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In-House Separation, She Won’t Move Out

Dear Chump Lady,

Last September my wife of 17 years and 3 kids, informed me she had had an affair with the headmaster of our youngest daughter’s school. I had recognised my wife had been unhappy for some time and was asking her why, I had suggested that if it was me making her unhappy then we should end the relationship. When she said she did want to end the relationship, I asked her why she didn’t want to at least work on our problems, it was then she decided to tell me she had been having an affair.

Looking back it turned my world upside down and I didn’t react well. I made all the chump mistakes of trying to understand, trying to win her back, keeping it secret to protect the children. At the same time experiencing intense emotions and anger and venting at the only person who knew my wife the cheater. I read and read all the relationship advice sites, Ester Perel, I booked the marriage guidance appointments, I thought and booked days out etc.

Although she has said sorry, I never really got an explanation, she even stood in our kitchen and said to me whilst she was sorry she had hurt me, she was forever grateful to the headmaster for helping her out in a difficult period of her life!

Until this point I hadn’t appreciated how difficult her life was. She is a stay at home mum not because I wanted her or needed her to, our children are 11, 13 and 15, but because it was her choice I worked extra hours to support the family. Our finances were quite pressured, but in 13 years she hasn’t earned a penny, nor offered to.

I had the experience of the drip feed of information, it eventually came out that she would drop our daughters off at the local community hall, drive 500 meters up the road park in the entrance to a farmers field and have sex in the back of his car and maybe ours but she won’t admit that one, then as if butter wouldn’t melt return and pick our daughters up. Oh she also said it wasn’t about the sex, that’s just what adults do! She claimed no one knew, but I have since found out all the teachers and parents knew and had seen them flirting on the school gates. I had to watch my youngest star in the Christmas concert standing alongside the headmaster, that was tough! The humiliation of realising everyone knew, the knowing looks whilst I gamely tried to pretend all was well, still hurts.

After 6 months of little or no engagement from her and after a session in which even our sit-on-the-fence counsellor thought she wasn’t committed, we agreed to separate. She didn’t want to tell the children, although her mother lives in a big 6 bedroomed house 2 miles away she has refused to move out, I can’t afford to run 2 houses. So we are still in the same house with me paying all the bills. She has taken months to appoint a solicitor, refused to give me the wedding certificate to file for divorce. She refused to allow me to take my children away on holiday for 2 weeks, even though I am a hospital doctor and have worked all through the covid pandemic without a break and badly needed time off with my children. I am constantly criticised for my lack of communication or the way I communicate even though when I tried to sit down to discuss shared care of the children and how to split the finances she refuses to discuss and says she has to discuss with her solicitor.

I still, 6 months after agreeing to separate, 2 years after she started her affair have no idea what she wants. She says she needs time to sort herself out, as far as I’m aware she still has made no effort to get a job. I thought that after all that has gone on any normal person would at least try and help the other person move on. Surely anyone with self respect would want to make their own way in the world? Stand on their own 2 feet?

The legal process is very slow and expensive, sharing the same house whilst good for the children is really hard! I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up, but if I leave I won’t get to see my children and my wife will have total control of the house and children. I am no angel, I work long hours I know I must be hard to live with, I am so confused as she is so nice to everyone else, am I the one with behavioural problems?



Dear ChumpChamp,

Repeat after me: Fuck. What. She. Wants.

Louder now.


I still, 6 months after agreeing to separate, 2 years after she started her affair have no idea what she wants.


I hope these loud shouty caps will serve as an antidote to 17 years of giving a shit. You seriously need to stop trying to achieve consensus with this freak.

You have no idea what she wants? She wants cake. All the fun of her affair, zero consequences, and you there paying the bills as steady Plan B. Maintain the shrine. Have no other gods before her. The usual.

Is this how you want to spend the rest of your life?

What does ChumpChamp want? There’s a radical thought.

She didn’t want to tell the children,

Tell the children. They’re teenagers. As the whole town knows about the headmaster, chances are they know too. You’re divorcing, it’s okay to say why.

although her mother lives in a big 6 bedroomed house 2 miles away she has refused to move out, I can’t afford to run 2 houses.

Divorced people live separately. The law has thing called a property settlement. She will have to figure out a way to adult. She doesn’t want to live with mom or find a job? Not. Your. Problem. (See also, “Fuck What She Wants”) I don’t know if alimony is a thing in the UK, might be, and you’ve got a few years of child support still — worth every cent to not be in living hell.

You’re a medical professional, you’ll be fine. She’s a fuckwit without life skills. Guess she should’ve thought of that before she was out rutting in a farmer’s field.

Is that unkind? You loved her with your whole heart, created three children with her, provided her a life of comfort, cared about her happiness, her unhappiness, her self-inflicted unemployment — and throughout all that you did MORE. You brought your A game. You invested totally. And she took those GIFTS and she shat on them.

So, really, I hope she can rustle up a living. Maybe headmaster needs someone to bang the erasers.

Anyway, CC, you take those precious gifts — your love, your time, your money — and go invest them in people WORTHY of you. She isn’t deserving.

So we are still in the same house with me paying all the bills.

Yeah, that has to end. See “property settlement.” No one can force you to stay married. Divorces are rarely agreed upon amiably.

It would be a real shame if your lawyer had to depose the headmaster. Or you had to talk to the school ethics board. See if that doesn’t get settlement talks moving.

She has taken months to appoint a solicitor,

Do you have a solicitor? Who cares if she has a solicitor? See how that works? ChumpChamp protects himself and doesn’t concern himself with the trifles of fuckwits.

If she doesn’t have a lawyer, you can STILL get divorced. Really! That’s a thing! In fact it might even work to your advantage. Pull no punches.

refused to give me the wedding certificate to file for divorce.

Public records office. Get it yourself. You don’t need her.

She refused to allow me to take my children away on holiday for 2 weeks, even though I am a hospital doctor and have worked all through the covid pandemic without a break and badly needed time off with my children.

Take your children on a holiday. Run it past your attorney first of course, and then if in the all clear, DO IT. Maybe you can’t go anywhere that requires a passport, but you could do something domestically.

Oh here’s the thing about not having a divorce decree and a custody schedule — you don’t have a divorce decree or a custody schedule. You don’t NEED HER PERMISSION. You don’t have a court order.

Would she like all the control of a court order? Oh hey, she needs to get on that DIVORCE thing, pronto.

Quit trying to achieve consensus. She enjoys the power of denying you. Just like she enjoyed the power of your pick me dance. And the power of fucking around on you behind your back. And the power of denying you a divorce.


I am constantly criticised for my lack of communication

I’m sorry, I can’t hear her out there in the farmer’s field. Pardon? I can’t make it out over the cow flatulence.

Gosh, CC, who cares about her opinion? You know who is tops at communication? Lawyers. They bill in 6 minute increments. Tell her to direct all her communication to hers.

or the way I communicate even though when I tried to sit down to discuss shared care of the children and how to split the finances she refuses to discuss and says she has to discuss with her solicitor.

Do you see a theme here? You keep trying to engage her and she keeps thwarting you. She doesn’t want a divorce, because divorce = consequences. Nor does she want to work on the marriage. And really all of this is beside the point, because FUCK WHAT SHE WANTS — is this relationship acceptable to you??? No? Then MOVE FORWARD.

She won’t like it. I guaran-fucking-tee it.

But you didn’t like standing next to headmaster at the Christmas concert. Or being humiliated. Or cheated on. Or lied to. Or gossiped about. Or had your children’s intact family life destroyed. Or your finances decimated. But there we are.

She says she needs time to sort herself out,

She can do that on her own time. No need to suck the life-force out of you.

Financial infidelity usually goes with the stalling. Protect yourself. Please run a credit report on her, or demand this in your divorce settlement. Freeze your credit.

as far as I’m aware she still has made no effort to get a job. I thought that after all that has gone on any normal person would at least try and help the other person move on.

She has ZERO incentive to get a job if you’re paying the bills. Would an ETHICAL person do this? Would an ethical person “help the other person move on”? Sure, but you’re not dealing with an ethical person, you’re dealing with Ms. Fucked My Daughter’s Headmaster.

Imagine me reaching across the interwebz to bitchslap you, CC. If you wait for her to do the Right Thing, you’ll be footing her bills, tethered to an ungrateful cheater the rest of your days. Getting out will cost you, but it is FINITE. Finite! Escape!!!

The legal process is very slow and expensive, sharing the same house whilst good for the children is really hard!

No, it is NOT good for the children. You’re modeling dysfunction. Ask a few bazillion chumps how they know.

You know what’s good for the children? Modeling sanity and resilience. Get a divorce. Maybe some day have a nice healthy relationship with a woman who appreciates you, who is a total adult who adults. (Oh look! It’s a line forming at CN — who wants to date the kind, chumpy doctor who sacrifices himself to help others during a pandemic? Oh look! the line is wrapping around the block…)

but if I leave I won’t get to see my children and my wife will have total control of the house and children.

That is your fear talking. Your children are at an age where the courts will probably allow them to decide where they live. You will most likely be sharing custody. And it’s painful and unfair, but half time with SANITY is far better than living together in painful fuckupedness. If she gets the house in the divorce, well, she’ll need a job to pay for it.

You can rebuild. You will be okay.

I am no angel, I work long hours I know I must be hard to live with

You did absolutely NOTHING to deserve being cheated on. NOTHING. We don’t compel others to abuse us.

I am so confused as she is so nice to everyone else, am I the one with behavioural problems?

She’s not nice. She’s selfish, destructive, and wasting your precious life.

Yes, you have a behavioral problem — you keep expecting reciprocity and adulting from someone demonstrably unwilling and incapable of it. Diagnosis: Chump. Prognosis: Utterly curable.

Tell your lawyer warp speed on the divorce. You TRIED to get consensus and failed. All the court cares is that you can show that you TRIED.

Get ‘er done.


Ask Chump Lady

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  • Dear Dr. Chump Champ,

    Once you are free, you won’t find a shortage of good women who would love to appreciate you. Life is too short to hold on to cancerous growths. So surgically remove that one so you can heal.

    • “Oh look! It’s a line forming at CN — who wants to date the kind, chumpy doctor who sacrifices himself to help others during a pandemic? Oh look! the line is wrapping around the block…”

      This lol. For crying out loud man, you can have a wonderful life with a good woman! Not this worthless trash you’re married to now. Now find your balls, take control on your life, and divorce this fuckwit! Quit talking to her, lawyer up!

      • Can I place an order for a kind doctor? Dear Universe, please let all the kind doctors of the world leave their wives who lie, cheat, and do not appreciate them. That way, there will be more opportunity for honest and loving people to find each other. I can dream, can’t I?

  • You can get a copy of your wedding certificate from your local registry office they are approx £15 you don’t need the original .

    You can also file without her co operation . It will also help adding a separation date to your lawyer as if she adds any debt after this date then she will be liable for it

    Good luck to her finding any job just now ( BBC news reports there are 12/15 applicants for every 1 job advertised )

    Do everything CL says , she ( your STBXW ) didn’t hang about wondering about your children your home or money when getting rode like a tractor in a field !!

    Keep going CC we’ve got your back

    • Thank you karenb6702!

      I hope more chumps who have gone through divorce in England will chime in with specific advice (like how to easily get your wedding certificate) that you can follow like a lifeline. You’re a doctor? Think of CL’s advice like a procedure manual and take every step in order to get this done.

      Get the documents you need, get the best solicitor you can find and turn it all over to them. It’s a wonderful feeling to put a competent professional in charge of this mess and focus on you and your kids. They have so much experience dealing with people just like your “wife” and they know how to get her moving and taking that job off your plate.

      Your children are old enough to hear the truth from you – age appropriate language of course. Like CL said, they probably already know. They will need your help dealing with it and this is where your focus should be.

