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Escape After D-Day — ‘Should I Move?’

Dear Chump Lady,

Shortly after New Year’s I accidentally found an email in our computer I couldn’t believe at first sight. The 31-year-old woman whom I had lived together with for 8 years, the woman I married 1 year and a half before that D-day, was cheating on me with another married man. He’s 10 years older, a public figure (a politician) that she started working for 6 months before the affair started. He’s got 3 kids, one of them just a few months old.

When I found the email, I was with my wife at home and decided to confront her immediately. She seemed more worried about how I heard or who told me about it, than remorseful. So I immediately kicked her out of home; I didn’t know she wouldn’t ever come back. I was going through a very stressful time at work (and probably an existential crisis) before the cheating, which were used against me by her a couple of times when we met to discuss the situation afterwards.

I now understand that all she was doing was blameshifting and gaslighting. But at the time I couldn’t fight back with good arguments since I was very sad. The funny thing is that we had talked about infidelity many times, sometimes even sharing our surprise of how commonplace it was among some of our friends. We did not only sign a legal commitment on our wedding, but most importantly an explicit verbal agreement as a couple that should we fall in love with someone else, we would tell each other before hurting ourselves harder.

Well, she broke the deal. She had sex with the other man on our couch, in his office, in an apartment… But of course the emotional cheating was the hardest thing. They shared meals, confidences about their marriages, etc. I can’t believe all this happen just weeks after we were talking about being ready to have children and what would be the best time to do it.

We spent Christmas and New Year’s at my hometown and she even facetimed him from my parents’. She pretended with my family as if nothing was going on. She also kept living with me as if nothing was happening. We even went furniture shopping during the affair. But the day I found out about the infidelity she swore she was planning to tell me in two days (after I had finished my Master’s thesis, which she was helping me with). The other man promised her he would leave his wife, which 5 months later he hasn’t done yet of course. Oh, I’d like so much to have a conversation with that woman…

The split-up has been the easiest part. Even though she was extremely hesitant the days after I found out, I told her I needed to know whether she wanted to try fix things with me or divorce and be with him. I needed her to be sorry before I could consider to fight for our marriage. First she told me she wasn’t sure of what she was doing, but when we met for the fourth and last time after the D-day, she told me she was in love with him, so I decided to go the divorce route.

I found a very good therapist who told me he didn’t think I should pursue any attempt of reconciliation, considering her first reaction was blameshifting and not regretting, but instead work on my “Meh”. He shares many views with you, although he strongly believes forgiveness has healing properties. I now don’t need her anymore, in fact I just strongly need to stop hearing about her.

The worst part has been the “no contact”, the legal shit and coping with our friends’ position. Because of my work in media, I must constantly hear of my hopefully-soon-to-be-ex-wife and her lover (and even see him on TV). My co-workers meet with her on a regular basis or talk to her on the phone sitting next to me. This is a small place and both my wife and her lover have an extremely good reputation in the community. Me, I left my hometown where I have all my closest friends and my small family to start a new family with her. I am 5-hours and a border away from my loved ones. Then the Covid-19 started and I haven’t been able to see my family in 6 months. My in-laws, who live close-by, were like parents to me. Now I have only spoken to my mother-in-law a couple of times by phone. She was extremely supportive, but of course, their daughter is their daughter.

Also, there’s the divorce… I can’t believe us, Chumps, have to be the ones to push that agenda. The laws in this country are not the same as in the US. We will save a lot of money, time and pain if we jointly file for the divorce. She agreed to do that, but she asked for time to get “financially and mentally ready”. She’s been very busy with the Covid-19 situation at work and hasn’t got back to my lawyer and me about the divorce yet. So after so many months I’m starting to think about going the unfriendly unilateral way.

So everything feels like a nightmare I should escape from. I have gone through a pandemic living alone for the first time in my life, I don’t have my loved ones here and I now hate my job because of the connection to my hopefully-soon-to-be ex-wife. The few friends I have in this place don’t have a problem meeting me and providing activities to do, which is fine. However they feel like “she didn’t do nothing wrong to them”, so they keep also meeting her when they are not with me. It’s all very painful. Why not having a public and unanimous support hurts so much?

Sometimes I feel like leaving my job and going back to the hometown I left 12 years ago, where I still have a few old friends and a small family. At least I wouldn’t be hearing about her all the time. My shrink tells me I should wait, until I feel I am strong again, because now I would be only running away from something and not consciously planning my life. I’m also scared that I won’t easily find another job — considering the financial crisis — and I feel like I will be sadly living again with my parents being jobless at 34.

My therapist recommended watching the movie “Conversations with God” which didn’t help much. I certainly have already had enough but haven’t heard a single word from heaven yet… I really need my Tuesday.

What should I do?

Chump Far From Home

Dear Chump Far From Home,

Tell your shrink it’s OKAY to run away from bad things. Sensible even! If a tornado hit, would he RUN away from it? Yes, there is a pandemic right now, but there’s also YOUR crisis. And some places feel safer than other places. I totally understand why you’d want to be home surrounded by people who truly love you.

Considering a move now doesn’t make you a loser or a quitter. It makes you a man in crisis looking for shelter.

My shrink tells me I should wait, until I feel I am strong again, because now I would be only running away from something

Or maybe you’d be running TO something — authentic people.

Maybe “feeling stronger” right now is having a base of trusted people, instead of having to take your very wobbly post-D-Day self and wade through a bunch of strangers, at your most vulnerable, looking for support.

and not consciously planning my life.

A move is generally very consciously planned. It involves boxes and tape, and cancelling utilities and leases. It’s not something you do sleepwalking.

I’m also scared that I won’t easily find another job — considering the financial crisis — and I feel like I will be sadly living again with my parents being jobless at 34.

Look, you might be living with your parents at 34. The attitude with which you do it (if you do it) is up to you. Sad. Temporarily set back. Liberated. It might be all these things. You have to weigh the benefits (new start around people who love you) with the risks. (How soon until I find work? What kind of work?) But you absolutely do not need to tip the scales with shame and self-loathing.

I don’t know your financial situation, or your particular job skills, but I do know from running this blog and reading hundreds of thousands of chump stories — chumps get up again.

You have navigated the biggest shit show of your life. You’ve been dealt a life-altering trauma. And you’re being amazing. You are FIVE MONTHS out from D-Day! You’re showing up to work! You’re initiating a divorce! You’ve got a therapist! Sir, you are killing it.

You have the grit to take on ANYTHING after surviving this. A move. A job hunt. ANYTHING. Very few things in life will be as hard as what you’re dealing with now. So take comfort from that. Many people are never tested.

So if you want to go, make a plan. Maybe you live off savings for X months. Maybe you go back to school and consider a different profession. Maybe you retool the profession you have. Get a transfer with your existing job? I think chumps will succeed at most things because they are USED to being the Get Shit Done people in their personal lives. They work hard — but they’ve directed their energies to the wrong causes — reconciling with fuckwits.

You’re free of a fuckwit, so chart a new course. That makes you BRAVE. NOT a loser.

I now hate my job because of the connection to my hopefully-soon-to-be ex-wife. The few friends I have in this place don’t have a problem meeting me and providing activities to do, which is fine. However they feel like “she didn’t do nothing wrong to them”, so they keep also meeting her when they are not with me.

These people are not your friends. What activities are they providing? Back stabbing? Yard darts?

You do not SHARE THE SAME VALUES. You’ve got empathy. They don’t. They’re getting a contact high from your drama. Cut these people OUT. Don’t sit next to them. Don’t drink with them. What a pack of vultures!

The other man promised her he would leave his wife, which 5 months later he hasn’t done yet of course. Oh, I’d like so much to have a conversation with that woman…

We will save a lot of money, time and pain if we jointly file for the divorce. She agreed to do that, but she asked for time

Oh hey, here’s an idea. Have your lawyer depose (or threaten to depose) her affair partner. That tends to get settlement talks moving.

Get your divorce, and then tell the other chump.

Whatever you choose, wherever you live, you have the tenacity to make a better life for yourself. But first lose the losers. Big hugs (( Far From Home)).

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Joint friends? Not possible if they don’t share the same values as you, namely that lying and cheating are dealbreakers. Who wants to be friends with people who support backstabbers?

    Along with your new life, develop new friendships. That will help on your Journey to Meh.

    • “Friends” that
      feel like “she didn’t do nothing wrong
      to them”, so they keep also meeting her ..,

      Talk about the tip of the yikesberg! Would the ‘friends’ stand and shrug as they watched her torch a neighbor’s house? Would the ‘friends’ have a chatty phone call with the arsonist while having dinner with the Now homeless neighbor?

      They are not your friends they are despicable.

  • Tell the other Chump! She deserves to know. However, don’t expect her reaction to be gratitude. A lot of chumps are in denial at first and more than often you’ll be a soft target for their rage.
    Nevertheless she deserves to know.
    Hugs from me. Be mighty my friend. Good luck and let us know how things are going. We’re here to support you.

    • That! After first D-Day I have immediately contacted my husband’s lover’s fiance. And he said: “Please don’t write to me, it makes me upset, I will talk about it with my fiancee”..I was totally shocked. If he cooperated we would have both our partners caught a long time ago…

      • I contacted the wife of the man my XW had a two year long affair years ago with and she said: “why are you contacting me now?”, “once a cheater, always a cheater”, “don’t contact me ever again”.

