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He sees prostitutes. She’s ‘stuck in a fog’.

Dear Chump Lady

I’ve been in an over 40-year marriage in which I’ve invested a lot of emotional equity. My husband was unfaithful from the very start of when I meet him. I knew and should have run then but…..in my fairy tale mind, I thought I could change him. I thought my pure and naive love would be enough to make it work. I realized early that was utter stupidity, but felt trapped by then because we had two kids.

Because I wasn’t strong, I put up with a lot of things. I have been told by him that after an early separation in the beginning of our marriage he’d “only been with one prostitute.” I never believed him, but again I felt my love was big enough to fix him.

Fast forward to 2017 to late 2019, I discovered (my oldest son caught him) he’d been paying for prostitutes. He started out (2017) with it was only one time, and now he stands firm “it was only 20 times.” Of course I don’t believe anything that comes out of his mouth. (I cross checked financial statements and they showed more money going out than he claims.)

He’s been going to therapy and has shown signs he’s changed. I’ve been in therapy as well but I still feel paralyzed and not sure on what I want to do yet. It’s been over a year since this last day and I’m getting stronger but, still stuck. I know I’ll probably never know the full scope of his infidelities and that’s where I seem to have trouble. I tried looking through your archives to see if there was anyone else whom had similar stories, mostly to see how they handled it.

Stuck in a Fog

Dear Stuck,

How people here “handled it” — a lying, health-risking, prostitute-procuring fuckwit — is they LEFT. That’s the advice we give here. Leave a cheater, gain a life. Happy to provide hand-holding along the way.

You’ve had a FORTY YEAR EXPERIMENT on whether or not he’ll change. And he HAS NOT CHANGED.

And if he did change (he has not), how would you know? He’s a liar.

I’m not being mean or name calling. This is your reporting. He lies. He minimizes. He steals marital funds. He’s done this for DECADES.

Is this therapist a wizard? Shrink sofas do not confer honesty upon liars. They have no magic powers.

Even if he wants to get better (he doesn’t, he wants a cessation of consequences so you’ll stay, that’s not love, that’s being of use) — even IF — that doesn’t negate 40 years of abuse.

Abuse of your health. (STDs check, STAT!) Abuse of your finances. Abuse of your mental well-being. (40 years of mindfuckery!)

You owe him NOTHING.

He has a shiver of sorry?

NOTHING.

A come-to-Jesus therapy moment?

NOTHING.

A sore on his pecker that needs examining?

NOTHING.

Which just leaves YOU. Put aside his festering pile of potential, what about YOU? Is this relationship acceptable to you? The dread? The disrespect? The marriage policing? The cross-referencing? The trust and safety you’ll never feel because he’s never been trustworthy or safe?

Okay with you?

Because I wasn’t strong, I put up with a lot of things.

Because you ARE strong, you put up with a lot of things. It takes a superhuman amount of strength to live with chaos and abuse. But you don’t HAVE to. If you’re strong enough to put up with that shit, you’re strong enough to leave it. 

Why not direct that mightiness at yourself? If we’re going to have faith in someone here, let’s make it YOU. And not the guy who steals from his family to buy human flesh to fuck. YOU have potential. YOU have the ability to change.

Your work is so much easier than his work. You just have to believe you’re worthy of better treatment and act on it. He has to give up decades of entitlement and privilege.

I discovered (my oldest son caught him) he’d been paying for prostitutes.

So, not only are you marriage policing, it’s a family effort. This dysfunction is being modeled to another generation. You can stop that. Take away his centrality and everyone dancing around him trying to save him from himself, or bust him, or call him out on a lie, and SAVE YOURSELVES. Let him be the disgusting person he is. Leave it. He can improve (he won’t) or not on his own. Go live in peace.

He’s been going to therapy and has shown signs he’s changed.

Here’s an experiment to test his sorry. Go see a lawyer. Draw up a fair settlement. Present him with a bill for “theft of marital resources” (This is a thing. You can ask for stolen marital monies back in a divorce.) Tally up the sex worker costs, add interest. ADD that to your half, or 60% or whatever you are due. Present him with the bill (a CONSEQUENCE) and see how he reacts.

There’s your sorry.

Oh, and see if he stays in therapy another second longer.

No? There’s your sorry.

If he is truly remorseful and realizes the damage he has caused, he will not resent you protecting yourself from his harm and he will try and make real, TANGIBLE amends — a settlement.

If he stole money as a common criminal, there would be restitution to victims. He victimized you. He realizes that, or he doesn’t. My guess (based on 40 years of reported behavior) is that he doesn’t. That his “therapy” is entirely contingent on what you do (stay). It’s impression management. Test his sorry.

You won’t? That’s because you know the answer. You don’t want to test it, because you’re afraid of a future without him. Of who you’d have to become.

A bazillion of us here who have made this journey can tell you.

On the other side is a woman who doesn’t live in a fog. She lives in sunlight. In peace. You deserve that.

Trust that he sucks. Call a lawyer.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • After 40 years of marriage, I’m gathering you two are I your sixties. Now he wants to “change”? Now that he’s an older man? So you can change his diapers when he diminishes? RUN. If he can afford hookers, he can afford his own home health care.

    • Well said Denise.

      Stuck, dear, ALL of us hear know that there is NOTHING for you to work on. Your loving seeds of goodness fall on barren earth. As CL wrote above, there is NOTHING.
      NOTHING will change.

      It is very painful to accept this, but accepting is many times the best solution. You will survive.
      You are like me, same age, same story. Give a good example to your children and gain a life.
      In spite of all the idiots that populate it, the World is a wonderful place. Chump Nation is testimony to this fact.

    • And over 60 is still plenty of time to find a great, peaceful, happy life with your children.

      Tons of time to make new family traditions and ENJOY them!

      You will be shocked at how you can live once you are in control of your finances. You will know where every dime is being spent. Rest assured that whatever depletion you found, there is much, much more!

      You deserve not to have to worry about consequences to your health from his prostitution habit. Again, if you found one, I guarantee you there are others.

      I’m sorry for the pain you will have to walk thru and for the pain of what you find as you and your lawyer dig through everything including many things that you don’t know about.

      But at the end, no matter what your age, the serenity you will find is worth everything. Look up Chump Lady’s post about having “walls that sing”. At our age that’s a beautiful thing.

    • Foggy- Here is an alarm to wake you up.

      I just took a call from an 86 year old woman who is frantically trying to sell things in order to get cash.

      Why? Because her sack of shit husband spent their meager life savings- about $30K- on legalized gambling.

      In the South (maybe other places) we have these places called Skillz, or Business Centers. But what it actually is? Video poker, game tables any other ways to set stacks of hundred bills of fire.

