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‘I Have a Hate in My Heart Where Love Used to Be’

Dear Chump Lady,

My husband had an affair during our 19th year of marriage with a person in his graduate class.

She sent me a text message that she was in love with him and he with her. Of course he lied lied lied, but I wore him down until he told the horrid details. Long story short he said she was blackmailing him about their affair. I saw the $25 cash apps to the cheap trick and the Comfort Suite hotel reward points that came to the house once the shit hit the fan.

It will soon be a year since the email. He has changed his number, we go to counseling, date nights…all that stuff, but I have a hate in my heart where love used to be.

He says I’m breaking up the family by being sad, depressed and I’m accusing him of things he is not doing because I’m insecure. I feel like I don’t accuse, I ask questions. I probably spend a third of my day thinking about some aspect of his affair.

The forever I wanted to spend with him is not the same and I have told him. The fact that he told her he loved her knowing she had a husband and 3 kids and he didn’t give a fuck about his wife and 3 kids has changed me.

He never had an affair before, so he says. I saw where he blocked her and the million messages she sent while blocked, I saw the threats, she called and texted me mad when blocked on social media and she got a new email to email him and messaged on LinkedIn….She would not stop pursuing him. Finally, I went to the police filed a report and the detective called her 9 months after he told me he was glad it was out, he was so tired of the sneaking and lies.

I feel the bitterness. I don’t want it to kill me. I don’t trust I will ever be in love with him again. He says he is trying and I’m not trusting he is.


Dear Toocute2Binturmoil,

You know what I am and you know what advice I’m going to give you. It’s emblazoned on my tag line, “Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life.”

So, instead of delivering a bitchslap, I’m going to take a big step back from this clusterfuck and talk about safety.

When I read your letter, I hear a woman who does not feel safe.

She’s ruminating. I probably spend a third of my day thinking about some aspect of his affair.

She’s angry. I have a hate in my heart where love used to be.

She’s in crisis. Finally, I went to the police filed a report.

I hear a woman who does not feel safe.

We could go off on why you don’t feel safe — he’s letting you do the heavy lifting on “protecting” him from the affair partner he invited into his life. He’s invalidating your feelings. He’s blameshifting — you’re “breaking up the family.” (No Mister, your dick did that.)

That skein has a thousand tangles. And here’s what people in reconciliation do when faced with a Gordian Knot — they tangle further. But, but! He blocked her! But, but! He doesn’t want to lose his family! But, but! He went to therapy!


That either MATTERS to you, or it doesn’t.

There are many legitimate reasons you don’t feel safe — you were betrayed and shattered by his affair. And he’s being a fuckwit. Schmoopie’s unhinged. Whatever. And you’re probably constantly rallying a defense to him about why your feelings are legitimate. He’s not the person you need to convince — YOU are.

Why would you try to talk yourself into staying when the cognitive dissonance is killing you? Why do you try to keep attempting to feel safe in a situation that makes you feel unsafe? Why do you squelch your feelings and give them less importance than his lame-ass “trying”?

Why not just honor the legitimacy of your experience?

This happened. It’s unacceptable. Game over.

You don’t have to reform him. I’m pretty sure that’s impossible given the Naugahyde remorse you’re reporting. Why not create a new world he’s not included in?

Your safety and security MATTER. You’re not less than. You’re not a bit player in his star-crossed Schmoopie love.

Give yourself permission to matter.

(I think this turned out to be a bitch slap on LACGAL anyway… Let me soften that with some (((hugs))).

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Just going to leave another Chump Lady-ism here:

    So he says that he never cheated before?

    Maybe this –is– his only affair.
    But I promise you it wasn’t his first attempt at one.

    • and to add to the above, who cares if it’s only affair once is too many!

      • Yup. Even one affair is too many. You don’t get a gold star for cheating less than others.

        I think the biggest, most important thing here is she said she doesn’t feel like she will ever be in love with him anymore.

        That’s it then. It’s done. People end marriages for that reason even without cheating involved. Toocute2Beinturmoil, you don’t love him anymore. You cannot force yourself to love him again. He’s shattered your trust. He’s betrayed you and your family. Further, if the OW was married he clearly doesn’t care about the other chump either. This is disgusting. You cannot love someone like that because you’re not like him.

        If for no other reason, leave for that. You don’t love him. And you are justified.

  • ” . . . you’re probably constantly rallying a defense to him about why your feelings are legitimate. He’s not the person you need to convince — YOU are.”

    This is the golden nugget of the day.

    • UX absolutely spot on the “golden nugget of the day” and this applies to more than just cheaters how many of us feel we have to justify our feelings to parents, siblings, children, bosses, rude store clerks. . We have a perfect right to feel the way we do when we’ve been treated unjustly.

      • It took me a while to realize that I had the right to vent when I found out everything. The dick had told me to calm down. We do have a right to our feelings when someone abuses our trust.

        • My ex used to yell at me to “calm down”. News flash, that will just make the situation worse. The last time he tried it I told him to shut the fuck up. It was absolutely liberating!

        • YES. You have the right to vent and feel angry when you have been betrayed and treated poorly. I had exes who would tell me I’m being irrational, overly emotional, too negative, stop being so resentful, learn that I can’t control things, etc.

          All of them making the problem about my reaction, and not the thing they did to illicit said reaction. Like CL says, “It’s Not What I Did, It’s How You Reacted.”

          No. It’s bullshit and I absolutely reject the idea that feelings of pain and anger are more problematic than the cheating and lies.

          Being angry, upset, hurt, broken-hearted, and frustrated are normal reactions to someone betraying and lying to you. And you don’t have to sit there and be scolded by them for expressing your feelings.

          • Amen to all that! For me, it was always how I reacted to his assholery that was the problem, and for years I bought that crap.

            Repeatedly, I was told I:
            *was too sensitive
            *had too good a memory (“I made that cruel comment last year! That was in the past,” he would say as he stormed out of the room.)
            *got too angry when he blindsided me with the announcement that he wanted to separate; in his effed up logic, it’s because of my angry and shocked reaction to that bomb drop that he didn’t continue with the double life but instead–3 days later–confessed to the affair)

            My head hurts just typing this shit.

      • Collateral damage from divorce is beyond anything I ever thought about before it happened to me. Your own children even adult children are off limits. We are told never put your children in the middle. Aren’t they intrinsically involved? Friends step back, you are no longer a member of the tribe. Yes, you are the one that has to be convinced and once you are there you stand.

        • The kids aren’t “involved” in the divorce. They are affected by the divorce. It has an impact on them.

          “Not putting them in the middle” means you don’t take your pain or unhappiness to them. You don’t try to make them hate the other parent or choose between them. That doesn’t mean your kids are “off limits.” It means that doing them damage is off limits.

        • I agree that there is collateral damage. It should be pointed out that the ‘friends’ who step back clearly were not true friends, but yes, the couples social circle may be affected. That is NOTHING compared to the damage of staying with abuse. And I would argue that children ‘involved’ in a home of abuse are worse off living that day in and out, than the abused parent removing themselves and creating a place of safety. As far as adult children, having the two parents together for visits, when one has been abusing the other for years, not really that great.

