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He’s Sketchy, But Is He Cheating?

Dear Chump Lady,

I’ve been married to a man for 20 years. From day one, he has done some questionable things. Maintained a dating profile (from what I can tell, it never went further than initial response, aka “I hooked you” ego kibble.)

After I found these repeatedly, he seemed to stop with that. However, he’s always loved porn, and attention from other women. Through the years, I found downloaded apps meant for untraceable communication. I’ve found ED pill packs that were open in his office when he moved offices. He has a separate bank account I don’t have access to (I do too). He has a tendency to ogle women.

But most recently I “broke into” his secret picture stash. I found tons and tons of pictures of me, sexy ones, but also pictures taken from the Facebook profiles of his secretaries (former, hasn’t worked with them in years). One of them he paid cash to buy a holiday party gift card to Coach, cash because he knew the personal nature would upset me (normally I just pick up visa gift cards for his staff, he went out of his way for this girl though and it breaks my heart).

I can’t get past the fact that he was attracted to these young women he worked with and stalked their Facebook profiles for pictures to store that he used for, ahem, personal purposes. There are tons of random pictures on there too (just women in bikinis, some just of attractive celebrities). We recently discussed this, as I admitted to knowing about it. He admits he has an issue of self control and selfishness. He says he wants to work on it, in himself. But I’m just so incredibly hurt. I don’t know if I can trust him again.

Nothing happened with those secretaries, I looked up all communication between them and it was purely professional. I also saw messages between him and other women and he is always mentioning his wife, etc. I truly believe nothing physical has transpired (it’s pictures and loving female attention), but I’m horribly hurt. He loves me to pieces that I know, I’m just petrified every time I leave the house, the room, that he will be the “bad boy” who does “something silly” and next time I know catch him and prevent a catastrophe from blowing up our lives. I’m hypervigilant. He’s wrong, I know that. I have no responsibility in his behavior. Please help me untangle this.

Questioning

Dear Questioning,

Do you like this Marriage Police/Naughty Boy dynamic you’re living? Because it sounds really sucktacular to me.

I could go down a bunch of different rabbit holes answering this letter. Do you have enough evidence of cheating? Is his wank library just mortifying or is it creepy? Are you insecure or is he a gaslighting piece of shit?

Let’s circumvent all that and get to the heart of the matter — is this relationship acceptable to you? 

You’ve had two decades of this cat and mouse game. Discovering his dating profiles. His cash expenditures on secretaries. Parsing his communications. Do you want to live this way?

Do you feel safe? Cherished? Secure? Or off-balance, twitchy, and hypervigilant? Forget for a moment if he fucked these women — you have 20 years of evidence that when you raise alarms, he continues to be shady. TWENTY YEARS. He’s not going to stop being this pervy guy. Your feelings are second (127th?) to “something silly.”

His ACTIONS say that “selfishness” totally works for him. He feels totally entitled to be this guy, and he doesn’t give one shit about your mental state. Does that sound like a relationship worth hanging on to? You can’t control him, just you.

Now then, you asked me to untangle this. But I think this is more of a hatchet job, to shatter the spackle.

From day one, he has done some questionable things. Maintained a dating profile (from what I can tell, it never went further than initial response, aka “I hooked you” ego kibble.)

This is the oldest Stupid Shit Cheaters Say line in the book — I was just looking at dating profiles for attention/research. I didn’t create them to actually fuck anyone.

Adults create dating profiles to fuck other adults. Period. Full-stop. Whether he succeeded in his endeavor, I can’t say. But clearly the man, while publicly “committed” to you, was on the hunt for new pussy.

That’s either acceptable to you, or it isn’t. What it tells me is that his “commitments” — to you, to his promises of improvement, to his overdue library books — mean very little. He’s totally okay going behind your back.

However, he’s always loved porn, and attention from other women.

Look, porn is unilateral. He looks at it. Attention from other women is MUTUAL. Don’t conflate these things. He could be paying for this attention, or grooming it, or buying it a Coach purse, but if he gets off on other women’s “attention” — he’s messing around with other women. It’s not just pixels. It’s people.

Through the years, I found downloaded apps meant for untraceable communication.

Oh that’s not shady, she writes in her sarcasm font…

I’ve found ED pill packs that were open in his office when he moved offices.

Who are these erections for? Accounts receivable?

He has a separate bank account I don’t have access to (I do too).

Why don’t you ask to see it? I’ll show you yours, you show me mine. He should enjoy that game. People with nothing to hide, hide nothing. He balks? There’s your answer. His silliness costs money. Follow the silly trail.

He has a tendency to ogle women.

People are attractive. It’s human nature to notice attractive people. Ogling however is another thing. It’s a singular focus, a creepy vibe that makes other company (and probably the ogle-ee) uncomfortable. It’s also a power dynamic, to objectify another women in front of you. To make you feel off-balance, insecure, and goad you into the pick me dance. (LOOK AT ME! I’m PRETTY TOO! Am I as pretty as she is? Tappitytappity tap…)

We’re only one paragraph in and I don’t like this guy.

but also pictures taken from the Facebook profiles of his secretaries (former, hasn’t worked with them in years).

Boy I can just feel the respect this guy has for women in the workplace.

UGH!!!

Are you sure these women are his secretaries? Who has this many secretaries?

He admits he has an issue of self-control and selfishness.

If he’s just looking at pictures, how does “self-control” come into it?

I’m just looking at pictures of cookies, I’m not eating them. Then “self-control” is pointless.

Methinks he’s eating the cookies.

One of them he paid cash to buy a holiday party gift card to Coach, cash because he knew the personal nature would upset me

This makes absolutely no sense.

I’m not even going to try to untangle that. It’s up there with “I was sleeping in my car in Vermont, in January, with no cell phone reception.”

Nothing happened with those secretaries

You don’t know that.

I looked up all communication between them and it was purely professional.

See Exhibit: I found downloaded apps meant for untraceable communication.

next time I know catch him and prevent a catastrophe from blowing up our lives. I’m hypervigilant.

WHY ARE YOU LIVING LIKE THIS?

Prevent a catastrophe? Of him “just looking” at another woman? Looking at pictures, if you believed that (you DO NOT), would not feel like CATASTROPHE. You’re desperately trying to tether his wandering dick.

It’s an absolutely impossible job.

I don’t know if I can trust him again.

He’s completely untrustworthy. Question is — do you want to stay with a man you can’t trust? You can, it’s not much of a marriage if you ask me.

And you asked me, a woman who runs a popular blog about cheating. So… I think you know the answer.

(((HUGS)))

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.
    • OMG, how did I forget? THIS! Times a billion!

      Also, make certain he hasn’t “accidentally” borrowed from his retirement accounts without YOUR knowledge and signature. Ditto for the HELOC, if you have one. Did you refinance recently? Did he need large sums of cash to pay off hitherto unknown debts?

      • For sure on this and the STD testing.

        You can see this poor woman being a widow at 72 and left penniless because he’s got 10 kids he’s been supporting on the sly.

    • This.

      The herbal ED pills I found many times are how I know. No one needs those for any reason but sex.

      He denies it up and down. Sure he had a dating app but it was because he thought he met me on it and he was just “trying to look up our old conversations” – doing it for me of course – when this app didn’t exist 17 years ago.

      And sure he posted on Craigslist, but no one responded!

      And sure he tried to go to a massage parlor, but he chickened out about asking for the happy ending.

      And sure I suddenly got an HPV positive pap after being with only him for 15 years, but the internet says that it could have been dormant in my system.

      Lying liars lie.

      Even if he was by some miracle “innocent” – he still TRIED to cheat. His INTENTION was to cheat, and that’s enough.

      I wouldn’t want to be married to someone who obsessively thought about murdering people, and occasionally tried to murder people, but botched every attempt. This is no different.

      • “I wouldn’t want to be married to someone who obsessively thought about murdering people, and occasionally tried to murder people, but botched every attempt. This is no different.”

        That’s an excellent analogy. 👏😁

      • Yep. I dated a guy who “Just made the dating profile to find new friends”

        and

        “This girl has a boyfriend stop worrying” (boyfriend was mysteriously never available, and whenever I was able to hang out, she was working, but whenever I was working, she was conveniently free…)

        And, when his brother wanted to take him to Germany because “German chicks love American dudes” it was

        “I just wanna see how many numbers I’ll get, yknow to see if it’s true, I won’t call any of them, and I don’t want you to come with us because it’s for time with my brother.”

        Questioning, this guy is the cheatingest cheater who ever cheated. Men don’t get ED pills and keep them in their office to masturbate and they don’t get untraceable phone apps to listen to bad music.

        He’s cheating, he’s been cheating, he’ll keep cheating as long as he thinks you’ll keep buying his lies.

          • Hypothetically, even if he wasn’t cheating (he is, but let’s say if he wasn’t) it would be entirely inappropriate for him to be using ED meds in his workplace. What would he be doing with them in his office? Is he using office time or resources to look at porn?

            Either way it’s gross.

        • Totally this. My fuvkwit did all the same things questionings fuvkwit does. I found pictures of random women from Facebook on his computer. He was always ogling women & flirting with my friends When I finally had enough of wreckonciliation and chucked him out he got nasty. We will see how much “he loves me to pieces” once he has consequences to deal with. My fuvkwit is pure evil with the property settlement. I’m total no contact but his communications via the lawyer are laced with comments that he knows will hurt me and he refuses the simplest of requests such as me suggesting a mediator that doesn’t cost $5+. I suspect he’s writing the letters and his lawyer just signs them. He’s a lawyer himself so it’s possible. He filed for divorce & put my occupation as ‘unemployed’ which he knew would hurt me as we’d spoken about how proud I am of beating the odds of my upbringing & being a scientist. I’m sure there’s more evil to come and I’m not sure I can live through tbh

        • The “catastrophe” has already happened sweetheart. Its been happening for decades. It’s your “marriage”.