        No thank you, I’m sorry, etc. I am glad I told her though. Have a clean conscience.

        • Poor chumps. They prefer to live an illusion instead of face the truth…What a waste of time…But it is their decision.

    • I agree and I also think this man’s constituents should be informed that this “family man” is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I know, I know, nobody cares anymore, or at least that is the current mantra. In my opinion, this information is something I would want to know when considering whether to vote for him.

      Besides, why should the two of these cheaters keep their sterling reputation? He has put himself in the public eye and the public deserves to know he is a fraud. I bet the minute this information becomes public, other women will come forward with their own stories about how this man has used his position as his personal Tinder account. What he is doing is not okay!

      I know, I know, my attitude is not very meh, but if this patently improper conduct is not outed, this man will continue his dishonest conduct, at taxpayer expense. Years down the line, people will ask why no one came forward to expose him. Perhaps if his wife learns of her husband’s betrayal, she will join you in outing these two frauds.

      Regardless, any public figure who seeks the sexual favors of a subordinate should be immediately exposed. They have voluntarily put themselves in an elected position and are abusing the public trust. Even though the relationship may, on the surface, appear “voluntary”, this slime bucket could also potentially be on liable for sexual harassment; as her boss he is clearly using his position to obtain sexual favors and the courts do not look too kindly on that.

      • The husband of the OW in my situation was a friend. I contacted him months after the first D-Day when we both found out when I knew they were sneaking around again. His reply? “It’s time we trust them.” I thought to myself, “You do you, but I’m done.”

        I divorced my cheater and about a year later the OW’s husband contacted me and wanted to borrow all the proof I had. I told him I’d share everything. However, by then he needed new dirt so he paid to dig it up for himself. And his divorce was kicked into hyper drive when they called my ex in for a deposition.

        Tell the spouse of the other person if you want, but don’t go into that expecting any kind of satisfaction. Everyone processes being betrayed differently. The OW’s husband pick-me-danced far longer than did I and was financially screwed because of it. I suspect that if he could go back, he’d have done things differently.

        • And, to answer the question, “Should I move?” You’ll get lots of counsel saying you shouldn’t make big changes too quickly. I understand the reasoning because it’s harder to make wise choices when your head is spinning. However, sometimes you just need to get the heck out of Dodge. I did. My kids and I moved a couple hundred miles away as quickly as possible. That town was way too small for the principals of their adultery drama to not run into each other on the regular. I’m sure I would still be walking in circles if I hadn’t gotten as far away as possible. Moving was my second best decision–the first was to leave the cheater.

          • I agree. If moving is feasible, it can do wonders for the soul. Plus you don’t have to worry about bumping into the cheaters.

      • The chump works in media with people who KNOW his wife is fucking a politician running for office. They don’t care.

        The ones who will care, are working the campaign for his opponent. They should be told….

    • Same here. I contacted the husband of the OW. First he didn’t believe me. Then he would email and ask me more questions and get pissed when I responded, then told me to stop telling him anything. lol

      Then I watched via Facebook while he got into a relationship with a girl who supposedly was a friend of his wife, while our divorces were in progress. It was a train wreck. I wanted no part of that so, I just crept away shaking my head.

      Hopefully he’s happy now. I suspect he was dancing and trying to get her jealous at the same time. Who knows . . .

    • Beware of contacting the AP’s spouse. There may already be a cover story in place.
      My XW set me up to not believe her co-workers when I got an anonymous call about her fuckbuddy at work. She was new at this school and had been telling me about how they were jealous of her and were spreading rumors to get her in trouble. I, be a dutifully suportive husband and chump in training” backed her up.
      Looking back, this was a piece of a puzzle that was slowly falling into place.
      I only wish the caller had the balls to use their name. That would have been credible.

      • I got a suspicious call real early in the marriage. I tried to get the guy to give me information, his name, etc. He would not do it. Husband wrote it off as a prank call from one of the guys at work. Yeah now it’s just another fishy story that makes you go hmmmm. If you do contact the OM’s spouse, try to be as credible as possible. They may not want to hear what you’re saying but you have tried.

        • I got a message from someone on Facebook saying he saw sexting between his wife and my then fiance. When I responded (an hour and a half later) asking if he could tell me what he saw or send it to me, he never responded back. It would be almost 4.5 years later that my DDay came. And it wasn’t that dude’s wife, it was someone else’s wife. I’m sure there were a myriad in between.

          Had that guy stuck around to respond to me, I would’ve saved many years. So, yes, credibility (and verifyability) is important, otherwise the chump stays stuck. I had no one to turn to so I asked my fiance about it. His response, “We’re just friends. Her husband is the jealous type.” GRRRR!

          • My “deep throat” was told by his girlfriend to take cell pix and a video, which he emailed from a dummy account after sending a tester email to see how much I wanted to know. I found and retained an attorney within 18 hours.

            Deep throat remained anonymous but followed up over the course of several weeks because he had heard– just like the OW– that one of my sons was chronically ill, that I’d been out of the workforce for ages to caretake and was a sitting duck for financial abuse, and because the OW was rumored to be secretly trying to get pregnant as a strategy expedite divorce. Not so secret of course since mate poachers have no real friends and gossip is currency in the bimbo ghetto.

            The deep throat was a smart kid. I didn’t mind that he remained anonymous since he handed me legally acquired, admissible evidence. As he put it, people have been run down in parking lots for less but he was offended by being burdened with dangerous, dirty secrets and felt compelled to tell me.

    • Dear Chump Far From Home…. I too have been and are still going through exactly where you have been. I was blind sighted from my so called happy perfect life when my serious live in ex was fucking his ho-worker! I will never get the full truth. I tried my best to get all info, but no way was he going to tell me. So I moved out immediately! I did ask him to go sleep on his 45′ sailboat and I get the condo until I can save up enough to move out. He said, a big fat NO to me! Ok so next alternative was for me to leave that night. There is no was I was sleeping that fight! I was an excellent girlfriend! And he used and abused my kindness and took me for granted. I left at 3 am to my moms house 30 min away, Is It scary. FINALLY after 8 months I am happy mostly. Albeit living with my mom age 40 is so embarrassing, I get it. But it is so temporal. And this entitled asshole and his twattwaffle enjoyed their secret love affair. We all feel badly for relying on out parents but they chose to waste it all on retired.No contact is so inmortant. I told my closest friends the truth! I hate and feae going on. Thank for CL and CN! Follow us every day! Its definitely speeds up the healing!:)

  • You should go nuclear here right now. COVID or not, she signs the papers TODAY on your terms or you will go to his wife and the media.

    • That won’t sound good in a courtroom.
      This politician will have legal assets beyond yours that can fight you. Give them a quiet, legal way to keep this out of the spotlight by allowing your attorney handle it. The potential of a deposition will be forefront in their minds.

  • Don’t let her control your agenda or timeline.

    Most of us made that mistake and it just causes extra pain and drags things out. Start looking at it from the perspective of “what’s in it for me” – you don’t owe her anything.

    It’ll be tough. Part of what made us chumps is that we are generally compassionate and helpful people.

    BT

    • Good point, don’t wait and let them control the decisions and pace. I waited around and was ghosted for almost 4 months thru all of the holidays and I was thinking she was having second thoughts about leaving and was missing me. Meanwhile she was getting all of her ducks in a row, enjoying the holidays with her family and friends while I sat with my kids alone and then one afternoon she blindsided me with an email that “she was ready to move forward with mediation” and gave me 2 appointment dates to pick from and BTW, you and the kids better be off my health insurance in a week or I’m canceling it. Same woman who texted me her confession after DDay #2 while I was sitting at work….I should have expected the scumbag move but doesn’t hurt and shock any less.

  • Far from Home,
    We’ve all been in your shoes one way or another. A lot of us Chumps go home and live with our parents to get back on our feet…..and, it’s ok! Listen to CL – Ditch the losers, depose the affair partner, surround yourself with people who genuinely care about you and gain a life! If you choose to go back home….it’s ok! After you regain your footing, things get better and you can get a place of your own. I have and my life is better than ever before. Big hugs💗💗. You’ve got this!

  • Dear Chump, first do what you need to do to get the divorce done. Forget waiting on her. Go the “unfriendly”route and get it started today. She has shown no consideration for you. Get this done so you can move forward with your life. Second make the arrangements to go home. CL is right. You need to be near people who love you. The people around you are not your friends. I hope you have saved all of the evidence you found. When the divorce is final also do what CL suggested and tell his wife and send her the proof. She deserves to know the truth. You are very young. You will be ok and you will recover. When you get home you will have time to think about what you what to do with your career. First things first. Get the wheels in motion today for the divorce and no longer listen to her.

    • Indeed. Deceivers often use that “friendly” argument to manipulate those they harm into going easy on them once they get caught. The cheater certainly didn’t pick a “friendly” route to pursue the cheating. The cheater was cruel and calculating and sneaky and caused a lot of harm.

      You know what’s friendly? Not punching people who put your life at risk seems pretty friendly. Not trying to systematically destroy the cheater’s public image for revenge is pretty friendly. Not burning the cheater’s house down is really friendly — especially because, in essence, that’s what the cheater did to the marriage.