    • And this is one of the nuggets I wish had been available the first time I was chomped.

  • Chump Lady is spot on. You do not feel safe. Your husband is such a coward that he doesn’t stand up to the other women. You had to fike a police report. He permitted her to harass you and he cowarded in the corner. And he continues to blame you for not trying hard enough. For breaking up the family. Please put yourself first. Please get checked for STDs.

  • While reading this, I could see some of myself after finding out about my ex’s first affair (or the first one I knew of). My heart aches Toocute2Binturmoil, I’ve been there, we all have.

    Not sure if it’s common, but my ex did all the “right” things after the first affair too. Therapy, blocked the AP, cried with me, made promises he’d never do it again, etc. I never felt safe from that point fwd no matter what he did. The trust was broken.

    It took two more affairs to happen again for me to finally get strong and leave! I wish I had left after the first one. That’s 3yrs of my life I’ll never get back. My ex begged and cried the day I finally left him but it didn’t work on me anymore. I was tired of being abused by his cheating.

    I don’t know if it’s true, but for me it was a thing where I wasn’t going to leave until I was ready and had enough. I really wanted to fight for my marriage and overcome the infidelity. I didn’t realize when I was fighting, that I was being sincere and he was plotting to do it again and again.

    Perhaps I sound jaded or negative, but if he cheated Toocute2BinTurmoil he’s going to do it again. No one here wants that for you. Sending many hugs & strong vibes your way.

    • Alice-
      “I don’t know if it’s true, but for me it was a thing where I wasn’t going to leave until I was ready and had enough. I really wanted to fight for my marriage and overcome the infidelity. I didn’t realize when I was fighting, that I was being sincere and he was plotting to do it again and again.

      Like Alice I fought but it wore me out. I wasted energy on him when I really needed it for myself and kids. It took years to get it back. Don’t waste another second. Not sure if it would have been different if I had know about CL.

      • Spoonriver, I’m so glad you eventually made your way out. We survived and that really says something! I had no idea at the time I was going to survive infidelity and it wasn’t going to be with my exhusband. I’m so thankful I finally saw him for what he was, and got out.

        • It’s so hard to “see them clearly” as we have loved a version of the person, that amazing person we first fell in love with. This clouds the reality of who they have become, a disappointment, someone altogether different from the version we want them to be. It was only when my soon to be Ex said in the context of his AP “it may not work out” (she lives in the US and he in Europe), then added “but there’s lots of women out there”! He lied to her for 2 years (told her he was a divorcee! I overheard him tell her how much he loved her). Women are to be used. Told me he stayed “for the money”! Look hard and be honest. Do you like who he is?? Do you want to invest a minute more of your time in the person you can now see.

      • Same. I have a friend going through what I went through and I know she has to come to be strong enough to leave her own way- it took me years until my mother said if you don’t this abuse will kill you and then where will your kids be.
        Love and respect go hand in hand. How can anyone respect a person who would lie and cheat on their family?

    • My story is very similar. Almost two years of trying to make things work, of feeling desperate and unsafe even as ex mimicked the right things to do. The affair never ended, he just became better at hiding it. Cheating is a fundamental breech of trust and respect. Once those two things are gone there is no going back, IMO.

      • Same here. The affair never really ended. He became a boomerang. Coming back to try with me. Cut the OW off. Then, weeks later, re-connecting with her. This went on for 13 months after I discovered her existence (which he convinced me was someone he had just met and he was helping her with her business accounting). Well the affair was really about 22 months of the marriage. He still had contact with her during marriage counselling and a couple’s therapy weekend away.

        Just became better at hiding it until he started to fall apart. Lost weight, riddled with anxiety, many thought he was suffering mental health issues. He said that I was causing his anxiety. Nope, it was that the affair continued, and I was pressing him for more accountability.

  • 2 cute
    Reading your letter pretty much leaves me with the impression that You know it’s over. It’s broken,..FUBAR

    Love and Fear cannot live in your heart simultaneously. Bitterness is a minion of Anger.

    The Love is gone and Now the bitterness remains. Use your anger to move forward. Hell hath no fury like a woman’s scorn.

    Don’t let fear move in and hold you hostage.

    Join us across the troubled waters where peace and safety reside.

    • I found the book ‘Cheating in a Nutshell’ very helpful.In there it says that the opposite of love isn’t hate – but disgust. When I found out my husband had cheated I felt such disgust. I just couldn’t even touch him.

      • I agree. When I found out about all the cheating and abuse she did I felt such disgust that I couldn’t even imagine spending anymore time with her. I couldn’t imagine having sex with her again (never did). Used that to file for divorce 2/1/2 weeks later.

      • I’ve read it’s indifference. That makes also exactly what my ex said he felt for me when he first told… not hate, but indifference.

        Well, he hates me now…. I made sure of that.

        • Kintsugi– if he hates you now, I suspect it was never indifference but perhaps something even creepier.

          According to some domestic violence researchers, the most statistically dangerous perps display a form of attachment disorder that includes something called “masked dependency.” Apparently they have so much toxic shame regarding feelings of dependency, jealousy and vulnerability that they deny and mask these emotions even to themselves. This type is also said to lack more recognizable or obvious “abuser” traits like open misogyny or chronic aggressive behavior. But when they attack it comes out of the blue and they’re more often lethal. The typical example given was of a woman waking in the middle of the night to find her husband trying to strangle her and then the attacker not remembering the next day what he had done or why he did it.

          I’ve read more about violence than I have about cheaterology but I find a lot of overlaps between the two with one exception: though virtually all violent abusers cheat, not all cheaters violently abuse (they physically abuse in other ways). But the various categories of abuser mindsets, the various stages of abuse (tension building, explosion, etc.), coverup tactics, blameshifting, minimization of harm, tendency to “alter the characters of victims” to justify the abuse and other forms of gaslighting are all pretty much the same. It’s such a close match that I’ve wondered if cheating is like turning left at the fork in the road where the highway sign to OJ-Ville or Pamela-Smart-Ville points right.

          I mean they’re just subconsciously trying not to strangle or shoot us and deserve major bitch cookies! They’re heroes and models of self control! Kidding (ugh).

          Something else abusers do is go from partner to partner on the magical belief that the “right one” will “inspire” them to stop being monsters based on their sense that others make them do bad things they wouldn’t do on their own. A cheater chasing after the feeling of limerance may serve a purpose beyond just making themselves “high” on their own hormones and neurochemistry to salve self loathing. Limerance might temporarily distract from their own destructive impulses so they can pretend that’s not their “real self” and they’re “not like that.”

          So it could be more about why some cheaters (quite rightly) loath themselves. Maybe their secret head films involve blips on the screen of bludgeoning their partners to death or the like.

          It would certainly explain the mystery of why many cheaters seem bent on doing real damage to their victims. But hey, that was nuthin’ compared to what they could have done so what’s everyone cryin’ about?