          Please realise that what you know (through exhausting police work) bears NO RESEMBLANCE to what’s really been happening. Really, really hard to acknowledge that, I know. Discovering my Xhusbands double life melted my mind for a while. And I’m sure I only ever found out about a fraction of it.

          Go gain a life and become the real you. Sunshine and blue skies ahead.

          • Sadly very few of us will know the whole story. Or even in many cases figure out why the hell they did it. Aside from being a fuckwit. At some point, it is just accept it happened, and move on.

            • Many people are coming to the realization that bad people come in many forms. The label given to them to is narcissist. To me the label doesn’t matter but what I’ve learned in my narcissist recovery is we have no business being with people who don’t respect us and we are unable to trust. Its very black and white so there is no untangling the skein.

              • My question is, how many of these sub-humans are out there? Are they 10% of the population? Because at this point I am operating as if they are 30%.

      • I had the hpv thing too only by the time I found out it was full blown cervical cancer. He claimed at the time (and I believed him) that I must have had it before I met him 25 years ago. I know now that it was a series of hookers that began before I even met him. Please, please, please get STD tested yesterday.

      • Nailed it! Ugh, the it could be dormant in your system for 10 years excuse. I heard that one when I suddenly came down with a bad case of eye herpes this spring. No asshole, herpes keratitis is incredibly painful (and a leading cause of blindness), definitely something that one would know they had. I suppose it’s just a coincidence that I had my first outbreak in April and caught you cheating in May. But silver linings, if I go blind I’d never have to see your nasty cheating ass again

      • Omg. Me too. After 12 years of (what I thought was) a monogamous relationship, I got the positive HPV, which led to finding dysplasia and a LEEP and the whole nine yards. And sure, it might have been dormant for years or whatever, but then again monkeys might fly out my butt, so here we are. Jackass.

  • Questioning – you know the answer. It sucks to realize that you put enough enough spackle to make your home resemble a gingerbread house and that the foundation of your marriage is just as crumbly.

    Apps for sneaking around? Open ED packets in the office? Ouch.

    Put down the spackle. Hire an accountant. Review every piece of financial data you have, including the joint tax filings (yes?) and if you stay in this relationship, know you’re still flying solo. I suggest you do it for real.

    • When my ex came back from Burning Man (without me) I found condoms in his duffle bag. He said he was following one of the ten principles of BM: Gifting.

      “Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.”

      He also said he had many opportunities to have sex while he was there, but he didn’t. Because he loved me. Then he said I needed to have sex with him more, or he might consider divorcing me. So I did. Turns out he was sleeping with someone else at the time. When I caught him, he said he was “finally getting enough sex” and that I had never sexually satisfied him, ever. He also said I shouldn’t consider him sleeping with her a big deal, because it had been going on for 4 months and I hadn’t even noticed. His words, in front of the marriage counselor, were “what’s the big deal if one tiny piece of my penis touches one tiny piece of her vagina? He claimed he is polyamorous (an excuse for cheating that he learned about at BM) and it was too bad I am a jealous person, and not more like him. He said he needed to live his authentic self.

      When that didn’t work, he switched to wounded sad sausage being deprived of his “amazing” schmoopie that he luurvvs. At one point he asked for a divorce and then returned 18 hours later to reunite (when he realized he couldn’t move in with schmoopie yet).

      I took him back and stayed with him for 2 more years. It’s still hard not to hate myself for being such a chump.

      • “It’s still hard not to hate myself for being such a chump.”

        I know the feeling. But don’t hate yourself, you did your best, and you *did* finally divorce the pig.

        ((hugs)) to you. 🤗❤️

  • Dear Questioning, RUN!!!! Straight to the Drs office to get an STI panel, then call up at least three of the Super Lawyers in your area. Find a therapist and get yourself ready to leave this abusive man.

    You state he “loves you to pieces”. How? None of what you describe is love. These are the actions of a selfish man who is fucking around and you are tolerating that. You have all the power to reclaim your joy. Snatch your life back from that cheater. He is cheating. You know it. Now end it. Don’t waste anymore of your life with this nonsense.
    I am so sorry for your pain. He sucks.

  • Questioning, he’s cheating.

    What are you waiting for, incontrovertible evidence? Seems to me you already have that.

    Or maybe catching him in the act would do it? This creep would pull the Richard Pryor thing.

    But I think you know in your gut he’s cheating or you wouldn’t be writing to CL. *Listen to your gut*!!

    In the very remote contingency he isn’t physically cheating on you, ( ED pills? A personal gift to a secretary?) you must still ask yourself CL’s best question, is this relationship acceptable to *you*?

    It clearly isn’t so do something about it.

    Hugs and best wishes you. ❤️🤗

    • ” He loves me to pieces that I know,”

      No, sweetheart, he really doesn’t. It’s just something he tells you so he can keep on shovelling cake into his gob. If he really loved you to pieces, he wouldn’t be doing this shit he *knows* hurts and upsets you.

      Or maybe he doesn’t say it, it’s something you say to yourself for comfort. That’s spackle, and you’re using it to shore up a crumbling, worm eaten edifice.

      As CL says, watch his *actions*, don’t listen to his words.

      I know how scary and awful it is to come to terms with the fact he doesn’t love you and is cheating on you.

      I don’t know how old you are, but if that’s a factor holding you back, there are quite a few ‘elderly’ chumps in CN who made the decision to leave/divorce, I’m one of them.

      Dday for me was 3 years ago, and I’ve been divorced since January 2019. I’m not going to tell you it’s been easy or fun filled every step of the way, or it’s easy to “gain a life”, but in so many ways my life is so much better for jettison ING a cheating, lying abuser. It will be for you, too, I promise. ❤️🤗

  • There are so many red flags in his behaviour it saddens me for our chump. I suppose because technically she hasn’t “caught” him she still wants to believe in the unicorn. But an app for confidential communications??? Wow! And I don’t know about all his “secretaries” but I know my friends and I used to make fun of the guys that tried to give us “gifts” – even expensive ones. They were a pathetic joke!

  • This was my XBF 100%. Always kept a dating profile for the 10 years we were together, said nothing was happening but was awfully personal with other women, started to get creepy, talked about me with other women (but as a ploy for pity and women actually fell for this!!!!)

    Run, don’t walk. There is so much going on behind your back you won’t even believe it. Once you leave him, people will start to come forward with info about him that will floor you. Trust me, you are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. Or as Dr Phil says “for every rat you see, there’s 50 you don’t”.

  • My XW would ogle Latin men. Turns out she was screwing them. Made me so uncomfortable and unsettled. If you see smoke, there IS A FIRE!

    • Yep, there either was a fire, is a fire or one is about to errupt.

      If I had recognized the smoke, maybe I could have gotten out of the horror a couple years earlier.

      Wouldn’t have saved the marriage, but it sure would have put a crimp in their excitment of sneaking around.

    • This is what held me back and stuck in a cycle of disbelief that my life and marriage had become a landmine-strewn field of disfunction and disorder. My ex ran up our equity line, starting crossdressing and wanting (I’m going to get graphic here, I hope it is okay) anal penetration, after 13 years together and no idea he was harboring a secret so significant it would have impacted my decision to marry him. This came out after years of my commiting financially all my hard-earned assets to our marriage, so I was stuck in the sunk-cost nightmare, and to make things worse, I was dragged into his disordered closet because there was zero support for me. Everyone thought he was the nice, quiet guy, so I just became withdrawn and drank a lot. It was horrible. My advice is to get out. I am older and wiser, and still going through my divorce, but after everything he did to me (and the list is long, so I will not go into it, suffice to say he was a mess), I wish I had divorced him the second I knew. Sunk-costs keep many of us chumps stuck, but I’d rather be broke and happy than live like I was. Good luck to our fellow chump, a happy life on the other side is possible.

      • I’m you on the other side of the divorce, but after 32 years of marriage.
        You are absolutely spot on about the sunk costs, the deception, the withholding of information that would allow you to make an informed decision about marriage. Don’t be too hard on yourself, though: the disclosure is a shock to the system, and what transpires after (like the anal penetration, mine, too) real trauma.

        Believe me, it IS better on the other side. I’m coming up on two years divorced, and I am SO much happier.

    • ‘I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water’

      It’s not a baby.

      It’s a rabid raccoon
      Rabies. And you just got it all wet.
      You’re still trying to wrap it in ribbons and sprinkles.

  • My cheater was always dodgy, avoidant, and quirky. He was kind of like this from the very beginning so there was never a “change”. He could also be charming, funny and momentarily engaged.

    His avoidance of people always can across to me as a side of him that was introverted and didnt want demands from people he hardly knew so he avoided social events with me. I now think that he had all sorts of nefarious things going on but as I was never looking for romantic /sexual liaisons, if there were clues, I did not see them…his facade which he build in my direction was as perfect as a Disney house…shiny and looked like Mickey REALLY lived there.

    I now think that he wasnt quirky at all, I believe that he lived a long, duplicitous life and he created this narrative with me so that I would accept that as who he was and I did.

    20 years is enough. (I did a full 29 years dating + marriage)

    Last night I read a word I had never seen before “counterfactual”. a thing which exists as an entity that is non existent …like my mom getting help for her drinking or Cheater learning to be kind….I hoped for those things but their entire lives passed and that thing I envisioned was never true…it was counterfactual. This dud being a decent husband is a counterfactual…it simply has never been and will never be.

