for more throughout the marriage (which translated as controlling and emasculating in his mind). I believe he is a coward and afraid to be alone, which is why he could only leave the marriage when there was another woman set up to go to that he believed he was in love with (because infatuation = love in his mind).

        Our cheaters are not always cold and calculating sociopaths. Often, they are simply weak-willed, low-value, emotionally-immature guys with poor relationship skills who experience buyers remorse with the life they signed up for when they married. As CL puts it, “they just aren’t that deep.” Unfortunately, their relationship ineptitude and obtuseness around the consequences of their actions is so damaging.

        Our biggest sin was believing them to be so much more than what they were (which is what attracted them to us when they love-bombed us and what it is what has attracted them to schmoopsie 1…2…etc. Now the lesson is learning how to see others as they really are so we can fix our picker.

        • Wow. This describes my ex perfectly. It is funny but he tried to to reconcile with me after a number of screw ups and then my discovery of 20 years of emails that showed me exactly who he was. His “trying” consisted of saying he was going to try, then doing essentially nothing, then telling me I was wrong to reject him when I waited to see what he would do to win me back. As you say, he just isn’t deep enough to see how totally inadequate he is as a partner and father. He is incapable of understanding the hurt he causes. I used to say “he is an asshole but he doesn’t mean to be.” It was the infidelity and the pregnant AP that showed me just how damaging his emotional immaturity could be.

  • Quote of the day for me. “Co-parenting with a fuckwit is a long shit sandwich buffet.” I am tempted to put it on my Facebook but won’t. Good job on the no on 50/50. Keep the fuckwit out of the loop as much as possible. It will be better for your kids.

  • “Your job right now is to navigate yourself out of this nightmare with a good attorney.”

    THIS^^^^^^Listen to your gut. Don’t let the legal meanies bully you into anything. You will always be your best advocate. Most attorneys just want to make a “deal”. Do not sign anything unless you do so with a full heart. If you have a trusted friend, have her read over any settlement offer for another pair of eyes that are in your corner.

    And be the sane parent. Rock being the awesome mom.

    • Agree 100% (and I’m an attorney!). My first lawyer in the divorce from hell was a woman-hating narcissist who lied and then fired me when I called out his discrepancy and then he blameshifted and gaslighted me. My second attorney was a wonderful empathetic person. My XH of 25 years tried to destroy me financially and get 50-50 custody even though he abandoned our kids two years prior when he moved into a studio apartment with 30-year old AP (he’s 50!). At our second mediation the old white guy former judge mediator told me I’d never get 50% of our assets and primary custody if I went to trial. I walked out of mediation. Went to a 10-day trial and got every single thing we ever owned (80% of all assets) and full child support and full custody.

      Fight for what is right!

      • Motherchumper99

        You’re amazing! I love this story. I’m also an attorney and would love to know what legal theory you used, what state, evidence you had, did you put OW on stand…….😂 😂 😂 😂 ! I just couldn’t keep my head above water enough to listen to my gut screaming to fire my horrible attorney. But big life lesson learned. Moving forward…….

        My goal is to get my license in Michigan (took bar in 1995 and I’m licensed in Hawaii) and help navigate chumps through the divorce minefield with their souls intact.

  • He fooled you because he’s good at fooling people. That is what he does. Until he gets caught, it’s “too hard” or you no longer are useful to him.

    Meanwhile, focus on ridding yourself of this Fuckwit as much as possible. It sucks that you have a kid with him, that means 18 years of limited interactions, but I am laying money on him doing a runner when it comes to RAISING the baby. You’re more likely to be siccing the state on him for child support than trying to make him stick to the pick-up/return times as spelled out in your divorce decree.

    When you have more things sorted out, you’ll pay it forward. Until then, yes, you are one of many who were duped and chumped. Get going on Project De-Lousing and before too long you’ll look back and give someone else a hand on the road to Meh.

    I am so sorry that he pulled the wool over your eyes. It happens. Start a nice hardbound journal so you can prevent it from happening again. *crosses fingers*

    Oh – given that he has screwed with your 10 year old’s head too – please let his school know and get him into some sort of therapy. Family therapy may be an easier route. Finding a therapist who will take a client under the age of 12 is a HUGE struggle. Let alone one who takes your insurance and has an opening!

    • I hope for Jo and the baby that parenthood isn’t what expected and he eventually fades away.
      Being a single Dad doesn’t sound like something he’d enjoy. Unless he gets something out of it,

      • This guy isn’t a good role model or father for any child, especially his own. He’s already shown total disregard and lack of respect for the Mother of his child. This will continue or gradually get worse for the next 18 years.

  • It’s been proven that babies have a different bond with their primary caregiver. (I know that language sounds distant, but that’s what gets used).

    There’s no way you should allow him to disrupt that primary bond – it is so important for your baby to develop trust and the ability to bond. Their brains are growing and for healthy emotional growth, they need to feel safe, secure and when younger, and those needs are met in the majority through their primary bond. That’s not to say they don’t have very important bonds with their other parent & family, because of course they do. But there remains a ‘primary’ bond.

    A baby is too young to be passed back and forth. Contact should be slow and gradual, and if necessary (sorry to say this), with you there present. Fight him on this for the sake of your baby and their emotional development.

    Of course it is important that he has regular contact with the baby, but there has to be a sensitive balance that puts their emotional security and development first. Some might say little, but often, and very gradually increasing over time. Lead always with your baby’s needs and no-one can argue with that. It’s your baby’s needs that are important, not his.

    Good luck.

    • A lot of jurisdictions won’t separate a baby from mom for overnights for the first two years – and you can get a psychologist’s opinion on this, which YOUR LAWYER SHOULD KNOW ABOUT.

      This is especially the case if baby is breast fed, so if you’re nursing, KEEP IT UP – the World Health Organization recommends 2 years. And if you’re working daytimes at some point, the nursing first thing in the morning, right after picking baby up, bedtime and in the middle of the night are super important.

      If there’s any way you can afford to give up $ support from asshat for the baby, see if he might accept less custody time if you agree to calculate support as if you were 50-50. A lot of fuckwits go for that one; they really don’t want to actually parent.

      • All of this.^

        She can’t be forced to do anything regarding the baby, unless the matter is taken to court. And that takes a long time to see through.

        Obviously she shouldn’t be stopping or frustrating contact between the ex and the baby, but there’s no way on earth that typical contact arrangements for older children can just be blanket applied to babies, nor would any court support that. Babies have completely different needs. She should put baby’s needs first and foremost and stick to her guns.

