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‘He Had a Complete Change of Heart’

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Hi Chump Lady,

My favorite thing about your writing about cheating is how swiftly and ruthlessly you cut through the waffling to reach the unpretty but true things, and I need that right now.

In January, my husband and I were talking seriously about splitting up so that he could join a religious community. We’d been having compatibility issues for some time, mostly related to our politics/worldview. I’m very much a liberal feminist, he’s….not (despite being strongly interested in social justice issues earlier in our relationship). He had started researching which ones would be best and looking into travel plans. We’d talked it out and it really seemed like a good solution.

At the end of February, I found out he’d been having a torrid emotional affair with a woman he met on a kink website (that he had pressured me to also sign up for an account on because he was trying to convince me to have a threesome). They had made various concrete plans re: moving, our divorce and their marriage, and shared some very explicit photos and words; my husband felt it was serious enough that we talked to our 11-year old about the likelihood of “Dad going to live somewhere else because it would be best for him”.

And then all of a sudden — I’m still not sure exactly what triggered it — he had a complete change of heart. COVID obviously had made travel and/or either one of us moving out much more difficult if not impossible, so I agreed to tentatively see if we could work things out. This was in June, and since then he really does seem to have turned a new leaf. He’s leaving me love notes, making a real effort to say kind/complimentary/appreciative things, acknowledging the hurtful things he’s done and apologizing, talking about what an idiot he was to waste time when the woman of his dreams was in front of him, and our sex life is incredible.

But something is just… not right. Maybe it’s the quick way he went from “I want to be a monk!” to “I want to leave you to marry another woman!” to “I absolutely adore you and would do anything for you!” He does have a history of being really passionate about a project or topic, putting a lot of time and effort into it, and then abandoning it completely. I just feel like I can’t trust that he really means it this time; how sincere can his love be if he apparently was sincerely, deeply in love with someone else just a few months ago? He was diagnosed with OCD several years ago and I feel like it’s at play here, with our marriage being the latest topic of sudden, intense interest — constant, passionate involvement in subject — to equally sudden and almost total abandonment of subject of interest.

A final twist — also related to the exhausting, disappointing, confusing, hard-to-take-seriously cycle of obsession — he’s been obsessing in the last week or so over my sexual history — grilling me about how many guys I’ve slept with/dated/kissed and not believing me that it’s quite a small number — he says he finds it hard to believe because he finds me beautiful and sexy, but it feels like he’s calling me a liar, or rubbing in that few people found me desirable in the past. I was (and still am) overweight and shy so it’s kind of a sore spot for me, but since I keep telling him his disbelief upsets me and he keeps doing it, I don’t think I’m overreacting. One reason he thinks he knows things about my past that I’m hiding or misrepresenting: when we were first dating he found all the journals I’d kept since I was a teen, read them, memorized the “juicy” bits, and threw them in the trash. He also (currently) goes through my Facebook wall and asks how I know/if I was ever involved with various people who I interacted with 10+ years ago.

Context: We’ve been married for 12 years, we have an 11 year old child together, I’m the sole earner (and have been almost our entire relationship), we don’t have any real financial cushion as far as separating, his family lives nearby and mine live far away.

I’m not even sure what I’m asking you, to tell the truth. Maybe the fact that I am writing to you asking if I can trust him to be sincere now is answering my own question — I don’t trust him. I don’t think he’s being maliciously manipulative but I’m not sure that matters. Have you seen situations where the cheater genuinely comes to their senses and makes real, lasting changes? Is it worth giving it some time to see if this is real? If I do, how do I manage it gracefully for the sake of our kiddo?

Thanks for any advice or support.

Jenny

Dear Jenny,

I’m really sorry this loser didn’t become a monk. Preferably the kind that self-flagellates and wears sackcloth, lives in a cave and eats crickets. The silent, suffering sort. An alms-for-the-poor, medieval kind of monk. Alone in a cold village holding a tin bowl to beg for crickets. This letter would’ve been much improved with that ending.

Instead we got… you SUPPORT HIM AS THE SOLE BREADWINNER. And for that kindness he cheats, lies, and abuses you.

It would’ve been FAR easier if he had just left this shit show on his own and let the Holy Order of Fuckwits take care of him, but no, you’re going to have to un-chump yourself instead.

Yes you, Jenny. After a long recitation of crazy, at no point did I hear if this relationship was ACCEPTABLE to you. You don’t trust him. Okay. But you followed that us with Is it worth giving it some time to see if this is real?

YOU ARE UNDER ZERO OBLIGATION TO RECONCILE WITH THIS FREAK. Even if his contrition is real (it’s not).

Ask yourself:

1.) Are you okay being the sole supporting breadwinner for a fuckwit?

2.) Are you okay that he nearly abandoned the family on a whim? (I’m fine with that, just fervently wished it, but I’m not married to him. What exactly does he bring to the table?)

3.) Are you into kink sites and three-ways? No judgement if you are, but was that YOUR idea? Or did you feel like you had to go along?

4.) Do you want to keep a husband who promises marriage to another woman while married to you?

5.) Are you okay with a man who continually batter-rams your boundaries? Whether it’s sex sites, an affair, harassment over your former sex life, or throwing your journals in the trash after reading them — is this OKAY WITH YOU?

You get to decide. You MATTER. You absolutely MATTER. And as a liberal feminist, is this how you model to your son the way women should be treated? By keeping this abusive nutcase around him? Who treats his mom like shit?

(This is where I segue into my personal fantasy that Marty Ginsburg becomes an icon on par with wife, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Men aspire to be like him. People magazine names him Sexiest Man Departed. Hipsters wear his thick, 80s tax-lawyer spectacles as the apotheosis of cool. Women dump douchebags everywhere with the withering remark: “I’m sorry, you’re no Marty Ginsburg.” Supportive! Intelligent! Total team player! Child-rearing! Wife-adoring! #getamarty becomes an international campaign… )

Back to you, Jenny.

I found out he’d been having a torrid emotional affair with a woman he met on a kink website

People don’t get on kink websites for the friendships. They’re looking for someone to play kink with. He’s either having sex with these folks, or is organizing it. He was planning a future with this woman. Chances are excellent that he had a physical affair. If he didn’t, then your other conclusion is that he’s a person utterly divorced from reality who enjoys fantasy more than his family. Dealbreaker for you?

and our sex life is incredible.

Get STD testing.

He was diagnosed with OCD several years ago

You’re under no obligation to stay with him because he has a mental health diagnosis. Also having mental illness (a very common thing) is not an excuse to be abusive. It doesn’t matter what flavor it is in the DSM, what matters is — is this relationship acceptable to you? He has an obligation to treat his illness. A diagnosis is not a get-out-of-jail-free card.

grilling me about how many guys I’ve slept with/dated/kissed and not believing me that it’s quite a small number

That’s emotional abuse. Try “None of your goddamn business.”

It sounds like talking to you about it is part of some kink imagining you with someone else, and maybe justification in his twisted head for fucking people who aren’t you. (Well, you’re just a dirty girl who gets around, so…)

No need to untangle it, though. “Grilling” you about something personal and none of his business? NOT OKAY.

I was (and still am) overweight and shy so it’s kind of a sore spot for me, but since I keep telling him his disbelief upsets me and he keeps doing it, I don’t think I’m overreacting.

You’re not overreacting. Did he tell you you were?

So what if you’re overweight or shy. Your former sex life (or lack of one) is still NONE OF HIS BUSINESS. Good people don’t harpoon our vulnerabilities!

And please change your internal script. I hope you don’t hang on to this loser because you think no one else would want you.

he found all the journals I’d kept since I was a teen, read them, memorized the “juicy” bits, and threw them in the trash. He also (currently) goes through my Facebook wall and asks how I know/if I was ever involved with various people who I interacted with 10+ years ago.

This is CONTROLLING and abusive. And fuck him.

And then all of a sudden — I’m still not sure exactly what triggered it — he had a complete change of heart. COVID obviously had made travel and/or either one of us moving out much more difficult if not impossible, so I agreed to tentatively see if we could work things out.

And then all of a sudden, he realized he would lose his sole breadwinner.

He has family near by. He can move out. Lawyers are available on Zoom. Please get one today. Put down the hopium. You have NOTHING to work with.

how do I manage it gracefully for the sake of our kiddo?

You sane parent him. You lose the loser. His relationship with crazy dad will sadly be his problem, but you can help him straight away by showing him what boundaries look like.

Enforce yours today.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
        • “Check back later because I got some choice comments to make”

          I personally read the site first thing in the morning and later. People from different time zones share their experience,strength and support. Better than a 12 step (CoDA) meeting in my opinion.

          • Oh, I get notifications on each post. That is why I do the follow post and check the notification lines below, in the am.

          • Sucker Punched by a w,

            I completely agree about why it’s good to read the site as soon as you can, then come back later. Everybody adds on if and when they can (I know I come back and add on days later at times, because of my schedule/energy level/something hits me in a way that forces me to spew/all of the above).

            I think this site IS therapy for me, and for a lot of us struggling in the wake of infidelity. Thank God for CL. Doesn’t mean I don’t seek out other things (books, articles, etc.) to help me understand things surrounding or about infidelity, or that I won’t go to therapy when I again have health insurance. But word for word, this site has been a Godsend to me, and again, I think to many others. Tracy provides logical, common-sense information that pushes back against the crap the RIC, Hollywood, and how a lot of the people that have bought into those views/narratives feel infidelity should be handled by the chump (Let’s be honest. No one here cares much about the troubles of the cheating, adulterous, deceiving assholes we’ve all been dealing w/).

            I also wanted to say I made it thru my fourth shadow anniversary of my former marriage following D-day this weekend on 9/26. The only one I mentioned it to was my older sister, who’s been there for me throughout this awful, shitty experience. I almost didn’t mention it to her. I won’t next year. It would have been our 28th. Well, I hope my FW XW fucks herself w/a sharp object and…well, you get the picture. She had already obviously devalued me by the time she exit-affaired me, showing me no respect. Funny, that’s now what I have for her.

            Here’s to us chumps, and Tracy, our ChumpLady. Thank God we all found each other. Thank God Tracy made this site, and shared her insight regarding chumps rights and the ridiculousness of the RIC playbook. I hope everyone in CN has an enjoyable day. Especially Jenny. I thought the same thing as Tracy when I read what her POS husband is doing to her. He’s an adaptable deceiver, I’ll give him that. Just makes him worse, and makes other men look bad. Take a hike, you loser. Jenny deserves much better than you. As do we all.

            • Amen, Long Run.

              Man am I getting sick of TV and movie cheating depictions by the way. If these dramatizations are as “edgey” as they all seemingly aim to be, why are chumps never shown getting prodded, scraped and poked in the process of STD testing? Or babies separated from infected moms in delivery wards because dad was, um, seeking to get his needs met? Or the chump dad who has to choose between food for the kids or travel to see a dying parent because of his spouse’s massive affair debt? But those common realities would take the “hot and steamy” right out of it.