    • Counterfactual. Superb word.
      Questioning- what would you say if someone told you this story. ‘Here’s my big pile of weird, my hubby loves me like crazy, he spends his money on doting on underlings, and keeps a record of his conquests oops I mean contacts in a folder with a bunch of spank bank material… and did I mention? He’s always had dating apps and secret ways to talk to folks, because that’s professional and also considerate of me as his partner. But he admits he’s selfish. Can you believe it? Which is true I guess because he uses his ED meds to wank alone, ha ha ha, wow, what a goofball.”

      Pretty sure I would seriously tell any friend I had that talk with that they were buying snake oil, and or had a brain tumour. What about you? What would you tell your friend or niece or daughter if this was their man, and were still sipping the Koolaid that everything was fine?

      You’ve seen that meme where the dog is in the house on fire right? He’s got coffee and is all ‘this is fine.’ …..

      .
      .
      .
      (Mic drop)

    • Unicornomore, thank you for writing this. You have described my life with my XH, and probably many of our lives, sadly. Today would have been our 31st wedding anniversary; our divorce was finalized in October 2019.

      He always came off as somewhat aloof, but he seemed to engage fairly well with my family and friends while we were dating. But after the wedding, he gradually began to pare down the people in my life he would interact with and the events he would attend. Over the years, I wrote it off as “it’s just his personality” or “we’ve been so busy lately so he needs some down time,” etc. Then, 25 years in, I stumbled on some communication between him and a female coworker that seemed a bit more personal, so I dug deeper. Typical chump, I would try to address what I found with him and I would get the “lie and deny” tactic. I wish I had known about CL and CN back then; I would have held my cards closer to my chest. I wish I would have known not to be so trusting all those years. Only he knows how long all of this has really been going on.

      I like your word “counterfactual” – it might explain my view of my marriage. I was likely imagining what it could have been /what I hoped it would be but probably not really seeing it for what it was.

    • “I now think that he wasnt quirky at all, I believe that he lived a long, duplicitous life and he created this narrative with me so that I would accept that as who he was and I did.”

      That feels so much like what I experienced for 20 years. I didn’t know it at the time of course, but once it unraveled I could see the red flags in hindsight. I will neveer know the full extent or truth, thankfully I have been out of it for a long time.

    • Omgosh this dude I’d find just exhausting. And he’s a bit of a pig as well. And for some reason you haven’t ever quite caught him red handed. You didn’t mention if you have children, but if not, just drop the rope, get your half. Then run. While you look and feel strong and healthy. Go. Fly. Peace.

  • When you are concerned, it is your gut speaking, and you should pay attention to that. I could never quite put my finger on why my relationship of so many years never felt completely safe. X used porn too; he liked the fantasy…but eventually he preferred jacking off to that more than his willing wife. I think a lot of decisions are made by cheaters that sabatoge their relationships. True intimacy is something that never quite appears in a marriage to one.

  • Questioning, it’s ok to leave a marriage even though you haven’t actually caught him. CL is right. Do you want to live another 20 years off balance when you are 20 years older? I guarantee you he is doing wonky stuff with your money and I say your money because you have been married 20 years. At least half of all is yours. Do not tip him off! Don’t think he won’t because he will. You need to get to a good attorney. It sounds like he is very successful in his career so you need to tread carefully. I repeat do not tip him off! It is no benefit to you! He will not be threatened and turn around and do the right thing. You may need to hire a forensic accountant. Please don’t be in denial because you will get screwed. Decide for a better life. Get to an attorney.

    • This. People are allowed to get a divorce for reasons other than adultery. However, I completely understand that many spouses, especially those with a lot of sunk costs, want more proof than a bad feeling.

      Questioning’s husband sounds as if he does have a successful career, and it also sounds as if Questioning has her own resources. In addition to retaining a very good attorney, it would be worth it to spend some money on a Private Investigator.

      One thing that I discovered was that cheating takes up hardly any time. Now, my Dday was long before we were in a global pandemic and CheaterX’s type of work would involve unexpected delays as he dealt with some sort of crisis at work that prevented him from coming home at a regular time each day. He also routinely worked late one night per week. However, one day he called me to tell me that he was going to be about 5 minutes late in meeting me and my brother, who was in town for a couple of days, at a restaurant. Yep, he was about 5-10 minutes late, no big deal (though I knew he was cheating and I was lining up my ducks so I kept quiet). Anyway, a few days later I went through his pockets and discovered a receipt for Starbucks at exactly the time that he called me to say that he was running late at work.

      In fact, he’d left work early to be with Schmoopie. They met at a Starbucks on the other side of town for a couple of after-work lattes, his treat.

      Anyway, the moral of the story is that from my perspective, he was off schedule by only about 5 minutes. What I didn’t realize until later is that he had completely altered his schedule for the day.

      A PI can verify where Questioning’s husband is spending his time and who he’s spending it with.

      • I’d also pretend nothing is wrong, hire a PI or take advice what to do (about that bank account, for example), and quietly line my ducks.

        Why would anybody give a secretary money for a Coach bag? And cellophane it as respect for the wife? Who gives such expensive gifts to underlings?

  • Living in a state of hypervigilance is no way to live. It takes a toll on you mentally and physically, and the person you are policing is not worth the damage it does to you. I will echo CL and say that he has given you ample evidence he doesn’t care about the effect of his behavior on you, and that is not the action of a man who “loves [you] to pieces.” I’ll also repeat a bit of CL wisdom: Don’t listen to what he says, look at what he does: what he has done, what he is doing, what he intends to keep doing. Telling you he wants to work on himself costs him only the feeble effort of opening and closing his mouth and moving his lips. And because you have leveled no consequences for his actions other than telling him what he does hurts you he has no incentive to change.

    And yes, it’s so very hard to make the leap from believing he wants to change to understanding that he has had plenty of opportunity to change yet somehow never does. It’s very hard to stop the escalation–every time you find something you go to him and you have less respect and trust and yet he keeps doing it–and leave. But leave you should.

  • So Questioning, I’ve been right where you are. Ex was “creepy” – addicted to porn, ogled women, often in front of me, had questionable relationships with the opposite sex and would call me crazy if I questioned it. Turns out, the first DDay was when I looked at his text messages (after he began to be EXTREMELY secretive about his phone – taking it with him everywhere, hiding the screen, etc) – and saw him calling another woman “love” and “baby” – turns out she was a porn star/escort who was “just a friend” but who had also been to my house. Chump Lady is right – adults seek out other adults to fuck. Period. I “forgave” him with little to no remorse on his part. Fast forward two years later and he calls me panicked about his phone because he can’t find it. I leave work early determined to find it and lo and behold when I open it up I discover that he’s been stalking women on the street, at my daughter’s school, around our neighborhood, during meals with me and our child – videotaping their boobs and butts, sticking his phone up women’s skirts, just a whole lot of really CREEPY behavior. He swore he never “cheated” on me but I had to ask the question – do I want to marry to THAT guy? The creepy one that’s openly checking out women (including friends) in front of me, a peeping Tom (because it sounds like that’s the road your husband is headed down with all of this Facebook stalking), forcing me to be hypervigilant all the time?

    You can’t un-know what you know. The question is – is this a good enough life and marriage for you even without “solid” evidence of cheating?

    • College classmate married late (in her 40s) for first time. Husband had high security clearance in gov’t job. H. got nabbed in sting operation for soliciting an underage minor. Guess what the authorities found on his confiscated phone ? Images and footage of neighbors in flagrante. Pervo would wander his ‘hood looking for women getting undressed or couples having sex. He went to prison for three years.
      The saddest part mentioned in the news article was c.c. apologizing for HIS behavior. I hope she dumped him-the legal bills,who’s going to hire him now (her being the sole breadwinner),what else ?
      Thank God they didn’t have children.

      • Lord have mercy! The videos was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. We were limping along after I found out about the porn star/escort, not sleeping in the same room, not having sex, he was fully checked out of the marriage and had quit his job but lied to me and said he was downsized. Or he says he quit – I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that he was fired, not downsized, because he was taping women at work too. I just decided, this was too much for me to “get over,” got my ducks in a row, and am now happily divorced :)! I hope your college classmate did the same!

  • Questioning, I mean this in the nicest of ways, but you’re on some major “hopium” there. Best case scenario, you have a guy who is trying his best to cheat, over and over and over, and failing. Is that ok with you? Is that really any different, morally, from trying to do so, and succeeding?
    Would you be ok if someone tried to shoot you, but missed? Would you let that person try again? I admit that’s an extreme example, but I’m trying to make a point.

    The biggest red flags here are enormous.
    – He put something on his phone to hide the messages. And why would he do that? Lest you say “all the messages I’ve seen were innocent,” oh, I assure you, that’s done on purpose. “Look, I’m clean as a whistle on this one time you can verify it. But I still keep something hidden from you.” My ex played that game again and again.
    – He bought another woman a Coach purse. Correct me if I’m wrong (I’m a man, not into those things), but isn’t that a very costly designer handbag? Isn’t that the kind of expensive, special gift you’d give a sweetheart? I wouldn’t give my secretary — or any other woman — something like that unless she was working on more than just my schedule.
    – Special “pills” that he used in his office? What exactly was he doing in there? I’d like a “job” like that!
    – The “secret” bank account (and you have one, too)? What kind of spending is in that account?
    And, of course
    – The dating profile. No one gets on a dating profile just for the attention, sorry.

    I would bet that there are other things going on, besides whatever it is he’s doing with the dating profiles and the secretaries. He might be into something else that’s illegal or shady. More importantly, you could find yourself in dire straits, or even at the pointy end of a really ugly lawsuit someday, brought on by one of these employees. These ladies might not appreciate the boss stalking them through social media, or sending them expensive gifts, or doing goodness knows what in his office with those pictures. Best case scenario, he just gets fired, worst case, you get sued.

