Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

What Kept You Stuck with a Cheater?

Very few people react to betrayal with calm and clarity. We’re broadsided. Flattened. Confused. Most of us ran with the unicorn herd for awhile and tried to reconcile. Some are still working it out, either hanging in there to see if the remorse is real, or lining up the ducks in case it isn’t.

I’ve outlined why folks stay with cheaters before, but today I’m asking — what kept you there?

For myself, I’d say it was a big morass of disbelief (I still loved the jerk, it was 6 months after my wedding), hopium, not wanting the OW to “win” (cringe!), skein untangling (his, not mine), misdirected loyalty (failure is NOT an option!), and later Machiavellian attempts to “reconcile” while trying to get a post-nup. Every moment completely soul crushing. If I’d paid better attention, I would’ve seen from the start he wasn’t One Bit Sorry, despite his spasmodic “remorse.”

But my idiocy and his mindfuckery brought you Chump Lady. So, hey, it wasn’t a total loss.

So tell me chumps — what kept you stuck with a cheater?

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Sunk costs and my desire to not toss a 30 year marriage and , I thought, my family. I believed his bullshit that he loved me right up to and including the gag-worthy vow renewal in Central Park ( carriage ride, roses, officiant). Followed by 4 years of the worst abuse ever, including hundreds of thousands of retirement money stolen and blown on his failing business. Ughhhbb!

      • Love. A sense of loyalty and belief in a partnership I wasn’t willing to let go of. Plus he said he wanted to stay together. That lasted…maybe two weeks before I realized he was still seeing her. That’s when I told him to get his shit and get out. I know a lot of women try longer, but I still kick myself over those two weeks. I was a super sad sap, begging him to stay. If I could go back, I would have kicked his sorry ass to the curb the moment I found out.

        • I begged him to stay, too – he left for his secretary and I remember begging on the phone asking him to give me a second chance. I cringe when I think what my self worth was then. Alas, things are better now – she is the one quarantined with him, not me!

          • I suspected OW after he told me he wanted a divorce. He went out every night before moving out 5 days later. This is the guy who was home all the time. No real friends to speak of so where was he going? I begged him to stay, to come home, offered to bring him food since he was living in his camper (yes I’m stupid). He said that was nice but that his “friends” were having him over for dinner every night. I’m such an idiot he was living with her until he could get his own place.

            If I had a do over I would have hired a PI and filed for divorce once I caught him. I’m ashamed of how pathetic he must have thought I was. The ego boost he got at my expense. Ugh

            • Elena, on the contrary, in my opinion you are to be commended for *not* being overly suspicious and for believing his explanations. I know that probably ExH and his poopsie mocked me for being such a gullible fool, but now I’m actually proud of being so naive. It was very painful to have my eyes opened to the seamier side of deceptive human nature, and I wish I were still that innocent, unknowing woman

              • I do, too, sometimes want my innocence back.
                But then I think, wouldn’t that just lead me to another predator?

                I can’t say. But I am grateful I can teach my daughters how to spot narcs.

              • After 30 years together I never saw this coming. He was this rule following, upstanding nice guy. Everyone thought he was so great. He told me this was all my fault and I believed him. Yes I suspected OW but there was enough truth in his allegations of me that I ignored the signs. I was so terrible that he had no choice but to leave. Yes my self esteem is that low.

              • Elena you are not alone.
                Same story. I took him back six times over 2 years!!!! I stayed because I didn’t want my kids to feel the same pain I did and I didn’t want to lose my dream of growing old together.

          • Oh yeah. Love. A great previous thirty years. Probably some sunk costs. Believing him. A dream of growing old, and still so in love. I even drove to his dating-app-I’m-so-single Schmoopie four hours away, and told her in person, I’m real, we are not separated, pretty much begged her (an betrayed spouse to her now dead serial cheater, ugh) not to steal my partner ????‍♀️. Like others here, she now has to quarantine with him. Nearly three years later, still reading my blog. They must be really fucking secure and happy, right? The old saying about the best revenge on someone stealing your partner is letting them keep them, truth.

            • It hurts to be abandoned but I do know what she got. She’s got prince charming now but it’s an act. I hear he’s aged 5 years since he left a year ago. Isn’t this what he wanted?? Why isn’t he giddy with happiness, a spring in his step all a glow with love? I don’t get it.

              • Elena- they make shitty life decisions and then have to prove to the world their decisions were good ones. Yeah right. Smoke and mirrors. Lying and cheating is never never never a good decision. He lost his integrity, dignity and self respect he had when he was with you.

                The best decision he made was to be with you. I mean you were together 30 years. 30! He crossed a line and he can’t go back because he knows you’re not going to look at him in the same adoring way. He’s stuck with a boobie prize, piece of shit on a cracker, and so is she. Why isn’t he giddy with happiness? Because he’s NOT happy. He has to live with the consequences of his deplorable actions. Unless he’s a sociopath he knows it. The grass ain’t greener sweetie. It’s not you, it’s him.

              • Same same same! And in my case, OW lives in another Country. He has quarantined alone, a few miles away from his {former} best friend, gorgeous, kind woman (yes, I AM all that! and OW in Miss plain Jane, go figure) that cooks like a chef and treated him like a King. A fortune in lawyers, he still fights and doesn’t divorce me although I probably have a distorted image of myself (and fake friends) because I must be ugly, mean, and also have some sort of deeply contagious skin disease because why would he do that? This is a guy that would have great sex with his wife of 16 years almost every day and chooses not to just so he can stay alone in his apt eating frozen pizza and using his hand instead of a real woman. He came up like a bunch of stupid excuses but I’m sure if he had a real reason as of why leaving me he would make sure he told me: You cheated on me, you have bad breath, you stole money from me, you slept with my best friend, you are the worst mother ever, you invented coronavirus, you suck…something, right? Why all this hate? Why? And small kids in the middle of all this also suffering because of his decision. I am trying to focus on the divorce to get out of this as fast as I can with as much as I can to just at least focus solely on raising my kids and have no interest in finding another man anytime soon. Hard to accept that this happen to me but I had to come to terms with the fact that I was conned. And I can feel he is terrified of finally having to admit that he left his perfect family for stupid OW and I can only wonder what kind of things he made up to justify he doing this. But deep down he knows he suck.

              • Spent most of the morning crying and guessing I’ve reached my limit on this because I can no longer comment on posts. Just know that I am reading and am appreciative. I’ve saved these in my email so I can reread them when I’m feeling down.

                Thank you everyone. Like I said it’s been a bad week.

              • Elena–

                I wish I could give you the words to comfort you, but trust that they suck. OW will never make him happy, that’s why he’s aged 5 years. He’s realized too late that Schmoopie was a bait and switch. Cry and focus on you.

                I couldn’t understand why my Ex was making my life miserable during the divorce if he was so “happy” with his “soulmate”. 25 years of marriage and he treated me like dirt–not even a crumb for being the mother of his children. I wanted to blame the Howorker (now wife), but I’ve recently learned more about covert narcissists. These black hearted creatures are never happy. I suppose that’s why they want to make us unhappy as well.

                People have also told me he looks like “shit”. I saw a photo of him taken last summer (a few days after their first wedding–apparently she needed to be married twice, go figure!) and it’s true. He looks like absolute crap. Gained 20+ pounds, turning grey, balding more and a horribly fake smile. I have to admit I’m glad he looks like hell after what he put me through. He truly sucks.

              • Why does any addict abuse their drug of choice? It’s not like heroin addicts don’t know heroin will destroy their life, but that doesn’t stop them.

                I don’t feel this metaphor is entirely accurate, of course, simply because I don’t believe narcissists consider consequences. Consequences are for little people. Narcissists are so grandiose that they believe reality bends to their will. They want their hit, and they want it now.

                Sure, the bill will come due, their life will fall apart, but the narcissist refuses to acknowledge that’s a consequence of their behavior. Yes, these people are delusional. They don’t operate in this reality, even when they’re clearly suffering for their poor choices. They will shoot themselves in the foot in service to their ego.

      • My gut was telling me to run; he was telling me that I was crazy and paranoid. I don’t know why I tried to force myself to believe him, but forcing his “truth” to fit resulted in a nervous breakdown…
        I left when he finally confessed. I know I got out early (4 months from affair start to d-day) but I’m struggling to understand why I let him have such power and control over me.

        • I was raised by narcissists and when I got here people said my husband is a covert narcissist. I’ve been doing the pick me dance for 30 years. I saw the red flags before we got married but I spackled by buying all his excuses so yeah childhood trauma.

          What I don’t understand is why HE stayed. I don’t think he was ever happy since he spent most of our marriage chasing materialistic things (that I bought him). Please don’t tell me he was happy before and dumped me because I didn’t dance pretty enough. Did I just get too old? Is the OW a better dancer than me? Ugh.

    • Mine even faked me out by re-doing our marriage vows — the whole time that he was with his skank!! What a liar! Total image management.

      • What is up with these FREAKS renewing wedding vows? My sisters ex did this also. It was right afterwards she had a PI follow him and he was caught with the OW.

        • My cheating spouse wanted to renew our vows too. It didn’t happen because I didn’t see the point in it. I kept my promises/vows but he did not. Why bother renewing vows with a lying liar?

        • They probably don’t want their spouse to divorce them and take half the money.

      • We were also gong to “renew” after DDay1 in 2012. Even though we bought the outfits, we never quite got around to it. By the time he walked out the door, one of the things he said was “why didn’t you want to get married again?”–as if it was MY fault? Of course, this was after he said he never would have thought of Howorker, now HoWife, if I hadn’t “suggested” her. Divorce final 2018 after 25 years. Instead of focusing on a renewal, I should have got a post-nup!!!!!!

        Blameshifting dick!!!!!!

    • Newlady15: So sorry to hear. The remorse is hard to know how real it is :-(! So strong you get out of that! Hugs!

    • I stayed for several reasons:
      -the suicide of his two brothers (which made me feel that I had to keep my STBX alive)
      -anorexic daughter
      -aging parents that needed so much care
      -money (he earned it)
      -status (he’s an admired MD)
      -hope (once he retires…)
      -minimization (it’s not that bad; he means well)
      -fear of the unknown and being alone
      -sunk costs
      -allegiance to marriage vows
      -low self-esteem (born of years of abuse by that narcissistic jerk)

      It all just feels so sad. Regret is a terrible feeling. And regret coupled with rejection hurts (as CL so eloquently puts it) like a motherfucker.

  • Not wanting to give up the traditional family unit, because I wanted to give my family the best chance at having a cohesive unit since a lot of what I saw around me was families striving for “stuff”, “more of everything” and less of quality family time.

    My children’s mental well being. Seeing many of their friends have intact families now just about kills me, but I’d never go back.

    The history between asshat and me. Thought it was worth fighting for; glad it wasn’t and I’m done.

  • Unicorn chasing. Still loved her deeply and allowed her to live in the house for 4 months despite the fact she was regularly texting, skyping this guy (in front of me!!) and even meeting up with him. Thought she would see what she was missing and reject this guy. No, kept on texting him well into the early hours all the time making the most awful remarks about me to him (I checked her messages weeks later). I remain thoroughly ashamed of myself for not throwing her out. Don’t ( I repeat) don’t allow this to happen to you. When you can get out, get out.

    • I totally get this feeling of shame, Britchump, over a year later it still sometimes wakes me up in the early hours. All the best and may you heal fast and fully.

      • Britchump,
        I’m going on 1.5 years of this (I can’t even believe it’s been that long!) and I do not know what is wrong with me. Please tell me how you broke away from this. I know this makes me the absolute, ultimate, chumpyest chump EVER, but he continually draws me back in with telling me how much he loves me, telling me how much he wants to be here at home with our family (yet needs her, too), etc. But then he spends hours a day texting her (right in front of me) and even going to visit her on a regular basis during this pandemic lockdown (since they can’t see each other every day at work now…). She divorcing her husband to pursue mine so now she’s all freed up, but he doesn’t want to leave me (…or her). What finally did it for you? A final straw? A sudden moment of clarity? Help!! I’m dying here.

        • PRAY! Read! Talk to strong women. And men. Read these comments every day! It DOESNT GO AWAY! The sick feeling in your gut. The anxious constant tear filled face. The mini heart attacks… please think about YOUR WELL BEING. Your health. Picture yourself, And what’s going on in this little dome. THEN imagine you’re looking inside. It’s very foggy, unclear unstable etc… but OUTSIDE, you can find the REAL YOU. The one who doesn’t have to worry or wait for clarity. The change you need and deserve is deep in your soul. Dig it out girl, and keep fighting. One other thing imagine your own child, sister, mother or friend in your situation. Do what you would recommend THEY do. Finally you NEED to be a good example you’ve forgiven enough now it’s broken and ok to walk away. (I know you weren’t asking me but I’ve needed help so much this past month and felt compelled to respond.

          • Shan,
            Thank you! It’s just so SO hard to walk away from 20+ years of a life together, 2 kids, all of our holidays and extended family experiences together, etc, especially when he refuses to be the one to willingly leave. He says, “I won’t and don’t want to leave unless you kick me out.” That’s putting it all on me, and I don’t want to be the bad guy. It’s all just so damn unfair and I wish it would just go away. 🙁 But I do get what you (and others here) are saying, and after a couple months of reading these posts…it’s starting to very slowly change my heart and mind for the better/healthier.

