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I’m Forced To Live with My Cheater Right Now

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Dear Chump Lady,

It’s been five weeks since D-Day here. I’m a lesbian, we have been together 13 years, we have one small child that we created together, and four kids I already had from a previous marriage. She cheated on me the first time back in 2008, right after our wedding ceremony, when she ‘accidentally’ fell in love with her band mate.

She cheated again two years later, apparently it was a ‘rebound’ affair.
After a lot of struggle, I forgave her for these, and had rebuilt trust.
Then we had ten years of non-cheating, when we created a child, bought a house, and generally had what I thought was a good marriage at that point. Making a baby wasn’t so easy, a lot of effort and years of trying were involved.

Enter the third affair, where she ‘accidentally’ fell in love again, with her bass player, a woman who happens to be married herself, to a man, with whom she ‘is basically asexual.’

RIGHT. So, upon the D-Day bombing, when she declared her undying love and lust for this woman, shortly after Valentine’s day, she ‘wanted us both,’ and our marriage was the ‘most important thing.’ I was shocked, and actually agreed to all of this. She claimed that they had ‘only held hands’ and ‘nothing has happened yet.’ Also, I was told the the husband is ‘fine with this.’

The following morning, I began to think, ‘you know what? I’m kind of angry. She never asked me about any of this before it happened.’

I confronted her, and said, ‘I need more time to digest this.’

She said, ‘Never mind. I just want a divorce,’ and ‘I have not been happy for a long time.’

She’s stuck by that line ever since. And added to it that she ‘has never been in love with me,’ and that she was waiting until after her father died to leave me. (Affair conveniently seems to have begun right after her father died a year ago. How quaint.) She said she had this affair to force me to break up with her, because it ‘didn’t work the first two times.’

After some reflection, I realized they used my bed to have sex in, before D-Day. And used my sex toys, too. Affair seems to have been going strong most of last year, but accelerated since Christmas or so. The puzzle pieces were all there, but I trusted her.

Other woman is an animal person. Has multiple cats, dogs, birds, fish. My wife HATES animals. Hates them. But has been pretending to love animals in order to woo this woman.

They are ‘broken up,’ according to what my wife claims, but every single facebook post the woman puts up gets hearts and comments from my spouse. So, I am pretty sure the other woman and she are still actively ‘in love,’ nothing has changed.

I feel pretty sorry for this woman’s husband. I am sure he has no idea what is really going on.

Oh, and she seems confident that she can force me to sell our house. I do not have enough income by myself to qualify for a loan, nor do I have good credit, but you know what? Nobody is buying or selling homes right now, anyway. I didn’t ask for any of this. I want to keep my damned house. My heart is broken, yes, but I cannot imagine continuing to be married to her.

So, I dragged her to a counseling session. I called it, ‘exit counseling.’. In front of the therapist, she added that she’d only been with me out of pity, to help me raise the other four children I had brought into our marriage, and to help me get through school. I was a thirteen year mercy-fuck, have you heard that one before?

She brought germs home from the girlfriend about two weeks ago, and I got sick, too.

I’m just now starting to feel better. No telling what kind of germ it ultimately was. Maybe COVID-19, maybe not.

So, here is the question. I’m stuck with her and these three youngest kids, (one preschooler, two teenagers.)

Our tiny daughter does not know much, except Mommy is sleeping on the couch now.

My wife refuses to leave or move out of our home, as she continues to date this woman DURING A PANDEMIC CRISIS. I always know when she’s going to see her, (even with the cover story of a four hour trip ‘going to the store,’ (the woman hates shopping,) she shaves everything and does her hair and puts on makeup and slathers up in expensive, stinky body butter. All of these things were uncharacteristic of who she used to be.
I lost my temper today and insisted she get her clothes out of the bedroom we used to share.

It was the first argument our little girl had seen us having. Our preschooler cried, and of course, my wife blamed me for upsetting her.

I am sick of having her come in here every day to pick out her clothes.

Our house isn’t that big. How can I retain my sanity in this time of enforced togetherness?

How can I control my temper and not make things dramatically worse for myself?

She’s definitely a narcissist, and extraordinarily vindictive. I have no family nearby. I have been determined to stick this out so that my kids lives are not disrupted any more than they have to be. This is a profoundly difficult situation. The local mayor has enforced quarantine over the entire city. What would you do?

Sincerely,

HOW DO I STAY SANE?

Dear Sane,

I’d start tele-conferencing lawyers. Take the reins on this divorce and put all your anger and anxieties into getting free of her.

You’re fighting this war of sanity on three fronts: emotional, financial, and near-term misery. You’ll need a strategy for each.

1. ) Emotional. I don’t blame you for being angry, having a D-Day in the midst of a pandemic is essentially living in hell. You’re going to feel incredibly volatile now and you don’t want your kids to have a front row seat to this. Do your best to practice grey rock (no contact lite). You are VERY busy planning your escape. You’ve got zero time for her mindfuckery. Don’t talk to her. Don’t ask her to explain. Vent all your heartache online (there’s a closed CN Facebook page and private Reddit page — ask to join) — using your best privacy protocols. (Don’t use a screen name she might know or leave your computer logged in around her.) Journal. Confide in friends. Tell your family. Marshall all the emotional support you can right now. You need PERSPECTIVE when you’re deep in the shit, and you need encouragement and solace.