  • How do you know he’s telling the truth. He’s being disrespectful anyway. Your either in denial or you blame yourself. You know its not your fault. Its not about you its about him. He’s spending money and time on women when it should be you.
    Did your relationship overlap with his previous one, you seem to make excuses for him
    He’s taking advantage of your good nature.
    Does he put everyone else first instead of you.

  • Dear Questioning, we all eventually notice how far from the shore we’ve come, floating out there, alone, clinging to accommodation, rationalization, and hyper-tolerance. So far out in that stormy sea, often, that we can’t even see or remember our Selves (upper-case S for emphasis!) CL is throwing you at least one life-line: Know and claim what is and is not acceptable to you! Know those things; that certainty will get you back on solid ground in a real and powerful way. You’ve got this.

  • Questioning,
    A lot has been said. My two cents from 6 years out: if you lawyer up today, file for divorce, go no contact, get some trauma coaching, start focusing on building your new life you’ll be divorced in a year or two. It will be hard and you’ll have many thoughts that will create fear, sadness, anger, regret, confusion. The assets will be divided. You’ll meet people who never knew you as that married woman. Your friends and family will become accustomed to your new life. Your boundaries will get rock solid. Your nervous system will calm and those hours you gained not thinking about X will be spent on new endeavors and people who reciprocate. You will be at peace. You may have a new husband who truly “loves you to pieces” and never “acts silly.” How will you know? He will prove it with his trustworthy ACTIONS.
    At 6 years out, you’ll go back and read your letter. You literally will not believe you put up with that life for one second. You’ll wish you had acted decades earlier. Compared to your wonderful authentic peaceful life, the one with X will seem like a horror film where the victims keep crossing paths with the psychopath chainsaw murderer.

    Call lawyers this morning. File by Friday! You will never regret saving yourself.

    Ask me how I know!

    • I’d like to know how. I can’t get through to anyone to help me. I keep hearing it’ll take at least a year and “isn’t worth it to even bother.” How can you do forensic research on your own? Do you always have to pay extra for that? Can you prove you deserve restitution for money’s spent on others? Where do you turn if you’ve been bled dry and have nothing left? I feel really lost and hopeless right now. I’m trying to stay hopeful but moving quickly isn’t working for me.

      • Unsure if this will help you but this is what I did.
        ~I went to several lawyers and got an idea how much it will be. They needed a despot down so every time I went to the grocery store I took money out so he wouldn’t know.
        ~I started copying all bank statements, credit cards and bills and left them with a trusted friend( my mom)
        ~ I didn’t tell him a thing about what I was doing because I needed to get my ducks in a row
        ~ I opened my own bank account ( when I was ready for him to leave, I was hopeful he would and he did) and put direct deposit in there
        ~ I filed immediately knowing anything he used after he left I would have to pay half
        ~ I leaned on trusted friends and found a therapist who allowed me to see I’m mighty and it wasn’t my fault
        I’ve been divorced for 3 yrs now and went gray rock! Best decision I ever made for myself xoxo sweet

        • I did the same thing and am so happy I did. I waited too long for “evidence”, probably the entire 30 years when I think back. I had all the red flags Questioning has now. Follow SweetChumpGirl and CL advice! He is cheating. Don’t be afraid to make the change. You will really appreciate the freedom it brings over the policing you are doing now. It is so unhealthy and has taken me 2 years to get over the trauma and am still working on it. Good luck!

      • Jenn,
        Go on http://www.avvo.com. Figure out where the superior court is that governs where you live. Look for lawyers who are highly rated within a 25 mile radius. Get paper and pen. Call every single one. Book appointments. Ask them if they have experience with cheaters? Hostile opponents? Narcissists? High conflict opponents? If they seem comfortable and kind and experienced then ask them how to pay them. If you are a SAHM the one you want to hire will know what to do. The won’t shame you or confuse you or ask for something you don’t have. Finally, get a lawyer that hustles. You do not want to delay the process for any reason.

        How to pay? Orders from court requiring STBX to pay your fees are common. Get yourself a new credit card and put fees on it. Borrow retainer from your family or friends. Borrow from your 401k…. or get a job and fund as you go. Etc etc etc.

        Why bother? To separate assets, protect your financial future from his abuse, and end your legal relationship with him.

        Come over to chump nation on FB — we can give you real time support and tips.

        • Such goog advice. Seperating finiancial obligations is paramount. Cheater can financially devestate the Chump in a short time.

          Also, for me the instant relief of being legally seperated strengenthed me in ways that I didn’t anticipate. I don’t know if that is normal or not. But, for me it happened. For one, the minute the plan was in place, I knew what I was dealing with, and I knew I could go forward. It also gave me a lot of my power back.

  • Dear Questioning.
    I’ve been right where you are. He had maps full of porn. He kept pictures of his exes to jerk off. I t was the tip of the iceberg.
    I found them on his computer after D-day.

    He always wanted naked pictures of me. I am glad never wanted that. Did you ever give permission to take those pictures?

    When my stbx found his affair partner. Who ok with the thing he did. He did not know how quickly. He wanted to cheat and leave. You can wait untill the other shoes drops and more corpse will fall out of the closet. Or you can leave before it gets worse.

  • Get out now!! Whatever is going on is likely worse than you are imagining, but the main point is thar he knows how much it upsets you and he doesn’t care. My ex was all kinds of sketchy but when confronted woukd try to argue with me about how all his porn and internet activity wasnt a big deal and that he wasn’t “that depraved” (ha ha). I told him that it was a big deal to ME, his wife. No reaction. My ex didnt care about anyone else’s feelings or suffering, even our children’s. He was the ONLY one whose thoughts and feelings mattered. Your husband doesn’t care about you and that is all you need to know to go forward. We are rooting for you here!!! You deserve a better life without a gaslighting pervert for a husband.

  • Quit wasting your time and do what I did and hire a detective. I was married for 16 years, together for 21 years. It’s been 3 months since discovery and it was the best money ever spent. Mine tried to talk his way out of EVERYTHING. His info was even leaked in the Ashley Madison scandal several years ago. And I believed him when he said it was a hack! It took solid proof for me to leave his ass. A good detective knows how to prove adultery legally in your state and will be able to testify if needed. Lock and key done. No explanation needed anymore!

  • Gentle Reader,

    How big does the 2 x 4 have to be?

    The Titanic sank. You can get in the lifeboat here or stay in the freezing water denying it.

    You may appreciate knowing that the traitor in my life had multiple email addresses, female FB friends I didn’t know whose only friends were men of all ages…apps which concealed their true application……lots of email “spam” from hookup sites….porn stored on memory sticks….

    He ditched our family for a cockroach he shopped for on Casual Encounters on Craigslist. Moved in with her. Lied lied lied lied lied lied lied. And continues to lie lie lie lie lie lie lie.

    Our daughter caught him on Tinder while using his phone. So he ditched out family for his “Sole Mate” and is on Tinder?

    Leave these lowlifes for other lowlifes.

    Please get into the lifeboat. The people who swapped deck chairs on the Titanic made a huge mistake.

    • It’s good to know what your limits are. Even better to write it down so you can’t mindfuck yourself.

      I got married for SECURITY, not INSECURITY.

      I do what I do until the pain overcomes the fear. The transgressions were not “loud” enough for me to realize that I was in a very abusing relationship.
      I was the frog in the water with the heat being turned up ever so slightly over 20 years.

      I hope you can find a way to lower your pain threshold. 😪

  • It is quite possible nothing happened with his secretaries and other women he communicated with, but I’m betting it wasn’t for lack of trying on his part. Men that ogle tend to be losers. He sounds like a creep and I’m sure his staff have stories to tell.

    • Yes. I have been on the receiving end of this type of behavior at work, usually older men, typically married. While I was personally disgusted and ended up quitting, there were a few women who seemed to enjoy the attention and knew how to use it to their advantage. For some of us, some old reptile staring at our chest or cornering us in the break room makes for a toxic work environment. But then there are women who just don’t seem to mind, as long as they get a promotion and apparently a coach bag out of the deal. I always feel bad for the wives at home, how miserable is it to be married to one of these creeps.

  • Dear Questioning–To me, he doesn’t sound sketchy, he sounds like a sexual harassment lawsuit waiting to happen.

    CL is spot-on about the porn. It’s unilateral. I’m not into it myself, but some people and some couples enjoy it. Also, while it’s one thing to appreciate the physical beauty of other people, it’s another thing to ogle. There is also a very fine line between enjoying attention from women and seeking it. If your husband is very attractive, then women may communicate this, but it is very much on him to shut that shit down.

    But the huge red flags for me are that he stalked all of his secretaries and has their pictures in his secret stash, and that he spent the money for a Coach gift certificate on one. Remember, that’s the one that you know about. Once you know he’s capable of doing this, then you have to admit to yourself that anyone capable of doing this once is capable of having done it many times.

    It also bothers me that it sounds as if there were many secretaries and multiple offices. I’m not sure if the office changes were due to promotion or internal corporate reassignment, but a good manager wouldn’t be having a revolving door of secretaries. If he has a lot of turnover, you can bet that he’s hitting on them or otherwise making their lives uncomfortable. Secretaries don’t have any organizational clout, so when they’re facing harassment, their options are few. While they could go to HR, their more likely strategy is to quit or apply for a reassignment.

    I would also be leery of any kind of lateral moves that he’s made within his organization. It’s a common HR tactic to reassign people involved in sexual harassment complaints. The ED pills suggest that he’s had at least one office liaison, and it’s possible that HR is aware that he hits on his staff. Some companies have internal policies against this sort of thing; others don’t, but it’s an HR issue because if the boss is having an affair or dating a staff member, then the boss can’t be trusted to complete a performance review in an objective manner.