  • (( Hugs Jo))

    I am so sorry you are going through this with a new baby but you seem to have found your mighty right from the get go – Good for you . You are doing everything 100% correct and can i just say Ewww about your lawyer saying your cheating ex is so good looking – like that’s got anything to do with it

    I also still very much like you struggle with the completely different person aspect of a cheater . I know Chump lady and others will say that’s who they are but i still can’t seem to get that in my thick head ! I still don’t fully understand what this means .
    I hope it sinks in for us both one day

  • Jo, dear Jo, you say “I’m still struggling with how I let this person fool me.” Well, welcome to the club.

    But you are 36, so you are a luckier (Smarter? Braver?) member of the club than I am.

    Your children will not have the rotten skunk for a father that my adults sons have and who just can’t believe their father is, as Tracy describes, a lying liar who lies. ALL. THE. TIME.

    He flips the charm button with great dexterity, puts on his “serene voice” and goes on: “Your poor mom is crazy.” “The divorce affected her.”

    It makes me furious because his crappiness is really harming one of my sons. So stick to your guns about not letting your kids near this creepy escort-hiring bastard. Praying for you to win!
    Take care,

  • Jo
    I’m so sorry you’ve been through this horrible experience especially with a young child. I found out after 35 years of what I thought was a good marriage.
    In a way your lucky to have not invested decades although I know you don’t feel that way now. Here at CN we all know the pain of being betrayed and understand what your going through.
    Find a good lawyer and free yourself of this cruel man/child. You and your children deserve to live in truth
    and peace without a disgusting sociopath bringing you down. Best of luck 🍀

  • Jo, you are farther along in healing from the trauma of abuse than you realize. You reached out to the right person. You found Chump Lady and now, you have Chump Nation. You are mightier than you think.

    Your job is to get divorced and move forward. Your closure is getting full custody and child support. Put all your precious energy into that.

    He was an illusion. You saw him through those Rose Colored Glasses that he knocked off your face through the abuse of adultery. He doesn’t matter now. You will never change him. Leave him behind. Divorce him both literally and mentally.

    Put all your energy into yourself. You can do it!

  • Hugs (((Jo)))
    The person who is hurting you now is the same person that you fell in love with & married.
    You probably have spackled over a lot of things prior to finding out his true self.
    Now you have knowledge of who he really is. Protect yourself & your children. Never fall for the image he’s portraying again. He showed you who he really is. Believe this is the real him. Be safe.
    I was pregnant when I found out my spouse was cheating. I reconciled & wasted many years spackling. You are still young & strong. You are already mighty fighting for what is right for your child.
    This too shall pass only slower than we’d like.

  • The whiplash is so so hard, Jo. Married to a similar body for 17 years and watching how fast he changed was painful. Realizing that the person you love with your whole heart doesn’t even exist is hard to grasp. But you will…give yourself time and patience to get to the other side.

    If this was different situation and this was a friend, not you, the picture would be much more clear and you would be begging them to leave their sorry-ass partners. You would see that any man who cheats on their pregnant partner is a POS. Any person who would willfully hurt another is disgusting.

    You know what must be done and you are doing it! Don’t worry about looking over the side from time to time. You are a human with feelings and that’s a good thing.

  • One of the greatest strengths of a sociopath is the ability to create the perception of being a wonderful person. Unfortunately, Jo, you bought in to his well-crafted perception, as do all chumps. And there’s no shame in it. We should never feel shame, or that we should somehow be blamed, for having been loving, trusting, loyal spouses.

    Your husband didn’t change. He’s always been a sociopath with an innate ability to create the perception of a good person. You bought in. Now that you’ve seen who he really is, you must do the work of changing your long-held perception of him. The process involves experiencing some cognitive dissonance on your part. But you can get through it. The change is up to you.

      • Geez Gratefully Divorced Dad,

        I’m copying that post word for word. It’s still too painful for me to fully accept your view, because that feels like saying I wasted 35 years of my life, ALL of my adult life, loving someone who did not love me back…

        But whether he once did or never did, what matters is that he is now a bad person. Period. He mistreated ME so it does not matter if he’s good to schmoopie new wife.

        If he is good to her, I guess he’s educable, but he wasn’t good to me or our kids.

        But your post helps.

        Thanks

        • @D2W3K

          Thank you! My full reply to you somehow ended up at the bottom of the scroll. I hope you arrive at your place of healing and peace soon. Keep moving forward on a sunlit path and good will come. Let your ex slither off into the shadows and be done with him. I went through so many days, weeks, months and years of pain. My hope is that all betrayed people may experience the eventual relief that I’ve mostly achieved after a lot of time and healing. Life is becoming really good again.

  • You’re finding out that this is who he really is. He’s not some great guy who changed. This is who he’s always been.

    I had a pretty shitty relationship with someone who was “addicted” to porn too. Nah, porn wasn’t the problem. It was his pile-of-garbage character. Dude had 5 OW (and one OM) the porn was just a byproduct of his inability to ever be satisfied with any actual commitment. Sounds like your STBX husband there too.

    You got love-bombed. A lot of us did. It’s a real thing. This is how cheaters, manipulators, and narcissistic liars get their targets. Nobody would touch them if they showed their real selves from the beginning. They have to charm. It’s the hook. It’s all love and sweetness and happiness in the beginning, you fall, you fall fast, you fall hard. You invest. And that’s when they know they have you.

    Then they drop that veneer and you get Turds McCheatsalot. But the love bombing has you convinced it’s something that changed them, something you did, something you can fix and you’ll get that “loving” charmer you first fell for.

    Nope. Turds McCheatsalot is the real thing. Lover was the mask.

    Look up Love Bombing and the different stages and tactics of abusers. DARVO.

    You’re a better human than he. And good for you not complying with 50/50. I guarantee he wouldn’t uphold that anyway.