      You’ve been working on the frontlines saving lives through this Pandemic? You need a vacation so you can be the best doctor for your patients. Chump Nation gives you permission to go spend some safe time with your children. Now is the time to start making new memories with your children. Your “wife” fired you from your job as husband but now you have to enhance your job as father. New family memories with just the 4 of you seems odd at first but will be filled with fun when you look back in just a few years.

      Please go find a solicitor and put one foot in front of the other. It’s not an easy path but will truly be worth it!

      • I now have a superb solicitor in the UK after sacking the first one. Achieved more since March even during covid than my old one did in 3 years. Happy to share if you ask the admins for my contact email or I can share via them on here or on reddit.

    • Thanks Karen6702, there is more to the marriage certificate story. I applied to the registry office, they didnt have a copy, apparently they only get a copy when the book is full. If you get married in a small church the book may take decades to fill. I had to apply to the Vicar for a copy, the morning I was due to pick up the copy, she told me she might remember where it was! I went to the Vicar anyway! Its just an example of how she seems to be holding things up. After each episode I keep thinking she will see sense and understand.

      • Based on your reply, CC, it sounds like you are communicating with your STBXW about this. My advice, and I’ve been through much of what you have, is don’t talk to her at all about any of the stuff you’re doing to prepare for the divorce. The less she knows, the better off you are. If you haven’t already, you’ll read about no-contact on the blog. Wishing you the best in this shitshow.

      • Hi Champ,
        My ex wife did all the same things and refused to accept the consequences. I’m in the UK too so feel free to PM me and we can talk more about the specific legals and details

        Best of luck.


      • I’ve been through this crap too. You are getting good advice. Your wife will stall for as long as you allow it.

        Contact the Law Society and scan the list of family law experienced firms. The first appointment is often free. You may have to consult several before you feel comfortable.

        I know this is bloody difficult but there is no pain free way to get the job done. By the way, once your wife understands you’re intentions are serious, stand by for an BAFTA winning performance of love bombing. Ignore it please.

        Your wife is used to a comfortable life and she won’t give it up easily.

      • “After each episode I keep thinking she will see sense and understand.”

        Dear CC, stop thinking this. You need to read Dr. George Simon: “It’s not that they don’t see. It’s that they disagree.”

        She will not “see sense” or see your point of view or see how much damage she’s doing. She think’s she’s fine. When this though pops into your head, see it as you climbing onto the hamster wheel of delusion. You’ll keep spinning and getting nowhere.

  • I know you must be going through a nightmare right now, but please follow the guidelines of CL and get your life back. She doesn’t deserve your kindness and support any longer. Everyone knows what’s going on, and won’t be surprised when you take the necessary steps to get off the rollercoaster. Hugs and best wishes.

  • A constantly irritated wound site will not heal. Similarly, you cannot properly heal emotionally until you end the daily interaction that comes from living with a cheater. Think of not as a medical prescription for separate living quarters. You wouldn’t delay taking penicillin for a high fever waiting for “consensus” from an irresponsible neighbor, would you? Same thing here. Act now unilaterally and save yourself (you can’t help your kids properly until you’re back on your feet).

    Pro tip: once in separate quarters, make sure the cheater doesn’t have a key. These leeches love to circle back, knowing that violating your space can scramble your head and wear down your resistance to further advantage taking.

    You will be surprised how much better life is without this monster in your life.

  • Chump champ, CL said it perfectly. She is wasting your precious life. Stop begging ask pleading her and call an attorney today!!! Please !!! Do exactly what CL says in her response. This is also not your secret. You have nothing to be ashamed. You have a big Trump card. The headmaster has people to answer to. Please get to an attorney today and take this column with you. It explains everything pretty well. Do not tell her!!!

  • Hey CC,
    Many of us here can relate to exactly what you’re going through. Here’s my loving words to you – Good lord man! Get her out of the house. Now! Can you pack up her shit and put it outside with a note? You’re being too nice to her. The projection and blame shifting she’s doing is working on you and you’re feeling devalued – this is normal, but don’t fall for it. She will be a total asshole when you finally put your boundaries up, so be prepared. Mine did. He was okay at first because he got to have his apartment where he could fuck his girlfriend all day long. Yay for limerence! It was really awesome for him at first until he realized all that he lost. Now he’s playing the big, fat, baby victim and I get lovely letters from his lawyer saying things like, “we’d like it noted that FormerlyKnownAs is driving a better car than asshat”. It’s really entertaining. He got fired from our business as the same time as he left for his girlfriend (for bullying). Then, he had another contract and now he’s not working and he’s telling our daughter that he’s “taking a mental health break”. Otherwise known as he’s seriously fucked everything up and no one wants to be near him or hire him. But I digress. Please find the strength to get her out of the house. She lost the right to be horrible to you and she’s lost the right to take your money and live in your home. She made the decision to fuck around, she should deal with her choices. She has a great option with her parents – most of us don’t have that (I live overseas and would love parental support, even the in-laws!). Sell it to her, like, “hey it would be great if you would give me some space while you live with your parents. I’ll sort things here for awhile.” Anything to get her away from you. My best friend was the one who told me to kick out asshat. She wisely said that there was no way I could get any space from his weirdness and trauma unless he left. It was hard, but as soon as I asked him to leave I was glad because having him around me was SO painful. All I could think about was him and her and all the cheating. And worst of all, he tried to have sex with me during the few days after DDay. It hurt me to the core like nothing else ever has. You read about No Contact for a reason – you need to separate from the pain. If she’s around, you’ll be getting more of it.
    I feel for you. It sucks. You don’t deserve it. None of us did. It’s hell but we’re all here for you. It’s not you, it’s her.
    Stay strong and protect yourself. It makes me sad to hear you say that you must have been hard to live with because you were out working for you family. What would you say to someone else if you heard that?

  • I’m you. No I’m not a doctor. I’m not anything. I’m a chump. But I’ve been her too, I’ve never been a cheater but I’ve been a stay-at-home mom because I didn’t want to work. Because it was easier. And I started sloughing off on the stay-at-home mom thing because I didn’t like that either.

    Going back to work gave me a life and a purpose. I don’t know where I’m going with this except to say it’s not your fault that she’s not self-directed. But you are enabling it.

    I strongly suggest that you read codependent no more. She’s probably not an alcoholic but she’s a user.

    we fixers have a tendency to try and make a soft landing for those who seem incompetent around us. My husband has accused me of emasculating him by cutting off his balls. The thing is I’m a strong woman. When things need to be done I do them. He wouldn’t do anything. He worked but he would come home and play video games for 10 hours.

    He handed me his balls. He cut them off himself. Your wife has gone further and further toward the dark side. You don’t need that in your life anymore. Get the attorney to fix some of this stuff. Lots of cheaters choose to take the path of doing nothing and being forced out. Lawyers know how to deal with this. Even if she won’t get out there’s stuff you can do.

    I wish we had a group where we could get together and just talk. I spend so many nights tossing and turning thinking of this crap over in my head and I just wish some of us could be face to face. All of this breaks my heart over and over. Knowing that we’re all going through our lives slogging through all of this crap.

    My heart is with you. Be strong. Kick her ass.

    • Chumplady private Facebook group and one I think on reddit.. Not quite what you want but helps. You will try for a long time but you will never figure it out… They think like goldfish… It’s nothing personal about you… It really is all about them.

      • There is a Chump Lady forum on Reddit. It allows for long posts, lots of response, and a chat that is very active. It’s very secure as you can use a reddit handle rather than your own name.

          • There’s a link on Reddit to ask the forum mods for access. When you click the Join button, click through to ask for permission to join. Usually granted with in a day or two.

  • I went down the rabbit hole of “If I am so bad that he had to do this, why is he still here? and if I am worth being here with, why is he being so horrible”. what really horrifies me is that I stayed in that paralysis for A NUMBER OF YEARS…at least 5…what a horrible thought.

    My mind kept defaulting to why-ever I loved him and why I chose to see him as a reasonable person maybe going through a bad time but after 7 years of a fake reconciliation, he died and of the gems I found in his paperwork were:

    1) pictures and gifts from OW he had from a previos house, so he MOVED them after he said they were over
    2) Documents from a trip they took together which proved our whole wreckonciliation was based on lies
    3) An anger management worksheet (when did he do that…oh it was work related…he must have gone apeshit at someone at work….never told me about that) …anyhoo…the document said on it “I never loved my wife”

    Well then, he stuck around because cake…exactly what CL just described to you. He gave not a rats ass about me but I made his life comfy and mostly kept his secrets.

    I look back on all of it now and I am humiliated that I chose to stay with a person who showed me every day that he had zero regard for me.

    And my now adult children do NOT have healthy relationships or partners. I doubt either of my sons will ever marry.

    You know what is worth gold on the open market? Partners who are real and devoted and decent (and I hate to say it, male since so many cheaters are men…you are on the losing end now but in the long run, the numbers are in your favor). There is a lovely woman out there who will someday thank the Creator of the Universe for you. Ask me how I know. (a doctor who survived the pandemic with a fuckwit cheater…you are a rare one indeed)

    CL is absolutely right FUCK WHAT SHE WANTS and keep that up. When I met my now husband he was still jumping when his XW (of 12 years and she was remarried) told him to always threatening to withold his daughter from him. I shut that shit down and now XW hates me and I dont give a single fuck.

    RUN RUN to the solicitor like your hair was on fire.

  • She just trying to make it to the 20 yr married mark so she can take more money from you.

  • Whoa, CC! You are a doctor, working during COVD, your “wife” has never worked a day in her life to support the family and she cheats on you in her spare time????

    Listen, EVERYONE here at CN knows how hard it is to admit we have been idiots to out up with such shit and admit our terrible choices (and, worse, having reproduced with them even so).

    You must be able to get an official copy of your marriage certificate. Even in my disorganized courntry one can. A lawyer knows how to get things done including getting this cheating moocher OUT. O.U.T.

    Talk about cake eating….

    Take care!

  • I am a full time parent by choice. It can be lonely
    and boring. It is a culturally unpopular choice these days.


    If there’s one invaluable thing this blog teaches me, it is the undeniable glaring fact that cheating is solely about the cheater and has zero to do with me or my MIRAGE (aka “fraudulent marriage”)

    Sex or no sex, what I look like or don’t look like, life circumstances, personal issues, whatever the cheater latches onto for an excuse for cheating, there are a zillion chumps here who were cheated on even though their circumstances were the opposite of mine.

    Cheaters cheat while having active sex lives with their unwitting spouse, or a dead bedroom. Cheaters cheat while lying in therapy for years, or not being in therapy at all. I’m white, blonde, and blue-eyed; he’s always been attracted to Asian women but never dated one and would have died without fulfilling his fantasy. So he moved in with a Chinese national he found in Casual Encounters on Craigslist and then my daughter catches him on Tinder with a “frizzy haired blonde woman” named Amanda.


    If you want to checkmate the cheater, there is only one move and it is GET OUT, the sooner the better.

    • PS….when people say to me, “Oh, you don’t work?”

      Yes, I do. Being a full-time parent and running a house is legitimate work. It kicks my ass daily. I decided as a 20 year old psych major at UCSB to be a full-time parent or not have children at all. I planned for it and am grateful to be able to have the life I chose in that regard. (Which makes it scary as f**k when I found out that my spouse who agreed with this was having affairs…..)