              What I’ve seen is mostly glossy drek for feeble minds. I think there would be a huge market for more realistic presentations but I have a feeling the money and power side of film doesn’t particularly like that view. If anything is told from the chump perspective, the chump usually has to be shown in the throes of some fugue state of obsession and rage, perpetrating psychotic acts, etc. Yawn.

              • Hell of a Chump,
                Me, too – about the glamorizing of cheaters/abusers (redundant/redundancy). I was enjoying Fosse/Verdon until I realized it was just another couple of narcissists. Really? I don’t GAF how “talented” self-absorbed cheaters are. Nothing gives them the right to bulldoze over other human beings…people they once claimed to “love”…not “art”, not money, nothing. Any values they *appear to* hold are negated by their extreme selfishness.
                Fuck ’em. All.
                Including Jenny’s barnacle.
                Begone, non-monk.

    • No, I wouldn’t recommend waiting to see because he’s shown you what he can do and who he is. When all of this finally resonates its like a huge slap in the face! You’ll notice one day (if you stay) Months down the road-and say to yourself, what am I doing?!? The children usually end up seeing for themselves unfortunately and turn into adults; then they just “get it” and have their own life that we need to help with. How can we give the kids hope if we continue to allow abuse neglect and make bad decisions???
      Sending love and hope

      • I worked for child support enforcement office clerical and Chumplady is right. She has a stack of dirty mail of what fathers do on their weekends with your children. Do not let the pervert have any visitation rights or you will forever have a lost child. It’s not you it’s the child unsupervised. Praying for all women and children.

          • Yes. Mine took me to a swingers club at 13 and brought 5 men back to our hotel. They couldn’t (all) wait to take my virginity. I fought them off. And pouted in the corner afterwards terrified. My mom just laughed at me. Told them I was a poor sport buzzkill. And flirted with and slept with them that night. This was after she got full custody. Disgusting.

            These ppl are predators some of them. And use kids as a lure. I’ve never really gotten over that. I’m ok now. But 13…wow. Can you imagine putting your middle schooler in peril like that. After a swingers club called Stringfellows in London? All good fun!

  • I’ve always found it helpful to write down what I’m dealing with, when confused or uncertain.

    Because when you write it down, it gets a lot harder to deny the reality. It becomes pretty damned clear; THIS IS NOT AN OK RELATIONSHIP!

    Better yet, share what you’ve written w/somebody who cares. So you can see the look of shock and horror on their faces.

    Jenny, can you see the shock and horror on our faces?

    You deserve so much more. And your kiddo deserves at least one sane parent in one sane household. And that’s clearly never going to happen as long as you’re with this Cheater Fuckwit.

    • I second the suggestion to share what you’ve written with someone else.

      Getting an outside perspective in your day to day life with a flesh and blood person would be a useful reality check. So would imagining what you’d tell a daughter or friend if she said to you what you’ve written here. Even getting away for a weekend, putting some space between you, would provide room for unpressured reflection.

      When I was in the middle of a similar situation with my now-ex, pick-me dancing (but telling myself I was deciding whether I could stay) involving kinky sex, I traveled to my mother’s for her 90th birthday, and while there, I realized that if I were to tell any of the women in my family what was going on, they would to a woman tell me “get out now.” It was clarifying.

    • Yes, sharing it with another person outside the situation can definitely help, but remember you have to be open to their perspective, even if it is a really harsh one. You’re already showing you’re open to what CL and chump nation have to say, considering your here, but seeing someone face to face tell you what they think is different because there’s no computer screen hiding their reactions.

      I thought of this when I was still dealing with the emotional fallout of a cheater I had a few years ago. I was saying I had no concrete “evidence” he’d cheated (no text messages, emails, or photos) but then I described everything to a close friend and she said you don’t need the concrete evidence, that is the behavior of a man who is cheating. Even if he wasn’t, he shouldn’t be acting like that anyway. Describing the situation to my mom, she also agreed, my ex was a liar and a cheater. (He had locked his phone which he had previously given me access too, he was suddenly vehement about not allowing me to come with him when he went to see his friends, he did not want to be tagged in facebook posts or photos, came home at 6 in the morning at one point, didn’t want me coming around his workplace, and once I got a decent paying job, wanted me to move out as fast as possible.)

      Another thing that worked for me was think of how you would react if someone was describing your own situation to you, as if it were theirs. If a friend came to you, and told you their partner was doing everything you detailed in this letter, what would you say? Would you want this for your friend? If a friend told me her partner had gone through all of her journals, taken out parts of them to grill her on, and then thrown all of them out, I would tell her to dump him ASAP.

      I think you know what you need to do, you just needed someone to bolster and validate your feelings. Which is fine. We all needed some form of validation to motivate us at some point.

    • Thanks KarenE, I think that was a huge part of my purpose in writing to CL in the first place. I’ve heard the advice to think about it as if this was your friend’s story that she was telling you, but I’m so used to to the situation I feel like my whole barometer for what is OK is out of whack. Total “frog in the pot of boiling water” thing.

      • Letter Writer- I was thinking just that after reading your story– that you were likely boiled like a frog over the course of years.

        We all are to varying degrees and are also often systematically isolated. It’s so much like domestic violence in that sense, but as if the would-be batterer takes a last second turn and cheats instead of wielding a crow bar.

        One therapist explained that abuse depends on “perspecticide”– assaulting, undermining and destroying the perspectives of victims, the better to control them. That’s why speaking out and getting feedback are so critical.

        So thank you for sharing. That sure takes guts, which brings up the burning question of why in the world your FW chose to chump someone smart and obviously self sufficient? Also like batterers, cheaters seem to vary in their taste for prey. Some prefer bunnies, but many seem to like bagging tigers. I suspect the latter are seeking more than just the bragging rights of dominating and vanquishing something formidable and may have a secret wish to be cut short, to see their own disgusting, hateful, life-negating MOs fail.

        That’s not a bid to “teach through consequences” to “help” abusers, just an observation that, rather than the stereotype of picking weak targets, so many abusers seem to choose “challenges.” In any event, your stripes are showing. 😉

        • “One therapist explained that abuse depends on “perspecticide”– assaulting, undermining and destroying the perspectives of victims, the better to control them. That’s why speaking out and getting feedback are so critical.”

          This is also why NO CONTACT helps Chumps so much. They get their perspective back, with time and distance.

    • I did just this for a mediator. And I completely broke down at what I write crystallized into such severe abuse I’d never realized. That woke me up out of the RIC haze I’m being forced into. It was devastating and I had to take a couple weeks off from what I’d written. It was horrendous. Writing it out I realized how desperate and dangerous my situation really was. And all the ppl around me trying to convince me he wasn’t all that bad.

      No he was. It was worse than I realized. Now I’m interviewing attorneys which has been the hardest part. I was just unceremoniously dumped from a support group too today bc they were all scared of the stalking. Not many ppl sympathize with domestic violence survivors I’m realizing. We’re on our own. Completely. Today was the first day I really felt hopeless. Like I couldn’t even go on. And that scared me. So I called a hotline and that helped somewhat. They want to put us in the ground. It’s up to us to swim upstream and not put ourselves in the ground for them. I want to live. I want to live through this. I don’t want to end it all bc he wants to destroy me. But it’s hard when you’re rejected by your spouse then your parents who also don’t seem to care then your support group. Who is supposed to care!

      I guess I’m the only one who cares about me. I guess that will have to be enough. Hopefully.

      • It’s enough. There are people who care. Those hotlines are godsends. I couldn’t have left my situation without online support and the good people at MidPenn Legal Services. But you have to do the scary thing and put yourself out there. Tell someone.

        There’s a good life on the other side. It’s okay to feel hopeless sometimes. It’s EXHAUSTING to go through it. Just keep fighting. You’re worth it.

        • Thank you CHumpLady for responding. I lurk so much scared to say anything nowadays online anywhere. I keep telling myself and my parents and my husband I MATTER. It’s lost on them. But it is not lost on me. Or here with you and our tribe. Thanks for responding. Tonight was one of the darkest. But damn if those two hotlines saved my life and hope tonight. And your reply. I may walk in the shadow of…but I’m going to bask in the sunlight someday. I keep telling myself. Great post today. One I needed to hear.

          • MVP, hang in there. I’ll share with you that my ex was so abusive to me that he and his girlfriend were trying to get me committed to a mental hospital and then he was trying to get me to commit suicide. It’s a long story how it happened, and it was about planting ideas in my mind, but what that meant was that I ended up at my local women’s refuge for support with a specialist abuse counselor. When I get low, she keeps reminding me that living is the best revenge. She taught me that it’s a common tactic of abusers to try and get their wives to commit suicide so they can be absolved of all their shitty behaviour and cheating, plus, they get the money from the house and investments. Writing it down was the way it dawned on me and I put two and two together about what was happening. It’s scary when you realize this and I’m sorry you’re going through a version of it. Hugs and love and please find an abuse specialist if you can.

          • ChumpMVP–

            It’s often thought that victims of domestic violence and violent threats are taken more seriously than victims of emotional abuse and cheating. But the galling fact is that social denial and refutation of victims just seem to “adjust” and increase to negate the validity of more lethal threats and offenses. It’s diabolical. The response isn’t better. It’s also a terrible way to find out the people around you are callous cowards.

            Document everything and, when you have evidence of laws being broken, bring this to the police. Bring someone along who can pressure cops to do their jobs Stalking and threats are crimes, moreover any kind of unwanted physical contact. Shelters will have contact information for legal advocates who can advise you of your rights and support your ability to report the abuse to authorities. You need a restraining order.

            You can also simultaneously file a lawsuit for injury, pain and suffering.

            Did your ex pressure you into mediation rather than filing immediately for divorce or is that the regional rule for separation?

            Right now you feel alone but by the time you have gathered all the resources to protect yourself against the scale of abuse you’re describing, you’ll have an army on your side. Don’t let yourself be silenced and don’t let some people’s discouraging responses make you give up on finding resources and support. There are passionate, knowledgeable allies out there just waiting to be found and to help.

          • MVP. I’m with you. You absolutely matter. And have value. It’s not you, it’s them. self care, self care, self care is all I can say. Chump
            Lady, support groups, you tube videos on narcissism and abuse were my saving graces.

            STBX husband and parents are similar, and often in agreement on my “need for improvement.” . I’m 57. I’ve been taken for granted and gaslighted, abused, devalued my whole life. I am preparing myself to try and be emotionally healthy finally for what ever my next life stage brings.