      There’s nothing unfriendly about filing to divorce a cheater. Compared to what we could do to them but don’t do to them, it’s downright congenial!

    • This. File. She’s just going to drag things out, so do the “unfriendly” thing. She is not your friend!

  • Regarding forgiveness: I, too, find it extremely therapeutic and healing. Here’s how, specifically.

    Forgiveness, to me, is not about forgiving the person or the person’s actions. In fact, it is best accomplished in the total absence of the person who harmed mem

    Forgiveness, to me, is like forgiving a debt. You realize the debtor will never fulfill the agreement, so you write off the bad debt. You refuse to ever extend your credit to that debtor again because that debtor is a proven bad risk. You seek out any available remedies without expecting the debtor to provide anything voluntarily. And, in fact, you don’t even allow the debtor to absolve any portion of their default by scrambling crappy remedies together after the fact.

    In short, to forgive a cheater, you remove the cheater from your life and stop expecting — or even wanting –anything from the cheater. The forgiveness IS the meh, the no contact, the complete shedding of the cheater and total restart in a better place.

    Your therapist says it’s too soon to leave when the rest of you feels it’s what’s right for you? Perhaps your therapist needs your “forgiveness”, too. (That can be hard to accept, but like anyone, therapists are often good at some things but not others. The person who was right for you until now may not be the best person to support you through the next phase. You’re a customer of your therapist. It’s ok to select a new one at any time.)

    The key is, what do YOU need to get solid and be ok? As far as we know, we get one life on this earth. You get to spend yours in the ways that work best for you. Sounds like where you are does a shit job of working well for you. I’m on Team You, and I say, go to where the love is. 💚

    • Please don’t talk about forgiveness at this point. This poor man has enough on his plate. He can think about that later when he has had time and space. I did not need the forgiveness spiel (spiel is a lengthy, often glib talk that’s intended to persuade or make excuses.) at the beginning because I was busy trying to stand up and breath. I did not need to be responsible for one more thing. I don’t care how you define forgiveness. Go at righteous indignation to get through the shit show. Then when the dust settles you can think about how you come to some peace.

      • 1) I was speaking about the therapist’s statement in the original letter: “He shares many views with you, although he strongly believes forgiveness has healing properties.” I didn’t raise the topic as a standalone to lecture anyone about cheating. (You might notice that in the same statement I suggested considering a different therapist.)

        2) Please don’t tell other people whether and when it is ok to express ourselves when we aren’t trolling or being mean. This is an online forum. As such, there are always varied and differing ideas being presented. Some will work for you, others won’t, and that’s the same for me. It isn’t your place, or mine, to decide whether a topic should be discussed. That honor is reserved for Chump Lady and Tempest. (I would not even address this if I had been vitriolic or otherwise clearly mean, but I was neither of those things.)

        I know people have a lot of stuff around the word “forgiveness”. I do, too. Some people find that reframing it in an empowered way (one that doesn’t depend on making nice with an abuser) is helpful to them. Some don’t. I won’t ask you to change your mind, but I will ask you to let each of us decide for ourselves.

        • Amiisfree,
          I was in particular need of your post regarding forgiveness today. I took a screen shot of it as soon as I read it.
          All the chumps on the site are in different need of various pearls of wisdom at different times. Four years out, I need a concrete way of responding to people who talk to me about forgiveness. Your metaphor about debt will help me speak calmly and clearly.

            • Love and thanks to all of you for this love and these kind words! I am always glad if anything I share is helpful. 💚⭐

        • Amiisfree. No disrespect intended. I just think forgiveness is thrown around too readily. It feels like one more thing we chumps get wrong if we don’t want or feel it. It can be a weapon to excuse bad behavior. I’m accused of being bitter if I won’t forgive. I will never heal if I don’t forgive. I won’t move on if I don’t forgive. Right now it feels like being told to suck it up. Truly heinous behavior should not be forgiven. Set the idea of forgiveness aside and don’t feel guilty…maybe it comes one day, but give it time.

          • I understand perfectly booth Amisfree and Spoonriver. You are both top on – different periods. For now more of Spoonriver in my case. In future (now 2 years) maybe Amisfree ☺️👌!

          • Spoonriver – I’m with you and I’m six years past divorce.
            I will NEVER forgive!
            Fuck that.
            I do think the word means different things to different people and, for me, it means letting him off the hook.
            I’m pissed and that’s it.
            I believe in a spiritual power but I sure as hell don’t believe in that word, concocted in the 2nd testament, that makes me doubt my own sanity for the sake of ~~what?~~ letting them off the hook?
            If I see the assholes again, I will feel more forgiveness if I chop their legs off at the knee and will try to tourniquet the edges.
            I won’t die happy until I fail!

        • I loved the bit about forgiveness. I copied and pasted it in my saved chumplady / getting-over-cheater posts that have motivated me. I like the way you look at it. And loved the way you say to “ forgive” the therapist. Which is to let him go. Move on. Be the best you that you can be. That’s the forgiveness that works for me.

    • I agree with you about forgiveness and debt. My cheater will never ASK forgiveness, let alone REPENT. Repentance means to stop doing what he is doing that hurts me. To forgive his “pain debt” to me is about setting myself free. It is a very good goal to have and really what “MEH” means in a nutshell. I have left him, but still in the divorce process, so “meh” isn’t happening because no contact has not been achieved. But, I can still be moving towards forgiving the debt of the years that I lost to a loser.

    • I wasn’t able to revisit until today, but I appreciate all of the perspectives shared here. I think it is important that we have both similar and differing experiences and that we all get to share them so we can all find new perspectives to help us grow. Thanks to all who spoke their own truths and gave one another space to speak theirs.

    • I too took a screen shot of your post b/c it resonated with me where I am today, Amiisfree.

      I needed those words!

  • Man, this was like a punch in my gut when I read it. My DDay #1 came a year after our honeymoon. I applaud you for your courage and strength to ask her to leave. You may not realize it, but that took tremendous strength and fortitude to do. As well documented on this site, including my own story, we are often so blindsided by what occurs that we immediately start the pick-me-dance to win back our cheating spouse, we sit there in tears accepting all of the blame, shame and guilt of making our spouses cheat on us. Almost every time, there is a DDay #2 or 3 or 4. It doesn’t always happen the next week or month, sometimes not for years. Mine happened to occur 10 months after DDay #1. These people that do not take responsibility for their actions will find a way to do it again and often when their affair comes to an abrupt end after getting caught, they take it further underground. DDay #1 is a horrific trauma and experience but DDay #2 is mentally and emotionally catastrophic.
    Remember how strong you are for standing up for yourself in the face of chaos. It appears from your post that you have a good sense of seeing thru the blame shifting and gaslighting that always occurs. I think from the onset, you are already 10 steps ahead of many Chumps.
    Chump Lady’s advice is on point, push ahead, run and leave if you have to. Find a place, a job, a home and people who are not constant reminders of the nightmare that unfolded and find comfort in surroundings that are now your own. You will likely encounter people who will accuse you of “running” but what you are doing is creating a stable, comforting and acceptable environment and surroundings for yourself. You have a big uphill battle ahead emotionally, mentally, physically and financially, you need to do it from a home turf that’s your own.
    From one male Chump to another, stay strong and keep reminding yourself with every move forward that you take, that you are doing it for yourself both in the present and for your future. The male story of being a Chump isn’t told as often so there are plenty of people who do not realize we feel the pain, the shame and the trauma just as much as our female counterparts.
    Stay strong and do what is best for you, you no longer need anyone else’s acceptance or approval for the steps you need to take to move forward.

    • Why marry if you want to cheat A YEAR after honeymoon (facepalm)??? Really, cheaters are so dumb. Let alone moral and emotional issues – but why invest time, energy and money into wedding if somebody is so easily in “love”?

      • I met a woman on an airplane (sitting next to her when I got bumped to first class; we both had maybe a drink or two more than we should have) who told me about how she’d realized she was making a mistake as she was walking down the aisle, but her parents had paid a lot for the wedding so she decided to just go through with it and then divorce him afterwards. She had sex with the masseur on her honeymoon – so she cheated on her husband within a couple of days the marriage.

        Not everyone has the same set of values we do.

      • I have a male friend who found out a month after their huge destination wedding in Mexico (and having recently bought a house together) that his wife had been cheating all along throughout the engagement and up to the wedding.. he divorced her and took the dog. It’s unimaginable why she went through with it all, and she was the one pushing to get married!

  • Don’t believe that “joint divorce” BS. My cheater exwife pulled that with me before I realized she was just stalling. Remember- cheaters don’t like consequences.

    In the beginning I was extremely embarrassed as a man that my wife cheated on me. I didn’t want anyone to know. I suffered. Later on after therapy and time I was ok with people knowing. It made me feel better. If I were you I would burn down this politician and expose him. His wife deserves to know. Likely he’s using your dumb wife as a toy and has no intention of leaving his wife for her. He deserves to know what it’s like to have his life turned upside down.

  • Chump Far From Home

    Our culture puts such a negative spin on living with your parents. Throughout history and still in many cultures, it is seen as acceptable for the adult children to remain at home, even after they are married. Obviously, sometimes it is for financial reasons, but it can also be out of honor. Your parents cared for you when you were young, then as they age, you take care of them, and sometimes that is in house care.