      This client is no lady of leisure who lunches. She stood on her feet for 40 years at Sears. Let me say that again: SHE STOOD ON HER FEET FOR 40 YEARS WORKING RETAIL AT SEARS.

      So, at 86, instead of breathing in the crisp fall air, having an apple crumble or even sleeping later—she is frantically trying to scrape up cash TO LIVE. Because this selfish monster spent every bit of money they had one mile down the road- playing the big shot for OTHER WOMEN to take a free turn at the video slot. Her brother caught him, told her, and she still slogged on with his sorry, nasty ass.

      It gets more fun. She discovered her husband took out one of those reverse mortgages. I have already unkindly drilled her about how he did it without her understanding. She’s too beat down for me to press it further. It stands. She does not own her modest house to pull cash out of it. She has lived there over 40 years. No equity.

      So, the monster that did this? He’s a nursing home, battling stomach cancer, issuing edicts and demanding special banana puddings for his hurt tummy.

      Guess where he much needed social security check goes? The nursing home.

      It’s not funny and it’s not love. This is drop dead dangerous. America doesn’t care if you are homeless and on the streets. America does not have a safety net for the working poor. Or middle class.

      The deceit you know about is the tiniest sliver of truth. Go get a lawyer TODAY and stop playing games with someone who views you as a joke.

      • No country has a safety net for this poor woman. She didn’t have the rug pulled out from under her;the entire house collapsed ! I picture this woman having to live in her car unless she has family that can take care of her after that MONSTER dies ! I hope she stops visiting him. After she punches him in his cancer ridden gut and dumps a bowl of banana pudding over his head.
        FFS

        • The sad thing is, if marriage crime were regarded like white collar crime, spouses like this would get charged and arrested.

            • Sometimes they are. There are three or four cases of parents who were the treasurers of kid’s sports teams embezzeling and being prosecuted in my county over the past ten years. Also a teller at a bank skimming money off the account of an elderly woman, a couple of home caretakers going to jail for taking money out of thepersonal accounts of their patients. My state comes down hard on people like that.

        • In Australia we have an Age Pension from the government for people who are over 66yrs… it’s $860 a fortnight for a single person. It’s income & assets tested. There ARE countries that make an attempt at looking after the elderly who have no superannuation…

        • After his flight to hell, she can claim his social security instead of hers, if it is more than hers. And it probably is.

      • Yup, I knew a lady in her 70’s. A man in his 40’s showed up on her doorstep one day. Her husband said this is my son from a waitress on one of truck stops he frequented on his job. He said this man was moving in with them. She objected. She ended up in the hospital from the beating her husband gave her. When I met her she was living with her daughter, her ex had ran to the bank and taken out ALL their savings.

        You get nothing from being a martyr. This lady ended up broke, and said that she regretted staying for the children and for the ‘family’. And some of the grown kids sided with dear old DAD.

      • DiAngelo, thanks for that. My husband gambled, Texas hold em, online. Lost $400,000 of retirement money I earned. I had no idea. It happens.

    • I would add to this:

      WHAT exactly, is he going to change in a few weeks that he has not changed in 40 YEARS?

      Nothing. Absolutely nothing. A 40 year hooker habit that didn’t change the first, second, third, 15th time he’s caught will not change this time. He’s made his choice.

      When I divorced, my husband tried to show me he’d “changed” the habits I had been trying to get him to work on for a long time. One of which was his constantly leaving the house a mess. He sent me pictures of how he’d cleaned up the living room and bedroom. I said this is too little too late. What have you changed in a week that you haven’t changed for the last three years? Nothing. This is short lived at best. I had no faith this change was real. It never had been before, and I don’t care if *that* time it was. It was too. Late.

      Fog, I assure you, his being in therapy is too little too late. 40 years too little too late. Once he feels like you think he’s *changed* he will go right back to his (literal) hos. He knows he has to make a small show to you just to get you comfortable enough to call off the marriage police dogs and he’ll be back on the phone with whoever has an open appointment. And if he has enough money to maintain this hooker habit for 40 years, he has enough money to support himself. If he gets out on his own and finds out he can’t afford hookers and rent? Well, he’s gotta make a grownup decision now doesn’t he?

      Don’t spend your golden years with a man who would trade you for a single corn chip. Get out. You don’t deserve this.

  • This is the.best.post.ever!!!! It can be applied to SO MANY OTHER BAD MARRIAGE SITUATIONS! Thank you Tracy and Chump Nation.

  • I am so thankful after 20 years of lies and abuse I finally gave up hoping, praying and pick-me-dancing.

    The fog clears and life is so much better on the other side! No more wondering where he’s at, who he’s with, dealing with gaslighting and chaos.

    The only person you can change is you. Go live your life and your dreams!

    • I was ‘stuck’ for 30 years before I gave up smoking the hopium. And yes, life is so, so much better without the dick in the picture. I was stuck because I had invested years in the marriage. It seemed like such a waste to lose that investment. The hopium made me believe that it was possible to make him see the investment, and that once he realized what was important in life, that he would have an ‘a-ha’ moment and say, “Oh Amazon Chump! I’m so glad you never lost your faith in me!” The hopium made me believe that he would see that love is a choice; love is an action, and our investment will pay out with grandkids coming to visit us as we sit and rock on the front porch. Ha! The joke was on me. Once I decided to put down that pipe and say that ‘I count’ (and I certainly counted more than a dick), I was done. Stuck — get un-stuck and get you a life before it’s over. He hasn’t changed in 40 years and he won’t change. Go find out how nice it is on the other side. Stop drinking the koolaid (or smoking the hopium pipe.) IT’S WONDERFUL OVER HERE! Just join us.

  • I’m feeling like CL needs to add a flowchart section to the resources part of the site. With titles like “Are they really sorry?” “Should I leave?” or even a more complex one like “what do I do next?” which could have multiple answers such as: Leave the house now, call a lawyer or get an STD check

    This could help the more logically minded chumps make important decisions.

    • Just scroll through the archives and look at the titles of her daily posts (some repeats).

      Thank you Tracy for this blog and creating an international community of people who “get it” ! You have a busy, full life with your career,family,friends and hobbies. Yay for your drawing class ! We all benefit. And you create new content. For free. A huge gift to the world.

  • Yep to all of it. I lived the exact same scenario. The one hooker, the bills that said otherwise, the therapists who saw progress. Until I caught the lying again. He inherited over a million and never looked back. You deserve better. 6 years next week I changed the locks. Getting better every day. You can do it.

  • I did 25 years with someone who ran off with a guy for a night within months of our marriage.

    Whether she continued to cheat for 25 years or whether she was able to keep all that tucked in for a long time, it eventually came unraveled in the form of multiple affairs at once. And of course it was all my fault.