      It’s also a temporary job. I think of myself as a flight instructor and I am supposed to be teaching my daughter to fly so she won’t need me in the same capacity. I grew up in a seriously fucked up family so I’ve had to devote a tremendous amount of bandwidth to parenting to break the cycles of dysfunction, abuse, alcoholism, domestic violence. I’d be doing no patients any favors if I were attempting to be a mom while being a neurosurgeon. Some people can do that; I know my limits. My former husband and I started a business ten years before I had our daughter with the intention of affording me the ability to full-time parent. It was insane stress with two of us working seven days a week and trying to have a life. With no children involved my time was completely eaten up 24/7. If I had children during that time my head would have exploded. My decision to full-time parent or not have kids at all was because of TIME…how much I have and how I need to spend it….how I’d like to spend it…we all get the same amount of time…..For years I worked as a housekeeper for many couples who were both working to afford a house they were hardly ever in because they both had to work to afford the house while the baby was in daycare. ????

      I don’t criticize anyone who shoulders the workload of parent and a paying job outside the house, by choice or by necessity. Being “just a mom” means I often get devalued devalued devalued. There is a lot of devaluation in our world today if you are “just a mom”. There are many ways to live a life. I reserve my judgement and criticism for people who hurt others.

      I thought my former husband was on board with breaking the cycles too….????

      If you have children, are running a house, have a full-time job outside the house, and feel unglued all the time, please respect the MASSIVE superhuman workload you are undertaking. That workload is just cause for feeling unglued. On top of that add infidelity, divorce, and coronavirus……..Jesus Christ on a cracker, give yourself a break. ????

      • Preach it!

        When I read that the SAHM or SAHD is the cheater, I wonder where the heck these people get the time to cheat. Then I realize that it takes hardly any time to cheat. It takes a whole lot of planning, but the dirty deed is resolved within minutes. And that planning takes up time and emotional reserves that should be spent on the marriage/family.

        When you opt to stay at home with your children, you’re opting to ensure that the domestic tasks are completed and that you set aside signficant time to spend quality time with the children, to engage in family-centric activities that you may not otherwise have had the time to do.

        It is absolutely a job. It is also the job that ChampChump’s wife decided to quit once she started banging the headmaster in the farmer’s fields.

      • This is a great post. Do you still have a stake in the business? Until I hit that statement, I wondered how you were managing it financially. I wish more people understood that raising kids is like being a flight instructor. Parents often do a lot of kids, in terms of schools, hobbies and sports, and other activities, with giving them the explicit “instruction” in such things as how to manage emotions, etc. I would have lived a very different life. I was also determined not to pass along the dysfunction. I didn’t have kids, which is see as both a huge loss in my life but in karmic terms, I’ve stopped the cycle.

        A friend and I talked about this the other day. I have major admiration for SAHP who take it seriously. My only concern is that no one (but especially women, because of the systemic sexism in the workplace) should be a SAHP without a plan to transition out of this temporary job. As kiddos approach 18, the SAHP should be thinking about and planning for the next phase of life. Empty nest syndrome is a real thing. Planning for the next phase of life is a way to deal with that. And of course, none of us can be certain that life won’t disrupt our carefully-made plans that require jumping back into the job market before the kids are grown (my cousin was a SAHM of three when her H passed, leaving her with 3 kids under 6).

        • I own half the business and will continue to do so with independent legal and financial oversight. No more blindly trusting him up at the business while I do the mom thing on the home front. My contributions were integral to what it is today, as were his, and we have almost 40 employees, so I am invested in keeping things going which means using all my superpowers to stay on the high road.

          I was willing to accept whatever lifestyle we could afford without my income. I still am. I lived in very spare circumstances at my lowest point earlier in life; I can do it again if I need to.

          My next incarnation may be a teacher at a sober high school. But for now I am grateful I can still be a full time parent with all the extra heavy lifting of healing trauma for both me and my daughter. I had my life dream of two emotionally healthy parents blow up before my eyes, but ultimately Mother Nature requires two parents to procreate for this very reason I think.

        • I used to be neutral on this subject, as I lived through the “Mommy Wars” of the 1990s. (I straddled the fence. I was self-employed, working as an editor, when my son was small. Until I divorced and took a FT job for the benefits.)

          I’m not neutral any longer. I’m radicalized because of this blog. If you’re a SAHP you’re exceptionally vulnerable (especially women!) — and if you support a SAHP, you’re fucked if they cheat and you have to pay more for the privilege of divorce.

          I think women should have careers and be able to support themselves and I KNOW, I bitterly KNOW that the US doesn’t have the kind of family leave it should have to support working parents. We need to VOTE that into existence, people! If you’re a SAHM, have a part-time gig, a volunteer job, take classes, do something to transition into the work force.

          When I read a chump story, and I see the chump has a paying job, I sigh a sigh of relief.

          I know parenting is a job. (I did it. I also did single parenting while working full-time.) Especially when the kids are small. I’d say be a full-time SAHP if you have a trust fund, some other means of support.

          Like I said, this blog has radicalized me. If you can afford your choices, great. Most people can’t afford not to have a paycheck.

          • I’d also add, whatever you choose — it can be used against as an excuse to cheat. Anything can.

            But SAHP makes you economically vulnerable. Child support (if you can collect it) pays crap.

            • I can’t help but agree with you, Chump Lady. With 50% of marriages ending in divorce, I think it would be wise to have a gig of some sort and to put money aside in a personal account. I feel for the parents who chose to stay at home, trusting their spouse was faithful, and then it all blew up.

              • Tracy, I worked a union teacher job to provide healthcare, childcare to my daughters.
                All clothes, food, gifts., holidays were on me.
                At divorce, cheater said in deposition “Magneto did nothing to support family.”

                Figure that.

            • After being cheated on, I am gladder than ever that I was able to be a full time parent. I can always make money but I can’t make more time or get the time back I have already spent. My marriage was blown up intentionally by a husband who turned out to be a traitor, but he could not take away the gift of being able to spend my time with my daughter as I was able to choose.

              I’ve become radicalized after being in this blog too. After what I’ve read on this blog, not only do I wish I had a career, I wish I hadn’t gotten married or had children. I now wouldn’t trade her for anything in the world but the pain she is in from this makes me think that.

              With 50% of our marriages ending in divorce, I am thinking it might be wise not to get married and I don’t know why anyone does that anymore either. I feel sorry for everyone who married in good faith and was loyal, whether they had a high powered career or chose to put their primary focus on their children. It hurts the same I am sure, and the mess it creates is no less.

              Getting married, having children, deciding to be a full time parent….they all require a huge leap of faith that comes with with corresponding inextricable huge vulnerabilities. One cousin drowned at two….another died from leukemia at ten….if I have a choice to be a full time parent or have a career I would still choose the full time parent gig. The operant phrase is IF I HAVE A CHOICE.

              I made myself vulnerable by getting married, having a child, and deciding to make parenting my full time job. No way to take the risk out of any of that, and how I wish there were.


          • I have a friend whose husband divorced her late in life, unexpectedly, after being a full time parent out of the work force for many years. She also had only one leg. When she tells her story she says, “I got so mad I started my own business.”

            She did, and it was very successful.

            I have another friend who moved here from Persia. Being a mom was her job. She didn’t speak English or drive. She found out that her husband was cheating. She is my dental hygienist and the one who told me, in perfect English, “you need to get away from him.”

            I agree that it’s important to be fully self-supporting through your own contributions. I’ve had a job or my own business since I was 12…’s why my former husband took the risk instead of taking a job with his company when they moved out of state. I’ve been able to be a full time parent because I co-founded and helped build a business that has been successful..a situation I’m aware is unavailable to many. And now that it’s been revealed that my former husband and current business partner/co-parent is a traitor, I have to remember my friend who kicked ass with one leg and created a successful Act II. I have to remember my dental hygienist. I have to remember ME…the entrepreneur who has created my own income one way or another since I was 12. I did it before him, I did it without him, and I can do it again.

            I think we agree but I’m not sure?

            • I love this discussion. I think Velvet Hammer is a great spokesperson for those who want to SAH with kids but also understand that years out of the labor market can be disastrous if people find betrayed by a partner (or suddenly widowed, etc.). I’m probably more on CL’s ground here, that no one should make themselves that economically vulnerable in our current social order. Today, with online education and community colleges and other opportunities, there are lots of ways to keep skills sharp and prepare for what comes next. People who homeschool? Get certified and if you are good, you can work at a cyber school once the nest is empty. Keep up your certifications in your field. Attend conferences. Keep your professional network alive. Remember that soccer moms and room mothers and CCD teachers have a network, too! These are all contacts who will know how smart and organized you are. Raising kids is THE most important job in any society. #1 by far. But don’t let the kids become “your life.” You need to have a life of your own–plans and dream beyond the childrearing years. And we should be telling our kids to organize their financial lives so that no predator can leave you with worse than nothing–a boatload of debt.

              • The other agenda for having our own business was not just so I could be a full time parent. It was so he could become one as much as he wanted too. And he was. We were able to spend a massive amount of time as a family together, all three of us, which is why him having affairs was so under my radar. It’s also why it was so painful when he ghosted her at DDay as well, at ten years old, after being such an involved and present dad.

                I was a roommate in a drug house and he was living with his parents when we both got into recovery in our early 20’s. To be able to create a life from those beginnings to where we could rent a house for three weeks in Hawaii near the beach every year, etc., is such a miracle and a gift and I still cannot understand why anyone would throw it away.

                It’s more important than ever that I get super clear about who I am, what I want, and not make fear-based decisions about how I spend my non-refundable time/life. My cousins who died as children never got the chance to make any choices at all.


          • I’m a SAHP, and while I understand and fully appreciate the privilege of witnessing my children’s milestones, I also sacrificed an advanced degree that is invalid now after ten years of SAHP. The student debt keeps me saddled to the cheater, and I can’t even use the damn degree to get a job. Had I not been so starry-eyed and trusting, and if I had it all to do again, I would have kept up working part-time AT LEAST. At the time, I thought this wasn’t an option for me as we had multiples right off the bat, and childcare would have eaten 80% of my salary. I tried working weekends for awhile so cheater could “babysit” the kids, but would come home in the afternoon to a wrecked house, a toddler in their drenched morning diaper (!!!), and fuckwit in a slumbered daze from just waking up from his couch nap at the sound of my key in the door. I would give back that SAHP time to be able to pick up with my kids and remove them from this horrible, life-altering home situation and give them a better life than we are stuck in because I can’t earn enough to support us right now, and don’t have fuck all in the way of a support system to “Just leave!”.

          • They don’t necessarily have to pay more for the divorce because their partner was a SAHP. My ex was a cheating, gambling addicted physician recruiter with a six-figure income and a love of domestic violence. I literally fled after 18 years of marriage with six kids and a terrible disability, and though I was a SAHM for 16 of them as part of the abuse, he wasn’t on the hook for much of anything more than child support. Spousal maintenance doesn’t often happen in Texas, even in the most dire of circumstances. He also got the house and the property because he had more money to drag out the case in family court as there is also no “relief,” meaning he was never held responsible for any of my legal fees, even though delays and problems were clearly his doing. At the end of the day, I was just happy to get out of family court with primary possession because I see with some narcissistic abusers that they take that, too.

            • Yep, a lot depends on how good the lawyer is. 50/50 can be done up in several ways.

              My ex was a tight wad so he hired a lawyer from the local trailer park. Nothing against trailer parks, but you kind of expect a successful lawyer to not live in one.

              I hired a kick azz lawyer in another city.

              In the final settlement he got most of the property, because he could afford to pay it off; but he also took on all the marriage debt.

              I got a small two bedroom house that was paid for, but I also got a year of a temp maintenance pkg during our 13 month legal separation. So though he didn’t officially pay for my lawyer, he really did. It just came in through another door.

              I got the paid off house in exchange for waiving his retirement. It was a good deal for me. I was already building my own retirement, and though he had a lot more than I did, my potential was high. Of course he waived my retirement too.