2.) Financial. You need a lawyer to immediately help you figure out custody and get a temporary support order in place. Find out if your state has alimony. Get all your financial papers together. (A busy-making job in itself!) This idiot cheater of yours has exploited your fear and your vulnerability. She’s fucked around with impunity and is RISKING EVERYONE’S HEALTH — YOUR CHILDREN’S HEALTH — YOUR HEALTH — with her entitlement. She thinks she can keep you in place because you’re the wife appliance and you Need Her. She gets off on the power of that. Take that power away from her today.

I have been determined to stick this out so that my kids lives are not disrupted any more than they have to be.

Their lives ARE disrupted. There is ZERO chance of you staying sane and staying married to her. I don’t know if she can force a home sale (SEE A LAWYER, for all I know you could get the house in a divorce and find some roommates?) Start gaming this out. What usually happens is you’ll have a few years of struggle and loss while you rebuild, but you arrive at PEACE. Where you are now, vulnerable to an abuser, you’ll never know true stability or peace. Put your faith in yourself that you CAN make it without her.

3.) Near-term. You’re very busy taking care of the kids during this quarantine and lining up your ducks (CALL A LAWYER TODAY) to leave her. You got money for “exit counseling” (WTF?) you’ve got money for a lawyer. Model strength, even if you don’t feel it, especially if you don’t feel it, wear your mighty like a suit of armor. You will NOT continue to be her chump.

I am sick of having her come in here every day to pick out her clothes.

Put them in garbage bags. (Leaving at curb optional). Problem solved. It’s the little victories.

Also tell the Schmoopie’s husband. According to your wife he’s “fine” with it. So hey, absolutely NO problem telling him something he’s FINE about.

Perhaps he’s not so FINE about being exposed to a lethal virus. I’d check in on that.

Take. Your. Power. Back. NOW.

Oh and Lysol all her shit.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • My heart goes out to all of the chumps forced to live with their cheaters right now.

    As bad as this pandemic is, I keep thinking of how bad things would be if it had happened 7 years ago, when I was pregnant and stuck living with my cheater due to poverty.

    I’m pregnant now (which sucks in a pandemic) but “stuck” in a beautiful 5-bedroom house with a supportive second husband, home gym, and money in the bank.

    OP, definitely talk to a lawyer. Stop with the counseling (though counseling for just you is fine). Make space for yourself in your home. I shared a room with my baby boy for 4.5 years. Is that an option?

    Sending you love and support. You can get through this.

    • Rarity, thanks for sharing today. I have felt so shattered and dysfunctional recently and your story is one of those that keeps me crawling away from my burning house.

      ❤️

      • I have an attorney who is keeping in touch with me. The new NEW excuse is that my wife was angry about me not making enough money. It’s true, things are tight, and thanks to taking a few ‘detours’ as I’ve been in college and grad school throughout this marriage, and then we made a baby who needed full time care (by me,) for a few years, YES, money is an issue but it’s still no excuse for this flaming trash pile she created.

        • She’ll pivot from one excuse to the other. They’ll sting a bit but see them for what they are – her attempts to deflect from her own bad behavior. Sending you a hug Sane.

        • I’ve only just come to a realisation that it is completely reasonable to expect honesty, faithfulness, loyalty there is no excuse that makes these unreasonable boundaries. Hugs to you Trying to stay sane (( ))

  • What can be worse than being cheated on a marital bed? Using your own sex toys, too.

    Otherwise, this story follows every other cheater’s story to the point of being boringly predictable.

    Do take care of yourself and be very nice to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for not being calm or composed enough. You’re in a very difficult position and I’m sending you virtual hugs.

    • Thank you so much. I’ve lost at least 25 pounds since all this began. I’m trying to make myself eat now, finally. Everything tasted like sand for weeks.

  • I was also told that he married me because he felt sorry for me… 26 year mercyfuck if one believed that…. I don’t… I think he didn’t have the strength to admit he had been using me all along (I’m a great appliance) and he didn’t want anyone else to get his appliance, so he married me and set up a cake-eathing venture of Biblical proportions.

    • Mine told me he married me because he thought I was the best he could do.

      Nice.

      Didn’t stop him from keeping his dime store whore on her 5th marriage ex gf around our entire relationship.

      He’s probably right about not doing better then me though…I think she’s divorced again and I know they’re still carrying on so he can stay in line with whomever else she has on the side to be number 6.

      Such a worthy goal.

      He still tries to contact me sometimes but I ignore him.

    • And mine told me he married me because he knew he could take advantage of me. He told me this at a marriage encounter weekend. I was pissed. Then he got angry berceuse he said, “I told you the truth, didn’t I?”

  • When you speak to your attorney be sure to get a temporary order put in place while you are divorcing. This should state that she continues paying whatever bills she normally pays including health insurance, auto insurance as well as the mortgage and life insurance. The order should also be to stay in your residence.

  • The hardest thing about dealing with this brand of toxicity is actively and consistently remembering that the person standing in front of you is an illusion.

    In your particular situation, it also seems like the most important thing of all, because it’s the foundation from which all other actions will flow.