  • You are doing an AMAZING job – AMAZING!! That took real strength and conviction to refuse to agree to 50/50 custody and you absolutely needed a new lawyer. You are taking your life back – WAY TO GO!!!! It absolutely is terribly traumatic, and you will grieve the loss of what you had for a long time. That’s not grieving your idiot ex or ruminating, that’s grieving for what you were duped into thinking you had invested in. You are human, kind and compassionate and you were taken advantage of. All of us here at CN were in the same boat – but it does get better, I promise. In time you will be able to put some of this behind you, but the scars will always be there. However, they will be testaments to your strength and tenacity. You are so much stronger than you know, and this is only the beginning.
    Divorcing an asshole cheater is exhausting and it can drag on for awhile, but just keep the main goal in sight. Keep tabs on his use of hookers, escorts, dating habits, all of it for use in your custody case. I don’t think a person that behaves that way needs to have 50/50 shared custody. Nope, not a good influence on your child. I fought for custody of my kids and my exhole ended up giving custody up very easily. I never thought my ex would submit our children to the physical and emotional abuse that he did, and we were in court constantly for things that happened to my boys while they were with him, but in the end it was worth it and they are much better off without that influence. They see him, but it’s extremely limited (by his own choosing – it was either have them with his new wife appliance and her kids, or not have them at all. He chose not at all).
    Don’t expect the narrative to change, either. You will always be a horrible person that caused him to HAVE to cheat. None of this is his fault, it is all yours. I’m 7 years out and just got an email last week about how the exhole has forgiven me for beating him our entire marriage. It usually vacillates between being an abuser or a drug addict and alcoholic, depending on his mood I guess. Ugh, whatever. I don’t respond and we have no contact, and it works for keeping things at a minimum. When absolutley necessary I will email, but I require that everything be in writing because of the antics I’ve had to deal with.
    Hang in there, you’re doing a fantastic job!! Stay strong and keep on moving forward.

  • Good job going for more than 50/50. 100/0 should be your starting point for negotiation. Put in alimony even if for one year. He must get life insurance and keep child as beneficiary, he picks up from your house and drops off, no meeting in the middle somewhere in what would become cold, dark early, winter nights, get primary legal and physical custody so you can move someday if you want to, no presents of his buying opened in your house, … we need a page under resources that has an ongoing list we can all carefully, thoughtfully and expertly add to. A list of what we put in our decrees and what we wished we put in. All chumps could help pay forward our expertise and new chumps could go to one page, one list and look through to see what is so hard to fathom in the early days.
    Jo, it is terrible, gut-wrenching pain that plagues your thoughts and I know you can’t help but try to figure out why. It lasts as long as it lasts for each individual, betrayed person. I’ve been divorced 2.5 years. 3.5 since d-day #3! (I was only one week post giving birth on d-day #2 but thought it was “only” another too close emotional affair.) So, take all the time you need, really think about what you need and work toward accepting he’s a liar. A terribly adept liar. Most importantly besides enjoying your baby separate from the betrayl, focus on financial particulars, talk to a certified financial planner and don’t settle.

    • Yes!!! This! As I start to go through the process to fight for custody of young kids this is exactly what I’m looking for!

      • I don’t know how one suggests it to CL but I’m glad you agree. We need to get some control of our lives and our childrens’ lives and help each other during such extremely hard and confusing times. I’d add put in that you get to always claim all kids on your taxes, evry year. He pays for counseling for them as long as and whenever it’s needed; he caused problem so he pays to help children learn to cope. He picks up for counseling and returns them after. Scheduling can’t be during your time and can’t interfere with school or extra-curriculars. He pays for or splits all school, sports, camps, school trips, uniforms, instruments, and lessons. He buys the car when they start driving and pays for the drivers ed and fees for tests and the actual license and the car insurance? He keeps health insurance with lowest out of pocket deductible (there’s levels), he pays full premium and you negotiate how much of the copays you have to pay, maybe he pays for all those, too. Kids don’t have to meet Affair Co-Partner (s) til they are ready. ACP can’t go to school functions til kids say. I think support and alimony should increase each year by whatever percent his income increases. At least at the standard COL increase. I could go on and get very detailed. Maybe someone on here can let us know how to get a simple, numbered, organized, live list going. It can’t be for venting or anything other than specific, particulars that you learn of then talk to your lawyer and certified divorce financial advisor about.

        • SmarterNow, These are all good ideas and I agree the more detailed the better. I think with a newborn it is hard to think about who pays for driving lessons but really will alleviate ongoing BS down the road. We had to constantly negotiate things like this – my first lawyer had said there was no reason to worry about future things at the time because we could just go to court later to update the plan. Worst advice ever.
          One thing I might consider is the driving to counseling. I found it could be a fairly delicate time, before and after a session and I would want to be the one to do the picking up and dropping off – maybe even staying outside if that was acceptable so I could be consulted easily at the end of the session if the child wanted. Just a thought.

          • Where did you add all these details? Can you put that in the parenting plan that contains the schedule or is it a separate document?

            • One detail (about counseling being required before my youngest is required to stay overnight) is in the parenting plan section. Others are nowhere because i didn’t even think about them at the time! Its only 2.5 years out that I now realize what I wish I would have added. At the time of discovery my ex felt very guilty and agreed to things he wouldn’t dream of now. But mostly in words/promises not written in black and white. So some of these ideas are yes probably out of the scope of what’s usually done in accordance with laws but I’d at least like to know what to try. It was the not even realizing to ask for it or negotiate for it that frustrates me now. The injustice is beyond terrible for me. It’s what keeps me up at night and messes up my days. I am saying i wish i would have known all these things to at least try. I’d start high and negotiate down. A lawyer may try to dissuade you but during mediation I’d go for it. Its private and what you offer and suggest should you end up going to court, can’t be revealed. For example, say you offer to let him have one more holiday every fourth year, lije presidents day, but in exchange you get to claim child in taxes that year. He wants to look like good dad and you get some compensation for all the real parenting you do all year. I knew what was important to him, image of “good dad” and I could have negotiated for things important to me – financial equality. I did get more of support designated as child support instead of alimony so it was tax free to me. Now the Fed law has changed and all divorces finalized 2019 on til 2025 have alimony not being taxable for the recipient (with some state to state differences). I also put that supporr goes til 18 or when they graduate highschool, whichever is later so it doesn’t get cut off 5 months before my youngest graduates. But, if go for more than that. Alimony meds to be whole time of marriage. You may not get it but I’d fight for it looking back. Negotiate with ex, not with judge. They may agree to a lot more if you can put aside or use your devastation and see what you can agree to. I couldn’t do this and didn’t think to try. I was completely wrapped up in the emotional ttauma and didn’t know that once i accepted we are really divorced is start caring about the financial and little day to day injustices so much.
              I completely agree that just knowing about these life-under-divorce-specifics doesn’t mean you’re going to get all of them agreed to but I wish I knew this stuff would even be an issue. I have said a few times on this site that if you have the opportunity to safely stay married after discovery and get a post nup agreed to I’d suggest that. CL even suggested postnups where feasible. I’d do it for another reason than testing remorse though and that’s to set yourself up better if/ when they cheat again. My now ex wanted to stay married so badly after d-day he signed a document stating if he cheated again i could move out of state and he’d not fight it and pay for all the travel. He signed it knowing he was still cheating but just hoping he would stop or not get caught again, I guess?! I could have added so much more to that notarized document but i was hopeful and spinning my wheels and scared and unsure and i didn’t push to add more, plus i was hopeful we’d stay together (stupid i wanted to, i know). I ended up not moving afterall, anyway but now wish i did. Its so hard to make decisions during this torturous time.
              I guess my point is we’re so emotional its hard to be savvy and when the dust settles the injustice seems to bother us all the most. So, knowing ahead what to try to make “just” as possible could be really helpful in healing process.