            • I first thought about ALL the good times too. All the holidays. The parties where my husband made it worth having. He helped with the meals setting up the house, entertained all the kids. He truly cared about making people feel special. And that they all enjoyed themselves. I thought about every time he’s fixed my car or repaired everything needed to survive in this house. Even that although I own the house-he’s put so much into this place. Then there was the side of him that could let his ex (the mother of the file I was helping them raise) get into his vehicle and do WHO KNOWS what. Before coming home from “work”. So while we’re thinking about all those lovely things EVEN if they outweigh the bad… I’ve decided that ONE time was forgivable. After that? He’s just a stupid disrespectful asshat behind my back. And I always wondered why he seemed afraid of his ex. Walking on eggshells so she wouldn’t tell me. You know, he keeps saying “it was six years ago, I’ve learned from my mistakes”. Right. But the problem is: I wasn’t informed so that I could also Make a decision. And learn
              All those great memories can be just that. It will be freeing. As long as you put your extra efforts into those babies (I call them babies forever it seems)
              For me I think I’ll miss those times and it will be really freaking lonely for a while but I definitely think your worth it. I’m worth it. We’re all worth it. I don’t like the feeling of going to bed at night half hearted. It’s all or nothing. Remember, he’s a man child and he WILL make you do all the leg work. Like mine. He’s on the couch. He’s “trying” so hard. WHAT? How? By being home like you should be? Also started seeing a therapist (phone visits only of course) but then when I said it’s great but too late for “us” his whole demeanor changes and I realize the therapist is for show. No doubt they can be nice guys but you’re nicer. Keep praying. I will too

            • Checking in on you! Since this post is being re-ran
              I’ve changed my name and morphed into some who also thinks about family, him wanting to stay, and all that jazz. Yet I’m still here changed my name and all. My heart can’t fall back into love like I should be though. The days are passing.
              I hope you’re doing well

  • Fear. Fear of admitting I was wrong about him. Fear of being alone. Fear of admitting defeat. Fear of being financially destitute. Fear kept me compliant for decades. Now in retrospect I can see the patterns where he hoovered me back with abject apologies and promises of changed behavior. That was a lie. The whole marriage was a lie. From the very beginning he lied.

    Now I am alone. I am no longer compliant. I won’t be financially devastated after the divorce. He owes me retroactive temporary spousal support. I choose to believe the Judge presiding over my case who told me “Mrs. STBX, the law will provide for you.”

    I am afraid every day. I struggle financially. I am living alone. Yet living with all of that is better than living with his daily cruelties and betrayal.

    • Thirty three- I can relate. Fear fear fear. Eight children, no financial control, no place to go, emotionally beaten down, and I truly loved the man for 44 years. Now I live alone for the first time ever, struggling financially as well, he won’t settle or agree to anything. I moved out when he was out of town 17 months ago. One of my adult sons ( his favorite child) won’t speak to me. I’m scared everyday and I still will never go back. I have my own space, peace and quiet, and I have me. I wasted most of my life on a person who only cares about himself and what he wants.

      • Mistake44, you will be able to upgrade your name to “Living a far better life!” It takes real courage to leave a long marriage. I salute you!

      • I was a long-termer as well. I was talking with my teenage son a couple of days ago who is quarantining with ex cheater and his new wife. He told me they were out on a walk together. Cheater would NEVER would go for a walk with me. I probably asked a thousand times. After the call, I realized it would have been our 31st anniversary that day, 34 years together! I wondered if ex realized that, then immediately realized no he absolutely did not. I made it seem sad in my mind for a second while I milked the idea, but I couldn’t feel sad. Because I wasn’t sad, I was GLAD 🙂

    • Yes, to the fear. And years of suspicions I couldn’t prove along with his terrible, hot & cold treatment of me. Then shame when I finally caught him cheating with hookers. After that, it was a period trying to keep a family unit for my son. The end was when the therapist told me in order to want something better for my son, I had to want it for myself and that the shame was my husband’s to bear-not mine. Then the discovery of CL and CN.

      It has been 6 years since DDay & 3 years since he passed away. And just like a lot of people here at CN, I wish I would have ended things sooner since I have learned it is so much better on the other side.

      • Not knowing there is a better life is a big part of it. Like others, you made a good life despite obstacles & all the BS saying otherwise.

      • I’m worried about money so it’s hard to imagine a better life. I so want to believe it’s better to be broke and happy than financially secure and miserable.

        • Elena, it’s quite the trade-off, isn’t it? I think that the pandemic and inability to find jobs and meet people is tricking our brains into thinking that maybe the crap we used to endure wasn’t so bad after all because at least we weren’t so lonely and worried about finances.

          I refer back to my list of “shitty things he did and said” to remind myself of how bad things were…for decades.

          I hope you believe that “broke and happy” is better. You deserve happiness. As CL put it: (and I might be paraphrasing): “Do you want a life or a lifestyle?”

          • I’m trying to do the same. He was so miserable, a stick in the mud, judgemental, nothing was ever good enough. I never understood this because he had everything. My kids are happier without him around. He was so easily offended by everything that we censored ourselves. Now my teens tell off color jokes, cuss, show me these um sex laden videos and movies but my IC says it’s a good thing. I’ve got good kids, honor students, respectful, but they are still teenagers with what turns out a wicked sense of humor. My IC says they trust me now and I’ve been allowed in their world. Not as buddies because I still parent they are just open now.

            My 17 year old daughter says broke and happy is better. For me the verdict is still out but it’s only been 6 months since I lost my home.

    • For me it was fear of being alone , even though that’s how I have been living for awhile , Fear of not being financially able to afford a new life , Married , 40 years , and now having to start all over , just because of him , We are still together but only as two people that have to share a home because we can’t afford to get another place , We’re trying a separation , but it’s hard when living together , He has the work experience he makes the money , I was a stay at home mom a lot of those years , And now he had someone else , and I’m supposed to just let him have what he wants I don’t think so This is my home , and for now I’m not going anywhere , If he really wants out he’ll have to make it worth it for me So we’re still here. I do want my own life , But it cost so much to have your own life .

      • I’m ashamed to admit how I got played. Our kids were older so I got a job after being a homemaker for 15 years. Oh I can’t even type out the rest right now…long story short he left me not long after I got a job. He calmly told me “I think we can swing it now” as if we were buying a new car. I’m now living in a crappy rental because ugh I was trying to nice him back. I didn’t know about the OW then. I filed for divorce and am working on getting temporary support but I’m scared.

        • That’s what I thought was happening , all of a sudden he was trying to get me to get a job , make friends , He has a hidden agenda , Hes just waiting around till I don’t need him financially , then he’ll be gone I’m scared , I don’t think I should have to give up what we built together just so he could have a life with the OW.

    • Please don’t be afraid. You made a brave move that took SO MUCH courage I’m sure. It’s traumatic and I will pray for you. Don’t regret a thing. You’re a True warrior
      Thank you

  • I could not 100% prove it despite every cell in my body telling me otherwise. We also were just married and had a baby (7 years ago) He wouldn’t cheat on his wife at home with his six month old baby, right?
    It wasn’t until I saw actual texts between him and another woman, to include that woman ending their work fuckbuddy status because she learned he had slept with another woman they worked with. This other woman was coincidentally the same woman I strongly suspected 7 years ago.

    • So…the OW he was fucking at work ended it because he fucked…another OW at work…

      So he was a serial cheater but fishing from the same pond. And somehow he thought these women he worked with wouldn’t find out about each other and blow things up somewhere along lie suppLIE chain??? (That’s what I’m calling it. The supplie chain.)

      Are cheaters that dumb or do they just think they’re impervious to consequences?

      • I don’t think they even go so far to think about it. Are they that dumb? Who knows. Maybe they were playing games ‘secretly knowing that the other doesn’t suspect’. And they didn’t care if they were found out. I think they’re just too shallow.

        • A close friend of mine just had a D-day literally yesterday. Similar thing. Dumbass picking from the same pool not thinking his OW might possibly, maybe, talk to each other.

          She was dating this guy for a short amount of time (she says she’s thankful it was brief) but turned out he was juggling her and two other women. Two other people whom she was friends with. He was telling each one of them they were his only one.

          So this genius of a man really thought it would be a good idea to cheat with three women who are all friends with each other and tell them all the same lie, and really thought that wouldn’t backfire. My friend was the first to catch on, talked to the other two, and all three of them told him to go suck rocks.

          You’d think these manipulators would at least be good at lying but damn some of them are just incomprehensibly stupid.

          • I truly believe they enjoy the possibility of chaos erupting- and they are at the center of it! As CL says, they hope a cat fight among women happens, over them. Narcs. They only live in the moment, never picturing being thrown to the curb ????
            (Also, they hate women, deep down)

            • FreeWoman, that sounds like something my friend said yesterday. “What did he think was going to happen? Did he think he would bring us all together to live with him as his harem one day??? EW.”

              Maybe he thought that would happen, or maybe he thought they would all be trowing themselves at him with Pick Me dancing.

              Nope, he got kicked to the curb threefold.

      • Mine wasn’t dumb, but he firmly believed he was impervious to consequences. He was sure he was smarter than every one else around him.

        • Mine too.
          So witty, clever… a typical poster boy: great education, job, amazing family…
          Why would someone jeopardize his career, life, life of unborn children, wife…. just to feel special and fuck hookers, prostitutes, Basically anyone willing….

          • Mine can’t think past next weekend. Overly optimistic, can’t see the bigger picture so it’s easy to not see the consequences.

            • Mine thinks there are no consequences. He thought he should be able to fuck anyone he wanted, and now, he thinks he should not have to lose anything as a result. Where do they get this entitled thinking from?

              • I think my husband was sold a bill of goods by his dumb ass friend and a predatory woman. I say this based on things he told me as he was walking out the door. For example his dumb ass friend said there was no alimony in my state. Wrong. I’d just gotten a job so he’d owe me nothing. Wrong again. These two idiots don’t know our financial situation nor are they attorneys.

              • Chumptastic: Same here. Boggles the mind, doesn’t it?

                And the consequences are staggering. STBX lost me (well, he was willing to lose me) but also his adult children and granddaughter. He lost the respect of many friends. He also lost a lot of money in the settlement (even though we are in a no-fault state).

                He is seething about all this and describes it as unfair punishment. He just found someone he thinks he can be happier with. What could be so wrong with that? She flirted with him, “like hit me over the head with a rock flirtation” (actually said this to me). He’s the poor, sad sausage who told lies about only ONE thing (2 1/2 year affair with a much younger howorker).

                He NEVER uses the word “consequences.” That word implies agency and some responsibility.

                My problem is that I try to impose sanity on crazy. I should stop.

            • Denial seems to be so powerful for them. I cannot begin to fathom lying to my husband the way he’s lied to me. I would literally have had a nervous breakdown each time I can home and had to look at him. I would have turned to mush and cried and said, I’m sorry! I love you! I would feel sick and black and dark inside to carry those lies. And my husband was kind of like, “oh well, you found out, now you know”. Fucking unreal.

              • Mine even went on a cruisade to yell the world “how free!!”he felt now that “I knew”, swearing he would never go back to feeling trapped by lies, etc. Only to leave me face several more D-days about stuff he kept hiding that progressively turned into crossing a line and that was a dealbreaker. Let me plan a wedding amidst all this and all. That’s how much “remorse” he had.

              • I feel EXACTLY the same and agree 100%!!! HOW did my husband function being a NEWLYWED and going off to me the ex a “few times”. WHAAT?!? In his truck! Ha. BARF.
                Cheapo ho ho… I just found out a month ago now. I’ve been reading here every day. And praying. Journaling etc.. it all helps a lot and I’m actually starting to feel free. This will be good, in the end
                But I can relate to you so much with what you said!

      • Yes Kara, there were other moments. I can’t even begin to imagine how deep he swam in the pond but I’m sure he did. He works in the restaurant business and these are all 30 something bartenders/servers that chose to do him. He can have them as I’m not in the fucking equation anymore. Thank god

        • Yuck. I am so sorry. Cheapo little ho hoes I call them. They know and do t care. He knows and does t care. Let him suffer now because he gave up a good life for some 2 second trash. They’ll all move on and live their lives. He’ll sit and wallow

      • Mine does it to prove he can. The OW knows he cheats on her but he is a high executive and she comes from a very poor family and is “Cinderella” in her own eyes or just plain old golddigger. I know he does it to hurt and test her and to see how far he can go. He knows she won’t leave him as she now is more worried about “winning” over me and getting her pot of gold (oh she is in for a treat) and have her beautiful wedding. I see a lot of these women are about defeating the wife and treats men like a prize. Their self-esteem is so low that that’s what their lives became.

        • The pot of gold thing is crazy. My H looks like he has money and he does…sorta. He’s terrible with money so it was me that made his life possible by cutting corners in other places so he could have all the “toys”. When we met 30 years ago I thought he had money (I was in love not a gold digger) but what he really had was debt and a lot of it. Without someone keeping him in line he spends too much on a life he can’t afford.