    It’s very hard to see a person who you’ve known for some time as being entirely different from the person you thought she was. Hopes and dreams creep in, the fears of all the things it means when we accept the idea that the person was lying the whole time motivate us to resist the truth, and grief makes us wish, powerfully, that we aren’t living what we are living. I remember the feelings all too well, though my time was years ago.

    The best advice I can give you lo these many years later is (a) take to heart all that CL has said here, plus (b) do some kind of exercise to keep it at the front of your mind that this cheater has always been someone who would lie to you, someone who would hurt you, someone who deliberately hurts all of these children just to get an advantage and to “win” some useless game. She’ll say anything, do anything, even believe anything that furthers her own short-term and long-term advantage.

    Some people make themselves quick reference lists of the things the cheater has done to keep themselves on track. As you have teens in the house, yours may need to be in “code”, but it could be useful for you anyway.

    The reason keeping all of that front to mind is important is because people who become chumps — especially long term chumps — are people with big hearts. We want harmony, and we want to exercise compassion and forgive, give the benefit of the doubt, believe in altruism, accommodate, co-depend, love beyond measure. In this case, though, you and your children will suffer if you don’t set and maintain solid boundaries with the cheater. You won’t set or maintain solid boundaries if you aren’t clear about your mission, your challenger, and your reality.

    Your reality is that your cheater is willfully risking your life, and the lives of your children, simply to childishly pursue sexual gratification. That’s as mean as it is ridiculous and immature.

    I am so very sorry you are living this at all, and especially right now. Don’t let any crocodile tears sway you into living with it one second longer than necessary. You have my heart, and the hearts of so many here, in your corner, sending strength. 💚

    • I am so sorry for your painful reveal.

      Your “wife” makes me sick. And in a PANDEMIC she could literally make you, and your children sick. In a fatal way, no less.

      I live near San Francisco. We have been sheltered in place since March 17. My friend is home with Coronavirus. I just learned a friend’s father in Spain succumbed.

      YOUR “WIFE” IS A LIFE-THREATENING IDIOT.

      In my world, my business is running. Between that and my XH inability to tell the truth about his casual hookups, massage parlors, female companionship and living situation, I requested suspending visitation until the shelter in place order is lifted. Her pediatrician agreed and sent us a letter. He is compliant, thankfully.

      PLEASE GET THAT CONNIVING GERM CARRIER OUT. She is a deadly virus too.

      ❤️

      • Hi Ami…

        This was a general reply….I misplaced it…
        Sorry! I was blinded by outrage for the extra level careless reckless regard for our writer’s welfare.

        • Happens to me on here all the time. The site behavior is a bit unpredictable sometimes, and I appreciate your words!

    • I always enjoy your comments, Amiisfree. This one in particular resonated because it’s so damn difficult to keep remembering that the cheater/liar we love (or used to love) and are (or were) committed to is fake. It’s human nature to think others are similar to us so trying to get one’s head around the reality that cons, manipulators, truth-dodgers, and outright gaslighters live among us takes real mental effort. Real and regular mental effort. Keeping a list of the things those dark-souled people have said or done is a great idea. (Guy Winch recommends that too in his “Emotional First-Aid” book.) In a time when the world is upside down and when making an exit from a life with a cheater that much more difficult, a list like that, plus following CL’s guidance, will be key. Best wishes for both physical and emotional health to all of us in CN.

      • Thanks! And indeed, I appreciate your insights here too. I like that term “truth-dodgers”, spot on. 😊

        • Shapeshifting truth dodgers. Has a satisfying ring to it.

          Sane, I lost ten kilos – 5 were in the first fortnight. Also a lot of sleep, hair and my mind for a bit.

          CL is right though, I’m good now. OMG I’ve just realised that it’s three years to the day! It’s Tuesday too!

    • This. Exactly. You have to force yourself to believe and accept that the person you thought you knew does not exist. It is so hard and it took me so long to get it. It took my EX being cruel to our children for me to finally understand this had little to do with me and everything to do with him. During our trial–yep trial–my ex committed major perjury and we had proof. My lawyer set him up with 100 questions and I watched him answer every question untruthfully. As I watched him I felt sick because I knew he was lying and yet, after almost 2 decades together, I still could not tell. He was that practiced at deceit. His voice was warm, he did his aw-shucks, and absent-minded, humble doctor thing. But it was ALL SHIT. Just lies to get his way. People who can do that are not like us. The lack decency in a way that is impossible to understand if you are normal. They used your sex toys? This will sound crazy, but be grateful she showed her true self so boldly. You loved her, your family, and are decent. You would have stayed and the truth is you shouldn’t. My daughter was 12 when her father left. She decided to cut contact with him and I supported her because ex treated her terribly and she said, “mom, a person like him doesn’t deserve to know a person like me.” Kids….they know.

    • Yes, she looked at me and smiled a couple of hours ago, at something funny our child said. I just looked back deadpan, and turned away. I have not been able to keep my composure very well throughout this, I’ve either been sad or angry. So I could that tiny action as a win.

      • You are strong. I know it doesn’t feel like it, but you are much stronger than it seems from the inside right now. I support you.