    You would only be staying with them as a temporary place to regroup! Especially during all of this pandemic lockdown and financial chaos, that is totally acceptable and there is no shame in it. You didn’t ask for any of this. Personally, I think that being daily surrounded by people that love and support you is an excellent idea. According to my lawyer, it is possible to get divorced while my STBX is still overseas.

    I have been trying to get rid of things I hate. If you hate your job, move, and get another one. There is no shame is working at the grocery store or in service right now. All of them are short staffed and hiring. It would be a service to your community.

    DUH! Of course your shrink doesn’t want you to move! Then he loses you as a client billing at $150+ an hour! Or, if you really feel that he is great at what he does, you can still remote treat online. Look into EMDR therapy, as many of us suffer from complex-PTSD from the long term narc abuse.

    You can do this! You are strong.

    • I second that! EMDR was amazing for me.

      When I rewrite all the divorce laws, child custody regulations, and new divorce procedure for the world, I will include EMDR as court ordered standard operating procedures right after parallel-parenting classes for chumps.

  • Oh Chump far from home – you are holding a royal flush! It’s time to start serving them your brand of poop sandwiches. Meet with your lawyer today and get the arrangement you need drawn up. Then tell she who shall not be named that she signs in 24 hours or the you’re going forward with your media connections in addition to deposing Mr Wonderful. Muster up your righteous anger and get it done. You have all the tools in your toolbox so use them to your advantage. Please do the other chump a favor and let her know. Then feel free to move to wherever your heart desires and start over…living well is the best revenge. Hugs.

  • Far From Home, I too had to make this choice and I did. AS SOON AS I POSSIBLY COULD. I was 500 miles from my support system with a then-3-year-old and I put it into my divorce agreement that DD and I could move. BEST decision I made in my grief.

    I moved in with my grandmother so I could rebuild our life and my devastated finances. Now 2.5 years later, I’m just about to buy a house ALL BY MYSELF. I’ve also saved my grandmother from being forced out of her home into an assisted living place due to her health issues by being an interim caregiver.

    Rebuilding your life is hard enough. If you have the option to use your support network, by all means, do it.

  • They are not your friends. Move if you want to! No shame in that! Your shrink is (sadly but not uncommonly) wrong. You are not running away, you are running toward…a better life. As for Mr. Politician, it is clear this is not his first rodeo and he will dump her ASAP. So prepare for her to ‘come to her senses’ and ‘realize her mistake’ (all B.S.) Listen to your lawyer more than your shrink.

  • I agree with Leftitallbehind. This is the time to go to your healing place. Two things happen immediately. You will get the support you need and SHE WILL BE OUT OF YOUR LIFE!

  • Agree with CL as usual. The thing you said about never having lived alone stood out. I encourage you to look into why you’ve never lived alone and why the thought upsets you. Sounds like an area for personal growth…like maybe a codependency issue. The most important thing now, obviously, is to emotionally and physically stabilize your life. That might be best done in your hometown at your parents house. But once you’re feeling more even keel, consider seriously figuring out if you have independence issues.

  • Dude, you rock. Move the F out of there an reinvent your life. Be thankful every day that you did not have a child with this woman. You are going to be more than okay and she sucks.

  • Far From Home,
    If you leave for home, you’ll have core support, but maybe need to rebuild your career/finances. If you stay, you’ll have to rebuild your core support. I’ll let others weigh in.

    No matter, you will survive and come out stronger. You will.

    You are in the start of a dark, fiery tunnel. You have no choice but go through it, but this is what will become your superpower. Trust yourself.

    One step at a time. You’ll get there. We all have your back.

    • Far
      You are going to have file for divorce on your own. That is because your soon to be ex is holding on to you as ‘plan B’. Her big lover boy hadn’t left his wife yet after 5 months so she is feeling terribly insecure. Unfortunately your wife chose to utterly destroy your marriage and you have no way out this mess except to divorce her. We wish you all the peace you deserve.

      • I thought the same thing. Holding on till her cheating AP is a sure bet. Cheating AP will give her the runaround for as long as she’ll take it. months, years even.

        Far needs to file and get the divorce done. CL was right about threatening to depose the AP, it will get his stbxw moving. Plus, the more proactive Far is right now, the less he will beat himself up when all is said and done. Chumps will agonize over things they should have done and said during the aftermath of D-Day. I think if we took a poll 99.9% of Chumps would have been far more aggressive in the divorce proceedings from cheater if they had the chance for a do over.

        Update your resume, get it out to prospects in and near your old stomping grounds. The cover letter should include you relocating back to the states. It is always looks good to still be employed while searching for a new job. After the divorce, contact the politician’s wife. Give her proof so she has leverage if she files or if he has already filed. Hell, send it to the local media. Then leave and don’t look back.

  • When infidelity is “commonplace” among your friends/acquaintances, that should be a red flag as to the type of people you are associating with, and having an influence in your life. Find new friends who share your values. You know, keeping promises, being there, not ABUSING you with lies and exposure to STDs.

    BTW, get checked. I suspect Mr. Politician has probably had numerous OWs before your STBX.

    There are many job opportunities for people with integrity. Don’t be afraid to step out. You’ve got this.

    • This is a very good point. One thing for sure, Far, is that you need to take a long look at the kind of people you allow in your life.

    • Ivy League– So true. I worked in the entertainment industry for years. Talk about the ninth ring of hell, integrity-wise. If I found someone with ethics, I hung onto those friendships and eventually I had zero qualms about being “judge-y” towards people who lacked firm scruples. I didn’t grow up religious but would always think of the bible passage “Thou runneth neither hot nor cold so I shall spit thee out.” Not only perps but negative bystanders and collaborators are dangerous in every way imaginable. In that field, you’re always only half a degree of separation from actual rapists even in the best situations.

      When the stakes and risks are that high, the principle sticks. But even so, it was incredibly hard not to lose faith working around a sea of “moral relativists” and brown nosers. Unless you’re a sociopath, social context tends to get under your skin and can, if it’s all wrong, make you doubt your own perspective to the point of causing crisis and real damage. I just can’t agree with Chump Far from Home’s therapist that there’s any reason to stay in a fetid, triggery work and social scene.

      Plus, what more is there to learn from being around shit? For instance, if I ever met another woman in that arena who claimed ignorance of sexual harassment, I learned the hard way that it was invariably because she didn’t or wouldn’t recognize when it happened to her and had simply “gone for it” as a means of climbing the ladder. People like this are the absolute pits to be around in the case you yourself end up a target of harassment (which happens like clockwork in that world). They will be the opposite of an ally. Most likely they will go into frantic displays of fealty to the worst perps in the room as a way to distance themselves from victims and grovel for perks.

      There certainly were a lot of side pieces around. I wasn’t surprised when reading a study that showed participants in infidelity tended to score high in “rape myth acceptance.” Infidelity is not an idiosyncrasy. It’s a pervasive personality issue.

      Women aren’t the only victims of negative, collaborator-clogged work environments either. I once dated a guy who had nightmares for years about the time he worked with Harvey Weinstein. When Weinstein finally went to prison, I imagined this friend felt a sense of deep relief. This friend was exactly the kind of guy that victims would turn to to confide abuse– smart, stoic and with genuine empathy. I would guess Weinstein had a radar for that kind of person and didn’t want men like that around.

      Just like during WWII, “Swiss neutrality” was a myth. There were a lot of dirty dealings, blood profits and stolen wealth. There are no truly neutral onlookers to rank abuse. There are either those who are angered and outraged by it and show allegiance to survivors or those who look at their toes, whistle Dixie and hope the rampaging alphas throw them an extra hunk of banana. Some of the latter will go on to abuse power if they ever climb high enough to have the opportunity while others content themselves with aiding and abetting and calling it “neutrality.”

      There might be people who are momentarily confused by blameshifting but the truth will out and adults find their level pretty quickly.

      I agree there’s no reason to hang around creepy social and work environments if A) one’s life does not depend on staying; and B) one is not doing an anthropological study of fuckwits. I don’t believe in staying in situations like that for any duration. I know myself too well and I’ve seen a bit too much. I implode.

        • Thank you, HellofaChump!

          This is such a good piece of wisdom.

          “I wasn’t surprised when reading a study that showed participants in infidelity tended to score high in “rape myth acceptance.” Infidelity is not an idiosyncrasy. It’s a pervasive personality issue.”

          I have been struggling to address the people who either want to justify cheater and subordinate ho-worker as a normal meet-and-sleep couple or paint the OW as a victim, whom I should feel sorry for.

          How is it chumps get all the blame in victim blaming and conspirators of infidelity get the victim status so easily?

          I wish we could go back to a shift of burden of proof in cases of affairs with subordinates in law.

  • I realize there are some people who would want to shoot the messenger if they were told about their spouse’s cheating. If the politician’s wife had come to you with proof of your wife’s cheating with her husband, would you have been receptive?

    To me, it is common courtesy to tell somebody they may have been exposed to COVID. The same courtesy should be given for STDs.

    I would also insist that SHE pay the co-pay.