              *very good point about the travel to and from counselor. I’d say for now i take and pick up but if or when she feels comfortable he will do it. I’d get so specific if negotiating it now, that I’d say he pay me for the gas and my time. The only, only reason our sweet innocent daughter has to take time out of her childhood to go talk to a psychologist is because of HIM so he should have to feel every bit of it.

          • I also attempted to get a lot more laid out in the divorce decree. I suggested and asked my attorney to include several things (such as being sure xh paid child support until kids were 19 as they started Kindergarten at 6 & thus will be 19 when graduate from HS, having him save &/or pay a portion of their college, etc). I felt like she basically just swept those things, & many more, away & ignored them. She told me those things could be addressed later on as they came up & that now wasn’t the time. She was close to retiring so it’s not like she was thinking about future business from me. Plus she had already got 15k. This was my second attorney after firing the first who ended up being a chauvinist narcissist (divorced 3+times himself) who told me to not report my xh spitting in my face, screaming at me, throwing things, in front of our young kids then speeding off without then in their car seats because “You will just end up looking like a hysterical female!”).

            The second attorney was at least better then the first. I was led to believe by both attorneys that it was a losing battle to fight xh on much of anything as “The law’s the law and that’s just how it is. You’ll only lose more by fighting it.”

            I wish more then anything I had CN to go to back then. To this day, I still don’t know if it’s just my state (Iowa) that’s really messed up as far as divorce & legal matters go or of my second attorney was crap too. According to her, she got me way more then any other attorney in my area would or could have.

            It has been years yet, I’m obviously still triggered by the assumption that legally one will get an outcome that is fair & in the best interest of the kids if you will just fight for it. That definately hasn’t been my experience with the justice system when it comes to divorce and custody matters. I felt even more victimized by it.

            Yes, of course others need to be encouraged to fight for theirselves and their kids. I hear a lot on here about people who did & won. That’s awesome & ideal. However, there’s another side with those of us who tried to but wasn’t successful. Aren’t there more chumps out there who had horrid experiences with the legal system besides me? It might help others to hear the other side too. Maybe it’s more of what not to do. However, it’s also about how it is sometimes & how to deal with accepting the injustice of it all so you dont continue to stew in it like I’ve done. The injustice is one of the main things that has prevented me from really being able to move on.

            • Thanks for your input. I have had a similar experience with lawyers. Everyone tells me my state will default to 50/50 and I’m an idiot to spend money I don’t have on fighting. I’m trying to approach this realistically and the truth is outside of a miracle there’s no getting full custody in my state or situation. Just another harsh reality to face in this nightmare.

            • And I’m deeply sorry for your troubles with the legal system. It has been my experience as well with my older child.

            • Totally there with you RoseThorns. All the lawyers I interviewed had the “the always the law, that’s just the way it is” speech. It seems to be playing out that way so far. I’ve tried to explain the covert narc thing but lawyer just doesn’t get it.

              I get totally hung up on the no justice and I don’t know if I’ll ever get past that.

              OW gets to keep her kid and home. I don’t.

              • Fearful&Loathing- I also found a site called: One Moms Battle- I believe she has a list of lawyers that are familiar with NPD by state

            • My experience also. I spent all my money ($15,000) fighting for my kids. Came out good financially but only get the kids 1/3 of the time because I had a roommate. My XW fought me on everything because she represented herself. Ugh!

  • I don’t know how, where or when my xh “flipped the switch” but it was total and complete. He and OW actually wanted me to just move out of my home, (because they could afford it), leave the kids and possessions.
    He acutally thought I was going to justs move out, ask for nothing (because I was such an abusive, unworthy person, that is). He actually put it to me as a threat.
    “If you do not move out and sign over the house now, I will make sure this place sells at a loss and you will get a negative equity bill at closing.”

    From a second honeymoon trip/mutual retirement investment meeting — to this in 8 weeks.

    Part of my inability to recover was the absolute personality change..

    • I was gobsmacked when I read that statement by the attorney. So glad she fired that one for a better one.

  • Jo, I really feel for you. It’s so hard when you’re trying to look after a tiny new baby, and you realize the person who was pretending to be your partner is actually your deadly enemy.
    I started to see what a douchebag my daughter’s father was when I tried to call him shortly after going into labour. He didn’t even bother to show up for the birth! Where was he? With his ex- except of course she wasn’t his ex at all. Eventually – after a lot more of his bullshit – I discovered that he’d been with her all along, but keeping us both in the dark as he shuttled between us. I guess that technically makes me the other woman but sadly I didn’t know it at the time!
    I finally found out after I left his abusive ass as I wasn’t going to take the shitty way he was treating me and the constant lies. It was only when she and I spoke to each other the pieces fell into place.
    He spent about 24 hours after I left pleading with me to come back, crying etc – then did a complete 180 and hired some really aggressive lawyers to try and bully me into letting him take my baby off with him for weeks at a time. I said nope, not going to happen. Like you, I had one lawyer tell me that family courts didn’t care about the emotional and sexual abuse I suffered from him. I sacked her.
    I also had people from the mediation service trying to browbeat me into accepting the totally ridiculous terms he offered because he was so reasonable and handsome and charming (I’m pretty sure the mediator had the hots for him). I told them I wouldn’t be coming back to mediation because I don’t see the point in mediation with someone who lies to my face.
    It was horrendous, the worst time of my life, but I came through it and I promise you can do the same. I finally came to realise that the person I thought I loved does not exist and I don’t mourn for him anymore. I don’t care what he does with other women – if anything I pity them.
    You sound like you’re taking a lot of sensible precautions to safeguard yourself and your precious children. If I were you I’d do whatever you can to distance yourself from him – to try and limit his influence on their lives. I moved a couple of hundred miles away from my ex – because I wanted to be near to my family. After a few months of driving 5 hours each way for visitation he finally got bored and stopped coming. It was very upsetting for my daughter at first, but our lives are 100% better without him.
    If I was you I’d seriously consider moving, if you can – once you have sold your house or he buys you out or whatever. These selfish f*ckwits haven’t got the patience and staying power to be a reliable parent – but if you lived 300 miles away you can maybe limit his bullshit to once or twice a month instead of every other day. Also you have the added bonus of making no contact much easier for you.