    I wouldn’t get back on that merry go round again if you paid me.

  • If you’ve read the archives you will see there are some mighty chumps a lot older with longer marriages (some of these being second marriages) and they’ve left and had marvellous life’s .

    Keep reading the archives that will get you out of your fog and get your mighty on

  • Society and religion put so many “can’ts” and “shoulds” on a woman.

    “You can’t leave your marriage. You can’t support yourself. You can’t raise those kids on your own.”
    and “You should love him unconditionally. You should stay. Till death do us part. Model being a good Christian to him.”

    About six months after my divorce, it hit me that I CAN do those things on my own. And that God loves me just as much as a divorced woman as He did when I was in a bad marriage. Staying in a bad marriage and putting up with abuse helps NO ONE — but the abuser.

    • I had the same mindset and judgement from other people over a broken engagement. It took me a lot of years and reflection on my family of origin to change my internal dialog. Mant years later I am in a better place and a good realtionship. It is wrong to place the responbility for everyone’s happiness on just one partner and asking them to reflect on their faults and try to fix things especially in abusive situations.

      • That’s a shocker. People judged you because you broke an engagement to a cheater/abuser?

        Dating and engagements are supposed to be a time to test the other person’s character, values and commitment, relative to your own.

        • I didn’t realize I was being abused by both him and my FOO. I was told it was my fault I wasn’t happy, and from my family that my value as a person and potential partner was almost nothing. Thank goodness I know better now

          • >>my family that my value as a person and potential partner was almost nothing

            I got that too. It is shocking and confusing, and it sure made me wonder if I really deserved when even my mother looked at me with disgust. Eventually I realized that was her own internalized misogyny (she ate a lot of shit sandwiches). Of course, their beliefs about me were untrue, and I was euphoric to get away from the fog of their rancid view of me.

    • I wish everyone knew innately the “you can’t “ message that plays with our mind and keeps us stuck in a relationship or a job is a lie. Abuse can quiet those gut feeling of danger and former feelings of independence.
      I just bought a shirt for my next court date because ex has filed against me. We’ve been divorced 4 yrs. It seems he has a two year tolerance rate until wanting to fuck with me again since we were in court in 18 as well. Anyway, I’m so tired of this invasion in my life and wanted to wear something that would speak for me without being controversial or seeming contentious. I usually go in wearing business like dresses etc. I decided to wear a simple shirt which says,”Actually, I Can” with other pieces of course. I had reservations but decided it says it all.

    • “ Staying in a bad marriage and putting up with abuse helps NO ONE — but the abuser.”. Thank you for this. If I put my kids names in the question “Does staying with X help dear son? Does staying with X help dear daughter?” it cuts through the voices in my head that parcel out guilt. Thank you!!!!

  • As a fellow decades-long married person who put up with abuse, I can tell you that life is better without these low-character, disrespecting cheaters.

    It’ll be scary as hell at first, but eventually you will feel a peace you never knew. You will slowly but surely regain your sense of self-worth.

    You will meet someone new—ie., yourself!!

  • This is not a marriage.

    This is not a relationship.

    There is no trust and safety.

    THIS IS A GAME.

    The only winning move is to walk away and not play.

    You’ve been alone THE WHOLE TIME. It just was easy to deny because you had THE APPEARANCE of a husband. AKA Bernie Madoff.

    You have your kids. And a whole world of truly, sincerely, genuinely caring people to meet who will fill the black hole energy suck your fake husband is.

    This is NOT what honor, love, cherish, forsake, etc looks like.

    If you kiss the frog ONCE and he doesn’t turn into the prince, repeatedly kissing the frog is not going to self will him into existence.

    LEAVING IS LIGHT YEARS EASIER THAN STAYING WITH HIM AND LIVING WITH HIM. You just don’t know it yet. But we do.

    We’re here to help you into the lifeboat, out of the freezing water, as the Titanic is sinking. He’s on board swapping deck chairs.

    CHOOSE LIFE.

      • Hello Fog
        I filed for divorce on Valentine’s Day after 28 years of marriage. He is still in the house and we are still divorcing primarily due to Covid delays.
        The hope of getting rid of him is what keeps me going. He was abusive, nasty, selfish, an absentee father and homeowner, valued strangers thoughts and opinions over mine. Was overly dependent on his mother and allowed her to criticize me.

        I also stayed because I thought I could heal him.
        Then I thought how could anyone in their right mind not value our great kids, our lovely home, and the potential this situation held. Guess what? Never mattered. His need for constant adoration and attention, his need to feel superior, his miss placed rage never stopped
        He was the perfect candidate for online cheating. He would often pick to sext women in foreign countries I think would’ve told an aardvark they would marry them just to get to the United States.
        They were lied to as well
        All the therapists were quacks he said. Or some encouraged him to “be happy “and leave. One in particular never even encouraged him to tell me the truth. I don’t remember one encouraging any kind of introspection or behavioral change in him.
        Rocksolid narcissist.
        I stayed because at one point I thought it was better for my children. I now debate that. I stayed for the financial security which makes me feel crappy about myself. I stayed because my family of origin thought he was a good provider and feared I would become dependent on them.
        I was the only one in the end who could stand up for myself and help myself. Please do the same for yourself. You know This is not how you want your life to go. Good luck to you

  • Thank you CL and CN for your insightful advice. It truly helps to give me strength. Now that I’m truly awake I reflect on the past 40years and clearly see the abuse I was put through. I will be making some tough decisions and I will NO longer be anyone’s doormat. It just blows my mind when I think about how anyone could be so cold and calculating to try to destroy another human being. I can only hope that there’s a special place worse than hell for serial cheaters.

    • Read the book – you need Chump Lady’s book. And stick to No Contact! It’s the path to the truth and the light.

      • I have read Chumplady’s book. It was the very first book I purchased. It helped me in so many ways and the reality was…..it was my lifeline early on after DD. That’s how I discovered this blog. It saddens me that there even is such blogs but, it also gives me strength to know that there are so many of us BS that came through this trama and are better, happier and living their truest self. Thank you, CL and CN.

    • Honey, just a theoretical. Say you got ill and needed looking after (God forbid). Would he stick around and take care of you or would he bugger off to “greener pastures”? Please make the right decision, however hard it looks right now!

      • My ex wouldn’t go visit his own mother on her deathbed. A couple months later found out he was traveling and staying with the OW while he should’ve been visiting his own dying mother. If he would treat his mother that way, would he ever take care of me in the end? Actions speak so much louder than words.

        • Same. My stbx left me at home with a newborn to go visit his dying grandmother. He gave me a hard time about it because I didn’t want him to stay there more than 1 overnight. He used it against me in marriage counseling.