        • Thank you so much. She’s been quietly boiling with rage this morning. She has been methodically going through my private possessions every night, so I booby-trapped my attic studio door (as it does not lock.) Neither of us got much sleep, because every time she tried to open the door, it made a bunch of noise and I flew up the stairs. (She had retreated by then, my studio is two feet from the room where she is sleeping.)
          I am going to figure out how to lock that room today. I don’t even know what she is looking for up there. It’s just art supplies.

  • Notice she “wanted both of you” and “the marriage was the most important thing” until you said you needed time to process.

    Then it was I’ve Never Been Happy and I Never Loved You and all the other crap.

    She was happy with you being compliant and downing cake like it’s the only food left in the world. But then you asked for the TEEEENIEST bit of consideration.

    I agree you should tell the OW husband. If he’s cool with it shouldn’t be a problem right? He shouldn’t get upset with something he’s fine with RIGHT?

    • I am not sure when I will, but it seems inevitable that it needs to happen. I’m guessing he has been lied to about much of this, too.

  • Oh my heart goes out to you!

    Chump Lady has great advice. And yes, it sucks beyond belief to be stuck 24/7 with an entitled cheater who thinks she’s somehow immune to a lethal virus. If your state is on lockdown, report the car to the local police department.

    I’d like to talk about the financial stuff. I completely hear you there. When I was married to CheaterX, my income was roughly 1/3 of his. He paid the mortgage and groceries. I paid everything else. I had credit debt from grad school and a student loan (still have the student loan–it’s not huge but I’ll have it for a while. Let’s put it this way, it could buy me a really nice truck).

    I did two things. First, I got budgeting software. I use YouNeedABudget, but there are others out there. It’s basically the “envelope” system for budgeting. If you are okay with a more Christian perspective, Dave Ramsey has some really good stuff, but I don’t know how much his program costs.

    I used that software to figure out what my expenses would be if I had to move out on my own. I discovered that I could not afford a divorce if I maintained my income level at that time, so I put a lot of effort into a promotion or a job move. Of course, in the middle of a pandemic, that’s not really going to be viable, but you should use this time to make sure your resume looks great, and if you are doing a lot of remote work, really focus on getting good with the technology. I suspect that even after COVID-19 has a vaccine and good treatment options, we’ll have discovered that it makes sense for a lot of people to work from home. Budgeting also gave me an idea of what my target income should look like.

    The other thing I did was to sign up for credit report monitoring. You can get free credit reports, of course, and now a lot of banks will tell you your monthly credit rating for free, but that was not the case 7.5 years ago that my spouse was banging one of his co-workers (worse, one of his direct reports!). I discovered that my credit was pretty crummy. Even though I paid my bills on time, my income to debt ratio was terrible, and I had too much revolving credit debt.

    Project #1 was to create a budget that would get me out of debt. There are a lot of ways to approach credit debt. I did the “snowball” method of starting with the lowest debt, paying it off, and then applying those payments to the next lowest. Each month, I’d see my credit score creep up. When I paid a card off, I’d not cancel it (this is actually bad for your credit), and again, I’d see my score go up. I also budgeted for my lawyer fees for when I filed (more on that below).

    Focusing on this project helped me with my sanity. I had a goal. If I got really pissed off at CheaterX, rather than argue with him and give him kibbles, I could tell myself that revenge is a dish best served cold, and that by living well, I’d have the best revenge.

    I also went Grey Rock. My cheater loved to hear himself talk, and he was always very negative about everything. This is wearing. I also realized that he was probably trying to provoke a reaction from me. He liked drama and would manufacture disagreements just to have them. Once I realized this, I learned that I could let him ramble on without listening to him. “Cool, bummer, wow,” really do work. I also found that “there you go, it is what it is” and other fillers made it sound as if I were paying attention, but nothing was substantive.

    You mentioned that your wife already knows that you know about her affair and she’s now talking divorce. Well, not a lot is going to happen over the next few months due to COVID-19, so I would take the time to see about teleconferencing with family law attorneys in your area. If she adopted any of your older children, she may owe child support for them, but would definitely need to pay toward child support for the youngest. This is generally done via a formula. Find out if your state has fault or is a no-fault state. See if you could get temporary spousal support. In my state, this is unusual, but my lawyer told me that if I had put my career on hold in order to raise children, then the state would award me spousal support for a few years in order to let me get my career off the ground.

    Put money toward legal fees into your budget and make sure that money is someplace where your wife can’t touch it. Now is the time to open your own account, if you haven’t already. Also, squirrel away some cash in a place your wife won’t find. The more cash, the better. The pandemic won’t last forever, so you need to be positioned such that when you are able to file, you can afford the lawyer AND be able to move elsewhere if necessary.

    Also spend time strategizing the most favorable asset division. Basically, assuming you are in a community property state, the law works like this: all assets and all debts accrued by either party during the marriage go into the pot. This is where some strategy comes in and you will probably want to talk with a financial planner. Your lawyer can help you figure out what you can go after, but the financial planner will help you figure out what you should go after.

    Please know, though, that even in the midst of a global pandemic, the pain is still finite. You CAN get through this.

  • Also, I was told the the husband is ‘fine with this.’

    Then pick a great day to give him a call and tell him that YOU are not fine with this. After you have spoken with several attorneys and hired one.