  • I’m nearly three years out, divorce was final nov ‘18 and I’m ashamed to say I’m also feeling like this most days again. I have times when I’m feeling strong and can handle the discard but atm im struggling again and could cry at the drop of a hat. I think it’s because he didn’t want to leave, he dropped her like a hot brick (as far as I know) and was desperate to reconcile. We tried for a while but it was obvious I was never going to be at peace knowing what he was he capable of doing to me, it was ruining my mental health. When we have to contact about children (this is by text every 2-3 weeks) he STILL turns the conversation to how much he loves me and how he would never hurt me again etc etc. I stay strong and reply with some sassy truth but I always feel the wound has been opened again and yearn for my old life.
    I have a new career, amazing kids and supportive family why am I still feeling so exhausted and pathetic, I don’t love him anymore, why am I not getting over this trauma? Why doesn’t it stop playing over and over in my head? I wish I could just forget he exists.

    • Rae, it DOES take a long time to get over, and I don’t think the clock is really even running until the divorce is done. But it’s worse for you, because he is STILL fucking with your head.

      You need to find a way to put a stop to that. One option might be to block him on text/phone unless the kids are with him. Require that all contact be through a specific e-mail address (that he won’t know you made only for his messages). Then do not have that email anywhere that you can easily access. Give access to someone who knows the whole mess. They read his emails, then pass any RELEVANT NEUTRAL INFO about dealing with the kids, that you NEED to have, omitting all the mindfuckery. You give that person any response from you, they reply super neutrally to fuckwit.

      PROTECT YOURSELF, that will make healing so much easier.

      Also, a lot of people here, including myself, have found it very helpful to make a list of EVERYTHING fuckwit has done, all through your relationship and since, that is sucky. Add to the list everytime you remember something else. When you are feeling that longing, that doubt, that missing him, read it over. This is a powerful antidote over time. Chumps, I think, tend to be optimists and see the best in people, and can’t hold a grudge even when that is resoundingly deserved. So counter that with a dose of reality!

      Take very good care of yourself, make sure you have pleasures and fun in your life, see people (adults!), do some activities you enjoy. And give yourself a break! You’ve been through so much, and rebuilt your life so well. Give yourself compassion and time; this shit is hard.

      • Thankyou so much for the response and ideas KarenE. I think that because we got married on Feb 29 2000 this year has been hard as it’s the first leap year since this shit show. Thanks again.

      • Yes to the list! I do that. When the charm turns on and I feel fucked with…. I open the list and read the dose of reality to pull my head out of denial

  • Recently in an advice columnist ‘ s article I read a letter from a lawyer who was “perplexed” that so many women came to him asking how they could protect their young children from spending time with the OW. He told them that they should be happy that the child had another person to love them. He looked upon this as a bonus love.
    Well, if he had carried this child for nine months, if he had given birth and nursed this child for months, if he had held and comforted this child in the night when they awaken from a bad dream, if he had Been there 24/7 when needed, well then, he could look me in the eye and tell me this.
    A sperm and an egg meet, sometimes they create a beautiful new life. This new life, this precious child, requires someone to be there to care for them. Someone who is the present sane loving parent at all times.

    Jo, this person is YOU,
    I hope you get full custody.
    You certainly deserve it!
    Xxxxxx
    peacekeeper

    • It’s amazing isn’t it? Someone can be shown to be a pathological liar and yet the courts will still give them the ‘benefit of the doubt’ when it comes to their ability to parent. Does it not occur to people that being a compulsive liar in one area of your life might be a clue that you’re not entirely trustworthy???

    • The OW/Affair partner isn’t simply another person who may (or may not) love your child. If they knew your spouse was married they are a morally disgusting person of bad character, who helped destroy a family and your child’s security. If your child had a classmate who lied, cheated and put your child’s security at risk you would tell your child to avoid them like the plague and certainly to not be their friend.
      Also, no one loves your children the same way and to extent you do, they just don’t.

      • This is how no fault divorce has created injustice. Character is irrelevant in deciding custody because the law does not allow for fault to be considered. Ironically, it was intended to eliminate injustice, as people were losing custody and getting unfair settlements due to false accusations and judicial bias. It should go back to an at fault system but require solid evidence for any allegations and require judges to rule based on facts alone.

  • Jo,
    As you can see, many of us have had a similar experience. Mine was 21 years together-17 married-and the revelation process was sudden and an ambush, but retrospective analysis showed a slow change in his behavior that happened when he started living his double life. Oh, and what’s up with the transsexual fascination. Mine, too. It was a “bucket list” item that he thought I “wouldn’t be supportive of”-sleeping with a transsexual, that is. Hmmmm. Well, I thought we were happily married and that intimacy was more than just sex, so sleeping with other people, whether male, female or in-between wasn’t part of the equation. I thought we’d go to each other first if we needed more sex and intimacy–not look outwards. And the transsexual thing is more disturbing because it means that he’s willing to exploit someone’s gender-identity confusion for his own pleasure, and because it means that we are not enough. It’s not that he’s struggling with closeted homosexuality, but I need an extra organ to be appealing to him? That’s more disturbing than the guy that tells you to drop a few pounds. Anyway, the struggle over deciphering what happened? How could it happen to you? Looking back and seeing your own life unravel backwards before your eyes. That is so traumatic-so much more so than anyone can understand. How did he change? When? Was he always like that? Everyone was a baby once…naked and innocent, right? So, all these narcissistic cheating exes changed at some point. I think of it like a Hogwarts student succumbing to the dark arts…there was always a time when perhaps they could have stayed with the good guys. Maybe your kids aren’t old enough yet for you to get the Harry Potter analogy but anyway, you were happy and thought you had a good marriage and a loving husband because that’s what you deserve, he was a good actor, and there was no reason to go looking for evil lurking in your life. And who knows, he may have been in his transition to the dark side while you knew him. The point is…you didn’t make it happen by not having both male and female body parts or by making him go to therapy or with baby weight or anything like that. He simply has a weaker soul and succumbs to whatever the fuck (literally) he wants at any give time. You will come to a point where you can remember the good times and even the person he used to be, if that’s how you want to see it, with nostalgia that isn’t tinged with pain. I promise.

    • Madkatie

      thank you. I needed to hear this. I really loved my EX with all my heart for our marriage of 35 years, the dating from the age of 19 on…I’m 60 now.

