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When It’s More Affairs Than You First Knew

Hi Chump Lady,

I have been following for almost a year now and this has seriously helped me grow some balls to leave my cheating lying ex-husband. It has been a little over a year from the first D-Day. We tried to work it out after and he begged me not to leave and he would show me how much he loved me etc., etc.

Well he didn’t… his actions showed me he was all talk and I suspected he met yet another woman. Mind you — the OW from the first D-Day now worked in my building and was semi stalking me. I felt like I was going through some Lifetime movie shit and I should write you the entire story.

I finally had enough lies and manipulation after crying every day and I filed. So, now two weeks after our divorce is finalized I find out that there was another affair that I suspected, but was made out to be crazy to think there was someone else. It still gave me that chest pumping crippling feeling that I never wanted him to have on me ever again!!

Why do I care? Why do I care that he has proven to be an even worse human than I thought? Why am I letting this derail my progress of feeling strong for leaving? Is it just because I am a better person all around? I don’t understand why I deserved this. I am throwing myself a pity party and I shouldn’t be.

Signed,

Feeling Humiliated

Dear Feeling Humiliated,

Please give yourself a break. It’s been two weeks. Your D-Day was only a YEAR ago, and you’ve already found your mightiness and divorced this jerk. It takes some time for your heart to catch up. There will come a day where if I told you he was a white slaver with a goat fetish who holds orgies at Sunday schools you would shrug. (Okay, you might be intrigued at first. Goats? But then the meh settles back in.)

This is an early days Trust That They Suck problem. You’re still grieving who you thought he was. One betrayal is hard enough to wrap your mind around, another confirmed affair solidifies the suck. As a chump, someone who wholly invests themselves, it’s very difficult to internalize our utter insignificance to the person who is fronting as our life partner. Yes, they’re that mendacious. They’re that shallow. They’re that selfish.

Why do I care?

Because you invested yourself in this person. You bonded. You’re human. Your new life hasn’t eclipsed your old life yet, and the Gain a Life portion of recovery has just begun. It’s totally understandable that your fuckwit ex has some centrality still. But the good news is, that’s curable.

Why do I care that he has proven to be an even worse human than I thought?

Consider reframing this: He just gave you further validation that your decision to divorce him was correct. Also I give you permission to enjoy a tingle of schadenfreude that he was cheating on Stalker Girl.

Next conclude: No one is special. It’s nothing personal. He’s ruled by his dick.

Why am I letting this derail my progress of feeling strong for leaving?

Did you take him back? Did you egg her house? Did you write him a mortifying 14-page document demanding answers? No? Then he didn’t derail your progress. (And even if you did those things, slap yourself and get back on the wagon.)

You have feelings. Understandable feelings. They are survivable. The important thing to do is have a goal. Think, “I will NOT give a fuckwit my mental energy.” And then throw yourself at whatever’s in your life. Your job. Weeding the garden beds. Book club Zoom calls. Anything that’s not him. He’s a fuckwit. We’ve concluded this.

Is it just because I am a better person all around?

Clearly. Do you have multiple secret fuckbuddies? Do you stalk anyone?

I don’t understand why I deserved this.

You didn’t deserve this, but the world is full of undeserved shit and injustice. Learn from it. Grow mightier. Be kind to anyone who crosses your path who is going through undeserved shit.

I am throwing myself a pity party and I shouldn’t be.

You’re processing a new betrayal by someone you loved. Who you were married to. You’ve had to pivot your entire life because of his treachery. It’s a LOT to absorb.

I know there is a lot of Just Get Over It discourse out there about infidelity. That being cheated on is a rejection on par with not being asked to the prom. That people who divorce over it are just “bitter” (read “overreacting.”) This whole blog is evidence that no, being used this way, having your health risked, the control and lack of consent, the mindfucking, the theft of our time and resources — is ABUSE.

You’re not having a “pity party” healing from abuse. You’re PROCESSING it. That takes time. But I promise you, the mightiness to overcome it is a powerful force. You’ve already saved yourself by divorcing him. Keep saving yourself each day at a time. Deny him the centrality he craves.

If by “pity party” you mean focusing on the Tragic Loss of Him? No, stop that. If you’re blaming yourself, if you think his wandering dick has anything to do with you? STOP IT.

But you are absolutely allowed to feel grief over the life you lost. The future you invested in. What you thought it all was. Feel it, acknowledge it, punch some pillows, puke, cry in showers, spend time on boards like mine discussing it with others, and then get back to those weedy garden beds. They need you. There is a real life out here that needs your attention. There are people who will blossom from your investment in them. Who aren’t takers. There are problems to solve far worthier than “Why doesn’t a fuckwit love me?”

Move toward the new life.

He gaslighted you about his affairs, plural not singular. Okay. Now you know the truth. It doesn’t alter the fundamental truth that he’s unworthy of you.

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.
  • It’s been such a long time since I divorced and raised the kids (they were 1 and 3) and now the kids have kids. The kids are 38 and 40, have understood about good parenting since their teenage years. I see my ex several times a year — we’ve been cordial for a long time. I still get twinges when I come across more confirmation that he’s a fuckwit. As the grandchildren are getting older, his attempts at rewriting history still anger/annoy me. The most aggregious is that the divorce was my idea (so true) because I wanted to date other men (so false) but he wanted to stay married (so true). He’s become ultra-religious and has been married to ultra-religious for over twenty years. When I found out he was teaching fathers how to be good fathers, I couldn’t just laugh it off and roll my eyes. What was more eye-opening to me was the fact that his daughters were also angered by his teaching good fatherhood.

    • Taking cover in the church and marrying a clueless ultra religious partner… How unoriginal.
      People aren’t fooled but they will smile and nod as long as it doesn’t get personal.
      I knew a guy like that.
      I suppose they are trying to get as far away from their past as possible.

      • My friend’s husband did this. Had an office affair while she was pregnant and they were supposedly ‘working on the marriage’ when she found out he was still screwing office ho. He married ho I think within a week or so after divorce final. They got into church becoming elders and such; doing marriage counseling of all things. So pious, so judgy. It’s been….well over 25 close to 30 years later and I understand they separated not so long ago. Evidently the other group he ‘counseled’ were those like him who suffered from porn addiction, and there are whispers that he wasn’t the faithful servant he pretended to be. I often wonder if they really feel that going to church erases all the destruction they’ve left behind.

      • I wonder if they don’t choose a spiritual person on purpose; one that is willing to work through the good and the bad. Do they continue to cheat and expect the spouse to forgive, forgive, and forgive some more because that is what a christian woman does. Honestly???

    • All the more reason to keep a journal. It may never be read by anyone and make a difference BUT it may be exactly what a grandchild needs to read someday in the future, long after you are dead.

      Feel free to name names of partners, if you know them.

      Plus it reminds you EXACTLY why you divorced him.

      • My husband went through my journal so i started a new one put it away, and he still found it. Nothing to hide just the principal i suppose. Especially since he was lying and cheated more than once with his daughters mom… i guess because of that i must have things to hide! He has since said it was because i wanted to know what was going on with you- well, HUSBAND, youve lied about the dumbest things and now i find youve cheated with “her” again. hmmmm whats going on with ME
        no words. so exhausting this is

        • Shann. My husband did this exact thing 3 times in our relationship. Once before we were married, once during marriage, once after separation. His reaction was the same all 3x. “How could You?!!” No matter what, it was my personal feelings that I had only discussed with myself that were wrong. Didn’t matter how much or how little was there. It was the power over me that he wanted.

    • Ha! My serial cheating father did that. Married the gym singing minister’s daughter. In fact, she became a hymn expert, and they traveled all over the country to singing and teaching forums. It did look swell from the outside, but I know it wasn’t. The problem was, it started with an office affair, sneaking around, and broke up a long marriage. So much for piety!

      • These fuckwits are predators who maliciously enjoy seducing and perverting other people. It’s sick.
        We should never rush into trusting anyone anymore, even if it feels genuine, especially because they play genuine very well. And it’s a sad, repulsive show.

  • I get this. My Minister Husband was a stand up guy. All these women at the University needed his guidance. They were friends. And I trusted him because I never thought he would lie!

    I still have “ah-ha” moments when pieces of the puzzle fit together and I realize yet, another OW.

    Some I met casually, some cane to our house ( duper’s delight supreme if I cooked them dinner ), and some brazenly flaunted their crush on him .

    It’s been over 10 years. But it still gets to me once and a while. More of a palm to forehead thing. I was so naive.

    You will forgive yourself for marrying your turd and life will get so much better. His – not so much.

    • “Some I met casually, some cane to our house ( duper’s delight supreme if I cooked them dinner ), and some brazenly flaunted their crush on him .”

      Lucky, reading this hits me in the gut. I don’t understand the willingness to inflict this cruelty on top of everything else unless humiliation of one’s spouse is a feature and not a bug.

      • It’s a feature. They get a thrill out of flaunting the other woman in front of you. The love knowing something that you don’t know. It’s a high that normal people like us don’t feel and don’t understand.

        • I cringe at this….it’s one of the things I can’t get past after almost 5years. All the times he intentionally set up situations where the current AP and I were in the same place, or he put others( hotel concierges) where he stayed during the week, in a position where they couldn’t say anything. It’s sick.

        • Yep, been there with my cheater! When we were really young and I thought in love, EVERY friend he brought over her had fucked! Oh yes, I cooked them dinner. Bleah

            • Lucky, I lived this one too.
              I had no idea what he was doing with other women and how he enjoyed humiliating me when they showed up at church. His kind of cruelty was unimaginable to me–the pieces it took to create it weren’t within me. I was trusting and working hard to support people and provide friendship. I am not ashamed of who I am. But there really was no way I could fathom such duplicity and deceit. It took me years to connect the dots—and I’m still connecting them

        • It’s even more disgusting when the AP is someone you know!
          When they both get a sick thrill watching you kiss and hug the AP in front of your spouse.
          Aren’t they clever? It reminds me know of little kids saying “I know something you don’t know”
          Once I got passed the disgust, I was incensed and now just find them sick. I don’t understand, I don’t want to understand and am grateful I find it repulsive.
          As far as other women, I know there were others only in retrospect.
          It’s taken me a long time to realize it had nothing to do with me and was all about the cheater.

          Feeling Humiliated – you are in such early days! Be kind to yourself and lower your expectations of how you react to new knowledge. It is a pain that rips your heart to shreds right now but I promise it will just be part of your past with enough time. And enough time may mean years. It’s a battle for your serenity and survival. You will get there…you’ve done the hardest work already 💖

        • Mine did this continually. We even went away for the weekend with one OW. Another was an ex gf who just happened to come back into his life when we got engaged. She once cooked him a lavish dinner at his house to which I was invited to. When I got there they were both sitting at the table together as if they were the ones getting married. It was weird at the time but I stupidly trusted him. She popped up again as the second of 6 d-days. Fml I was dumb.