            After 24 years of being a general jackass by husband decided to go on line, portray himself as single or express his “ dissapointment “with my “ lack of exercise” He would sext and flirt, compulsively. Because of the devaluement of emotional abuse, I tried to hang in, forgave, took his word on his remorse. Total BS. Never stopped or accepted responsibility.
            I filed 18 months ago. After 28 years. Divorce is now snarled in COVID and business valuation. But I will get out. And you will heal
            All the best to you

  • Jenny, right after you call the super lawyers in your area, call for a STI panel, then call therapists. Get you a therapist who agrees Adultery is abuse. My earthbound angel of a therapist has guided me from hopium to NOPE-ium. When you do the work to find out why you let him abuse you it will be easier to establish boundaries and kick this abusive moocher to the curb. He is abusing you and your son. Are you going to let him get away with that?

    You have the power here. He isn’t going to change. But you can.

    • I wish I had gone to a good therapist when it happened to me many years ago.

      Possibly then I wouldn’t have had a relapse of pain, (this time anger at myself). I swollowed the pain, and went on with my life, but didn’t realize the anger I carried until FW and schmoopie blew up my son’s life with their selfish acts. Son eventually made amends with his dad, my daughter in law has not spoken to his dad or schmoopie for several years since the situation blew up.

      What I noticed is schmoopies relationship with her sons and family is just fine. Oh they have fights, but they are used to that. Yet FW has crapped all over his relationship with his son. I still struggle with why these guys do this. Yes I know; they suck. Still hard to understand.

      At that time I started thinking how could FW have done this, then I started to remember what he was capable of doing to me, his wife. So I started researching narcissist’s and up popped CL. Sure would have helped me in the day.

      The anger at myself was about me allowing myself to be so deceived and to be treated so horribly while trying to figure out what the hell happened. CL did help me with that, along with finally telling my best friend and my brother what went on, that I was too ashamed to tell before.

      • I guess it’s theoretically possible that you can cheat on your partner and still be a great parent, but so often it comes with such a heavy dose of narcissism that it seems like their kids are just another impediment to twu wuv. Not to even mention the “new wife new life” mentality. To quote Tyler Durden, it’s like they’re setting up franchises.

        • Honestly, he for the most part was a good parent, not perfect; he always had a bit of a selfish streak, but I counter acted it a lot. He did spend a lot of time with our son during the jr. baseball years. 🙂 He was also always, at least from what I could see, financially stable, which made his actions after we divorced so weird. He and schmoopie got into gambling and amassed huge gambling debts, which resulted in them declaring bankruptcy. This was a few years before he blew up his relationship with our son.

          My son was grown and in the AF, when FW started cheating with schmoopie.

          I go back and forth on wondering if he was always a cheater, and kept it hidden, or if he went bat crap crazy at middle age. There just seemed to be such a divide between who I knew, or thought I knew and what he became.

          And he lied so much during our last 1 to 1.5 year of marriage, which lie do I believe?

          It doesn’t matter in my life, as I have been remarried to a fine gentleman for years, but that he hurt our son; hurts me still.

          If there is any silver lining, it is that I found CL and could put some humor on it. Dang, I wish she had been around when I was going through it.

          • now that I have reached meh I have to say at times I look back and hate myself for staying. Mine was the epitomy of high morals principles etc. Then had some sort of mid life crisis and look out he was awwwwaaaayy. Happiest I have been in a few decades.

            • I didn’t staty, honestly in the beginning I wasn’t give a choice. He did circle back later and I let him come back home, it lasted a week and I told him to leave.

              I was done after that. He called to “talk” several times, but I always said no to any attempts to “work it out” Three times that I remember, after that week he contacted me to talk about working it out.

              I feel lucky that I got out when I did. I wish it had been at least a couple years earlier. He did all the lying, gaslighting, using marital funds to screw around. All the while telling me we were fine, when I questioned his behavior, he was just over worked.

              The worst of it all was when I figured it out on Dday, (25 Dec) but he wouldn’t admit it. Then the following week, I sat up all night as I couldn’t sleep, and he would stay gone, and then come in at about 5am, and just stare coldly at me as he walked by.

              I was still in shock at that time. Not sure how I made it through.

              At one point he mailed me a letter apologizing for acting like such a low life. Couldn’t understand why he did it. I never answered or acknowledged the letter.

          • Susie Lee, your story sounds similar to mine. I wondered if he was just in midlife crisis but then he slowly admitted to 13 years of cheating – so draw your own conclusions there about your ex! We were married for 25 years, so half of it was a lie. I don’t actually know why mine admitted that…he just seemed to want to dump it all off his chest as he was leaving. Mine also lost his job from bullying at the same time as DDay. So, he really fucked up. He’s a shitty, selfish, abusive fuck and a half assed dad that is always fighting me for “custody” of our teen girl. She is old enough to choose where she wants to live, but I get constant threatening lawyer letters about my “parental alienation.” The abuse is constant. Luckily I have a specialist counselor who knows all about the manipulative tactics of a narcissist and their psychological warfare. It’s hell. It’s lonely. It’s surviving one day at a time.

            • Oh who know, mostly I was just pondering. My FW also left me with the parting shot of “I never loved you, and was never faithful” then a few weeks later, “oh that was just a lie to get you to hate me”

              He first told me they were in love, and he just couldn’t keep lying because that just isn’t who he was, then a week later, he said it wasn’t me it was him, he hasn’t been happy for 10 years, then in almost the next sentence, he was never happy; then as I said the parting shot was “I never loved you…” I think these guys say so much crap as they are flailing around, they don’t even know what they have said from one moment to the next. Their lies have caught up with them.

              Then a letter apologizing for being a low life, he couldn’t understand why he acted the way he did yada yada yada.

              Who knows which was the lies and which was truth. As you say other than for conversation it doesn’t matter.

              Our divorce took a little over a year and he married schmoopie a few weeks after it was final.

              Believe it or not, that made me happy. I did not want him to escape her. For some silly reason, I was scared to death that he would break up with her after the divorce and have his freedom. I didn’t want that.

              There was more going on at work, than I knew right away. She was his direct report and he had just before Christmas gone before the city counsel and petitioned for a raise for her. Totally unethical given he was screwing her. When it hit the fat, the city counsel wanted him fired, I know that because one of the city counselors came to my house with his wife and swore to me he knew nothing about it. (We had been friends with that couple) Which I believe because they would have not even allowed the petition if they had known. He got busted from Captain, and put back out on the road, along with another Captain who had been promoted the same time he was. (who was screwing a female cop).

              The mayor put out a press release and said it was all a part of “restructuring” but I call bullshit, he was doing damage control.

              Or marriage was 20 years, not counting the year of separation. I just assume it was all a lie. It is the only thing that makes sense.

              • Their lies are so mind boggling. My ex was screwing a young client at our business. He got fired for bullying though. When the partners found out about the affair it was just icing on the cake – they already hated his guts and wanted him gone. My life was full of weird things – I always just explained them away, covered up for him and generally had my head up my ass! If I’ve learned anything it’s not to cover up for other’s behaviour. Honestly, there were so many clues. He was always late, always discombobulated, tired, grumpy. I chalked it up to work but it wasn’t that. He was just worn down by living a lie. It hurts like hell.

        • Yep, so true.

          I will give the information I have found to any woman going through what I went through. My granddaughter, friend heck though I don’t think she will ever have to deal with it, I would even give it to my daughter in law.

          No woman or man should have to bear the pain of betrayal with no help, or resources.

      • The “why” doesn’t matter. It’s that they DO it–in this case, why they blow up their relationship with their kids, but it’s just as true for why they cheat, why they fight to keep all the $$ and assets, why they lie about their Schmoopies or about why they want to move or who that person was in the car with them….You can’t untangle that skein. And you shouldn’t try.

        • True.

          I am thankful for the side effect of discovering CL though. Explained so much, many years later.

          I honestly thought I was the only one who got treated like crap by a cheater. I spent so much time being ashamed, blaming myself for being so stupid. It also kind of explains why he treated our son like crap recently. Because obviously that is who they are, it is all about them and who they can manipulate to get what they want.

    • Winner winner 👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻: “ Hopium to NOPE-ium!” 🤣

      That’s what going no-contact and coming to this blog everyday did for me.

      Leave a cheater, Jenny, and you’ll gain a life of peace and happiness.

  • He’s bullying you. Gaslighting you Projecting his own behaviours onto you.
    He’s controling the situation now. That has nothing to do with OCD.
    I’d say: leave. If he was really sorry and a difefrent person, he would give you space and comfort. Not breathing in your neck making you feel like you did something wrong

      • What GuideDog said.

        I rationalized The Python’s (my ex) behavior as PTSD/depression related. No, PTSD and depression and OCD don’t turn someone into a liar (remember, lying by omission is lying) and a cheater. Personality disorders – previously known as CHARACTER disorders – do!

        This is all about shitty character. It doesn’t change.

        People of good character are respectful. Does his grilling you about your sexual history feel respectful? Also, The Python talked (early on) like a feminist. Snakes eventually shed their skin and it became clear he had been acting. His attitude toward women in general (and me in particular) was in reality anti-feminist. Just like your sleazoid spouse.

        So sorry you were fooled too.

        We thought we each got a Marty Ginsburg (icon-to-be) but we got turds.

        • Sociopaths are very very good at figuring out what matters to you and either pretending to be that or pretending to care about that….until they have you locked down. Then the truth comes out that it was all just lies and pretense. They never really cared except for duping you and getting under your skin.

        • “We thought we each got a Marty Ginsburg (icon-to-be) but we got turds.” Yes! This feels like a big part of why I’m finding it so hard to leave. He was so different, or at least felt different, the first few years we were together, that I feel like I’m always chasing that in the hope that THAT was the real him. How embarrassing to admit that I was such a sucker who couldn’t see through it (I mean, I know I’m not at fault for wanting to trust and believe the best of him, but still.)

          • I never paid much attention to MG, or any other high profile person, but I did think my ex was a flawed but decent guy. I mean I had my flaws too.

            I think it is pretty common from what I am reading, and not just here for the divide to be so great, and so confusing.

            I don’t know the answer for you, but I would say giving it a bit more time won’t hurt you, so long as you are note being abused.

            I likely would have tried to work out our issues, had he given me any hope. He was so cruel to me in the last year though, I just don’t think either of us could have ever recovered from it. So it is just as well.

            • Susie Lee, CL and CN helped me to reframe “being abused.” The Python never once struck me, but the gaslighting and lying and cheating (the ones he fucked as well as the ones he tried but failed to seduce) are all forms of emotional/psychological abuse.

              “Giving it a bit more time” WILL hurt her – he continues grilling Jenny about her sexual history, she keeps telling him his disbelief upsets her but “he keeps doing it.” That’s disrespectful, mean, and typically narcissistic behavior: they find ways to make us feel insecure, they exploit our vulnerabilities, and they get a sick ego boost out of continually chipping away at our egos.

              • Totally agree about the abuse.

                I didn’t connect that post to the letter. She definitely needs to get away from him.

                I for sure think my FW was abusive the last 1 to 1.5 years of our marriage. That was when he was evidently hitting it with schmoopie hard and heavy.

                He was extremely nasty to me, it got worse with each day.

                I had mentioned before, I was lucky in many ways that I got out of it so fast. I am blessed.