        • That will never turn out well. Ohhhh sweet Karma is on it!
          Little girls going for money BARF. Make your own!

  • Thinking his FOO issues were the problem, and that he was actually a “good guy.” My loyal love and support would show him he’s not alone!

    Nope. He’s just an entitled jerk who does what he wants when he wants.

    • Same. He didn’t seek out a safe place to land until our kids were older although I have no idea how long she’s been in the picture since he works a lot and she works with him.

      • This “work a lot” thing is whats kills me. Looking back, I have ZERO idea of what was “work” and what was “play”. I think that companies are turning a blind eye on this “cheat party” that the corporate world became. All the trips, conferences, more trips where you can basically ditch the meetings (seen many times), trips that he didn’t have to do but since he is a high executive he would “get a reason to travel” (seen that, too). If there is one thing that maybe covid will end is this “corporate party”. What is more interesting, a single guy that says yes to every single company request, can travel as much as he wants and can, or a married guy that is committed to his family and that puts his work in second?

        • My husband’s work travel was consistent until about 6 months before he left. He then started taking those unnecessary trips and we argued about it. He lied and said the extra training would benefit us both after he retired. I totally bought it then he dumped me in the middle of one of these arguments. It was a total set up. Upon gathering financial documents I saw where he’d been stashing cash that whole time just waiting for a fight so he could blame this all on me. I did not know there was someone else.

          The OW no longer works with him (crap this stuff is hard to type out without crying) but I know he’s come home for a night just to see her before going back out of town. He lied to our kids about it not knowing that they know about her.

  • I thought little of myself, that came from my parents.
    I thought I didn’t deserve better.
    He said he loved me, still says it now.
    Other people especially women thought he was lovely.
    he was nicer to other people.
    He’s a fuckwit.
    Still is

  • For the same reasons as you. Yuck! Not wanting to ‘fail’ or be seen as giving up on our family. The thought of the OW winning was almost as bad as the act itself, the meer fact that someone could tear apart my family like that.

    But here we are 2 years later (after the most recent and final DDay, 7 total, don’t judge me!!) and she has gotten him arrested, he has admittedly cheated on her, and they are on and off. She is just ‘me’ 15+ years ago. There is a saying… people don’t change their behavior, they just find someone to believe and put up with their bullshit!

  • I would say i stayed as long as I did was fear. Fear of being alone. Fear of the unknown. I was not going to let her win. I also wanted to leave on my terms not his. I tried for one year and knew in my heart that I was betraying myself. My ex showed me how he felt about our marriage. I deserved so much more.

  • Sunken cost, blowing up the family unit, financial security, fear. You name it. Mostly it was my 12 year old son. the affair started when he was less than a year old and went on for 7 years. (with my then best friend). I believed it was grief from losing our 2 oldest sons. Just him trying to escape the pain. Now I realize it would have happened regardless because that is just who he is. I am still here trying to get everything in order to make my exit. But the guilt over my 12 year old son always makes me wait. Maybe I will wait until he is older as long as husband and i can get along. Right now husband is the one doing the pick me/hoovering. But he is upset that I don’t give him any recognition for it.

    • I was a child in such a family. Take your son and run. You think you’re doing him a favour but staying with a cheater and abuser means harm for life for your son. I repeated all my mother’s mistakes. My ex was raised in such a family too (a cheating PoS for a father). He turned into him but even worse.

    • It will screw your kid up so much more if you stay. I should know. I lived in a D day after D day home. My mum finally kicked my dad out when I was 16. It was too late. I thought all that behaviour was normal. Even now, at 38, I will never be in a proper relationship, because I am so screwed up and have ruined all my previous ones, as I didnt know any better. Do your son a huge favour and leave, before he is totally screwed up

      • Therapy, therapy and more therapy. It’s not too late to change your behavior if you want. You are inclined to mess up relationships but you do have a choice.

    • My wife’s ex husbands mother did that. Her husband was a serial cheater. She stayed till the kids grew up then divorced him. All it did was teach her ex husband to be a serial cheater himself. BAD mistake.

    • Take your son and run! I grew up with a cheater for a father — it’s more damaging than you know. You don’t want your son to believe that’s how relationships are supposed to be.

  • Disbelief. Could not believe that man I was so in love with would be capable of what he did (live with the ow while talking to me all the time as we worked towards our retirement). Who does that? Takes a total ass and he wasn’t that kind person was he??? Well he was. I broke, I survived, I came out better financially and I now shake my head and say “good luck you two. You deserve each other. How’s that RV living going?” It’s been a year since d day and me and the new puppy are doing great. Still have the occasional moment but I am glad I got rid of a person that doesn’t think twice about causing pain because “hey this was your fault. I did nothing wrong”. Sound familiar. Thanks chump lady. I smile now instead of falling over myself trying to make an asshole smile. It’s much easier. And I can now put up that red table umbrella and drink a mimosa with my friends without being judged

    • I guess disbelief here too.
      I’m way past everything and I hit acceptance but there are time I truly cannot believe the whole other life he hid, the years of lies and pretending we had a marriage.

  • Sunk costs and fear.
    I was literally 2 months into a 9 month cancer treatment. I was bald. I was tired. I needed help. How was I going to go to all of those appointments? How was I going to afford them? How was I take care of a 7 year old? How can he be telling me that now, NOW he can’t take it anymore and needs to work on his happiness?

    One of my first thoughts was, this can be fixed. I can fix this. He’s been telling me I was the problem and crazy for years so of course this is the result. I didn’t get the right kind of help. But the truth was that I had been trying to fix it for years and it wasn’t working because I wasn’t the problem. I had been putting endless amounts of energy into our marriage and my “partner” was not only NOT putting any effort in, he was actively working against me. He counter parented, he refused to participate in our family. He was doing everything he could to drive me crazy because he was too cowardly to just say he didn’t want to be married and file for divorce.

    Even though I had no real support for years, I still thought I needed him. Cancer is scary to face alone. But guess what? I went to ALL of those appointments alone, except surgery. My surgery? My mom came and everyone in my bookclub signed up for a time to check in and spend time with me. I took my 7 year old to school every day and didn’t miss an event, activity or conference. I was told for years that I was the problem. I was crazy. My own family liked him better than me. I’m glad he left so that I finally learned the truth.

  • Fear, fear that ex would carry on not bothering to feed kids properly. Fear that he was right and I was boring and stupid and that I would never be happy. Fear that I couldn’t afford to look after me and my boys. Fear that everyone would say but it’s because he suffers from depression and his Dad just died, then well he did it once and you have forgiven him it’s all better now.

    I still have days where I am afraid, but now I know as ever I can rely on me and it’s so much easier with that mill stone at least partly detached.

  • I took my marriage vows seriously. I wanted to keep the family unit together. As time passed, I could see he did not give a shit about anyone but himself. When I found out he had been hiding money the whole marriage and once my kids told me he was cheating, I was done. My biggest fear were the financials. I was scared shitless about that. I decided (along with CN support) that I needed to fight for my future in ending the fake marriage. Almost divorced. I took on more debt than cheater. I think I will be out of debt in about 5 years. But I’m getting alimony to help with my future.

  • Hopium. Lots if it combined with downright naive me. I didn’t know the red flags. FOO issues made me think this was NORMAL! Love is supposed to be hurting you at times. Giving for your spouse for the marriage. Not wanting to fail.
    I spackled a lot over things that I thought were just normal. Now looking back are like wait a minute that’s not right!! I caught him with what I thought was DDay #1 and did RIC. (Looking back it was actually DDay #3! ). Anyway, I bought the remorseful show even though it wasn’t a good selling job on his side. Again looking back there was NO apology for his behavior. He blame shifted it to me! It was my fault. I was so blindsided and chumped that I took it. Again, that’s what they sell you. It’s half your fault BS!! I turned to marriage police moving forward. Trust sort of and verify everything! We had children through fertility twice and it wasn’t easy. He whined about it and it was his idea!! So many red flags ugh ????

    I caught him multiple times doing stupid stuff. The last straw was watching porn on our computer while our children were upstairs. They could have walked in on him and saw his video and his polishing actions live!! We tried more RIC. It was torture. Disney daddy became evil, rage channels. I filed and am still not divorced 5 years later.

  • tomorrow is anzac day in australia/nz. it is also the day he told me, four years ago, he’d “made a connection” with someone online. the person i was then and who i am today don’t even speak the same language. thank CHRIST i found chump lady and thank you everyone for all your comments over these past four years. you’ve made me laugh so hard and really opened my eyes as to how very big this club is. why did i stay? because i didn’t see any of the signs…i wasn’t looking for them. i thought that every couple had ups and downs but had failed to realise that our downs had been going on for more than ten years. i didn’t see that i’d been living with a narcissist who was abusing me psychologically, emotionally, and then financially. he’d done such a good job that friends and family thought i’d become a mouse. no voice, no self esteem. today i rejoice in the person i’ve become, particularly now that my sons and i are completely no contact. thank you chump lady, and chump nation xxxooo

    • Hi Fellow Aussie! I’m not as far along yet, having dumped for the second time in feb. What kept me stuck in hopium land was his impeccable image management. He never ever let that good guy mask drop for even a second. I went through d-day after d-day in total disbelief for 10 months after the first d-day. I kicked him out & started on the property settlement but still couldn’t reconcile the cheater he was with the persona he presented & took him back after 3 months. He confessed to being in another relationship but swore he’d changed and wanted another chance. He also confessed to cheating on his first wife & lying to me right from the beginning. I stayed though all these devastating revelations to get a decent property settlement thinking he was remorseful. It wasn’t until I realised I was being played yet again that I kicked him out again. I now know that he sucks and his gift for gaslighting is gold medal standard. The abuse I suffered during the relationship was so underhanded & so manipulative it makes me ashamed to remember it. He made me believe everything from open relationships, swinging and threesomes were healthy & good for our relationship. He used me & lied the whole time but I swallowed all this shit because of his impeccable image management. Now he’s going for the jugular in terms of property settlement & holding things up so he can dish out more abuse. Needless to say I’m not doing well. But at least I have a great lawyer

      • Hugs from kiwi land, ChumpDownUnder.
        You are very early into your journey and probably still shellshocked. Add in this unbelievable virus and it’s no wonder you are struggling.

        Well done on getting a good lawyer. Best advice I can give at this time is stay to busy, do things for yourself you deserve looking after and on the down low, hunt down every scrap of financial information you can lay your hands on. Become the FBI, Hell become Better than the FBI. The more information you can give your lawyer the better your position will be and if you do the leg work it will save you money.

        Nothing is more satisfying that very quietly getting the upper hand with these sorts of people. Acting like you are above what he says eventually makes it a reality.
        Take care

  • Faith: in marriage, in myself, in his deep down goodness, which I could of course awaken and confirm through sheer willpower and effort.

    Terror: Of him, of handing of kids to him, of erasing 30 plus years, of being erased, of instantly making meaningless such a huge chunk of life.

    Loyalty: To vows, to him, to the vision of family that meant so much, to pretty much everything but my own intelligence, discernment, and gut instincts.

    Responsibility: To kids, to him, to the world. Maybe if I stuck around there could be some chance of protecting everyone from him, and of transforming him back into what I thought he was before, though of course he never was that person, and redemption was never a possibility.

    Shock: Trauma, disbelief, sapped energy, survival mode, paralysis. Nobody could really be like that, right? But wrong, of course.

    His skill: Took a very long time to get to concrete truths. I held tight to those, and once we were there, no skillful wriggling, intimidation, gaslighting, or DARVO dancing could get him out of the situation he made. Thank goodness.

    • This is why I stayed with a person who seemed to dislike me and his marriage so much. Then when he texted me he wasn’t coming home and we found the evidence of all those years it made even more sense. The sun is out today, and I’m going to take a long walk.

    • These were the 2 that impacted me the most too…Shock & his skill

      But also I have to blame RIC industry for crewing my head up even more!

      After the complete shock of finding out my 25 yr marriage was to a serial cheater – I was almost completely numb for a year & massively confused. My head was a complete mess & conflicted – Then add in the RIC scenario when I picked me danced ( all against my gut feel because it made me feel I had to repair the marriage etc …) until Finally I found chumplady which finally helped to straighten me out!

      Shock: Trauma, disbelief, sapped energy, survival mode, paralysis. Nobody could really be like that, right? But wrong, of course.

      His skill: Took a very long time to get to concrete truths. I held tight to those, and once we were there, no skillful wriggling, intimidation, gaslighting, or DARVO dancing could get him out of the situation he made.

  • I think in my case it was a slow break down of my self-worth and belief I deserved better. Abusers are manipulative and isolate their victims for better control. Mine took me to a different country where I didn’t speak the language and had no support of friends or family. By the time I got back stateside, 11 years laters, I was an empty shell afraid of my own shadow. It was a slow, painful process to build myself up again and get the strength to finally leave. It took eight more years before I filed for divorce. Church. Kids. Fear. So many things keep us stuck.

    Over 20 years with an abusive, serial cheater. It’s still hard to fathom how I became a willing victim, but I also came from an abusive home, so I guess I thought that was normal.