      • It is absolutely part of their thrill. I think deep down they know the thrill won’t last, so they do what they can to get the most out of it.

        My ex brought her to our house on several occasions. She was his employee (direct report), so he could easily do that without his ignorant wife knowing what was going on. Funny thing was when he cheated on schmoopie after they married, she found out right away. She knew what he was, I didn’t; I guess you could say she at least had me outsmarted that way. Didn’t stop him, but she knew. My guess is he cheated on her non stop after their thrill wore off. He just took it further under ground, or she just gave up, and didn’t worry about it. I am guessing she returned the favor on occasion, until they both got too old to carry on anymore.

        So yeah if you want to say they lived happily ever after, sure; why not. It is not a situation I would like, but to each his/her own.

        • Not so smart if she willingly married a cheater. You didn’t know what he was when you married him; she did. I’d say that makes her the dumb one.

          It’s like my mom always told me, “If he cheats FOR you he will cheat ON you”.

          • True, or as the story goes about the little boy and the snake; “you knew what I was when you picked me up”

    • Lucky and I were friends when we were both still married to them even though things were very bad. He really sucked.

      It seems that a lot of the Cheaters do the Dupers Delight of bringing OW around wife, but my Cheater seemed to have things very compartmentalized. He freaked out if his boxes bumped into one another. I am not sure he cheated with a classmate when he was in military grad school (we were long married and 3 kids by then).

      One of his classmates got married and I looked for ward to the wedding for months because we rarely went out then (we had no sitters for the kids) so I was SO happy to get dressed up and go with him. After the ceremony, he looked like he wanted to jump out of his own skin …I was perplexed at his level of angst…to me there was nothing to be upset over. The gal I think he was boinking was sitting right in front of us.

      Same at his military retirement. He told me not to come to it. I think he was trying to make me look bad. I went and OW was there ane he was a giant asshole. He also scheduled this event 3 time zones away in the week his son had school finals. He didnt give a fuck about his kids…asshole. At the retirement, I opened the trunk of his rental car and saw the gift OW gave him. Cheaters mom, sister and I were all there…he looked like he would die….well he did but it was 7 years later.

  • Much like Anthony Hopkins in silence of the lambs, my husband kept his secrets. Still does. It gives him some kind of a buzz knowing that there’s stuff that he knows that I don’t know. He knows that I don’t know where the bodies are buried.

    I’m not comparing my husband to a serial murderer but he’s certainly a serial cheater. I have no clue what lies he’s told me. But the ones that I do know are enough for me to know that he’s bad news.

    When something else gets revealed it does set me back but it also makes me stronger. Turn on your fight music. You got this.

    • What’s chilling is that they actually do have much in common with serial killers. Same sociopathy, just in varying degrees.

      • So much this… my teen son is taking an interest in psychology and one of the first topics he’s trying to understand is sociopathology and I can’t help but wonder if this is him beginning his journey to understanding his Dad (who “makes me feel like a prop”).

    • I tell myself he’s howife’s problem now. Wonder how long it will take them to realize they’re two of a kind?

    • What cheaters who get off on duper’s delight, it’s about power. It’s a powerful thing to have knowledge that would be critical or essential to someone else–and then deliberately mislead that person.

      I don’t see that as essentially different from a serial killer who knows where the bodies of his victims are buried but won’t give their families that knowledge. It’s cruel. And controlling.

      • Yes! This is so true… my ex cheater husband has huge overlap with sociopathy… the last time I asked him (begged him) for answers, it was about 3 months after we divorced. And he dangled those answers right out of my reach and broke into wide grins whenever I pushed for answers. I realized that he would NEVER tell me the truth, because it’s his only way of hovering me back into having conversations with him. No it will never be worth selling my pride. Instead, learn to accept that if you had this kind of cheater, you will never know. And you don’t need to know. He may or may not have committed all kinds of despicable acts. That is not your responsibility. Your responsibility is to get away, protect yourself and your loved ones.

        • Also there is NO CLOSURE, none, except that which you carve out for yourself.
          By definition, no cheater will give you closure or answers. Any answers they give will lead to a hundred more questions (which brings you back to them, interacting). As unsatisfying as it sounds, you are truly the only person who can give yourself closure.
          Remember, when it comes to cheaters- if you are playing their game, you automatically lose.

          • Oh definitely no closure. When I asked my cheater why he was divorcing me if he didn’t cheat he told me “I have my reasons”. That’s it. He denies cheating and for a day was apologizing saying I was great and he messed up then switch flipped and he never answered any questions after that

      • Knowing and withholding went beyond the infidelity. An example I recalled was being offered a beautiful gazebo my sister had on her porch. She was moving and offered it to me to use at my home. Knowing I wanted it, he said it was too much work to disassemble. The real reason was the shallow investment. He knew what he was up to for decades.

        Years later the wanted to build a patio in my yard. My son hauled hundred years old bricks to build it as a Father’s Day present. He could care less as he was on a spring break ( dating sprees April)

        That’s the power of a sociopath. Yup. He knew where the bodies were located.

        • My ex was like that about furniture. In 20 years of marriage I never had a new couch or any furniture that either my mother in law got for me, or we bought second hand.

          I just blew it off as him being a tightwad, which he was; except for things he wanted.

          Who knows maybe he needed to keep as much money aside as he could to pay for his “dating”

          • I had this too, he kept saying there was no money or wasn’t worth it because the children would wreck new furniture, or even that the tattered furniture was still good. Turns out he was spending all of his pay and mine on himself and others. It must have made him so happy to ensure the home was uncomfortable for us and seeing the children and me denied.

  • Early days.
    All of us thought we’d never see the light from the hell of cheating but you just keep moving forward. Sit and cry some days. Walk and cry. Just walk. But keep moving forward.
    I was deliberate about filling those days after separation with positive fun memories. Yes there were some shitty days mixed in but I didn’t want to look back at only shitty days.
    It’s been 5 years and things are much better than 5 or even 10 years ago.

  • My therapist told me my STBX didn’t just wake up one morning and say, “I’m going to start being a cheater.” It’s always been there—he just finally got sloppy and got caught, or got caught on purpose. My therapist was right. DDay brought the revelation of two AP, during divorce proceedings he confessed to a third early in our marriage, and as I dug through phone records and financials, I’ve found what I suspect are a couple more. These aren’t long-term things, and looking back on his behavior with a neighbor and another woman, I think he wrapped himself up in an emotional affair or two. We broke up once just before we got engaged—there was someone simmering underneath other issues. If I’d only known then what I know now. Many, many days I feel like a complete idiot. It’s going to take a good minute to completely forgive myself for being so blind. This divorce has broken me in two and then some. But, one day the dust will settle, I’ll be living life 100% on my terms, and I’ll settle in with Meh.

    • Yup, mine cheated on exams, on insurance claims, lying to doctors to get sick notes to be off work, exaggerating injuries etc. He has cheated his entire life in one way or another.

      • Their entire life is a lie. You didn’t want to be a part of hie lie anymore. Unfortunately, we all start out not understanding they are one big gigantic lie.

      • Yes! Yes! Yes! Everything from his education to finances. This entire process has been unraveling lie after lie, and I’m left to clean up the mess. It’s disconcerting to know the life I lived for the last two decades was all a falsehood. But, there’s a comfort in knowing that one day he will be out of my life.

    • I think cheaters and those who cheat with them are like cockroaches….there are always 10,000 more in the walls for the one you can see.

      I think it would be naive of me to assume the one I found out about was the only one. I doubt a cheater would leave the security of a cake situation until they had been test-driving other people for a long time. This week is three years since the mirage started evaporating and I still have these “aha!” moments that pop up when I least expect it. Suddenly something that was done or said makes sense, a missing jigsaw puzzle piece that turns the crazy puzzle into an identifiable image when looked at in the context of infidelity.

      • “I doubt a cheater would leave the security of a cake situation until they had been test-driving other people for a long time.”

        True, or unless they get their nuts in a bind, like I am pretty sure mine did. Not that he didn’t want to leave, but I am betting the timing was pushed by work events. He was as nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof. I didn’t find out why until a couple weeks later. The shit had done hit the fan.

    • My STBX left me saying that he needed to “find himself”. After a month he was already leasing a condo. I hired a PI and found him already living with another woman who he had been cheating on me for about a year. After two months he filed for divorce. It was a year yesterday since he left and we are still in the divorce process that with COVID is taking longer than usual. We had been together for almost 30 years (a marriage of 22 years + 8 years before), with two teenagers. I had to subpoena all his bank accounts and credit cards and its taken me over 90 days and still getting documents. I found that he has been living a double life with GF’s and constant visits to porn sites since 2017. I am still in shock that I never suspected anything. The process is still ongoing but this week my attorney got his 1st deposition and we found out more stuff that is embarrassing. I think I can write a book with everything I have learned. I know I will get over this but the pain and suffering that my kids are going through is indescribable. Thank God I am no longer suffering for loving him. That is the past and I have moved on. When you divorce in this country its all about the finances, that is what I am fighting for now. He will pay.

  • My exs ow used to and occasionally stalks me, I know she’s looking for my ex. What. Pisses me off ex take daughter for hospital treatment and the ow is looking for him in my area. I annoy her by refusing to talk to her. She asked me to feel sorry for her, she can fuck off. She actually thought ex was wonderful. She told him he was fantastic, you know what I mean, shame about the sti, then.

    • Finding out my ex had more than just one affair. And definitely questionable boundaries towards many women helped me see behind his mask.
      I do not know everything he did. But definitely the tip of the iceberg was enough to help me start my healing. He has treated me like garbage throughout the relationship and I always thought I deserved it…

      https://notmymonkeys.net/blog/reactive-abuse

      • Love this……in the later years of our 26 year marriage the dick made fun of me jumping at loud noises. I hadn’t always been that way.

  • Thias IS hard and its not a pity party like CL said.

    Terrifyingly, I would have sworn on my children’s souls that he never cheated before the big one that blew everything up.

    About 2.5 years after he died, I learned he had cheated all along. This led to about a 3 yr era or reprocessing 29 years together – SO MANY THINGS had different meaning with my rose colored glasses removed. Once I accepted that cheating was real and a default assumption in many of the odd moments of my years with him that had previously not made sense, I was gobsmacked.

    This was all abuse and has deeply affected me. I also refuse to let it ruin my life . Some would say it was bad to learn it but I want to know what my life was.

    Take the time you need to gain understanding then walk towards Meh. One day I was sitting in traffic and I wondered if deadcheater had fucked some particular woman and I considered it with the interest of whether or not I would have broccoli for dinner – that is meh.