    Get yourself and the kids into family therapy. Don’t tell HR if you can avoid it. They exist to protect the company from costing them a thin copper.

  • I’m watching the news and can’t help but think that the President is the quintessential cheater. Everything written on this site about cheaters and their profile seems to fit him. He gets mad when accused of things, denies he does anything wrong, blames everyone else for his mistakes, then he negotiates away a settlement by bargaining down what he is being accused of before he says “so what?”. Seriously, half of the country is being mindfucked by this narcissist, lying cheater, and we are all stuck living with him for now.

    • Yep, it’s been apparent for some time that we have a malignant narcissist in the White House who is gas-lighting and abusing the nation. And he is surrounded by sycophants and enablers. I think Covid-19 is serious wake up call that this Nation needs. Unfortunately, like most long-term abusive relationships, we aren’t going to get out unscathed.

      • Exactly. It’s not politics, it’s just reality. But how do you get a lawyer to get the abusing narcissistic gaslighter out of your house when all the lawyers with the power – Senate, AG, Supreme Court – are or are dominated by his cronies?

        • It’s the elephant in the room, isn’t it? Because in the end, it’s not about politics, its about basic human decency.

    • This isn’t a political site. It’s a site for CHUMPS. It’s a life saver for many. Keep the noise out.

      • Pointing out narcissists that exist in the public sphere is totally valid. It is hard for many chumps to see behaviors like DARVO, blame-shifting, and gaslighting when they are standing right in front of us. Examples help shine a light.

        Trump maybe be currently in politics, but he has been a textbook example of narcissism, a connoisseur sexual harassment, and has openly cheated on his spouses, for a very long time before he ever ran for office.

  • H-diss.

    Hey 👋.

    The fundamentals of first aid and triage are “A-B-C” ⬅️ Airway Breathing Circulation. The logic being
    …we perish quickest without air, and right behind that we can bleed to death 💀

    In your case change up the steps to Attorney Basic$ Communication. “A” is self explanatory.

    “B” basics are Self Care. You need water, food, sleep and emotional support to Care for yourself First, then your children. Without a healthy You they will suffer more. They’re watching Your Example.

    “C”ommunications. The fastest route to sanity is NO CONTACT. gray rock. Dull boring and monotonous. Distance away from this narcissism will bring clarity of thought.

    Your Eureka moment of clarity occurred when you thought to yourself “You know what…!?”
    At this point I believe you realized your marriage was Unacceptable to you.

    Heed the advice you hear here and make a TASK-checklist to Freedom. Once it’s on paper 🧻
    It’s easier and more concrete. Get on it like the IRS is hounding you. Time to get your bitch boots on and roll out your internal BADASS. It’s there. Dust it off, wash it down, apply a coat of wax and let it shine white hot.

    With 4 mouths to feed and manage it’ll be daunting, “BUT! YOU KNOW WHAT!!?, YOU have been doing all the work all along!!”

    Like me, You. Will. Rise. Again.

    ML. OUT.

  • On the pandemic aspect of this: your wife simply cannot be allowed to come and go from the house, and see whomever she wants to see, with impunity. To keep yourself and your children safe (not to mention compliant with the shelter-in-place directives), tell her that if she leaves the house again she should take everything she wants with her, because she will not be allowed back in. If you cannot actually change the locks, barricade the doors. This is not about kicking her out of the house. This is about holding her accountable for her choices during a pandemic, and keeping yourself and your children safe, and preventing community spread. The more she comes and goes, the more dangerous it is for everyone.

    Of course, there is always a chance that she will choose the option of staying home, which makes you stuck with her in the same house, but considering all you have described that is unlikely, and in any event less dangerous from a coronavirus perspective then this continued in-and-out.

    You deserve better. So do your kids. The self-care advice here is excellent, and the support will be a lifesaver for you. Be well.

    • She denies, denies, denies that they have been having contact. I cannot prove it other than the things I outlined, getting dressed up, stinky body lotion, clipping her nails, (lesbians, y’all know what I mean,)
      shaving everywhere, even her groin area, and putting on makeup. TO GO TO THE STORE. For four hours. Right.
      In all the digging around in my private studio area in the attic, she found the bag of sex toys a few days ago. I guess she needed the lube. New Schmoopie is older than me, in her 50’s, and so lube is mandatory.
      I’m less and less sad, as the weeks have gone on. Part of me is realizing I will be lucky to escape after only 13 years instead of more.

  • She ‘wanted us both,’ and our marriage was the ‘most important thing.’ She said, ‘Never mind. I just want a divorce,’ and ‘I have not been happy for a long time.’

    She’s stuck by that line ever since. And added to it that she ‘has never been in love with me,’ and that she was waiting until after her father died to leave me.

    It really is quite amazing isn’t it how they sling this mud and they aren’t even clever about it. It’s like they’ll say anything at any time. The good thing about all this is it makes it clear to realise that they don’t mean any of it but they will say anything that they think you want to hear or that backs up their frankly flimsy arguments. Just remember it’s her not you. I would tell her to shut her mouth and you expect her to keep her distance, get out of the bedroom and say NOTHING other than ‘would you like a cup of tea’ and similar pleasantries or you don’t want to hear it. Zip. Nada. Nothing.