          • Well HoaC, that is chilling and oddly way too familiar sounding to me. As a great wife-appliance and facade of decency, I was likely something my cheater really could not given up… I know he cheated before the Big Cheat where he contemplated leaving the family for his OP, but I believe he was really frightened to lose the facade we provided and be (as he out it) “that guy who left his wife and kids for a younger woman”. I am inclined to believe he was way too scared to step out from behind the really comfy facade and tell the world that this is what he chose. He returned from her world (during a time I gave him an alibi and didnt out him in his cheating) and came back with no explanation.

            What I remember though are moments of threat…telling me he could snap my neck in an instant (he was known to say that while holding my head in a wrestling lock) and he partook in a terrifying practice of rage-driving which endangered and terrified our whole family.

          • This totally rings true for me. Exhole used to do the anger/self-pity thing shouting “I am NOT a MONSTER” – all I could think of (but never say) is “I never said you were”. But obviously it was something that occurred to him all the time. He actually was and IS a monster. I was certain once I found out that he was a lying cheating scumbag that if he could’ve killed me and gotten away with it, he would. I was afraid he might “accidentally” push me down the stairs. The violence was always there under the surface, a kind of malignancy he covered oh s o well. (He was in theatre!! His whole life has been an act) I was such a willing audience.
            “A cheater chasing after the feeling of limerance may serve a purpose beyond just making themselves “high” on their own hormones and neurochemistry to salve self loathing. ” This is what theatre productions and opening nights and reviews did for him (and other women)

          • I could never be sure if it was just my imagination,or the shock of what seemed to be so deeply weird,a ten or more year affair,.and a hidden child of 6, not much younger than my youngest..But there were fleeting unguarded moments of his that really raised this spectre?of soulessness? during the confrontations that followed my ex being outed by his fellow abuser.I still search now to find the words to describe or understand the real meaning of those disturbing glimpses,and also to understand the creepiness of the hundreds of hangup calls,some maliciously to social services requiring me to prove i was not an unfit mother,the attention demanding letters to myself and to my young daughter,really inexplicable crap from his fellow weirdo…
            Its just so dark!But i feel Hell of a Chump has touched upon it.

      • Thanks, knittedrobin, for recommending ‘Cheating in a Nutshell’. I bought the Kindle version and am just over 25% into it, and already have learned so much! I wondered sometimes why I still feel nausea at the thought of Cheater X, now 6 years after D-day, and this book explains that in terms of evolutionary biology. Looking forward to reading the entire book.

        • SnowyEgret, so glad.It’s an amazing book, I read it myself because someone on this site recommended it.

      • Just want to through out there that love and hate are both intense emotions directly toward a person, emotions that keep your attention fixed on your abuser. Love, hate, rage, revenge–all of them keep your attention on someone who doesn’t have your best interest at heart.

        That’s why CL says our goal is “Meh.” The goal is for that person not to be important to you, not to take up space in your head or your heart.

  • This letter resonates so much with me.

    I was the one who was being harassed via Facebook. I was the one contacting the police to get restraining orders. I was the one telling him to go to therapy. I was the one minding my business when she showed up at my house acting nuts.

    He was the one hiding and cowering and slinking around corners. He was the one stonewalling me and telling me oh he “didn’t remember” anything. He did install a security system because he was afraid of her husband. Too much of a pussy to face the consequences.

    I never, ever felt safe. I was terrified. Terrified of seeing her in public. Terrified of the doorbell ringing. So scared I deleted all my social media. Terrified of her showing up or causing me trouble at my job.

    I was terrified until the day I caught him with another OW and he left. Then I felt safe.

    • Wow! Second OW did you a huge favor. He and the hanger on are all yours sweetheart.

      • Funny thing is, he dated (screwed) her for four months, met the parents a couple of times (she was 24 after all) and then dumped her two days before Valentines Day because “he wasn’t ready to be in a relationship, he just got out of one.”

        Karma baby. I hope she enjoyed her prize. ????‍♀️

    • Wow! I find what you wrote haunting. I don’t know that I have really given thought to how much fear I was living in during the “pick me” dance, but really it was fear. Much of it left with him, but the part that remained wasn’t great either. It was the fear of running into the two of them, all happy, and me just looking like a frump. It was the fear that she might really be better than me. And the ultimate of all the fears, what if my kids met her and bonded with her?

  • “He says I’m breaking up the family by being sad, depressed and I’m accusing him of things he is not doing because I’m insecure.”

    You’re sad and depressed. Check of the box where it says, “I liked it better when you were upbeat, doing all the work and were oblivious.”

    You really have to take a step back and realize the hundreds of lies, money spent on hotels, hundreds of texts professing his love to the OW. And then he came home and fantasized about the next time they’d meet.
    He promised her more and she gave him an ultimatum. Then SHE exposed him.

    Dump him, he’s a loser.

  • If any of your three children had written this letter to you, what would you tell them?

    Cheaters pick the biggest, sharpest knife in the drawer. They get someone to help them cut you and your family in two, just like on the day many people cut their wedding cake, hands joined on the handle.

    Then we turn ourselves into pretzels, trying to wave our magic wands and make it so it never happened. Trying to make a monogamist out of a cheater. Trying to in ring bells and being murdered bodies back to life. Trying to undo the undoable.

    The longer I am here the more I get how insane it all is. The only path to sanity and serenity is to LEAVE once the Ponzi scheme is revealed.

    • TYPO….

      “UNRING bells and BRING murdered bodies back to life.”

      No trust no safety = entanglement, not relationship.

      The only thing cheaters have a relationship with is their genitals. Like an alcoholic with booze. IMHO.

      The POINT of marriage is trust, safety, security. I chose him because I thought he was a nice guy with complementary goals and dreams. A guy who was loyal, who would NEVER cheat. That I could work through problems with. He put on quite the show, going to therapy with me for 27 years. I thought we were following a maintenance schedule. I have no idea what he was doing now.

      Like other forms of anesthesia, the Kool Aid takes a while to wear off. DDay is the cast iron skillet upside the head that renders you senseless until the massive head injury heals. Infidelity inflicts its own form of TBI (traumatic brain injury). I’d love
      to see neuropsychiatric studies of infidelity victims. I am sure the MRI’s of the brains of infidelity victims would tell quite a story.

      There is nothing unique about what this man has done. Everyone here has a similar story. It’s a huge gift to know that, unlike the olden days pre-Internet when people were puzzling this out alone, thinking our circumstances were unique.

      Tracy and Chump Nation are the bigger sharper knife we can use to triumph over infidelity.

      • I love your comments, Velvet. Thank you for being a calm, caring, and kind voice of reason and for reminding me that there very definitely are good people out there.

  • TooCute, You have “hate in your heart where love used to be,” because you have a hurtful asshole where a loving partner used to be. Lose the asshole and you lose the hate. Of course, that’s just another way of saying, “Leave a cheater, gain a life.”