    • I have been lurking on this site for almost 2 years now and always find your posts helpful. My cheater died too, a few weeks afterwards I found out he had cheated with at least 2 people at any one time for almost the whole 24 year marriage. It’s like my whole adult life was a lie and has disappeared into thin air. So disorientating. I too have random memories of conversations which now have different meanings. So glad he’s dead so he can’t wreck my life anymore. I’m still not meh but it’s getting closer. I’m comfortable with leaving his grave unmarked. If I knew before the funeral what I know now I would have had him incinerated and thrown the urn into a skip bin. Unfortunately that opportunity has passed. 🙂

      • Gosh Millie…so glad that my musings are helpful to someone. I approached the “Modern Widows Club” gal about starting a sub group for gals like us and she declined…all roses and lollipops and grieving the faithful over there.

        Hundreds of times, I wonder what I would have done had I known the extent of his treachery while he was alive…I likely would have had a few she-devil moments and surely NOT given him a hero’s send off.

        I do keep wanting to snarkily offer up my spot being buried next to him to one of his OWS. I did contact 2 of them and asked about his narrative…they never responded but aside from the main OW, there was a coworker who acted like his best buddy in the universe yet didnt come to his funeral…that was decent yet was revealing in itself.

        sometimes, I do small things in my house just to spite him..like have sex in front of the fireplace (so there!) or make changes to the house I know he would hate.

        The earthly version of him would have HATED my new husband (which would have been fun if we had divorced instead) but the version of him in Purgatory is likely thankful that someone did what he refused to do…love me with fidelity. I hope he goes to heaven someday but when I was really mad I asked God to keep him in Purgatory until I got there.

        People ask me if my house is haunted (its built on a battlefield where many died) and I tell them I just dare his ass to come haunt me…I would scare him.

  • I just watched a new documentary on Netflix about Chris Watts who was having an affair and murdered his pregnant wife Shanann and their two little girls.

    Fifteen minutes down the road from me, Scott Peterson is in San Quentin prison. He was having an affair and killed his pregnant wife Lacey.

    No one who knew them before their arrests would have ever guessed in a million years that they were
    capable of what they did.

    I’m feeling lucky this morning that I got away alive.

    Cheating is just the tip of the character flaw iceberg. I no longer want to stay in a relationship with someone who can do that and try to figure out what’s underwater out of sight.

    What has really rattled me is that I did not see it and therefore how do I avoid it in the future. It’s not that I CARE. It’s that I’m SCARED.

    The passengers who survived the Titanic would understand my trauma.

    • Velvet Hammer, ditto. I watched the documentary, too. When I first started seeing my therapist, she had me read a book on Scott Peterson. My STBX never raised a hand to me, but the behaviors in Watts and Peterson are so eerily similar to what I experienced, it gives me the shakes. And, since I left, between e-mails that flip between angry outbursts and “I’m sorry,” and a civil meeting that turned into an emotional ambush, my counsel’s had to send written warning not to contact me. I don’t know that I’ll ever feel secure enough to be in another relationship. But, I’m thankful every single day I got out of this one alive.

    • This exactly. It’s been many years, but I still feel like I am the victim if a horrible crime, and why couldn’t I see it coming? I have pretty good street smarts, talked two guys out of mugging me once, have an instinct for when bad shit’s going down, so why not this? I have trouble forgiving myself. The whole thing makes me feel like he had me where he wanted so he could torture me, and probably relives it in his mind while married to stepford wife church lady for cheap thrills. Like a serial killer.

      • Wow…complete same experience. And during our dark wreckonciliation days….I kept thinking about it. That women have been killed for the same or even less than he did.

        He would just get so absolutely ANGRY when I mentioned it, wanted to talk about it. He was the type of cheater who would never rub it in my face because he was terrified of me finding anything (or more) out. Complete split double life. Secrets that he couldn’t face, I think. Tied to his sense of self. He wa never an angry person until all his bullshit came to light and I started digging and questioning. And he freaked. At the time it was this weird niggling thought, and I could not figure it out. He’d never hit me, after all! Now with everything I’ve since put together and learned (he pretty much cheated on me the entire time we were together) I look back and shudder. He hid it SO damn well, I never had a clue. Not one. I only found out because an OW turned on him and showed up at our house.

        Those women were just like me.

        • They’re creepy af. Mine was quiet, never raised his voice, but a complete weird-o, as I look back. I moved back to the mainland USA after being gone for many years to an area near where I knew him, so after all these years I am triggered at times. Recently he found me on a pin board site and sent me pics of pretty young women semi-nude, showing off a part of their anatomy that was a particularly nice feature of my anatomy when I was young. We are in our 60s, now. Why is he doing this? Because he travels thousands of miles every year to visit family here and wants a hookup? I sent him pictures of ugly pigs and decrepit old men, and told him he would be well-advised to leave me alone. This is a married professional man who ranks high in a government position, important in his church. It’s like these fools are so overwhelmed by the thrills they get from doing this sort of thing that they lose all common sense.

    • I live in CA too and what killed me most about Scott Peterson was when they found his wife’s body and reported that she had a coffin birth. I wish I never knew the meaning of that. It’s the saddest thing. Would my now ex ever have killed me? I think I now realize that when he was in the middle of his most crazy times in luv with a new soulmate, he looked at me with such hatred that I do think he was capable of it. In fact, one time he insisted we go camping in a remote part of the desert and I left a letter with my therapist just in case. I do believe there is real sociopathy/psychopathy in this person. I wish I had listened to the red flags 29 yrs ago. Completely no contact now but he still tries in other ways to communicate.

      • > I think I now realize that when he was in the middle of his most crazy times in luv with a new soulmate, he looked at me with such hatred that I do think he was capable of it.

        I know exactly what you mean by that “look” they give you. It’s pure, venomous contempt. That look scared me too. Especially since up until the day before, he was pretending to be a loving husband.

        There was one time right before he moved out when he said “You’d be better off if I was dead.” If we go by the rule that cheaters/narcissists project their feelings on to other people, then he was thinking he’d be better off if I were dead. These people are chillingly soulless.

        • My stbx husband gave me that scary look too. Our marriage therapist had recommended a mini-vacation right around the time I was considering filing for divorce. On the trip, he asked if he could choke me into unconsciousness during sex because it would be exciting. This man is a doctor. He’s a terrifying sociopath. I feel lucky to have gotten away. He’s out to destroy me financially.

      • Ok, I have to chime in here. I was so sick a few years ago….it was weird, and my doctor knew it. He took a hair sample from me, and sent it into a lab, and my arsenic levels were off the charts. He called me and asked me if anyone wanted me dead in particular. I said of course not. Soooo, he called the environmental protection agency, and had them take soil samples at my house and my water samples because he felt I was somehow being poisoned by my environment.

        To make a long story short, the sample were clear. My spouse was eerily silent. Now that I know what I know….I am confident he was trying to murder me. I do believe I was legit sick with lyme’s disease, but I do think he was fucking strange, and trying to off me also.

    • I think of Ted Bundy when I think of my ex. I used to find braces, tensor bandages etc. at the back of our bathroom cupboards. When the ex had no injuries. Some searching through his desk showed he was secretly suing people for injuries. That he obviously did not really have. Bundy had so many people fooled. He even wrote a rape prevention pamphlet when he worked for the goverment.

      There are many layers to these disordered people.

      • I just listened to a Podcast on Josh Powell. He sued several people for injuries in fake car accidents that he caused. I had never known that beforehand. They love a con.

    • I just posted about this documentary in the other group. It’s left me feeling really rattled because my ex reminds me so much of Chris Watts. I had known about the story, actually it happened when I was just dating my ex still and while I found it to be horrific and tragic, I had no clue how much it would resonate with me two years later.

      • Count me in on the ex like Chris Watts or that pyscho Dr. Martin McNeil.

        About 5 weeks before ex ran off for life with OW, I had ACL surgery. Ex was in charge of giving me my pain medication. The night after surgery, I woke up with extreme stomach pain. I started to sweat and got weak. I told him to call 911. He just stood over me not doing anything with a look of mild curiosity. I screamed to call 911 and he finally did.

        The ER doctor said that I just had a stomach ache from the pain meds. I’ve had several surgeries since and had the same medications and have never had that issue happen again. Ex was so conflict avoidant that it would have made things so much easier if I had just died. Not to mention, he would have had a nice life insurance settlement and 100% of the assets. So, yeah, I think he may have played with the dosage and I’m 100% certain that he would have preferred that I die.

        • That is scary.

          Mine didn’t get that scary, but I do remember once he said; “I figured you would move to TX near your Dad” I said “why would I do that” Seemed weird at the time, but I am sure it would have made his life easier, not to have me in his town. Or maybe, he just figured I couldn’t manage on my own. HA, did better than he did.

          • I’m sure you did do better than your ex. At the end of the day, they think they’re more clever than they really are!

            • Yep. Honestly, he got most of the marital property, and of course he had to pay the debts, but he agreed to that in exchange for waiving his retirement. We didn’t have a lot of unsecured debt. By all rights he should have been able to sell all that property, or keep it for investments and in short time walk away with a lot of money. And maybe he did, I don’t know. What I do know is after he and schmoopie married, and he retired they ran up massive gambling debts and had to file bankruptcy. That seemed so out of character for him, from what I knew anyway.

              I know that because my son bought FWs property, and rented the mother in law apt out to them, so they could continue living there. Of course FW and schmoopie within a few years blew that up too. Son sold out, just to get away from them. Son has reconnected with him (somewhat) daughter in law hasn’t spoken to them since.

              So it seems he just can’t stop being who he is.

    • Stories like Watts and Peterson keep me from leaving in order to protect my children. I know that sounds screwy. But he has expressed that he “hates” one child, and says it openly when angry with the child. I am terrified for him to be alone with the kid, and not confident that a shitty court system would give me full custody. He has hobbies that could easily be made to look like “accidents” if he wanted to go that route during a visit. I live in a state of fight or flight all day long. I truly think he is evil.

      • My stbx has also stated he hates, resents one of our children. He and that son share a bd. D day happened on that son’s 18th bd. Coincidence? I think not.

  • I think that the gain-a-life part of recovery is especially difficult during a pandemic. So let’s cut ourselves some slack.

    For me, it’s been almost a year since D-Day. The divorce was finalized in June. So our timelines match up a bit, Feeling Humiliated.

    Moving on can feel like pulling the Titanic with a tugboat. It’s tough to switch the direction of your life, especially when the little engine that could has a blown engine and a gas leak.

    I still give him way too much mental energy to my fuckwit, and some days just suck. That’s when I phone a friend and come on to this blog to find support.

    Good luck to you! And remember “smell the flowers and blow out the candles.”

    • THIS! gaining a life has been hard for me as well during the pandemic. BUT i’m trying like hell still.