          When I got credit card statements (never divorce without Discovery), guess where he actually was that day? With the OW…

    • Dear Stuck,
      I was 72 married for 40 years when he left. I am now 75 living in my own life the way I want. It was very scary at first,I thought my life was over. I found CL and let my anger fuel my recovery from the trauma. I moved to a new town, bought a house, made some new friends and hey, before I knew it a year had past and then another and then another. Guess what I’m happy and content and living in peace. I can’t tell you enough how good it is to be living my own authentic life. Making my own decisions and not living to anyone else’s agenda not to mention the cheating and mind fuckery. Life is good on the other side. Come join us, you’ll see. Hugs

    • Dear Stuck in a Fog, it took me thirty three years to leave an abusive yet highly regarded retired military cheater. The thirty fifth anniversary of marrying a man who was two hours late for his own wedding is in a few days. Leaving him was the best decision I ever made for myself. I hope to have the divorce decree in hand before the New Year. I’m not wasting another day on him and this failed marriage.

      Don’t waste another day, dear Stuck. Reclaim your time. Stop talking to him. Let your lawyer do the dirty work and divorce his cheating ass.

      It isn’t too late to have a far better life. My life is far, far better now. I retired from The Marriage Police Force, lay down my spackling gun and had the rose-colored goggles slapped off my face. Thanks to Chump Lady and her 2×4 of Truth and the loving kindness and support of Chump Nation, I live a safe and peaceful life. You can too.

    • Dear Stuck. Say nothing and go see a good divorce attorney. As CL said have all your financials and accounts. It is not to late. Come over the FB page as well. There are some ladies on there who were also in decades long marriage who left. They can help. You don’t have to live like this. Say nothing to him.

    • Gather ALL the financial documents together – including tax returns, pay stubs, credit card bills, etc. Scan and email to one or two email accounts that he has never known to exist.

      Marriage is about love and money. Divorce is about money. You are dissolving a business partnership and if he has pissed (or screwed) away the profits, that doesn’t mean he can entirely walk away from paying out what he owes you.

      Good luck. Getting mad is fine but you need to get cunning here. Do NOT show your hand.

      Also remember that an attorney isn’t a therapist. Nor do you have to stick with the first attorney if your interests aren’t being served.

      • Cut this ⬆️ out and paste it on your bathroom mirror!!!

        Look thru the old posts and comments about how to collect information, how to find the best lawyer (especially how to pay for the best layer you don’t think you can afford, what to look for, what to ask for and what you are entitled to.

        The best takeaway is the divorce is about money…and money can make up for an awful lot as you move to to getting a life.

    • Dear Stuck,

      My heart broke reading your letter and I am
      SO ANGRY at your so-called husband. Most of us here know the double-digit sunk costs of staying…but when our cars have flat tires, we should not get out and flatten the other three…

      SAY NO TO CHEATING BY SAYING GOODBYE. On your own is better than life with a jerk like him.

    • Dear Stuck, you can do this. Get out and get out good. You deserve a decent peaceful life without feeling lousy. “If he is truly remorseful and realizes the damage he has caused, he will not resent you protecting yourself from his harm and he will try and make real, TANGIBLE amends — a settlement.” But you know he is not going to be remorseful- that would already have happened by now. GOOD LUCK IN EVERYTHING!! Chump Nation has your back.

    • Hi Fog,
      Let me just validate your instincts from the beginning that he was full of BS. Remember you were right. I’m glad you’re listening to your better self more now. Validate that voice, it’s smart.Abusers are damn good at fanning the flames of self-doubt. I know I stayed more because of self-doubt than belief in him.

      I suspect that there was some other reason you didn’t leave before (usual suspect is worried about your ability to make it in life, financially & otherwise. Or thinking he was a good ally for your kids. Surely he would treat his kids better than you?). That doubt was fed by lies. I’m glad you’re here with people who appreciate you & your potential. It makes my day to hear stories like yours. Another freed soul waking up. Finally free to create life as its meant to be, every day goodness in little things, not ruined by a toxic idiot.

    • My guess is you think the kids ‘want to keep the family together’.

      Ask your kids to look at the data – bills and such. Ask them what they do when their friends hire hookers. Ask how their spouses like it. If it’s so normal that you’re expected to endure it, surely they acknowledge and celebrate it in other parts of their life. When they start seeing you not just as a parental unit, but also as a person- away from the man you married, and also start considering his actions when applied to other people- it helps them grasp- this is not some ‘mistake’ this is not a one time deal. It’s long term abuse by one parent to another and that’s not ok and their mom like all strong women before and after her- is allowed to pack up her strength and move it away from the dumpster fire.

      Do not stay: do not model for your kids that women are door mats. That your misery and mistrust is ok because dad needed a handie from someone who may be a trafficked individual. Who may be a cop. Who may have diseases. This is all shit he signed you up for without consulting you.
      He’s a dirtbag. He won’t change. Hookers may be new- he was probably having office affairs when he was younger. Blah blah blah Mad Man blah blah generational. Gag.

      I know it’s hard.
      But lovely- put on your pearls, your Sunday heels, hold your head high, and let him miss you from the second you walk.

  • I stuck it out for close to 30 years. Lies upon lies, then he when he was caught out with total proof he worked hard to poison the children against me.

    I had zero respect for him as a person by that point, and the kids were mostly raised. My nerves were shot from all the gaslighting and bullshit. We did every type of counseling you can think of.

    I am SO happy I don’t have to wife for this reject any longer. I walked. Your kids will 100% understand, and if they don’t then this is yet another reason to leave. You deserve better. It’s rough to stay, and rough to go. But living an authentic life is very much better than living with a man whose every word you doubt.

    • Mitz, same for me. December would have been our 30th wedding anniversary. He brought a hooker home & to his medical office (doctor of the year). Started smoking, drinking (he’s an alcoholic) and gambling. Says at every opportunity that I’ve poisoned the kids against him. I raised those kids. I was there every day while he was wanking off in the guest room to porn for hours at a time because he was a ‘romance addict’ who needed variety when he wasn’t in a sexual anorexia phase. I’d never heard this codswallop until wasting thousands of dollars on a disaster of marriage counseling. He had no intention to change. Yesterday he told our older son, a college sophomore, that he would have left next spring when our younger son graduated from high school. Apparently I accelerated the timeline when found out about the prostitute (“don’t use that term; she’s a person too. It’s degrading to her”) and kicked him out.

  • Just adding. I saw one therapist that had quite an impression on me. She said ‘why don’t you just stay?.’ She told me that she had plenty of friends in lousy marriages that were staying for the financial security, or the house, the lifestyle, or the mutual friends. Chilled me to the bone.