    • CTTM, you never agreed to this abuse. To love and to hold – these are the vows. Anyone can become a victim to this kind of abuse but it’s good to see FOO dynamics for your future. Kudos on getting out everyone!

      • Germanchump- are you from Germany? My X was German and that is where we lived for 11 years.

        Yes, I never agreed and one of the ways I got out was to love and forgive myself for getting into the mess. It wasn’t my fault, but there was something wrong with me that kept my in that situation. Once I dealt with that and knew I deserved better, I got out.

        • Yep. Would have been glad to offer support when you were out here. Maybe one day you’d want to make new memories. I reclaimed my favourite places over the last year around the world one by one.

          • Sounds wonderful and thank you. Probably more people would have supported me if I had the courage to speak up.

            My oldest is living in Germany. He grew up there and feels more at home. I haven’t been back in 10 years, but it is such a lovely place.

  • I stayed thinking I was helping my kids. I never knew my father. I did all the child care, house repairs, yard work, holiday activities and his families connections of events. I was soo busy soo tired I never suspected. I thought he needed my strength because of his FOO issues. 99% of the time he was an entitled dick. Then he would love bomb. “ Nothing is real until I tell you”, “my world began when you loved me” etc. I didn’t know he was a narcissist. I didn’t know he was lying stealing money etc. I didn’t know I had value and things could be different. I married my mother and uncle. CL made so much sense I did a 180 so fast heads spun. Unfortunately, 46 years had passed by.

  • Fear of losing my family, losing my husband who I loved for over 35 years and knowing that my finances
    would suffer. I denied the red flags for 2 years hoping his interest in the Owhore was just a phase he was going through. But when I caught them together the cruelty and humiliation they gave me was just too much to bare.
    Now 4 years divorced I’m still struggling emotionally and financially but at least I’m free of the pain of betrayal. The Owhore died few years ago and he quickly moved into another woman’s house.
    Loneliness is with me daily but I’m lucky to be alive after one of the cruelest heartbreaking times in my life.

  • 1. Sunk costs.

    2. Trust. I believed all the lies I didn’t know for a fact were lies, however improbable they were.

    In hindsight I was, well, a complete chump. Red flags were everywhere, right from the first date. I thought walking on eggshells was normal because that was life in my FOO.

    How can I get an invitation to the reddit?

    • Create a user name on reddit and then you can apply to be accepted at Chump Lady Nation reddit sub.
      It’s a private group. Email Tempest if you have any issues.

      • THANK YOU! I’ve been hoping someone would explain that one of these days. I’m excited to finally join.

        • Awesome. And when you do get there, pop in to the live chat room to introduce yourself (click on the 3 dots —>(…)<— on the tool bar top right hand side). We are a lively group that's hanging out in real time — super cool for those 2am moments! Someone, somewhere in the CN world is awake and online ????

  • Fear of losing him if I demanded _anything_, even an honest conversation
    Belief that I was born unlovable and lucky to get even (cake) crumbs
    “Nobility” of acting like a doormat
    Facade of normal coupledom
    He was handsome, smart, quirky, charming — much like Dad

    (Long-term non-marital relationship, thank heaven no kids.)

  • Not wanting to be a failure, but not realizing, I wouldnt have been the failure he was from the beginning. He saw his father and his mother cheat through his whole childhood, so it was ok, I was over reacting. No I wasn’t.

    • Winner in the End: Mine from Day 1 of meeting stated how much he hated lying / cheating. That his mother betrayed his father. That he would never do such a thing. He would remark on other people cheating and scoff at them. He painted such a fine portrait of the upstanding, honest man who would NEVER do such a thing to his family.

      Well, guess what? He lied and cheated. And then he went around and told everyone it was me. Of course he did!

      He has major FOO issues. His mother did have extramarital affairs. He is angry at both of his parents, and woman in particular. So when he said he would never cheat on me, lie to me, what he meant was that he fully expected to do what he wanted, when he wanted, with whomever he wanted, and it was all deserved because of what his mother ‘did to him’ when he was a kid, and I better not question him one bit, and take ALL the blame for every action.

      Can’t believe I tried to work with that for 17 years….well yes I can, because I had a covert narc for a father that specialized in withholding affection and a co-dependent mother who taught me how to jump through flaming hoops to try to gain attention and affection.

  • Being with him for almost 30 years and not wanting to blow up our family unit/destroy our children’s sense of “family”. I also truly believed, for a while, that his behavior was due to him being overcome with grief over his parents’ long battles with Alzheimers and their ultimate deaths. His weird behavior started when they got bad; got worse when they went to a nursing home, etc. We had done marital counseling and he even admitted he was probably depressed. Never once did I imagine during his “depression” and “grief” that he was setting up a new life without me.

  • Trying to avoid ripping the heart out of my children.
    I realised by the second time it was who he was. But I really really didn’t want to bring such a blow to my young children 4 and 6 at the time.

  • Patience is not always a virtue. It took many hours of therapy to realize that was my Achilles heel. As a child, I spent five to six days a week waiting for my alcoholic father to come home. I was trained in extreme delayed gratification. So that was exactly what I did with No Change. I waited to the point of it breaking me mentally. As you can surmise from her tag line, it was futile. Combine that with an extreme level of Labrador loyal, I will wait for the tennis ball forever, and well, here I am typing to ya’ll almost at the four-year mark of original D day and 6 months divorced. Still, like today, feeling that wave of despair wash in. I am so ready for this to leave my head.

    • Bluedog65
      Hey Bro. Those waves turn into still water then a babbling creek.
      Beagle loyalty for me.
      Is that your lab in the picture?

      • That would be a Blue Lacy, thus my name. Not the sad, but the color. I put down my last one, Abilene, in the midst of all the chaos. She had the loyalty and patience of Job. I suppose it is time for another. Not sure why I am attempting to white-knuckle without a dog, but, I have been. Thanks brother for your comment. I have had a rough go of it as of late.

  • I lasted for two weeks after D-day. My main concern was how a divorce would impact the children, one of whom was still an infant. I didn’t know how I would manage to raise them on my own with my limited income and no help. I also felt practically murderous whenever I think about my ex and my former best friend and the life they would be able to have together. But I wanted to model for my kids that this is not how you treat your spouse, this is not what you should tolerate as a woman, and that I am not House staff/a whore to be used at his convenience. So I braced myself for the financial beating, fall in income brackets and status and the in evitable loneliness that was to come and pulled the trigger right around what would’ve been my 15th wedding anniversary. It still hurts like hell and I am especially lonely right now and very overwhelmed, but I know ultimately I did what I had to do.

    • Cakeless–

      Stay mighty. I’m in Traverse City. When the restriction are lifted, my son will head back to East Lansing and I’m glad to help–reach out. Three years out of a 25 year marriage. Wish I had gotten out in 2012 after first DDay.

      You’re doing the right thing. Keep walking, because you will get there.

    • Cakeless, I come here less regularly than I used to, but please know that I have thought of you often. Sorry to hear that you are currently overwhelmed, but I hope you and your kids are doing well otherwise. You might remember that I also have vision loss (though not as complete as yours), and as I navigate my days, I remember you talking about having peanut butter and jelly sandwiches picnics with your children at the park/playground, and I am in awe of your strength.

      Best wishes, eirene (formerly ColdT-rk-y)

  • I did get out immediately after D-day. Within hours actually. However, I was stuck far too long when I should have left without airtight proof. Sunk costs and afraid of being alone (especially in bad health as I have a chronic illness).

    The reason I was able to pull through immediately? I had been reading CL for a chump friend whose English wasn’t so great, for more than a year. I was completely shell-shocked but my autopilot told me, if anything follow your own advice. I had this great urge to not be a hypocrite like fuckwits.

    The greatest mind-boggle was the thought of OW and my child leading a sick triangle weekend life. I decided I was not going to let that happen.So (against CLs and all advise) I went on a risky revenge and reputation ruining trip which worked out for me but could have ended the opposite. The world can be sure that OW will never seek out a married man again. But CN especially since your laws are different, don’t do as I did.

    As for not letting him win, I turned the abuse around. Gaslighting and causing severe paranoia. I learnt from the best but be warned, it made my health deteriorate. Fuckwit had a narcisstic collapse, developed a rare auto-immunal disease and needed valium whenever his phone went off as I had staged a series of seemingly connected events. Price is that, of course, some people say, well German Chump is a wife from hell clearly. But still enough others left.

    • German Chump, I would really really like to hear more details about what you did to y po ur ex and the OW so I can feel the vengeance vicariously.

    • I so wanted to enact well planned revenge, but the stakes were too high for me to contemplate failure. So I took the high road. Zipped my lip, blocked all social media contact, and severely limited any contact with him, his family and friends.

      The AP who moved in within months of me leaving stayed less than a year before bailing. Turns out XAss turned the abuse up to 11 for her. She tried to enact revenge. All her whistle-blowing with evidence, and who knows what all efforts she engaged in for quite some time after, got her exactly nothing.

      My revenge is facing the fear that kept me from leaving years earlier – by proving him wrong. I am a good person. I can take care of myself and my son. I can enjoy a good quality of life that I provide through my own efforts and talent. And I know exactly what and who he is. And he knows it.

      • Seriously, I can’t go into details. I’m the only German Chump on this forum and also distinguishable by way of revenge which is just not provable. I’m a lawyer, ex is a lawyer. Ho-worker and ex operate in the conservative German legal system. Ex and family deep into the old-fashioned German church. They aren’t really into the forgiveness thing here and have strict legal procedures which are like a fourth tier of power. These dynamics combined with the special delusional and image-obsession of ex’s family of origin all worked together. Plus ex has a stick up his ass so he didn’t appreciate the saucy and embarrassing details of his affair being discussed. Whereas I have a potty mouth and explained clamydia to a judge who actually also had a potty mouth.

        No contact and taking the high road remain the best and safest options. And going out and grab a real good life! Best revenge came by chance. Two months after D-day got myself a boyfriend half my age. Never told, he just sat on the porch when ex stopped by one day. Since ex likes to propagate the we’re still friends narrative, he gets all the details from the other moms at school on how cute, nice and fun he is. Oh and shouldn’t ex be glad it’s someone who’s so great with the kids. Ouch.

  • At first, hopium, for about a year.

    Then habit/familiarity, for about a year.

    Then to get through a loved one’s cancer and not-unexpected but devastating death without blowing up my routines and making myself less available to my loved one, also for about a year .

    Within 3 months of that death, I was divorced. Terrible timing, financially devastating… Still the best life decision I’ve ever made. Truly.

  • **Losing the family unit and having my kids leave to see him every other weekend or whatever. It almost crushed me and thought maybe if wanting to die. And I wanted stability for my kids. I was still very much in love and shocked.

  • Despite all the progress I thought I had made on MY OWN FOO issues, I was still a Woman Who Loved Too Much.

    We have a child. We have a business. We have a Marriage. He was a Nice Guy! He was sober and in recovery along with me! We had been going to therapy our entire relationship (27 years!) at my request to not repeat our parents’ very unhealthy marriages. I was completely blindsided. I truly believed, as did all our friends of 27 years, that he was not the kind of guy that would have affairs. I didn’t know what to do. Major investment so of course as a loyal and open minded person, totally in unfamiliar territory, I was willing to see if it could be repaired.

    I quickly learned he is NOT a nice guy. He has been lying about his sobriety maybe forever. Hey, wait a minute. He doesn’t go to meetings. Doesn’t have a sponsor. Or hardly any friends. I am going to therapy now by myself. He lies. He breaks promises. Things he says do not add up. He HARDLY EVER IS ANGRY AT ME. That is NOT normal!!! He’s human and so am I; we are married….where is the anger? I guess he’s just super easygoing…..part of that Nice Guy thing….

    I was in denial about a LOT. I wanted The Dream; a family in recovery, A successful business, a beautiful home. I thought I had amazing blessings that many people don’t get even one of.
    Hey, why do you keep taking me house shopping, for 20 years, but there is always some reason we can’t get the house……

    I was a squirrel with a nut and I didn’t know the inside was rotten.

    I didn’t have a MARRIAGE. I had a MIRAGE.

    • Reading everyone here today, I am struck by how willing we all were and the good reasons we were willing, in contrast to how
      much the cheaters are unwilling and don’t care, as
      well as the people who cheat with them.

      If they can look in a mirror and like what they see, they will have to be Olympic gold medal mental
      gymnasts, expert liars, deep deep deep in denial.

      • Ditto what Velvet Chump said ????????????????????????????????

        I was raised by narcissistic cheating alcoholic parents

        He love bombed me on and off for 26 years

        We were in recovery “together” …. he was never really sober — used drugs in secret while working with a sponsor, doing service work, speaking from the podium — for five years!!!!!

        He manipulated and conned me

        I did not trust myself or my intuition

        We had 4 kids— one with serious mental health issues (turns out those were caused by learning of his serial cheating and he alternatively threatened and groomed her!)

        26 years of sunk time/life/memories/costs/

        My empathy for his “depression” “fog” “confusion” “midlife crisis”

        My financial dependence

        My terror

        After 18 hellish pick me dancing frenzy weeks, I said GTFO! that was 5 years ago divorced 3.5 years now, no contact with that evil fool, at Meh — doing great!