    I think he’s a ticking time bomb. All it takes is one staffer to get fed up with HR’s foot-dragging and go directly to EEOC and you will discover that the company would much rather fire your husband than deal with a costly lawsuit or out-of-court settlement.

    I also don’t think that you have anything to work with. Right now, all he’s done is talk. Talk is cheap. If he really wanted to change, he’d act. You confronted him with his creepy pictures and what happened? He admits he has an issue of self control and selfishness. He says he wants to work on it, in himself.

    If he hasn’t booked a therapist, then he’s not really interested in working on it.

    However, I’d recommend that you get a good therapist for yourself to help you understand why you’re okay with being so devalued, and get a really good lawyer on retainer for when you finally decide you’ve had enough.

    • I have worked for companies in the private sector, and for educational institutions in both the private and public sector. They all have “policies” about sexual predators and bullies, and they often require employees to review the laws and pass tests which indicate that they understand the laws. However, I have not seen any results from the law until the “Me, Too” movement happened. You are correct, HR may facilitate a transfer for someone who complains, but it is their life that is disrupted. The offenders are protected, and my guess is that they are trying to avoid expensive and embarrassing law suits. Upper management doesn’t officially know, and doesn’t want to know. They prefer to pretend nothing is wrong.

      In addition, I worked in a state that has “Right to Work” laws. This deceptive name does not guarantee an employee the right to work in a harassment free environment. It actually allows an employer to dismiss an employee for any reason the employer can manufacture to terminate. They will never acknowledge the employee was wronged in some way, so they move the employee to a position with no hope of promotion or chance to excel, and then they have another manager find a “reason” for termination. Basically, they don’t want to chance a lawsuit, so they find a way to discredit an employee who was abused, and who spoke up about it. Believe me, most non-managerial employees know everything that goes on in an organization. The message is clear — keep your mouth shut, suck it up, don’t complain. It is hard to prove someone is a sexual predator, or a bully. Any witness to the actions wants to keep their job. So they keep quiet.

      I have been amazed by the reaction that non-predatory male colleagues have when told about these behaviors. They tell me that female employees sometimes use sexual ploys to entice male managers to grant them favors. I’m sure this happens, too. But these men are defensive about information when it regards one of their own. Sex with a co-worker is never a good idea, but it happens. Sexual interest in a non-interested co-worker happens, too. I wonder why we are not mature enough to keep sex out of the workplace, and that we go to work because work needs to be done. I wonder what the economic cost is for the lost hours of work which are spent on personal sexual gratification, or power trips. Why can’t we deal with this issue?

      I worked since I was 16, until I retired 2 years ago. I am so happy I don’t have to put up with it anymore. I usually deflected unwanted attention with humor, but I spent some time wondering if I would have my job after I had rejected a sexual advance, or figured out a way to circumvent a bully. I would rather that I could have spent my time working. Now I wonder what kind of work world my children, and maybe someday grandchildren will have. I can only hope it will be better.

      • Portia– I wonder the same things– where is this whole harassment/abuse of power thing headed? I’m afraid for my kids. Reflecting on my time working in a competitive industry is like war flashbacks. It was one big fight. I accomplished a lot but what could I have accomplished if I’d never had to deal with that noise? I was really passionate about what I did which made me particularly vulnerable to attempted coercion– not vulnerable enough to give in but it crushed me.

        It went on until I finally bailed. It was that much more disgusting to discover the person I’d been married to for nearly two decades turned out to be “one of those,” “that guy”– the bane of my professional life; and that he’d furthermore taken up with one of the invariably backstabbing “Vichy” critters who had always made things that much harder by stirring up the pervs and then siding with pervs if any actual victim tried to resist or report. My mortal enemies.

        Your male colleagues are right– there are always women (not to mention ambitious young men) who play the game, who think they’re exercising freedom in a cage by quid pro quo-ing. But these non-offending onlookers are ignoring the numbers of targets who are not willing, who ugly-cry alone in the bathroom fearing for their jobs after a creepy encounter at an office party, who get demoted and fired if they “tell” or merely resist, etc. The one thing being true doesn’t make the other untrue.

        In a fit of confession-incontinence post D-Day, cheater in my case admitted to knocking on several doors in the workplace before finally finding finding a pathological type willing and eager (because, you know, he wasn’t “that guy”– not an overt “harasser,” ahem) to have an affair with him–at least after she’d failed to attract the interest of any of the young, single or attached male trust-funders in the office. Like the AP, cheater didn’t get his first pick either. His first tier targets were the ones who’d never in a billion years be interested in a fling of any kind, even less with a married middle-aged dad of three, never mind one with a spiraling binge drinking problem that he hid at home but let fly at work.

        They say that power is the biggest aphrodisiac, but cheater demonstrated something I learned in my own experience: resisting abuse of power and sexual exploitation in the workplace seems to be a bigger one. At least that part of the cheating catastrophe was a bit rectifying for me since it proved a principle from my own work experience. I wasn’t targeted because I was game or sending out “abuse me” tractor beams but because I so clearly was not.

  • ‘He loves me to pieces’
    You damn well said it.

    he’s doing his version of loving you (using you for all the good times and support and care and wife stuff, while also not being the husband you need. Cheating on you and making you feel like you should deal with this- to the point that you have for 20 years…) and it’s ripping you to pieces.

    It’s not the right kind of love.
    Love played out that way- it’s torture. Maybe it’s the only way he knows, but you deserve someone who has honesty and fidelity on his mind. He’s not even living the ‘what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her’. He isn’t even that guy- who hides it well. He’s living the ‘what she constantly finds out about hurts her but she doesn’t leave me’ scenario. And frankly that’s just shitty ass love. Take it back to the store and exchange it for freedom.

  • Questioning, you are looking for validation of the gut feeling you have. It is a cat and mouse game, he wants to see how much you will put up with. He must be proud of himself for being so duplicitous. If you stay, one day he will slip up, because his type of behavior escalates. The porn he watches will get worse and worse. Do you want to have sex with a man who looks at women that way? If he ogles other women, that is offensive to you and to them. Personal gifts should be for personal friends, not employees you would like to know better in a personal way. In the meantime, your finances are being drained for non marital expenses. When he finally “slips” and does “something silly (?)” and you discover it, your gut will be right and you will still be devastated. Then what will you do?

    There is a physical price you pay with your own health when you are hypervigilant, and playing detective. In addition to risking STD’s, you are risking your life, and your mental stability. Should you not consider your own health to be more important than playing monitor to his deviant behaviors?

    Listen to your gut. If you are constantly unhappy, and you do not trust him (for many good reasons), do you have the kind of marriage/life you want? Don’t expect him to ever change for the better. He is much more likely to descend further into deviant behavior. He doesn’t want to change, he is satisfied with who he is and who he wants to become. He doesn’t care about your happiness at all. He probably finds you very useful. Do you want to be useful to someone who is destroying your health and hope?

    You may not want to hear Chumplady’s advice You need to heed it. for your own benefit.

  • Add on to the other comments:

    Every young woman you know is getting perved on by a person you bring to the table.

    Every girl you know is getting perved on, or prepared to be peeved on, by a person you bring to the table.

    Do you want to keep bringing their abuser to the table?

    When I was struggling hard to make my final decision, someone said this to me. It hurt, a lot, so I am sorry for the hurtful part of it. It also hurt a lot because it was true, so it was an important game changer I’m glad she introduced to me.

    Don’t let his entitlement problem harm another generation of women at your hands, my friend. If you aren’t going to leave him, at least keep your women and girls completely separate from him.

  • Be wary of the co-dependent cuddle puddle over at livingwithlimerence. I bet you dollars to donuts he will be blathering about it the second you call him out on his B.S.

  • We say this a lot around here, so now I’m saying it to you… “If your best friend told you this story, what would you tell her to do?” (Hopefully, you’d tell her to get her ducks in a row and find a good lawyer).

    Twenty years of living in abuse – having to be hyper vigilant and super sleuthing the ONE PERSON who promised to you their faithfulness.

    I get sunk costs. I get change is scary and hard. I get it may upend your life. But one thing I also know… it can’t make is worse than this fucked up thing you’re calling a marriage.

    You’ve found Chump Nation… read the archives, read CL’s book… it will not get better until you leave and build something better for yourself.

    OH, and YES… he’s cheating on you, always has, always will.

  • This chump is super naive. She doesn’t think anything physical happened because she wants to believe nothing happened. But it did. She’d likely be mortified if she knew what has already transpired.

  • This is my ex. Like everything listed is shit he has done. When I discovered his “issues” he admitted that he has a “problem with attention” but would never cheat on me SEXUALLY. When I discovered he was communicating with our neighbor woman across the street while I was pregnant, he filed for divorce. He’s a cheater. Just like OP’s husband is. I encourage you to remove those blinders. I didn’t want to believe this was who my ex is either. Put down some boundaries, stick up for yourself, and watch shit hit the fan because he will throw a temper tantrum when you actually call him out on it.

  • Questioning,

    Run. This guy is a misogynist creep and is cheating. The red flags are waving so strongly the hurrican forces should topple your home. His behaviour is stalking. Nobody normal culls social media pictures of friends, acquaintances or employees for jerking off to.
    If he’s not cheating (99.999 % unlikely – he just hasn’t been caught in flagrante) he’s 100% a douchebag. This creep ogles other women in front of you. Think about how your friends and family view this man. He is the pervy uncle your niece jokes about at high school. He’s the skeevy guy that some of your female friends and relatives steer clear of. Some of your neighbours may actually have pet names for him. (peeping Tom, Sir Stares a Lot, creeper)
    My x never noticed but I picked up on the fact that my SIL never stayed in any social setting with him if another person was not around. She would abruptly leave the room if she found herself alone in the kitchen or living room with him.
    x had a huge porn habit and only after he dumped my chumpy ass did I discover the AM, AFF, and other files on his computer. From the beginning there was the ogling, porn, “late” nights for work, staying in contact with former employees and my favourite phrase of his “my good friend (insert female name here)”
    Do you honestly want to stay with somebody that has such a dim view of women? He probably has no respect for you other than your ability to cook, clean, babysit and provide money for expenses. And even then he probably denigrates those endeavours.
    Think long and hard about how he respects you. Think about how another male person in your life acts towards his significant other. Look at how other men act around you. If you feel more respect from people who have no invested interest in you… RUN!