  • The skunk is keeping your stbx dangling because he’d doing damage control (doesn’t want her squealing), and she’s keeping you dangling because the skunk is keeping her dangling.
    CL’s advice is right on. Let me repeat and emphasize it. Go on the offensive. File and threaten to depose the politician to get what you want out of the settlement. As soon as the divorce is final tell the skunk’s wife and go public with your knowledge. And hey, by that time, you’ll be in another country!

    I’m in a similar position to you, although further out. My ex and I worked together; I retired to get away from him, and I plan to move in the near future, because getting far, far away, back to the part of the country where I came from, will be the single best thing I can do for my health and future well-being.

    In the meantime, we have colleagues we consider friends in common. Many of them wish to remain neutral. They maintain separate relationships with both of us. This has placed a barrier between them and me, and I know that the day is coming when I will be severing most of those relationships, and the ones that continue, if they do, on very different turf and therefore terms than they do currently. I’m trying to draw a hard line between the life I lived with my ex (36 years married at the time of divorce, over 40 together) and the life I’m going to live.

    The advice you got from your therapist is a version of the “don’t do anything drastic for one year.” Sometimes, though, making a big decision, doing something “drastic,” is just what you need to be able to repair your life. You are consciously planning: you know that it will benefit you to be away from her and all associations with her, and to be close to your support system.

    As for your fears of living with your parents or not getting a job: one thing I learned after I left my ex was that I could imagine all the pitfalls that might befall me if I left him (like having to live with one’s parents and not getting a job), but I was unable to see that equally good things might be available to me. Yet when I went to find an apartment, I lucked into just the right one for me, and people I knew were kind and supportive in ways I did not expect. So as you weigh the risks and benefits, don’t discount those unknowns, and don’t discount the toll continuing to live in the same orbit with her is taking on you.

  • Contrarian view alert!

    Check out the divorce laws in your current jurisdiction, your parents’ jurisdiction and consider if there is an even more favorable location from which to file. Divorce laws differ. And if she’s in no rush, be strategic. You may have time to change residency.. Right now you have no time to waste. Copy all financial data and dive into legal strategy. That will give you something better to do than chatting with your colleagues. Then make a strategic decision.

    I am not a fan of giving up a paying job for life in parents’ basement. You’ll feel supported for 2 weeks and depressed for months. It could feel like regression. The job market is dire.

    Rebuilding a life requires cash flow. So my suggestion is to research both laws and jobs. If you move elsewhere your parents can visit or stay with you. Not clear to me that besides parents you have a truly great set of options in your hometown. Dream big! What life would you like? Where do you dream of living? You are FREEEE! Good luck!

    • Good advice! Practicality matters. And, I’m hard pressed to believe that the letter writer only has these two choices–stay at current job and emotionally suffer or move in with parents and financially suffer. There’s got to be a middle ground–like, maybe, stay at current job and work on some serious personal and professional boundaries.

    • This is true. I moved but stayed in state, which is a no-fault state. Not sure how things change with international boundaries. But STBX is INCREDIBLY lucky that I didn’t move to a fault state and gain residency while he rode out COVID-19 overseas. My evidence would have nailed him in a fault state. Unbeknownst to him, it is still an option!

  • I’d move. Get away from your spouse and her affair partner, get away from your job and your unsympathetic coworkers. Move back with your family or at least somewhere closer to them where you have more of a support system in place. In a few months, once this has dragged on and your spouse’s affair partner has dumped her to save his marriage and political career, she’s going to try to convince you to get back together and pretend it never happened. You’ll be more likely to fall into that trap if you’re depressed and alone far away from home. Go home or find a new place to start afresh. The world is crazy right now, everything is changing, and your life is falling apart. It’s the perfect time to scrap and restart. If you wait until things settle down it will be harder to make the plunge and you’ll find yourself stuck.

  • Far from home,

    I’m 60. You’re 31. Do the math. I’m divorced 2 years end of July. Without children to muddy the water divorces are quick when irrefutable evidence is in hand. Your lawyer’s hands that is.

    I wish I’d thrown my x wife out that day like you did. I didn’t because she left and moved in with her lover a few weeks after discovery and confrontation.
    But still the satisfaction of immediate scorn and that retaliation would have tasted sweet.

    Remember the Klingon saying that revenge is a dish best served Cold. It implies strategy and planning with a waiting period.

    She broke the deal. It’s over and you know it, balls to bones. She’ll try to protect her lover so use that to GTFO. Now.

    Write this off as a bad investment. You invested in her and she went south on another Dude.
    Do Not have sex with her or share the same bed with her again. Period.

    Go silent and Spartan. The only discussion to engage in is about document signing or court date appearance.

    There’s a lot of women out here. I bet quite a few would consider you a good catch and put to shame the one you thought was good.

    So chalk it up as a learning experience and know you’ll pick better next round.

    Peace ✌️ Out Bro. You got this.

  • 1. Make sure the people who love you (your family, old friends, any current friend who is not in touch with your STBX) knows your situation.
    2. Start investigating hometown job opportunities. Tell your friends and family you want to come back and ask them to look for job opportunities.
    3. Email people working in your field to ask about the job market there. Don’t ask FOR a job; just say in the email you are relocating back to your home town and want some advice about the job market in your field. Just network.
    4. At the same time, investigate places where you would like to work. I know a number of people who do media for corporations, not news media. Think about where you want to work and what kind of work you want to do.
    5. Take stock of your financial situation. Moving home with your parents might allow you save money or change careers. Can you live off savings for a while? Can you, even in the COVID era, develop a “side gig” to help you stash some money for a move? Think outside the box. If you have the cash, could you buy a house with a rental apartment to subsidize your income?
    6. I don’t think you have to go the “unfriendly” unilateral path until you tell your STBX to get her stuff done by X date or you will have to depose the politician. She doesn’t want that, for sure.

    You can never go back. But you have an opportunity to build a new life on a much stronger foundation.

    • This. So very much this!

      Far from Home, make sure that you get your story out there. Let your family know, your friends who are not “joint” friends. You can’t help what other people think, but at least you can put your truth out there. Cheaters don’t like consequences, so they try very hard to minimize any damage to their image.

      Sadly, as you have learned, you can’t count on any support from your joint friends. This is because they were your STBXW’s friends. You moved to her town, and as is natural, you were included in her circle. The fact that so many of them seemed to downplay cheating even before you found out about your wife tells you volumes about their values.

      The other thing is this. Your wife has hooked up with a politician. He’s older, married, 3 children, and has a position that depends a lot on image. He can’t afford to carry on an affair for a long time because the more people who find out, the more damage his images takes. Realize that when the affair ends, since the odds are overwhelmingly in favor of its ending, your STBXW will try to hoover you back in. This is standard cheater playbook.

      Stick to your ground. Keep lining up your ducks. When the opportunity presents itself , you’ll be ready to take it and you’ll also be able to let your wife know that she really needs to get her stuff together or you’ll have to depose the politician.

      Then continue therapy for yourself. You are worth more than your cheater, and you’ll want to fix your picker so that your next serious relationship will be more authentic.

  • Chump far from Home,

    Wow, you have been through so much.
    Your letter to CL is so well written. You have thought about every angle to come to a resolution, while your cheater “needs time “to accomplish anything, when it is she who commenced the problem in the first place. She will never change.
    Everything that CL told you to do, go be with your people, your family, your friends who will have your back.
    Home is where your heart is and it certainly is NOT where you are right now.
    YOU, sir, are a gem. She is going to want you back. ( definitely her loss).
    Go toward the light, go to your people. You will find a job. You will succeed, how could you not!
    Thirty four years old.
    Please be sure to update CN in a year or two, tell us of your new life, fuckwit free.
    In the meantime experienced Chumps will guide you. Everyone here understands your pain.
    I, for one of many, believe in YOU.

    Holding you up, sending love & support.

    • “Home is where your heart is and it certainly is NOT where you are right now.
      YOU, sir, are a gem. She is going to want you back. ( definitely her loss).
      Go toward the light, go to your people. You will find a job. You will succeed, how could you not!
      Thirty four years old.” THIS

  • Don’t let her use as the backup plan if she suddenly gets dumped. Stay strong 💪🏻. Choose your own path.

  • I understand the concept of not making big life decisions in the close aftermath of trauma. I also think SAFETY overrides that sage advice.

    You are far from home in a den of lions. There is no merit badge or virtue in toughing that out. I can’t think of more appropriate psychological first aid than getting to familiar territory in the company of your safe tribe.

    If you were hit by a truck, on purpose, you would MOVE to an ICU. STAT.

    What you are proposing is the psychological equivalent. Because you had the emotional crap beaten out of you, intentionally. And now you’re surrounding by buffoons who are colluding with VIOLENCE .

    Go West, young man! Or South, East, North.

    And FAR.

  • Switzerland friends. I just don’t get it. It’s sometimes sad but I agree with those who say to ditch them.

    Upon hearing of my x’s affair with a younger co-worker/nurse, a mutual friend (head nurse), said to me, “I love you both.” By “you” she meant the cheater and me.

    Wait? So are you saying that you still love the man who was capable of betrayal, who willingly effed a married mother of two in her own bed and was instrumental in the breakup of her marriage, who invited this whore into our marital bed (and didn’t change the sheets!!! yuk), who told a staggering number of lies for 2 1/2 years, who risked my health, who spent marital assets on her? That’s the man you still “love”?