      Though I have not seen or heard from him in over 3 years, I still think of him or dream of him, often.

      I don’t cry but it does still sting. We laughed a lot and I thought we were very well suited. God…smh. I still wake up a few times a month and say WTF???

      How can he have wanted NOTHING to do with me OR our kids???

      And the marital history the DECADES of marriage – I don’t know how to have and keep my good memories, because so far they trigger terrible pain. Is it all tainted??

      Do I erase that??

      Ugh…it’s not just the hideous injustice of it all. And it’s not just seeing the pain my kids still feel and always will.

      This is a GENERATIONAL SHITSANDWICH. My ex probably won’t even meet our grandkids and I do think that will bother him but that probably means embitterment on his end, not introspection.

      And in addition to all of this^^^ the fact remains that he broke my heart –

      and it has not yet mended. I want it to mend asap.

  • This is a good one because it speaks to exactly how I still get stuck ruminating over the sudden change in his behavior. Dealing with the trauma of being so suddenly and completely dumped by someone I loved for over 14 years and who was a great husband right up to when he wasn’t, trying to untangle the skein so I can figure out why this happened (and what my role was in it happening), and finally, not getting the closure I feel I need to move on are something I am still dealing with 14 months out from D-Day. Yes, I am taking actions to move forward: I relocated to another town and have my own place now, the divorce was final at the end of 2019, am working part time and going to school to fill the stay at home gap in my education and resume, hanging out with friends old and new. I enjoy my new life and the reinvention of myself I was forced to undertake. I feel more like my old self everyday but there is lingering grief that hits me hard every week or every other week. It’s much less often and doesn’t last very long, but the pain is still deep and real. My point is- I think I am doing really well at this “get a life” thing but still stumble over the what ifs and how comes even 14 months and a great new life out. So, it takes time and I think we just need to realize that. (Or am I stuck and need help?)

  • Every time I read CL, she writes something that hits me between the eyes. Today it was “iron-clad boundaries”. Thank you, CL. I am one of the worst when it comes to ignoring red flags, my bucket of spackle stirred and ready. No more.

  • It’s typical CRAP in the 21st century and agreed with Traci you will get through it, I did and in a horrible economy to boot! Dday officially out 3 YEARS and 2 months, I survived!🌹🙏

  • Jo – Chumplady made that cartoon for a reason. You will find so many stories on here where there seemed to be a complete personality change when the cheating came to light. There are a number in the comments following the January 20 blog.

    I am still in shock that I thought I had a good relationship/marriage for 14 years just to find out it was a lie, and then I see people on here who didn’t find out for 20, 25, 30, or even 35 years. Sometimes the cheating and change come about when the cheater experiences some sort of social status improvement.

    I have also been shocked (and saddened) to see how many people find out when pregnant or right after a new baby. Or how many people find out when they experience some other personal vulnerability – job loss, serious illness, etc.

    I’m so sorry you are in this club. It is a terrible place to be. But I hope you have good sources of personal support and I’m glad you found Chump Nation. It’s helped me a ton.

  • I was married for a lot longer, but I also wanted my ‘real’ husband back. I just didn’t know who that f’ing jerk was was living in my house. It’s quite frightening, like being the wife character in Hitchcock movie. But that is who they really are. And it’s a painful to have to dismantle the dream. The plan. Your vision of a good clean life. The porn. The transvestite dates. The secret activities. The filthy dick they weaponized toward you. It’s hard to get your head around that shit. I wouldn’t want him touching my children either. Find a way to escape him. Go back to work. Ask family for help. Anything. Good luck, little Sister. Hugs

  • Any thoughts on mediation vs. just letting a pitbull lawyer at them? I have two young kids, one of whom is under one. Several of my friends who had cheating partners suggested mediation first because they thought lawyers would drag things out in order to make money. Their thought was mediate first, let the bastard hang himself, and go to court later.

    • Remember that mediation can screw you over if you don’t know your legal rights and go into it with the idea of a cheater being will to be fair to you and the kids.

      So go if you like, make him pay – but if you get a WHIFF of entitlement or “I had to cheat because YOU…” shut the shit down. Also, you can hire an attorney to come to mediation with you to help minimize the risk of you agreeing to something that will harm you in the future.

      Interview attorneys. Find out if they work closely with any accountants/CPA’s too. Having both legal and financial professionals in your corner can minimize some of the harm Fuckwits can do to you now and in the future.

      One thing that mediation can do is illuminate his strategy and thinking. Then you have still more information with which to inform your attorney. He puts his cards on the table, you evaluate and then stall or end it. I wouldn’t sign squat without taking it to an attorney who represents ME, first.

    • I got totally fucked in mediation. Where I live it’s not legally binding thank god. My manipulative ex asshole put on a major victim performance. If you are dealing with a gaslighter like we mostly are then be very cautious about mediating without major support or even better, a good lawyer. Mediation is meant to be in good faith- cheating fuckwits just use this as a way to blast you again.

  • Jo, you’re doing AMAZING!! I’m 6 years post final DDay and 2 years post divorce. I spent my whole, 13 year marriage puck-me dancing. The Entire.Marriage. There will be more injustice because injustice seems to hold cheaters’ hands in life, and goes with cheaters everywhere. It’s even harder when ppl like family court judges make unjust decisions ON TOP of all of the other injustices one has already endured…. YOU CAN DO IT!! Sending so much love to all in the early stages of discovery, divorce, “co”parenting, etc. 💗

  • You are not giving 50/50 to someone who makes such ooor life choices. You are handing over the documentation to your new lawyer that shows your cheater has been frequenting prostitutes and I would be using it as leverage as well as to illustrate that he is not a healthy environment for your child. I think with them being so little they are too young to be away from your cares at the moment anyway so it might be that you build that into your custody arrangement with room for adjustment later then wait for him to implode and document all that to stitch up custody later. The 46 year old was a convenient excuse. I too discovered my partner was cheating in the early months of motherhood and it takes a special brand of suckiness to choose to abuse someone when they are at their most vulnerable and disorientated. To me those types tend to cowardly passive aggressive men-children who can’t handle that their mommy replacements have had their attention diverted from looking after their needs and so ditch because they don’t want to man up and take responsibility/ reciprocate caring or use a usually strong woman’s most vulnerable time to run a mindfuck for whatever perceived slights they’ve accumulated over the years. There’s something hella creepy about someone who Waits until they’ve got you dependant and distracted to get some kind of revenge on you just to make themselves feel more powerful. Mine also had ED and if you look carefully I suspect you’ll find that he’s been running a narrative behind your back to friends and family about you being difficult and unreasonable for many months now to set the scene for what he’s done. Big hugs to you, but also be grateful that this asshole self identified early on, even though I felt like he could have told me before u brought a defenceless baby into the world. Either way you would have been doing the hard yards in parenting by yourself so make sure you get as much financial support as you can through your settlement. All the best mama. Get angry and kick his ass.