  • Questionning the answer is konmari this sketchy guy. Those pills were used to cheat. No he wont change. Yes you can do ir (leave a cheater) yes it is worth it (you gain a peaceful happy life).

  • From day one he has been a full on creep and a cheater. The question you need to untangle is why was this OK with you? You married a creep knowing he is a creep and you spent 20 years of your life lying to yourself about who he is. So much so that he isn’t even trying very hard to hide his cheating from you. Your entire relationship seems to be founded on this game of he cheats, but just not so blatantly that you catch him in the act, while you police, but not quite so hard that you do actually catch him in the act.

    You need to catch him in the act? You need that kind of proof so you can leave this hell you call marriage? Get a PI and brace yourself because eventually that PI will come back with irrefutable proof of your hubby fucking strange. If that’s what you need to set yourself free, then do it.

    Either you admit that this is acceptable to you because of whatever benefits he brings about to your life and then stop trying to police him or pretend that he is anything other than a cheating creep, or you decide that this is not acceptable to you and hire the best divorce lawyer in town. Either way, stop lying to yourself. It’s not healthy to you.

  • It’s a special kind of hell when they break your trust, but manage to keep looking “innocent enough”, aka they are successful at preventing you from finding the evidence that WOULD make you draw the line.

    I personally had to go on a scavenger hunt of 3 years, to finally find that line (and it wasn’t even evidence of physical cheating that I found, nor was looking for). It was just enough, for me to say “That’s what he’s capable of”. But those are years that I’m not getting back, so how many more should you waste on him? Knowing where the rabbit hole leads, anyway…

  • Questioning, your senses, your ability to reason, and your instincts are fighting your denial:

    Here is all the shady stuff he is doing:
    He [bought a Coach gift care]; he went out of his way for this girl though and it breaks my heart.
    Maintained a dating profile
    Found downloaded apps meant for untraceable communication
    Stalked secretaries’ Facebook profiles for pictures
    He’s always loved …attention from other women
    Ogles other women [in front of you]
    Admits he has an issue of [lacking] self control and selfishness.
    Found ED pill packs IN HIS OFFICE.

    Every single one of these points would be a deal breaker for me. EVERY SINGLE ONE. If I were married to a man who bought a Coach gift card for a woman, that would be it. Ogling women in front of me? Disrespectful. Dealbreaker. If I found the man I date on dating sites? He’d be history. And so on.

    But this business of creeping secretaries’ Facebook pages for photos? You say it was only “former” secretaries, but it wasn’t a former secretary he bought the Coach gift for, was it? He makes the wrong move on the wrong woman and he’s out of a job and then things get real.

    You have your head up your butt. You’re “just petrified every time [you] eave the house, the room…” [You’re] “hyper-vigilant.” And yet…you “truly believe nothing physical has transpired (it’s pictures and loving female attention).” If you have a daughter or daughter-in-law or a sister or a good friend who made a list like this, would you think “nothing happened”?

    You’re convinced he “loves you to pieces” but what kind of love is so disrespectful? The fact that your photos mingle with these other photos in his photo porn horde isn’t very flattering. Those are just the easiest photos for him to get. What you do is make him respectable. He hides behind the nice words he says about his “wife,” when his actions disrespect her every day. You’re his cover, probably with a nice second income, since you have a bank account. You’re kidding yourself. And if you are upset to the point of writing CL, you know what he is. At best, he’s a disgusting, voyeuristic pervert who shows you disrespect on a daily basis. At worst, he’s a disgusting, voyeuristic pervert creeping on women in his workplace, putting your home and livelihood at risk of lawsuit or firing, who shows you disrespect on a daily basis and is almost certainly banging other women.

  • Questioning, your husband is a sexual harassment case waiting to happen. You need to get out while he’s still gainfully employed and no lawsuits are hanging over your heads.

    Maybe these secretaries/junior employees feel pressured to engage your husband in his flirtations for fear of their job. Maybe they would be horrified to find out their boss is using their Facebook pics as masturbation fodder. Maybe coworkers or superiors will out his affairs.

    Or maybe he’ll just stick his dick in the wrong woman who will blow up his life and his career because he won’t leave the wife he “loves.”

    • “Or maybe he’ll just stick his dick in the wrong woman who will blow up his life and his career because he won’t leave the wife he “loves.””

      Yep, that is the most likely. And the “love” is definately in quotes, because no one treats someone they truly love with such disrespect, just like my fuckwit. But, I doubt he wanted his life blown up, he had it too good.

      After a series of cheating, he stuck it in his employee and then the fall began. She had a plan, and it had failed on previous married man, but not this one.

  • I really doubt the guy was playing shadow puppets with those secretaries, but I suppose it could happen that a would-be cheater never successfully cheated because they were such a loser not even hookers would go for it. But from what I’ve seen, there’s no loser so losery that they can’t “get any.” Still, it’s bad enough that they’re trying which the “wayward” husband in this case so obviously was. Unacceptable.

    There does appear to be such a thing as porn addiction, at least people who report compulsively using it to the point that their lives are falling apart. I’ve been on the fence about whether this a genuine addiction, except the fact that some seek help for it even when single lends to the validity. I suppose there could be an argument that the pills were for wanking only. But, regardless, the only way I can imagine living with a chronically porn-using partner who refuses to get into a program or stop by other means and not feel so hurt by the partner’s porn use is for the non-using partner to get into porn themselves. That is, if they can stomach it, how it’s made, the heinousness of the industry that produces it, and the heinous way in which performers are treated (all gang bang or “simu-rape” scenes are more than just technically rape since performers are never told in advance the nature of the scene they’ll be shooting and, if they refuse, they will be blacklisted immediately which, particularly to a drug-dependent performer, is potent coercion), the fact that large numbers of models and performers were already dead before the images/videos were viewed; and if they can stomach the escalation and desensitization that reportedly result from chronic porn consumption– when normal, loving sex can no longer flip the “on” switch and when increasingly bizarre or violent images are required to flip that switch. Is that acceptable?

    Is it acceptable when someone repeatedly hacks your bank account but doesn’t steal anything?

    Is it acceptable when someone repeatedly waves a gun in your face but doesn’t shoot or pistol whip you with it?

    Is it acceptable that someone writes in their diary that they intend to lace your food with, say, a vial of active syphilis but doesn’t follow through?

    Would it be acceptable for someone to constantly hide your house keys, car keys, wallet, etc., and then suggest you may be developing dementia as you frantically search for them?

    Those are extreme examples obviously but there are more subtle and personal boundaries regarding living with liars and sexual exploiters. For instance, I’m a lifelong feminist, have endured workplace sexual harassment and attempted assault and am very passionate about issues involving abuse of power in the workplace, sexual exploitation, sex trafficking, etc.I’d naturally like a partner who has strong opinions about those subjects, is empathic towards my experiences in a way that only a non-offender could be, is interested in discussing those things and has some original thoughts along those lines, not to mention would put a halt to any abuses they witnessed if they had the means to do so but WITHOUT playing hero to the victim and trying to get kibble out of it. I don’t think it’s too much to ask.

    But, other than occasionally spouting some shallow, glib, dumb and eerily unsatisfying lip-service on social justice, none of those things are going to come from an actively porn-consuming, secretary/underling-plying, gas-lighting, financially-abusing abuser of workplace and domestic power *even if* they never advance to the cheap-sex-in-supply-closet stage. Not fulfilling, nurturing, fun or even intellectually stimulating for me and not acceptable. Not a good role model for children of either gender and not acceptable.

    • Hell of a Chump, thanks for mentioning the heinous/degrading aspect of the porn industry. Most porn is less about sex than it is about power, which is what narcissists and sociopaths really crave. Most porn is not victimless.

      Questioning, I think you know deep down your husband is a bad guy but you’ve invested so many years in him (sunk costs) that you’re hesitant to get out unless you have solid evidence of cheating.

      There is solid evidence that he’s gross and that he’s disrespectful of women in general and of you in particular. I understand feeling stuck due to sunk costs – I held on too long too. But trust me, you’re living with darkness and sadness while there’s so much more light and joy in life after you get away from a man you know you cannot trust to have your best interests at heart.

  • I was the marriage police for decades before my gut feelings were confirmed when my cheater accidentally left her email open. She would go on “women’s yoga retreats” with “friends from high school” I had never met nor previously heard of. She would get texts early in the morning or late at night supposedly from one of her female friends but were actually from her boyfriend. She would supposedly do sleepovers at that same friend’s house, when she was actually with her boyfriend. She would often be evasive when I asked her how her day went and acted offended that I would even ask. Like many chumps, I kept telling myself that my gut was probably wrong and that I was overreacting: how could the mother of my three kids do such a thing? Now I am on the other side, 2.5 years post d-day and 9 months post divorce. It sometimes depresses me when I think about my own sunken costs with a person of such poor character and now wish I had listened to my gut more. But on the bright side, I now have the peace of mind that I never had during my marriage. Questioning, you have enough physical evidence to leave him, but more importantly, it is your gut that is trying to guide you down right path. Trust it and as CL says, trust that he sucks.

  • Questioning, he’s cheating. What you’ve uncovered, and what he’s admitted to, is the TIP OF THE ICEBURG.