    • Thank you, your comments on SAHM are interestingly suspect it was the major source of STBX discontent, she felt/still feels undervalued. I valued and supported her in her choice but it may not have always come across like that. Financially it was difficult and that put us under pressure but then isn’t every family with young kids. It seemed like the harder I worked the more she resented me. Anyway there I go trying to understand, need to stop that!

      • She didn’t cheat because of you or because of being a full-time parent (I hate the term “stay at home mom”….”driving in the car all day mom” feels more accurate!)

        She cheated because her character is lacking, her moral compass is broken or missing, she is emotionally immature, and she has something very wrong with her psychologically.

        A therapist whom I loved and trusted sees ISOLATION and UNEXPRESSED ANGER as a common denominator in cheaters…I agree.

        At the end of the day, like murder, assault, theft, or abuse, it’s wrong and the sole responsibility for it is entirely on the traitor.

        • VelvetHammer, I so respect all that you are saying, and I understand your reluctance to use the term stay-at-home parent. That said I would strongly urge you to please reconsider your use of the term “full-time parent.” After all, what is the alternative? “Part-time parent?” Of course not!

          I have been a parent for 26 years, and over those years I have variously worked full-time, part-time, and flex-time out of the house; and there were years when I did not work outside the home at all. Sometimes I worked and also was back in school getting a second graduate degree (new chapter in my life after D-Day — for me, a fundamental aspect of “gaining a life” was finding the courage to create an entirely new career for myself, one that now imbues my life with meaning and joy that I never felt in my previous career). The only constant through all those transitions and diverse employment statuses was that I was always a full-time parent to my children!

          Like CL, I powered through the “mommy wars,” and I always tried to ignore the voices around me and do what was right for me and for my children at every stage of their lives and mine. That doesn’t mean, though that harsh judgments didn’t hurt. They did, sometimes. And hearing the phrase “full-time parent,” with all its necessary and logical implications about the alternative, was one of the most hurtful. Seriously, what did people think they were implying about me when they said I wasn’t a “full-time” parent?

          Fortunately, I knew that I truly was…and, even more fortunately, my children have always known that I truly was a full-time parent. And we all knew that my full-time parenting had zero, zilch, nada to do with whether or not I earned income outside the home or spent time in my life on anything other than them.

          I strongly suspect that you do not intend your use of that term to be insulting or painful to others, and perhaps have never even imagined that it might be so. Please consider my experience and those of others like me before you use that term again. You have mindfully made life-choices that have been right for you and your children, and that makes you mighty for sure!

      • Come join me! I literally just hired a lawyer. The credit card got hit with his retainer 10 minutes ago. Definitely feeling a little bit shaky over the whole thing, because the STBXH is going to go out of his mind. NOT. MY. PROBLEM. (Although he isn’t going to be served until after I get my home security upgraded!)

        My kids are 17 and 15, but the lawyer said that they are old enough to decide what they want to do. You can do this! If you can survive med school, then this should be a piece of cake.

      • She didn’t cheat on you because she was a SAHM. There are many SAHP who do not cheat on their partners. If she was feeling bored or unhappy or unfulfilled in some way, she had many options that did not involve shagging your daughter’s headmaster in a farmer’s field. She could have found a part-time job, especially since your children are all school-age. She could have communicated her unhappiness to you before running off to the headmaster. She chose to do neither of the above. Cheaters are going to cheat. Period. This is going to be hard to accept, but she would have cheated on you even if she had never had kids and was rocking a high-powered career.

        My Nitwit dropped out of college and never worked more than a part-time job. I was okay with being the breadwinner; the problem was he never did much around the house either because it cut into his schedule of playing video games all night, hanging with his bros, and of course banging the OW. I think I speak for most women here on CN when I say that if I had a husband as kind, faithful, and hard-working as you I would be turning cartwheels with joy, not banging the headmaster. Throw. Her. Out. There are many women out there who are not cheaters who would love to make your acquaintance. If you’re ever in the West Coast of the US I’d be happy to buy you a drink and give you some one-on-one support.

      • You are still in the stage where you are trying to untangle the skein of fuckedupness. This is normal, but eventually you get to the point where you have to Trust that They Suck.

        As Velvet Hammer–a woman who has opted to be a SAHM–has so eloquently said, she didn’t cheat on you because she’s a full-time parent; she cheated because she has a character defect.

        I do have a career, but when I married CheaterX, I was a graduate student, so I was very dependent on his income. As a graduate student and academic, I understood that my work hours were outside the normal 9-5 job, and I also understood and respected that his job, as an IT manager, meant that he would be on call and often have to work evenings and weekends. His company sent him to set up the IT in their UK operations, and I had to go for over a month without seeing him.

        I made sure that he had dinner ready every night, that our house was cleaned, and that our dogs were properly exercised and trained. All he had to do was come home and relax.

        And you know what? He cheated!

        Her cheating is on her, not you.

      • Well, that dissatisfaction with feeling “undervalued” had a lot of potential resolutions, including getting a job. And don’t kid yourself, CC, she knows divorce is on the table and she’s still not working. She would feel “undervalued” if she were a supermodel making 7 figures. There is no way anyone values her as highly as she values herself.

        • Being cheated on has revealed how much I have not been valuing myself, and it is up to me to value myself…it is no one else’s job. I delegated that to him and if I had not I may never have even dated him.

  • Chump Champ,

    Her refusing to discuss separation of finances is a real problem and you need to protect yourself. My Ex-Wife took a similar approach and used the time that she gained to raid the joint account, take out loans in her name and put me on the hook for them and to shift liabilities that she should have been paying onto me. It took me years to sort out; I too tried to negotiate, but she just used the time to dig an even bigger hole. It took me 3 years from our separation and 18 months after our divorce was finalised to get out of the debt that she had created.

    Get legal advice, separate your finances and ensure that you don’t end up being held responsible for her poor decisions. Plot spoiler; she won’t like it, so don’t worry about what she thinks/might say – she will probably say it anyway.

    • Lock down your credit, Chump Champ. That is–freeze it or set up notifications of anything opened in your name. And if your salary is going into a joint account, move it now into an account that is only in your name. That way you can pay the bills but keep STBXW on a short financial leash. Nothing will get her attention faster than no money to spend. That’s the downside of no job.

      As we say in the states, it’s time to play hardball.

      • Locking credit is a good idea.

        H and I did that several years ago. We can temp unlock it with a pin and some security questions, but if she doesn’t know the pin/questions, she can’t.

      • And watch out for some truly sneaky sh*t from your other half. My Ex took out a personal loan for over £15K (still don’t know where it went and what she spent it on) but buried the repayments in the joint account (where only my pay went) thinking I wouldn’t work it all out and that it wouldn’t come back to bite her.

        She was truly p*ssed off when I worked it out. I refused to repay it (pointing out that when I cancelled the repayment that the bank would come after her) and refused to accept it as a joint liability during our divorce process on the grounds that (a) I wasn’t consulted (b) I didn’t sign the agreement (c) she refused to disclose where it went/what it was spent on and (d) I didn’t benefit from it.

        To this day I really think that she thought that she would get away with it.


    • Thank you, your comments on SAHM are interestingly suspect it was the major source of STBX discontent, she felt/still feels undervalued. I valued and supported her in her choice but it may not have always come across like that. Financially it was difficult and that put us under pressure but then isn’t every family with young kids. It seemed like the harder I worked the more she resented me. Anyway there I go trying to understand, need to stop that!

      • Wait, SHE feels undervalued? What about you, the guy busting his ass working overtime to feed the family? Why does she get to throw all your contributions out the window like they don’t matter?

        Somebody at some point in your life taught you that your needs don’t matter, that you had to make yourself small. Might’ve been your wife (abuse has a way of whittling you down to a nub), might’ve been a lesson you picked up in childhood.

        But my god, man. This is one of the worst stories I’ve read recently on here. Your wife is a witch.

        Don’t tell your wife ANYTHING going forward. I’m serious. Don’t tell her you’re getting the marriage certificate or seeing the lawyer or ANY of it. You no longer have a wife, she made sure of that when she was rutting in a cow pasture. You have an enemy. Act accordingly.

        • Cam thank you, I’m getting it now, its taken a year and CL and CN but I’m getting it. Although conversations with friends are interesting, it seems so many people are able to consider cheating to be part of life and you have to accept it.

          CN is really helping to see her for what she is and judge only on her actions.

          • Ditch those friends – when it’s safe to do so, as you have enough on your plate right now. But please take what they’re saying seriously and don’t lean on them for anything. They’re telling you their values, and it’s not pretty.

            You need people in your life with good character. Life’s too short to waste it on shitty people.

  • I hope that you have a ruthless attorney. Not because you want to be cruel, but because this woman is very manipulative, and you are VERY susceptible to that manipulation. We can all see it, because we are objective, and I know it’s hard living with it. But, trust us, she is really enjoying having the upper hand here.

    Get a ruthless attorney. Tell that attorney that you want to keep your house (since you paid for it) and that you want custody. Yes, these things can happen. Document everything that has happened, including everything that you do for your children. Get all your financial documents together, and definitely freeze your credit.

  • Chumps are often afraid of being seen as mean or aggressive. And cheaters know this, and use it to their great advantage.

    I was so petrified to start the legal separation that I MAILED the needed documents to my lawyer. And we lived in the same city.

    Our chump nature is to look for fairness, and decency and boy does this backfire. On us.

    Get the lawyer going on the separation proposal. Take his/her advice and move forward. Grit your teeth and ask to be given exclusive possession of the marital home. You didn’t cheat so why should you volunteer to give up your home ? Don’t. The kids often go with the house, esp when they are older like this.

    Lawyer up and proceed. Your STBX likes this current lifestyle, she stabbed you in the back, twisted the knife, yet she has zero consequences,……..that is cheater heaven and you are enabling it.

    • Thanks, I have a lawyer but he suggested that a potential outcome was STBX would have 70% of the house 50% of my pension and I would still have to pay her maintenance!

      • Offer her a lot less, threaten to depose the headmaster, and see what she takes.

        What he’s outlined is your worst case. See what you can negotiate as your BEST case.

        Do NOT start at this. Start out by asking for the sun, the moon, and the stars.

        Negotiate down. QUIT TRYING FOR CONSENSUS. It’s now time for hard ball.

          • CC, CL has great advice here. I would only add not to “threaten” to dispose the headmaster, fucking start the legal ball rolling on it! I don’t know how this works in the UK, but in my state of Maryland, USA, I had both my ex and her current AP served with papers that they were being deposed. That was not a threat, it was reality. She settled when her lawyer suggested she didn’t want to have the other three APs served for depositions. I got 50% across the board and limited alimony. Just my 2 cents but hire a lawyer (barrister?) that knows the local judges and the legal system. An old adage: “You want your lawyers old (and experienced – added by me) and your surgeons young.”

            • And you want your lawyers to have a clear strategy for getting you a reasonable settlement.

          • An additional word of advice:

            Give your wife nothing.

            By that I mean, don’t show any emotion. Don’t be angry or sad or upset in front of her. Don’t show her what bothers you.

            Feel your feelings in private or with trusted friends (who are 100% on your side). But around your wife? Reveal nothing.

            Any emotion on your part reveals your weaknesses. Give your wife nothing to manipulate or use against you.

        • Agreed – get another opinion. Forget trying for consensus – protect yourself and your children.

      • I say interview some more lawyers. Why should she get 70% of the house? Kick her out, then find a lawyer that wants to fight for you, your kids, and your sanity. Model strength for your kids. They have to hold their heads up high each day that they go to school. Gosh, see if you can get them transferred? I know that if I were them, I would want far away from that school and creepy headmaster!

      • Please note the use of conditionals here. He said that “a” potential outcome was that she could fleece you, not “the” actual outcome. How confident is your solicitor that they can negotiate a better outcome?