            • We all have flaws. But the people on this board have some common characteristics:
              1. We do our share and then some.
              2. We give.
              3. We aren’t selfish.
              4. We’re committed.
              5. We’re honest and faithful.

              Versus–They don’t do their share. They take. They are selfish. They aren’t committed. They aren’t honest or faithful. Your flaw might be that you don’t make great pancakes. Their flaw is their hooker habit or banging the next door neighbor or running up $40K on the credit card to support a Schmoopie habit.

              • LovedaJackass, I love your post! It is so true. I’m about 15 months out from DDay and I ruminate all the time about why I miss my husband and why I’m so crushed. Number one, he’s abusive. But, he was also a SHITTY AF husband. Such as, never hanging out with me, never, ever cooking, not doing much around the house, making us late for everything, not paying our bills or taxes, being on his phone or iPad all the time. He was F’n boring, didn’t want to have sex, played video games, played lame card games….you get the idea. I honestly didn’t see it until recently. I wish my brain would latch onto what an terrible husband he really was rather than missing something i thought I had – it was pure fantasy on my part.

    • Absolutely this. While he has you on the defensive, you have no time or energy to look too closely at what he is actually doing behind your back. Leave, run, just run to the best shark divorce lawyers in town and hire one today. Enough is enough.

      Do not be fooled or fool yourself into thinking this is what caring looks like. It.is.not.caring. It’s abuse and manipulation.

    • Oh, my X used the “I-can’t-help-it-I’m-bipolar” excuse for his shitty behavior once he was officially diagnosed. It was his go-to excuse. And he absolutely reveled in the attention he got from the diagnosis. It was truly sick. However, he was also an extreme narcissist, so no surprise there.

      Yes, some things could be blamed on the disorder. But most of what he did he had full control over (like deciding he missed the “highs” so would quit taking his meds). Sorry, dude. They haven’t figured out how to do character transplants.

      Cheaters will grab onto any possible diagnosis as an excuse for their behavior. Don’t fall for it.

  • You weight has no bearing on cheating.
    I knew women who were 6 stone, or 20 stone. They were cheated on.
    He’s going through your diary’s, facebook to use things against you, he threw your diary’s away, what right has he got to do that.
    You know your better off on your own, you will have to share custody with a fuckwit.
    He’s being very cruel, he’s showing you what he’s really nice.
    Good luck
    You need to think of yourself

  • He suddenly realized when it was time to leave for his kinkfest, he would actually have to get a job. Oh my god! Nothing turns a horn dog off quicker than responsibility. He doesnt value or respect you. You are his meal ticket. You are out, working your ass off and he is home, probably in your bed, getting kinky. Get sti tested and stop shagging immediately. God knows where his thing has been.

  • If nothing else, Jenny, he sounds fucking exhausting, and we want you to be healthy – we’ve got a pandemic on our hands, living with someone who makes you feel unsafe surely has ramifications for your immunity.

  • Jenny – Are you so tolerant of this bullshit because he and possibly his family throw around the word “feminazi”? Therefore you dance higher, faster, longer than anyone else to disprove them?

    Screw that noise.

    He’s shark bait. Cut him loose for your benefit AND for the benefit of your child!

  • “He does have a history of being really passionate about a project or topic, putting a lot of time and effort into it, and then abandoning it completely.”

    I didn’t even wait to read CL’s response, so apologies if I’m repeating.

    This is a BIG red flag. My ex had this mindset on everything from major life events to personal projects/hobbies all the way down to appliances and other household doo-dads. If it was new and shiny and full of promise, it was “amazing . . . life-changing . . . what I’ve always wanted . . . I LOVE LOVE LOVE my new [fill in the blank] . . .”

    It never occurred to me that I, her boyfriend then husband then father to our children, would ever fall into that category. Ultimately I became as disposable as the vacuum or the car or her short side gig as a Tastefully Simple consultant.

    When flaws are revealed, no matter how small or rectifiable, or when hard work and commitment are required to keep the status quo, it’s easier for a fuckwit to give him/herself permission for a do-over.

    • Came here to say something similar. Change genders and this was my marriage. He gets obsessed about a new video game or project or lifestyle and immerses himself in it. Then when he’s like 90% to the finish line to complete it, he loses interest. He might go back to it at some point but it’s rare and never ever with the same fervor as the first time more like a quick trip for the nostalgia, like walking on campus of your elementary school. My kids even know his pattern. Yet in our 26+ years together I’d never EVER imagined that behavior would extend to me/the family.

      Because I’m NC, the biggest concern I have is that he’ll ‘change’ for whore, but I’m hoping he keeps true to form and loses interest in his big drama love adventure and is left feeling lost and full of regret. I am admittedly not at meh.

    • UX and ThursdaysChild–The comments that Jenny’s Cheater has a history of being passionate about something and then dropping it also resonated with me.

      CheaterX would embrace all sorts of hobbies with a passion. He decided he liked photography. I got him a very expensive SLR camera on my grad student budget. Initially he took loads of pictures and in fact, he does have a genuine eye for composition. Then he didn’t use it at all. He took up water colors, and again, had a real eye for it. Then he dropped that, too. However, when he was involved in these hobbies, he assumed that everyone else would loves these same hobbies in the same way. He pursued Tibetan Buddhism, meeting weekly with a Tibetan monk who had him read dharma and was trying to teach him Tibetan (CheaterX thought this was cool but never made the effort to study the language outside of the tutoring session). Finally he dropped that, too. He joined Freemasonry and was all in until he dropped it. Last I heard, he’d joined the LDS.

      It wasn’t just that he was 110% into all of these until he wasn’t; it was also that all of these were amazing, wonderful, totally perfect, etc. Yep, he put them on pedestals. They were all good, until they weren’t.

      About a year and a half after the divorce, CheaterX sent me a sad sausage voice message about his sad story, and divulged that he had gone to seek out mental health counseling. The initial consultation indicated that he might have OCD along with some other issues, most particularly Borderline Personality Disorder. Of course, CheaterX didn’t want to hear any of this, and told the practice that he was convinced that he had Dissociative Identity Disorder (what used to be known as multiple personalities).

      But if you looked up the BPD characteristics, CheaterX could have been a poster child, and the way in which he embraced hobbies fit right in with the whole notion of splitting, that something is all good until it isn’t, and often then becomes all bad.

      If I were Jenny, I’d run hard and fast.

    • True passion isn’t fleeting. What you are confusing for passion is really nothing more than a temporary infatuation with a shiny object du jour. It’s superficial and temporary.

      True passion on the other hand is life long – it’s sturdy, it survives life’s storms and set backs, it’s a fire that never burns out. Granted, it’s not a fierce burning type of fire that excites, but rather a steady quiet flame that never dies out.

      Too many people confuse excitement for passion. These are not the same.

      • Just like people who mistake infatuation or limerence for love.

        I agree with you kb, your ex is the poster child for BPD. You are well quit of him.

  • Jenny,

    I slapped my thigh when I got this part of your letter:
    “…we have an 11 year old child together, I’m the sole earner (and have been almost our entire relationship), we don’t have any real financial cushion as far as separating, his family lives nearby and mine live far away.”

    Jenny, he wants cake!

    Boy, you are married to the world’s greatest manipulator. Too bad it is not a profession that pays because then YOU would not have to work.

    You sound like a strong woman. Get rid of the monk. At least for the sake of your son, who needs a trule good example in his life. Take care!

    • Yep.

      Luckily with an 11 year old, she doesn’t have that many years left to be tied to this FW. Hopefully she is not in a alimony state.

        • Jenny,

          As appalling as your husband’s behavior is (and it IS), I’m actually delighted you’re the bread winner. There’s not going to be a HUGE plunge in your standard of living and you’ll actually spend a LOT less with him gone…

          YOU can make it without him. It’s safe and fair to say he’s weird AF, with a side dish of mean control issues that are NOT improving. He CANNOT be a good father in the long run, so your child is NOT losing a real parent.

          Better to divorce now, cut YOUR Losses (& open yourself to the possibility of a relationship with that thing called “reciprocity”) and keep your child from seeing more of the weird AF monkeys your husband will – undoubtedly- produce.

          What I wish I knew 15 years ago when I first tolerated the intolerable – and was ALL IN in the RIC shit, and hooked big time on HOPIUM, is this:

          IF you stay, he will hurt you again. It’ll hurt more, not less.

          You’ll have invested that much more time with him, and your child will have witnessed that much more crap. Leave now, begin your recovery, heal sooner. Live a better life.

          Please, please benefit from our mistakes and the brutal lessons we learned.

          Hopium + fear of being alone = more pain

  • Jenny- Does his behavior look like a man that loves you and respects his marriage?? He cheats on you. Was going to leave his family for the OW. And he has the balls to question your previous sex life. Monitor your facebook page. He is treating you like a criminal. Please get checked for STIs. Check your credit. Contact a good lawyer. Get your ducks in a row.
    Also, your weight has nothing to do with his cheating. My ex cheated with my cousin. And she was not at all thin and sure is not attractive. They cheat because they want to. It has nothing to do with you.

  • Sandra Bullock, was cheated on, Jennifer Anniston, Hillary Clinton, Colin Firth (Colin Firth!!!!!!!WTF?). Doesn’t matter who you are, how you look. Fuckwits undermine your self esteem and make you think you have to do/be something in order to make them happy. Nothing -ever- will. This guy is a nut case. My guess is that you are lovely and he wants to make sure your self esteem is so bad you will never find anyone else. Kick him to the curb, he adds nothing to your life.

    • Spoonriver– “he wants to make sure your self esteem is so bad you will never find anyone else.” As a former advocate for survivors of DV, I think this doesn’t get enough notice: cheaters convincing themselves that chumps won’t be able to find love again and/or campaining to make chumps believe same. Something doesnt always have to be a “conscious” effort to be a driving MO.

      It’s a standard tactic in battering in any case and I’m convinced the same cycles and patterns exist in cheating, though the “I want to run him/her over with a truck for not meeting my every need” impulse gets diverted into cheating.

      It’s more easily identifiable when the cheater– such as the craven asshole in this case– is flagrantly, abusively, controllingly jealous. It’s not so identifiable in covertly dependent types but still worth considering as a possibility because of the number of cheaters who become shockingly retaliatory or even dangerously violent– sometimes for the first time — when chumps ditch them and begin new relationships.

      I’ve seen cases of cheaters so consumed with jealousy they conceal it even from themselves because they view it as a shameful weakness. Cheating can be a way to project and disown the “shameful” state of mind by inducing it in another person. This type can be repressed to the point of being dangerously unpredictable. Not that it’s necessarily less dangerous when expressed openly.

      Just a heads up. Chumps should probably change locks (if the court allows it) and passwords and get security cameras when separating as a standard strategy.