        • MotherChumper99 & Velvet Hammer ????????❤️

          You are both mighty and I look to your posts to get to Meh.


          • Keep at no contact, get divorced if you’re not. Within 3-5 years you’ll look back and wonder why you stayed one second longer. Your best years are ahead of you! I promise!

            • Thanks for the inspiration!!!

              Met 1983, married 1993, DD1 2012, DD2 2017, he left and filed May 2017, divorce final May 2018, no contact since October 2018. Just starting to catch my breath and understanding about covert narcissism. Definitely brighter days ahead.

              I do wonder why I didn’t leave much sooner, but can’t go back–only forward!!!

      • Big fan of your posts Velvet ❤️

        “Major investment so of course as a loyal and open minded person, totally in unfamiliar territory, I was willing to see if it could be repaired.”

        This is exactly how I felt along with abject terror and fear. Those things did not just keep me in the web of lies and deceit, they led to me being a major Hopium addict. For which I am in self imposed 12 step recovery for. Along with codependence. Now in full sober recovery for life beyond an abuser. This is my story. And it is just beginning.

    • “why do you keep taking me house shopping, for 20 years, but there is always some reason we can’t get the house”

      Um, let me think… So he can go back later for no-strings-attached sex with real estate agents. Did you know that’s a “thing” some cheaters do? This is even a porn theme *and* a stock theme for kinky role play.

      • I’m sure that happens but the real estate agent was my close friend and no, not a cheating accomplice and I this is one thing I know for sure. He never wanted to buy another house with me because he was not invested in the marriage……

        • My fuckwit did this with land, its just future faking, as you are paying for it for years!!!!!!!

    • Velvet, this really hit home with me. I feel like I could have written every line. I remember all his promises about a nice little home … and how he never gave me that. Even when we finally bought a house, he lost it in foreclosure without telling me until it was too late. He just wasn’t paying the mortgage, spending all the money on whores. I finally realized that he had no investment in the family.

  • The fear of losing everything I worked for for over 20 years and having to start over. Thinking that it was just a “mistake” and everyone makes mistakes right? It’s a marriage, a commitment, till death do us part. Faithfullness is also a vow and it was no mistake. It was repeatedly intentional! Who sexts with the OW when their wife is in the house too! Only a fuckwit with no values, no morals, and a sense of entitlement! He thought there would be no consequences because he has never had to deal with any major consequences for bullying and verbally abusing other people his whole life. It’s worth starting over, but it is so hard to admit to yourself that everything you built for the last 20 years was built on lies and deceit. I didn’t want to believe it and that’s why I tried to forgive and save my marriage.

  • Fear and low self esteem
    Fear of what others would think
    Fear of failure
    Fear of never finding another man
    Fear of starting over
    And then
    I got mighty 🙂 and realized I would rather have one pair of shoes to my name than continue to be cheated on, gaslit, and mistreated.
    I stopped chickening out and started saving
    I slowly withdrew until the cheater decided it would be better if i left (not enough cake left in the kitchen i guess) Great idea! I had already been packing and stowing valuables at friends homes, anyway

  • Didn’t get a chance. Was dumped like in high school with him telling friends our 34 year marriage was over and he was NEVER coming back. The coward couldn’t face me. I know CL says it’s a blessing when they leave without looking back, but it didn’t feel like it. Thought we had the best marriage (yes he moved immediately in with younger AP). Still working towards recovery 2.5 years out and wish Tuesday would arrive.

    • Yep… a text after 27 years and 3 kids. It was my fault…..I was too hard to talk to. I pray every day that his lies are exposed. Not meh.

    • Mine too Justright

      He just packed and left and I’ve never seen or heard from him in over a year .
      He didn’t even turn up to get divorced !!

      I hope everyone is right when they say the ones that just disappear have the slightly better side of a shitty stick but to me it’s just another kick in the teeth

      • THIS. My cheater literally said one word when confronted with the facts of his cheating (his girlfriend’s husband had swung by our house earlier in the day with stacks of text messages): Sorry. He never mentioned the affair again. He never hoovered or asked me to reconcile. He never blamed me, or yelled, or talked to me. It was as if I didn’t count, didn’t exist, didn’t matter. I’m still processing that. I let him set the bar lower and lower each of the 25 years we were married. It’s hard not to want to take up space and force him to listen to my voice after deliberately saying nothing for 25 years.

      • Mine disappeared after a year and a half from dday and abandoned the kids in the process. It is just a different hurt not a better one.

    • It’s not a blessing, none of this is. Mine did the same, scorched earth break up but silly me stayed in denial for years. Been 4 years and my heart hurts when I write this. Never saw it coming. He never had the decency to say anything besides “I was bad to him”. Best relationship, best buddies, I live for the day he will come and ask for forgiveness, beg me to come back, the idea that it will never happen kills me and shreds me in pieces. I don’t see how can I recover from this. I thought that at least he would be afraid and ashamed of tarnishing his perfect image but I can see now I married a psychopath and I just can’t believe that this happened to me. When someone doesn’t even care about themselves or their image, forget it. They are so far gone that it’s scary to know you share kids with a monster.

      • I’ll admit I have fantasies of him trying to come back sometime in the future. I want that just so I can get the satisfaction of telling him no. I do take some teeny tiny satisfaction in knowing his life doesn’t appear to be all unicorns and rainbows despite getting dumped for I think someone who is a prettier and a lot younger than me.

        It’s been 8 months since I’ve seen him. At that time he was healthy, nice tan, had no gray hair and was thin. My kids tell me his hair has turned totally gray, he’s got a beer belly (he drinks a lot now) and that he looks like death.

  • The very charismatic man loaned a very huge chunk of my money for 3-4 months with interest.. As you can guess 3 years later no payback. I thought I could get it back if I stayed with him. He denied “cheating” even tho I had screen shots of him with another woman on FB, plus txtS with 2 other women. One even bought a wedding dress! I knew nothing about narcissism/sociopaths at the time. I was warned but it was too late. Now he is on to his new supply while I battle it out with him in a civil suit.

  • I was in shock. Yet, something deep inside me told me to play nice and get my turds in a row before doing anything. It took months of retaining professionals, following the money (what I could follow), making a plan and then dropping the bomb.

    He could not believe I was going to divorce him. “Your lifestyle will change so much” is what he said to me! Well, we’re in the middle of the divorce and yes my lifestyle has changed. I no longer am being abused emotionally and financially.

    It’s amazing how you can see things so clearly when you have distance. It’s frightening too. I’m just so glad I didn’t smoke that hopium pipe. If I had, I’d be stuck with him during this lockdown.

  • I was terrified of losing it all. I loved my life. I had everything, a wonderful husband (or so I thought), two gorgeous smart kids, a beautiful new house, a booming business. I thanked God for my wonderful life every day. When the bomb dropped, I was desperate, I didn’t want my perfect life to end so I covered it with industrial strength spackle and I never thanked God again.

  • My sense of self worth was completely entwined with him. We had been a couple for 18 years since I was 17. I couldn’t envisage being a separate person. He cheated on me before we were married and after we had children. I desperately wanted to split up but felt trapped, weak and pathetic. He finally left me for yet another OW the woman he’s now married to. This site didn’t exist 12 years ago so I had to be my own chumplady! Took me a month or so of crying feeling like a lost child to decide I was better than that. I fought for every penny and got the family home, a very good settlement and best of all my children 80% of the time. I went back into teaching which gave me a sense of self worth. I brought my now teenage children up which gave me a massive sense of achievement. I met and married a man who I love without being codependent.
    Fear is a massive weapon used against chumps, but “Feel the Fear and do it Anyway”.

  • I Suspected but didn’t have proof as she was the queen of plausible deniability. I didn’t want to blow up a marriage Because of suspicion because I saw what divorce did to my sisters. Didn’t want to loose time with my kids. Low self-esteeme. I still loved her. But when I got proof I filed for divorce 3 1/2 weeks later.

  • Hope that it’s a mid-life crisis, hope that she’s mentally ill and only needs to get help, hope that… hope, hope, hope. And sheer fear at what my future would and would not be. Shock resulting in inertia for eight hellish months before I filed. Not that the hell stopped with divorce but at least I unstuck myself.

  • Although I kicked him out on DDay, I should have left him along time ago. I was trying to save him. He was an alcoholic. A person I thought needed a lot of love because he suffered from low self -esteem due to his dad being very controlling/cheater and his mom being a passive agreesive person.

    I used to think he was so naive, others used to talked bad about him behind his back and he knew this, but he would tried so hard to be liked by them. I decided I would be his advocate to try to open up his eyes about how those people didn’t have his best interest and I did (the famous pick me dance). I did this for 13 years.

    He would constantly tell me he didn’t feel loved by me because I didn’t dress sexy enough. Or, because I wouldn’t allow him to have fun. Then, he would tell me “if you love me, you wouldn’t tell me what to do” I was constantly telling him to take care of his health, he was also a smoker, and to spent more time with our children, and to stay home on his days off instead of going out to the “Casinos” (pick-me-dance)

    I didn’t leave sooner because I didn’t want to be a failure. My mother used to warned me about these type of people when I was younger. When she first met him she thought something was off and told me not to date him.

    However, overtime he did should a good job showering my mom and siblings with compliments and gifts. During familt gatherings, he would also made sure to showed them and me how much in love he was with me. He was the “perfect” husband and I was the controlling wife.

    I was afraid of what my family would think if I left the “perfect” man. I was so afraid of being a single mother. I was afraid of breaking up my family.

    On Dday, I was angry that he would do that to our family. But that anger helped me put all his stuff outside our house for him to get the F out of my life.

    It’s being 18 months since Dday, divorce is almost final. No contact, I still feel sorry for him. But I feel more sorry for how I picked me danced all those years and how allowed him to conned me. It turns out he is gay, but more shockingly, he had been cheating on me since day one with multiple women all because, in his own words, “likes dirty sex.”

    Life goes on.

    • So he’s gay, but screws women too? That makes him Bi-sexual, not gay. But yeah, get him out of your life. It’s a wonder you haven’t picked up numberless STIs.

  • I had been completely blindsided. I thought my husband was a kind and good man who was overworked and going through something. I grew up in a “broken home” and was DETERMINED to create the kind of childhood for my children I wished I had had. I only danced for a month (cooked favorite meals every night, bought all new underthings….barf) because he left. When I look back he always had been a shit husband and father. He was NEVER home and never went to any of the kids’ events or important things–none, no parent-teacher conferences, no performances or competitions, nothing. Sat at things like birthday parties on his phone. But he was A DOCTOR and so stressed out and WORKED SO HARD and SAVED LIVES. Barf. Turns out he had TWO gym memberships, arranged his schedule so he had a TWO HOUR break every day to take ju jitsu and have sex. Many of his overnight shifts were probably fake because pay never match up. I bought it all. I hoped it would get better when the kids left for college, but the idea of questioning any of it WAS NOT AN OPTION.

    • Shit pulmafool it’s like we had the exact same husband. As painful as it was to lose him I’ll never forgive him for missing out on all those things my daughter did at school and extracurriculars. He actually said once that parent teacher conferences were worthless and he hated the low production value of school performances (as if they were there for his entertainment).

  • What kept me stuck after D-Day?

    (1) I’d been married twice previously. Didn’t want to admit I had a broken picker.
    (2) My divorce to husband #2 was difficult for our child. Then I had another daughter with husband #3 and didn’t want to divorce her dad and force her to have to cope with this too. Why should my fuckups keep having to weigh on my children.
    (3) I figured that I wouldn’t trust ANYONE after this since he was the person I trusted most, and it was a case of “better the devil that you know.” (I had not yet thought of the fact that I really don’t need a devil at all.)
    (4) I was immobilized with shock and grief.
    (5) I was amidst severe clinical depression that had not been diagnosed yet. My coping-with-life skills were pretty broken.
    (6) I was dealing with severe stresses at work, eroding my confidence and sense of security. I wanted to stick my head in the same about my broken marriage.
    (7) My older daughter had run away from home & a college scholarship four years earlier when she turned 18. I desperately didn’t want to make my younger daughter so unhappy that she did anything similar.
    (8) I feared that I had been the one to push my husband away. (I got over this.)
    (9) We were in severe financial trouble and I didn’t see a way to afford starting over.
    (10) My self-esteem was at a lifetime low.

  • Ugh – had a nervous breakdown after looking at all of his masturbation pictures on his computer. I could tell by the background of the photos that this had been going on a very long time. My brain just couldn’t compute. I also believed that he was remorseful by the tears and the talk of sex addiction. My brain was mush and I couldn’t make a decision. He expressed so much remorse and gratitude that he was caught – he said I saved his life. It took some time to heal from the trauma and see more clearly. Once you see the truth – narcissist, pathological liar, master manipulator, no chance of change — it is easy to make the decision.

  • I had no self confidence. He was older, I thought he was something special. He wasn’t, he was then and is to this day a sparkly turd. I finally left after two children and 14 years, I didn’t get the settlement I should have because I agreed to so much just to get away from him. My life worked out. It’s been 10 years now, I still go back and retrace my steps as to how I ever ended up with him. I have to figure the biggest blessing was two great kids, but he’s a total tool. Text book narcissist. I’m ashamed of the games I played to keep him. All of the time spent on detective work. The fact that I never thought I deserved a real love and commitment, that I settled for freaking table scraps. When I say my prayers at night I count my blessings that I got out, that I built a life I love. When I look back at who I was I wish I had stronger role models and influences who would’ve helped me smell the rat he was.