  • Dear Stuck,
    I, ChumptyDumpty, raise my hand as one you seek with a similar story. Strippers, Massage Parlors, Hookers. Went through the motions of reconciliation to save a 25 yr marriage, and although there was some legit progress, always in the background were those squirmy wheels I could see turning in his head. Sorry, MORTIFIED he got caught. But it never felt like true remorse for betraying/ hurting ME. Occasionally his warped & resentful thinking would escape his lips & blow the veil off his repentance.
    Truth is, he could have been 100% remorseful & changed but it still wouldn’t have been enough. I was beyond disgusted, my pride was hurt & that was never going to change. I filed after about 18 mos & wish I’d done it alot sooner.
    It’s scary as f*ck facing a solitary life in later years, but every day becomes less so. Pride & freedom take the place of disgust and shame, and happiness WILL follow.
    Leave the Sonofabitch NOW. He’s stolen 40 yrs so don’t give him another damn day.

  • I have blue eyes. I could have therapy, or group hugs, or shock therapy, or prayer, but tomorrow morning I am going to wake up with blue eyes. That’s as much as he is going to change. Old age might defeat him with prostitutes but as long as he can get to a computer, or a cell phone he still has porn. RUN! Sixty isn’t old. You have many years of pain free life ahead of you.

    • Dear Blue Eyes (Letgo) My sister says 60’s the new 40 LOL ! I’m 75 but never felt better or frankly looked better. I think it’s finally ridding myself of the stress of living with a selfish bastard who only thought of himself. Life is truly good on the other side.

      • Married 30 years with 2 adult kids. Divorce final October 5th. I was a “till death do you part” individual. Until my kids told me he was cheating.
        In hindsight, I found out he was living a double life, used me the whole marriage, hid money and once I confirmed the cheating I was done. I started lining up my ducks and detached from him.
        I’m now 59 but I’m happy the divorce is done because I’m worth more than a fake marriage and being used.
        Cheaters only think of themselves. Now its your time to think of what is best for you…

    • SQ,IS, I hang out with a 95 yo woman who drives everywhere, is active in church and garden clubs, plays bridge and has a ball. All that happened after her mean spirited, cheating husband died. There’s a great old movie YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU that has such a wonderful outlook on life. I highly recommend it.

  • Are you stuck because you can’t see who he truly is or is it because you can’t visualize a future without him and without the pain you trained yourself to tolerate in the last four years?

    Are you a masochist or do you truly feel you deserve this kind of pain? Please discuss that with your therapist.

    Hang in there and good luck.

  • Stuck, Raising my hand as another person who has lived through what you’re going through. I’m so sorry you’ve lost 40 years. I “only” lost 20 years to my Whore Fucker.

    I kicked him out the day I found out. He never admitted to much, but the evidence I found screamed otherwise.

    I did cave and let him move back in a few months later but within a month I could tell the lies weren’t going to stop so I filed for divorce. Even if he had come clean, the fact that my husband, the man I loved and trusted, was out taking advantage of young girls who I’m sure never wanted to fuck him in the first place, just turned my stomach, and still does. I believe, and I told him, that if it weren’t for the 200 bucks he put on the dresser as he walked out the door, he was essentially a rapist. I could not be married to that, I could not even be friends with that.

    Five years later, the other side might not be perfect, but it’s better than wanting to barf every day. I wish you hope. You’re not alone in this nightmare.

    .

    • Totally agree. Men who use hookers are rapists at heart; horrifyingly misogynistic, no empathy, sociopathic trash. Stuck should run from this vile man. Therapy will not work on a person who is this disordered. Hooker fuckers aren’t sorry and don’t change. They’re even less likely to than typical cheaters who have affairs.

  • This morning, the feeling came to me that I feel like I’ve escaped – literally I did. Thank God I got out! Hope you do, too. 56 and rebuilding from the ground up – idiot took my money and my independence – yet, I feel free. Similar to someone held in a place against their will and they get out – they don’t know what lies before them, yet that feeling of freedom sustains. Best wishes to you 💕

    • Nicely put, Shewarrior. I’m about the same age. Everything is better now that I am divorced (which is not to say everything is perfect or easy!)

  • Oh my, my heart aches for you! You need to leave and get away from this crazy mind F*&^ – there is nothing to work with in your situation he has shown you who he is. You really have trauma bonded to him and you have been abused by his behavior and you will see this years after you have left. It will be really hard to walk away, because of the trauma bond. You will never be able to untangle his behavior – ever. You need an amazing therapist who understands hi behavior is abuse. You also need a great lawyer.

    Married 32 years to a cheater – trust me hard to walk away but peace and an authentic life on the other side.

    Hugs to you.

    • Fog – Don’t undervalue an authentic life like I did. Authentic is so much more satisfying, peaceful, unpoisoned. If you drink from a poisoned well, it feels like life sucks, no hope, everything that mattered is too late to change. Detox from that poisoned well, and surprised at how great little things are…

  • You need a reason to leave? How about this, if he has been with hookers, he probably does have a STD. Let’s say it’s syphillis. I’ve known 2 men with syphillis and it affected them horribly as they became older. The 1st ended up throwing his daughter down the stairs because it affected his mentality like Alzheimer’s except he had bouts of violence. The 2nd also became more abusive to his family. This could be what your future holds.

    Get out! Your children will be there for you and help you adjust to your new and better life. Do what Tracy says and divorce him with the contingent of giving you back what he stole from you. Don’t let him steal another minute of your precious life. You are not alone and there are grandchildren for your joy.

    • And make sure you get tested for HPV. My doctor said you can get that even if your ex uses condoms because HPV can live on the surrounding flesh (yuck). She said this is very common for men who go to hookers and bring it home. Lovely.

  • Fog…. it’s hard to see forward and the trauma bonds make it worse- I know it seems like it’s better to stay than leave, but it’s not.

    I was in the fog, I slowly made my way to Meh where it is sunny and peaceful. The lump in my throat is gone, I can sleep, I enjoy reading, eating, friends, family. I rarely cry and never sob. It took a physical separation— I told him to leave, I went no contact, I hired a lawyer and did what he said. I got that divorce. The fog lifted. 25 years together, 4 kids. Homes, businesses, neighbor, friends…. a million shared memories and hopes and dreams…. life today is infinitely better. I’m so happy I took the hard actions. So glad I didn’t waste a second longer of my one and only life. I’m in my 50s. You can do it! We’re here for you. Call that divorce lawyer today.