      • Ty for this wisdom and guidance. I’m estranged and you’re right. Everything blew up once they left. Harassing, stalking and monitoring escalated. Even threatening. And the shaming hit a fever pitch to bring me so low to never feel unfuckable by anyone again. Him aside. It’s staggering how violent they become when their cheating and theft is found out. Doesn’t make sense but remorse isn’t in their vernacular or playbook.

      • Called my lawyer about changing the locks. According to a google search I was not allowed to change them.

        Lawyer: Left It ALL Behind, do you feel safe in your home?
        Me: No.
        Lawyer: You have the right to feel safe in your home. What are you going to do?
        Me: Call a locksmith.
        Lawyer: Nailed it. Well done.

  • The whole grilling you about your past thing sounds like projection on his part. Whatever he’s accusing you of is something he has probably already done or is doing. Please see a doctor soon to make sure you are OK. I’m very sorry you’re going through this.

  • To all the ‘fluffy’ chumps out there:
    Your weight has NOTHING to do with their cheating!

    My personal example:
    Married for 27 years. 7 years ago, I lost 75 pounds. I am in the best shape of my adult life. I walk, do yoga and eat healthy. Yet, he started cheating 2 years ago. My physical appearance had nothing to do with it. His entitlement did.

    D-day May 2019
    Still trying to get to final agreement on the divorce. I am learning the hard way that you can’t collaborate with a narcissist. If I could go back in time, I would to straight to court.

    They do not change, they just learn to hide their disfunction.

  • Jenny, he didn’t join the religious community and he didn’t divorce you for the OW because both decisions would require a degree of effort, personal commitment, and financial investment that he was unwilling to make.

    The only revelation he had was that it was easier and less costly to remain married to you.

    • I’m really grateful for all the validation that you and other commenters are providing because he’s talking such a good game right now that even though I KNOW this, I’m finding it hard to be like “Yeah, but he’s writing me love letters….”

      • Oh I didn’t realize you were the original letter writer. Duh. 🙂

        Tread carefully, he does not sound safe for you. At the very least I would get a legal separation, he can do some massive financial damage.

        When I pulled our credit card history, I found quite a bit of money that he had spend on schmoopie and her boys. I got a legal separation fairly quickly after that. I called him the day I got the card reports and asked him to file as quickly as possible, as I needed some distance; and since he wanted a divorce we needed to get it started. I didn’t mention the credit charges. I saved those for the lawyer.

      • I’m come to learn “Actions speak louder than words”. Love letters, verbal ‘rhea like “I’ll try…” “I can change”. Toss those words and pay attention to what your partner/spouse is doing or not doing.

      • It takes a long time time for your head and heart to synch up.

        They’ve had to be separated in order for you to stay in your relationship.

        Feelings follow actions….walk away and give your heart time to catch up to your feet. The sooner you walk the sooner this happens.

    • It’s not like he would get to sit on his butt in a religious community and do nothing. Most people who live in religious communities have major responsibilities. Many in these days hold down full-time jobs.

  • Adding to the other brilliant comments here: This child is at risk.

    The father is irresponsible, manipulative lacks empathy, and likes dysfunction.

    The father’s friends are clearly the same as he is. Also, this guy sounds like the sort who, as a hyperfocusing hypersexual peseverating manipulative person, is likely to attract the subset of people in ANY social group who are into kids.

    Also, I need to echo the comments about the example mom sets by being in relationship with this man, a yo-yo relationship where she is treated without basic decency, adult respect, and the kind of deep kindness that should be present in a marriage. The child is forming the concept of what’s appropriate in intimate partnership, and this is what it looks like right now. That’s a huge risk.

    In my personal opinion, Jenny must leave this man for her own safety and well-being, yes, but she must also leave this man for the long-term safety and well-being of her child.

    • Thank you for this comment. When you have a sexually dysfunctional parent who likes wild kinky sex, they travel in circles where there are people who like to have sex with children. The child is at risk if she stays or goes. She needs a good therapist who is familiar with child sexual abuse and a very aggressive attorney now.

  • I suggest an evaluation for adult ADD. I have a relative like this. Took years but medication finally has helped. If he isn’t working then an evaluation done by an expert on traits. I hate to mention this but bipolar or a personality disorder. You need clear answers so you know what you are dealing with. Your child is watching.

  • It’s not hard to see what’s going on here. Plan A didn’t work out and he needs a meal ticket. Maybe he realized he’d have to get a job without Jenny.

    On another note I find it ironic that a guy who doesn’t support feminism has no problem letting a woman support him.

    I wouldn’t waste another minute of my life on this scumbag. I divorced my ex scumbag a couple of years ago for far less and it was the best decision I ever made. Guaranteed DD2 will eventually happen and he’ll keep having a “change of heart” until he secures another meal ticket.

  • All the questioning about your sexual history? He’s projecting.

    Ask me how I know?!?

    At one point, when we tried to reconcile, Mr. Duplicity started going off on me about my sexual history and about whether I had been sexually active during our months long separation. He demanded that I get STI tested several times. Fleeting mentions of someone at work became an interrogation.

    Looking back, I now assume he was already back to fucking strange and was projecting his concern for where he had been and what he was bringing home.

    Jenny, when he asks in an accusatory way about your sexual history it is a giant red flag that **he’s** not being honest or faithful.

    Don’t allow him to use your insecurities against you. Shitheads weaponize our innermost fears against us. Decent, caring, compassionate people don’t do that.

  • Wow. I had a very similar husband. Oh, how I wish I had left when I was 30, and realized it was never going to get better! He refused to get help for his mental illness, and it got even worse! They are just so selfish, and really hate women, but love to use them. Take your lovely son, and get away to your family. Be careful. Who knows what he’s going to do? I wish you much luck, your head will be so much clearer once you’re away! Please get a counselor, one familiar with DV. Some are funded by the state, and are no cost to you.

  • Jenny:

    I think your husband was really on to something great when he was thinking about joining a religious order. How about if you help him rekindle that dream?

    (1) Go to http://www.findamonastary.com.

    (2) Locate one on the opposite side of the continent, preferably on top of a mountain accessible only by yak. Make sure one of their tenets is a vow of poverty (and vows of silence and celibacy would be an added bonus).

    (3) Hire a Patient Transport Service like Sober Escorts (these are the people who Dr. Phil hires to physically escort people to rehab).

    (4) Arrange for them to come on Tuesday to pick up your husband; don’t bother packing any of his things because he won’t be needing them where he’s going.

    (5) Hire a barracuda of an attorney who can permanently and completely disengage you from this soul-sucking fuckwit.

    (6) Hire a fabulous therapist (for both you and your son) who understands narcissistic abuse, and learn how to live a happy life!

  • A couple things: I have someone v CB lose to me with a for real OCD diagnosis. It’s more like he’s a professional fucking with your head freak. Did he tell you that or did a doctor? And his family? They won’t help you because they don’t want to take care of him, either. It might take dynamite to get rid of this loser. Get a lawyer, pack Hynix baby’s bag and throw him out. Cut off his money flow. Tell him to get off his kinky ads and get a job. Release your inner kracken. God, I despise head fuckers. Get your kid away from this jerk.

    • Yeah – my 18-year-old daughter has acute OCD and is a good person who would never do the things Jenny describes. Only the religious mania makes some sense in this context – my daughter’s OCD has a strong confessional component, so she would never be able to live with herself if she were knowingly doing something to harm others, or that others might find (reasonably) objectionable.

      Jenny, many of our cheaters have some sort of mental or emotional disorder. It doesn’t excuse their actions. Like CL said, if your husband is not actively seeking help for his issues *of his own volition*, it’s time to do what Al-Anon would recommend, and DETACH with civility. (DETACH stands for Don’t Even Think About Changing Him/Her.)

    • If your hair is on fire…do NOT run!

      STOP DROP AND ROLL!

      I have to speak up whenever I see this….today we have people being evacuated due to fast-moving fires in Napa and Sonoma….

      End of PSA….now, back to Chump Lady…..

  • Jenny, I have been where you are. My XBF of 10+yrs had been having emotional affairs with other women for a couple years while I was pick me dancing. I finally got fed up and threatened to leave. Found a place, moved some stuff out. He crumbled. Came crawling back. Cryi g, the whole bit. Everything seemed absolutely fantastic after that until a few months later I looked at his phone and found explicit photos and texts with even more women I didnt even know about.

  • “He has an obligation to treat his illness. A diagnosis is not a get-out-of-jail-free card.”

    THIS x 1000. Thank you CL for this. Perfectly put.

    And also, even if he does treat his illness, you still have the right to leave if his behavior remains unacceptable. When I think about the “in sickness and in healthy…as long as we both shall live” vow, that really catches up a lot of honorable and loyal people, I imagine “shall live” to be not just a physical directive, but an emotional and spiritual one also. And you can’t truly “live” in those senses when your spouse is an abusive, controlling person…even if their sickness drives it; you are just “surviving” at that point.

    So, in that manner, you fulfill your vow by sticking with that person through their sickness until you are no longer “living” in some very real ways.

  • I would leave him. It won’t be easy, but I also think he has something fundamentally different than what is normal. My husband of 15+ years basically abandoned me with no warning after a vacation with friends and family. He tried to put it on me. Said he had been celibate for 5 years – that’s his perspective believe me, not mine. He had problems in that area. I found out he had been leading a secret life all of our marriage. There were nude profiles on kink sites and also regular profiles on sites. He though he had found the woman of his dreams, and as far as I can work out, that was enough to dump me without a conversation and any warning and any honesty. There was a lot more – manipulating a woman 30 years younger to be an exhibitionist. Many many online relationships. It was bad. He also ordered thing online all the time – I thought he had some OCD. These behaviors can all be related. Anyways, I left. It’s been hard. I don’t think he has really had any true consequences which is difficult for me to accept. My guess is your husband is doing more than you know. He is abusing you with the crap he’s doing. My husband was very nice to me for the most part, but everything needed to be the way he wanted it. That kept me from being suspicious. Never doubted him at all. So, he is in your face being terrible. Accept the message, protect yourself, and move on. There is no real change of heart with these personalities – just trying to get what’s good for them. Good luck to you.

  • All I see here is a man exploring different ways to leave his wife and still be perceived as shiny and wonderful.

    —He explored religion so he could leave and claim a higher calling.
    —He explored threesomes so he could leave and claim sexual incompatibility.
    —He is exploring your sex life so he can accuse you of cheating or lying to him about your sexual history and be the victim.

    Since you are the sole income-earner, you need to start thinking about financial strategies. The best one would be persuading him to get a job. If he remains unemployed, you may be forced to pay him alimony and child support. Even if you are not ready to pursue a divorce right now, it would be worthwhile to consult a lawyer about how to get your finances in order to best protect them should you decide you want to divorce or if he initiates one unexpectedly.

    Good luck! You deserve better, and so does your child.

    (I also suspect the religious community didn’t want him. There are plenty of nutty cults out there, but the smart believers know a fraud when he comes calling.)