    My ex was doing all the same things, including SECRETLY taking pornographic pics and video of me, and going to online sites where those things can be posted ‘anonymously’. Claims he never posted anything, just went there to ‘look’. Yeah, like I’d believe him after over 31 years of cheating, lying, manipulation, gaslighting.

    My suggestions:

    STD testing – full panel

    Talk to several pitbull attorneys to see which one you have the best rapport with – you’re going to need legal representation

    Get yourself to counseling, with someone who understands relational trauma and sex addiction

    DOCUMENT EVERYTHING!!! I can’t stress that enough – I had copies of his written disclosure (13 pages, but he admitted to leaving out the most incrimanating details – probably should have been 20 pages), copies of emails between him and his former partners who were forcing him out of the business (affairs with successive secretaries, putting the company at risk), and a copy of the letter he wrote to a counselor I had insisted we see years earlier because of suspicious behaviors: emails, ogling, phone calls, etc. In that letter he confessed to years of affairs, porn, ogling, and telling that counselor I was crazy and making shit up. Those documents helped me so much during the divorce, when he turned on me and tried convincing his attorney I was a liar and HE was the victim…

    Lastly, BLOW THIS SHIT UP! Don’t try to protect him from his own actions. I was so traumatized and worried about how it would affect my adult kids that I didn’t tell many people or press charges – I had legal grounds to do so. I so regret that, as he just found another victim and I have no doubt is pulling the same thing on her.

    These sociopaths follow the same play-book, without ever reading one. What they do is intentionally mentally, sexually, and psychologically abusive to the person they vowed to love, honor and cherish.

    Best of luck to you.

  • He’s cheating. I found porn. No big deal but it hurt. Then one day I found lube in the car. He said it was for us. I believed him. Found a phone. He said it was an obscure phone for overseas work calls. I found a prepay credit card. He said it was purchased by work for travel. A strange drunk woman came to our house. He intercepted her quickly and told me to stay inside. He came home an hour later and told me he’d seen this woman on our street before and she’s a druggie so he walked her home to her family and he didn’t want me or my daughter to be hurt by her. He missed family time many nights a week because he was so busy at work. I believed him.
    Until DDay when all came crashing down and I have been spending the last year working through the mountain of lies and finding evidence everywhere.
    Run! He’s cheating.

  • Yep,
    CL’S last line says it all. You’ve recognized enough red flags to come on this site & ask the question. I think that like most of us who came before you, by the time you get here you already know. You’re hoping “maybe not”…maybe one or many of us here will talk you down off the ledge (just like we all hoped once). But, No. He’s cheating.
    Find his condoms, second cell phone, gps his phone. Get proof then Get Out.

  • “A hard dick has no conscience”…
    Men not in love with their spouses adore attention from younger women.

    Men are visual creatures. Women are auditory.
    Need I say more?

    • How about: luckily the possessor of the “hard dick” also has a brain with a frontal cortex, one that ought to control the behavior of the “hard dick.”

    • Is that really how most men think, or just you?

      Good job you’re in love with your wife, eh?

      “Men are visual creatures. Women are auditory.
      Need I say more?”

      What a very sweeping generalisation, I presume you have some evidence for it?

      As for “a stiff dick has no conscience”, rubbish.

      Having a stiff dick because of a pretty woman, or porn, doesn’t mean a man of character and integrity will stick it in anyone who lets him.

      Any more than a married/attached woman goes off to find a fuckbuddy because Colin Firth gets her wet.

      Character and integrity aren’t dependent on penile or vaginal physical response.

    • I’ve seen recent studies that call BS on the ‘men are visual creatures’ cliche. Seems it’s more something we’ve been told and just went along with.

    • Marcus– Guessing you’re having a really shitty week. Please don’t retreat into cynicism and Reddit sexology soundbites.

  • Unfortunately you will have to leave him, because he won’t leave you. These ones don’t leave their spouses. You’re too valuable to him. You make him look desirable, more stable, a better person….. so he can get more pussy. He fears that he will look sad and desperate in the business community if you ditch him.

    Look. Sometimes I used to envy people in your situation because at least their spouses stuck around “for the kids”. Mine just got up and left me and the kids for his true love. Like a band aid it was ripped off. But…. now I look back, I realise that living with him was an actual nightmare. I wasn’t coping. If I was still living with that arsehole, I’d be an alcoholic.

    Despite my unhappiness I would never have left because after years of having my confidence eroded I thought I didn’t deserve better. I thought people would judge me. I thought the kids would hate me.

    I wasted years, just sucking it up. Who knows what effect it had on me. Who knows the heath effects, physical and mental?

    Get out.

    You shouldn’t waste a second longer.

    • SuzyQ: I agree with your advice.

      This line in particular resonates with me:”I wasted years, just sucking it up. Who knows what effect it had on me. Who knows the heath effects, physical and mental?” Yup. Same. Ugh.

      • Same here.

        Not so much the first years as I was pretty clueless, but the last few years when he started getting nastier and nastier. I remember well doing a lot of walking on egg shells.

    • As one woman commented after one post, “If I stayed with him, I would have weighed either 100 pounds or 300.”
      The archives served as sleepless night reading material. Nothing original about our situations and priceless advice on exit strategies and dealing with the disordered.

      • I definately stress age the last couple years. I didn’t gain a huge amount, but I got up to about 15 pounds overweight. Because of my build, it didn’t show like it would have if I were short and small boned, still. I remember that.

        Then when Dday hit, I lost it all fairly quickly.

  • Watch out for the Porn obcession!!!! Red flag! Men addicted to it progress to more and more explicit etc… where they get to a place they aren’t satisfied with just porn. They want more, more, more. Then Sex workers, hookups, freaky stuff, perving everywhere. On and on it goes. It is a slippery slope. Odd behavior then something emerges like what you found in his secret file. You found the tip of the iceberg. Porn trains them to objectify women and be entitled.

    Also guys are super sneaky. They have good poker faces.

    • Beenthere,

      Intuitively, this sounds about right. I wonder if a study has been done on this. Does anyone know?

      My ex loved/needed porn. I remember once dressing in some lingerie and having him bestow what he probably thought was a great compliment: “Wow. You could be in porn.”

      I felt as if he becamse desensitized to it and needed more, more, more. One day, a live human flirted, his dick rose to attention, and he pounced. As a parting gift to me, he declared that he wanted to leave me because he was tired of needing porn. Maybe he thought I should be happy for him that he rid himself of the habit.

      I would bet the farm that he’s back on porn hub now that schmoopie isn’t so new and shiny.

      • “Also guys are super sneaky. They have good poker faces.”

        Yet another tedious generalisation.

        There are plenty of sneaky women, men are not a monolith, any more than women are.

        And “good poker faces” are not confined to any one sex. Ffs. 🙄

        • @chumpnomore

          Semantics!

          To be correct put “cheater” in that spot. That takes care of both sexes. And most are sneaky leading double lives with poker faces.

    • Yep. My ex went from porn addiction that supposedly caused his erectile dysfunction while we were dating but he magically gave it up (?) when we were married to straight up hiring a trans escort. I only mention trans because he’s supposedly straight. Notice how many times I have to use “supposedly”..I can’t trust one thing about this person.

  • @MARCUS LAZARUS

    Wow very interesting insight from another male.

    Makes me not want any man period. Ever. They are Neanderthals in need of evolving. How sad.

    • That is just the thought process of one man. My mom used to tell me when someone speaks for everyone, (as in “everyone does it”) all that is is a confession.

      Not all men are the same anymore than all women are. Many have grown from childish teenagers to decent men. Maybe not as many as we would like, I would like for all of them to be, but many are.

  • Oh boy. I couldn’t have rotten this. 3 years ago. A year later it was done. He’d been cheating all along. What you see is just the tip of the iceberg. I got evidence of this after I had left from the other women and their friends. They searched me down once they heard I left or once they clocked his lies (there were many). Trust me. You’ve just found the iceberg. Plenty under the surface there.

  • He has NO respect for you. He does NOT value you – he doesn’t care if he loses you over this gross weird behavior. He’s taking his chances and decided it was worth it to him, not caring if it would make you run or not. You deserve better. This is NOT normal.

  • He is leading a double life. The secrecy is as purposeful as the evidence he allows you to find. He gets off on the duping. He doesn’t love anyone.

    I’d keep quiet and do some digging into his finances and hire someone to gather more evidence before you file.

  • I can count on six hands the number of asshat men who have talked openly and even proudly about their wives … right before hitting on me, a friend, or a co-worker. The fact that he is ‘always’ mentioning his wife means nothing, unfortunately.

    Also, ‘accounts receivable’ 😂😂😂

  • Thank you so much to you all for your responses. So much to think about. I’m not in denial. I guess part of me wants to be but I’m not stupid. I’m weighing my options. To answer a few questions, I have had a full STD panel for medical reasons (ruling out everything prior to need for biopsy) and all clean. No HELOC, I pay the bills, his check is direct deposited to our mutual account and I get all statements from all accounts, investment retirement etc. I’m not worried about finances, his account is from before he met me and he doesn’t want me to know what is in it because I’m guessing he wants to be able to spend what he wants and not have to answer to me. I work part time and my money is “my” money. He’s had 2 work moves in 30 years of his career and both initiated by him for advancement purposes, physically moved locations. I reviewed all contracts for him so it wasn’t at all related to anything nefarious. There were 2 secretaries, not huge level of turnover. When he left the 2 offices they remained employed at prior office due to non poaching contract clause. All this to say I’m not worried about STD, finances, or lawsuits. He also has Life360 on his phone which we all use and a career where he can’t not be in his office. All the rest you all pointed out is valid and creepy and wrong and I’m sure you are all right. I know what I theoretically should do, I’m just weighing my options which sounds awful but there’s a part of me that loves the other parts of my life. Our kids ate almost out of the house, it’s not for the kids. It’s for me. I’m ashamed to say I like my life. I’m not sure what I want to do yet. And yes I DO know he’s wrong and creepy and likely this was the tip of the iceberg.