  • Sadly I didn’t handle it till I had to. 40 years married, knew he was unfaithful as a one off in the 80s, forgave him, ending my marriage isn’t something I would have ever done. Things started to get bad between us 10 years ago now, I thought at the time we were just having problems. Of course now I know he was cheating, 2016 a girlfriend of his rang me. He convinced me she was stalking him. I believed him doh! 2017 said he wanted a divorce but there was no one else. Course there was. So it was to my shame it was forced on me, how I wish I’d discovered CL years ago. It’s been devastating, and I don’t think there are enough years left for me to get to meh, BUT I am so glad to be free to enjoy the Autumn of my life. My new season. I live a simple life without his materialistic, selfish, grumpy, cheating lying ways spoiling it. The future starts now.

  • “Fog”?!?!?! Semantics would be better described as the embers of a burned down house.

    Reminds me of a story….

    There was a fire that went through an entire neighborhood. In the first house, the husband and wife got the fire extinguisher and put out the fire to save their home early on. In the second house, the husband and wife tried the fire extinguisher, but the flame was too hot. They got themselves and their children out of the house and were able to live amicably. The third house, the husband and wife got themselves and the kids out … but a little more independently and lived apart. The husband went on to start fires in other houses, but the wife and kids lived in peace. The fourth house, one spouse chose to ignore the fire (she put sparkle over it), they both stayed in it, and everyone inside the house incinerated in their own way. The fifth house, they both acknowledged the fire, but stayed too long and argued over ‘which one started the fire?’ They and their children burned inside.

    The last two are toxic homes. Be mighty. Save yourself. He likes the prostitute lifestyle, a lot. He’s put his money where his boner is to prove it.

  • Make a list of what you will miss if you divorce.

    Most of the things I thought I would miss were benefits that came with the illusion of being a happily married couple: invitations to parties hosted by married friends, having a partner to bring to big work events, being proud parents at school events. The fact that my EX rarely attended anything with me and the kids was irrelevant–I could just say he was working or busy or sick. And after I divorced and had to face up to the fact that I would be going places alone, it did make me weirdly sad, but my actual experience didn’t change (one drink–I was always the designated driver, no one to dance with, just me in the picture of the kid with the certificate, etc.)

    The things I should have missed–expressions of love, an interest in my life, someone to cuddle with, someone who laughed with me, someone who wanted to make plans together, someone who sought my opinion . . . these parts of marriage had disappeared years ago.

    I knew I would miss having someone to call if I had car trouble or an emergency with child pick-up–but my EX was only useful in true emergencies; he was never willing to be part of the routines of family management–that was all me.

    The list of things I would not miss was extensive–picking up his messes, doing his dishes, hearing his complaints about what grocery item we were out of, fights about the bills, fights about my need to work late or take a kid to school so I could attend an early meeting, criticisms of my achievements, buying his parents holiday gifts from “us,” complaining because the water filter needed to be changed (I swear, I thought that was a difficult 90 minute job until he left and I had to learn to do it myself).

    But it turns out most of what I didn’t miss were things I couldn’t even put on my list because I did not understand how much they were oppressing me–tiptoeing around his morning grumpiness, tip-toeing around his evening exhaustion, stroking his ego when he disliked other people’s driving, cringing at kids’ sports events when he screamed at the refs or other parents, apologizing to people when he cancelled out of social events at the last minute, explaining to the kids why dad wasn’t coming to the movie or going to the park with us. I arranged my life to keep him tolerable. He was rarely happy unless he was spending money and showing off to someone else.

    It sounds like your kids are pretty close to independence. Think about how you want to live after they are gone (or are so busy with their lives that you really don’t see them much even if they live with you.)

    Plan a future for yourself that is inspiring and calm, joyful and energizing. If he fits into that vision, then maybe you want to remain married, but don’t compromise your future any longer to make your marriage “work.” It has already been way too much work.

    • This great advice Eilonwy.
      You are so right.
      Especially on the things you should have missed.

      Once you are away from toxic people you can see how toxic They are. Leave and your life will get better,fog

      • I so agree. This is excellent advice. I made a lot of lists. What I would miss. What I would gain. What I wouldn’t miss. Where I might live. What financial resources I had. And Eilonwy, you are so right that the list you can’t make is the one with items that you aren’t able to perceive until you’re gone. I have decided that life with my ex even before D-day was like living with a low grade infection, in which “normal” gets redefined downward over time. All D-day did was supercharge it, and behaviors I’d tolerated for years–the devaluing and entitlement, especially–ramped up to the point I could no longer ignore the truth. My ex, like yours, was never really happy unless he was spending money and being admired–by others (I was the wife appliance whose job was to cater to him, but that didn’t count with him).

    • “But it turns out most of what I didn’t miss were things I couldn’t even put on my list because I did not understand how much they were oppressing me–tiptoeing around his morning grumpiness, tip-toeing around his evening exhaustion, stroking his ego when he disliked other people’s driving, cringing at kids’ sports events when he screamed at the refs or other parents, apologizing to people when he cancelled out of social events at the last minute, explaining to the kids why dad wasn’t coming to the movie or going to the park with us. I arranged my life to keep him tolerable. He was rarely happy unless he was spending money and showing off to someone else.” FANTASTIC and so well put. Thank you

  • I think so many of us will never know the extent of our FW’s crime. There are those who are professional marriage policing certified that will tell you every FW starts with hookers and prostitutes. . .and then move to affairs. I only have evidence FW was sneaking around to hotels with a co-worker…shocking enough to see those charges on financial documents when you believed the veneer of your marriage. Now 17 months out, willing to accept that maybe the veneer went on much longer. Maybe it was never really what it semeed. It will be nice for you to live life by your own agenda and not worry about what hes doing or not doing. It will take time. Be glad your kids are raised.

  • Dear Stuck,
    I left at 65 after a 44-year marriage. Although I didn’t know it at the time, he was cheating throughout with men. But I was oblivious until he became verbally abusive to me and our younger daughter when she was a teenager. I overlooked many things along the way.

    It took me another two decades to take off my rose-colored glasses and start trying to figure him out. I learned he was a very covert narcissist who would never change and realized I couldn’t face the future with him. Leaving him and living alone for the first time in my life was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

    I’m still not at meh but I’ve been no-contact for five years. It’s still very hard to wrap my head around the fact that these evil creatures exist, let alone that I was married to one for 44 years. But it gets better every year. Hugs.