    I didn’t have to ditch her. She never contacted me again. Guess she didn’t “love” me that much after all.

    I think some people don’t want to upset the status quo when all seemed well and everyone was happy. Plus my cheater has been her superior (doctor/nurse) so there’s that element, although he’s retired now so what does it matter? Old habits die hard, I guess.

    I also feel as if I have cooties, tainted by the affair. Maybe, they rationalize, assuming that I contributed to it. Ugh.

    All of us have to ignore what people think, and, as CL says, “Cull your social register accordingly.”

  • It’s that attitude that ‘the cheater didn’t do anything to me personally therefore I will remain friends with them because I like that person, and I get something out of the friendship’……..
    The cheater’s a great guy or the cheaters a great lady – her partner must’ve sucked!

    Cheaters who hurt people get very few consequences because of our attitude in society…..

  • I will also point out that cheaters often delay because they want to suck as much resources from the marriage as possible before they lose access to them. Check your bank account. Run a credit check on yourself. Filing often freezes the finances on both parties preventing the cheater from taking out secret loans, or credit cards, raiding retirement accounts or savings or other ways of stealing from you.

    And if you think she wouldn’t do such a thing, think again. They delight in screwing us over in any way possible. Immediate action to protect yourself is key.

    She is not your friend.

  • Research divorce laws in your country and discreetly consult an attorney about what would be the best strategy for you. Don’t give your soon to be ex, or these mutual ‘friends’ who are still socialize with her, a heads up about your plans until you’re ready to proceed.

    After my own experiences, I’m a fan of exposing infidelity to everyone, family, social circle, even employers if they were conducting the affair on their company’s time. It quickly shatters that ‘affair fog’ around their selfish heads, and for a change, they experience the repercussions of their behavior and choices, rather than their betrayed family. OM’s spouse, at the least for her own physical health, should be notified about what her husband’s affair with his subordinate (definitely not this guy’s first nor last affair).

  • I would encourage you to move if you have a good, loving support system somewhere else. Having to see your STBX and her affair partner as much as you do is really hard. Why wouldn’t you want to move away from that trauma?? When I filed, finally, to divorce my cheating ex, I was living in a big city that I had lived in my whole adult life and that I loved. My parents convinced me to move “home,” a small town 100 miles away so they could support me. My ex, who works remotely, followed me and last year bought a home a mile from me. We have an 8 year old and so my son sees his dad all the time, which is great for him… but I now live in a small town with little to offer a single mom in her 40’s, I have a so-so relationship with my parents (my mom is narcissistic like my ex and my dad is a very nice man who is so nice he stays friendly with my ex, which has been really hurtful to me) and I have to see my ex way more than I would like. He didn’t stay with the OW but he’s still difficult to deal with. I dream of moving ALL THE TIME, but my son is doing really well in school, has lots of friends, close relationship with family etc. I don’t want to rock that boat so I stay. And its hard. So if you have the freedom to move, even with the job risk and have to live temporarily with your (loving, supportive) parents… I encourage you to go. Don’t stay stuck in a place that is surrounded by traumatic things for you. (And I agree…those “friends” are not true friends.)

  • I’m so sorry that you are going through this level of betrayal during a pandemic. My story shares a lot of similarities to yours, so I understand the degree to which this is impacting you. I can see merit to both your therapist’s and CL’s arguments about leaving. When your emotions are very raw, you may not necessarily want to make the decision to quit your job and move. I did that once after a breakup and regretted the opportunities I left behind when my heart healed. But I also understand needing support and a community after a cheating spouse flips your world. Take some time for yourself and reflect what would help you long term. If being near her via co-workers and in a town where everyone thinks she and the AP are great would cause more damage that you’d need to heal years later, then leave. If you know long term you’d rather be in that city and make a life for yourself there, stay. But through it all, be patient and compassionate with yourself. Meh is something we slowly build for ourselves. Similar to progress in the gym, it’s painful and you may not always see progress visibly, but keep building a new, healthy life for yourself.

  • WOW – there is so much going on for you right now.

    First… congratulations on finishing your master’s thesis. That shows me you have self-discipline and know how to put your head down and get things over the finish line… this comes in handy when getting a divorce from a fuckwit.

    Of everything you’ve said, I strongly encourage your first decision and course of action to be FILING FOR DIVORCE and NAMING THE OM (politician) in the filing. Whether or not you are in a no fault state, you can still list Adultery as cause and you can name (and have served) the individual… nothing would feel mightier than having your cheating fuckwit served AND her boyfriend (especially at his office in front of work colleagues). You will be amazed by how EMPOWERING that feels and I think you might be needing a nice jolt of empowerment right now to face down the other decisions.

    If you’re friends think her cheating is “ok”… they are not your friends. Plain and simple. Plenty of ways to make new friends right now… or maybe get started on a PhD? Your new life should include as few reminders as necessary of your old life… Switzerland friends go in that dumpster fire.

    You’re heart is broken and that is normal… here are some movie titles I would suggest vs. what your therapist recommended: Braveheart (“freedom”!) and Elizabeth (with/Cate Blanchett… talk about surviving betrayal)… find that righteous anger you deserve to have and is a natural part of grieving (you can ask your therapist)… and take back your power.

    Where you live outside is only part of the solution… you take you and what you believe about yourself wherever you go. Fix your picker, mend your soul, and dream a new dream and go get it! You’ve got this.

  • I found that the thing I want to do, the thing that feels right, is the thing I need to support myself doing.
    Living in Switzerland after a mindfuck is worst situation ever.
    Your stbxw is a skanky ho who has a pretend life with pretend friends.
    Now support your decision and keep it quiet. Get a kick ass lawyer. Lay your strategy out and use the element of surprise to press your advantage.
    Things have a way of working out.

  • The therapist has a vested interest in continuing to take your money.

    Go do what works for YOU. If your employer is willing to send you to a different work site, one that is close to your parents’ – take the win.

    Regardless, you need to take care of yourself. Get tested for STDs too. Herpes & syphilis included.

  • I had a fraught 5-year relationship with a sociopath. I did all the adulting while he played videogames, drank, lied, and cheated. The town where we lived was neither of our hometown, but a charming quirky college town we both loved.
    About a year after I left him, I was able to buy a house in a new town, 100 miles away. Best move I ever made! That was the beginning of my true healing.
    When I find myself in “our” old hometown, all the bad memories still hit me like a gut punch.
    Move home, move away, move anywhere. A fresh start is priceless.

  • Oh honey, I feel like your story is my story – except I’m playing the part of your mom!!!! As others have said, research where it would be most advantageous to you to file if you have assets to divide or risk having to pay her alimony, and also name that politician!!! He’ll probably get away with it (they usually do), but do EVERYONE a favour and name him anyway! As for me, to give context, my ex-husband lives in the US, my oldest son lives in Switzerland and me and my youngest son live just across the border in France. About 6 weeks ago my oldest (he’s 32 and the one who lives in Switzerland) called me to say that his wife had just blind-sided him and asked for a divorce because “she has feelings for someone else” (the wedding photographer as it happens). To say my son is shattered would be an understatement as they have been together since they were 18, lived together for the last 10 years and married for 3! She asked for a trial separation of 3 months to “give her time to think about what she really wants” so my son has been working from home and living in an airbnb for 5 weeks while she stayed in their apartment “thinking”. I was pulling my hair out because I couldn’t go to my son (borders closed) and he had to spend those 5 weeks alone ruminating! Well they opened up the borders last week and his mate offered him a place to stay, as did his brother, and of course he can come here and stay as long as he wants. He moved in with my other son on Saturday night so I got to see him on Sunday for the first time. The mates are mostly in France so they all rallied round, my younger son has been great and I’ve talked to him for hours, as has his father, to be fair. We are all rock solid behind him and EVERYONE has showed up. So I would say go where your support is, they will always have your back. And get this. I was walking in the mountains yesterday when my son video called me (I know, talk about looking like a yuppie). His wife had sent him more blurb about wanting to “discover herself” and he had written back but wanted to run it by me first. He told her that whatever happened the photographer (who’s in England by the way) will NEVER AGAIN be a friend of his after coming on to his wife. That his wife was entitled to be “restless” but he shouldn’t have to pay the price for that and that in any case he now knew that as much as he loved her he would never trust her again, so no, he wasn’t going to go along with the trial separation. He would come and get his things with the help of his mates and would be filing for divorce post haste! God, rock on my son. I told him if he moped she would only despise him so he needed to stand up for himself and not be her Plan B – and that’s what he’s done. Sorry this is so long but all that to say if you were my son I (and my family) would be right there for you, so go where they have your back. You’ll never regret it!

    • Attie– ^^ This. I think what you describe perfectly illustrates one of the most important reasons why we work so hard to process and really grasp our ordeals, become experts on our own lives– both to personally thrive and also to pass that wisdom and modeling of outcomes on to the young.