    • Eilonwy is on the right track. All of that was a set up for a discard. Any “compulsive” behavior has probably continued. Find evidence to share with lawyer and allow supervised only visitation with son. Maybe share the evidence with the in-laws if he tries to include them in his parenting plan. Give him the separation he was asking for, but on YOUR terms.

  • “And then all of a sudden, he realized he would lose his sole breadwinner.”

    This is the only reason he is with you right now. While it seems reality, for the most part, has escaped your husband, he must have had some sort of head’s up or reckoning that he would be losing his checkbook and comfortable, carefree and no responsibility lifestyle. These bums tend to gravitate towards women with low self esteem because women with a healthy self esteem would tell him to take a hike. I hope you don’t have to pay alimony but it would be far better to pay out than spend time with the toxic loser.

  • I read about a monk who misinterpreted a holy scripture saying “there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuch for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” and went to a physician and paid him to surgically remove his genitals in order to ensure his reputation as a respectable tutor to young men and women. I think your husband should consider his ‘calling’ !! ( Ahahahahaha)

  • Talk to a lawyer.

    I know it is a pandemic, but my dream for you is to kick him out and change your locks; have that sitdown talk with your Son only YOU get to control the narrative… Daddy’s shouldn’t get girlfriends when they are married should suffice (worked for me six years ao)… and start planning for your amazing, cheater free life.

    THEY. DO. NOT. CHANGE. He’s always been an entitled fuckwit… you’re the sole breadwinner; he wants a threesome; likely you’re the sane parent and the adult; and pandemic notwithstanding… HE WAS LEAVING YOU.

    Lawyer up and let him go find his life (hopefully on the other side of the world).

    You can (and should) do this.

  • I responded to another comment up above, but I wanted to make my own as well, because I have a few points. Buckle up, this isn’t going to be short.

    First and foremost, this man is abusive and controlling. Second, his OCD has no bearing on this. Mental illness does not cause abuse. It can exacerbate some of the worst tendencies of abusers, but it does not CAUSE abuse. If he has ever, at any point, used his mental illness to excuse the way he treats you, that is bullshit. He is trying to manipulate you into overlooking his abuse.

    Going off of that, has he ever bothered to get help for his OCD? You didn’t mention whether he has or not in your email, but going off what you’ve described about him, I’m going to assume he hasn’t. It is not your responsibility to take on the fallout (emotional, financial, or otherwise) of his unmanaged OCD.

    Moving on to the other things:

    -He has sexually pressured you. You’re not into kink sites and threesomes, but he pushed you to sign up for his kink community and pressured you to participate in one. Whether or not it actually happened doesn’t matter. What matters is he didn’t take no for an answer or respect the fact that you don’t want to do that, and has been using your body image and your sexual history as a teenager against you to try to manipulate you into giving him his way. This is psychological and sexual coercion. He doesn’t have to outright physically force you for it to be sexual abuse. Disrespecting a “no,” guilting you, shaming you, and pressuring you still counts. This alone is a very solid reason to leave.

    -He has gone through your personal things and destroyed them. It doesn’t matter if they were from when you were a teenager. If you kept them, they obviously meant something to you. He knew that. Abusers do this, they find things that mean something to their partners and destroy them. Ask yourself: Does he ever destroy any of his own stuff? Or just yours? Sounds like just yours. This is him essentially saying he not only controls your sexual life in the present, but he controls your past too. He takes out what he wants from it, and eliminates whatever else he thinks doesn’t matter, whatever isn’t useful to him. If he hasn’t already, he will do that with other things. It’s a matter of time.

    -More than once he has threatened the marriage on his whims. “I’m going to go be a monk!” Was he? Really? “I’m going to go marry this woman from the kink forum!” Was he? Really? My guess is no. Abusers, and I’m deadly serious when I say this, will come up with absolutely outlandish things that will threaten the marriage to just straight up fuck with you. It’s called “crazymaking.” I had an abusive ex who did this. His thing was joining the military. He would go so far as to go to recruiting offices for the army and airforce. Sometimes he would drag me along with him. He’d discuss enlistment requirements, bring home paperwork, talk about how long he’d be gone to basic training. But then suddenly…there was always a reason why he couldn’t fully sign up. Several months after we had broken up (and I was dating someone else) he started bothering me again (the reason is fucking insane but that’s another story) and he said he’d been thinking about joining the army again. I said fine, go ahead, seemed like you’d wanted to anyway, so go do it. He responded with a whining, “Oh you must really not care about me anymore…” he confessed he NEVER intended to actually join any branch of the military. He just did all of that to get a reaction from me.

    And it isn’t just me and my abuser situation, this is a real thing. Abusers like to make major life decisions that will heavily impact the relationship without talking to their partners, and will act like it is nothing, when they have no real intention of following through. The point is to get you to panic, desperately scramble to save the relationship, or show how much you are willing to give in to give them what they want. They’ll come home one day and announce they’ve taken a job in another state, are thinking of quitting work to go to school full time, got a vasectomy when you were discussing children, or “I’m going to leave my whole life as it is behind and join a monastery.” They’re never going to actually do, or haven’t done, any of these things, but they will go to great lengths to make you think they have or will. It seems crazy that anyone would be like that, but I promise you, this is how abusers operate. There ARE people in the world who “crazymake.” Your husband is one of them. I also promise you he was never going to marry OW from kink forum. I don’t doubt he cheated with her, that much IS true. But he was not going to go off and marry her. I promise you he was lying to her about that too. If he really was all that serious about it, covid would not have stopped him. It wouldn’t have stopped him joining a monastery either. (Also hate to break it to him, but monks can’t be threesome-having kink masters. Another reason why I think his joining of a religious community was bullshit.)

    -He uses your personal body image as a tool against you. This is never okay. EVER. He knows you have a history of feeling shy, and of being overweight. He is leveraging that vulnerability against you. It wouldn’t matter if he were doing it for sex, to pressure you to change yourself to look a certain way, to make you change your diet, etc. It doesn’t matter. It is never, ever okay for your partner to exploit your vulnerabilities for his personal gain.

    -What is he doing in the home to contribute to your standard of living? You’re the sole breadwinner. Is he maintaining the household? Is he keeping the chores done? Is he managing child care (with the way he acts…honestly I hope not…) what is he doing while you work all day? Sounds like he’s doing nothing but going through your stuff, coming up with wild and elaborate crazymaking schemes, and cheating. He is a waste, and he knows he can keep riding your money train. This is also something abusers do. They like to set things up real nice for themselves with partners paying all the bills for them. This is a man who has gotten comfortable reaping the benefits of his abuse and manipulation of you. He knows he can behave in this way and you won’t leave. So he’s not scared of losing your paycheck.

    -His “effort” in the marriage now is not sincere. It isn’t. I guarantee it isn’t. It is an integral and necessary part of his abuse. He needs you to believe that he’s a unicorn so he can make you doubt yourself and feel unsure about leaving. It’s part of the cycle. It helps them on several levels: It makes you doubt yourself, it’s image management for other people (others will see him as the good guy who’s really trying, he’s so sweet what do you mean he’s abusive? How could you leave such a loving person! Your child sees him doing stuff like leave love notes, etc, and if you leave, then you become the bad guy), if you bring up any of your (completely valid) grievances, he will point to this good behavior as proof his a good person and you’re just bitter. An abuser is an abuser, even when they’re writing you love notes. Everything is a tool for their selfish purposes.

    You need to leave him. Where he lives, who he marries, what he does or doesn’t do for work after you get out of that marriage is not your responsibility. Neither is his OCD. Two books I highly, highly recommend are “Why Does He Do That” by Lundy Bankroft, and “Healing From Hidden Abuse” by Shannon Thomas. Bankroft’s book is an extremely thorough and comprehensive look at how abusers operate (Bankcroft, at the time of publishing the book, had worked with abusers for 15 years, he’s worked with them for close to 30 now) and Thomas’ book is specifically for healing from psychological abuse, and has helpful ways to deal when you cannot go 100% no contact (if you have children with your abuser for example, or if the abuser is a family member.)

    PLEASE get away from this man. He does not have your best interests at heart. Only his. You cannot thrive in a marriage like that, and neither can your child.

    • Wow, this really hit a bullseye for me because fuckwit did this time and again. Either he is moving or changing careers or going to college or…whatever. Always made as a statement, not a question or a conversation that two normal sane people in a relationship would have about big life changing things.

      Fortunately, in my case, the crazy making didn’t really work out for him like he wanted. At first I didn’t know what to make of it, then I opted for supportive in a “do as you wish or whatever makes you happy” kind of way. That didn’t actually help at all and of course he never ever did anything because, as well spelled out above, they have zero intentions of actually doing it. It’s meant to keep you off balance and insecure about your life and future with him. That is all. It’s calculated manipulation and just more lies and deceit. Duping you to your face to see if they can get a reaction….any reaction.

      What finally stopped fuckwit is I changed my response slightly to a call for action. That took the fun out of it. When he said he is moving, I shrugged and asked if he needs help packing. That finally shut him up as it backfired. When he tried the “don’t you care?” Again, I shrugged and said, “I want you to be happy, so shall I call U-haul today?” It was quite hysterical as he looked like he swallowed his own poison….which in a way he did.

      So Jenny, please for the love of, do not confuse crazy making with reality. This man is fcked up in more ways than you realize. Personality disorders often come with OCD, ADHD, depression, etc, etc, etc. Thing is that those aren’t the driving factors, just common comorbid issues. Personality disorders are often undiagnosed and even if they are diagnosed, there is no cure. In other words, he is NEVER going to change or become a decent human being.

      Don’t stay for the child, leave for his sake. A fuckwit is not a father, just a sperm donor and a terrible example to your child of what relationships are like. Make no mistake that he is doing unspeakable damage to your son’s psyche. He is just as abusive to him as he is with you – it might be in small, covert ways that you don’t even notice, but it’s there. Don’t believe me? Talk to adults who grew up in a household like that. Damage for life and they are having a really hard time forgiving the parent who was abused for not leaving, because their failure to get out and be the sane parent caused serious lasting damage to the kids going all the way into adulthood and many hours spent in therapy as adults. Please don’t do that to your child. Protect your son from this madness.

      • Yep, saying “K cool see ya then” puts them on the spot. They don’t know what to do because it’s essentially calling their bluff. They either have to follow through with something they never actually wanted to do, or back down. 10/10, they won’t follow through. The best thing is to leave a situation with someone who does that though, because they’ll come up with something else later trying to find the hot-button that will get the reaction they want. It’s like finding the right combination of anti-biotics to cure the issue if you being unphased. To them, the infection is your independence, and the treatment is the right combination of behaviors that gets you back in their control.

        • Mine had us moving to 5 different places – all overseas. But mine meant it. He would make huge decisions and then act on them. We would move. I finally said I wanted to sit still for awhile. He seemed agreeable. But he evidently wasn’t. We also bought houses and put huge amounts of money in them just to abandon them. So there might be other reasons – they are running, need constant stimulation, etc…Anyways, I called the bluff and my marriage ended shortly thereafter. I was told I didn’t care.