    • And by leverage I mean talking to your lawyer who will ask his lawyer that if you can’t reach amicable agreement on the parenting plan beforehand is he happy that you table the evidence about the prostitutes in court. But first you don’t tell him you know you get copies of that documentation while he’s out of the house and you get that shit to your lawyer. If he’s the type I think he is he’ll be feeling smug and thinking he’s got you disorientated and that will make him careless. Don’t disabuse him of the fact but get to work to protect yourself and your child’s future. This is survival mode you need to get cunning. Cheater started shitting himself and back-pedalling when I had our bank lock down all funds, he totally didn’t expect me to play hardball. Do it, you deserve to dissect him out of your life as much as you possibly can do this time right now is critical. Hugs to you it does get better.

    • You are dead on Stig!!

      The guy has a sick relationship with his mother. I was doomed from the start I now realize.

  • Jo, I do want to commend you for your strength and clarity of mind when it comes to fighting the 50/50 custody and firing the dimwitted lawyer you had. Talk about showing strength and clarity of mind. Do document all the fuckwit’s attempts at dating, whoring and so on. An aggressive win at all costs and take no prisoners lawyer will have a field day with that and that’s who you need on your side.

    As for how could you not see it, please don’t blame yourself. He is a conman and nobody is immune to that. Think Bernie Madoff – he didn’t just con some few greedy people with zero financial sense – he conned experienced, highly educated pros in finance. That’s what conmen do. They are like a human chameleon who can change colors and pretend to be whatever the person in front of them wants and perfectly so. The con can last years and years or just a few months. In a way you are lucky that it only lasted as little as it did.

    Your biggest battle now is going to be proving that he is a POS rather than father of the year. Fortunately, you already know his game, you know how he plays and pretends. Use that knowledge to your advantage rather than to put down and blame yourself. Get mad and get even really should be your motto. Leave the other emotions for later, after you’ve gained full custody and freedom from this creep.

  • Thank you so much everyone. I’m reading and rereading all of the comments. Im hoping I will come back and read this years from now and see it all as just a horrible time in my life and be in a much happier place.

    • You will, Jo. It gets better when you accept the truth and detach from the loser. You’ll have an amazing, cheater free life. Be proud of yourself for having the strength to make that leap and create a new way of life for yourself in which you don’t cater to anyone’s sense of entitlement.👍

  • Main thing is get some software to document what you are doing for baby and what he is. That is data that can be used to argue for more than 50-50

  • One of the hardest things to understand is that the cheater was always the cheater. It is their true self. They hide it from you in the beginning, but they can’t maintain it forever.

    Once you accept reality you will be free and find peace.

    • That is soooo true
      I found out 2 years into our marriage that he had an affair during his first marriage, by the AP herself!
      Turns out 10 years later, it happened again, to me!
      I had no interest in an reconciliation, he never leaned.
      God bless.
      LIS

    • That is soooo true
      I found out 2 years into our marriage that he had an affair during his first marriage, by the AP herself!
      Turns out 10 years later, it happened again, to me!
      I had no interest in an reconciliation, he never never learned. It’s HIM.
      God bless.
      LIS

    • That is soooo true!
      I found out 2 years into our marriage that he had an affair during his first marriage, by the AP herself!
      Turns out 10 years later, it happened again, to me!
      I had no interest in an reconciliation, he never never learned. It’s HIM.
      God bless.
      LIS

  • Yes keep records of every shitty thing he does; every contact visit missed, every nasty text/email, birthdays forgotten. Whatever. I don’t know about the US but here family courts take a dim view of that kind of thing. They might not deny contact on that basis but it makes it difficult for him to play the ‘devoted dad’ card.
    Also things like hiring sex workers, drink and drugs.
    At the moment you are essential to your baby- you’re their primary caregiver – but if he disappeared tomorrow the baby likely won’t notice much difference. Don’t listen to all that “Oh but babies need two parents” crap.

  • Wishing you all the best of luck. I’m feeling especially defeated today. My ex, who owes me $4000, has blocked me on all platforms, and I stupidly withdrew my original lawsuit during my “pick me” phase.

    I feel so defeated, but comments here help me know it’ll get better.

  • Dear Jo, CL’s advice is spot on. Three months out is hard. It took me a year to start to feel better.
    As well as keeping busy which I’m sure you are with a baby anyway, I recommend finding a good counsellor.
    I also found writing and drawing in in a journal helpful. Also reading books including CL’s book was too. Focus on your baby and stay strong. Hugs.

    • Jo,

      Having this when you have a new baby sucks big time. I don’t have a silver lining so much as “OMG it could be worse” because hey, I was married 35 years…my whole fucking life.

      If I had known then what I know now, I’d have cut him loose in 2005 when I first saw inklings of weirdness and extreme selfisness. God, I was so blind.

      Anyhow, I think you are stronger than you knew and in some ways pregnancy can give us clarity b/c we see what REALLY matters pretty fast.

      He’s joined Slytherin, to carry on with the Harry Potter metaphor (and you will read it to your kid if you haven’t yet).

      He is not in your house, he’s not invested as you were.

      I think there will be a day when you see this as a release and an opportunity, because really, what choice is there?

      Hold your head up, and keep doing right by your beautiful baby – and you won’t have any regrets.

  • It takes years to get over being betrayed. And having to coparent with a cheater is no picnic either. I hope you have a strong support system behind you. My therapist from the abused women’s center strongly suggests that you never move in with someone until you know them at least 2 years. She said that it’s ok to date, and have fun (when the time is right, later), but do not move in for 2 years.

    It is painful to find out that you really didn’t know someone. They showed the side they wanted you to see. You are young and can have a good life ahead.

  • It is amazing that we live in “the Age of Information” but receive almost no information while we grow up about the monsters who walk among us in everyday life. In my 20’s I knew almost nothing about sociopaths, cheaters, liars, or con artists. I knew almost nothing about porn, or the effects it can have, or the attitudes it develops towards sex partners. I knew almost nothing about ED, or how frequently it can happen to otherwise young and healthy men — not from a horrible accident or illness, but from their own perverse pursuits.