      I’ve started learning spanish, got back into reading about art, sing often to ease anxiety and even go out to dinner alone and listen to podcasts while I eat. I don’t care what people think, this is me trying to survive and do things for my mental health during this pandemic. I’m alone in it, so I have to do what I have to do.

      Although I’m eating alone, I still do my hair and makeup to feel pretty while out. I just want to feel good about myself. I really don’t care what people think.

      • Doing things by yourself is the best. It’s about taking care of yourself and not having to worry if the other person (be it friend, relative, or date) is enjoying themselves. You don’t have to accomodate them or compromise your plans, anobody notices. I’ve been doing stuff by myself since I was a teenager, eating out, shopping, and so on. Most people are more concerned with themselves.

          • Yes, I find that mostly the hostesses that seat me look at me the weirdest when I say “just me” but no one else eating seems to care or notice.

            Although, I did have one guy come to my table once and say “you’re alone? but you’re so beautiful?” I had my headphones on (like I always do when eating alone) and just smiled at him and said “you’re sweet, thanks”. He didn’t mean it in a rude way, he was just noticing how someone would be lucky to have my company. I took it as a compliment.

            • I’ve noticed that with hostesses (or hosts) seating me and even wait staff. As a former waitress during my college years, a single person in a restaurant still takes up an entire table, which means less revenue for the space and time used, and more importantly. less money in tips. If the sevice is good when I’m dining alone I will tip extra well for that reason, especially if I intend to return. And yes the other diners really don’t seem to care that we’re alone, like you said.

              • Yes, I realize this too. I would sit at the bar but those are closed off right now due to covid. I usually ask for a table just for two so i’m not taking up so much space. I also apologize if they don’t have any and have to seat me at one for four people. I just don’t know what else to do other than tip well.

      • Alice, early on after dday my therapist told me I had to get out of the house & rejoin the living. She told me to get dressed, do my hair & make up & go to the mall, grocery store, library, garden center, etc. I did have to buy anything but just live & maybe a hurting person like myself might see me & say to themselves, “look at this woman who has a life” just like I was saying to myself the same thing. It was really telling me that everyone has troubles of their own but they get out & live. Sort of fake it until you make it.

        • I know a lot of folks don’t like the “fake it until you make it” mantra. But, honestly it has gotten me through several hard times. I mean, what else can you do, but curl up and die. No one needs to do that.

          • @Hurt & Susie,

            Yes, you’re both right. No one would guess how much pain or loneliness I’m in right now if they saw me. I’m a great actor when it comes to masking my feelings. I think a lot of Chumps are because we’ve fought so long to save our relationships with our cheater (pick me dancing).

            I still have times where I cry my eyes out in the shower but I’m absolutely getting out there and trying my best to live. If I just curl up and stay kept in my apt it wouldn’t be a quality of life I want to remember. I’m trying to make these “alone memories” as something to look back on and say “damn, I was so f’ing strong.” Just trying to make the best of it really.

          • I agree. Two pieces of advice that I HATED to hear when I was in the thick of grief were:

            Fake it til you make it! and

            Living well is the best revenge.

            They seemed so dismissive of my grief at the time. Now in the light of cooler reason I realize that this is the best advice.

      • This is great! You’re having a good time, treating yourself (like you deserve!!). You can always meet someone (but I would prefer being introduced through trustworthy friends, you know, taking it slow, in control of our silly hormones… to save us from falling for another fuckwit).

  • Ugh. I kicked my Ex out of my house 3 years ago after I (finally) discovered evidence confirming that he had had an affair, which I had suspected for years. After I kicked him out, various friends / family asked me if the affair that I’d discovered had been his only affair. I was appalled and offended by the question — of course that had been his only affair.

    What a world class chump I was/am. In the past 3 years, I have learned of multiple other of his affairs, going back 15+ years in our marriage. Literally, just last week, I had a flashback to an incident that occurred 17 years ago, which I have not thought about since it happened, when a suspicious man called our house because the call history on his home phone showed that our phone number had called his house. He wanted to know if my Ex was a young guy. I dismissed the call as a wrong number and told my Ex about the poor man who had mistakenly called our house because he was suspicious that his wife was cheating.

    The thing is — I. Never. Suspected. 15+ years of continual affairs, and I only discovered one of them while we were married. Over the past 3 years, I’ve discovered that there were So Many More. On one occasion, my Ex introduced me to a woman at a party whom, I’ve since learned, he was then having an affair with.

    The point is, I am 3 years out, and I am still learning about and processing the extent of my Ex’s treachery and abuse. It’s a lot to process. 15+ years of my life were not at all what I thought they were.

    I am creating my new life, but processing and accepting the past continues to be a challenge for me, particularly since I continue to learn more.

    • So Done, thank you for your post. It’s been 3 1/2 yrs for me and I am still processing it too. Recently my son started working at his father’s work and found out all kinds of details about his own fathers affairs etc. My son admitted to me this was a blow to his 23 yr old heart and the advice I could gave him was “keep moving forward and continue being the best man you can be. You have integrity and you are amazing in every way”. I threw out, in my mind, the ide of my son knowing the truth about his father and decided to show how much worth my son has despite his father’s character flaws. Such a jagged pill to swallow knowing your kids know “too much “ and still processing it like you do. Time has been a healer for me and my children. I look at his OW and laugh that she chose to be with such a man. I chose to divorce that man and move forward in my life knowing who I am and have always been(loving, kind, trusting). I hold onto MY truth and it gets me thru many situations like this. Sending my love xo Sweet

    • “I had a flashback to an incident that occurred 17 years ago, ”

      Those flash backs are killers.

      I just recently remembered a situation in our early years of marriage, (I was triggered by the ex FW blowing up his relationship with our son). When it came to mind, I had a temporary fit of anger at myself, then remembered I was living an honest life, it was natural to think he was too. Not my fault.

      It just cemented the fact that his actions are not my fault. How could they be if he was pulling this crap from the beginning. Do I know for sure that was a cheating inciden? no; but given his actions, more than likely.

      • This is a major problem for me Susie. Why do I feel so bad, as if I’m the one who’s done something wrong, who’s the bad person when i have these flashbacks, and make these connections between events. This is so chumpy! Hopefully realizing it is half the solution. This deceit is 1000% on the cheater!

        • It absolutely is on the cheater. And, here is the thing, for the most part (there are some exceptions) They do not change. Changing would take a huge effort on their part, and cheaters by and large just do not have it in them. Most have lived their whole lives by lies and they just are not going to change.

          I know a lot of women/chumps worry that they will go on with the new schmoopie and live great. No they won’t because they just do not change, they will continue lying and scheming because that is how they deal with life.

          I think the exception is the cheater who truly had a one night stand, or situation in midlife and is horrified by their own actions. It is a rare unicorn, but I am sure in rare cases it happens. If the cheater has spent months, even years devaluing and emotionally abusing their spouse, they are not that unicorn.

          • Completely agree! I feel your heart and hurt but you have no choice but to hold your head up high knowing you are one of a kind! For me, it is an internally exhausting thinking about the “why” and concluded that there isn’t a “why”, he will always be this person and I am worthy of so much more xoxo love to you ladies!

    • Five years out now. I’m pretty sure there was more than one affair, that he was into all sorts off on-line porn, hook-ups sites, etc. – but at the time I left I was so emotionally exhausted that I just stopped trying to find out.

      I’ve spent the time since learning about myself, why I made the choices I did, why I accepted what I did from XAss. And I also learned a lot about Fuck Wit Behavior. Even after all this time, I will find myself stopping in the middle of something with an epiphany and say to myself, “Oh, so THAT’s what that was all about!”.

      I have not dated. I am ready, though the availability of datable men is very low. I am also wondering if I have honed my FW detector enough to able to do so without exposing myself to danger again.

  • What’s with the stalking by the OW? My fuckwit’s OW showed up everywhere I went. I absolutely could not understand how she did it, until just recently my daughter put a tracking app on her cell phone so I would know where she was while pet-sitting. I had a cell phone I kept in the console of our car – I am now convinced OW had her hands on it at some time and installed an app. I’d see her skulking down the aisles a Walmart, smirking at me! At the mall, I’d turn around and there she was! She never approached unless fuckwit was with me – then it was “Oh, it’s so nice to see YOU ALL. It’s been so long since I’ve seen YOU ALL!” and rubbing herself on him like a bitch in heat. What is with that? What do they hope to achieve?

    • You can look through the installed apps and uninstall everything you don’t want or recognize. Presuming you haven’t done so already, or gotten a new phone since then.

      OW/OM know they are involved with a cheater, so stalking you is a way of keeping track of the cheater too. Although I’ve heard more about cheating husbands stalking their wives or ex-wives than OM stalking husbands. I mean, it must happen, but it isn’t discussed as often or it is relatively rare.

      Foundations of quicksand.

    • I honestly have the same question. My ex’s OW stalked me on social media for months, even on venmo she found me. I blocked her from everything. It was just so odd to me, like why stalk me?

      I don’t think they are together anymore but I don’t go digging either. I can just tell by some of the messages my ex has sent me (which I do not respond to).

      The OW in my eyes had nothing on me. I’m a much more beautiful woman than her because I have values, respect for my fellow women, I’m authentic and honest. She has Karma lurking when it comes to her future, that’s something I don’t have to stress about.

      PLUS, everyone who has seen a picture of her says he downgraded. She wears a ton of makeup and gets the orange fake tan thing done. I’ve been told “it’s probably rough waking up to her” lol

      • I feel rejuvenated, now that I put myself first, take care of my skin, things that never mattered or weren’t my priority then… +1 for the self discovery team.

    • Jay– I’ve wondered the same thing. It seems very typical of APs to have a compulsion to invade the territory of their unwitting “rivals.” It seems so fundamentally different than chumps’ typical impulse to avoid anything to do with APs.

      I literally wanted to torch a leased car because the AP had once sat her ass in it. I wore rubber gloves to haul ski equipment to the dump because cheater took the AP skiing once (pick-me dancing and turf-grabbing can exceed skill level and get dangerous. Couch potato AP had to be removed from an intermediate slope on a stretcher). I didn’t want anything she might have touched touching anything belonging to the family, even if cheater just took the kids skiing in the future and I never had to see his punk ass again. Yet the AP campaigned and campaigned to get into our house. She had to go to places where our family hung out.

      It’s not just about cheating. I always felt avoidant towards the exes of guys I dated in the past even when there was no drama going on. It wasn’t the same as the revulsion I felt towards an AP, as if the very skin cells she shed might give us all a deadly disease. I might even feel friendly towards those exes of exes from the past, but I definitely had no desire to invade the ex-gf’s territory, wear clothes or jewelry they left behind, etc.

      What gives? Are mate-poachers fundamentally stalkerish? Is the obsession with married or committed people some fixation on robbing something from someone else and a fixation on the person being robbed? Whatever is the case, that need to invade the territory of the betrayed is just not normal. It’s something distinctly warped and peculiar to this breed.