    I had to take beta blockers for anxiety every time my ex was in the house during the bit he was around but moving out. It was unbearable. I feel your pain. Hang in there this won’t be easy. Just get planning for when you can get out.

  • Hello, dear CN! Could anyone help me with joining the private Reddit page? I can’t seem to find it, how do I get in? Would be really nice to talk to someone as I’m also stuck with the cheater and on lockdown 🙁

    • Hi CC! If you’re already on reddit, type in ChumpLadyNation in the search bar. All one word. Once you click join, the moderaters will send you a link that will let you join the private group. If you are not a reddit member yet, then sign up then do the same.

      Good luck!

  • Hey, y’all. I am the one trying to exist in this nightmare. I have brief windows of privacy, I will respond to everyone’s comments as I can throughout the day. First of all, THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART. I stayed awake this morning from 3 to 6 am taking screen shots of their relationship. It’s actually worse than I thought. Appears to have been going on since 2018. I’m so filled with rage right now.
    Bless every single one of you. I have felt so deeply alone in this horrific situation.

    • It’s hard for you right now because you are in the “horror of D-Day + massive pain” stage. But while you are busy screen-shotting proof of the affair, don’t get caught allowing that pain to paralyze you. Call the attorney’s office today.

      Start gathering your financials. If you don’t have a copier or scanner, take photos of everything so that you have dates, account numbers, etc. If you have a joint bank account and it’s online, download all of the account statement and save them in a file. If you have a private cloud account, put it there. If not, next time you go out for supplies, buy a bunch of thumb drives and store them where they are safe.

      If you don’t have a private checking, open one. Call your bank and see if you can do it through the drive through. It might make sense to do it at a bank where you already have an account because that will be easier, but talk to someone to figure out how to do that. If you have a private account, make sure any child support or paychecks go straight to you, not to the joint account, if you can. But in any case, put that on your list.

      Monitor joint accounts for evidence that your STBX is using marital funds for her affair.

      Check the archives here for more posts about lining up your ducks.

      Of course, you are enraged. But it’s important for you to channel that rage right now. Don’t show your hand. Insist (see below) that your STBX adhere to the pandemic advice on social distancing (and in your case, quarantine, if you were sick and you don’t know for sure what you had). Get a lawyer. Call you family members and tell them what’s going on. If you have a BFF who is not in STBX’s corner, call that person. Get support. What you are going through sucks. My niece’s son (in his late teens) died of an overdose last week. My cousin’s granddaughter had a baby. With this virus, every other thing that happens is complicated and robbed of the comfort that family and community can bring. So this terrible crisis in your life will have to play out in this environment. And your rage and pain take a backseat to protecting your kids.

      • Yes I agree. You know what you need to know now. No need for stalking on social media. You will immediately feel better. Grey rock. You’ve got this.

    • Be angry but be smart. Get a lawyer and file while she is still in the throes of this new relationship. She may be easier to deal with legally at this moment. She hates animals but now pretends to love them due to AP…..classic narcissist/sociopath. It doesn’t matter how long they have been involved, what they do together or what they plan on doing together….stop stalking her social media. It’s not healthy and will only knock you off kilter. Even if her new relationship does not work out, do not opt for being Plan B, besides guaranteed it’ll happen again.

      • I am absolutely clear that I will not be her Plan B. She doesn’t seem to get that, though. We met with the divorce mediator via Zoom and my spouse took extensive notes. She wrote down the part that the lady outlined about how you can ‘press pause’ or cancel if you reconcile. I saw her nodding seriously and writing it down and I kept my face as neutral as possible but I was thinking, “When Hell freezes over…” I never wanted any of this but I’m not interested in prolonging the agony.

  • I agree with HappyNow. Time to tell her: Abide by the social distancing/quarantine rules or stay elsewhere until the pandemic is over. You either live here and protect everyone in the home or you go elsewhere. It’s choosing time. I would do this by email so you can be very clear about the situation. If she wants to “discuss” or starts an argument, say, “Put it in an email.”

    A lawyer will tell you that you can’t kick her out, yada yada yada. That’s not what you are doing. The negotiations over divorce–who goes, who stays, who gets custody of your little girl–comes later. Right now it’s about protecting you and your children from the virus–and protecting your community from the collapse of the hospital system in your community.

    Here’s what I would say: “We have been asked to stay home to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19. You have been going in and out of the home to have contact with —————-. In doing so, you put me and the kids at risk. You put ————–‘s husband and kids at risk.

    There are two alternatives. 1. Limit your contact with ————– to FaceTime, Skype or phone. Stay in the house so you don’t expose any of us to COVID-19. 2. Leave the house to live in a place where you are not exposing others to a deadly virus.

    If you leave again, I’m assuming that you do not intend to return. Please take with you any clothes and personal property you will need during the pandemic. Whichever choice you make, the goal is to keep all of us safe and healthy until the pandemic is over.”

    • If she seems to be ‘fancying herself up,’ again, I will copy/paste and say exactly that. She spent an entire day getting ready the last time. My hunch is the girlfriend has a modicum of sense more than my spouse does, OR the hubby put the brakes on. I sense no excited meeting in the near future.
      I do know they talk via phone and text multiple times per day.