    Don’ beat yourself up for not being prepared for things you couldn’t possibly imagine. These creatures may appear to be human, but they lack certain essential components necessary to be humane, they have no character, no boundaries, no empathy. It is Me, Me, Me, all the time.

    We do have to fight against a legal system based upon antiquated notions of what is “fair”, or “best for the children.” If a con artist can be convicted of fraud in a business transaction, marriage should not forgive or conceal his crime. Theft is theft. Custody arrangements should not be set up for the parent’s convenience, but for the welfare of the children. Children need consistency, and structure. They need to go to school and eat on time. They need doctor and dentist visits, and a sane parent to show up for school conferences and events. They don’t need to meet an ever changing array of new “friends” who stay over and sleep with their parents.

    We are not prepared to deal with these monsters. We are not stupid — we are just not educated or trained to expect someone to be this perverse. My children are more computer literate than I will ever be, because they were trained on computers ever since they started school. I did not see one until I was out of college and working. I had to learn what I needed to know as I was earning a living and paying bills, and otherwise being an adult. I learned what I needed to learn about cheaters and liars and con artists when I discovered them, too. I was also working and paying bills, and otherwise being an adult. It is a different learning curve. It is painful, and sometimes devastating. It is also NOT YOUR FAULT.

    Your job is to do what you need to do to take care of yourself and your children. It is possible to survive these imposters. Like any bad experience, there may be telltale signs that stay with you forever more, but moving forward and doing the best you can do is all you can expect of yourself.

  • A cheater that steps out in his pregnant wife is a particularly low form of life ..mollusk-like maybe.

    I know, I had one slipping out with one month old in the crib. And the OW had stones to send expensive baby gifts to my home before I appreciated the connection! When the shit hit the fan, I tried to look at it like an Early Warning System … time to get it out and no looking back. The universe sending a powerful message.
    That was 20 years ago and in retrospect was the absolute right call. Hang tough Jo, it will get better and you don’t want to waste your life on someone who can lower the bar quite that low.

  • @D2W3K

    You’re very kind. I went through a lot of mentally writhing in pain to come to grips with who my ex-wife really was (and is). And there’s no getting around it, she is a bad person.

    The thing is, once she new the jig was up, when she could see I was finally becoming aware of who she really was behind the mask, she made a quick exit. It’s similar to flipping on a light switch and seeing the roaches scatter.

    They then immediately go in search of new people to charm and convince they are sparkly and good. You’re no longer of use to them because you’re all too aware of their con.

    I wasted so many good years on her. But I can say with a healing heart that I’m grateful to be on the right path with her in the rear view. That growing peace of mind is priceless. Godspeed to all suffering chumps! Keep putting one foot in front of the other. The time it takes to get to “meh” often seems interminable. But have faith and know it does get better. Lately I’ve even found myself thinking “life is good” again. I feel so blessed to have survived and to know, for the most part, I’ve recovered from what was such a living nightmare.

  • Jo
    I’m really sorry you’re going through this. It’s like a waking nightmare, where all the people around you are in denial and fear because they desperately need it to be something that ‘happens to other people’. The loneliness of that is another blow.

    I remember my lovely kind partner of 17 years that never hurt a fly (in my mirage) looking at me sobbing with the coldest look on his face. He’d been having an affair with my good friend, colleague, creative collaborator, bringing her into our home to hang together, for three years. They even went shopping for my 40th birthday presents together! He was bewitched indeed, and very concerned for her welfare during our breakup. Very shallow emotions. Then he said he was mistaken when he thought he wanted our lovely son. They married and seem happy and are invested in everyone we know believing that it was meant to be and all the betraying behaviour justified. Hard. Very hard.
    Fast forward 8 years and thanks to my grace and strength we all get along perfectly well and I feel my son was protected as much as I could from suffering, instability and hatred. His father is very reliable and has paid regularly and been there for him 100%.
    I have suffered greatly from my co-alcoholism and been through a crazy fun/hell period since which my ltr was disguising. I’ve reached bottom and finally gone back to the Anonymous programmes after 28 years out.
    So I guess I’m trying to say that things can work out from hellish happenings, and lessons can be learned from them. I’m addicted to sex and relationships, and I am taking responsibility for all my terrible man choices. It helps ease the pain and it solves the mystery of ‘why me?’. The book Women Who Love Too Much helped me, but it took 20 years and three attempts to read it. I’m not advising to read it, just sharing my experience (my biggest problem is that I try to fix, help, control people). I don’t blame my partners from running away from Mummy!
    You’ll find amazing strength and discovery through this, and your child will come through this. Keep being amazing! 💪

  • Welcome to the club nobody wants to join. Im sorry your going through this.
    I’m a newbie to the club myself when I found out my husband was cheating on me with men. Yeah, men. And no. There was never a sign in the bedroom, in the kitchen or on our Saturday morning newspaper sipping coffee together routine.
    Like you, I am still caught up in going around around in my head the whys, the what’s, The Who’s. I just can’t wrap my head around it all yet. I suppose our brain is hardwired to accept bits and pieces at time in accordance with what we can handle.
    When I find myself going down the rabbit hole of all the questions I don’t have an answer, I turn to my faith friends and family.
    And I get it. Everyday is a struggle to just get up, go to work or do your thing. However, time and hope (For your life to be better without him) is the only true healer. I see it in myself that as time goes by, I have a greater calling than to be a narcissist gay mans front.
    You will find your way.
    Meditation, walking and mindfulness helps real me back to reality when the hamster on the wheel in my head starts to go around and around.
    I wish you all the best.

    • MGV,
      Thanks for your post. On top of everything you’re going through you still have a sense of humour. Keep taking care of yourself it sounds like you’re on a good path forward.

  • Ah the oversharing when the wound is fresh. Hand raised here too. I told the Dental Assistant at a check up when she simply asked how I was doing (less then a week after cheater walked out). I proceeded to breal down crying in the dental chair. It was only the second time I had even seen her. I was very embarrased afterward. I couldn’t seem to hold it in at the time though. I was so shattered.

    A few days later, I got a gift certificate to Pizza Hut in the mail from this Dental Assistant. Her note said for me to take my kids out for pizza and that she wished us better days to come. This was from her personally, not the dental office. A woman in her mid 20’s who barely knew me. Just the idea that someone would care enough about my pain & circumstance helped me tremendously. It renewed my faith in humanity a bit. I still think about that often.

    • This was a reply/comment meant for MovingOn and Stacey from posts they made toward the beginning of the comments. No idea how it ended up posting at the end instead.

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