    Your feelings are valid and are therefore unlikely to change so long as this person is in your life. It would be UNhealthy to have love in your heart towards someone who has abused you in this way. Wishing you strength to make this necessary change in your life.

  • I guess my take is very slightly different in that I hate that I HATE him and I hate what it’s doing/did to me. He left in January 2010 and we were divorced in December 2011 so it’s been a few years. I try to avoid it because he’s just not worth it but I hate that I wasted 26 years on that asshole (more because of the violence than OW). I hate that I wasted my youth and my health on him, and I hate that I still hate him. For me, the longer you stay, the more time you waste and the more you’ll hate him. Sending you hugs.

    • I can relate to this. I am still so mad at myself! When people talk about forgiveness I wish so much that I could forgive myself. (I don’t give a rat’s ass about forgiving him, that’s not even on my radar. And yes, I hate him, and am disgusted by him, and wish karma would pay him a visit.) But mostly, I am mad at myself, embarrassed that I stayed in a crap marriage, terrified that I spackled that much all those years, horrified that I let my kids stay in that fake family all while I told myself I was “keeping it together for the kids.” I feel more disappointed in myself than I can even take. D final end of 2016 and typing this is making me cry…

      • Oh honey, I think you hit the nail on the head. You’re right. I hate that I can’t forgive myself and threw away so many years. I love my kids to bits of course and they are nice kids but to anyone who says “he gave you your beautiful kids” I just respond that I would have had those same lovely kids with someone else – they would have just looked a bit different!

        • Sorry to get preachy… Was Elie Wiesel’s time in the death camps a waste of years? Was Nelson Mandela’s time in prison a waste of years?

          On the one hand yes, absolutely. Oppression, atrocity, injustice, loss, betrayal and horror are meaningless. I’m sure every survivor of political atrocity spent a certain amount of time ruminating on “what ifs” (What if they’d taken a train to Switzerland in 1933? What if they never spoke up and never got arrested? What could they have done with their lives if x hadn’t robbed them of precious years?).

          But every year we’re alive and not destroying other people is a year of gaining wisdom. We can never thank perpetrators for what we “learn” from experiences or what we might go on to do to effect change in the world because of those experiences. Thanking adversity for “wisdom” is like wishing it on other people. But it must needs be that evil cometh as they say and it’s what individuals like Mandela, Wiesel and so many others did with those experiences in SPITE of perpetration that render their experiences meaningful. Survivor testimony and survivors themselves are always meaningful and give meaning even to those who don’t survive. That’s the only glamour I recognize.

          Perpetrators can only render their own existences “meaningless.” But literally everything we know about the concepts of justice, betrayal, corruption, transcendence and courage come from traumatized survivors. Who else has the passion-wattage to overcome polite social sanctions against giving voice to “heavy” things other than survivors? Holocaust survivor and author Primo Levi described the feverish need of survivors to tell their stories, to be heard and effect change. This is true regardless of whether an event was collective and huge or personal and obscure.

          Survivors are arguably the most important communicators throughout human history, the vectors of any form of genuine humanitarian progress, big or small.

          Sigh. Told you I would get preachy but this is something I’m passionate about.

          In any case, there’s a lot of data in trauma that survivors can distill in order to help themselves and others. Gaining allies or forming a movement (which CL and this forum have virtually undertaken) is also one of the chief ways to overcome trauma. This is arguably why some Native tribes engage in sweat lodge rituals. Warriors would come back traumatized from battle and the entire tribe, as an act of communal support, would enter the sweat lodge with the warriors as a symbolic and real way to show willingness to share the suffering.

          I’ve published quite a bit about various abuses of power but one of the best signs that my own otherwise horrible, pointless, life-disrupting negative past experiences that triggered a passion for fairness had been rendered “meaningful” is that my kids so clearly have a head start in understanding certain key things that mystify the average adult or which many get wrong at their own peril.

          The kids are sponges for it, never stop asking why people (and organizations and entire countries) do “crazy things.” They spit their understanding back out as gallows humor, which is when you know someone has really “gotten it.” The value of this became evident when a teacher from another country– in a sort of dismayed, wondering-aloud tone– asked my nerdy, virginal son why so many US corporate leaders put profits over people and environment. My son answered, “To buy more hookers and yachts.”

          Warms my heart to know my kids are on top of this shit. They don’t thank perps for it.

            • Thanks, he is. I think by law I have to agree. I’m not objective lol.

          • “In any case, there’s a lot of data in trauma that survivors can distill in order to help themselves and others.” Thanks, HellofaChump. It helps to hear a spokesperson for why it’s all worthwhile

    • I was consumed with hate and bitterness, Attie, and like you, I hated how I felt. But after some very good counseling from my priest, I was finally able to let it go. I no longer hate him, I just pity him because he will always believe that he did nothing wrong. And that is very, very sad. He will never be a decent human being. But I’m so very happy that he is no longer my problem. He and his skank married and they truly deserve each other. Two very selfish people get to play head games with each other the rest of their lives (or until they aren’t “in love” anymore). Believe me, I do not believe they’re happy no matter what they present to the world They were unhappy before and until they become decent people, they will continue to be unhappy. And… they won’t become decent people because people do not change.

      • I found one very good (young) therapist who helped me a lot at the beginning. She showed me that I wasn’t mad and that it really was him but damn, it’s taking a long time for him and his appalling behaviour to no longer take up head space!

    • Attie- it wasn’t until i decided that i could hate him forever for the 22yrs he stole from me, AND move forward with my life while hating him, and it was ok, that the hate started to become something different.
      i don’t know what, just something different.

      it was as if resisting and judging myself for the anger i had at the damage he did to me and our family was keeping me stuck there. it’s still there some. i’m fine with that. it may always be there, it’s changed some, into something different.

      • You’re right. I suppose the madness is that I wasted 26 years on him – so why waste any more right? It’s a mind set we each have to get to I reckon.

      • Erin,

        I work with the grieving and I find the same dynamic exists…as long as we try to force ourselves to leave a stage too soon, we get stuck exactly where we are. You werent ready to stop hating him and I have gone through similar. It isnt until we allow ourselves to know its OK to be right where we are that we can lift our feet to take the next step.

        I didnt hate my Cheater when I should have…in the midst of the cruelty and betrayal but fear and hopium kept me where I was. I hated for a while and now see it as a waste of energy…I have what I call Chronic Low Level Distain.

      • This so resonates with me. I think we should go with our legitimate feelings and not try to resist. I believe you can still hate someone and move on with your life. You’re right that the hate will turn into something else… indifferent sort of hate that does not consume our lives. Forgiveness does not come naturally for me but it also takes a lot for me to get to a point where forgiveness is off the table. Not forgiving someone has never had a negative impact on my life, so I have always been puzzled by people that strive or insist we all have to forgive. Why? I only believe we have to go easy on ourselves. If we somehow screw up, we go on and do better or find ways to make up for mistakes.