  • Yep, it’s been apparent for some time that we have a malignant narcissist in the White House who is gas-lighting and abusing the nation. And he is surrounded by sycophants and enablers. I think Covid-19 is serious wake up call that this Nation needs. Unfortunately, like most long-term abusive relationships, we aren’t going to get out unscathed.

  • Your wife has had the good fortune to be married to a decent, loving person. It allowed her to be a….actually I don’t know what to call her. Whatever it is, or whoever she is, you need to be on guard. She is so entitled that nothing you say matters. Lawyer up.

  • Dear Sane and CN, too,

    I’ve meant to hijack a CL thread for several days now, first to say a huge THANK YOU to the sister- or brother-chump who recommended the book, “Cheating In A Nutshell.” It’s no, “Leave A Cheater, Gain A Life,” for sure, but it is clear, accessible, practical, and sooooo on target. So, to whomever that was, THANK YOU. I finished it a few days ago, it was another of many resources that have helped me take one more of a millions steps toward some random Tuesday.

    To you, Sane, prioritize your work, as CL suggests, you’ve got waaaaay too much to tend to all at once. Self-care (lawyer, lawyer, lawyer and gray rock/boundaries) and TLC for kids, those are your missions. Period. Read, “Leave A Cheater . . . ” at least. I’m so sorry this is your reality right now. Manage one shitty thing at a time, then move on to the next. You’ve got this.

  • Gay or straight they’re all the same. My husband did the same thing. Proceeded to tell me about his 13 or so years of cheating and then about the new woman he was in love with and how it was going to work now. He was going to be with us both-her for the awesome sex and me for the appliance wife duties. I declined his offer and told him to get the fuck out. Then magically he said he was free of me and he didn’t really want that and he always wanted a divorce. Last month when we met at the bank for some paperwork stuff, he blamed me and said it was all my fault. Sound familiar?

    Fuck your wife for hurting you and risking your family’s health. You can do this. Your wife needs to go. Call the OW’s husband and ask if she can live with them so you can stay safe and sane. Good luck and take care.

  • Whaaaaat? She’s continually risking exposing the kids to Covid-19 by breaking the social distancing order just to see her whore? Holy psychopath, Batman! Change the locks while she’s out and put her crap on the curb. Let Schmoopie take her in if they’re so “in love” and the husband is “fine” with it.
    She’s a lunatic. Get her out of your house. But first, document her refusing to socially distance herself, and get proof. For example, text her reminding her she is putting the kids at risk by going to see her girlfriend and breaking the rules about social distancing. Her uncaring response will be GOLD in the divorce.
    Burn the witch. Go thermonuclear on her ass.

    • <3 <3 <3 I threw her out twice in the beginning of all of this. My attorney says I cannot force her to leave. But that texting part, along with the email outlined above, I will definitely do the next time she has a date with her.

  • Dear Sane,
    I feel your pain! Our stories are very similar: I am also lesbian-married (22 years as of May) to a woman who first cheated on me in 2004, when our older daughter was 2, and again in 2018, a couple of weeks after her mother died. The second affair was much worse, lasting several months before I found out. Then, like your cheater, my STBX wanted me to accept the affair as a poly thing, which I considered for a couple of days – and then, like you, my gut instinct (and body!) clearly told me that this was not okay.

    The problem for me was that my STBX was extremely confused and conflicted – she eventually broke it off with the AP and did a bunch of therapy with me, but was never able to get over the basic issues that could have restored trust. Like, she refused to curtail her friendships with people who had supported her affair, etc. It’s extra hard for us women-loving women, I think, because we have so many women in our social circles, and it seems unreasonably controlling to ask our partners to cut back on their social entanglements with other women. I now realize that it would have been very appropriate for me to let my partner know that I was uncomfortable that she remained “best friends” with, for example, someone from her grad school program with whom she had once shared a kiss. (After her first affair, even!)

    I try to console myself by thinking that now, at least, I know better. I’ll definitely set those boundaries more clearly the next time, and will run for the hills if I get any inkling that the person I’m with has overly-porous boundaries, and emotionally intense “friendships” with other women. Actually, I don’t plan to date anytime in the foreseeable future – am very happy to be by myself for now!

    I second (third, fourth) all advice above, especially from the excellent LovedAJackass. I’m so very sorry that you’re in this situation, though I know it all too well, since I just moved out two weeks ago (after having stayed for various reasons, though it was pretty clear to me that divorce was likely, for 1.5 years!!!). I know it’s excruciating to be in such close quarters. On the other hand, at least you have that private clarity about what you need to do, and as everyone else has noted, you can start (quietly) making it happen. I also understand about documenting what’s been going on: you’re still putting together the pieces of the puzzle, and while eventually you might need to distract yourself from obsessing, for now you need answers, and I believe that you deserve them. Just remember that you’re NOT going to get answers from your partner. Even though my STBX kept swearing she would answer my questions, I didn’t really get my answers until I read a dump of texts between her and the AP that she had saved. It was like swimming in poison, but I finally got my answers, and I believe that’s when I was able to let go emotionally and really prepare to move on.