      There are so many things I wish I could tell my younger self but I know that I will be able to prepare my children for some of life’s hurdles so much better than my parents were able to prepare me. Both my parents had careers, read a lot and lived adventurous lives before I was born but the world I lived in was different than theirs. The personal consensus and support my parents got for their own struggles was drawn from library books and a few close friends and then consensus was even more limited by the dictates of polite society. In days of yore, people didn’t talk about cheating, workplace or academic sexual harassment, etc., that I experienced so my monogamous, straight-arrow parents weren’t able to borrow and gather a lot of specific wisdom on those issues. You’d have to have an aunt or cousin or friend who already went through exactly what you did in order to tell you what’s what. Barring that, people could try to help but the help would probably just be laden with cliches and homilies.

      As much as I despair my generation’s gadget addiction, there is something wonderful about being able to throw the social net wide in the age of the internet. We can all perform our own social studies, poll our peers and find out we’re not alone in suffering this or that tribulation. We find out that perpetrators all act the same and we can get consensus and support for a wide array of negative events and from a wide array of people. In this sense the web is just a tool to enhance the process of “living and learning” and being able to pass this on in the moments that really count– when we’re face to face with a friend or child in trouble.

      Case in point, your story about your son is really inspiring. There’s so much more than cute gifs of chicks crawling on cats on the web. Thank you for sharing and I hope your son is on the brink of a wonderful chapter in his life.

      • Oh thank you so much for this comment. He has actually already learned a lot from youtube, specifically about “no contact” and I think it saved him during the time he had to live alone in the airbnb. I hadn’t even thought of it like that but already told him that she will be shocked that he is standing up to her and then she will most likely try the three channels – charm, pity and rage, so he’s expecting it. So yes, maybe I have learned something through my pain!

        • Attie… I assume he can see you being okay and mighty (because you seem mighty here) despite past ordeals. In that sense, just by being you, you gave him the equivalent of a survival guide or a map with an escape route. That plus wisdom = the golden mom. 😉

          You must be so relieved he’s transcending.

  • Consider a compromise for your decision: move 10-20 miles locally, away from the direction stbx travels for work or social. It could be for 1-2 years until the divorce is done. Do more video calls with family members, more visits to the home town, see if the connection grows.

    Also encourage you to be realistic about normal changes in adult family relationships and what you need at this time. Some of us were raised in families that were not so loving and healthy. Most of my family members rarely make the effort to see each other other than in large group gatherings with little conversation.

    Seeing stbx and OM through your work would be so hard, keep you distracted and triggered, extend how long it takes to get to meh. See what you can try to change, whether a new job or explore a change in your duties or location.

  • Burn that cheating politicians career down.
    This world has had its full with them.
    You dont owe them shit!

  • It really sucks to have the cheaters right there, reminding you of their miserable existence each day. Try to let them rent as little space in your head as possible.

    The fact that the affair partner has not left his wife yet rings alarm bells…if he doesn’t leave, then there is the possibility she might come running back and begging to reconcile? Do not take her back!

    Plan your move away, or back home, carefully during this pandemic. Have a good job to go to rather than choosing unemployment, since a second wave could strand you if businesses or communities lock down again.

    The key to surviving the shit show is to love yourself…how…well look in the mirror and give yourself pep talks. Be your own best friend. I got through some horrendous loneliness post divorce by simply entertaining myself with solitary pursuits and in the occasional company of new friends. The old “Switzerland” friends do fade away as you realise their duplicity. Yes it does suck to lose friends as well as a spouse, but in the longer term, it opens you up to meet people you otherwise may never have met. Yes, you will have to endure some excruciating Saturday nights alone, but I guarantee you will find a way to new things. Be open to friendship.

    My life 10 years later is like another whole new life, having left the first marriage/social group behind at age 52. At 34 you have so much life ahead of you – embrace it without being shackled to the old group.

  • Where’s UX? The bar is intimidatingly high but I’ll try to fill in temporarily…

    Hypergamy
    by the Cheatles

    Hypergamy
    Social climbers climbing over me
    It’s as catching as an STD
    My STBX’s hypergamy

    I’ll ditch the strife
    While she still daftly thinks he’ll leave his wife
    I was not the first to wield the knife
    But I’ll cut bait and gain a life

    [Chorus]
    Why’d she Monica?
    I don’t know but she left her dress
    Should I burn the smut-stained couch
    Or save it for evid-eh-eh-eh-ence?

    Press frenzy
    These flying monkeys have all failed to see
    That his ratings will fall miserably
    When deposed he will risk infamy

    [Chorus]
    Why’d she have to blow
    The body politic?
    She tried blame-shifting
    Now she’s branded a side chi-ih-ih-ick

    Hypergamy
    Some people really have no self esteem
    They hitched their wagons to a shit-machine
    But I care not if she picks me

  • I feel like leaving my job and going back to the hometown I left 12 years ago, where I still have a few old friends and a small family.

    *floats in like Glinda, Good Witch of the North*
    By the power vested in me , by me, I hereby decree YOU MAY GO!

    ok, ok, I joke, but you get the idea. I think your therapist is helpful, and good, but like all humans, can be sometimes wrong! He or she is blowing this.

    I mean let’s just do a pro/con list. Cons of staying — surrounded by untrustworthy people, isolated, facing near daily humiliation and all the accompanying stress on TOP of the loss, grief, pain, etc.
    Pro – ? Um….not having to pack? I guess?

    You are in a position right now where it is REALLY hard to see your worth and value, and you are wildly overestimating the difficulty in getting another position. ASK ME HOW I KNOW.

    Anyway. If you found a job in place X, you can find something in Y, too. Will Y be as good? I dunno! But keep in mind one of the ‘gifts’ of COVID is remote work has become the norm. I don’t know what you do, but if it can be done remotely, there is no better time to relocate. Either way, you will find *something*. And if it means living back at home for six months or a year until you can settle, well, it sounds like that is a plus, not a minus, for you right now.

    What we need at any point in time in our lives differs. Moving back to a place where people know you, love you, and can honestly support you — especially if it ends up costing you nothing to little (are you going to miss any of these fair weather friends? I think not!) — seems to me like a healthy, self-affirming, POSITIVE choice, NOT running away. I guess the point is that it’s not like you must commit to that choice for All Your Days. In a year or six months or three years, who knows, you’ll need/want different things, and make new choices at that time. There’s just nothing to be afraid of in moving to a place of love and support and it seems like it will provide a LOT of the things you truly need, right now.

    I’ll also throw out that you can absolutely see your therapist remotely, so you do NOT have to lose him/her to the move! Just because you aren’t necessarily in synch on this one issue doesn’t mean the therapeutic relationship is not valuable and helpful, and it’s perfectly natural to want to preserve it, just in case you do. Don’t get tied up over that!

    I think your therapist means well, but I would hope if you expressed the desire to move from positive motivations (move AWAY from unhealthy and untrustworthy people, move TO those that love and support you) he/she would support it. Either way, it seems like a positive, affirming choice to me, and frankly well timed.

    Listen to this voice telling you to get out of there, because one way or another, I think it “gets it” the most and knows what you need.

  • I’m 4 months from DDday. I was dating my boyfriend for 2 years. We worked together and lived together. I found out my boyfriend was having sex with my coworker when her husband came to our job to confront him. It was traumatic. I decided to take time off from work and ended up moving back with my parents. It was the best decision for me. I think getting away is giving me the clarity I need to heal. It’s hard to move on when you are constantly reminded of that person. It’s also comforting being around family that you can trust. I hope everything works out for you.

    • Calm, although it had to be traumatic and humiliating. I like that her husband called out your ex at work.
      Especiallly since it was a mutual coworker he was cheating with. Had to be hard for the husband as well.
      I’m not sure if it added to the humiliation for you. I certainly hope not!
      As time has gone by i tend to NOT want this garbage hidden for the sake of the cheaters. SCREW THEM and their image!!
      Your ex is lucky that guy didnt beat him to a pulp in front of everyone. Guess thats why the unmasking usually happens some place else.

  • I know I’m hopelessly naive.

    But how can these abusers go shopping for furniture with you while “in love” with someone else. Furniture they know they will never use. I despair, I really do.

    You make sure the other Chump hears the full story. Blow that politician’s career to smithereens.

  • Go with your gut feeling. It really is a superpower we all should listen to more carefully. The first few steps towards your new life will be hard, but keep moving forward. Do whatever you need to move on. You can do it!

    I never got to tell OW’s husband that his wife was having an affair with my husband. That honour went to my teenage daughter. Sadly unbeknownst to me, poor Miss Teen had known what was going on for over a year before my DDay, so had built up a lot of hate for OW.

    Miss Teen rang OW who answered her call on speakerphone, with her husband in the car….Miss Teen managed to scream “I know what you do with my Dad you filthy homewrecking whore” before OW could hang up. Then she rang back again and said the same a couple of mins later…OW works in sales and couldn’t help herself, answered the call again…Bet that was an awkward car trip for OW and her husband! The third time she let it go to message bank. Miss Teen left a horrid message.

    10 mins later my STBX is ringing me, telling me to tell her to stop or OW is going to the police…Good luck. I don’t think the police will really care that an underage teen has called her Father’s OW and told her she knows what’s going on.

    3 months later her home was sold and her husband was gone.

    Now she is with my husband, but they don’t live together. That would cramp his lifestyle with all his other side-women. Bless your heart OW! No returns!