        A lot depends on your solicitor’s confidence in their own ability to deal with this situation. As CL and others have said, never start at the least desirable scenario. Always start with what YOU believe to be fair. If you believe that your solicitor is trying to get you to understand what the worst case scenario looks like, then that’s one thing. If you believe that your solicitor feels unable to negotiate a much better settlement, then that’s another thing and you should feel free to change solicitors.

        For what it’s worth, my own divorce was relatively uncomplicated, but the reason I chose my particular lawyer over others is because she had a “Catan University” bumper sticker on her van. I realized that she understood strategy, and I knew that every time I had played against CheaterX in a strategy game, he lost. CheaterX stalled the divorce for 18 months (we should have been divorced within the 60 day minimum that my state mandates), but she obtained the settlement parameters the first day she met with CheaterX. I sat back and let her do her thing and she led him to concede everything I wanted him to concede while making him think it was his own idea.

        Your solicitor should do likewise. You should know what you cannot expect. For example, even though CheaterX out-earned me by nearly a 2 to 1 ratio, my lawyer told me that I could not expect spousal support unless I had sacrificed my career to deal with children which, thankfully under the circumstances, we did not have. However, we managed to divide assets in such a way that he ended up shouldering debt and I had assets. My retirement thanks him, and I wish him well in his career so that I can collect on his Social Security (US law allows divorced spouses to draw 50% of their ex-spouse’s Social Security if the spouse’s 50% is larger, and since my XH out-earns me to this day, I expect this to apply to me).

        You and your wife are comparatively young. Your oldest is 15, which suggests that you are both in your 40s. Your STBXW has plenty of time to establish her career. Unless she has a university degree, she will need training to enter the workforce. That she prefers to be a full-time parent is beside the point. She’d not have that option if you’d predecease her. Since you do not want her to be destitute, considering that she will have joint custody of the children, it is a total shit sandwich but ultimately worth it to help subsidize her job training.

        Remember that the current system is set up with the assumption that it is the man who cheats, not the woman. Message your fellow UK chumps to find out recommendations and their solicitors.

        Also consider real estate in your area. It may be that you are better off letting her have the house. A lot of people cling to the marital home without realizing that the home involves a lot of expenses: heating costs, maintenance, etc. It may be that you are better off if you sign the marital home over to her while you get something smaller and more affordable. Yes, you need to be able to have your three children at your place, but they each don’t need their separate rooms (at least two of them must be the same biological gender), so you could conceivably get away with a 3 bedroom home instead of a 4-bedroom home. If your solicitor is clever, offering her the marital home in lieu for, say, half your pension, is a real deal.

        There is such a thing as the marshmallow test. Cheaters flunk this. Use this knowledge to plan your strategy. Think what she wants, then figure out how you can let her have this while getting what YOU want.

        Best of luck, and to be honest, I sure wish you were abotu 15-20 years older!

        • If she want the marital home, you can also require her to refinance and pull sufficient equity out for you to either buy a home right away or settle in a rental unit until you know clearly where you want to be. In either case, that money can sit there until you are ready. The important thing is to know what you want for your own life.

  • … Let your lawyer send her lawyer written notice of what paperwork they need from her to proceed.

  • I lived the hell you’re describing for 10 months after I said ‘enough.’ The only guarantee I can confirm is that the Rage Channel will be on 24 hours a day once you start taking Chump Lady’s stellar advice.

    From the letter, I suspect CC has been conditioned over the span of the marriage to avert or manage his fuckwit’s rages, for all of the reasons the rest of us are familiar with. She’s come to expect you bending over backwards to sate and satisfy her need for control. When you stops doing that, she will not be able to process and accept that, and the rage (rooted in entitlement) will ensue.

    You cannot let this deter you in what you need to do. As CL says, continuing to manage it, even in the spirit of ‘keeping the peace,’ models dysfunction for your children.

    • Yes, this. As I said in my above post, the rage totally came out in my husband what he saw my boundaries. I had NEVER known him to be like that. He became a very different man when he saw that he couldn’t control me anymore. And it was dumb things, like I did my own taxes and he absolutely went insane. And the rage hasn’t stopped for a whole year now.

      • The rage, then sweet talking alternated for my ex once he realized he wasn’t going to control the divorce proceedings. Then he finally gave up and tried a couple times towards the end to get me to meet him to talk about working it out. I still haven’t figured that out.

        I kind of think he was trying to push back his marriage to whore. Me delaying the divorce would have helped in that. But, who knows.

      • Yep…..the dick had a 1000 word temper tantrum via email( who has a wait 24 hrs to send rule……didn’t wait) when I left his phone plan. My reply…..” it is reasonable to expect that I would not stay on the same phone plan”. It was weird and unexpected how the little things sent him over the edge. CC protect yourself. Tell your kids the truth and have that lawyer drop a bomb on the headmaster. This is going to suck any way you do it, so do it well.

    • When I went to my lawyer consultation I remember saying (while sitting there sobbing my heart out) I wanted to be fair. he said: “Fair? my job is to do my best to get you what you need to get on your feet. There is nothing fair about his behavior to you.” He then told me after telling me what his goal was, to not speak to my ex about any divorce proceedings and if he calls to refer him to my lawyer.

      My ex had not filed yet, this was just me getting ready and retaining a lawyer. My ex was trying to force me to file, and I wanted him to file. So I felt so much stronger after that meeting, I went home called my ex and said “you wanted this divorce, and it would help me a lot emotionally if you filed” He did want to, but I did convince him to.

      I did want him to file for that very reason, but what I didn’t tell him was also that my lawyer said “if you can get him to file, it gives him more legal maneuvering room for a good temp maintenance judgement during our legal separation. Lawyer said, we are likely dealing with some guilt and he will likely be eager to sign, thinking that it will only be for two months.

      Temp maintenance lasted for 13 months. So during that time, I had time to think, and recoup some of the money he had spend on schmoopie via him paying my house payment and car payment for all that time. I pay about 1300 dollars for legal fees, but the temp maintenance more than covered that amount.

      Technically I paid my own lawyer, but he paid it via the house and car payments. He eventually got the marriage house and the car, but I got to live/use them free of charge for over a year. I did’t want the house or the big azz car. He also took on all our debts, which was fair because he ran them up.

  • 1) Go today and get a copy of the marriage certificate from the public records office
    2) Drop off at your solicitor and tell them warp speed
    3) Call your mother-in-law and tell her her promiscuous daughter is coming to live with her.
    4) I hope you have told the Headmaster’s spouse and the board of the school. If not, do it now.
    5) Sit down and tell your children you’re divorcing because their mother has been unfaithful.

    Get the divorce done so you can go find that better woman who is waiting for you.

    • Headmaster is most likely sitting pretty still being headmaster and banging student moms. Even though “everyone knows,” these things often get brushed under the rug. He is in a position of trust and abused it. Bring it out in the daylight. Hopefully he loses his job.

      • See if lawyer can leverage it first. CC needs a settlement. Then unleash the hounds.

        • Exactly. CC doesn’t see how much leverage he has–how much the Headmaster and FFF (FarmFieldF*cker) don’t want to give depositions about their affair. Headmaster has a lot to lose, for sure.

        • CL. Thank you for your advice, I consider myself bitch slapped!

          Clearly I have a lot of work to do in manning up! Just to reassure everyone, I have a little backbone( not much but some!). I have a lawyer, we are going to court if she doesn’t start negotiations, I did get a copy of my marriage certificate and I did take my kids on holiday. It was great, invaluable I felt great again, but now I’m back in the house and I can feel the life force being drained out of me.

          • “I can feel the life force being drained out of me.”

            Oh, CC, I’ve been there. Being separated in the same house is an exhausting experience!!

            But the cost to my mental health (and probably, in ways yet unknown, my physical health) was TOO HIGH.

            I’m divorced now and I feel SUCH relief! It’s great to no longer be living with that lying cheater and the stress of his changed personality (the RAGES weren’t constant but I was always walking on eggshells, afraid another loud, mean outburst was about to begin at any time).

            Please accept the reality that negotiations can NOT start out in the middle. Don’t try to be “reasonable” or “nice” – HER attorney sure won’t, so yours can’t either. You only end up at a more or less “fair” compromise if you ask for more than you ultimately expect to get.

            And I hope you get out of that living situation ASAP! Best of luck!

  • She’s full of self entitlement. She won’t move out because she knows the om, doesn’t really want her. She has humiliated you, she thinks you will forgive her eventually. Your a doctor the om is a head teacher, she likes men with power.

    • One of the best “leave a cheater,gain a life” stories I heard involved a pediatrician. Acquaintance S. and doc crossed paths at conferences and she told us there was attraction but of course they never acted on it because he was married.
      Well doc’s wife cheated on him,she moved out thinking o.m. would welcome her with open arms. Wrong-he was just lookin’ to get laid ! Wifey came back sniveling and doc told her to get lost.
      Doc and S. got married and have twins.
      What day is it ? Is it GTFO day ?

      • Haha nice! May the rest of their stories (and ours) have a positive trend. I don’t want to say happy ending. Ain’t no fairy tales here.

  • I lived thru a similar nightmare. You can get thru it. Get a good lawyer. Start thinking independently of her…she has already left you. Let her go entirely….she did you a favor in the long run since it’s clear she doesn’t love you…she made her own decisions for something different….that is NOT your fault. These things happen….My EX had an affair 3 years ago and we have been divorced now for just over a year. It took a long time to get here and it was not easy…but you can do it too. But you have to be at your best game…..Take care of yourself…eat right..sleep right…stop drinking if you are…stay focused….. I had similar situation with myself being a physician and her not working most of the time…She did her best to try to get as much money out of me from child support-the courts… even though she has a masters degree and could easily work. It’s just incredible how some people feel so entitled….true narcissists…..And if things get really bad in the house and she doesn’t want to move out…invite your mother to stay with you….you could use all the support you need. She has her boyfriend for support…you deserve support as well.

  • “Maybe headmaster needs someone to bang the erasers.”
    I laughed out loud. 😀 😀 😀 :D! “Bang” the erasers!
    Nice double entendre, Chump Lady!

  • I’m really annoyed by your internalised blameshifting. Firstly, if you marry a doctor/ nurse/ ambulance driver/ firefighter/ police person – it’s clear that you’re not marrying a person with a normal work schedule. Complaining about it, or about not being around is just useless. It’s the same as (immigrants) complaining about the weather in UK. If you like sunny weather then you shouldn’t chose to live in the UK.

    Secondly, I don’t know you and maybe you really are very difficult to live with. If that’s the case then your wife should talk to you about it so you can either remedy your behaviour to a tolerable level or she should divorce you. Rolling in a hay with a headmaster isn’t going to make you a more pleasant person. Quite the opposite.

    Talking about a headmaster – is it allowed for headmasters to fool around with a parent? Did he fool around during his working time? If so, should Department for Education pay for his fooling around? I don’t think so. I’d rather my taxes going to an underprivileged child who needs a laptop to learn (I’m an immigrant in the UK).

    I hope you’ll soon find your inner anger (constructive, of course).

    • I agree that people should not marry someone they’re not willing to live with long-term. On my wedding day I weighed 120 pounds. I made no secret of the fact that I was happy at that weight. Nitwit preferred heavier women. At the time my lack of weight didn’t seem to bother him, but as our marriage went on the sex dried up and he repeatedly “joked” about cheating on me with a larger woman. Eventually he cheated on me with, you guessed it, a fuller-figured woman. He even said he hoped I would gain weight from stress-eating during the aftermath of D-Day. Unfortunately that prediction has turned out to be accurate; I’ve put on about 10 pounds since then. Still, he had no right to enter a marriage with the intent of changing me and molding me (literally) to his specifications.

      Oh, and the OW was one of his students at the community college where he worked as a tutor. Over the age of consent but still…whither professional ethics? I work in education myself and any mention of educator/student sexual relationships or, in the case of the LW, educator/parent, makes my skin crawl.