        • I have never forgiven or forgotten what my father did to my mother or myself as a child when he left for his AP. He’s still with her. He never looked back or acknowledged my existence afterwards. I ceased to exist. My sister still maintains contact and includes the AP in social gatherings etc. That’s her business. We live very close travel wise. He could have contacted me for almost 40 years. FOO issues are mine, all mine.

  • I pray you find the strength to leave and go no contact ( except for kids schedules). I was where you are. Wreckonciliation seldom works you do not have a unicorn. The blame shifting proves that. You didn’t break your family, HE did with his nasty selfish DANGEROUS behavior. Mine used the 4 years of wreconciliation to steal our entire retirement savings ( hundreds of thousands) leaving me with no retirement savings at 56. I don’t have enough time to even attempt to try to replace it. You don’t feel safe because you aren’t safe. Do not assume he’s your friend. Mine tried to do scorch earth—he tried to destroy me every way he could. The abuse escalated. Please save yourself and your children and protect yourself like he’s your enemy because that’s what he is now. (((Hugs)))

  • Too Cute,

    I think the hardest part to get your brain around is that “HE DOESN’T CARE ABOUT YOU.” He only cares about himself. Plus, he really likes it that you care a lot about him. I think CL was right to be gentle, but it is time to wake up to the facts:

    Relationships move at the speed of trust.

    You are right to not trust him. His actions proved that he is not worthy of your trust. Read through the archives here like I have been. Start looking for how many times people knew in their gut before they found evidence. Your gut is telling you that something is wrong. Follow your instincts!

  • Sorry, Toocute, the game is over.
    Just look at what you wrote. He didn’t even admit it until you “wore him down”. Doesn’t that say anything to you? This was no slip-up. He was carrying on under your nose until D-day. Who has been making all the effort since then?
    Don’t let his Sad Sausage stories get to you. Pass him a tissue for his crocodile tears.
    Get things sorted for a split and make the break. It will be awful, but nothing like as terrible as staying together in mistrust and resentment until he does it again. And when he does, it will be blamed on you.
    Look after yourself and your children.

  • You know he could have responded to this by understanding how deeply he hurt you. Instead he’s blaming YOU.

    You need to get to a quiet place and hear what your heart is saying. You don’t deserve this.

    I still struggle with my x’s blame shifting. – He told people I just told him to get out. No explanation. I just ended our family. This ended up helping me identify the ridiculous people in my life that would believe something like this… but I still have waves of feeling somehow if only i were more… fill in the blank. That’s not love.

    You owe it to yourself and your children to live your truth. We’re here to tell you there is a life waiting for you.

    • “You need to get to a quiet place and hear what your heart is saying.”

      I really like this advice. TooCute knows what to do, just her head is getting in the way. It can be hard to stand up for yourself.

      • Facing up to the truth about the unicorn is a little like finally admitting that Santa Claus won’t actually deliver because he isn’t real.
        You have suspected it for a while…you have accepted unlikely stories, you have not asked probing questions, you have left out carrots that have disappeared so there MUST be reign deers…you want the presents and the magic so you let it continue until the myth is shattered.
        Kids of 8,9, 10 or even older aren’t daft…and nor are we.

  • He’s blaming you for how you FEEL in response to his ACTIONS.

    Plus he isn’t even the one to file the police report!

    How do you feel the instant he touches you? Cherished? Safe? Beloved? Or something else?

    I say it’s over short of the attorneys and the parenting software. Go take a class on co-parenting while separated/divorced (courts often mandate them and they LOVE it when one person does it without being told, first) and consult an attorney. You aren’t obligated to do anything with the information but I bet you will feel less trapped and more capable of lowering the boom on this idiot and his accomplice.

  • Bunny boilers add a dimension to cheating that makes it worse than unbearable. Run, girlfriend. Run. Be free of this evil.

  • You skipped the lingering inert, flattened, paralytic despair phase and went straight to hate and disgust? How useful.

    A friend said that emotions are like colors in a paint box. There are no bad colors. All that matters is the picture you paint with them.

    You’re clearly working with a full palette. Black is essential for contrast and depth when painting a bright picture (of your future). Some of us can’t even pry the cap off that tube until D-Day 3 or 5 or 14.

    • I agree Hell
      Disgust is powerful – and it fits the crime- and it’s useful and shows boundaries and self worth.
      Still working on focussing on that!
      Despair, flattened inertia, pain etc….the fact that we have that shows the level of mind games and manipulation that was involved.

    • >You skipped the lingering inert, flattened, paralytic despair phase and went straight to hate and disgust? How useful.

      One of the best sentences I’ve read here, and that’s saying something since Tracy is top-notch.

      • That paint box analogy is from a friend who directed an advocacy network for domestic violence survivors. Similar ethos to CL and CN. Brilliant.

  • Mine did leave me for married mut with 3 kids.
    Also lie, lied and lied and lied some more – said it was over and he was leaving because he just wasn’t happy but that she wasn’t involved.
    Knowing he told another that he loved her was killer…. how do you get over that? That’s not a drunken 1 night stand (that would be 100% unacceptable too), but the level of betrayal is enormous.
    What kind of a person is capable of being so selfish and uncaring to their family?
    What kind of person can deceive day in and day out?
    It’s sooooo hard to lose the dream.
    I’m still working on accepting the loss – he was truly the biggest split personality- the great him is such a devastating loss.
    But that other part is real and it’s huge and who would marry someone if we knew they would devalue us and swap us up just because the opportunity was there and they felt like it?
    Mind boggling…. all the unbelievable damage- and they willingly caused it- truly the act of undeveloped humans.

  • If you follow the stages of cheating you will know that you are worth nothing to him.
    Everyone knows cheating is hurtful. You have to be supremely selfish to do it. Meaning you think of your spouse then you shut those thoughts down. You think of your family then you shut that down. You depwesonalise them all to make room in your head for they betrayal you will inflict.
    I’ve spoken to 3 cheaters. I’ve heard that they deserved to cheat because they were the main bread winner, that they figured they could juggle two lives, that they just didn’t care.
    I contemplated cheating for revenge. I didn’t. The whole thought process alone made me feel so worthless. My motivation was nothing more than selfishness.
    To the extent that narcs treat chumps badly is pure projection and misplaced self loathing.

    • I think most of them don’t think of us.
      I asked mine, he admitted he didn’t think of me. I was shocked!!!!
      It’s hard for healthy people to comprehend.
      They think of themselves.

      • Yep. The only time they think of you is AFTER the act and that’s only to come up with an alibi in case it’s needed. They only think of themselves. That’s who they are.

    • Mandie this is so fucking absolutely right on point. Makes my head spin.