    • Questioning,

      It’s easy for us to weigh in from afar. I know it’s not so easy when it’s your life.

      There’s no shame in wanting to retain your familiar life and to fear an unknown future without your husband. That’s a perfectly human reaction to this situation. It sucks. We’re all in various stages of similar shitty circumstances.

      You sound on top of the finances, which is great, and you come across as a strong person. I hope you have supportive friends/family. They are key. Also, I hope you’ve read CL’s book. That stiffened my spine. I think I listened to it 20 times (the audible version is fantastic!).

      You’ve got this!

      Good luck!

      CN is here for you!

    • Questioning: I hear what you’re saying. I stayed for 15 months after D-Day #2 in an in-house separation because I liked my life too, and I have a younger kid. But it sounds like you’re already in distress, and you don’t yet know how traumatic it can be to learn the truth about cheating. You could stay, try to enjoy your life, but you never know when the other shoe will drop. That uncertainty eats at you over time, even if you’re not conscious of it. And then there’s the trauma, when it hits.

      I did not feel actively traumatized after my D-Day #1, 14 years before the second one – but now, looking back, I recognize the signs. That’s when my long-term fatigue started (that I attributed to my earlier cancer treatments). That’s when I lost focus, got lost in reveries. Needed meds for anxiety. Lost interest in sex. And that was just my experience, let alone what was happening with my covert narc of a partner who started the devaluation/ discard!

      All I’m saying is that living with the things you describe, even if you don’t have direct evidence of cheating, is a terrible energy suck. I couldn’t relax, subconsciously at least, for YEARS. And my partner punished me for all my symptoms, took them as signs that we were “disconnected” and that the only solution was to cheat.

      All best to you. Maybe it’s worth one more series of sessions with a good therapist to excavate all this with your husband, let him know that you’re not okay with how things have been and see whether he can actually see things from your perspective and make amends. What you’ve described sounds like the multi-year energy suck I just escaped. Whatever you choose, I really hope you can feel healthy and secure in your life!

    • You like your life… and yet you’re here. Something is going to hit critical mass and tip the scales.

      And it’s not for the kids it’s for you… ok- here’s a question. This is what you see. And your kids are going to pick up on this- are you ok that you’re showing your kids that this is what love and life looks like? Trappings of the ‘job’ of being wifey make being besmirched worthwhile? Your value is negotiable and stuff is more important than character?

      There is a difference between a chump who is gathering their strength and trying to figure out how to believe the 20/80 iceberg rule- that the 20% you’ve seen is hiding the massive underwater iceberg that’s really happening- and a volunteer. Note that if you decide that your value in life is worth the compromise… well- it’s sad. And it’s different than being a chump. We will always be here for you to encourage you scrub those rose coloured glasses until you see your life for the Jonestown it is. That it’s not beautiful enough, the anxiety is too much, and that it’s not nummy koolaid, that’s poison. We will be around for the wake up moment if it comes. Until then…

      You’re worth so much more. And you are probably super entitled to keeping the life you currently have, aside from his lies… a good lawyer and forensic accountant could get you a lot… but good luck juggling a rabid Racoon, a flaming baton and a chainsaw while spinning a plate laden with scorpions on your chin while on a unicycle: I’ve seen street performers do this kinda thing before.. it’s a spectacle. And it takes talent. And they claim it’s the life they love. And every time, I’m slightly amused. Impressed at the talent of dealing and multitasking. But I wonder how the fuck they decided this was what they wanted, and am a bit surprised that this is what they put their mind to- they drew their 10k hour to become an expert map straight to this weird skill, and picked all this, to manage. That’s where I’m at with your current trick of life. I don’t see this all being worth it.
      But – for now- you do you.

      We are here for when you decide it’s not ok. I think you’re closer than you realize.
      Love and light.

    • ” I’m ashamed to say I like my life.”

      And yet, here you are….

      Which makes me wonder why you wrote to CL. Were you hoping to be told your husband’s behaviour was acceptable, and you’re worrying about nothing?

      You yourself clearly don’t think it really is; you’re hurt, upset, and busily playing the marriage police.

      Is this how you want to live the rest of your life? Because he’s not going to change, in fact, he’ll get worse, or just take it underground. Why should he change? There’s nothing in it for him, as the wife appliance you’re giving him a plate of cake and handing him the fork. Yummy.

      Huge difference between being an unknowing chump, and *volunteering* for this shit.

      But best of luck to you, we’ll be here for you if/when you decide enough is enough.

    • “his check is direct deposited to our mutual account and I get all statements from all accounts, investment retirement etc. I’m not worried about finances, his account is from before he met me and he doesn’t want me to know what is in it because I’m guessing he wants to be able to spend what he wants and not have to answer to me.”

      Are you absolutely certain that is his entire paycheck deposited to the joint account? I can have my paycheck sent to two accounts. Without the pay stub, no one is the wiser for it.

  • When I read articles like this, I always wonder if you’re being trolled. There is no way someone is this misguided. But then, someone else writes in. How do you convince yourself that ED pills at work are ok? Flirting with other women in front of you? Her husband doesn’t even have to work that hard because she’s already doing all the work to keep her head in the sand. It’s almost as if she wants to be gaslit by you too. She wants you to say this kind of atrocious misbehavior is acceptable.

  • Divorce is about getting rid of fuckwits and about living a genuine, authentic life that allows you to be open to a relationship with someone who shares your same values. But it is also very much about finances, and without good planning, women historically have the least amount of financial resilience.

    But yeah, I totally get it that when there are significant sunk costs–kids, comfortable finances, etc.–it’s a lot harder to give the certainty of those things up, restarting from scratch when you’re in your 50s, 60s, whatever.

    That’s why I advocate going to the top-notch family practice lawyers in your area. Especially if you’ve sacrificed your earning potential (read stayed at home, worked part time instead of full-time), you want to know if the laws in your state see you as entitled to temporary spousal support. Also enlist a divorce financial planner. Of course, do not tip your cheater that you are doing any of these.

    CheaterX was very much into Buddhism, and he studied with a monk from one of our local monasteries. When reading the works of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas and from whom manifests the Dalai Lama as an incarnation, a key passage urges the reader to understand the nature of their true reality. CheaterX loved that passage, and it is really very important because failure to know the nature of your true reality leads to suffering.

    Ironically, CheaterX got caught up in the fantasy of cheating, but I wanted to know what this true reality was, so I sought out a divorce attorney. I also did a lot of financial investigation into my own state of affairs. What I learned was that I could not afford to divorce CheaterX at that point. Instead, I laid low, kept quiet, and lined up my ducks.

    I can’t know the nature of your true reality, Questioning. That’s for you to determine. I can say that CheaterX was the son of a cheater. His father was a heavy smoker and many health issues. His mother, also a smoker, was healthier and hung on to the marriage. My grandmother, who was living when I first started dating CheaterX, said that she, too, would have opted to hang on. After all, when CheaterX’s father died, she’d have had his retirement, his military pension, etc.

    But fate was cruel. CheaterX’s mother was striken by leukemia and died within 6 months of diagnosis. Her cheating husband outlived her by several years–years in which he gave away the keepsakes she’d wanted to go to her grandchildren and years in which he cashed in money that she’d intended to go toward those same grandchildren to offset their college expenses. CheaterX’s father finally died, also of cancer, but left his long-term mistress nearly destitute. He’d married her a few weeks before his death, but she got nothing from his military pension, and she’d loaned him several thousands of dollars.

    I knew that I couldn’t count on karma, and that I had at least 15 more years of working life left prior to retirement. I went for the divorce option.

    You may be in a different place. Please know the nature of your true reality and make your decision from there.

  • “I’ve been married to a man for 20 years. From day one, he has done some questionable things. Maintained a dating profile”

    only needed to read that far.

  • Ditto to all the above posts.

    GET A PRIVATE EYE. Just do it.

    Get your ducks in a row.

    Get money, get cash, and get a friend to open up a safety deposit box. All jewelry and important paper work goes into it immediately. Look at finances.

    Start removing things from home you love that you know he won’t notice. Storage unit now!! Get gift cards to Target, Walmart, wherever.

    Start planning and plotting your escape. I think you know the truth. But get proof so you don’t beat yourself up later. Us codependents need proof.

    Reconciliation is a waste. My husband, and tomorrow he is my XH, spent 1.8 million of our assets.

    I’m in a bind. I’m 51 and went back to get my masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling to help women like me, and women like you.

    Please get help emotionally. Break through your denial.
    It is awful and hard and lonely.

    But this man does not love you, he is incapable of loving anyone. It’s NOT YOU. It’s him. He’s wrong. Sick. Loveless. Probably a psychopath. Normal people do not do this, they simply work things out amicably, and ask for a divorce if they want to move on. A man like this has a scorched earth policy. I can see it. He’s probably diabolical. Maybe an addict, using drugs, or alcohol? You didn’t say. But I suspect it. Now he’s using women as his next drug.

    This site saved my ass, but I should have listened sooner. Learn from us.

  • One more thing, when women responded to me like this when I posted what was happening, I was so upset.

    How would they know? Why would they judge??

    They were merely speaking from their experiences as am I.

    None of this is fun, or easy. I don’t want to be flippant here. But if you do these things first, and it doesn’t turn out that you get a divorce….well, no harm, no foul.

    If it does not work out, you have gotten a leg up. You have somewhat protected yourself.

    You sound intelligent. You will figure it out. Stay on Chumplady site. It’s invaluable.

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