      • NoMore– It’s like The Sneetches. Remember what happens to Sylvester McMonkey McBean in the story. Fuckwit.

  • I was to nice of a person with my XW. Went through similar issues. But when my lawyer showed me her double life my inner anger came out and I divorced. I was to nice in the divorce thinking she would want the children to be happy. No, she called me up after our day in court “I screwed you in the divorce settlement”. She is not your friend but your enemy!!! Stop trying to be her friend.

  • ChumpChamp, get your lawyer to get her lazy butt out of the house, pronto.
    As CL says, threatening to tell the school board about the headmaster’s behavior will get things going. If not, tough luck.
    You have far more leverage than you think.

    • Oftentimes it takes a valid threat to get them to act. My ex was procrastinating on getting me my share of our retirement plan…for a year and a half. I finally met him for lunch and explained to him how easy it would be for me to go to his boss and get both him and shmoopie fired. Amazing how quickly he got it done after that.

    • I should clarify this statement:
      “As CL says, threatening to tell the school board about the headmaster’s behavior will get things going. If not, tough luck.”
      I mean that as in “tough luck for the cheater and the headmaster.”
      If the cheater won’t do what she’s supposed to, courts have ways to make people act. That’s what they’re there for. She can get the dadgum marriage certificate, she can get out of the house, and if she doesn’t, she’ll face contempt of court, or whatever the equivalent in Great Britain is.

      My ex refused to sign the divorce. No big deal. After 30 days of no response, it was rubber stamped by a judge. That’s the way it works.

  • People keep recommending the Chump Lady subreddit. How does one get invited?

    New,private, place for forum chat for the readers of Chump Lady. Anonymous location for support.
    You must be invited to visit this community


    • Oops. I’m not “s” I’m Spinach@35

      Spinach wants to know how to be invited to the subreddit for Chump Lady.


      • Hey Spinach,
        To join the reddit group you need to create an account / user ID on reddit (your handle) linked to your email. Once you have a reddit user name (eg u/spinach35) then you apply to Chump Lady Nation sub reddit and request to become a member. The subreddit is private and locked to outsiders of Chump Nation but a moderator will respond to your request to join and hook you up.
        The mods are busy though so have a bit of patience and hopefully you will be responded to.
        Tempest is on here and she is on the chat a lot so reply here and I will tip her off to look out for you.

        • My problem was it wouldn’t let me create an account. I put in my email, then my user name and hit submit, or whatever the word was, and it just sat there.

          • So Susie, maybe your user name was taken? Reddit is straightforward enough if you have a unique user name and a working email address. Try a few versions of your user name maybe?

        • Thanks. I sent a message to the mods. I already have a reddit user name so went with that.

        • What if your Reddit handle is different than your name here on CN? I was on Reddit before I found CL; in fact it was a Redditor who referred me to CL.

          • Just let people know who you are on here when you first post. We manage pretty well once you get active on the subreddit.

  • CC, trying to reason or come to any agreement with a cheater is like trying to cuddle with a poisonous snake – neither will end well. Stop it. Just stop.

    The only person you need to be talking to is your solicitor – discuss what you want, what your options are and let him/her make it happen for you. The less you talk to your stxw the better. What she thinks, what she wants, what she does – not your problem anymore. Stopped being your problem the day she decided to shtup the headmaster like a cow in heat in the field no less. From here on out, let your solicitor do their job and you step out of it completely. If the solicitor isn’t aggressive enough and doesn’t know how to handle a disordered freak that doesn’t want to cooperate, then fire them and get someone who does. Think of it like you just found a cancerous tumor – you don’t pet it and sweet talk it, you cut it out if you want to heal.

    It doesn’t sound to me like you have even started to accept, let alone wrap your head around the idea that your stbxw is not at all the person you thought she is. The nice thing is a facade. Completely fake. What you are seeing is what’s behind the mask and well….harsh as this is…..seems like you are the last person in town to see it. Everyone else already knows the truth and yes, your teen kids most likely do too. Either way, you owe them the truth.

    Of course your cheating wife wants to hide things. Telling the truth about what filth she really is, is consequences and cheaters hate consequences. Moving out of the house is consequences and cheaters hate consequences. Divorce is consequences and cheaters hate….. She doesn’t like consequences? Too bad. Not your problem anymore.

    Refusing to cooperate with you – that’s her continuing to treat you like a fool chump. Maybe if she drags her feet long enough you’ll cool down, your kinder nature will kick in and she’ll get to keep living off you while cheating some more. Maybe she’ll upgrade to the barn instead of the field next time. Yes, there will be a next time and many more. Cheaters don’t just cheat once and contrary to all the RIC bs, there is absolutely no cure for cheating. Life long affliction.

    On that note, please do not blame yourself for what she did. Nothing makes a person a cheater other than their own personal desire and utter lack of character and morals. She cheated because she wanted to. Period. Cheating is never about you, it’s always about the cheater. Not about who they cheat with either, btw. The OM isn’t better than you, just a loser willing to sleep with married women. Keep in mind that no decent, sane, self respecting man will help a woman cheat. So those two are just two peas in a pod – disordered fuckwits who enjoy their escapades. There is no deeper story there, no matter how much the RIC and society at large loves to sell a grander story. There is no story, just smut and mud and cow manure.

    Time for you get angry and to step away. Forget talking to her and put some pressure on your lawyer instead to get things rolling faster.

  • She likes lording the doctor wife look and won’t give up her status without a fight. And her mother prob told her not to budge. Just get the lawyer and getter ball rolling. I guarantee it can’t hurt more than it does now.

  • CC:

    It helped me to write the following on two sticky notes. I kept one in my car and one on my bathroom mirror.

    *Don’t trust him/her
    *Don’t engage
    *He/she’s the enemy
    *Keep your eye on the prize (meaning a good divorce settlement or whatever you want)
    *Get to meh

    Hope this helps.

    p.s. It doesn’t matter at all if you were a total shit to be around (and, judging by your letter, I tend to doubt that). The point is that you are not to blame for her affair. That’s on her. She should have left you or requested marriage counseling *before* fooling around. It’s the betrayal that’s the problem. Such a simple concept, but these cheaters who claim that they just fell in love can’t seem to grasp it.

    Here’s what I want to write on a massive sticky note for all would be adulterers: “Leave first; then fuck around. Don’t lie and cheat and betray your spouse.” How hard is that?

  • Oftentimes it takes a valid threat to get them to act. My ex was procrastinating on getting me my share of our retirement plan…for a year and a half. I finally met him for lunch and explained to him how easy it would be for me to go to his boss and get both him and shmoopie fired. Amazing how quickly he got it done after that.

  • Every time I read a letter from a male chump I get super angry at their STBXW because I am a STBXW and so badly wanted a loyal, loving husband and father for my daughter. Obviously male cheaters also suck, but somehow the female version hits differently. They selfishly removed an amazing partner from the dating pool, making him unavailable for the rest of us loyal females, and then completely F’d it up. Screw them.

    Chump Champ. (First great name — I’ve been using that screen name myself.) YOU ARE AN ANGEL. You will find a great woman who will treat you like you are once you ditch the devil you live with. Good luck.

    • I know what you mean, even before I learnt of the affair, whenever I came across a male friend or colleague who had cheated on their family it made me sad and I distanced myself from them, they didnt share the same values as me.

      • Different values. Exactly!

        It’s a punch in the gut to realize your spouse has low character and different values.

        Good luck.

        • I still struggle with that, all these years later. How could I have been so blind as to what he was capable of?

          Then to have him repeat similar tactics with his own son. And yes she is just like him. I wanted to think in the beginning she influenced him, but no he found his level.

      • One thing I could never stand was listening to men speak badly about their wives or other women: makes my skin crawl.

        I wonder about this gendered reply about the lethality of women traitors: is it because men don’t expect it? Because women as presumed caregivers are destroying the family that their kids live in? Because of the barbaric language of cucking and emasculation, which is castration? Zeus castrated Kronos and from the severed genitals thrown into the sea up rose Venus on, don’t you know it, a half-shell. There is something so inextricably violent, at the cellular and most metaphysical level simultaneously, and there’s anger in all this: rage, the desire to inflict injury, and the expectation to evade consequence.

        One thing I was thinking reading this thread was the degree of pity I had for this STBX: she shamed herself; destroys the lecherous headmaster; loses the respect of her kids and community and eminently decent and loving husband: how does this woman live with herself?

        I can’t go into details, this being public, but one of my kids is struggling terribly in the wake of her mother’s destruction of the family. It’s agonizing to watch, and I just think, Jesus, how selfish. How inconceivably selfish and cruel.

        Then I think, this guy, CC, he can’t see this now, not yet, but escaping from this woman really will be a tremendous blessing and a gift.

  • here is my thoughtful and sensitive bit of feedback: fuck that creepy-assed headmaster guy. If you have to keep dealing with him make it clear you are happy to report his behavior to his superior. You have a profession where you mess around like that and adversely affect the life of your student.

  • There’s a male chump on this board whose STXW has done everything but cut off a limb to avoid getting job. So be prepared for some major tantrums. If you anticipate this stuff, you will be better able to go “Oh, yeah. This is the “you can’t make me get a job” tantrum or the “But Headmaster helped me in a bad time” tantrum.

    • Blow job is her only job. Your job CC is to keep your sanity so you can do your very real job of being a doctor while you safeguard your kids’ wellbeing.

      And the only way to do that is to stop enabling your abuser to continue to abuse you and detach from the circus entirely by the following means: going very low contact / gray rock, lawyer up, hard boundaries and serve those consequences.

      I’d also be expecting a bunch of ongoing entitlement nonsense judging from your STBXW’s shameless antics thus far. She may even try to fake you out that she is remorseful and coerce you into therapy with her – but it won’t change her and it won’t help you. Do not fall for it. This is who she is: the eraser-banging-headmaster-screwing-person-you-married and she brought that bullshit right in from the farmer’s field and deposited it smack bang in the middle of your family home.

      The only conclusion is that it’s time to go… (farmer’s field fucking) cheater.

  • Firstly I want to say thank you for carrying on with your job through these past Covid months. I work for the NHS but back office. I truly admire all of you out there.

    If you add to that pressure what you have told us today I’m amazed you’re still in one piece. You need to get tough now for your sake and the kids. My experience of UK divorce was you offer to mediate and if that’s a no you go to a solicitor (preferably right now for advice) and take it down the legal route.

    Will it feel mean to finally be firm with someone you’ve probably always made excuses for? Yes. But it is the only way forward. She made a choice now it’s time for consequences.

    There is only one treatment for this wife CC and it’s to hand things over legally to someone who has your back. Your life is hard enough right now – let her go.

  • Here are a few more thoughts:

    Wifey cheats because she’s bored. She’s bored because she’s lazy.

    Headmaster is a creep who enjoys using his position to band student Moms.

    Your daughter knows her headmaster sleeps with her mom. So do all her classmates. It’s a source of major embarrassment to her.

    The farmer knows as well. He wishes they would take their nasty business elsewhere & tired of cleaning up their used prophylactics & cigarette butts.

  • I’m a big champion of stay at home parents since having to give up work to care for a chronically ill middle child. It’s no picnic even without the round-the-clock rigors and anxiety of managing life threatening medical conditions. Work-work would be a reprieve in comparison, particularly for those who are passionate about their professions. SAHM work is grossly undervalued by society, which I’m sure adds to the dire statistics about the mental health of full time parents.

    That said, I can’t even wrap my head around what your wife did, CC. Someone commented that cheaters think on the level of goldfish. There’s just no way for a non-cheater to comprehend that level of selfishness and creepiness. Even for those of us with high sex drives and healthy senses of adventurousness, the whole sneaking-around-STD-risking-furtive-fucking thing seems completely repulsive and, furthermore, rigged since anyone who would participate with such a thing has already proven themselves rough trade.