  • Toocute,
    Yes, I too did the counseling and the date nights. He showed a ton of remorse. He took on all grocery shopping and cooking.
    But that’s what manipulators do. I had hatred and anger in my heart as well – and soon that became fodder for his new narrative;
    I was bitter and unforgiving. You can read many similar stories here about chumps who regret staying so long and trying to reconcile.
    Your story is so similar – it may take a while for you to fully process and make your decision, but ultimately you will see that you have NOTHING to work with here. He told the OW he loves her? He tells you that you are breaking up the family? This is so unacceptable. Of course you don’t trust him. You are wise not to – but your manipulative cheater husband is messing with your mind by telling you that that he is trying so hard, but you just don’t trust that he is. The trust is BROKEN. By HIM. But somehow Toocute, according to him this is really on you. So typical.
    I hope you can divorce and find the peace that is waiting on the other side. That peace is so much sweeter after all we have been through. (((HUGS))))

  • Toocute2Binturmoil:

    It appears your husband’s preferred language is “Cheaterspeak“. Cheaterspeak is a completely artificial language, created by, and reserved for, artificial people who, out of a sense of entitlement, betray their spouses and then verbally vomit words designed to deflect, deny, blameshift, gaslight, devalue, confuse, disrespect and mislead. Cheaterspeak is not difficult to learn; anyone who desires to become fluent, can.

    Most betrayed spouses have been on the receiving end of Cheaterspeak’s most popular sayings, such as:

    “I love you but I’m not in love with you.“
    “I haven’t been happy in years.“
    “I need time and space.“
    “I don’t remember.“
    ”If you knew her, you’d be great friends.”
    “You can’t deny true love.“
    “But we’re just friends.“
    “It’s all in your head.“
    “We have nothing in common.“

    It’s clear your husband’s been his practicing Cheaterspeak for a while because he’s advanced to Lesson #2:

    “She was blackmailing me.”
    ”You’re breaking up the family.”
    “I’m innocent”.
    “I’ve blocked her.“
    “You’re insecure.”
    “I’ve never cheated before”.
    “I’m trying”.
    “I’ve changed my phone number.”
    “Let’s go to therapy.“

    If your husband had really been trying, he would have done his own damn legwork to stop the OW’s constant harassment. But he didn’t.

    If he was really remorseful about his deplorable behavior, he would be falling all over himself to make things right (did someone say post-nup?) rather than pointing the finger at you. But he hasn’t.

    If your husband had an ounce of empathy, he would ask questions like, “I know what I’ve done has destroyed your trust in me. What can I do to make you feel safe?“, earnestly listen to your answer (which could include filing for divorce and giving you an extremely generous settlement), and then act upon it. But he won’t, because he’s not thinking about you… he just wants everything to go back to “normal”.

  • Loads of good advice here.

    The big question is this: Is this marriage acceptable to you, today, as it stands?

    If it’s not–and that is why you’re here, of course–then your recourse is divorce.

    Personally, that’s what I think you should do anyway. You see, he is completely failing at genuine remorse. Heck, even if he were truly remorseful, you don’t OWE him reconciliation or forgiveness. In marriage, you have only one chance to be faithful. Even if you never, ever have an affair ever again, you are ALWAYS an adulterer. If you are a cheater, you need to own this. If you can’t, then you can’t be truly remorseful.

    Go read Tracy’s “Real Remorse or Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse?” You are looking at imitation Naugahyde.

    Here is how you know that he’s not remorseful:

    1. The AP told you. –I’m not going to delve into her reasons. That’s untangling the skein of fuckedupness. However, remember that cheaters like kibble and cake. Having two people means lots of kibble, lots of cake. Clearly he’s fine being married to you, else he’d have divorced you, but he also likes being with her, else he’d not have fucked her. You, of course, had no idea what was going on, but she obviously did. Maybe she told you because she was fed up with him always saying he’d love to get married but of course, there was you. Or maybe she just wanted to force the issue. Who cares? It’s irrelevant.

    The point is that your Cheater didn’t come clean because he felt so overburdened with guilt. He felt no need to own his shit.

    2. He’s blame-shifting.–Do you notice how it’s not HIS fault? No, it’s your fault that you feel betrayed and angry and suspicious. That he was fucking someone else is completely coincidental. He refuses to take responsibility for his actions and their consequences. It’s not what he did, it’s your reactions to what he did that are the problem! At least in his book.

    3. Words don’t count; actions do.–You say he says he’s sorry, but does he truly show you that he’s sorry? You mention you go to counseling. Who set that up? Does your therapist know he cheated? Does he talk about his actions? Does he do his homework? Does your therapist know that he gets defensive when you ask him about his actions?

    Has he offered you anything concrete to show you that he’s sorry? A post-nup might be a start. This would have a fair division of marital assets in the event of a divorce. Oh, and did he say it was okay to run credit reports? The thing is that this is the affair you know about. It is very possible that he’s had other flings and not bothered to say one damn thing. Credit reports may reveal extra cell phones, secret bank accounts, etc. You need to know all this stuff. Also, you need the passwords to all his financial institutions. If he doesn’t want to give you this information? Well, that shows that he’s not remorseful.

    Even if he’s truly sorry, that doesn’t mean you need to stay married. You don’t owe him a marriage. He owed you fidelity. That was one of the conditions of the marriage. Heck, it’s in the vows. He broke the vows. You didn’t have to try to work things out. That was your choice. But it’s a choice that’s turning out to be a dead end.

    The point is that you can’t turn the clock back and make him unfuck that person. If you envision the rest of your marriage trying to chase after him to make sure that he stays faithful and he resents you for doing this, well, that’s no marriage. You deserve being married to someone whom you trust to be faithful. You can’t meet that person while you’re married. If he’s truly remorseful (and he doesn’t sound as if he is), then he deserves to meet someone who is able to trust him in a way you no longer can. This isn’t because you’re bad because you can’t trust him. It’s because he broke the faith with you in a way that’s simply irreparable.

    Cheating has consequences. He should have thought of these before he had the affair.

    • KB – very good response. I was so, so scared to pin my dick-ex down to anything because I just knew if the marriage broke up, it was because I pressured him — in his timid, vulnerable, delicate stage after discovery. What a piece of crap! I agree with you. Have him show his remorse by giving her a post-nup. The biggest reason why he’s not remorseful, is he did not come clean. The affair was outed and then he tried covering it all up. What a pig he is.

  • TooCute, your letter also resonated with me. Fear.

    I didn’t have to get restraining orders, but I was feeling like a bad, selfish, stupid and/or crazy person 24 hours a day. It was an awful feeling.

    For several years it was bewildering, then it was so scary.

    So one day I got my wits together and asked if he was being blackmailed by someone in his work (I was still a chump, but I was tired of feeling bad for nothing). I actually made him lose his breath with the question. I also told him I was not afraid of him. He stopped in his tracks and looked dumbfounded.

    He did not come home anymore after that. Then my son spilled the beans for D-Day. Cheater did a bravado filing of divorce and couldn’t believe it when I went ahead and ignored his pleas to reconcile.

    TooCute, when CL says that YOU are doing all the heavy lifting, listen up. So was I. Your fuckwit is just as sincere as my fuckwit.

    Son tells me his father keeps mumbling about reconciliation. This after 3 years being divorced.