      • It is. I think it’s because they absolutely know that they’ve snagged a cheater and they have this warped sense of “if I keep tabs on him and keep everyone else away from him it’ll never happen to me.” Because they blame you for the fact that he’s a cheater. That’s exactly what he’s told them too. If you had just been and done and given him that, he wouldn’t have had to do this horrible thing!

        But in the back of their minds they know he’s done it once…..so….it’s really cognitive dissonance at a strange level. We didn’t know we were with a cheater, they did. They’re trying to cheater and karma proof their life. We all know how well that works.

        As to why every single stalker affair partner I’ve ever seen in my life is a woman, I guess it speaks to the fact that women are in it with their emotions and heart and are more likely to be mate poachers. They want your actual life. Men who are APs realize it for what it is more often, which is easy skag pussy. They ain’t trying to listen to your wife bitch and pay her bills, they say and do what they have to get laid. She has a chump for all that.

        I realize that’s me stereotyping but that’s been my observation on that. Maybe someone else can disprove it.

      • My fuckwit’s AP was a woman who told her fellow employees she “always worked for doctors, always had an affair with them, and her husband always found out and made her quit”…when I heard this story I thought, “What kind of woman would tell something like this about herself?” She was ADVERTISING. Within a week she’d been seen coming out of her employer’s call room; she had the doctor acting as a pallbearer when her son died of leukemia. Imagine you are burying your only son and your wife has her lover acting as a pallbearer! I saw this with my own eyes. When that doctor was through with her, he passed her on to another physician in the same building! Eventually she fucked almost every married man at that facility…including my husband. That was when I discovered the second part of her action plan: she sleeps with the husband and tells the wife! So many divorces in that one medical complex, all caused by the same POS slut. She was stalking me so I’d get suspicious. She actually called my home and then hung up the phone…but not fast enough to keep her answering machine from kicking in and playing a message. Accident? I don’t think so.

  • We should have a Chump Nation acronym or short hand celebration every time a chump finds their mighty. Maybe ACDC’s “For Those About To Rock” some such salute – FTATR

    Leaving after just a year? Awesome.
    Questioning legit feelings after just two weeks? Kicking some ass!

    Stand up! Take a bow! Time to rock!

  • The flashes of realization are the hardest at first. 35 years of his cheating. Now when I get them it just solidifies that he is a monster and a loser. If you are a decent person you don’t go into marriage looking for problems. You trust because you are trustworthy.

    • Spoonriver:
      “The flashes of realization”! That’s a good way to put it. Thanks. After almost one year out (and 35 years of marriage), I’m still hit by them almost daily, although not every hour. So progress!!!

  • @Feeling Humiliated,

    Listen to “I Hope” by Gabby Barrett

    and

    “Hurt by You” by Donna Missal

    I really love “Hurt by You” because it’s so true. Being in love with “what we were but not with You”. I feel that rings so true for so many of us Chumps.

    Hope this music helps. Listen and go running or for a long drive with the windows down if running isn’t your thing. Shoot you could listen to them on public transportation too if you don’t own a car.

    Music helps my anxiety so much, and singing too.

  • Thank you for responding. I did actually message him and tell him that I would always been there for him but it wasn’t a 14 page letter of pick me dancing anymore so progress is progress. I wish I DIDN’T do it but he did reply he would be there for me too “always”… LOL. Right. Just like you have been so very here for me and multiple other women. Ugh…shake it off.

    Thanks for the support everyone!

    • I never wrote a letter, but on the last night before I moved out of our home I did say

      “I’ll always love you, but I don’t want you in my life anymore”

      And I haven’t seen him since or initiated any contact. I’m NC for the most part unless something comes up with the divorce settlement which hasn’t happened in some time since it’s all pretty much done.

      For me, I needed him to know I would always care about him but from afar and without him in my life. I don’t ever want to see him or hear from him again. I think you can always care for someone, even with distance and NC. He lost the right to have me in his life.

      • This approach echoes my own: it’s honorable, it’s true, it allows one to let go, and it establishes clear boundaries to protect the self as one heals and moves on. Speaking for myself, if I hadn’t experienced what I’ve experienced, then the person I am wouldn’t be me: and it’s not just the Self here. There are also all the others selves in our orbits. The lives we affect (and who affect our own) just by being as true and whole as we can be. I’m three years out now myself and am beginning to see how I’m rediscovering myself. For over a decade I let myself dissolve in order to keep the peace, save the family, and that was a grave and self-injurious mistake. Not to be repeated. Equally true, if I hadn’t made that mistake, I wouldn’t be who I am now. I’ll take the blessings where I find them. My kids are thriving. It’s a pretty day. And I know so much more than before and, having been tested, it’s pretty clear I’ve (like all of us here) passed into a new and more vital stage of being and awareness.

        Peace to all—

        • I’m glad you’re doing well Epic. It’s all a process for sure. I’m absolutely lonely but a lot of that is pandemic loneliness. I think about how much stress, anxiety and fear I was having in my marriage and I don’t miss it. Right now, it’s more of a battle with loneliness and the trauma and PTSD of it all.

          • Yes, Alice, the trauma and PTSD of it all is so real, and those who get it, most of us here, get it. For me the pandemic has been sort of a blessing, which is awful to type given its horrifying effects, losses, the awfulness of its reality: what I mean is the enforced social distancing and isolation has provided a real passage of time to dig in and read deeply and think and, weirdly, take of up new interests. My increased restlessness counterintuitively conveys a sense of letting go and looking forward in ways I couldn’t have imagined two or three years ago. And boy it’s been a process, for certain.

            Look, as they say, where you want to go!

            Zoom!

    • Do you have kids with him? If not, now is THE perfect time to block his number.

      Even if you see him at work or around town there is no reason to make it easy for him to contact you. You wouldn’t get all chummy with someone who robbed you at gunpoint of your life savings and then pistol-whipped you – right?

    • Dear Feeling,
      You can throw all the Self Pity parties you want.

      BTW, your XH will NOT be there for you, not for anything, nor ever. Ask me how I know. Even 39 years of marriage and three sons was not enough for my XH.

      Sparkledick is not there even for his sons.
      This very week our son, who LIVES with XH and is 700 km from me and does not drive, needed to pick up a prescription for psych medication, he is having serious panic attacks. BUT, although it was only 6 PM, his father. did. not.drive. him. to. doctor’s. office. Instead of gettting off his butt, XH gave a precious son a heavy duty sleeping pill instead. Bastard.

  • Feeling humiliated:
    Please take it as just more validation for the decision you made in leaving. You hurt but you WIN♥️ He’s not your problem. Hugs and blessings to you and all of you beauties this morning. It was a rough night I’m getting there myself
    Thank you ALL

  • @Feeling Humiliated… you are not alone (as you are reading here). I often remarked that Mr. Sparkles was like an iceberg: what you saw on the surface was only the tip… what lurked deep and dark and fathomless under the water was who he really is.

    Like you, and most of us here, there were many more discoveries of partners that what I had originally thought. The one that took the cake though was when his first wife called me because she wanted me to know (now that I was divorcing Mr. Sparkles)… that she and him had continue to have fuckfests whenever she would come to our town to see her kids (some had lived with me and Mr. Sparkles)… or when Mr. Sparkles would go to her town to see his daughter that lived with her… and this went on off and on for three years. Why did she feel the need to tell me… she’s a pathological as him and was having a sadz.

    Bottomline: you’re never going to know everything, but if you can accept that it has nothing to do with you… truly, in your heart believe it, then when those “new truths” bubble to the surface you will be so grey rock that it won’t matter. As I remarked to Mr. Sparkles first wife: “Thanks for telling me. I always knew he was a whore, now I’m clear about you.” and I hung up… and frankly, never thought of it again.

    You will get to Meh… hang in there and let go of what your X did or does… not your monkey, not your circus.

    • “Bottomline: you’re never going to know everything, ”

      Yep. I still don’t know the turth. My ex told me several different stories depending on whether he was trying to circle back or dump me. Then he would say, oh I was just lying to get you to hate me. Screwed with me big time.

      Once legally separated, I decided I didn’t care anymore to know. I just assume our whole marriage (20 years before the legal separation) was a sham for him. Was painful, but it is the best way for me to handle it.

  • I have no idea how many affairs my XW had. Could only prove one beyond a shadow of a doubt. 3 days before I separated from her she said she had multiple “emotional affairs” but they weren’t physical. She refused to tell me who they were. I don’t need to know. I got out and moved on with my life. Don’t pain shop. I do it on occasion. It will tear you up. I had to reprocess 24 years of marriage and suspect which times she was having an affair. Sucks.

  • We beat ourselves up because we feel we should have known, but how could we? We do not think the way they think. We do not desire what they desire. We do not speak their language. They live in a world of surface connections, and we live in a world of deep connections. Even though we were deluded, we thought we had a deep emotional bond, we had all the social trappings of that deep emotional bond. It meant something to us. It was a fleeting moment for them.

    I believe the OW stalk because they feel the hypocrisy of their position. They want the life we believe we have, and they don’t want to miss out on anything. The irony is none of us really have that life, because it is dependent on a fraud. We all have a life we desire, and a real life. We strive to achieve what we desire, but sometimes, we cannot have that desire. We eventually realize the only things that are real in our world are those things which do not depend on him. You cannot live happily ever after with Prince Charming if he is a mirage. OW knows he is not a Prince, or he would not be cheating with her. They may not want to admit that, because they act like they are special, and they want to pity us for being inferior, but the facts just don’t add up. If you think we feel bad when we find out about others, think about how the OW feels when she discovers she was fooled, too! No one wants to be used, even if they are a user themselves.

    We tried, very hard, to make our marriage work. We did not have the material to make it work. We over estimated the value of our partner. It was his failure, he was not who he pretended to be, the OW was not who she pretended to be, we had nothing to work with. It is smart to get away once you realize that. Why stay when there is nothing to work with? We can move along our efforts to a new, more viable project. Looking back does not change history, looking back just shows us wasted time and effort. If we do not learn from our past mistakes, we are doomed to repeat them. We cannot be expected to know what we did not know at the time, but we know now. It is a hard lesson to learn, but a valuable one.

  • Miss @Feeling Humiliated, I can empathize entirely. After one D-day, my ex took off. On her way out the door, she admitted to not one, but two more AP, going back to when we were brand newlyweds. It was like the same feeling all over again. It doesn’t make you weak because you got upset again. (Personally, I suspect there were others, but as far as I’m concerned, one AP was too many.)
    Don’t be so hard on yourself! You’ve already gotten rid of that jerk, which was the important part.

    P.S., I did write an angry letter, but mine was “only” 7 pages long :D.