    Never for a minute did I think the stress of parenting a sick child gave me license to cheat even at times when I was unhappy with the kids’ dad’s level of participation and attitude. Even when he plummeted into secret, well hidden alcohol addiction and I was worried he was developing early dementia, I never thought about cheating. To cheat is to take on the identity of a cheater, full stop. I was trying to think of a scenario in which cheating would be ethically acceptable and the only example I could think of was the mother of a long-ago boyfriend who had to trek across the mountains at night with two small children in tow to escape an extremely violent husband– one who, as it had turned out, had attempted to kill his daughter from a previous marriage in a failed murder-suicide in punishment for his first wife trying to leave him, and who was, furthermore, high up in dictatorial fascist regime in a European country that did not allow women to divorce easily or at all at the time. Even then she didn’t get involved with anyone until she’d been long settled in the UK. The point was that, had she done so before getting an annulment, it might have been sort of understandable. But that’s it. I can’t think of another scenario in which stepping out would be considered acceptable.

    And as a parent, not just a committed partner (presumably not married to an attempted child murderer), you don’t cheat. As a parent, you’re like the Secret Service at the inaugural ball: not there to party but to make sure the VIPs are safe and sound. Sure, even the option of cheating is hampered when y the full time parent of a child in life and death straits, but even if my child had not been ill, the challenges of raising average children to healthy, functional adulthood now are consuming enough. There’s always something important and meaningful to do that doesn’t involve humping creeps in school parking lots. There’s always role modeling in a world that shows every day what happens to people who grew up without this.

    I got bids before and after learning the father of my three children had a two year affair with a rapacious alcoholic from work. But the flirting from other men unsettled me on principle. Who are these cheater goldfish weirdos and poachers? As far as I could see, none of them were saving children from murderous fascists, so there goes the one possible alibi.

    • Hell of a Chump, I understand what you are saying and I think SAHM are making a huge commitment and yes its difficult and lonely. I was trying to stress that I didn’t force that on her, it was her decision, her dream. There is lots of evidence that women who work part time or full time are healthier and happier than those who stay at home.

      There is more to this, just before Christmas 2019 she did apply for and was given a job, she turned it down! I know, looking back I have been possibly the biggest Chump ever.

      • It’s also true that being stay at home partner gives a wrong person a lot of free time to think about and actually cheat.

        It can also be lonely and very stressful for a partner to be the sole breadwinner.

      • I was a SAHM and never cheated on my very busy military husband. I was fully committed to the marriage from the beginning. If being home with the children is lonely (though I can’t imagine it ever being lonely), then she could have volunteered in any number of things. She didn’t have to cheat. No matter what you did or didn’t do caused her to cheat on you. That was all her sin. Do not take any of that blame at all.

        • Yep, same here. Never thought of cheating, and yes I was young and attractive and had I wanted to, it would have been easy.

          I was all wrapped up in that love, marriage vows, commitment stuff. When I went to work full time after my son was grown, was when he had time to “date” and find my replacement before he dumped me. But not before conning me into signing for a property loan based on my income, as schmoopie didn’t make much money, and she had filed bankruptcy so no credit anyway.

          Of course down the line I replaced him too, and I did way better. I definitely traded up, on all counts.

      • CC– Thanks for the vote of confidence. I never planned on being a SAHM, was not trained for it, it never suited me, I missed my previous work, never fit with the mom crowd, but once it became necessary, I committed 110%. I was viewed as obsessive by the mums who lunch but then they didn’t have to deal with the consequences of falling short. Now all the kids are excelling and my once very sick kid turned the corner and continues to defy original prognoses. They all speak two languages, play classical music on a college level and one is in animation school and writing graphic novels. They cook, reserve electronic gadgets for a few hours on Sunday, clean up after themselves, read 19th century novels and tomes on evolution and get into animated discussions about neoliberalism. There’s a lot of laughter in the house. I think I did alright.

        Still, I didn’t grow up romanticizing the role I ended up playing and I think undervaluing what I was doing left me a sitting duck to be guilted as the partner making “less of a contribution.” Cheater cracked that guilt whip heavily during his nearly two year affair. It took a therapist creating a sort of chart to show how much it would take to compensate someone for the work I did to understand how seriously I’d been gaslighted. I might win in a competition for world’s biggest chump.

        If by “chump” we mean trusting and too busy doing what we were supposed to be doing and committing to family well being to think our spouses would to get up to the insane, shocking things they did, then chump is a badge of honor. Like a friend of mine always says, you can’t understand crazy if you’re not crazy.

        Also there’s no particular profile for cheaters other than whichever personality disorder drives any given cheater’s lying, gaslighting and cheating. High achiever cheaters, underachiever cheaters, macho cheaters, Melvin Milquetoast cheaters, pillar of the community cheaters, loser cheaters, Jesus cheaters, atheist cheaters, sudden overnight polyamorists, senior law firm partner cheaters, stay-at-home-dad cheaters, social justice warrior cheaters, master-of-the-universe corporate Valkyrie cheaters, butter-wouldn’t-melt demure little vestal cheaters.

        Sigh. If only the devil would wear one recognizable set of horns to keep things simple. All I know is I would rather be us than them. You’re the goose with the golden eggs. You have everything you need to rebuild an extraordinary life.

      • You use that in the divorce negotiations. She’s employable (#1) and she refused to work (#2). Use that to end the talk of alimony.

  • There is probably a term for all this but the bottom line is that she is the taker and you are the giver. So stop. It’s easy. Just say, “No”. Short, declarative sentence. No excuse, no explanations.
    I have about worn out CN telling this but you might get some idea that you will survive this. My brother was a successful businessman who thought he had a pretty good life. His wife was a SAHM who did as little as she possibly could. One thing she had plenty of time for was making plans. One day she told him she was leaving and she did. She left a good man, and little children, to “find” herself. As far as I know she found herself all over the US. I hope never again to see a man cry like that, or to see children revert to infancy. But! But I watched a sweet, kind, introverted, man get his shit together, file for complete custody and move on. He found a wonderful wife, who was everything he needed, had more kids and was happy. He got angry. Really, really angry and it carried him right out of his heartbreak.

  • Hi CC. I’ve commented on a few other threads above but wanted to add my voice to the already great advice you’ve gotten. I’m a male chump that is 5 years out from my divorce now. I want to tell how much better it gets after you go through it. Like you, I had to live with my ex for over a year after we “separated” because she refused to move out. I had a similar situation with her parents having a large home nearby. She wouldn’t move out because of the optics. That is really all she cared about after all. My lawyer advised me not to move out because it would negatively affect my custody outcome. It was a year of hell but worth it for the outcome of 50/50 custody. Otherwise, I might be relegated to every other weekend and dinner on Wednesdays. From the sound of it, you want at least 50% time with your kids as the sane parent. They need your sanity and example of not putting up with abuse. There is light at the end. You and your children will be better off once its done. Hang in there and keep in touch with Chump Nation for support.

    • I got my XW to move out by agreeing to sign a letter saying that I acknowledged that “XW moving out is not abandonment of her family”. This got her out of the house while allowed her to save face. Since the letter had no legal force (according to my lawyer, whom I consulted before signing it), it was a win-win for me. Also, XW spread word around her neighborhood that I was abusive, so in the end she was perceived as a hero (abused wife bravely leaves family to save herself) rather than as an adulteress who’d destroyed two marriages and fled the family home.

      So, yeah, they’re worried about optics (and perhaps women are more worried than men) – but they can find ways to finesse the optics if they have enough incentive.

  • It’s too bad that I don’t at the moment have the time to read through the other comments.

    I just wanted to take a moment to let ChumpChamp know that he’s absolutely not alone with this. My own now ex-wife – who I refer to as Mme YogaPants – also was “indicisive”, “didn’t know what she wanted”, “needed time to think”. And I gave it to her for the better part of a year. Holding her secret within me as a kind of poison.

    It turned out that she just didn’t want to give up the comfortable life-style we had until she was certain that her new twu wuv would work out and make everything all happy and sun-shiny.

    This is a story that has played out over and over and over again.

    As men we are programmed by society to protect and provide. To take the hits so that others don’t have to.

    But what is happening to you and what happened to me and to countless others including many on this forum is ABUSE. Plain, simple spousal abuse. Just because you aren’t being physically hit doesn’t change a thing and in some ways perhaps makes it worse because you are getting garrotted in your soul.

    Pull the plug. Know that she’ll suddenly have a change of heart and try to reel you back in to where she can control you. Know that it is indeed over and was over even before she fell on to a strange dick in a farmer’s field somewhere. SHE made that choice and all the choices that led up to that and all the choices that followed that. You are not responsible nor culpable for any of those choices.

    You have a family to protect. One that no longer includes her. She is now outside of that protection and is on her own. It will be tough to let that go. It can be done though and you will feel lighter and happier for it.


    • Bowtie-My story is very much like yours. I read CL regularly but haven’t posted in awhile. I told my story before, so won’t hash out the details again, but my ex wife was also indecisive, “not sure “ what she wanted (of course, she left me and our then 12 years old twin boys and moved in with her AP 70 miles away).
      I pick me danced and bought into everything she said, which included not only blaming her leaving on me, but our son who has ADHD and ODD. I found out a couple months later, from her brother, what was really going on. Her family has been supportive of me through out this and have been disgusted by her behavior.

      Anyhow, while it’s still painful, it does get better. We were officially divorced December 26, 2019. I haven’t seen her since December 13th of last year (neither have her sons, I have full custody and neither want to see her) and only hear from her by email about once a month. No contact helps tremendously.

  • Chump champ,
    You’ve got this and we’re rooting for you from around the world.
    As a child of a cheater/chump couple, don’t underestimate your kids perceptiveness and intelligence. I witnessed my father’s emotional abuse for years as well as some shoving and hitting. And women were calling the house. So when my parents announced their divorce without a reason, we were being gaslit. I knew what the score was as an eleven year old.
    Your children are old enough to know the reason since they’re in or entering puberty and romantic relationships. No need to editorialize and give the sordid details. They’ll have to sort out their relationship with their mum with support from you and maybe a counselor.

  • Chumpchamp,

    Yup. CL nailed this, as usual. FUCK WHAT SHE WANTS indeed! You’ve got children w/your fuckwit STBXW, so you can’t go total no contact w/her, but you can learn to pare the communication down to a bare level (grey rock). And please, don’t tell her anymore about what you’re doing in regards to the divorce proceedings than your solicitor tells you you need to. She can damn well figure out the rest on her own. Let her sink or swim. NOT YOUR PROBLEM anymore.

    I didn’t have the STBXW living in the house w/me, but she moved in w/her AP a half mile down the street from what was our house (and later became mine) thirteen days after D-day, and she had the keys to the house from April 2017 (D-month?) to right before Thanksgiving week (mid-November of 2017). I had been pick-me dancing hard for almost six months, then fell back into only shock until right before Thanksgiving, when I realized I no longer wanted her showing up and entering MY HOME, when I wasn’t around (she’d already been doing that for months while I was working post D-day).

    I was taking my son (my daughters came later) and going to visit my brother and his family in Boston for Thanksgiving, so that really made me worry what the FW XW might do when I was gone those days. As I said, she had already been doing whatever she pleased in terms of hanging out at and removing things from the house w/out getting my agreement regarding them (as if, she hadn’t exit-affaired me for her older, richer, married boss and I should still behave as her loyal, clueless husband).