        • Yup, immediately after getting called out on his bs and looking like he swallowed poison, he totally walked back all of his bs. Of course he doesn’t intend to do any of it.

          It’s just emotional abuse – a way to make you feel insecure and unsafe because you never know what he might actually do at any given moment. It’s about keeping you on your toes and stressed and the only way out is to get away from these creeps and cut them out of your life as much as possible. Minimal contact if you share custody and zero contact otherwise.

    • Thank you, so much to think about and marinate on here. Funnily enough, “Why Does He Do That” just came across my desk (I’m a librarian) literally this morning.

      • I cannot recommend Bancroft’s book enough. Some of the things in it you will read and be shocked, and it will feel like a kick in the stomach, but with the way he explains it, the examples he gives, and how he goes into the details of it all, you will also be thinking “This makes sense.” When I was reading it, I had so many Ah-HAH! moments. There are other things you will read that you felt like you knew all along, but Bancroft finds a way to effectively put those feelings to words. He really cuts through the mindfuck and the bullshit and lays it out plain what is going on when you’re with an abuser, and he discusses ways to get away safely, and things to watch out for when you begin that process.

    • Oh, what do you know…now I’ve got one called “When marriage needs an answer : the decision to fix your struggling marriage or leave without regret”. I think the universe is trying to tell me something…

      • Just FYI–one person cannot fix a marriage, and the abuser is not trying to “fix” anything. He just wants control over you and your paycheck.

    • Excellent comment. There were many good points in there. It has made me stop and think about my earlier relationships — specifically the ex-husband who actually WAS a monk.

      Monks absolutely DO have kinky sex, threesomes, Foursomes, orgies, etc. I doubt that’s *supposed* to happen, but evidently it does. My ex told me some stories that would curl your hair (and obviously did curl mine, because I used to have straight hair!). The stories I’ve heard from him and some of his fellow-former monks (and priests) are consistent enough that I believe them. Abuse ended our marriage; the affair with our priest was just icing on the cake. My first husband fucked the nun who led our pre-Cana classes. Religious people, I’ve learned, aren’t above kinky sex and cheating. But it sure would have been a nice way for the original writer to get rid of her nasty, entitled husband.

      • Oh I’m certain there are plenty of monks who have crazy sex. There’s no shortage of religious people who hide behind veils of piety but are six flavors of strange behind closed doors. Just look at how many jesus cheater stories we got here. It’s not what’s supposed to happen, or what they publicly preach, but abusive cheaters hardly care about what they’re supposed to be doing vs what they actually do.

        • Many use it purposefully to hide behind.

          Not to denigrate true Christians.

          My FW, became a lay preacher (no pun intended) after he and schmoopie were respectably married. My daughter in law told me she went and listened to him a couple times at his church and he did the whole fire and brimstone dealy. She said even schmoopie had the decency to be embarrassed and squirm in her seat.

          That was before he had a falling out with the preacher, and they had to find another church. Then another one. Don’t know what the falling out was about, or if I did, I have forgotten.

        • I wii laugh my ass off when the NYTimes runs an obituary on Judas Jack, the Episcopal bishop my late mum worked for. According to him his first wife suffered from acute paranoia and ended her days in a mental institution. Of course his screwing female sycophants in the carriage house down the street from the rectory had nothing to do “bitch bein’ crazy”. Two women were fighting over him-one of the Episcopal Church’s first ordained female reverends and one of his secretaries. The organizing admin won the “pick me dance”. Thankfully none of J.J.’s three daughters had children.

  • Jenny, my heart goes out to you. You have an instinct that something is not right. While you process all the good advice here, you can do some very simple things to ensure your safety. Don’t talk to him about these things, just do them yourself.
    1. Get tested for all STI’s. This was my wake up call. I was ashamed to do this (because I was ashamed that he cheated on me & was so stuck in believing that I was not good enough). But when I did, just the fact that I told someone else made his shitty actions REAL.
    2. Look over your bank accounts, credit card statements, anything that shows how money is spent. Again for me, this was BAD reality.
    3. Call some attorneys. Practice with free consultations done by phone. My hands shook so hard & my stomach lurched the first times I did this. YOU can do this! YOU ARE worth it. Think of it as protecting your son too. Just to let you know, my husband is currently out of work. If I have to pay spousal support it would be $125 per month. Because able bodied people are expected to work.

    • Thankfully (because he has low willpower and spends a lot of time looking at antique china on ebay)/not thankfully (because it means he disclaims any responsibility for budgeting/billpaying/taxes/etc) he doesn’t have any real access to our bank account/credit cards. That’s good to know re: spousal support. I assume I’d have to pay but there’s no real reason he couldn’t get some job (other than that no job is good enough for him, apparently).

      • I’m no lawyer, but I’m fairly certain that in order to receive any kind of court ordered spousal support, he will be required to get a job. Or make a real effort to get one. If he wants any kind of custody, he will also need to prove he has a stable home on his side. He can’t just fuck off and do nothing and expect you to continue to financially support him 100%.

      • Start telling him NOW that he needs to get a job. He wants to save your marriage? Call that bluff. “Get a job. That’s the price of living here, for now.” Whatever you do, do NOT allow him to feel comfortable that you are willing to stay. Tell yourself you are, from here on out, going to watch what he does.

        And by the way, I got a love note from Jackass while he was chasing the MOW. So none of that signifies any real commitment.

        • “And by the way, I got a love note from Jackass while he was chasing the MOW. So none of that signifies any real commitment.”

          Same here, also he tried to circle back several times and he had never once broke it off with the whore. Not even the time in the beginning when he convinced me to let him move back in. It lasted for a week, until I had to eject him.

          I don’t know why he even tried, or asked. The whore was always there. Don’t know what their end game was in terms of me.

      • Don’t assume he hasn’t opened up a credit card of some sort, perhaps even in your name. Please, please, run a credit check. And lock down your credit right away. If he’s on websites, that can get very very expensive.

  • Thoughts:
    1. is he distracting you while HE is meeting with lawyers?
    2. research divorce laws in your state and figure out whether you should move NOW and establish residency elsewhere. You may be trapped far from your family and friends if you divorce where you are. It’s a pandemic…if you can work remotely you could decide to “visit” family with your son and then stay there. Six months is usually the magic time. Tell him that this allows him to ponder his religious proclivities
    3. You are the breadwinner–win bread where you want to be. Right now you have the perfect excuse to prioritize your preferences/career
    4. Get copies of all documents immediately and take your valuables to a safe place
    5. Strategize!

    • Obviously I would want to talk this over with a lawyer, but wouldn’t that basically be kidnapping? I have thought about the possibility of moving to a place I want to be before starting the divorce process, but assumed I’d have to take him with me.

      • I don’t think you can move and take your child with you before filing unless you’re under circumstances where you fear for yourself and your child’s life or there is an immediate threat to their safety, otherwise yea you’re getting into questionable legal territory. The courts also tend to be kind of narrow in what they define as immediate threat. Unfortunately you likely will have to consult to a lawyer before you go anywhere.

      • Yes–consult a lawyer. Of course. Consult SEVERAL lawyers. I have been shocked to find that some literally know less about the law than I do.

        Absolutely no kidnapping! you just agree that the pandemic is driving you nuts and you need a change of scene and luckily you can telecommute. Or any other great reason to “visit” family or friends (he can come too, or visit later). If he hates your family and won’t join you or stay long, so much the better. If you want to put roots down look for a new job where you want to live. Then it is all about how you need to take the great new job.

        Point is to think about where you want to be a resident when you file. If you file from where you live, the judge might not let you move out of the school district etc.

      • You can tell him that you want to move and you are looking for a new job. He’s welcome to tag along to the new city, but he will have to get a job and his own apartment.

        He was making his own plans. No reason you shouldn’t make plans for yourself.

  • How many shades of loser is this guy? Pervert, lazy, verbal and emotional abuser/harasser, betrayer, manipulator. Can she respect him? If not it’s a sad excuse for a marriage and partnership. He is cringe worthy.

  • “he found all the journals I’d kept since I was a teen, read them, memorized the “juicy” bits, and threw them in the trash.”

    Out of everything you wrote, this was the most chilling to me. It’s just straight-up MEAN.

    • This is terrible. I’m also one who journals and I’ve been journaling since I was a kid. I “lost” three journals when I was breaking up with my first husband and now I wonder if maybe he did something with them and I didn’t just lose them.

      My journals are so important to me. So they are a handy target. They’re not fancy, they’re just dollar store notebooks but looking back in them, when I was getting ready to file for divorce and I didn’t know if I should, I was able to look back in my journals and see what my soon-to-be ex-husband was doing for the past 24 years. How many times in those journals I had written the same stuff over and over? Reading those journals helped me make my decision. I will never regret writing down my feelings. But I have a better lock on my bedroom door now.

  • I have lived this as well. My ex wanted desperately to have others in our sex life. He had a whole secret life online. The website reddit has an entire several sections where people try to hook up in this way.

    Fortunately I found out his terrible secret life. And I’m like the writer of this letter, I don’t know how much sex he’s had. But he’s gone from my life. Thank God for that.

    I feel like I escaped. He did write me by text and asked me to get back together and fortunately some part of my brain was working and I told him no.

    Now what he does is he posts stuff publicly on Facebook. He never used to do that. He always had it locked down. Now it’s public including the pictures of his new life. I have to decide if I’m going to take this sword that he’s holding out and impale myself on it.

    Am I going to keep digging to find out how badly he did me wrong or am I just going to say fuck off buddy. I’ve already got a new love and it’s me.

    • Blockety block block block!

      There should be a LACGAL game. When you draw the “Cheater flaunting new life on social media card” and the “Block” card, you automatically jump to the “Date with age/height-adjusted Marty/RB Ginsburg-ish person.” Though never fear– if you pull the dreaded “Scroll” card you can draw from the “Angst Management” deck and get things like “Great Therapist,” “Finish your PhD,” or “Free trip to the islands with hilarious friends” cards.

  • He is not having an OCD attack, he’s manipulating you into staying in an abusive marriage so he can loaf and cheat. Use his current state of faux remorse to seal a post-nup that cuts him off in the event of a divorce, pretending you just need it for reassurance. Then you can “suddenly” realize he’s emotionally abusive and unfaithful and dump him, leaving the parasitic loser penniless.

    You know what to do. You just miss the marriage you thought you had and are clinging to the fantasy of it. I’m so sorry you got scammed.❤

  • I do know that OCD can work in the way where it makes a person socially obsessive. But it’s not his illness that makes him super leavable. It’s that he isn’t doing anything about it.

    Here’s the thing: medication and CBT help a person get control of that internal dialogue and stop making it run over their loved ones boundaries. Choosing not to do that is letting their mental disorder rule and ruin.