  • Dear Stuck in the Fog,
    35 years of marriage here, before I left (36 by divorce); I was 64 when the divorce was final. Mine engaged in serial emotional affairs (who knows what else) and devalued me and ridiculed and ignored any boundaries I set, no matter how small, for the length of the marriage.
    When you read your statement about “an emotional investment” I nodded my head. I bet, like me, you were also his emotional caretaker, attuned to his moods and trying to manage his emotions by means of your own behavior, which heightens your own emotional investment in the marriage.
    After D-day, it took me three years to muster up the courage to leave, but after two years since the divorce, I am SO MUCH HAPPIER! Yes, it was hard to leave. Yes, I was lonely. Yes, at first I “wanted my life back,” meaning my house, the future I had been planning and working for, and above all the husband and marriage I kept hoping I could have, if only…
    But I got, and you will get, past that. Tomorrow I turn 67, and instead of waking up to vain hope and feeling that I am a failure because my husband is unhappy, I am looking forward to the rest of my life as it will be because I have the power to make it so.
    It is so much better on the other side. You can get there, too. All of us at Chump Nation are testament to that.

    • Well put, Adelante! This especially hits home: “I bet, like me, you were also his emotional caretaker, attuned to his moods and trying to manage his emotions by means of your own behavior, which heightens your own emotional investment in the marriage.”

      And Happy Birthday (one day early)! Kudos to you for getting out and moving on!

  • I can relate. First hooker dday at year 13. Lots of therapy and faux remorse. He’s good with words and I was desperate to have an intact family for the kids. I focused on his words and ignored his actions. Oh, and fully bought into the blame shift in therapy for not meeting his needs. Went overboard making my needs atom small and doing absolutely everything in an effort to make his life easier even though I worked double the hours he did.

    Two more Ddays over 9 years. Danced harder. He got more covert, I became a better detective. DDay 3 I told him this was his last chance. Each time the remorse was less and I had to let go of my anger and put out sooner. 4 times of having to get my cervix scraped to make sure I hadn’t caught something. Dday 4 he was on a trip with a sugar baby. Found the secret cell phone with texts to over 2 dozen hookers in the past 18 months. He claimed he was more honourable because he loved me so much he wasn’t looking for an emotional connection, just meaningless sex. Even though these sugar babies expect monthly allowances, sweet notes and gifts, all of which he was happily paying while we got more and more in debt.

    I was the only hand clapping in this relationship. He was all in for himself. Staying married had been drilled into me no matter what. Culturally, divorce is taboo for me and I knew I’d be blamed, shunned and shamed. But I also realized I had been setting a bad example for my kids. If they were in a similar situation, I wouldn’t have wanted them to stay and suffer yet that was what I was modelling. Found CL, read the book. Read it again. Got a lawyer and although I wasn’t able to recover the six digits he’s blown over 25 years (sadly, there wasn’t much left to split), I’m slowly rebuilding.

    I had lost the ability to decide what I wanted for dinner or set the thermostat temperature without thinking of his needs first. I can now drive without worrying about road rage or tiptoeing around his moods. I don’t feel a sense of dread when I see his car in the driveway when I get home. It’s hard dealing with the cultural fall out and the worry about finances. My life will be different and I will have to make do with less. But I have so much more than I ever did of all the things that are important.

    Two years out he’s still trying to convince me to reconcile, having changed nothing. Short of a character transplant, I ain’t biting.

    Please leave. You can do it. Your life will be immeasurably better and the pain is finite. He’s shown you who he is and where his priorities lie. Make a plan and see what it would look like. Consult a lawyer. Don’t say anything to him until you’re ready. Good luck.

    • You explained it so beautifully and I’d forgotten all the “little things” that minimalized me. They are the worst. That and the feeling of betrayal after years of being the only “hand clapping.” I’m 72 and so very happy now. The only thing I still can’t get used to are all the MARRIED MEN sniffing around. Some things never change.

  • Also when he’s out for an hour or two, walk through the home recording the contents. Move slowly – it will make it easier to identify what was there at the time and what was property that was his/yours/ours.

    Start scanning the photographs. If there is anything that is of sentimental value to you and it is YOURS – get it the hell away from him and safely stored somewhere.

    But when it comes time to divide up possessions – let as much go as possible. He wants the bedroom set? Fine. He wants the towels? Let them go. Get as much of him and his tainted crap gone.

    Don’t be house-poor either. Sure, you spent years there but now is a GREAT TIME to get out from under something that needs maintenance, updating and constant care. Take the money and run if you opt to sell it and split the proceeds. If he wants it, he can buy you out and deal with the taxes, the upkeep, etc.

    • I’m the one who did the buyout and deals with the taxes and the upkeep. There are many advantages to my situation (particularly for my pets) but as I get older, I start to think about a condo some other smaller place.

  • Stuck, I’m 69 and 7-8 years ago I left a marriage with a substance abuser (not a cheater but verbally abusive and irrational from drinking and pills). Then I took up with an old “friend” and within a year he had stated cheating and discarded me. And there I was, early 60s, re-mortgaging the house and starting over.

    It’s been the best journey of my life. I’m 7 years out from the discard, living alone. I have lots of friends and financial stability I have pets. My health is good. I’ve cultivated new interests and invested more deeply in old ones. But more important, I see the world so differently. I know abuse when I see it. I know gaslighting when I see it. I’ve learned how dangerous, dysfunctional relationships begin–with fairy tales, love-bombing and spackling over things that should be deal breakers. I expect reciprocity in all relationships, across the board. What’s most wonderful is coming back to a quiet home at the end of the day, not having to clean up someone’s mess, not sleeping in a room with a drunk who has a gun in his nightstand.

    One thing about the COVID crisis is that many of us are learning that there are many things we have that we don’t need, that we can live more simply and closer to what’s really important. We have more time at home, alone, to think about what kind of life we want. As you think about your situation, consider what the best legal approach might be. You’ll need a complete sense of your current financial situation and where you want to be as you move into retirement. There are many, many ways to organize a life that don’t involve living with a man who visits prostitutes.

  • It’s scary to leave but the reality is that there always has been the chance you would be on your own due to him dying suddenly (or dying slowly and using up all your wealth leaving you with next to nothing). So take your share and live a life you can feel good about.

  • 40 years of putting up with this is not a normal response. And for what it’s worth, prostitution often goes hand in hand with trafficking. (Your husband sounds like a monster.)

    My advice would be to start individual counseling – Community resources can be found at your local domestic shelters.

    And – Do Not Tell him.

  • Dear Stuck, I’m so sorry you are going through this. I found out at year 38 of the marriage that FW had been going to prostitutes for 20 years. He confessed to 20 years . Likely it was longer. I kicked him to the curb the day he confessed. Divorce was finalized 4 months ago. It was a 3 1/2 year brutal battle. At first he said I will treat you fairly and you know 1/2 of what we have is yours. Later he said everything belonged to him. It was bizarre . He fought like a rabid dog and tried to turn the children against me. I’m reaching meh gradually and the settlement was very good in the end. I drove across the country last month to host DD wedding. He and the GF were there as expected. GF didn’t attend the family gathering either night and FW left early both nights. I know who the chump is now. FW was not asked to walk DD down the aisle . He looked uncomfortable and I basically ignored him. I’m 64 and pissed off that now I don’t have much of a chance to find a partner. Yes it sucks to be alone but I wouldn’t want to be in his orbit ever again. Life really is better FW free. No one deserves that kind of disrespect. Healing is a process and a journey of self discovery. You can do this. One day at a time.