    • I never wrote anything, but when I found out about where he was & WHO he was with more importantly (another woman) I sent him a text of a screenshot showing him what I found and the only thing I wrote in the screenshot was “I know (ex-husbands name), I hate you forever” and hired an attorney & made an appointment for divorce filing the next day.

      He responded to my text denying the whole thing. But the evidence I found was too concrete and I knew he was just being manipulative yet again. I was so hurt and upset, I just didn’t have any other words for him other than what I had initially sent. So I never responded to any of his texts back to me. I was done.

        • thank you Alice! i honestly think about it now and can’t believe I didn’t blow up his phone in tears or respond to any of his texts. i was just so unbelievably hurt i really didn’t have words to even fight it.

          i did however have the energy to go through a bunch of stuff we shared and hand it over to goodwill. the getting rid of stuff was sorta symbolic looking at it now. i just needed to throw stuff out to feel less heavy and connected to him. it was like shedding all the memories of our life together. i cried while i did it, but it had to be done. i was just so so hurt.

    • I remember writing a letter to an ex college boyfriend after we broke up. I saw him a few years later and we went out to dinner to catch up. While walking back to my apartment, he mentioned the letter. I said, “Huh? What letter?” I wasn’t kidding. He had to remind me what was in it and I could see why he retained memory of it– he loved the kibbley parts that made him seem special and important and the idea that I– or anyone else– might yearn for him forever! Such a dork.

      I remember the smile slowly drooping off his face as he recounted the contents of the letter and began to realize I had no recollection of having written it. I sent him off with a farewell at the door to my apartment building and felt slightly embarrassed that he assumed he’d be invited in. I’m sure he thought I did it all deliberately but “meh” can’t be faked.

      Never feel ashamed or awkward about having expressed unwieldy chump sentimentality in the midst of a separation. Even though this isn’t the original intent, those awkward gestures are just setting the cheater up for a fall later on, after you’ve reached “meh.” Then they’ll be mumbling like resentful little trolls in the corner about how you “Never meant it” after all and are insincere and shallow and changeable and heartless (sulk, sulk, sulk) when they find out you don’t see them as central in the long run.

      • I wrote a letter to my FW, it was before he left, but I knew about his cheating. It was the “I will always love you” type letter. Because in that moment I really believed it. I was hurting so bad, and I am sure that I thought it would “touch” his heart and all would be golden.

        I cringe when I think of it now, and hope he no longer has it. But, I am sure it gave him kibble highs just thinking of it. I remember him running back to the bedroom, I don’t know why; maybe he thought I had offed myself.

        Anyway, he said you I know you don’t believe it, but I do love you; I just need to get my head on straight. (throwing out more crumbs to keep me dancing)

        I didn’t dance much longer. About three weeks later I asked him to file for D, and once our legal separation was in motion, I went NC. He did call me a couple times, but it was just to try to bully me into using his lawyer. (I didn’t)

        I also let him come back for a week after we were legally separated, but I realized about two day in, that was a huge blunder. I kicked him out at the end of one week.

        • Hmmm, I’ll bet he still has that letter or at least the memory of it triggers mixed feelings as he gnaws on it like a dog chewing an old bone with frustration and disappointment that all the marrow and flavor has gone out of it. He knows that if you repeated every word in that original letter, you wouldn’t mean any of it.

          • True. I did mean it at the time as he was my first love (married at 18), but of course I had no way of knowing what was to come, or how I would feel once he was totally unmasked.

            I was still walking around in shock. I just didn’t know it.

            • Well of course you mean it at the time. I always did. Until I didn’t.

              I swear a lot of the cheaters who bolt without a look back are just trying to freeze-frame the image of their chumps’ desperate yearning so they can dip it in amber and pretend to themselves that the chump will yearn forever! It’s just no fun running away if no one’s chasing you.

              I suspect this type of cheater knows that most chumps will go “meh” eventually, which destroys the illusion of immortal centrality. Better not to revisit and see the chump staring blandly back at them like “Hmm, who is this guy? Oh right. Whatever.”

              • Ha, your last sentence reminded me of my grandsons high school graduation.

                My husband and I were sitting on one side of the Gymnasium, and my son and his dad and schmoopie were sitting at the top at the other side. My son had come to ask us to sit with them, but I preferred where we were.

                Anyway, my H had a really good camera, and you could look through it and see others by a zoom lenz. I look at my ex and I was shocked. He had this really long old man beard, and he had gained a lot of weight. Honestly, he didn’t look at all like I remembered. So I handed the camera to my husband and said look over there where my son is, see that old fat guy with a beard? He looked and said yes. I said that is my ex.

                We talked to them after the graduation for a couple minutes, schmoopie was pleasant enough, but FW wouldn’t even look me in the eye. I thought it was funny.

                My husband said, I don’t know what game your ex was playing but I won. (meaning he won me)

  • 6 years out from Dday and have built a wonderful life after divorce from hell.

    25 year marriage. I was completely blindsided. Thought XH had a brain tumor. Thought there was no way he could cheat. No way. I literally could not believe it. I thought it was the young homewrecker’s fault—I thought it was depression or midlife crisis or something I said or did that caused “it.” This thought error caused me to pick me dance like a fool, to pretzel myself, to focus on fixing “ it” so I could have my life back.

    WRONG! XH was never who I thought he was: by definition because I never thought he was a person who could lie, fuck others, risk me, harm me, cruelly destroy our Childrens’ security and innocence. He was that person all along.

    I am actually grateful for learning about the other APs … it proved it was HIM. I then had no choice but to divorce, build a new life. Accept who he is and that I would never be ok with who he is.

    I also feel a sense of (sick?) satisfaction that young AP got a serial cheater. He’s cheated on her already (a colleague told me that his X met my X on bumble and my X failed to tell her he was living with AP— the woman who was duped by my XH was furious.

    My reaction? Yup, he sucks! Cheaters cheat and liars lie. No longer my monkey or my circus. Good riddance!

    • @motherchumper–This is exactly what screws with me. I too had around a 25 year relationship give or take (still in divorce process). I WANT to find out he’s screwed around on me before. Thinking back…I handled all the finances and I do mean all so there was never any questionable charges nor missing money from the bank accounts. There was one time I did catch him looking at porn–so I do assume he had a porn addiction he kept secret. And one other questionable issue at work. But in over 25 years give or take that’s really all I can see and it does bother me that maaaaybe this is one of those actual love things or maybe I was really…whatever. I mean, I know I didn’t make him cheat but I still wonder what I could’ve done differently; he was a good guy until he wasn’t–I thought same re: brain tumor and would kind of still swear that he didn’t screw around until this whore. I still think maybe he had a midlife crisis but who cares, result is still the same in that he’s shredded my kids, family and me.

      But still…there is that niggling voice in my head that says if this is the only time it’s happened then it’s either real love or somehow my…not fault but something I could’ve done differently to change the outcome. I’m probably ruminating more than usual because I found out he’s back in the area instead of half a world away and I’ve had to have some contact with him. It really has me in a funky place mentally.

  • My belief is that the multiple affair scenario is a much more common phenomenon, especially in the case of longer marriages. But once the discovery of a hidden affair finally occurs, the marriage relationship dissolves into separation and divorce before most chumps can realize the full extent of the cheating.

    In my case, the period of time from discovery to divorce was a longer than usual walk through hell, which gave me time to sharpen my amateur detective skills and to eventually figure out multiple affairs that even pre-dated our wedding day.

    The tortuous process of putting in place each new piece of the puzzle was debilitating at times – a whole different level of suffering. The worst experiences were when the epiphanies would hit unexpectedly. I’d be showering (where I tend to do my best thinking) or walking home from errands then suddenly confirm the unmistakable evidence of yet another affair and experience that familiar gut punch and my legs would almost give out. What a horrendous time that was.

    For the chumps now experiencing this grueling part of the journey, please know that life will get better. Three years out and I’m mostly at “meh” now. I see my ex for the sociopath that she is. I pity her for having to serve out a hellish life sentence of shallowness in the company of creepy people. Gradually the anger from ruminating on all those humiliating, wasted years of being a loyal and devoted husband to a sick, covert narcissist have given way to feelings of indifference and gratefulness to be free of that toxic entanglement.

    The present and future are mine. A rewarding life comes from maintaining healthy habits, avoiding toxic people, following the good path, and abiding by the Golden Rule. Godspeed and love to all my fellow chumps.

    • Totally agree. It’s the constant rolling gut punches of discovery that are so punishing. I can’t help but feel completely and utterly violated when I cast back and think of him in my bed, or eating a meal, or walking on the beach. Now when I remember those things, I wonder, “who was he fucking that week?” It’s the cruelest part of this whole thing – it’s like a stolen life. I’m glad you’re a meh, I’m not there yet unfortunately. I’m still in the throes of hell. Looking for Tuesday…

      • It is exactly a stolen life. They knew they were using us, and we had no clue. We were investing emotionally and financially in a lie.

        It will lose most of it’s sting as years go by, but it will likely always be there.

        Doesn’t mean we won’t have a good life, just will put it in its place.

      • As I said, I’m mostly at “meh.” But I still wake from the occasional nightmare or I might feel twinges of depression out of nowhere. But I’ve learned to accept that such things are part of the human condition and I try to show myself patience and understanding like a good friend would.

        That’s the other thing — this entire hellish experience has taught me the true meaning of self-love and how to be your own best friend. I never really grasped that concept until all of this happened. All the best to you!

    • GDD, our stories are so similar, down to the timeline and covert narcissism and sociopathy of our exes, and what’s also interesting to me is the way our thoughts—each three years out—are so kin. Free to be free from that harmful toxicity. And, on my part, not to speak for you, a feeling of great release, pity for the suffering Ex who has to live with the person that she is, and gratitude for this lens by which to move forward into the light of day.

      • I think your last sentence is one Chumps need to remember. I know it is easy to get tied up with, oh he/she goes on and has a wonderful life. No they don’t, no matter what they do; they will always be living with themselves. No matter how much paint or spackle they splash on themselves and their life, they are always going to create problems for themselves, it is who they are.

        • Spot on. I’m not the type to get depressed over other people’s perfect-seeming lives on social media. I know that no one’s life is perfect. It’s why I don’t covet and why I’m not a cheater. I don’t even get mad about average people projecting perfect lives. It’s rough out there– better to project an unassailable front to keep the wolves away. But when you know full well someone’s a piece of shit, there’s something sweaty, cheesy and desperate about the spackling.

      • @Epictetus
        Sorry to hear you went through a similar hell. You may want to check out the concept of hypergamy, which was new to me until I ran across it in my YouTube feed. Just do a YouTube search. A lot of it really rings true with the situation I discovered and who (and what) my ex is as a person.

  • I think the lingering angst of having been betrayed can be quite separate from any feelings of “love” victims once felt for abusers. There might still be heartbreak but, even without sentimentality, there is the unsettling fact of having been victimized.