    If I needed a reality check, this week I got one: a former employee looked me up because her social security had not been paid for several years. I told her to go to cheater because he stayed with all debts (100% his anyway, and I had great lawyers). I asked son how things went: cheater says it was employee’s responsibility because she did not go after her rights. Sigh….

  • OMG. Just. LEAVE.
    Different circumstances, but same exact feelings here. My cheater jumped through all the hoops during IRC attempt. He tripped on his dick with trickle truth & some blame shifting, but I realized that even if he did everything right, I was never going to get over it. Love was still there for awhile but it was smothering under the betrayal.
    Telling you YOU’RE breaking up the family, accusing him rather than just trying to cope — yeah, trust me, that’s going to turn into “get over it!” very soon.
    You’re still trying to clean up his mess and he’s resentful.
    Trust me on this as well: that hate you’re feeling is not going away unless he changes drastically, and at this point, even if he does, he’s already shown you that’s not his true self.
    Stop the bleeding & leave his ass.

  • I’m sorry this sounds so much like me. I was paralyzed by the phone call from OWs BF! I didn’t know about CL. I had known something was wrong. I had been asking and been getting blown off. He blamed me when confronted. Then he asked me what I wanted to do. He then just went along for the ride. It soon became my fault as the blame shifting kicked into high gear. He convinced me that having children with him was the answer. (Fertility had to be done and he complained about it. I did all the work.) It’s just so awful to review all the details again that I did to try to fix this and save the marriage. Meanwhile he was doing his normal nothing and prowling for his next AP. I was doing marriage police and found several things. It just made him go further underground. The last thing I found was multiple downloads of pornographic movies that he was viewing while our children were upstairs.

    I’m sorry. He will not change if he’s not trying to at this point. Look online for Lindy Bancrofts Why Does He Do That? As a pdf. Or read cheating in a nutshell. Both will explain why very well. Even motivated people who want to change are rarely successful. Trust your gut and get out.

  • he broke the relationship by breaking his vows. then tries to blameshift it to your reaction that is the problem. the entitlement of it! loads of good advice above. to quote Gaga’s song “Trust is like a mirror, you can fix it if it’s broken, but you can still see the crack in that mother fucker’s reflection.” the future with him in the picture would be marriage policing, from experience – it is not a fun way to live. So you have choices – neither are ones you wanted or planned sorry! getting angry is justified. cheating sucks. wishing you strength to leave that cheater and gain a life. you are worth it.

  • 19 years. I see that number a lot. I haven’t studied the stats but I see 19 years mentioned all the time. Maybe it’s because 19 years was my dday. But I wonder if there’s something in it. Some kind of trigger. I remember telling my then wife that we had been together half of her whole life. I think that caused a rebellion

    • At 17 I fell in love. We made it through ups and downs of college and military. Married at 22 hell I feel like at that point the 3 years learning to live together before struggles of family. I gave his ass my life to go and S on.

    • Yep. 19 years is when it started. Clearly a fuckwit trigger number.

  • I would assume if you continue to be upset and are still mad after a time, that is a clear indication that injustices are still happening. What I can identify from this is that he is blame shifting it as her fault: “it’s not my actions that are the problem but rather your response of being hurt when I hurt you.” Also that it is somehow her responsibility to protect the relationship from the affair partner. She had to be the one to take legal action. Where was he in all this? My guess: continuing to encourage the affair partner.

    Your feelings are completely justified and normal. They mean that the abuse is still happening and you need to get away from the source of the abuse: the abuser/cheater. Never dismiss your feelings. They are your mind and body’s way of alerting you to something that is actively causing you harm.

  • It takes 2 people to maintain a relationship. It takes just 1 to end it.
    Stop waiting for his permission to end this.
    If he loved & cared about you he would validate your feelings, & even then you can walk away.
    The house burned to the ground. Stop trying to live in the embers.

  • You wrote here because there is something wrong. Just like many of us who stumbled upon this site when we needed it the most, you’re here because you are finally trying to face your worst fear. That takes courage. Chin up. We are in this together.

    We all have our own thresholds. You will know when it’s time to leave. I was in denial for a long long time. I didn’t want to listen to anyone bad mouthing my marriage, I defended the relationship at the cost of my friendships, family and everything else. My biggest loss though was myself. But something happened inside of me and I started to wake up with a harder heart toward my husband every day after dday2, and months of pick me dances like a clumsy ballerina. I gave myself time to check out of the relationship mentally, emotionally and especially physically. It may not take one CN post to aid your decision. But maybe something someone will say one day, be it on here or even just in passing, will resonate with you and you’ll start to see the world, and your marriage, in a completely different light.

    I’m far from meh, but I have hope that true, pure happiness lies away from a partner you cannot trust. I believe it. You’ll be OK and we will be here to cheer you on.

  • I found it impossible to be the loving, trusting wife that I wanted to be after he cheated. Because I stayed he was later able to triangulate our children against. me.

    It’s hard if you stay, and yes it’s hard if you leave. Chumps hate to be the ones to step up and end it. But living a lie is not a life. And the kids know that the love is not there between their parents. They see it, they feel it. You deserve better.

  • I personally believe that some marriages can survive affairs – but here’s what I think it takes: instead of getting impatient with you for being “sad” he needs to wrap his arms around you and say that he’s sorry and that he loves you. That he made a big mistake and it will never happen again. He shows you his phone every day for awhile. He checks in with you to see how you’re feeling every day. He’s reliable, consistent. He’s the one doing the Police report. He needs to express remorse and be absolutely patient with your healing. His focus should be on that, for as long as it takes. He needs to be honest – overly honest for a long, long time. It’s a red flag to me that he’s impatient and that you are doing the work to keep that woman away from you. He’s probably getting kibbles from that one. Trust your gut. Trust is earned. Is he earning it back?

    • And a postnup and a full financial check and credit report.

      And your willingness to continue feeling unsafe and hypervigilant, until some wonderful day in the future when you don’t.

      It’s round about then that D Day #2 occurs.

    • I don’t think it’s possible to re-trust someone. Once they have betrayed you and lied to you the whole thing is broken.

      • Agreed – some marriages may survive, but at what cost to the chump and any children they might have? I’ve never read of a marriage surviving an affair where the chump ever felt the same as before. The ones that say an affair made their marriage is stronger, really make me wonder, a lot. Is it possible, or are they just putting on a front and the reality is they’re just holding on tighter like it’s a white knuckle roller coaster ride?

  • You have hate in your heart because your gut is screaming something is not right. Maybe husband is saying all the right things, maybe he stays home, maybe he goes along with counseling but your gut is telling you something is off and cheater is just biding his time. Clearly you are frustrated as hell and more so due to his insipid response to all the craziness OW inflicted upon you. It may appear he chose you over her but in reality she just didn’t measure up. He may have had an affair with a bat shit crazy woman but it doesn’t mean he was going to blow up his life for this nut case. The next one may be different, he may think the next one worthy of blowing up his life. Believe me there will be a next one and if there isn’t it wasn’t for lack of trying on his part. Dump his ass and hope he ends up with Miss Bunny Boiler.