  • I, too left my marriage in my sixties. He had already spent all HIS assets and OUR assets, so the only thing left to squabble over was our 40 year old sailboat (our home) and MY retirement funds. I convinced him to keep the boat and let me keep my retirement and fortunately he agreed. I got lucky, I know. Three years after leaving him (or it will be three years in 2 days), I have a cute little apartment all my own, an interesting and stable job even during this pandemic and am saving money to buy my own house. The best, though, is that I no longer have to cater to his moods, live with his tantrums or fear his abuse. Life is SI much better on the other side! I’m 65 and will have to work until I’m 70 — hard, physical work — but I’m fuckwit free, and that is worth it! Had I stayed, we would have gone deeper and deeper into debt, debt I would have been responsible for even though I got no benefit from it. He spent money (best I can figure) on alcohol, weed, porn and whores. I’m glad he’s gone.

    Leaving is difficult, I’m not minimizing that. But it is SO worth it!

  • God I wish someone had told me to forget the fucking therapist. You couldn’t change him after forty years, and you tried with all the love and patience he never deserved. A therapist can’t change him now. Your husband sits there on the couch feeling sorry for himself, the therapist offers advice that will be ignored, and collects $100 an hour to sell YOU false hope. What a scam.

    You know what you can change? Yourself!! Join the thousands of us who have left hell behind and are living full, happy lives!

  • I’m just going to comment on the “really sorry makes amends /puts money where his mouth is at”: my ex would have been glad to BUY me BACK, there was a phase where he was willing to sign whatever pre-nup , but I declined because a) I wasn’t coming back, b) I did not want him to have a reason to murder me in the name of intact finances at a change of heart.

    Later on, he still went on to give me much needed financial help, but this time it was BUYING me OUT. Making sure I was settled (in his mind at least), so he could run off with his new vict-I mean, projects.

    So this just to say that yes, while some tangible compensation for your trauma and losses is a good thing, for these folks it’s simply once again about power, commodities and doing what they want to do. It’s not a measure of “sorry” or a predictive way to assess whether you should further invest in them AT ALL.

  • Turn on your fog lights and get the hell out of your nightmare. Its not a nightmare or fog for him, this is who he is and obviously knows you most likely will never divorce him. Its us long-married who suffer till the end and turn over ever rock only to come to the conclusion … they don’t/won’t change. 32 yrs I stuck it out, at first for the kids, family, life, memories. Then after everyone had grown and left home and it was just he and I left, I realized was a POS he had been and I allowed it. Not going to lie, it hurts, he will probably put up a fight unlike anything you’ve ever seen, and you will second guess yourself if its worth it at your age.
    Trust me YOU need to save yourself, no one else can do that for you. He didn’t ruin your life, he ruined his own. The legacy he will leave is not one that you or your sons will be proud of. You may feel like most of us who stayed way to long, that family, friends now see him exposed for who he really is. It is humiliating to say the least. Some will take sides and even judge you. Let it really sink in ….. he paid hookers for sex, then brought all their crap home to you. Dont know if you have been checked for STD but get it done ASAP, Remind yourself what he gave you compared to what you gave him, He doesnt deserve you and LIFE is better even if its just spent with friends, yours kids, maybe grandkids. Make the life you choose now! Best wishes and it breaks my heart to read another story like mine. ….. (hugs)

      • Wasn’t it just? I thought it was interesting though that she hadn’t cheated on him but he was sliding down that ladder. I wonder if she will decide that due to her eventual valuing of and being valued for honesty is going to lead her to divorce him.

        She is right about a few things – particularly that very few people actually want absolute honesty about anything.

        I bet if she pursues a divorce, he will never have anticipated it.

        “Outside of my family, my loyalty to the truth is what has enabled me to connect with other people. As a doctor who specializes in the research of sociopathy, I prize credibility and integrity as my greatest asset.”

        “I have been forced to come clean about everything, even when — especially when — I don’t want to. It’s hard, frustrating, confusing and annoying, but I have done it for him, for us! If he wasn’t willing to do the same, then what? Should I leave him? Go back to being dishonest? Wait for him to leave me?

        On bad days, these were the thoughts that dominated. When I couldn’t help but wonder: Is this what fear feels like?

        I think it was. My husband was lying to me. Gaslighting me. Sneaking. Acting like a sociopath. And isn’t that how we sociopaths are defined — as liars without the ability to empathize? On such days, I saw what it must be like to be married to someone like me. And the irony is almost shimmering.

        Still, I couldn’t help but smile thinking of the future, of the days when we would be able to joke about the time we almost split up because he started acting like a sociopath. And that in doing so, my husband was finally able to teach me the one thing I have been trying to learn all of my life: empathy.”

  • My story is more or less the same as everyone on here, when I discovered my husband of 25 years was cheating with prostitutes, escorts and hook ups I was blown away, yes, he was horrible to live with for many years but I did what most people do, the eggshell dance etc. I began to research, to try and figure out what was going on, HG Tudor, Knowing the Narcissist, Dr. Grande and a host of other resources, I now knew what I was dealing with, a narcissist/sociopath and of course now saw all the red flags I missed over the years. I learned to Grey Rock like a pro and this saved what was left of my sanity, HG Tudor says “When you know, you go” and this is what I had to do, I had at this point also discovered he was keeping a mistress overseas for at least six years, I didn’t let him know that I knew about her, I just wanted to get out asap, I told him that I wanted a divorce so he could go and live his permanent holiday lifestyle and be happy (he doesn’t know the meaning of happy!), he was so thrilled to be “getting away with it” he immediately agreed a mediated separation agreement which included the total division of assets, you know you are making the right decision when you get the sociopathic smirk with “I know I am a cliché”, my response? No you are a predator of women, that didn’t go down well with him. When the mask falls and you see the evil demon that lives within you realise how lucky you are to escape this form of hell on earth. He moved overseas to live with the mistress, she is 34 and he is 56, they now have a baby which must be great fun for him because he always hated children. My divorce finally came through last June, delayed by the pandemic and if I ever needed proof that I had made the right decision? On the day of my divorce, my 20yr old son told me it was the happiest day of his life and that he was so proud of me! Yes the walls of my home are singing now, you can find your way through the fog as so many chumps here have done and realise the beauty of life without the FW, you have this! It’s nearly Tuesday! Thanks CL and CN!

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