    I just realized that part of what seems like “pining” for a cheating ex is just a trick of the mind to launder blighted memory and restore a sense of meaning. If the relationship works out, one can pretend the bad thing wasn’t so bad. The agony of getting distance is that the scales fall away and the bad thing is revealed in full or revealed as worse than originally thought.

    What came to mind when reading this were memories of having been robbed in the past.

    I don’t pine for the battered old van I had after college, but I still shudder at the violation of having it stolen.

    Also similar is the feeling of having been plagiarized.

    Each intentional past violation against us, even if we don’t give a damn about the people involved anymore or put much value on the things stolen, mars memory and meaning. You also have to contend with that “What has God wrought in man” sense that evil and ill-intentioned people exist and can invade your life. It’s chilling and dehumanizing.

    What repairs memory a bit is justice and what can keep the wound open is the lack of it. It might seem baffling to onlookers that I cringe more over being defrauded of that rusty old van than I do the attempted assault and stalking by a crazed coworker because the latter went to jail for it. Justice rebalances the universe a little bit.

    I was reading about the survivors of a murderous dictatorship who were imprisoned, raped and tortured under the regime while the country hosted the World Cup. From their dank cells or in the midst of being tortured, these people had to witness their own torturers filled with glee over the matches and could hear their fellow citizens cheering and celebrating victories.

    The prisoners also suffered from the knowledge that, even though the world knew of the human rights violations going on, other countries had let their players travel to this country and compete.

    To this day, the survivors who heard the victory celebration while imprisoned can’t bear the sound of stadium cheers or soccer fans.

    Obviously it’s not because they loved and pine for their torturers. It’s the violation and lack of real justice that makes it seem the world itself is loveless, that there’s no safe haven, no meaning. It’s the melding of dissonant memories (marriage + betrayal; the sound of mass celebration + torture) that fractures the soul.

    • So much good stuff in your post.

      “even if we don’t give a damn about the people involved anymore or put much value on the things stolen, mars memory and meaning. ”

      I think that nails it. I can think of the long past betrayal and be hurt still. Not because I pine or care anything for the betrayer but for the betrayal itself. For the lies, and for the time I invested into what turned out to be a lie.

      • Susie Lee– I read an essay recently about abuse of power and the concept of time. An abuser of power assumes their time is more important. Sycophants around a narcissist will treat the narcissist’s time as more important than other people’s. Time can be very political. The value of our time on earth, like gold, is conferred by limited supply.

          • Epictetus– I was looking for it but can’t remember the title. Frustrating. Using search terms like “value of time” and “inequality” just bring up unrelated articles. The discussion was in the context of workplace sexism but could apply to any abuse of power by any brand of narcissist.

            • It’s such an interesting equation: betrayal as measured not emotionally but temporally which, like gold, as you mention, has limited supply. Not that emotions obviously aren’t vital: more that by side-stepping emotions temporarily –a psychic time-out– through a more objective seeking formula to come to understanding might help those emotions to settle and cohere less violently in the wake of the trauma of betrayal.

              A soul fractures when meaning of experience eludes is. One thing that I’ve learned, at least for me, is that things mean what we make them mean. And meaning transforms and evolves as we do. One advantage of looking back (occasionally!) is to see just how far one has come. Fractures are painful, and they are also possible to heal, as this community reminds so often and so well.

        • That’s cool. I always felt like my time was marked by my ex – I was ALWAYS waiting for him. Literally, every day. Waiting for him to come to the car, waiting for him to wake up, waiting for him to get home, waiting for him to stop “working” in the home office, waiting for him to see if he’ll agree to do something with me, waiting to see if he’ll finish the things he said he’d do….blah blah blah. Part of my healing now is that I have so much time (and money actually). I don’t know what to do with myself! They are thieves of so many things, including our time, love, money, safety….

    • “Justice rebalances the universe a little bit.” Yes indeed. I’ve said a few times to my family and friends that I don’t want him dead or tortured but I do want him unhappy. I want him suffer some sort of fvkng consequence for what he’s done. And I mean tangible not a ‘well he has to live with himself’ one because I don’t think he has one problem with that. I more than likely would never know because until this last week I’ve been strict NC with him, yet I still want that. But I guess want in one hand crap in the other and see which fills up first huh?

  • Feeling Humilated………you have been traumatized. And this is another blow. There will be a lot of triggers in the days to come. It is a long process. It gets easier but it takes time.

  • In my personal experience, and it seems like the experience of a lot of folks here on CN, finding out the actual truth after the relationship/marriage has ended seems par for the course. When cheaters are doing the cake dance and trying to keep the spouse and the schmoops, they are pretty hesitant to let you know the full spectrum of what they’ve done. It’s only after the divorce is done, when you’ve filed, left, and they have a new schmoops to hoodwink, do they stop caring about you finding out the real details.

    With my first cheater many, many years ago, I caught him with one of his schmoopies. I didn’t find out she was actually schmoopie number 6 until about 8 months later after the relationship had been over for a while.

    CL calls it Trickle Truth when cheaters only cop to what they think you already know, but I think there should be a term for this, finding out the full truth after the relationship has ended, it happens so often.

    • In plumbing it’s called a “saturation leak” or masonry saturation leak. I love living in really old neoclassical buildings but it’s one of the downsides. A leak in the roof, chimney or sill may be invisible for a long time as rain water is gradually absorbed by the building’s materials– brick, plaster, wood, fine cracks in cement– before reaching saturation. At that point water might suddenly start pouring out in gallons from a crack in a previously dry-seeming ceiling or wall. The entry point can be quite far away from the original leak and happen long after a torrential rain as the water condenses together, a bit like cloud condensation, forming channels (by some principle of physics I don’t quite get) until it becomes a veritable river.

      Cheating saturation leak, bullshit saturation leak– same principle. Critical mass is reached and boom.

        • That can be more than an analogy in cheating. Don’t get me started on neglect of basic property maintenance by FWs. Everything falls to shit around them. That’s how I learned so much about plumbing.

          • So true. My FW was not a fixer upper at all.

            I didn’t mind so much as, it just wasn’t his thing. But, one of the things he told me was he was just unhappy because I was not a good house keeper. Now I was no spit shiner for sure. But, I kept the house up good enough, and kept his clothes clean, kept the kitchen and bathroom especially clean.

            My weakness was dusting and you would always find books around my chair. I guess me working full time, working all his volunteer events anytime he requested and doing all the housework, just wasn’t enough.

            Given that situation, my son and I warned him for years that we had termites, but he kept in denial, until they ate about 1/4th of our living room. He finally had to hire a termite person.

            Now you would think that schmoopie was a terrific house keeper, and you would be dead wrong. My daughter in law told me she was a mess. My daughter in law is a spit shiner, so I am sure she noticed it right away.

            • Haha! So true! I had a housing inspection and valuation done recently and the guy said, “how long has it been since you’ve done some good maintenance?” I told him the truth, that asshat said he was doing things, but he wasn’t. Another lie! Our house is falling to shit, just like his life because he ignored what really mattered.

              • I couldn’t even hire someone, he controlled the money, and if he didn’t want it, it didn’t happen. I guess he needed all the money he could get together to “date”.

                He did keep up all the rental property.

                Good news is, when we were separated, he was convinced I was going to take the marital house and the small house his mother was living in, because the small house was paid for but the mortgage for it was on the marital house. He was fixing it up for me. All the while telling me what he was doing to make my life easier alone in the house. I just kept quiet. He put up new paneling in the living room after getting rid of the termites. He did a really lousy job and it looked like shit.

                Nope, my lawyer said his mother is his responsibility, you are not going to be tied to her for life.

                So he got the marital house, and all the other property except for the small property that was paid for. I got that. Had he not agreed to that, we would have sold it all, and I would have gotten half the money, which would have been more than the small property was worth.

                But, bottom line was he got stuck with the house he let fall apart. Lol.

                Sorry for his mom, but that is where she ended up living, until he bought a house out of the county where he added a small mother in law apartment. Which he ended up living in after his mom died, because he and schmoopie had to file bankruptcy due to gambling debts. He needed to sell the house to get some money.

                Our son bought the house and let him and schmoopie rent the small apt for a low rent. Then a few years later they crapped all over his son and their own arrangement. So that blew up and my son sold out.

      • “Saturation Cheats.”

        Good metaphor. And it’s like cheating in that I imagine it just drops on you like a bomb when you don’t expect it and disrupts the rhythm of your life. Like you’re sitting around, going about whatever your day is, then suddenly part of your ceiling is now in your living room. It’s something that can be fixed (replaced pipes, replaced ceiling parts) and it’s better to find out about the leaking and have it repaired, but it’s such a sudden pain in the ass you’d almost rather it not have happened.

        Same with finding things out after the end. You go about your life, your healing process, then suddenly, you have another pile of crap from your ex sitting in your consciousness. You can heal and continue to move on, and you have the full truth rather than whatever bits the cheater tried to give you, but it’s just more garbage you wish you didn’t have to deal with in the first place.

  • Feeling humiliated,

    I found out about serial cheating in waves too – it sucks. Just when you think you know it all, you hear more. In my case on DDay, I got to learn about the girlfriend. Then it was the hookers and sex clubs. Then it was that he’d been having sex with randos since our daughter was born (so for 13 years). Then, so many of the lies he told me about weird events in our life came to light. Such as, he had stalking women trying to come to our house, he was hiding S&M gear at our house, he was skimming money, etc. Then, I found out about all his bullying and incompetence at work, hence he lost his job. It’s amazing how they do suck and we just didn’t know it. I think the hardest part of healing is that – the way they split themselves. In my case, I had a very lovely husband on the one hand, and he was a lying bastard on the other. It’s been very hard to reconcile the two. Hang in there. Stay mighty!

  • Question for CN: do you consider a one-night stand an affair?

    My ex had a legit multi year affair, but he also had at least one one-night stand shortly after we were married. I learned of this 10 years ago, after 25 years of marriage. I bet there were others. He said he doesn’t consider a one-night stand an affair. I disagreed.

    Just wonder how others define it.

    • “a: a romantic or passionate attachment typically of limited duration : LIAISON sense 2b
      had an affair with a coworker.”

      According to the definition it is. “limited duration”

      But, it is all adultery. Use the adultery word, they hate that. assuming he is married. Also the partner they are committing adultery with is also committing adultery, whether they are married or not they are still screwing a married person, so they are one and the same.

      • Hmmm. Mine has used the word “adulterer” to describe himself. “I know I’m an adulterer.” I actually think he likes the sound of it.

        It makes him feel like Don Draper of Mad Men (a show that we really enjoyed watching together. Ugh!).

        • Ha, mine hated that word.