  • I loved him. He was my best friend (so I thought.) I was happy, and I loved our life and our home together.

    Fifteen years together and we just got divorced last month after I found out about his 3rd affair. What makes it worse is that this time he left ME claiming true love with this other person. I’m a total chump.

  • Refusing to believe he did not love me. Thinking something else was involved ~ mid life crisis, identity crisis, quitting drinking ~ the list goes on.

    After all he asked me not once but 7 times to marry him. The 7th time during a thunderstorm promising me he would always be there for me and professing his love for me ~ saying that I was the love of his life.

    I mean who does that and all the time cheats?

    I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. Still can’t. But now divorced almost 4 years, I don’t even try.

  • I stayed because I had taken a vow “to God” (not the dick) that I would be with the dick till death do us part, better or worse. Of course having children and grandchildren just reinforced my decision because “if grandma and grandpa got divorced”, then it would be easier for others to do the same rather than work out their problems. But that was all before I understood narcissism and that I was dealing with a total dick. He had me gaslighted for years. I went through the gamut of possible reasons he was so distant. Was he depressed? Was he going through a mid-life crisis? Was it me? Didn’t I show that I appreciate him enough? After a while I finally had to ask God forgiveness and say “I’m sorry Lord. I cannot stay with the dick any longer.” And I believe God was okay with that. I have been exceedingly blessed since the dick is no longer in my life. And the biggest blessing is that I am at peace. I am no longer dealing with drama. And I no longer have a liar and a cheater in my life.

  • Fear of the pain, unable to believe a human was capable of behaving that way, timing, I was too tired to do anything about it, and RIC bullshit.

  • 24 years of sunk cost. 4 kids who I mistakenly believed needed an “intact” family. No retirement savings of my own, and an income that was only 1/3 of my cheaters. Fear that I would end up living in a cardboard box with my shattered kids. Shame at having to admit to others I failed at marriage. And wanting — desperately, foolishly — to be a unicorn who was able to win back my man through the force of my pure and unwavering love (gag!). Mostly it was fear that I could not manage life on my own, that I really was as inadequate and inferior as my cheater told me I was.

    Eventually, like most of us, I got to the point where the cardboard box was more appealing than life with the cheater, and got myself out. And I was OK after all! That hardest part was the leaving, and everything after that has been a pretty steady trip forward to peace of mind.

  • Chump lady and (nation) is anyone else out there on lockdown with their cheating husband? Hopefully NOT! It’s been an emotional rollercoaster and because he claims it was six years ago- was EXTRA challenging. First reaction: get the HELL OUT of my house. Yes it’s in my name no I do not want to live here without him (just the upkeep) and then after packing his things and he putting things out the back door- unhooking his prize possession TV, and his newly financed couch (totally fine with me) he comes in the house crying and says “I can’t do this” I have nowhere to go. After saying I don’t give a fuck you’re out I realized it’s true. There’s no where he can go. Nice save. Bad for me because I almost need that unhealthy rage and then rip the bandaid off type ending and saw it was t going to happen that way.
    Needless to say it’s been odd. I’m in my bed he’s on the couch. Trying to bring coffee every morning and rub my back he knows I’m always sore… although how could you cheat with your ex while I was working hard 6 years ago go get us this house!!! We got married almost seven years ago. And Less than a year into marriage he’s running up meeting the dirty whore in a car truck or van??? I didn’t get the specifics but she didn’t even demand a hotel room. Or a meal for that matter…? My husband was working a Postal night job so guess he just couldn’t resist. Our heads were clearly in two different places. With all that said he’s supposedly been living a happily married life with me recognized his mistake and left it behind.
    This is the ONLY thing I struggle with. Is he really a different guy? Would he really never cheat again? I can relate to chumps when they say they don’t want the other woman or man to win. But are they really winning?
    Ps I told a 25 year old coworker he was really “nice to look at and that no I would never send you my boobs“ (a joking previous request) “but nice chatting earlier”… my husband saw this message and hasn’t let me live it down. It’s been three months. Also note: he confessed his cheating because he was afraid she would one day tell me
    I’m just sick. I’ve printed the divorce papers. They’re hiding in my trunk

    • Yikes…..torture. Think long and hard about taking him back. Many stories here about cheating being the tip of the iceberg. Cheaters cheat often.Read archives “ genuine Naugahyde Remorse”. Nowhere to go? Guess he should have thought of that before he cheated.

    • So, you rejected an inappropriate request with a joke and your rejection of inappropriate behaviour is a crime of the year?
      How long did cheating go on? If it was one off then yes, maybe he can change. If it was longer term, sorry, no. Imagine how many times he lied to you when he texted/ planned it, dressed up to go for a fuck, lied where he’s going to, lied when he came back etc.
      It’s not your problem if he’s got nowhere to go. Why doesn’t he go to one of his friends, I could spend at least a year luving around my friens’ places because I invest in my relationships and I’ve got plenty of friends.
      As to your financial issues, get a lodger.

      • I kicked out my boyfriend. Not sure if he’s a cheater but he’s misled and taken advantage of me. He’s been “cab camping“. He’s like to blame me but I told him I’m sure it’s not the first time. I know the sad sausage channel and not afraid to call it.

  • This sounds kind of nuts, but he wasn’t really ever a Cassanova. I thought he was a dork like me. I just couldn’t believe he had any game to actually get women to go to bed with him since he was married. It’s true, many of his affair partners were stripper/hookers, so he had to pay them, but at least one of the others he had it so bad for that I think in her end it was a pity fuck. Still others chased after him, such as the one he fucked in Seattle on a work trip.

    • Mine got pursed by the office whore. Guess she likes middle aged dorks (he isn’t her first) with either power or money. Still not sure it’s her but the timing fits. I could get her name but I know it would only cause more pain so for now I’m saying no.

  • Ignorance of NPD.
    Building my career and 100 miles from our home.
    Ignorance of technology (dating/hook-up apps).
    Blind trust.

    At D-day the text with AP1 blew the lid off. Stealth reconnaissance revealed AP2. Enter LACGAL deprogramming.

    Exposed and documented, Xw moved in with AP2 and I pulled the trigger. I offered (begged) two times for her return. Then NC and legal process. 10 months later I ghosted the narc whore.

    I’m so glad I found out and acted as quickly and thoroughly as I did. X is fading memory.
    Good Riddence!

  • Two things:

    – I hadn’t figured out yet that I was responsible for my sorry assed situation. I needed to realize everything was my choice, choosing her, marrying her, staying w her.

    – I thought that’s what couples do. They both give a fully committed effort to identify the problems and find solutions.

    I didn’t realize someone would think it’s okay to be banging your cousin during the interim.

  • Everyone here has felt it. Such similar stories, similar feelings. The fear, helplessness, anxiety, love, loyalty, vows, children, years, costs, denial, disbelief, anger, etc, etc. I had all of them too. All of them. I would have stayed if there had been any possible way. But there just was no way. Adultery just kills it all, doesn’t it.

    • Truth. On Dday all the puzzle pieces fell into place. X was an amazing actor. Until he wasn’t.

    • ^^^ Yes, Twitching. Exactly this. Adultery does kill it all.

      Infidelity: the gift that keeps on giving

  • Too much confidence in the wrong diagnosis (plus pride in my ability to figure it out). I had no clue what parasitic or predatory narcissism was despite growing up with it. It explains the unexplainable, if i had one clue what I was up against then… Glad to know this info is getting out.

  • I didn’t want the horrible OW to be a step mother to my children, she was unfit. I had bought into the intact family as the best option for us all. I believed his stories of childhood abuse and felt sorry for him. He had some major health issues develop shortly after Dday which made things very complicated.

    • Mitz, same here about the OW. I did not want the OW to win. She’s a slutty selfish skank and I did not want to concede defeat to her. She had not right to nuke my marriage, and I would not see her get rewarded on top of it. In the end, my narc husband made the choice that skank was going to win. Now that I know about covert narcissism, I know that she is next on the devalue/discard agenda. She has it coming. Karma is a bitch, just as much of a bitch as his OW.

      • Well said!!!!!!!

        I want karma to come sooner rather than later as I hate the way she treats my daughter.

      • I’m not convinced my husband is a narc but I do think happy thoughts as to what the OW is in for. Yeah he’ll commit to her even marry her if she pushes hard enough but once he has her the honeymoon will be over. She will then spend her days trying to get the man he once was back. She will never ever see that guy again. Waiting on karma or Tuesday ideally both.

        • Elena it’s NOT NORMAL to be Prince Charming one day and a cheating, lying, selfish, abusive pos the next. His actions are a reflection on HIM. Not you. He will be sorry he lost you if he isn’t already. It will take time but try to forget the pain and remember you can stand tall with your head held high because you did nothing wrong. You were a good wife and partner. You are an incredible woman. His loss. She’s getting the trash you have thrown out.

          • He’s an avoidant so once he reeled me, the one with low self esteem he no longer had to DO anything to keep me. I then spent most of my life taking his crumbs and working harder to get prince charming back. He convinced me that I was the problem. I’d cook more, lost weight, got fit, had sex with him whenever he wanted it, I just wanted him to love me back. He cared more about work, the tv, his sleep schedule, than me. I came in dead last but all that did sadly was make me want him more (childhood trauma). This what she has to look forward to. He wants to be adored, worshipped but left alone but gets mad if you leave.

  • Looking back, my marriage was built with little more than spackle and run on hopium.
    Considering how little substance we had beyond, we lasted pretty long (20yrs).

    Affair after fog after affair, she finally pulled the plug and left me no choice.

    I even tried to save it well beyond.

    It was when I heard my name qualified (AP’s first name is the same), I began to see the truth.

  • I was a long-termer as well. I was talking with my teenage son a couple of days ago who is quarantining with ex cheater and his new wife. He told me they were out on a walk together. Cheater would NEVER would go for a walk with me. I probably asked a thousand times. After the call, I realized it would have been our 31st anniversary that day, 34 years together! I wondered if ex realized that, then immediately realized no he absolutely did not. I made it seem sad in my mind for a second while I milked the idea, but I couldn’t feel sad. Because I wasn’t sad, I was GLAD 🙂

  • He had me believing I was unable to cope as an adult in the world–that I couldn’t function without him. When I started to find out that wasn’t true, and that I functioned better away from him, I was free.

    • Yes! Wasband told me I could never make it on my own. I told him I had been on my own before I met him, and will be fine after he’s gone.
      He said, “But you have kids now. You won’t make it.”

      What a jackass. I am still remembering the awful things he’s done and said. I had heard that would happen; something will jog your memory and incidents you had long forgotten will bubble up to the surface again. Your response jogged my memory.

    • Mine expected me to fall apart so he could get full custody of the kids. Oh he’d set me up in a nice apartment (peanuts compared to his income) and the kids would visit from time to time. A year later he’s still shocked the kids chose me over him.

  • I stayed because I was so gaslit that I was living in a fake world of his creation, with me, the appliance wife at the center. I did not know that my husband was using breadcrumbing/scarcity tactics to keep me on the hook – he alternatively love bombed and then ignored me because he was “stressed and busy” with his very, very important career. So, I supported him to make him feel less stressed, thinking this would free him up to be with me more, be more relaxed so he could enjoy me and our daughter. I did everything to smooth his way so that he could be happier and participate in our relationship. I thought that’s what loving partners did. I was there through thick and thin for our 24 year marriage.

    I thought he was at work or out with clients of our business, or friends, but he was at S&M clubs, buying hookers, skimming our money for his pleasure and looking for (and finding) a mistress. I was completely blindsided on D Day when he got sloppy by using our joint credit card for a holiday with his whore. My fake world came crashing down, hard and painfully. He lost his job in the same week. Our business suffered. His house of cards tumbled and the veil was lifted to reveal his real, narcissistic, entitled self. He actually asked me if he could keep me, and carry on with his mistress on the side.

    I kicked him out, but every fiber in my being wanted to crawl back into that make believe world and not have to deal with the truth. I wanted to believe that I was loved and cherished and not believe that he never really loved me, but instead, he used me and abused me to help keep him nurtured, adored and fueled so he could go out there and do whatever he wanted.

    So, I stayed due to abuse, gaslighting and being led to believe I was the beloved wife and center of his universe (because he told me so, and he told everyone else and they bought it too).

  • He was an eventually diagnosed bipolar and also a violent alcoholic. I pretty much hated him but felt sorry for him because of his illness so I stayed because I felt I couldn’t leave a sick person. Trouble is, he had treatment available to him but chose to keep drinking and beating. Eventually I thought fuck it, it’s your illness to get treated not mine so sink or swim asshole. BUT because of the bipolar he had the ability to go days and days on no sleep. No exaggeration but I would maybe get 3-4 hours max sleep a night, and then not consecutive. This went on for about 15 years. I was a walking zombie and exhaustion and not being able to think straight made me “hang in” there way too long. In the end I did it but I wouldn’t wish that hell on anyone.