    I had the locks changed right before we left for Boston, and didn’t tell her. I did consult w/my lawyer first, though, who felt that since the FW XW let herself in constantly and took stuff from the house w/out my buy-in after leaving me, I was entitled to protect my home and belongings, should a judge question it. Never came to that. Pissed the FW XW off, and my younger daughter, who told me I shouldn’t do that because her mother still owned half the house. I told my daughter that, while that was true, it was no longer her mother’s home, by her own actions, and I had a right to protect it from a FW like her mother (I said it a bit more diplomatically) until the divorce stipulations were agreed to.

    My FW XW also wanted me to do everything through mediation for the divorce, to save herself money she didn’t have. Her cheap, yet rich AP (think Ebenezer Scrooge) didn’t want to lend her a dime, I guess (she ended up getting money from her sister, the favorite aunt, I gather). I guess he wanted her to know she had to do this on her own (what pathetic assholes they both are). I had already contacted my future lawyer at that point, and I told the FW XW that I had. I also told her she should probably get her own lawyer. See, I still cared to much about her too, at that point. I was still reeling from her betrayal, and would continue to do so for a long time. I told her I wasn’t getting a lawyer to go after her, but to PROTECT MYSELF. And I wasn’t. And I did. Thank God I did.

    Otherwise, I don’t know if I would have caught the fact that in paying her off w/my retirement money to settle her stupid, separate request for money in the divorce (after telling me she didn’t want to hurt me anymore) and to buy her half of the house’s equity from her, she might have gotten some of my tech stocks. When I realized this, I instructed my lawyer to include in the divorce stipulations that the payoff to the FW XW should not include any of the tech stocks from my retirement funds (I still can’t believe I caught this, in the state of mind I was in).

    That small act has allowed me to more than double my retirement savings from when we signed the divorce stipulations (even w/the last few days of downturns on tech stock prices). I shouldn’t touch my retirement money until at least ten years from now, but there’s a lot more there because of that simple action, and from engaging a lawyer to help me. Please don’t think I’m crowing about this. I was more surprised than anybody at what has happened over the last six months to tech stocks. It’s just the best example I can think of from my divorce history to have a lawyer/solicitor and to pay attention to how things are done in the divorce proceedings (hopefully, you have something equally good come from your divorce proceedings. Aside from getting away from a FW STBXW, that is. That’s the real payoff).

    In the proceedings for our divorce stipulations, we did eventually use mediation (w/lawyers, but not in attendance), where the FW XW continued to act like the fuckwit she is. The best example of this was how she decided to repeat telling me, in front of the mediator (supposedly the best in our New England state), where she thought I should move to following our divorce (and by where, I mean almost EXACTLY where). He couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t either, as she’d already told me this once before on a private phone call months before (it got a shocked/cold reception then, too!).

    My point is if my FW XW, who had almost always worked while we were married (except for when our oldest was little) acted this shitty towards me, another loving, caring husband (of over 24 years, w/whom she had three children), you can bet you’ll want a good solicitor around to protect you from your STBXW, who seems to still view you as the golden goose (I was too, it seems, until I burned out as a pharmacist. After two years of me not bringing in the big money anymore, she’d found her next victim in her new boss. I believe he found his, too. As my brother from Boston said, they deserve each other).

    At this point, YOU are more in need of protection from your STBXW, not the other way around. She’s done enough damage already to you, your marriage and your family. Don’t let her get any more good punches in on you. Follow CL’s advice. It’s good, intelligent, logical stuff. Get help from your solicitor. If he/she isn’t helping you enough, think about getting a better one. This is one of those (hopefully) few times you really need a sharp solicitor on your side, despite the cost. Their job is to protect you, your relationship w/your children, your finances and anything else important to you that the STBXW could latch on to.

    Also, stop thinking of the STBXW as having similar values to you. She’s already proved she doesn’t. It takes awhile to wrap your mind around it, but this woman does not think like you and me (or CL and CN). She only cares about herself at this point. She could care less about you. It’s a harsh thing to comprehend, when you thought you knew this person you loved so well. You didn’t know her well enough. I didn’t know mine well enough. We loved them fully; to them, we were probably always disposable, when we no longer suited their purposes. THAT’S ON THEM, not on us.

    We were honest and loving. They were not. It’s time to realize that, and move on. Be there for your kids. Be as sane for them as you can be, and be as dependable for them as you can be. They’re your future, not the STBXW. Think of your needs now, and develop your boundaries regarding the STBXW. Enforce those boundaries. They are your new friends. Speaking of friends, make sure you avoid any Switzerland friends or flying monkeys (if you read CL’s archives, you’ll get this fairly quickly). Better yet, get her book, Leave A Cheater, Gain A Life. It’s all in there.

    I wish you only the best going forward, ChumpChamp. Reach out to CN again anytime. I hope your nightmare of living w/the STBXW ends sooner rather than later. Stay healthy, stay sane, and take care of yourself and your kids. Your STBXW isn’t thinking of you or them like she should be. I’m so sorry you’re all having to go through this. It will get better, I’m sure. It just takes awhile.

    • WELL said tLR

      The completed triangulation OP… FW Mission Accomplished.

      (description for my lingering Shock)
      “ reeling from her betrayal, and would continue to do so for a long time. “ ????. Fuckin A it does

      with Sometimes lightening speed like acid flashbacks. BAMM!!! WTF!?

      But you know what!? In the end we are ARMY Strong MFs We take a Beatin and keep Ticking.

      CC Most men don’t post here. So you’re taking a big leap out of your nightmare by so-doing. Good on ya. Take what you need and leave the rest for latter bridge crossings. If you hear anything today, hear ???? “Protect Yourself “

      Put this subroutine into your brain ???? on repetitive rewind until it becomes reflex- for every single thought, communication and action.

      CC, you just found your room full of older brothers ????????

      • +1
        I’m in the similar similar situation as CC but have started the divorce procedures and go no contact as mech as possible (my STBXW lives on the couch as I can kick her out untill the d. process is done).

        CC follow the advice you got here and you’ll be fine. The sooner you start the sooner you’ll reach meh.

  • Run like your head is on fire.
    I know it’s hard but you have to.
    She will suck the life out of you and slowly kill you.
    It happened to me.
    Stop feeling if the stove is still hot. ( Yes it is) you will only get burned one more time

  • TL;DR; Spend money on a proper psychologist for yourself before lawyers and never on marriage counsellors. Fix yourself and then you’ll have the courage to realise what’s best.

    I feel your pain ChumpChamp, I’m also a year on from discovery day and live in the UK, was married 19 years with 3 children, 17,15 and 13 so I’m right with you.

    Let me guess, she’s said: “I don’t want you to bring this up everytime we argue”?

    I’m hearing you can take this abuse much longer. Whilst you’re try your best to be a good Dad. Think of the simple airline emergency drill, there’s well thought out reason they ask you to put your mask on first. If you don’t look after yourself you will not be able to look after your children.

    I struggled with growing mental health issues whilst I suspected the cheating, then I went on to antidepressants after discovering the cheating. Saying the ‘divorce’ word out loud cured it all. Please do not let yourself slip on that slope.

    I’ve come to realise that there is no perfect/good time to seperate and start the divorce process after discovering the cheaters. However, if this happens to me again, I’m leaving after getting the kids together and explaining that facts I’ve discovered.

    Yes you have to budget for this, but remember that mortgage payments on the house your children live in count as child maintenance. Use the free hour of every local UK lawyer provides to make a plan with numbers.

  • What is it with cheaters and blaming their spouse for working while the cheater lays around? My ex-husband did that. First he wrapped himself in the mantle of “sacrificial stay at home Dad” even though I didn’t want him to, he didn’t need to, we had an au pair AND the children were in daycare/school. Then he started blaming me for working as though I had a choice with him not earning money. He HAD to cheat with the au pair because apparently I was neglecting him by working. He actually had a condition that became increasingly disabling but he REFUSED to apply for disability insurance. Then his family kept telling me how sorry I should feel for him for what he’s going through with his disability and I should understand how hard it is for him to deal. Somehow forgetting that I was working full time and parenting from a WHEELCHAIR for several years due to a back injury. You can’t make this s*** up! The question is: could I have predicted this 20 years ago when I first met him? How do you spot these people ahead of time?

    • Chompingchump I think your last question is a good one, How do you spot these people ahead of time? I realise now I chose badly, I have to take responsibility for this, learn and not make that mistake again.(if ever given that opportunity). In hind sight the signs were probably there, but I chose to ignore them.

      • This is a question perhaps best saved for therapy. But I can tell you from experience (and reading your post) that one red flag is entitlement. Does this person give back? Are they generous with their time, their emotions?

        Another red flag: are they a taker? If you don’t think you’re lovable, you’ll settle for being useful. This is dangerous because if you give too much, the parasites come flocking.

        It sounds like you’re a thoughtful, kind, considerate person with a lot going for you. You’re the full package, period. You don’t need to prove yourself by giving so much, especially to someone who won’t bring 100% in return.

        Again, this is a good question for a therapist. Sounds like you have to work on boundaries. No shame in it, most of us do.

        • Cam once again you are spot on. Started doing a lot of reflection, initially it was all about what I could have done better, but now realising I don’t/didn’t have boundaries and did settle for being useful.

          I’m pretty sure I can change that. Not sure about therapy, we saw 3 different therapists in the 6 months I tried to save the marriage and it didn’t do a lot of good for either of us.

          • Are you talking about couples counseling? I’m not surprised it didn’t work. Your wife’s morally bankrupt and doesn’t want to save the marriage, so you had nothing to work with.

            Psychologists don’t recommend going to therapy with an abuser for that reason. It only gives the abuser more ammo to hurt you with, AND they won’t get better anyway because counseling fixes communication problems. You don’t have a communication problem, your wife has an abusing problem.

            If and when you’re interested, you might find a lot of value in individual therapy for yourself. Speaking from experience, I can say therapy helped me a lot with boundaries and trauma. I’d go so far as to say it changed (and saved) my life.

            You do have to find the right therapist. In the US, I would recommend someone with a doctorate and a clinical background. Here, it’s called a PsyD. That’s as expert as they come, especially if you find someone specialized in trauma. I progressed further with her (mentally and emotionally) in 12 months than I had in the previous decade.

            If I’d known years ago what I know now, I wouldn’t have bothered with crap therapists touting social work degrees. Start at the top of the pyramid with the best damn specialist you can afford. If you don’t click, fire them and go to the next specialist on your list. Therapy can be life-changing but you have to find the right person.

            • First question to ask when interviewing a potential therapist is “what causes somebody to cheat on their partner/spouse ?” Only correct answer is a personality disorder. And the person should see cheating as a form of abuse. Domestic violence.

              • YES! Absolutely!

                I didn’t ask that question of my latest therapist. But I did tell her in one of our first meetings that I was going no contact with abusive family. My family are all deranged lunatics: child abusers, addicts, you name it.

                Any time I suggested no contact with other therapists, they’d inevitably whine about how “you can’t give up on faaaaaamily.” I fired every therapist.

                This therapist, however, said: “Thank God! It usually takes me years to convince people to cut off abusive family so it’s great you’ve already figured that out on your own.”

                I liked her immediately.


  • Sounds like the typical “have your cake and eat it too” straight from the Narc Handbook.

    Oh-and also the most infuriating: the whole, “You should tell my affair partner how grateful you are because he/she has helped US during this trying time.”

    Oh-I’d love to thank schmoopie…with my stiletto heel up the ass……..

    • Good grief. What an ass.

      My Fwits worst offense after Dday was trying to tell me about his “first time” with the whore. Like I was supposed to be excited for him that he got some used strange.

      Sadistic Bastard.

  • OMG, I lost it at:

    “Maybe headmaster needs someone to bang the erasers.”

    I don’t visit CL so much anymore.. my ordeal is over and as it turns out, things actually do get better (hang in there newcomers!)

    But, I do miss CL’s wit and I’m waiting for that new book!

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