          Fun fact: after he retired he became a lay preacher (no pun intended) I still laugh when I think of that. If he had actually changed I can see it, but right in the middle of his lay preaching, he along with schmoopie, blew up his relationship with our son, by lies and disrespecting not only my daughter in law, but our granddaughter.

          He and schmoopie had to leave two different churches because they pizzed every one off. Not sure what he is doing now in terms of church.

    • I consider sleeping with anyone else other than your spouse cheating/affair.

      Some sort of talk had to happen in order for two people to get to sleeping together. I don’t care if it’s a short email, one text or 1 min discussion. It took two to engage in conversation to agree to sex and that to me is an affair and 100% cheating.

      I also consider those who get massages and happy endings are in fact cheating.

  • I’ve been binge watching Grey’s Anatomy and sob at the portrayals of long term marriages. My most recent was the scene of a patient being escorted by a spouse as they took the after surgery “get the intestines moving again” walk.

    I think, rather than pain shopping, I am de-sensitizing myself. If I feel anger rather than grief, I will use it to push through the divorce.

    But among the suckiest suckdom, is the realization that there’s a pandemic, there’s no dating, there’s no “do overs”. Gaining a life for many of us will be a physically isolated experience.

    • I’m watching baseball playoffs. When a couple of runners hit home runs they pointed up to the skyboxes where their families were watching them. I cried my eyes out and I’m not usually a crying person. (Ok full disclosure; I do cry at sports. When the players win a world series or stanley cup and the look of complete joy on their faces gets me most times, as do the faces of the players who lost.) Anyhoo, when 2nd dday happened, I was afterward able to get a job, go do things, meet new people. Felt well on my way to that new life. Now I’m unemployed and even though I’m really close with my kids who live with me AND I tend towards being a social introvert, I’m lonely. I’m sad most days. I’m ruminating. And I’m going through menopause. So I agree completely with your last statement and all I do is hope that someday hopefully soon things get better. Sending you vibes lemonhead, all of them good. 🙂

  • Years ago, unmarried but living together (never again!) I came home and he was sitting at the desk next to his female study partner from his class at junior college. I got The Vibe. I can’t say what was going on before I got home, but when I unexpectedly arrived they were sitting at a desk fully clothed and respectably far apart. But I got The Vibe.

    When I asked him about her, he told me he had to have her as his study partner because “there are no other guys in the class.” Lone guy in a class of all females. And he wasn’t attracted to her.

    I did not know what to do. I didn’t have any hard evidence, just that feeling.

    Not too long after that, the phone rang (wall phone era) and it was…..a guy from the class wanting to borrow his notes. Months later, he admitted he was attracted to her.

    Not too long after that, we ran into her in a restaurant and he made obvious efforts to avoid her. Why not say hello if you were friends and just study partners?

    I had three years invested at that time and had I known then what I know now I would have left.
    Instead I stayed. For 24 more years. I now believe he was screwing around the entire time.

  • I recommend highly ( after LACGAL) “Cheating In a Nutshell” it is an excellent analysis of the effects on the partner. The physical and emotional fallout as well as the biological basis for much of it. Its a relief to read this kind of evidence from very recent research. You are not crazy or alone in your feelings. Be very gentle with yourself.

    • chumpedchange
      i LOVE the book. it has brought so much to light. i don’t think my husband maintained a full relationship i just know they met up a couple of times. I’ve often struggled with well, he really wants to stay,,, he truly seems sorry and that IS the case however it is a life sentence as the book states. the hard reality. i just think it wouldve been easier had he just left. but this book is a true gem, i agree

  • I had my D-day June 23rd last year. If I ever write a book, the chapter will be called “The Gift.” I hit that little envelope icon and BOOM! All of his emails downloaded. It was an unbelievably creepy feeling. I thought he must know and would come hurt me. Talk about never suspecting a thing! Y’all know why I chose the title – I was given a gift by his own hand. And it is a very precious one I am grateful for even though it is horrible. I knew exactly what had been going on – for our entire marriage. I was able to walk away as a result. I viewed him as a financial liability. I have been divorced nearly 2 months. I still think about him a lot. I think it is because I still can’t believe it and have more processing to do. I don’t want him. In fact I wish I could warn others, but not sure I want to get into that. I don’t hate him either. It’s complicated. But I did get closure. If I hadn’t, he had teed it up so that it would be on me – not enough makeup, too rude, too demanding, not sexy enough, etc….It’s really unbelievable and impossible to relate to. Hence the brilliance of CL’s missives on the tangled skein – leave it tangled. Can’t undo that one. Trust they suck – I have wondered is he crazy, a sex addict, narcissist, paraphiliac, etc….Maybe all, maybe none, but he SUCKS. Trust it. I emphasize for those who don’t know the details of such ultimate deceit. I think I would still be in a fetal position, but for The Gift.

  • It’s been 9 months since D-Day, 2 months since I moved out and the revelations keep coming. I only know of one OW and another woman that he hit on unsuccessfully while banging the “official” OW, but it came to me in the shower that:

    a) He had probably lied to me about getting a job designing video games that he could do entirely from home (this was before COVID). He had some programming knowledge, so this was actually believable. When I asked why he never had to go in to the office he said the company was based in Germany and had all its programmers working from home. Again, I know programmers who have worked from home for years, so it seemed reasonable at the time. After COVID hit I asked about his work. He pulled the sad sausage face and said that the company had closed down due to COVID. Really? A company whose employees were already working from home and during a time when video game consumption likely spiked? A job where he never Skyped or Zoomed these supposed coworkers of his? I could not imagine concocting such an elaborate lie just to play video games without my spouse asking me to do something more productive with my time. I have to laugh at that level of pathetic-ness.

    b) I have no definitive proof but there is circumstantial evidence that he had OM as well as OW. It all started when he and a male friend went out for a guy’s night. I found condoms in his car afterwards (unused thank God!) and asked him about it. He got really defensive and said, “They’re [Male Friend]’s. He was going to have sex with his girlfriend afterwards.” Again a plausible enough lie but for the expression on his face. Later he showed me a text from this same male friend asking him to go to the movies with him. Not as part of a group of guys, just the two of them. I actually made a joke about it at the time and chalked it up to cultural differences because his friend was from another country. He literally waved his text from this guy in my face! As if to taunt me “I know something you don’t know”. I knew he paid a lot of attention to his appearance but somehow the thought of him with another man was…unthinkable. Until it wasn’t.

    This is the same male friend he wanted to set me up with, by the way, for image management purposes. There are no words to describe how fucked up that is.

    I’m not even getting into the time I mentioned that there was a gay dude on Craigslist offering free housing for a sufficiently attractive young man and he “jokingly” asked me for more details. I think he will end up doing some kind of sex work because he is a very good looking man with a terminal case of laziness.

    Wow what a chump I was!

  • I really needed this post today. My mind is swirling because I broke no contact and spoke with fuck wit and I was yelling at him “I hate that bitch because she took you away from me.” He said “try bitches, I’ve had three girlfriends.” Now I’m kicking myself. I didn’t ask but I need to know before or after our divorce. Because if it’s after, then great that means he’s cheating on Schmoopie and/or he’s no longer with Schmoopie and can’t hold a girlfriend and he’s gone through three of them. Great! Proves he’s a wandering dick. But if it’s before then I’m devastated. And why? Chumplady says over and over cheaters Are cheaters they suck no matter what.

    He told me after he moved out that, oh Fairytale, it’s only been the ONE TIME, just this ONE PERSON. And we’re in love, were like twins from the opposite sides of the universe. Oh it was all so tragic and poor him how he has to be married to me when he found his real twu wuv. I don’t know why but I just don’t think I can take it if I find out these 3 were before our divorce. I’m feeling compelled to call this woman From the past which I suspect of him having an affair with and asking her. People tell me not to but I’m about to pick up the phone. I looked her up and found out where she works. I can call her today, but what will it solve? Can anybody tell me what knowing this will solve? Or prove?

    • @Iwantmyfairytale
      Stop! Do not let your thoughts keep you in this downward spiral. Take a long walk. Find a distraction. Start a new hobby. Download a mindless video game. You need to find a way (or ways) to disengage and buy time until you can process the entirety of what happened and realize who your ex really is.

      There’s a lot of cognitive dissonance to get through. No contact (and the passage of time) is your best friend right now. Practice it like a new religion. Take care of yourself like you would a dear family member going through this nightmare.

      Read, exercise, cook, clean, work, shower, sleep. Keep moving forward. It will get better. Promise. All the best to you, my fellow chump.

    • Don’t do it. I have all these same feelings and whenever I succumb to them I regret it… Every.Time!!! Stay strong. I distracted myself good yesterday and then late at night that’s when I get the urge to message him and tell him he sucks and I can’t believe he did it. He doesn’t care. He isn’t hurting. He isn’t sad. He is fine. He continues lying.

      We both need to channel that trust that he sucks every time we feel this way. We don’t need to know anymore. The comments on this post help me. I will read it over and over when I’m feeling the urge. It’s crazy how they are all so similar.

    • Girl……I get it….I do!! I did the same thing after discovery and for months afterwards. But, finally I went NO CONTACT. It is the only way to sanity. Keep your dignity in tact. Keep your chin up.

      He does NOT get it and never will. You will be hurting yourself trying to get him to “get it.” I know this is not a very popular thought, but there is evil in the world, and it sounds like your husband was one of those evil people.

      The comment about keep moving forward is the best comment ever. KEEP MOVING FORWARD. Go to therapy, go to Alanon if you cannot afford therapy. Do anything, but contact him. He doesn’t deserve your concern. The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. Act indifferent and eventually you will FEEL indifferent. (((hugs))) Meh is around the corner, you will get there, but you must practice NO CONTACT.

  • Gosh Millie…so glad that my musings are helpful to someone. I approached the “Modern Widows Club” gal about starting a sub group for gals like us and she declined…all roses and lollipops and grieving the faithful over there.

    Hundreds of times, I wonder what I would have done had I known the extent of his treachery while he was alive…I likely would have had a few she-devil moments and surely NOT given him a hero’s send off.

    I do keep wanting to snarkily offer up my spot being buried next to him to one of his OWS. I did contact 2 of them and asked about his narrative…they never responded but aside from the main OW, there was a coworker who acted like his best buddy in the universe yet didnt come to his funeral…that was decent yet was revealing in itself.

    sometimes, I do small things in my house just to spite him..like have sex in front of the fireplace (so there!) or make changes to the house I know he would hate.

    The earthly version of him would have HATED my new husband (which would have been fun if we had divorced instead) but the version of him in Purgatory is likely thankful that someone did what he refused to do…love me with fidelity. I hope he goes to heaven someday but when I was really mad I asked God to keep him in Purgatory until I got there.

    People ask me if my house is haunted (its built on a battlefield where many died) and I tell them I just dare his ass to come haunt me…I would scare him.

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