  • Chump Far From Home, I hope you’ll be able to do anything that you feel will help you get through this. I hope you’ll listen to your gut (that’s your mighty) more than your therapist, the news, or your friends.

    If you work with a good employer, maybe remote working or taking a long leave could be an option. And living with your parents could be temporary or long term, who cares what other people think? What matters is what can help you deal with the trauma and get to recovery, to meh and Tuesday.

    I wouldn’t bet on outing the cheater or the politician. From my observation, being in a position of power, status, and wealth tends to bring out the worst in people. In other words, a politician having an affair is par for the course for people at that level. And the law, at least in my country, cares more about fair division of assets than about whose fault it was.

    Thoughts of revenge gives the cheaters centrality. Don’t give them anymore power over you.

  • Chump Far From Home, I too am far from home. After DDay (almost 2 years ago), I wanted to move back to my home state 2,000 miles away from where I currently live. But, I wasn’t ready to do the work of it, so I stayed put. Do I still want to move home? Hell yes. Am I preparing myself for the move? You betcha. Do I know when I’m going to do it? Nope : ) But, in the meantime, I’ve worked on making my home what I want and I’m happy.

    My point is, whatever you decide to do, there are no wrong choices, so don’t worry about doing the wrong thing.

    And I agree with Chump Lady, you ARE killing it. Well done!

  • OH MY GOD!

    First of all, let me thank you SO SO MUCH for the ammount of love and support I’ve received in the comments. Please, do know that they mean the world to me in a time I feel like I’ve had enough and it’s getting harder to find the strengh to carry on.

    Since the first time I read the CL posts I realized this was the kind of stuff I needed to read. I wish I had written and found this wonderful community earlier. Please, forgive me for my writing, but English is my third language. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a forum that comes even closer to this in my own language, even in real life.

    So after reading the crazy ammount of comments you left I feel like I should be providing some more context, updates and personal views on my situation. The original letter already seemed too long and detailed, so I’m sorry again, but it feels so good to vent it all out.

    The first thing I have to clarify is that the other chump knows. At least that’s what I was told. In fact, most of the community and every newsroom in it know. Mr. Politician is in office. And he’s had a key role in the pandemic management. Opponents know too, but nobody is willing to air the dirty laundry, since everybody has got some. He will probably get away with the affair although I think both affair partners should have been fired. My STBX and I in fact support the opponent party so I’m coping with the trauma of realizing what my wife has become and still have time to empathize with the other woman and her family. As I said it wasn’t the sex on my couch, it was the emotional cheating, the betrayal to her own values what hurts the most. We shared friends from media, politics and public life, so everybody knows each other. That’s about as much as I can say. However I think the other chump heard a watered down version of the story, considering she was publicly supporting her husband. That’s why I would love to have a conversation with her. As for Mr. Politician I also think it’s not his first rodeo, as Lulutoo says, and I told exactly that to my wife, but they truly believe they have something special, even though it all seems like a bad movie script to me (including the email of the D-day in which the other cheater asked for more time to leave his wife and having only clandestine meetings).

    One thing most people that support me and my therapist agree on is that the other cheater is probably not gonna leave his family and my wife is going to want me back. In fact, my therapist has been working on getting me ready for the day that my wife realizes and tries to get back to me. But I’m not so sure about that. I feel that she hasn’t looked for a pick-me-dance really, she bet on him, which was painful at first but made it easier for me to fall out of love with her. However, she has definitely stalling the divorce for whatever reason. I agree with Zell that cheaters don’t like consequences, what I hate is that sometimes they get away without them. I agree I should get that done, I just don’t feel like meeting her again (it’s taken me already a long time to start thinking that I might be better without her) and as LovedaJackass says some countries make it very difficult. My next move will be to contact my lawyer to speed things up. I have so much evidence that I could easily end their careers but what help would do that to me?

    So, about moving… I feel really good that I asked her to leave. For some time I felt bad that I didn’t try to fix it or convince her to pick me. Now, I think I’m staying because I don’t want her to win, to get away with it and keep the place, all of our friends, her job, her new lover and the support of her family. Also, I’m meeting new people and slowly getting rid of our common friends. However I don’t think I can stay in the same job so I started looking for a new one either here or at my hometown. I think that should be my number one priority; to change my life with a safe landing. I do have enough savings to live for a couple of years but I haven’t had the courage to leave my job yet. I can’t believe I went through the worst phase at this place. Now it all seems much easier compared to the first weeks and the confinement.

    One thing you have to understand is that as NotANiceChump points out I had a codependency issue. It had to do with the fact that I left my hometown and bet everything on this family project and this place. Most of the friends I made when I got here moved years ago. So I was facing a phase in which I had only acquaintances to do sports with and my family was far away, but at least I had my wife and her family to fill that void.

    I think she also felt lonely and she found a group that she liked at the new job. She liked them so much that she started fucking them. I never saw all this coming; it happened at my most vulnerable and emotionally weak stage. However I am VERY resilient and independent. I survived a cancer when I was 19. At 20 I left my parents’ house and lived with roommates until I moved with my STBX. So I never lived completely alone but I have experienced fresh starts and very bad moments (my mother survived a cancer herself 5 years ago and, believe or not, my brother-in-law survived a brain tumor surgery 2.5 years ago, right before our wedding, which was a very emotional time for us). So we’ve gone through some shit — that’s why I can’t understand how she managed all this situation. If only she had let me know how she felt… she would have saved me so much pain. I couldn’t picture my most loved person on Earth, that had shared so many tough moments with me, being so mean to me, her husband. And now, after D-day I have to listen to her telling me we weren’t happy when we married… Reminding me the arguments in our numerous trips while I can only think of the good memories… If only I could show you the pictures… It’s now clear to my shrink and me that her story is only a justifying mechanism she uses to alleviate her cognitive dissonance.

    So I face the dilema that Tall One is setting out: “if you leave for home, you’ll have core support, but maybe need to rebuild your career/finances. If you stay, you’ll have to rebuild your core support.” As Chumpella de Ville says, it could feel like regression and the job market is dire. So the plan is to keep coping with the shit while I research jobs and places I’d like to go. I really would like to work in media for corporations and forget about politics. I also think that safety overrides everything else, the problem with me being so resilient is that I never feel like it’s time to pull the trigger. Also I’m too rational and analytical.

    • Far From Home, soon you will be far from this hurt and suffering too. And closer to your truth. I believe in you!

      It’s tempting, reflexive even, to view things in a winner / loser way. From my chumped pov, my STBXH didn’t lose a thing: he kept his high paying job, his friends and family, his status and lifestyle, he could easily replace our beautiful home just as he replaced me.

      But you’ll read on CL that the cheater’s loss is having to live with themselves, their whole selfish narc shiny turd selves. The affair partner gets to have this version of your ex, they have to because they chose with full awareness. Did YOU choose your STBX knowing she was a liar and a cheater? Of course not! You believed the best of her and that’s what she gave you, until she chose to be her worst self. And that’s not on you.

      Far From Home, if anything you won the liberation of the truth. It comes with a load of hurt and change, but it’s ultimately a good truth: you’re better off with someone else. You deserve someone better, a better life, friends, and relationship, and now you KNOW the hard way, what better means for you.

      The truth is you’re better off already, but it’ll take Tuesday to really see that. Keep being mighty! We’re rooting for you!

  • Dude, I’m impressed. English is your THIRD language!! Just take a breath and think rationally about that statement. You are already mighty. Hugs. She sucks. You don’t.

  • Tracy is 100% correct. Moving isn’t failure. Moving away from toxicity and toward salvation is the best self-care remedy possible–don’t hesitate.

    I made the choice to move 1500 miles away and go ‘home’ after 30 years away for all the exact reasons you stated. I too worried about job prospects, feeling like a failure, and all the other baggage associated with going home. Let me tell you–I am approaching the anniversary of my 3rd year since the move and NONE of that stuff materialized.

    What DID materialize was a kind and trusting support system. A network of life-long friends. An easy path to no contact. A calm and cozy living space that didn’t associate to my former life. Peace and eventually, healing. You are not failing in any way to move toward something that will give you YOUR life back.

  • I’m on the fence a bit here. Please weigh your options.
    I ran away, propelled by the Leave a Cheater! banner and didn’t come back because by then I was fearing for my safety (with or without reason) , but I did end up “jobless at 34 at my parents” (who are worse abusers than the cheater, but that was family skein I had yet to fully entangle).

    I made it out alive but I’m not terribly okay even so.

    If I had financial independence where I was, I would have never left in the midst of it.
    I would have waited and planned and made things as comfortable as possible for myself.

    So if you feel like you need to spring, I reckon you will.
    But if you sense some smart planning could be on your side, stay first and preparedly spring later!

    Hope this helps!

    Regretting a naive move (I don’t, but it could have been a close call) is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
    You run from emergencies, but only you are the judge of what constitutes an emergency to YOU.

  • Quit that job and move ASAP. Your therapist is well intentioned, but very wrong. Your nightmare will not end til you get the hell out of there. There is nothing to be gained by dragging it out. Create a new life for yourself, fill it with people who love and care about you. Burn your current life to the ground. Cut all connections. Move. Moving and starting all over was the best decision I ever made. I wish I had done it sooner. And I was 49 years old when I did it. Your age doesn’t matter. You’re never too old to start over

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