    Finally, DON’T LET YOURSELF BE HOOVERED back into her arms! If things go south with her AP, esp. if they have to give up contact due to quarantine, she’s likely to suddenly remember that you’re around, and try to cozy up to you again. When you’re twisting in the wind and have kids, those crocodile tears (and empty promises) can feel like a balm. Please read CL’s entry on Genuine Imitation Naugahide Remorse for more on that phenomenon. I’m sorry in advance if this ends up happening to you – for now, it sounds like both of you have clarity, and that can be better than the alternative.

    Please PM me on the Reddit site if you want to talk more about how it feels to be a Rainbow Chump. All best to you, and please be well and safe!

    • One more thing, in case you’re still reading, Sane:
      Your fuckwit probably isn’t listening to you anymore anyway, but if she’s the type of person to listen to OTHER expert opinion (my STBX did this kind of thing to me), maybe you could show her this article from this week’s New York Times:
      https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/30/style/sex-coronavirus-questions-answers.html

      The guidelines strongly suggest sticking with Household Sex Partners only and NOT having sex with anyone outside the household right now, even if they’re somehow designated a Covid-19 sex buddy. This article made me think of you, anyway!

  • This pandemic has got to be the litmus test for any chump that has any question about how selfish and evil cheaters can be…

    • I’m currently undergoing the litmus test with cheater in the house. It is mental torture.

      He won’t grant me a divorce because he, like all of them, are selfish, controlling, abusive narcissists.

      I recently found out that cheater had had an affair for our entire decade long relationship. We’re married 3 years years. Dday was March 10 2019 and I have asked him for a divorce since. He is so manipulative constantly telling me that the divorce is going to hurt the kids yada yada.

      I’m in a shit situation because I’m a stay home mom and it’s his house, car, money, everything. So now I’m under his financial abuse and control. I’m working on getting my shit together and lawyer game on and getting him to leave and pay spousal and child support. I am not staying in this marriage any longer and that is thanks to CL and CN my saving graces.

      Except this lockdown period is pressing pause on plans. So now I’m stuck living with this asshole. I’ve gone radio silent on him, ignore him, no eye contact etc and it does help, it’s just horrible to have to purposefully ignore a person in such close proximity. I’d much rather him be countries and countries and more countries away from me.

      But getting back to Sane, please my love kick out the cheating bitch after quarantine is over and don’t look back. You are worth so much more that that. We all are. We can do it.

      • ChumpOut,
        I just want to say I really feel for your situation. Leaving can be so hard to do, even when there’s not a pandemic raging outside. I wish you the very best, for yourself and for your kids.

      • You aren’t stuck, ChumpOut. What you have is time to plan, to work out things with your lawyer, and to get all your ducks lined up. You have time to talk to your family and your trustworthy close friends about your plans.

        You have time to think about how you are going to transition from SAHM to someone with a job. You have time to work on a resume, even if you aren’t going to use it for a while. You have time to investigate alternatives to staying in “his” home, including figuring out if you would be interested in a roommate. You have time to figure out (using actual FIGURES) how much you’ve contributed over the duration of your relationship and marriage. It’s not HIS money, his house. And so on. Once you married, you gained a stake in things. You have time to review all the family financials, to INSIST that you see everything.

        You don’t ASK him for a divorce. You file. He doesn’t GRANT the divorce. The court does. Shift your thinking on this. You have agency, and you can think of this crisis time as a chance to gather information and plan. Get the attorney. You may be able to file now and move the case forward once the worst of the pandemic is over. You may find it helpful not to tell him what you are doing. Keep your plans to yourself. Hang in there.

        You can be superficially polite, when necessary. Yes. No. Cool. Bummer. Wow. Put that in an email.

        • Thanks so much for the encouraging words. Really need them during this time. We all do.

          I can’t wait to look back on this one day and, like so many of you, finally be free and happy without the shitbag.

          For now I shall use this time wisely and start to really strategize the way forward.

          Hope you are all safe inside your homes xx

  • Haven’t read all got comments, so my apologies if someone brought this up.

    Where there is infidelity there is almost always some kind of financial abuse going on. Cheaters often like to open up bank accounts you are unaware of and take out credit cards you are unaware of. I also knew a woman whose husband used her SSN to commit tax fraud during their separation. She could t prove it was him and she is stuck repaying the IRS for a bill that is not hers to pay. Ask an attorney what steps you are able to take legally to see if your cheater has funds or credit lines hidden. My advice is that it’s best to know every aspect of the entire “shit show” all at once and go through one big shock, rather than 40 different small shocks. You need to know every aspect of what is going on so that you can make an INFORMED decision. But, to make an informed decision, you need to know every ugly detail about your spouse’s affair. You need every bit of data you can find.

    You don’t want to be metaphorically blind folded and playing “pin the tail on the donkey” in the dark. Nope, that blind fold has to come off and the lights have to be turned on so that you can pin the tail to the gosh darn donkey and come out victorious.

    Finally… she used your sex toys with the OW. Throw ALL that out. Deadly forms of HPV can still be transmitted.

    Sue the crap out of your wife and go buy yourself these to celebrate solo sex:

    https://www.betweenthesatinsheets.com/njoy_c_81.html?gclid=Cj0KCQjw1Iv0BRDaARIsAGTWD1tYhAKd2hLNoOWIPvInZK4y3rll8HmtfSMW22pwWYaonjJvpRTdYRIaAof5EALw_wcB

    Best wishes,
    Sarah

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