  • Very sorry Toocute2Binturmoil, but your husband is a tool. He told his affair partner he loved her. He told you she was blackmailing him. Do you see the man in the middle?

    I expect she may be unhinged because he is making her crazy, just exactly like he is making you crazy.

  • “I probably spend a third of my day thinking about some aspect of his affair.”

    As Queen of the Unicorns and Untangler of all Skeins, I will admit that I thought about his rejection / betrayal / affair with about 90% of my brain space for a LONG time…to the point of it deeply changing me as a person…that is one reason I take breaks from this board…Im glad to finally not be doing that.

    I appreciate the description of brain injury of Dday (and the abuse that comes with it) it threw me off so severely I shrivvled up, lost a lot of my hair and had hives. I wasnt mighty in the moment at all. Now Im living my best life

  • >>I feel like I don’t accuse, I ask questions. I probably spend a third of my day thinking about some aspect of his affair.
    Maybe that’s a good thing, for awhile. I bet your mind is breaking free from lies. Noticing what doesn’t add up. Noticing he is NOT what you thought.

    >>The fact that he told her he loved her knowing she had a husband and 3 kids and he didn’t give a fuck about his wife and 3 kids has changed me.
    I bet she was in shock that he didn’t really love her. He couldn’t have cared less what his words did to her. I bet a big part of her crazy-seeming pursuit was that she couldn’t believe she went out on a limb for nothing. How tragic! And to him it was just an inconvenience. I hate him too now. I’m glad your values won’t tolerate this. I’m so sorry after 19 years. This might be the tip of the iceberg.

  • One huge mental and emotional hurdle for chumps and other kind-hearted people is that we feel we have to stick it out unless our partner does something that would make OTHER PEOPLE say it’s OK to leave. CL hits it on the head: “Why would you try to talk yourself into staying when the cognitive dissonance is killing you? Why do you try to keep attempting to feel safe in a situation that makes you feel unsafe? Why do you squelch your feelings and give them less importance than his lame-ass “trying”?

    We discount our own experience. Our needs. Our feelings. Our need to feel safe.

    Too cute, if you aren’t ready to give yourself permission to reach for happiness and not just the status quo, do a 12-month separation and stick to it. Tell him to get an apartment. Work out a financial agreement that gives you child support. Divide up your the money in the bank. Tell him you need time to get over his affair and to know he’s sincere. Have very limited contact, just what you need to pick up or drop off kids.

    Work on you–your career, your health. Get back in touch with who you are when you aren’t married to someone you don’t love anymore. My guess? It won’t take you a year to see that it’s better to live without someone you don’t trust. I can’t imagine laying my head on a pillow next to someone who has knifed me in the back.

  • At 17 I fell in love at 21 I fully committed to him. Married at 22 cheating was the only deal breaker and now that it is broke at 45 I’m checked out. Yup, not safe nailed it. When I confided in anyone which was a ton I just wanted to hear leave that fucker but nope not a once. So I am worked on myself. Dragged his ass over nails for that punch so much so the counselor said it was emotional abuse, told the kids, let him take me to Mexico and wore thong swimsuits the entire week. So the vitamin D did me some good but new D hummm. Love all the love and hugs my individual counselor says no rush to make a decision but deep down inside I know. Meanwhile stacking my paper.

    • No one even asked if you’d be happier making a fresh start? No one suggested you deserved better? Not once?

      Well, may new friends and safety come with your new perspective.

    • Not surprisingly, you have hate in your heart. You’re bitter. You continue to think about his affair. He blames you, wants to erase past and made you defend yourself alone against his mistress.

      Why are you staying with him when you don’t love or even like him anymore? You’re raping yourself. Don’t do this to yourself.

      P. S. No matter how good looking you are, thong should be avoided by those who are over 30.

    • Staying with a cheater can knock our self esteem way low. No one deserves that fate. They are despicable human beings and love to blame shift.

  • I’m two years out from D-day and officially divorced since this past October and I’m glad he asked for the divorce and he set me free. I’m glad he didn’t want to make it work because just like you I would be going against my core beliefs concerning love marriage and family. That piece of shit stab u in the back and finds pleasure in ur pain. Not a good person. Divorce him and I bet you’ll see who your husband really is. I still have my days but I like my freedom and my new life because he’s not holding me back anymore. Time to gain life. Good luck

  • Hello Toocute2Binturmoil,

    What do they say? “We teach people how to treat us?”

    By believing my ex’s apologies (he was so sad!), and staying with him after his first affair, I actually taught him that I didn’t have proper boundaries and self-respect. He learned that if he could go to counselling and apologize 1,000 times – I would take him back.

    The trouble is, it wasn’t his first affair. It was just the first one I found out about.

    Have you watched “Dirty John’? If not, please do. It really shows you that what the cheater shows us is just what we want to see. It’s not their whole self. It’s not their real self.

    Time went on, I learned of another affair. Rinse, repeat. And I took him back. Kids, sunk costs, true love, vows, a long marriage, and I loved him.

    I continued to teach him how to treat me. It wasn’t my fault in anyway, shape or form that he was a cheater. That’s all on him. Totally. Affairs are emotional abuse. He abused my trust, my healthy and my happiness. And I kept thinking he would stop. He didn’t. And finally one of the affairs stuck and he left our ‘happy home’, to live with her.

    If I could do it again, I’d do one of two things:

    1. After I’d kicked him out, I would not take him back. I’d file for divorce. And I’d let him know that if he really wanted me and our life back, in a year, he could start seeing me again (if I still wanted him and if he had changed.)


    2. After I’d kicked him out, I would not take him back. I’d file for divorce.

    In the end, unless he was one in a million, he wouldn’t have suddenly cured the issues that made him such a horrible, entitled looser. And I think after a year, I would have moved on with my life. Maybe.

    If after a year he seemed well, it would have been an illusion, a show. And I would have taken him back (maybe) and a few years later, I’d discover another affair. So option #1 wouldn’t have really worked anyway.

    The bottom line is that you only know the tip of the iceberg. You are only seeing a small part of his dirty soul. Affairs are symptoms of deep, deep issues. They aren’t issues that can be easily fixed. Addiction, self-esteem, narcissism, personality disorders, intimacy issues… whatever the contributing cause, they are not our issues and we cannot fix them.

    Stay with him if you want. Believe him if you want. But every moment you give him, every breath you breathe into him and your relationship, is one less for your future. Read CL blog here in detail. You will find stories of people who stayed with their cheater for decades upon decades. They are sometimes 70 years old and finally free of the cheater because the cheater died; or left; or was finally kicked out for good.

    Someone who can sleep with another person they aren’t married to, really doesn’t deserve those moments and breaths you’re so willing to give them. Get out now. Get you ducks in a row and get out.

    The other side of the bridge is sunny and warm – escape the troll (and his stalking ex) and create a happy life.

  • My cheater pants said to me he never cheated on me before this. I said, so you didn’t cheat on me until you cheated on me. Crickets. Give that man a prize.

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