  • sunk costs, pride, fear of failing at marriage
    worry about finances and wanting to provide well for kids
    hope of improvement fueled by sometime love bombing
    now replaced by:
    calm acceptance and knowing I tried my best and in hindsight forgave far too much and was patient over and above for far too long
    knowing one day at a time works, that being mighty is many small choices moment by moment, and it continues to get better with NC after moving on from a cheater narc

  • The biggest reason why I stayed was because the family members I turned to for support pressured me to give him the second chance he begged for.

    • How have you come to view your family now? I got the same thing. Why do you think they did that? Money? I don’t have the guts to ask, and I’m afraid bringing up the topic will cause an rift in my family, on whom o rely for support.

  • I was a victim of the “Just World Hypothesis”, a cognitive bias that good actions will be rewarded and bad actions punished.
    I kept thinking if I worked on myself, and behaved in a moral way, things would get better. But no, good actions can be punished and bad actions rewarded. It just wasn’t part of my world view at the time.

    • I, too, found out that the world isn’t just.
      That was the giant mindfuck that eclipsed all other mindfucks.

      It was a sad coming-of-age. I think about the Pearl Jam lyric “he traded magic for fact. No tradebacks.”

      Very sad.

  • So many reasons.
    My pride was high on the list. Divorce & a “broken” home wasn’t what I wanted.
    I changed up my list & now count self care as more important.
    I am worthy of more than he was giving me.
    Life is a lot better now without a cheater in the house. I’m at peace with myself now. It feels good. My kids & I are a lot happier without him.

  • Housing and schooling security for my kids (our schools are zoned). The ex used to bitch at me that I had reduced our marriage to a financial transaction. Meanwhile I discovered tens of thousands of cash withdrawals over just the last two years of our marriage after I left. Each time is day we needed to budget because of our high debt and my increasing income he’d rage at me for my spending, and I’d want to deflate the rage so wouldn’t at our account. DIDnt want to know the truth I guess

    • I got the financial rage as well.

      I am incredibly thrifty; I know how to live on a shoestring budget. My “spending sprees” cost $50 at the secondhand store.

      Yet he had me believing our inability to pay bills was entirely my fault.

      When I was unemployed and severely depressed, he accused me of being the stereotypical high-income wife who lazes around and spends gigantic wads of her husband’s money on a whim.

      The funny thing is, he did not make near enough to be the stereotypical rich husband. He was working part time for pennies. I don’t know why I didn’t realize that at the time.

      He knew I took pride in being thrifty and self-reliant. So that’s where he attacked. Later I discovered a secret credit card with nothing but fast food transactions.

      WTF?!?! You don’t put a hamburger on a credit card! After interest is calculated, that’s going to be a VERY expensive hamburger.

      The domestic violence counselor said some prostitutes will take lunch as payment. I prefer to think he was just lazy and did not bother to pack a lunch.
      Who the heck knows?
      I am just thankful to be STD free.

  • 1) Fear
    2) Sunk costs
    3)Unicorn chasing
    4) Some more fear

    Fear of starting over after 27 years of marriage, fear of being single in my 40’s. I felt like it was a waste to “give up” on my marriage for “one mistake” (therapists words, not mine). And of course thinking I had one of those freaky unicorns despite every piece of evidence to the contrary. The fear I take responsibility for. The sunk costs are partially on me and partially on the RIC and I give total credit to the RIC for everything in their unicorn grab bag. Unfortunately in 2010, Chump Lady wasn’t on the scene. With every extra year I stayed (3 in total), the less I liked him. By the time someone turned my attention to CLs website I had one foot out the door. By the end of that year, I was totally out the door.

    7 years after our divorce, I wake up every day during this crazy pandemic and thank my higher power for the fact that I am not quarantined with him! No more fear of being alone. No more fretting over sunk costs and no more unicorn chasing or pick me dancing!

  • In the beginning it was love, I believed I loved him. I believed I wronged him by not being a better person for him…. barf!!! Then after the 2nd and 3rd d-day’s, I didn’t feel I was worth anything. The lying and continual bullshit while you try to make them see how great you are, how so much better you are than the skankalicious whore. I wanted to win. I wanted to say, see he does love me more than you, not realizing that he loves no one, but himself.

    You don’t realize until much much later that you never did compare and you never did matter. They are that selfish.

    You don’t realize until much much later that you are so much better than any of them.

    If any new chumps get anything out of this Friday challenge, hopefully they will see all the similarities here, how all the pieces of shit that treated others less than, are never worth it. For some it only takes a month or two, others it takes years. Years of wasted life when you could be rebuilding your own the way you deserve. Hopefully we help other people in the situations we have been in and it helps them do what they need to do…..RUN!!!

  • Sunk costs of a 30 year “friendship”. Thinking that we are punk rock and I’ll never find another match for me that gets it like we did. Thinking we worked well together. That we are rebels and we are meant to be together. Thinking we have each other’s back and love through all the tragedies of suicide and overdose of all our friends. That we’re the only ones left and we’ll stick Together through thick and thin.

    Thinking that he must surely love out kids and our family and the “family man” he touted himself as being would never leave his family for another woman. That he’d somehow lost his mind or it’s a midlife crisis. Surely he must love me?? Surely????

  • There were two really big reasons that kept me stuck and one lesser one.

    BIG #1: GUILT. I knew that our marriage had its issues and that I had my own fixings. I started to dwell on things that I felt I had done wrong that might have driven my husband to seek company from sympathetic “friends.” I didn’t feel like I could come down on him when I felt that there were things I had done wrong. But, nothing I did compared at all to what I eventually learned that he did to us. I didn’t make him cheat. Our problems were not so bad that it warranted the destruction of the marriage.

    BIG #2: VALUES. I am Catholic and believed that my marriage, being sacramental, was basically ordained by God. I prioritized “compassion” for my cheater above my own well-being. I felt that I was being tested. My ex’s behaviour seemed so bizarre that I actually believed he was suffering with a mental health issue, or some kind of emotional crisis at least. I was trying to stay true to my vows – in sickness, in bad times, etc. I tried to maintain a “long” view of time, reminding myself that this marriage has decades ahead of itself, and that this was just a crisis that we could overcome together and be stronger for it at the end of the tunnel. The crazier things got, the stronger I grew in my resolve that I could save “us.” We would look back a this challenge later in life and be wiser for it. My fantasy was that he would see how amazing I was and be eternally grateful. Ironically, when he left me and I sought the spiritual direction of my priest, he promptly informed me that if I had let him know what was going on earlier, he never would have recommended that I tolerate the treatment that I endured.

    LESSER: Because I believed his lies for a long time. I believed that this woman was someone he had just met recently and had only done some accounting work for. I believed that he had only one to her place a couple of times where he admitted that he enjoyed her company and acknowledged that it was inappropriate. It wasn’t until he left to be with this woman that I investigate further and found out SO MUCH MORE. I just didn’t have all the information and so I was kept from making a fully informed choice. It is just another layer of selfishness in what he did to me and to our family.

    I have come to terms with all of this now that I’m approaching the 2 year, 4 month mark. My reasons above were all noble. The intention is what every good spouse should bring to a marriage. For those reasons, I don’t regret that I played the pick-me dance those last 13 months of my marriage. I just wasted the effort on the wrong person, and now I am smarter for it. In the end, I have ended up wiser after all.

  • Hear, hear!

    All I knew was that I had married my best friend and that we had 21 amazing years: 13 prior to the wedding! I thought I knew him! I loved and accepted him quirks and all: anxiety, high blood pressure, workaholic, addictive personality traits (but nothing self-destructive and showed self-control with alcohol most of the time). We loved each other and communicated fine!
    The addictions were Facebook, screens, comments about drinking to feel it, everything in large amounts, didn’t understand m moderation for anything.

    But once in a while there were strange behaviors like coming home to him drunk and in tears. Telling he how he hated his job. The first DUI in our 1st year of marriage. I asked him then if we needed to make a lifestyle change…to use this as an opportunity to address his drinking as a problem. I gave him love and support. I told him if he didn’t address this and he had a problem, this could be a deal breaker..

    Fast forward: “I am not one of those people, they lost everything, I drink to medicate myself for something else, it is the job, we’re ok!, You and our daughter are my girls and the best thing that has ever happened to me”.

    Then the 2nd DUI. Still the same lines as above. This time he started to turn dark. I thought I was dealing with an alcoholic and perhaps. I asked him to get help, cue rage. I was doing all of the work by then and he was not coming home…found out about the affair and Rage!!

    Turns out he was a sex and porn addict!!!!! It explained our entire marriage…I learned about gaslighting, manipulation, image management, projection, crazy making, etc. Found the evidence, found a therapist that told me what it was and
    I gave him grace to get help. He drops the program after the disclosure and disappeared as if I never existed. I had to make him set up visits with our daughter. I filed with the thought that he would hit rock bottom and he has punished me ever since. 3 1/2 years and still not divorced…no AA , no transparency, supervised visits with our kid, no apology. He ghosted and stonewalled and I went greyrock. Still not healing!

  • Low self-worth and what I now consider to be naive, inappropriate attachments to my marriage vows and the notion of an “intact” family. I’m still working on the self-love piece.

  • Believing the bullshit cultural messages about how it was my fault. A life time of keeping my promises no matter the cost. I said until death do us part meaning that with ever fiber of my being. Mistaking the mask I had fallen in love with for the cheating POS that wore it. Fear (totally warranted as it played out) of losing any connection to the daughter I raised from 4 years old to 14.

  • My then husband and I had come from abusive families and we were determined to have a wonderful family and do things differently.

    We were like two rats on a raft….we had beautiful children and he had a wonderful career, and I stayed home and created something that was really special.

    When I found out that he was fishing from the same pond at work and abusing his power I felt absolutely sick and horrified.

    I think I was terrified. Terrified of letting go of my family, terrified of losing the dream of retirement together, terrified of how I was I going to support myself.

    Now he has managed to turn our oldest daughter against me, has stolen all the retirement, and is giving me as little money as possible….

    I realized I loved a mirage…he was like a Ponzi schemer. He was a total fraud in every sense of the word. The worst part about it is I overheard things I cannot unhear. He was telling his Vietnamese much younger married howorker how he was hiding all of the assets. I was mortified.

    I now have a KICKASS lawyer. He is a narcissist himself. The only way to deal with a narcissist is to hire a narcissist. I have learned some very important and painful lessons. I trusted WAAAAAAYYYY too much. I hope to wiser. I am alone….with my two doggies. I go to grad school now, and its tough, but I am grateful to finally be pursing my own life. The other day I went scootering and rode my bike all over the place, I live in a downtown area, which was always a dream of mine. I felt like a kid, and that has NOT happened in 24 years. Tuesday cannot get here soon enough.

    • Wow Genie you are doing well. It a hard road but we try to play the cards we are dealt as well as we can. For us.

  • The weekend of our 41st wedding anniversary , my husband went away with OW , he felt so guilty he told me about it , I should of left him or kicked him out then, But 41 years of my life , I couldn’t believe it , I went through all the phases , , now I’m at the part I don’t care about him ,and I very much want my own life But I can’t afford it He won’t leave , he says why should he have to he has a home , which is my home to , So for now we live like friends atleast that’s what he calls us , He is still seeing her , I ignore him , trying to live separate lives , Financially I’m not able to leave , He can but won’t , Si for now I’m stuck I have never really had any money of my own , and he knows that , One day , I hope I too will find a better life .

  • After learning about my now ex-husband’s “sexual addiction”, I immediately made an appointment with a divorce attorney. He made an appointment with a sex addiction therapist and started therapy the same week I found out. The therapy office had a counselor who specialized in working with the betrayed partners. When I called for an appointment with this counselor, the only appointment he had available in the next few weeks was at the exact same time as my appointment with the divorce attorney. I thought it was a God thing (yep, I’m a chump). After getting very involved in their program, I came to believe in the power of recovery. Mine was real, my now ex-husband’s wasn’t. He used the counseling and recovery language to further manipulate and gaslight me.

    The one image that consistently kept me hanging in there with the marriage, was the image of not going to the hospital with him when our first grandchild was born. I could not imagine not doing that together. Fast forward eight years, the cheating ex has disappeared into the jungles of South America to avoid paying what he was ordered to in the divorce settlement. Neither of my now-adult kids even stay in contact with him. He has never even met my daughter’s husband. My first grandchild was born exactly two years ago. I was the one to get the call that my daughter was in labor. She had me drive to her town and bring her and her husband to the hospital. I was at the hospital when the most magical little boy ever was born. My heart did not feel one bit of emptiness or loss with my cheater-ex not being there.

  • I was so blindsided by his abhorrent deceit that I honestly couldn’t think straight for weeks. It was soul crushing. It was like I was just trying to grab hold of anything to keep myself together, including him. Those were ugly and dark days. The fear of not having a job, a home and loss of someone who was supposed to love and protect me, crippled me. I knew life would never be the same and I think a part of me just blacked it out to function.

    I swear Tracy, you and CN saved me. You were truly the only ones who understood cheating and gas-lighting is abuse. I hope you set up Venmo one day.