    My best friend has OCD, and she checks the stove and thinks obsessive thoughts but what is worst for her is the mind stories of her partner, but she has acknowledged it’s her. It’s her. It’s not her partner and it’s not fair to her partner to expose them to that. So she takes her meds and works hard on not being at the OCD dialogues mercy. She doesn’t really internalize the suspicion it’s just a weird thing. She finds it hard to explain because it’s so weird for her. It’s not t real but it’s fear. So it does happen; but this isn’t always what is happening .

    Idiot husband here is abusive in all sorts of ways.
    Not contributing.
    Cheating
    Manipulating
    Removing her link to her past.

    Just… there’s nothing to work with here. Hes an idiot. She’s letting it happen.
    Stop. Leave.
    You feel twitchy because he’s found a way to hide things more. It’s still happening. Guaranteed.

    I don’t think it’s ocd. It sounds more like…. Why is he focused on your past and your sex life? Because he is incapable of thinking some people only want what they have. His world is built around the idea that everyone is like him- ready to bang anything.

    That he is enough for you, and that you didn’t bang anything that moves in your past doesn’t compute. He can’t figure it out. So there must be more.

    He will continue to obsess and be jealous and neurotic. It is not just because of his illness- that may reinforce it but that’s controllable. What this is really about is his character and his choices.

    And as for you, as his partner: You’re choosing to think this is ok. That’s the part that is fucked. You don’t need to ask chump lady. Get away. He’s the worst.

    • “I don’t think it’s ocd. It sounds more like…. Why is he focused on your past and your sex life? Because he is incapable of thinking some people only want what they have. His world is built around the idea that everyone is like him- ready to bang anything.

      That he is enough for you, and that you didn’t bang anything that moves in your past doesn’t compute. He can’t figure it out. So there must be more.”

      Yes, this sounds really really right to me. He keeps framing it to me as “I just find you so beautiful and sexy that I can’t believe tons of other people did, too”, saying that it’s a compliment no matter how many times I tell him that it doesn’t make me feel good because it reminds me of how I felt lonely and undesirable in the past. But I think you’re right that he can’t see past his own behavior/tendencies and understand that other people….are different?

      • Yep. I never understood why the man I was married to was such a jealous asshole when I admitted someone was attractive. And now I know. He didn’t have any fucking boundaries. (Literally. He had NO boundaries regarding who and what and how he was FUCKING …) so he didn’t see that I possibly could.

      • Letter Writer– A therapist once explained to me that malignant narcissists (a little of that exists in other types of personality disorders which tend to overlap) fantasize that everyone wants what they (the narc) has. The only way anything in their lives is seen as valuable– and thereby confers value to them (the narc)– is if it has value on their imagined “stock market.” In other words, the type who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing– except sometimes these types don’t even know the damned market price. In other words, the “value” or lack thereof that a narc puts on a victim has no real world credibility. It means nothing.

        By actually loving the narc, the victim is cast under the narc’s umbrella of deep-down self loathing. “If I suck and she loves me, then she must suck even more than me.” But of course the minute the target shows any sign of moving on, the narc can smell it through lead containment walls, as if by ESP, and suddenly the victim’s stock goes up again. It still means nothing. Narcs are nuts.

      • It’s some kind of gaslighting. Doesn’t really matter what it is. Your intuition–your gut–is telling you that what he’s saying is off, that he shouldn’t be violating this boundary with you.

  • My ex had a whole secret life that our children and I knew nothing about. Ex was an addict who would disappear for days at a time. I came to discover that he was cheating as well as getting high (ok, so I was a little hopeful). My ex was sporadically employed during our 15 year marriage, but the last 2 years, I was sole breadwinner. Ex didn’t help with childcare, housework, or emotional support. He just used the house as a flop, to come rest and eat after a bender.

    None of that is acceptable in a relationship. Ever. My ex also read through my old journals and threw their contents in my face. Grilled me about my sex life or whether I was seeing anyone while we were separated. It was projection and I only now realize it.

    What your husband is doing is abusive. It’s hard to see it while you are in the midst. If you are like me, I was getting up in the morning, making lunches, making sure the kids got to school, going to work, working a full day, coming home to the mess at the house and cleaning the house, making dinner, shuttling kids to activities, doing the laundry, and then relaxing for a half hour before going to bed, only to repeat the same thing the next day. Day in and day out. Meanwhile the jerk was criticizing how messy the house was and blaming me for my clutter. Not doing anything to help out unless I asked him, and even then it was always “when I get to it.” And he’d never get to it. Yet I “still loved him” and wanted to give him a chance to get clean and sober and become the husband I wanted to have, not the husband I actually had.

    Finally I got ill from the stress. I had him move out. Then I found out about the double life and cheating and filed for divorce. As painful as it is to say goodbye to that dream, I think Jenny, that you are too exhausted to just put your foot down and are going along to get along because you’re too tired for more crap right now. It’s time to act. He is using you. If you are the breadwinner you will find that you have way more money in the bank once he is out of the picture. I’m doing great now that the ex is gone. This has caused a lot of damage to me and our children. We’re all in therapy. The chaos and uncertainty and push me/pull you back and forth crap is exhausting and messes with your peace of mind. Ditch the dude and you will eventually find peace. It’s not easy, but it entirely doable.

  • I worked side by side with environmental health experts for years and there’s literally an epidemic of OCD going on among other once-rare physical and neuro conditions.

    There’s no such thing as a “genetic epidemic,” so quite often the condition is environmentally mediated. Genetic “susceptibility” can play a role or epigenetics (parents/grandparents environmental exposures), but the steep statistical rise indicates modern toxic fuckery afoot. Some use diet and certain cocktails of supplements to manage (mast cell, mito protocols, etc.), others use medication or largely recover from getting *off * medication (OCD is a side effect of a long list of common prescription drugs as well as some street drugs). Causes and cofactors seem to vary widely but sex addiction and cheating are still values/power/ character issues. OCD no doubt makes sex and substance addictions worse, but it’s a separate thing and a huge disservice to the millions affected to conflate the two issues. Automatically ascribing bad character traits to the condition (as a misguided attempt to forgive skeaziness) only adds to the already huge stigma and challenge of the disorder.

    Maybe because I run in serious channels, I’ve actually never met a cheater among patient advocates, though a couple of the medical gurus in that world bacame notorious fuckbags– usually around the time they stop breaking ground or contributing anything noteworthy to the field and start drunkenly resting on “savior” laurels. Fortunately that’s not the rule, but it’s icky to see that kind of fall from grace, especially if the person once did anything important. They become inside jokes.

    Narcissism: bad interpersonally; lousy for innovation and the planet. And despite the turf-grabbing claims of the greedy commercial genetics industry and crap-artists who glom onto any “the devil made me do it” rationalization, shit character, unlike statistically rising neurological conditions, probably don’t even have a teeny-tiny bit to do with genes. Genes don’t code for character.

    • Yes. There are OCD people and narcissists in my extended family. At least from what I’ve seen, OCD seems to develop in response to ill treatment from the narcissists. OCD patients question and doubt everything and their reality, and they especially themselves. This is why it was called “the doubting disease” in the middle ages. They are over scrupulous in some areas because they want to get things right, and somehow make their doubtful reality come out ok. They are the opposite of narcissists, who absolutely think they are right and don’t doubt their superiority. Jenny’s husband sounds like a narcissist.

  • “Im still not sure exactly what triggered it — he had a complete change of heart.”

    My guess would be that the other woman was playing him. Using him for money or whatever. Your money. Then when she found out he had none, she dumped him.

    He’s already on the next profile.

  • He had “a change of heart?” Big deal. That’s just an expression of what he WANTS. Which might as easily change again tomorrow as today. The problem is he hasn’t had a change of CHARACTER. And without that (a long, difficult road), you can’t rely on anything he says, even about his wants.

  • “And then all of a sudden — I’m still not sure exactly what triggered it — he had a complete change of heart.”

    He figured out how much his lifestyle costs and he prefers that you continue to pay for it.

    He is an abuser. Your son is learning how to manipulate and abuse the person who is supposed to be loved and cherished.

    Save yourself and save your son from daily contact with a Fuckwit. One who can’t even manage to be EMPLOYED for crying out loud!

  • He is simply deplorable.
    As Tracy said, there is really nothing to work with here.
    So much abuse & brings nothing to the table wtf.
    Give him the heavens-ho asap!

  • I was horrified all the way through. Of course COVID made him do a double reversal with a twist. He needs an income he can count on. Perhaps his Schmoopie is laid off or lost her job or can’t allow anyone to move in with her. Or maybe she just broke up with him, not that it matters.

    This is a terrible, terrible, abusive person. Please note in your letter how WHAT HE SAYS seems more important to you than WHAT HE DOES (read your diaries, throw them away, plan a divorce and remarriage with another women, etc.)

    When I read, “I’m the sole earner (and have been almost our entire relationship),” I was even more horrified. This jackass can ask for ALIMONY. You need to start making plans, right away. Can you take your kiddo and move to be close to your parents? Are they abusive, too, or will they be supportive? You need to talk to a lawyer RIGHT AWAY about what it will take to deal with this guy. Why isn’t he working?Does he have an education?

    The first things I would do, in this order:
    1. Stop sleeping with this jackass. STDs! Kinky sex! Protect yourself. That will mean finding a new place for him to sleep. And no, you don’t give up the bedroom. He takes the spare room, if any, or sleeps on the couch. You think the sex is “incredible,” but I don’t get how sex with a cheating abuser could be “incredible.” I would say “violating” and “Icky” and “unsatisfying emotionally.”
    2. Tell him to either get a job or move out. NOW. Set a deadline. 3 weeks. Fast food places are looking for workers.
    3. Call 3 top-flight lawyers (see the SuperLawyer list) and find out what you need to do to divorce this jackass.
    4. Don’t be intimidated when they talk about alimony. Start figuring out how he can be self-supporting by the time the divorce is final.
    5. Secure your valuables. See the diary story as to why.
    6. Cut off the internet when you are at work. Make life less comfortable for him.
    7. Understand that this man is a major manipulator, and the more he talks, the more you slide down the bullshit rabbit hole. So no contact needs to be your long-term goal. Short term, do not discuss anything significant with him.

  • Dear Jenny,

    These are words from your own letter:

    “…I’m the sole earner (and have been almost our entire relationship), we don’t have any real financial cushion as far as separating, his family lives nearby and mine live far away…”

    The reality is – YOU are HIS financial cushion.

  • Just as an aside, I’d like to point out to everyone that being overweight is no barrier to being sexy.

    My ex had literal rolls and I still found her sexy. This is the way she was from when we met in our mid-twenties into our 50s.

    It’s all about confidence and enthusiasm. A lady with bonus curves and a twinkle in her eye is far sexier than any size 0 model.

    I know that this is a tough message for many women to understand but it is the honest truth, not just for me, but I am sure for many many men out there.

    If your partner is rejecting you because you don’t look like a pre-teen boy then the problem is his and not your’s.

    BT

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