    • I could have written those words …

      Total Devastation

      Trauma – mental emotional and physical

      Felling of absolute disorientation for months afterwards

      The battle to hold myself together for the children

      The feeling of just wanting to end it all

      The numbness of it all

      The slog every Single day to try to get back to a feeling normal

      The 2 stone weight loss In 2 months as a result of the shock

      Lost in a vat of despair

      Until I found chumplady & chump nation who slam dunked me into getting my backbone back & me back and to fight for ME. And to SEE the entitled narcissist I had married…

      What kept me stuck – not finding chump
      Lady quick enough. That was the defining moment for me . I suddenly saw my life through a different clearer lens….

  • I stayed for 15 years of cheating probably somewhere over 20 women. I stayed because I had 3 young children that I had put thru a the mosr horrific abusive marriage and divorce. I coulsn’t even fathom going thru another divorce. Then I got pregnant. He was a recovering alcoholic. And had mastered the manipulation and gaslighting and serial cheating. He is PHD narcissist.

  • I had invested heart and soul into him for 14 years of marriage and I was not letting it all go down without a fight. I didn’t want to lose everything that I put into us and our life together. I loved him so much… Plus, we lost our only child, and I did not want us to lose each other too. Losing him too would have been too much to endure.

    After seven months of stringing me along with a false reconciliation, he moved out and never looked back. They say when a narcissist leaves you, he does you a favor. I am looking at it now in this light.

    But the loss of our daughter and now losing him as well (as dysfunctional as he was/is), I find myself battling depression every day, feeling all alone and I have NOT ONE THING to show for the last 14 years. I am literally starting from square one at 54 years old. My worst nightmare did indeed happen… But I am at peace knowing that I did everything I could possibly do to save everything we had built.

    It was his choice to cheat. His choice to future-fake with me for seven months. His choice to move out. His choice to never look back. He is so checked out that he would not even file for divorce. He left that mess up to me.

    • I’m almost 54, starting over from scratch so I feel your pain. My husband didn’t file either I did it.

    • Sending you great big hugs Lady Victory. I know from experience, losing a child is a loss that is beyond painful and takes a long time to even begin to recover from.

      Just know it does gradually get better. Please be gentle with your self. I will be keeping you in my prayers.

      • Thank you so much Tessie. Such sweet words. And I will keep you, and all of us, in my prayers. LV

  • I fully believed it was a midlife crisis and he would come to his senses! He truly loved me. It was a blip. Therapy would save us, and I just needed to be a supportive wife.

    Yeah, no. Eventually I found out he lied all throughout marriage counselling and the marriage counselor knew he was lying and helped him cover up. That was fun!

    It wasn’t a midlife crisis. It as a serious lack of character.

    • Swiss Chump: I dont trust marriage counselor at all. Do you finally left?

      • I wish i hadn’t trusted her. She did, incidentally, apologize to me after I decided to divorce and said no more with her.

  • Stuck for all of the above, love, vows, loyalty, family, and just not cognitively being able to accept that level of betrayal. It just does not compute.

    The biggest reason, I now realize is selfish: I could not give up seeing my boy half time. He’s still so little.

    That bastard robbed me of any more child bearing years, any “good” physical years to have a real family with a real man. Destroyed my world view, any sense of safety I ever had, has put me in near poverty, and now has stolen my kid from me. I did all the parenting before but he cheats and is now entitled to parent.

    All those years of watching my boy grow are gone, reduced to 50%

    Just missed watching him learn how to ride his bike without training wheels.

    There is nothing in this world I want other than my family and I can’t have that So what’s the point? I’ve tried to get the life, but you know what I had a life.

    How do you train yourself to want something else? What replaces family?

    I’ve done ALL the things: therapy (lots), meetups, book clubs, wall climbing clubs, Pilates, lost weight, strength training, journaling, Cooking, got a dog, boxing, meditation, photography… what else can I try?

    It will always suck, it Will always hurt. We just wait for it to suck a little less? That’s what I shave to look forward to? Being alive is over rated. You can be a good kind loyal loving honest person (as you all know) and it just doesn’t matter. None of it matters. I’m sick of playing by the rules and getting kicked in the teeth.

    • Fearful&loathing, you make an excellent point when you ask, how do we train ourselves to want something else? What replaces family? All of the book clubs and pilates will never fill that void for me too.

      I don’t want to settle for Plan B for my life, but that’s exactly what has happened and what I’m being forced to do.

      We played by the rules and got burned. No good deed goes unpunished. My spiritual belief in God has helped me in this area greatly, because I may not see justice now, but it’s coming. God is keeping score, and I will have to wait, but these wrongs will be righted someday. Patience. I wish you peace in your heart, ((((Fearful&loathing)))).

      • I want justice. He took 30 years of my life and what am I supposed to do ditch my teens to date? Start over? Unlikely so I get some cats and call it a day I guess. Been crying a lot today. This sucks that he gets it all while I decorate my cardboard box.

    • We learn that the’ ideal family’ unit is not the only way to live. Some people never marry yet have fantastic lives. Yes it bites not seeing our children every day. But living with a liar is not sustainable. Sometimes we just need to exist and enjoy the small things in life.
      My cousin’s long awaited grandchild unexpectedly has cystic fibrosis. This child if lucky will live to 37. Can you imagine the strength it will take HIM and his parents to live THAT life? A divorce and shared custody is hard, but not that hard.

  • I understand you completely. I have the same grief and pain. He plays dirty nasty mental games. He has our children withholding information from me. Don’t tell mom, I’m afraid she’ll ….. (fill in a load of BS from the silver tongued Disney daddy here.). It sucks. He sucks. I live with spies, literally. They report back to him when they go to him for his custody time. I then get horrible texts, emails and phone calls about the new supply of information he has received. It is a living hell! My children believe it is okay to lie and disrespect me. I have tried to setup boundaries. I have started crying in front of them in sheer frustration. They say I’m stupid, mean, etc. I know they are merely parroting what he’s telling them. It doesn’t lessen the blows. He’s been out of the house 7 months. The campaign has surged in strength and I am drowning. I am pushing back with documentation. Here’s the texting about this event. Here’s the custody paperwork. Read it. Do your own research about what a parent should do about C! You have an iPad. Look it up for yourself. You don’t have to believe me. Read it for yourself.

    • Chicken chump it is so hard not to blame the kids. But they are being abused by his behavior. I hope you and the kids can see a therapist and they can explain to the kids that telling tales about one parent to another harmful. My kids live with my ex. They both ditched me when they came of age. I thought it was the end of the world. But it isn’t. I miss them, but not the abuse.

      • Mitz, I’m not blaming them. I understand why they are doing it. I’m putting up boundaries as to acceptable behaviors in my home. I have told them they are worthy of what I am going through. That this will eventually end when the younger one graduates from high school. Until then I will not accept this type of abuse from them in my home. I have been called awful names to my face. They literally do not help me at all like they did when Disney daddy lived here. They used to do chores. Not anymore, yet I’m still a mean, evil, rude, angry, impolite woman who they are afraid of. Words they have literally said to me this month. I have 8 more years of incarceration.

  • For me, I was a full-time stay at home Mum of 3, with two of those three being little babies, when he finally left my youngest was just newly 3 years old. What I didn’t know even then is that he had been cheating on me for literally years with different women as he had been moving us around the country. One of the things that him leaving and the last few years since he has been gone has brought home to me is that I live life in a fearful frame of mind. I am afraid of how I will cope, I am afraid I will lose my job (even though they LOVE me at my job) I am afraid that I will fail which keeps me trapped in procrastination, I am afraid that I will not measure up, I am afraid that I will screw up my kids, my life…. I am always afraid. And THAT is what kept me in an abusive relationship with a constant cheater who raped me on the regular. THAT is what needs to change.

    • Alice I just watched some YouTube videos in abuse both physical and emotional. Not enough goes into emotional abuse and it doesn’t have to be screaming swearing name calling. It’s so much more… her name is Stephanie Lyn

  • In a word–fear. Fear of being alone. Fear of not being able to do things by myself. Fear of being viewed as a failure. Fear that I was not good enough. I found out he was cheating on me (with both men and women) about 2 months after our son was born and a year after we started dating–yep your math is not wrong there. He conned me into swinging for about 5years which I never really wanted to do and had led to some very difficult personal walls to bring down now that I’m out and in a new relationship. I found out at multiple junctures that he was still stepping out on his own, mostly with men and every time, fear kept me there. This last time though, he “fell in love” with a woman. And he still says he didn’t want us to split, but I guess thought I’d be okay with not getting sex myself (hadn’t in 4 years at that point) and being his servant while he has cake. And to be honest, for about 2 weeks after, I thought I was going to find a way to do that. Then the 3 of us went to dinner and I saw how he interacted with her…in a way he NEVER did with me. And the switch flipped. I knew my marriage was over and it had long been over. When he found out I was seeing other people here lost his shit and I saw the person he really had been the entire time but I lied to myself about. My papers have been filed and fear, though it tries to creep up every now and then, no longer rules my decision making.

  • I’m still here… quarantined together for 53 days. We had a couple of weeks of fights and all out war once I shared my attorney’s draft of the separation agreement. He was furious and playing every card to control me including withholding his paycheck after he quit his job and didn’t contribute for 3 months. He apologized and said he wanted us to be able to live in peace together, so we called a truce right before COVID hit.

    There is nothing I can do about anything right now… we’re getting along, you would think we’re back to before I knew what a piece of shit he is. After 18 years he robbed me of everything good I should have cultivated. It still hurts but the abuse I’ve gone through the last 6 months since he cruelly confessed hurt more.

    So here I am getting my ducks in a row, waiting for Tuesday to come.

    • I am also together with my husband. He admits to cheating for the second “round” I’ll call it. The first time was while dating. Now he says it was six years ago. We got married 6.5. That’s not ok. He’s been a nice guy. Very helpful around the home and always contributed. Although he’s self employed and we can’t plan ahead much. I helped take care of his child for nearly 10 years now. I’ve done my best with what I had to work with. I never suspected any cheating along the way just a few little lies and certain forms of betrayal that weren’t devastating but still hurt. I was t looking for perfection but knew there had to be some ground rules here. Once he confessed I realized knowing that on top of forgiving him once, that had to be it.
      I know how hard it was the first time around with healing especially because it’s his daughters mom.
      I wish you both peace and healing and to find your way into your own new healthy life.

    • Le petit chump: same for me. Betrayal for many years but found out for 2 years. 36 years married. 40 together.
      I am 60 years now. Moved away to own apartment for 3 month. Then come Covid and I became very insecure if I manage to be alone. I also love him. Go back and now live together again. Still hurts a lot. Can’t forget all lies and betrayals over years. My live was not the way I thought. Its a big grief and shock. But want my life left. Adult children I want to have their family left.
      So I try all I can. I trust and know that the OW not still in. My HB says it is many years it happened, but still in contact when I found out. But then they only met as friends for the latest years he says. I have difficulties to believe in all the story. But can’t leave either because now he try and in many ways have changed a lot to the better. I also take a lot of blame. I hope you manage and take care.

      • That is so sad. I found myself doing the same thing recently. Overthinking and analyzing all the parts in this marriage that are my fault. The problem is, even if I get angry and yell at him time to time- did that equal what he did with his ex? More than once? While I take care of their kid? I feel so sad and sore inside but it’s a matter of changing your thinking., pushing yourself to be strong. Even at 60. I’m 44 and afraid to go that long and regret. Take one day at a time????Watch YouTube about emotional abuse please. And pray

        • Thanks Shan! I pray a lot and even friends of my. I think maybe that the cause I still left. I know about emotional abuse. But still have difficulties to think it is that level.
          But I not sure of anything nowadays.

  • My STBXH gave me a D day and 5 months later was rebaptized on live stream with his Smoopie in the front row. The pastor said some men can’t be alone and I had filed so the divorce would happen for sure. He was my second cheating husband. What kept me the second time was that he lied so well and had me doing a pick me dance when I didn’t even know there was someone or rather many others with him. He just got arrogant, mean and entitled. He also has a bipolar diagnosis so I believed all this behavior was his mental health crashing. Never affairs. I’m a nurse so felt sorry for his mood swings and thought I WAS THE ONLY ONE who understood him
    That is what kept me. Without No Contact I don’t think I could have made the break. There waa a visceral invisible connection of me to him, not him to me. There was severe Cognitive dissonance which is horrible as the heart and mind don’t agree. The there was guns and rage. I must have been so needy. I did beg my first husband on my knees with my newborn in my arms but that did not touch him at all.My second husband had zero pity and that cold stare. My therapist said I would be hid victim so I locked him out and filed. My therapist was right. I’m still in the process of a divorce but it saved my life.

  • Why do I feel bad for them? Him and his daughter… where will they go? With everyone loving him how would they understand my decision to finally leave? And him repeatedly saying how long ago the offense(s) were… seems like everyone is fine except me. I am swallowing pain as I should’ve known I would. I did have an inkling it would end up this way but I figured I’d squeeze whatever therapy, feelings, or information I could get out of him. His stance is that one day I’ll have to let this go. He is right. I just don’t know if that includes him

  • >
    %d bloggers like this: