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Did He Cheat Because He’s Depressed?

Dear Chump Lady,

Please help me sort through this mess. Help me get angry! My husband and I were together for 6 years and married for 6 months when he fell into a deep depression and left me to stay with a friend in November. During this time (over an 11-week time span) he pushed me away and his entire family, and even went no contact for a few weeks. If it wasn’t for the fact that he worked with a family member, we wouldn’t have known if he was actually okay.

I’ve had suspicions about a work “friend” of mine for a while. I would hear through the grapevine that my husband and this work friend would “joke” about being best friends and supposedly communicate on social media all time (and I had no idea until someone else brought this to my attention).

I let it slide, despite my growing resentment towards her, because I thought maybe it was just my anxiety acting up. “They would never cross the line” I would tell myself. Before this past Fall, my husband and I were solid. We were absolute best friends and just vibed very well with each other. Plus, she was a friend of mine! She was even at my bridal shower and was invited to our wedding reception, which was postponed due to COVID.

Before my husband left (and after about a month of him acting very strange, ie: not letting me see him naked after he got out of the shower, etc), I specifically asked him if he’s been in touch with her (he knew at this point how I felt about their friendship, as I had voiced my concerns a couple months before our wedding). He said no, and I told him that I didn’t want her knowing about our separation (I didn’t want her to see this as a green light to pursue him).

Incredibly long story short, I was able to piece together that the two of them went on an overnight trip together last week. While they were away, I was texting my “friend” knowing that she had called out sick. I would ask her how she was feeling, and asked if I could bring her soup. She responded to me by saying how she felt like complete garbage, that she had body aches and chills and that her mother just dropped off soup for her an hour ago. At this point, I knew she was actually with my husband, but I just wanted to see how far she would take her lie. I caught them returning from the trip and watched the both of them unpack his car and take their luggage into her apartment. I was absolutely heartbroken.

Now he says that it wasn’t what it looked like — that she’s his best friend and nothing happened. He even said that there was a second woman on the trip, which I don’t know is true or not. Now he’s supposedly sleeping on her couch when he’s been telling me and his family this whole time that he’s been staying with a different (male) friend.

How much of this can I chalk up to his depression? I want to believe him and still can’t fathom him straying from our relationship. Now he’s telling me that he wants a divorce, that he only loves me as a friend and that he only married me to make his family proud. What the hell?

Please give me the reality check that I need.

Thank you,

Misplaced

Dear Misplaced,

He’s not depressed, he’s cheating on you.

Chumps often mistake this sort of sullen, withholding funk for “depression.” Heck, cheaters often tell them as much. It’s simply the mindfuck channel set at sad sausage self-pity. Poor him, he has a sadz, throws you off the scent of his fucking around on you.

I suppose a cheater could also have cognitive dissonance about being such a flaming douche. Your soon-to-be-ex has been cheating as a newlywed. He let you make this big, public investment in him and then betrayed you with a “friend.” Your presence reminds him (assuming such cognition could permeate his colossal entitlement) that he’s a fuck up. A despicable human being. So instead of being honest about what a rotten person he is, he presents as “sad” or “confused,” which engenders pity from you, not the anger he deserves.

My husband and I were together for 6 years and married for 6 months when he fell into a deep depression and left me to stay with a friend in November.

As you know, he wasn’t staying with a male friend, he was staying with her. And putting aside his wandering dick, LOVING PEOPLE DON’T DO THIS. They don’t abandon. They don’t fall off the grid, and not call. But do manage to show up for work.

If he were truly having a mental health crisis, he could’ve gotten medical help, or leaned on you for support. Taken medications. Journaled. Done a thousand things that weren’t taking an overnight holiday. That requires executive functioning, like planning and packing and travel. Which really calls into question exactly how “sad” he’s felt while fucking around with your work “friend.”

Now he says that it wasn’t what it looked like

No, it’s exactly what it looks like. Now he’s insulting your intelligence with gaslighting.

that she’s his best friend and nothing happened.

He married you. YOU are supposed to be his “best friend.” This is a nonstarter. Buh-bye. Do you truly want to be married to a man who wants another woman to be his BFF?

I’ve had suspicions about a work “friend” of mine for a while. I would hear through the grapevine that my husband and this work friend would “joke” about being best friends and supposedly communicate on social media all time (and I had no idea until someone else brought this to my attention).

I let it slide

Misplaced, it is totally okay to have boundaries. We seem to be in this strange era where no one is allowed to upset with something their partner wants to do lest they be deemed jealous or unenlightened.

Unpack this “I let it slide.”

If it is NOT okay with you, you bring that up with your husband. You ask questions. Now, he might lie his head off, but you just control you here. It is NOT OKAY WITH YOU that he has another life on social media as besties with a “friend” of yours. NOT. OKAY.

A loving partner cares about your feelings. It would hurt a loving partner to hurt you. A loving partner would be transparent. And a loving partner would be INCLUSIVE. Why is there a BFF party you aren’t invited to? I’m not saying our partners can’t have friends, or we need to tether them to bedposts, I’m saying that coupled people project commitment. They don’t have the deep bandwidth for Best Friendship with someone else. Your husband was giving the exclusivity of his attention to another woman, and you’re totally within your rights to be upset about that.

Often chumps “let it slide” because they fear confrontation and what it will reveal — a partner who is NOT invested in your feelings. Who is defensive. But this reaction is VERY IMPORTANT information. Do not spackle. Face it. He’s checked out of the relationship.

I specifically asked him if he’s been in touch with her (he knew at this point how I felt about their friendship, as I had voiced my concerns a couple months before our wedding).

Time line: he’s been cheating since before the wedding.

He said no, and I told him that I didn’t want her knowing about our separation (I didn’t want her to see this as a green light to pursue him).

Remember what I said about tethering people to bedposts? YOU ONLY CONTROL YOU. This whole “she can’t know” and he can’t have a green light to pursue her — is you trying to control the uncontrollable him. He wants to pursue her? Buh-bye. There’s the door. Fuck off and leave the wedding gifts.

Please don’t pick me dance. I know he’s sending you mixed messages — really, there is no greater mixed message than MARRYING a person — but it boils down to what is acceptable to YOU. He checks out and doesn’t call? Unacceptable. He lies to you. Unacceptable. He has a flagrant emotional (physical) affair with a “friend” of yours? UNACCEPTABLE.

And if you don’t act like it’s unacceptable, then you’re accepting it. And you can expect more abuse.

Now he’s telling me that he wants a divorce, that he only loves me as a friend and that he only married me to make his family proud.

He’s not your friend. People who care about you could never behave this way.

Take him at his word — he wants a divorce. So get to that lawyer first.

Now, he might be saying that as a prelude to a long pick-me dance. He’ll threaten divorce and then toggle between both of you. (If that filled you with hopium, dunk your head in a vat of ice water.) He might move in with the OW, and then want back in as “friends” or friends with benefits. Or friends with married status tax deductions. Or WTFever. You need to reject that.

Unless you want to be in a perpetual pick me dance with his BFF. There’s no winning this. The only move is to leave the game.

Please leave the game.

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.
      • Also – a person’s mental state or health is no excuse for bad behaviour. Too many people blame BPD or SADD for toxic behaviours towards those they love, when really it’s the simplest of explanations – that person is just an ASSHOLE.

        • Yeah I’ve blamed it on his diagnosed ADHD for years. And possible the spectrum of Asbergers although not diagnosed. And maybe bi polar. He might have elements of these but I don’t believe these conditions cause people to treat their significant other the way he has.

        • Hey Lucky…

          Yes, even real depression is no excuse for betrayal. I think there was some depression mixed in with the various flavors of abuse I suffered when with him, but he managed to treat other people decently.

          I even AmazonChumped it to buy “Depression Fallout” (where any and all sorts of abuse are attributed). That book went into the trash along with “When a Spouse Wants Out”, “The Languages of Love” and some useless books on widowhood where the authors told me to learn to write checks.

    • EVERY ONE NEEDS TO REMEMBER THIS!
      Thank you CL!
      I’ve been recouping a long time now. Just Spent nearly five weeks out of work
      Still feel like napping throughout the day, and all the stress of why were HERE doesn’t help the body heal. Not one bit.

      Protect yourselves and your children, ladies/gentlemen
      Great point to remember
      I agree with cL please leave and don’t let him back in. He wasted your precious time. If I had known when this happened to me would’ve given me a lot more clarity. And FUEL.

    • What on earth is going on in the world? These stories are heartbreaking. Who are these awful people treating people so badly (and seemingly getting away with it)? This has to stop.

      • There are millions of us here Blue—our partners did this exact same thing to all of us. We even say they have a playbook because the details are so chillingly similar.

        😡😭

    • COVID19 quarantine began where I live on February 16, 2020. I woke up on February 17 with the realization that his lying now had potentially fatal consequences. I have asthma and two autoimmune disorders. I was handicapped and sustained post infectious neuropathy as a result of pneumonia in 2015 and have not recovered 100% from that. I do not fuck around with this. His initial reaction when I brought it up that day was dismissive.

      Visitation was suspended with backing from our pediatrician that day. We resumed visitation with guidelines in July of 2020.

      He got on board taking it seriously not long after. Not because of what I said, by the way, but because we own a business and the state response. I also believe he was glad to have an excuse to avoid spending time pretending to be a caring parent.

      • I hear you, VH. Am glad you’ve remained safe despite your fuckwit problem.

        Shared custody with a fuckwit during Covid is a nightmare, esp. for those of us at higher risk for severe disease. Unfortunately, my STBX fuckwit would NEVER relinquish her half of custody time, and every couple of months in 2020 I had to fight with her about some new boundary violation, and bring in the big guns in terms of lawyers, child therapists, etc. Definitely kept me mired in toxic stress even though I had moved out and initiated divorce proceedings. Fortunately, STBX has acted a little chastened since she got herself and our kids infected at a Halloween party – and, no thanks to her, my parents and I happened not to infected. My parents are now fully immunized, and I’m hoping to get my first shot in the next couple of weeks.

        New chumps: this is an another EXCELLENT reason to Leave Your Cheaters *before* you have kids with them, or another kid with them. If you give them the benefit of the doubt, as I did after D-Day #1 in 2004 when we had only one kid, it’s quite likely you’ll experience more D-Days, and then divorce and shared custody during a pandemic. Just…don’t.

        • Our current guidelines for visitation were crafted assuming he lies about who he is in contact with…which he does. I can’t be sure that includes the Craigslist ‘Sole Mate’, but the pediatrician knows he cheated, he lies, and is fully backing me up. The kick ass co-parenting therapist has also been nothing but a source of backup and validation….I asked Higher Power for the army of angels and it looks like HP sent some troops….

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to post this. I needed to hear this and it truly left me feeling empowered. I know what I have to do now xo

  • Depression is a terrible thing. But the ex in my case used it as his get out of jail free card for drug and alcohol use (abuse), abusive behavior, cheating and a whole separate online identity.

    People who are hurting hurt others, but people who are getting hurt by abusers GET OUT OF THE LINE OF FIRE.

    Leave that cheater and thank GOD that you didn’t have kids with his cheating ass.

    • I love this analogy — depression as a “get out of jail free” card for whatever the hell they think they’re entitled to do. Except for those for whom rage reigns supreme, I think we’ve all been presented with some form of this

  • My stbx led me to believe he was depressed. I felt sorry for him and encouraged counselling which he engaged with (or so I thought) It cost a lot and he saw the counsellor each week. Turns out he used the time and money to woo his, as he referred to her when confronted, ‘distraction’…. Yup bye bye marriage hello chickens (he’d never allow me to have them the fuck wit)

    • XAss was a health care provider. He used the “You know I can’t talk about work” and “work is so stressful” to gaslight me for years about not telling me what he was up to. I needed to accept that he was constantly under so much pressure and was so stressed out and depressed! And I danced and spackled and did everything myself so his life was easier! (He loved to yell at me that he “didn’t need me to give him anymore grief!”)

      Meanwhile he was traveling on work and marital $’s and doing whatever he was doing and having a grand time with everyone except me.

      The day I drew the line and stood firm. Said Enough and slammed the door on his entitlement was very shocking for him. He thought I’d play this game forever with him.

      • Sounds like my ex ass. He had me pretty much under his thumb. He was a PO, and of course couldn’t get into the details of his work. Especially that little detail of him screwing his direct report for at least two years.

  • I know several people who cheated. Except for one they all say they felt pressured into marriage. This is the US. This is middle America. It happens. If he said, he meant it. Believe him.
    For him to have done this to you so soon after marriage he already had one foot out the door.
    There are so many books written about how to manage marriages. Some of them makes sense and some of them don’t. The one thing I have learned over the years is that if a marriage starts out unbalanced it stays that way. One person can’t have more power than the other. Emotionally both people have to be committed to the marriage. Mentally and physically as well. If one is not as committed their behavior and words show it and the Chump is left scrambling trying to find out how to fix this marriage to make it what she or he thought it should be. That doesn’t happen. It just does not. The other person was not committed enough to care.

      • Exactly, and I highly doubt many people are pressured into marriage.

        My ex flung at me, “I never loved you” as he walked out the door. Bullshit, I was a sweet, gorgeous 18 year old woman, and I certainly was not desperate for marriage. He was the one who proposed, and he wanted to start a family immediately.

        It was the late sixties and folks got married younger then, so it was not unusual to get married that young. Nor is getting married young an excuse for abusing a spouse. As CL says there are ethical ways to exit a marriage, emotionally battering and financially defrauding a spouse is not one of them.

        Most of these cheaters never intended to remain faithful. They intended just what they did, to maintain an “image” for the public and do what they want in the dark. But, they always get outed, one way or the other.

        • I think they “future fake” themselves into the marriage. It’s part of impression management. They date someone for 6 years (maybe cheating and lying along the way) and everyone expects them to get married. They like the party aspect and being the center of attention and doing the thing that makes them look normal.

          But they can’t sustain commitment. It’s harder to juggle multiple partners when people KNOW you’re married. Or maybe it just isn’t enough fun for them. Let me not untangle their skein of fuckedupedness.

          • Hell yes, future faking.

            He was in the military and we had dated nearly 3 years. He had moved away but had promised (when the clock struck midnight the previous NYEve) that we would marry during that year. I asked when and he gave me some nebulous half answers.

            DAMMIT, I wish I had seen it clearly back them (but I wouldnt have my kids, argh)

            I got halfway through the year and called his bluff…either we got married or I would move along. We live in different states, he was NOT pressured to marry me but he did then later said I “made him” arghhhh he was a coward.

            • I will add when my now husband and I were dating, he started to go down the imaginary future fantasy discussions and I told him to stop…if he wasnt ready to make real plans, I wasnt gonna talk about any plans at all. It all came to critical mass one evening and I said “we have put the cart before the horse” and stopped all that.

              • Sometimes I think you and I are the same person and I am responding to myself, UNM. FW and I were together 4 years before we got married. We were in different states for a while but then in year 3 he was saying he wanted us to spend the rest of our lives together so I had to sit him down and ask what he was thinking and sort things out. I left a good job and moved 400 miles to be with him. Four months later there was a bridal show in the area. I asked him if I should go or if he wasn’t thinking that way. He encouraged me to go. When I found a great venue, he was eager to see it and put a deposit on it before he had even formally proposed. FW waited until 2 nights before a deployment to propose and ran off, dumping all the wedding planning in my lap. In hindsight, planning the wedding was the last control I had over anything.

                Oh, and I later found out he was banging foreign OW on that deployment, not even 3 weeks after he proposed to me. Part of the revelations of D Day 1….

                But had I left, I wouldn’t have my son and there are no words for how grateful I am to have him.

          • Wholeheartedly agree on future faking. I’m sure X thought he was doing what he was supposed to do at that point in his life with someone he “cared” just enough about, despite the fact that he (even admittedly! ugh, why didn’t I listen when he revealed himself?!) said he didn’t think he was capable of love. Guess not! Although the fucker is married once again after a whirlwind romance that occurred while he was most definitely cheating on his last live-in girlfriend. You can’t make this shit up…

          • I told my friend yesterday that I wish I felt I didn’t have to get married to the ex. We dated for years, I went to college tied to him, he moved in with me when I got a job and I took marriage as the next thing. He waved giant flags that
            I ignored and excused. I’m in my mid 50s and wasted 33 years of my life and health with that abuser. I wold tell my younger self, “ Hey you learned about relationships that make you feel less than. Don’t fret over wasted time. Move on because relationships shouldn’t destroy you little by little.”
            My son is planning to propose to his GF. Last night I told him he didn’t have to get married to share a relationship. I’m not opposed to marriage at all but I wanted him to know that time shouldn’t be a factor in the decision. Listen and follow your gut instinct.
            The ex will never ever sustain commitment which is why after leaving over 6 yrs ago, he’s taking me back in for trial in April. Future fakers are real.

          • This future fake concept makes sense. FW was 32 when we got married. No one twisted his arm. I never talked about marriage until after he had said he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me several times. I would never have dared to talk marriage without first having heard him talk that way. His sister never married. His father was divorced and didn’t care what he did. There was no one to pressure him. He pressured himself. He was a Navy officer and the latest among his peers on his boat to “settle down.” Most of his colleagues already had been married and had a couple of kids by the time he got around to proposing. Having a spouse at the military social functions who could enhance your career by being president of the wives’ club made you look good. So maybe the pressure was what he put on himself because he wanted to be an admiral an enhance his career by marrying this young, professional.

            It is so convenient for them to claim they felt pressured like it’s a get out of jail free card. It doesn’t get you off the hook of your commitment. I feel pressured to work my job so I have a roof over my head. It doesn’t excuse me if I slack off or am disloyal to my company.

    • I read a novel, years ago, by Marilyn French, called The Woman’s Room. It describes the life experience of a whole generation of women, a generation before mine, who followed the American Myth of marriage. I cannot say if it is applicable worldwide, but the story rang true for me.

      I watched my mother, a very intelligent, hard working woman, struggle to maintain her place in the work world and follow academic opportunities. For example, even though she was a superior student (and in my opinion, teacher) than my father, he was paid $100 a year more than she was in their first teaching job out of college, because he was male. Later in life she was hired by a coal company as a reclamation botanist, with a great annual salary and benefits. My father explained to anyone he could get to listen, that he actually made more than she did because he worked 9 months instead of 12. When they finally divorced, after 40 years of an unhappy marriage, he tried to punish her financially, telling her she would die alone and impoverished. He was the one who died alone.

      But the point of the novel is when you follow the myth of accepting inequality now, for a promised future benefit from a loving and appreciative spouse in the future, you are most likely pulling out the old hopium pipe for a good smoke. Even a kind spouse can die. Even when you have equal or better preparation for employment, you may be offered less money for the same work. When you accept less, your future benefits are less. The promises made might never be kept. Then what do you do?

      During the love bombing stage, many promises are made. Your every interest and achievement are touted. You are being appraised for your value like an object at an auction. Are you willing to give your value away? Can your potential partner greatly enhance their material or social value by matrimony? Does he love you, or what you can provide? If you accept “depression drove me to cheat” now, are you willing to accept it in the future? Because it will happen again. There is always a fake reason to cheat. If one partner has more power, or influence, or money, than the other, there is an unbalanced relationship, and resentment. It may be hidden at first, but it surfaces.

      You may be willing to share your life, but a type B personality person appraises your life for how it is useful to him/her. There is never a reconciliation, because you are never forgiven for having “more than” that person, who feels he/she deserves everything without making any true effort or commitment to anything.

      I feel I was pressured to marry at a young age, because it was not socially acceptable to live with a partner, unmarried, then. But I kept my end of the bargain and I didn’t cheat. I was a giver, he was a taker. It took me two marriages, and over a third of my life to figure it out. That’s a pretty big price to pay for believing in mythology.

      Put down the hopium pipe. Believe in yourself. You have a lot of value, if only you will believe it. Please don’t waste your precious time and energy.

      • I do pay audits in my role as an employment lawyer— the statistics do not lie: women still make at most only 82% of what men make.

        I relate to so many of your points:

        1) I accepted inequality for a promised future benefit from a loving and appreciative spouse in the future, and I was living in emotional childhood ✅

        2) I had my JD, was at the top of my class, and had excellent externships and work experience but for 27 years I have been offered and paid far less money for the same work.✅

        3) because I accepted less, my benefits are less.✅

        4) The promises XH made were never kept— rebuilding my entire life after 25 years of marriage was very difficult.✅

        5) During the love bombing stage, XH made numerous promises finely honed to my most pressing needs.✅

        6) XH touted my every interest and achievement and I basked in his appreciation ✅

        6) I was being appraised for my value like an object at an auction and I was willing to give my value away✅

        7) It was a lie/fantasy/illusion that my XH greatly enhanced my material and social value by matrimony✅

        8) XH did not love me—he loved what I provided✅

        9) once I left the workforce to raise our 4 kids and XH’s income rapidly rose, he had more power, influence, and money, than me, and there was an unbalanced relationship, and he resented me — said he was burdened because he “had” to work— as if what I was doing wasn’t “work!”✅

        10) I was willing to share your life, but XH, a type B personality person, appraised my life for how it is useful I was to him. There was never a reconciliation, because I was never forgiven for having “more than” that person, who still feels he deserves everything without making any true effort or commitment to anything.✅✅✅

        CL helped me put down the hopium pipe and ask what I wanted (e.g. begin to believe in myself and my right to ask if what X was doing was acceptable to me—- it WASN’T!).

        I do have a lot of value, and I don’t deserve to be cheated on, devalued, discarded, gaslit, impoverished!

        I am no longer wasting my your precious time and energy on XH— instead I’m investing in me— the results are amazing. This is meh.

        • I have been frustrated, in the past, when I have tried to explain the economic facts of life to younger women. I was not trying to be a bitter know it all, but was hoping to offer mentor type advice I had learned the hard way. I still believe in paying it forward, but most of the time I do it here. Chump Nation is an interested and appreciative audience, ready to learn and help others learn.

          Even if your spouse does intend to keep promises, he or she could die, or become ill. Do not accept inequality in your life. Do not let others abuse you or devalue you. There is nothing wrong with a marriage contract that is legally binding, it sets those promises out as goals and expectations that both parties agree to. They may currently be hard to enforce, but I think this may change in the future. When promises are made like I will be faithful, I will work and provide income and benefits to the relationship, we will share income and child care duties, we will share household duties, (etc.) these promises should be kept.

          When women work for less, they reduce their current and future income. When women stay home to raise the children, they miss out on years of earning, and retirement benefits. When the marriage ends, for any reason, how can we not be upset? When we realize we have been used because we provided useful things, how can there not be resentment? If your spouse is truly a loving caring partner, he/she will want the best for you. If the spouse only looks out for his/her interests, and you let that happen, neither of you are taking care of you.

          • I relate to MC. I also had a JD. I married a military officer and was promptly moved twice in 3 years. I had passed the bar in a state I would never live in again and getting re-licensed where I lived at that point made no sense because we would be moving again. I wound up working in a non-practicing capacity, but the pay was outstanding. It was a unique position, though, and when that company folded, I was starting over working as a fed. I had a JD with no license. I followed his military career through 4 more moves and couldn’t get in a stable job until he retired and we stopped moving. I love my career right now but I can’t begin to count how much I lost in earnings in the last 20 years. Meanwhile, I did all the right things to enhance FW’s career (military social events and clubs plus editing all his papers for his master’s degree) plus took care of the child and home in addition to working while he was off on his lunch breaks with the latest OW he picked up on OKCupid or Tinder. At the moment, his income is 3 times mine and he is only willing to pay the minimum of child support and doesn’t want me to have half of the marital assets even though I poured my income into house payments and retirement accounts and have a ridiculous amount of sweat equity in our Victorian house.

            So Portia, if you add in military spouses who have literally lost their licenses and earning potential to the mix of taking off a few years to have a child and everything else, you really do have a lot of women struggling to keep up. And even if you had told me this when I was in high school, I’m not sure it would have been absorbed and appreciated. None of us get married expecting to be chumped and trying to put ourselves together again financially. And if you do try to act in your interest while married, you’re accused of being greedy. I remember FW getting angry once because he mistakenly thought I had reached out to the local bar association to network. He was upset (and jealous?) because why did I need to do that? He was accusing me of plotting against him. And though he was mistaken in thinking that I had contacted them, he sent a clear message that he didn’t want me getting ideas about changing careers or rising above where I was.

            I wish I could go back and tell myself to stay put with the employer I had then and let this FW go make someone else’s life miserable. I love my child. Wish I had picked a better father for him. Could have been so much better off financially had I not been taken in and chumped. I kick myself every day.

        • I relate to you, MC. I also had a JD. I married a military officer and was promptly moved twice in 3 years. I had passed the bar in a state I would never live in again and getting re-licensed where I lived at that point made no sense because we would be moving again. I wound up working in a non-practicing capacity, but the pay was outstanding. It was a unique position, though, and when that company folded, I was starting over working as a fed. I had a JD with no license. I followed his military career through 4 more moves and couldn’t get in a stable job until he retired and we stopped moving. I love my career right now but I can’t begin to count how much I lost in earnings in the last 20 years. Meanwhile, I did all the right things to enhance FW’s career (military social events and clubs plus editing all his papers for his master’s degree) plus took care of the child and home in addition to working while he was off on his lunch breaks with the latest OW he picked up on OKCupid or Tinder. At the moment, his income is 3 times mine and he is only willing to pay the minimum of child support and doesn’t want me to have half of the marital assets even though I poured my income into house payments and retirement accounts and have a ridiculous amount of sweat equity in our Victorian house.

          I wish I could go back and tell myself to stay put with the employer I had then and let this FW go make someone else’s life miserable. I love my child. Wish I had picked a better father for him. Could have been so much better off financially had I not been taken in and chumped. I kick myself every day.

      • I only have one acquaintance who was coerced. She was marrying money and status. The other is that nebulous thing that pressures us into relationships we don’t want or need. All of these women married too young.
        There is pressure. It’s hidden but it’s there.

        • My reply looks like I am excusing cheating. No! No! No!
          My point is for you to believe him. He cheated, then told you he didn’t want to marry you. That’s cruel.

        • I have to say in my case, though I married young I was not pressured. I had a good home life with my parents, I could have stayed with them and gone to college, worked, or moved out if I wanted. They gently tried to persuade me to wait until he returned from Vietnam, but he and I were adamant. I was madly in love with the passion of a young person, and quite frankly, I believe he was too. The difference between us was character, I had it, he didn’t.

          I think for most chumps that “I never loved you” statement is flaming bullshit. (I am sure there are a few exceptions) They go into trying to make themselves look better mode. Why on earth they think lying to a spouse for the entirety of a long marriage makes them look better, I don’t know; but they almost all say it.

        • >>The other is that nebulous thing that pressures us into relationships we don’t want or need.

          You bring up a great point Letgo. I definitely struggled with judging myself too harshly for agreeing to something I didn’t particularly want. I wanted to date him, but not the accelerated “serious relationship”. But I thought “wow he really loves me, and this feels wonderful.” I felt I had to justify agreeing to quick exclusivity. This isolated me and so played into his hands. Of course now I see that he was just targeting a prize with hackable boundaries. FWs are pros at finding ways to pressure us into something which gives them the upper hand. The only way to combat this is to educate “at risk” youngsters on what red flags mean.

          • I’m with you, Chumpkins.

            From the first date to marriage was only 18 months. I thought, “My God. He REALLY wants me!” I was so flattered that I lost my senses. I was only 23.

            Looking back, I see that I was probably a good mark.

            I got married too soon in part because I felt that my uber Catholic parents would disown me if I lived with him “in sin.” I see now that he wanted to lock me in so that he had a partner for his move to this other state. He’s a coward that way. I was used.

            Although I completed my graduate studies and worked, I stopped when we moved yet again, and I started having babies. That shifted the power dynamic in my FW’s favor, which wouldn’t matter in a healthy relationship, but when the more powerful person is an entitled covert narc, it matters.

            By the way, I was delighted when my own children chose to live with their SOs for years before getting married. I like to think that if I had lived with my fiance, I would have seen some red flags. Who knows?

            • Spinach – it sure does sound like your children learned something from your experience.

              >>I like to think that if I had lived with my fiance, I would have seen some red flags. Who knows?

              It’s hard not to revisit those life choices. Isn’t it? Or it took me awhile to stop rehashes my missteps there. Religious belief got me too. Somehow I thought it was somehow purer to not date more people before commitment. Bah! I agreed to commitment when I was 18. Barf.

              For 6 years (until age 25) he did all he could so I’d believe my worst fears about myself. Ironically, I might have married him if I’d attained a career milestone sooner (which he delayed w/ sabotage). Still those were formative years, and I spent decades believing I was incapable, bad friend, too emotional, etc… When it was all just him trying to cripple my independence.

              But things are changing from when I got sabotaged. Just the right diagnosis of abuse would make all the difference. Plus I think feminism gaining traction makes a lot of difference. Back then, I thought women were too emotional, which made it damn hard to challenge him on behavior which merely hurt my feelings. I was willing to set a boundary to save my career which I wouldn’t have done merely for my feelings. (My career was more important than my feelings.) I’d seen what happened to my mother & her sisters when marriage & children left them without a career.

      • I would like to see pre nups in young couples which give financial guarantees for the spouse who does the child care and gives up a portion of their earning power for that purpose. Maybe a termed support until they can get on their feet, or money for college, or even a separate savings account that is guaranteed to go to the child care provider in case of divorce.

        I know, won’t happen; but it should.

        It can apply to man or woman. My step son is the stay at home parent for our two granddaughters. He had a good job before the kids came, but he has aged out of that type of work. He is just now getting back in the work place now that the little one has started school.

        • >>I would like to see pre nups in young couples which give financial guarantees for the spouse who does the child care and gives up a portion of their earning power for that purpose.

          Agreed

      • I read that book when I was in my 20s (I’m 62 now) and I LOVED it, although I can’t remember much more now than how she kept an index card to show which windows she would clean when. I thought (at the time) it was a bit over the top, but I’ve just bought it on my kindle to reread it. Thanks for jogging my memory!

        • I need to read that. Putting it on my list.

          I remember when I was young a lot of women had certain days of the week they did certain chores. My mom was more lick and a promise, but I know both grandmothers had ‘wash day, window day, laundry day etc’.

          I don’t think there is anything wrong with it as most jobs have schedules and priorities that have to be in place, but it is different now.

        • If I remember correctly she had all her household and social “chores” on index cards, and spent her life making things easy for him. She worked and put him thru med school. She ran the house, took care of the kids, handled all the social obligations, and thought that the bargain they had made when they married would be her life. Then he cheated. Then he abandoned her and the kids. Then he tried to exterminate her legally, and rob her of all she had “earned.” He tried to devalue everything she had done.

          For me, it needs to be criminal to steal marital funds for nefarious purposes. One spouse should not refuse to work, or pay any bills. But whatever the agreement is between two consenting adults, one of them should not be able to arbitrarily change their mind, and face no consequence. If one spouse is a high earner, and wants the other spouse not to work so that they can do things together around his/her work schedule, there should be some legal agreement made to protect the non-working spouse for income and retirement. If funds mysteriously disappear, it should be a crime. If there is an imbalance in income and power, there is potential for great harm. You can call it Palimoney if you want to, but the fact is there is an economic and emotional cost to every relationship. If you are going to have a partner, both partners need to be protected.

          It is unfortunate that historically there has been such a wage gap and even more unfortunate that women were taught this was acceptable. I was economically more stable and had better credit and a decent place to live when I met both husbands. One earned more than I did, but could not manage his money. The other promised to work and share, but never kept his promises. Both marriages were bad for me. My expectations, my ability to tolerate things I should not have tolerated, were detrimental to my benefit in both cases. I made a promise I intended to keep. They made promises to get what they wanted with no intention of ever keeping the promises. Both were cheaters. I had to overcome bad FOO programing, and my own ill conceived dream of what I thought I wanted. I lost a lot more than my pride over my most productive earning years, and made some really dumb decisions trying to “keep the love alive.” I had to learn that being useful was not the same thing as being loved. It was tough. The worst part is when you finally realize there is nothing to save, and it was always a mirage. You never really had a chance.

          No one makes another person cheat. Mental illness doesn’t make them cheat. Addiction doesn’t make them cheat. Fill-in-the-blank doesn’t make them cheat. Believe this concept, and you are on your way to better days.

          • This was one of the few books which survived my most recent move. It must have made quite an impression on me as a young woman. I haven’t read it in over 30 years.

      • As a Millennial I escaped many of the social pressures to marry young. I remain the only one in my group of friends to have gotten married in the first place, let alone divorced.

        I was the breadwinner throughout our entire marriage. I chumpishly put his name on my credit union account when we got married assuming we would both pay our salaries into it after he finished his degree and got a job. Long story short he flunked out of college, got a part time job tutoring community college students (whom he proceeded to screw), and put his salary into a separate bank account that I was not allowed to touch or see. Naturally the money for the boring stuff like groceries and insurance came out of “our” account while he used his account to pay for video games and God knows what else. When I consulted a lawyer he said that if Nitwit wanted to fight for it, he would be legally entitled to half the money in the joint account (no fault state here) and that since I had an advanced degree while Nitwit had none I might have to pay him alimony based on my higher estimated earning ability. Keep in mind this was during a pandemic when my work hours had shrunk to almost nothing. Thank God Nitwit was too lazy to hire his own lawyer or do his own legal homework. He was literally too lazy to be a competent gold-digger. I didn’t think that level of laziness was humanly possible. But most chumps cannot count on their cheaters being THAT lazy.

        That’s the dark side of gender equality: more male narcs have the opportunity to mooch off a woman’s earnings than in the past without providing the kind of career and home support traditionally provided by housewives. I’m not saying we should go back to the bad old days when women were financially dependent on men, just that women now have to be more careful about these glorified gigolos than in the past.

        • “He was literally too lazy to be a competent gold-digger.”

          That’s a very good thing for you.

          I suggest that couples keep their paychecks in their separate accounts and contribute proportionately to the joint account as long as both are working at a paying job. If the joint account starts to build up a good balance, that money can go into joint savings.

          Meanwhile, everyone who isn’t living on minimum wage should put together an emergency fund. And even people who struggle can put aside $5 or $10 per week. It can add up.

        • This more than likely will not be well received but the family dynamics I have witnessed (I admit there have only been a few) where the man is a stay at home husband/Dad has not worked out well. For a number of reasons.
          In this day and age both parties should be able to support themselves financially in case of divorce or death. There should always be a game plan in place and there are ways to pad your resume even if you’ve been unemployed for a length of time. Pre-Nups / Post Nups will take away any ambiguity and should always be considered.

          • “Pre-Nups / Post Nups will take away any ambiguity and should always be considered.”

            If you say so. Personally I don’t see what the institution of marriage has to offer a working woman like me who doesn’t want kids. There’s a reason single women live longer.

    • It’s funny that so many cheaters claim to have been pressured– even the ones who begged on bended knee to get hitched. They all backfill a narrative that justifies cheating and placates APS.

      It’s interesting that “rewriting victims’ characters” and events is the MO of batterers according to clinical research.

      • “It’s interesting that “rewriting victims’ characters” and events is the MO of batterers according to clinical research.”

        And infuriating that so many believe it.

  • Isn’t depression ‘doing nothing’ (sitting on couch, not talking to people, ‘going through the motions)? It’s not going on holiday, keeping up two romantic interests, making conscious decisions to conceal….

    Leave him. He’s poison. And she’s a sperm bucket of puss.

    • … and having sex, probably with at least two women.

      All these activities require a lot of planning and energy, not a depression.

      Also, ghosting everybody the way he did … bye and don’t come back.

      • Definitely a depressed person would not plan all these activities. Also one thing I am thinking about re this situation–a quote from Maya Angelou: When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. Or something like that. Excellent advice.

  • But I was depressed and lonely…you were never home ( worked 2 full time jobs to insure her SAHM status and not get foreclosed on…you know details) he paid attention to me and ibwas confused…blah blah blah… The last thing unheard from that therapy session mindfuck was it didn’t mean anything!. To me it did..it crushes my soul to this day

    • Depression is a problematic word. People use it to mean everything from “I was disappointed that a minor desire was unfulfilled” to “I am on the verge of suicide.” In my experience, people with genuine depression are often apologetic for the way their behavior or feelings impact others; they are prone to taking blame for lots of things outside their control. People using depression as an excuse, are probably not using it in a clinical and meaningful sense!

      • ^^ Great points, Eilonwy. Situational depression is very different from long-term clinical depression. Almost everyone has been experiencing the situational kind for the last year due to Covid. None of it is an excuse to cheat, of course. Traumatized people don’t get a pass when it comes to traumatizing others.

        I have mentioned before the great HBO documentary “Crazy, Not Insane,” about the work of psychiatrist Dr. Dorothy Otnow Lewis, who was among the first to recognize that most serial killers experienced severe abuse and/or brain damage in their childhoods. She has advocated for them to be spared the death penalty since their actions are not their “fault” in the abstract, but she very much supports the need to lock them away so they cannot inflict more harm on others.

        “Meh” after infidelity to me means not litigating the harm anymore, not wanting to punish your cheater – but getting the hell away from them. Our cheaters will make us feel like we’re punishing them for leaving the relationship – I know mine did! – but that’s not punishment. That’s self-defense. A life sentence (of no more kibbles from the chump), vs. the death penalty.

        • True about situational depression. I know some folks and even some docs don’t believe in situational depression. But, when my dad was real sick, and I was real sick and I had moved to a new state and all this hit about the same time, I developed it for real. My sweet husband knew something was wrong. I was missing work, which I never did, I had stopped talking much, or laughing. He came to me one day when I was home sick and said you need to see a doc, and I will make the appointment. I agreed with him.

          My doc after listening to me and checking my over all health, put me on a low dose anti depressant. He believed it was situational depression. He explained that sometimes these evens all take over and we temporarily lose our coping skills etc. Anyway I stayed on the anti depressants for 9 months, then with his help went off them, that has been 20 years ago, and I have never had an issue since then.

          The only other time I went on meds for depression, was when my ex left and I was walking around like a zombie. I only took them for a few months found my “mojo” (and got rid of my fuckwit) didn’t need them any longer.

  • Depression is real and it can make you do crazy things, like not showering for weeks, not bothering to eat, not dragging yourself out of bed in the morning or off the couch during the day, not doing things you enjoy. What depression does not do is give you a sense of entitlement, the energy to juggle partners, keep up with multiple lies and plan vacations. He’s not depressed. He is a fuckwit that doesn’t want to face consequences. It’s not ME that did all these awful things, it’s the DEPRESSION that did them. Depression is awful. ME, I’m just an innocent victim of Depression the same as you. No wait I’m actually MORE of a victim because my you and my family have all these expectations you think I should meet.

    Don’t just walk away Misplaced. Run.

    • This ^^ 100 percent this^^
      As we as a society are coming to terms with the fact that Depression is a real thing (unlike what folks like Tom Cruise claim) sadly Fuckwits use it as a get out of consequences free card.

      Years ago, I had a friend “Sally” who was struggling with depression, so I let her live in my house and drove her to all of her appointments, etc. I ended up speaking with her therapist (with her consent) a lot and the therapist told me in no uncertain terms that when folks are incapacitated by depression they are incapacitated. Like can’t get out of bed, don’t shower, etc. Sally only couldn’t do the adulting parts of life like cleaning up the kitchen after she made a big mess, but she could sit on her bed and knit for hours. The therapist urged me to hold her accountable for basic adult responsibilities. Sally, who was in her early 30s did not like that at all. So even when there is no romantic involvement fuckwits gonna fuckwit and use up the kindness of friends and family. If I had known about CL back then, I would have been able to see the boundary stomping going on.

      And I know plenty of depressed folks who DON’T cheat on their spouses/partners.

        • Never Saw It Coming,
          I’m glad Sad Sally didn’t become the Adult Squatter, who refused to leave your home. It happens. Parasites seek new hosts for a long feed.

  • You know what can make you REALLY depressed? Learning your spouse is unfaithful. You know how many chumpes spouses cheat? Damn few (I’d guess something between 1% and -1%). Plus depressed people tend toward lethargy and usually lack the sustained energy and focus needed to sustain a double life.

    This is a bullshit cover story. It’s all about choices.

  • Yeah, yeah, that is yet another excuse from their excuse book. The worse part is that us chumps buy into it. We feel bad about their “depression” and try to help them, heck I even made appointments, bought him supplements and gave him industrial quantities of kibbles to help him. Did I? No. He resented me for believing his stupid act.

    Listen, they put up that charade to make you feel bad and deflect responsibility. The truth is they don’t act depressed when they are out parting with OW, enabler s and their drinking buddies. Happy as a clam there, but depressed at home, boo hoo.

    I bought into it. It’s the depression that is impairing his judgement! I said. He has ptsd! I declared! That became his excuse to exit and the worse part is that I WAS THE ONE that spackled that lie for him to get out clean of his emotional abuse and abandonment.

    He never sought treatment. Because it’s all an act. Sadly, I realize this now. How convenient for him to be “depressed” as he dips his wiener inside his howorker. Did look tearful on his bedside hotel pictures.

  • My cheater was cheating and ‘depressed’ but decided he wanted to stay in the marriage. He started seeing a counselor, and coming home with new insights as to what his cheating was caused by, and doing to our marriage, so I encouraged him to continue. But he kept missing his appointments with her because he was too busy at work, and she would charge him full price for the hour. I spent $1,200 (as primary breadwinner) paying for counseling that he didn’t even show up for. Who knows what was really going on. I was such a chump! I had my own therapist that I was meeting with weekly and telling her the blow-by-blow, and she would empathisize with me just enough to keep my hopium going. I paid thousands of dollars to that therapist to help me chump myself. Ugggh!

    • I handed the ex the depression card. He listens and morphs into whatever gives him advantage. After I mentioned he seemed depressed, it became his excuse with me. Finally I told him to see a dr, therapist and even offered marriage counseling since he’d been miserable 22 yrs ( the length of the marriage at that point). I thought well someone’s been doing their math.
      The caveat was that I would go with him for support but would not make the appointment. I was done being his chaos janitor. Radio silence on his end. He could arrange sex workers, other females, riding a track 150 plus mph on motorcycle, dinners,concerts, cook outs etc all without his family so…. he could fucking make a dr appointment.

  • Thank you for this post today. I am active on the Facebook group and it’s clear that many of the posters there haven’t really read the blog.

    Misplaced, I’m sorry this has happened to you, but Chump Lady has told it to you true. Read the post and reread it. You don’t have anything to work with.

    I’d like to bring up a couple of other issues here. First, it’s totally not your fault that he cheated, and it’s not depression’s fault, either. It’s his choice. Your question is whether or not depression could have caused him to cheat. The answer is no. Many people suffer from depression. They don’t cheat on their spouses. Instead, they are upfront and honest with their spouses, enlisting their spouses as a crucial part of their support network.

    He’s also not blaming depression for his cheating. This is you on hopium. Here’s what you said: How much of this can I chalk up to his depression? I want to believe him. The key point here is that YOU want to blame depression for his actions. You want to believe him when he says that a weekend getaway with his paramour isn’t really what it looks like. This is called ““spackling”.

    All relationships involve some spackling. It’s when you see some kind of flaw in your spouse/friend/partner. Maybe they were extra crabby or hurt your feelings or whatever. You realize that overall they are Good People, but everyone has a bad day, so you chalk it up to the bad day. Good People often realize that they were total douches to their spouses/friends, so they come up and apologize for being douches. That’s what normal people do.

    But in a cheating relationship, you end up spackling and spackling and there’s no end to it. Spackling is meant to mend a small crack. If you have a gaping hole, you need some serious drywall work.

    What you’re asking is if you can explain this away so that you can get back to where you were.

    Sorry, there’s no going back. You can’t unsee what you saw. Your cheater knows this, which is why they are trying to gaslight you (a BFF trip that you don’t tell your WIFE about? Gimme a break!).

    Please see a lawyer ASAP. You will feel much better after you know the process in your state. Go get a complete STD panel. And seek out therapy. Your husband has been emotionally abusing you with his infidelity for over the entire length of your marriage. Do NOT go to marriage counseling. That is for resolving issues before someone goes to fuck off elsewhere. Marriage counseling is about each partner acknowledging some kind of fault. When it comes to abuse, it’s never an issue of the victim’s fault. Your husband abused your trust. That’s not on you at all. Get a therapist for you. Talk to one who understands trauma bonding and relationship abuse.

    This is a horrible situation, but Chump Lady is right; the pain of divorce is finite. “Meh” really does come on a Tuesday. You can do this!

  • I have been slogging through severe depression ever since I found out half of my life has been not a marriage, but a mirage. I’m not in a legitimate relationship, let alone an illicit one.

    The complete and utter bullshit that comes out of their mouths is infuriating. Our painful desperation to believe it is heartbreaking.

    He seems to have a lot of energy for activities that interest him for someone so stunningly depressed. I occasionally realize at 5 o’clock in the afternoon that I have forgotten to brush my teeth and have put the car keys in the refrigerator.

    I don’t recall my therapist recommending a dysfunctional relationship to treat my depression. My next right move is to put on my running shoes and go out for an hour walk, which was recommended. I also am supposed to do something to have fun, which is not impossible but sure feels
    like it.

    Like the top of Mt. Everest these days, the top of Douchebag Mountain (thank you for that one, Tracy!) has a long line of morons jockeying for the position at the summit. This gangrenous groom is one of them, and so is backstabbing Creepella.

    Small consolation that you are getting the memo 6.5 years in instead of 27 like me.
    (I think the traitor in my life was screwing around the whole time).

    RUN.

    • “I don’t recall my therapist recommending a dysfunctional relationship to treat my depression.” Mine doesn’t recommend having an affair either. Huh!

      –Good one!

      • Mine doesn’t even recommend dating until the depression is under control. Say it with me everyone – “You are not available for a relationship until you are healthy” of course things will come up over the course of a committed relationship but there is a reason we don’t build a house on a cracked foundation.

        • Word on that. The healthier and more healed I am, the better I will choose. Right now I am very content on my own, focusing on recovery for me and my daughter. At this point I don’t even qualify for a fry up with Jamie Fraser.

          (❤️🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿)

  • If when you caught them coming back from their overnight fuckfest it wasn’t “what it looked like”, why did your “friend” lie to you about being ill? Please dump both of them. You’ll never regret it!

    • IKR? These are awful people. I wonder if they hate themselves. I mean, deep down do they know they are total low-lifes?

      Of course, they must justify what they’ve done (true love, crappy marriage, the heart wants what the heart wants, and all that), but my God. I really wouldn’t be able to look at myself in the mirror.

      Yesterday, while in the oral hygiene aisle of a CVS, I was hit by a flashback. My then-husband who, unbeknownst to me, was cheating with a co-worker, asked me to buy him some mouthwash for work. He said he needed it for when he talks to patients. In his multi-decade medical career, this was never an issue. Now I know that he wanted it to freshen his breath before he had sex with his co-worker.

      Imagine asking your wife to buy that for you!!!! It boggles the mind. And it speaks to the degree to which he had completely devalued me.

      • “I mean, deep down do they know they are total low-lifes?”

        Funny you mention “low lifes” My ex wrote me a letter and he used that exact phrase. (this was pre texting, email days) I am really sorry, for how I treated you, I don’t know why I acted like such a low life. Ummm, because you are a low life. He wrote it like he was disassociated from the person who did and said that awful stuff.

        He likely wrote the letter right after he and the town whore got threw servicing each other.

        I never answered the letter. Even when he circled back I never mentioned it, just said no thanks, I am done. Not that he wanted me back, he just needed to destabilize me by giving me hope. I was way past that by then. He stayed at the fair too long.

      • It is horrible beyond belief.

        And in the vein of they are all so much alike, my ex had me help him pick out his whores Christmas present. Or tried. We were at a department store and he said I need to get a Christmas present for the office whore. He started looked at sweaters. I said whore is your employee, it is inappropriate to buy her a personal gift, you should give her a generic gift cert, or a bonus. He said I want to get a sweater.

        I walked away and said I am not helping you pick out an inappropriate gift. He also made her and my son a home state shaped clock, I picked up the materials. I didn’t know until after I got them that she would be getting a clock. I just thought he was making one for me and the son. She and the son got their clocks, I never got mine. Dday was Christmas day. He didn’t admit to it until a week later, but I heard him on the phone with her Christmas day.

        The fuckwit never walked in a store to buy me any piece of clothing. Yes I was suspicious by then, but my mind was still saying, no; I mean he just couldn’t be that stupid. Not only is she his employee, she is the well known town whore.

        Turns out he was that stupid.

  • There was a rousing discussion on yesterday’s post about “affair lite” behaviors like intense friendships with people our spouses could be attracted to. I was on a difficult position in my marriage, because both my STBX and I are women, and our friends tended to be women. But I did not have a “best friend” outside my marriage; my STBX did. I probably should have left STBX after D-Day #1. I almost certainly should have left her after she informed me about a year later that she and her best friend had kissed. But chumpily, I believed that STBX had learned her lesson and would not risk both our families by doing anything like that again. So they remained “best friends” and I didn’t complain. D-Day #2, when it happened over a decade later, was with another woman but with the “best friend’s” blessing. 🤢

    “Affair lite” behaviors like inappropriate friendships are a serious red flag, even if there’s no love language being exchanged. (Misplaced, I would bet you a million dollars if I had it that in your case, your husband has already exchanged love language and/or bodily fluids with your “friend.”) Those inappropriate, immature behaviors indicate that our partner is already devaluing us, stage two of the cycle of abuse: lovebombing, devaluation, discard. I went through several of these cycles with my STBX, so like most abuse survivors, I was fooled by the intermittent return to lovebombing – and constant cycling through CL’s mindfuck channels (esp. charm and self-pity) whenever my STBX feared consequences.

    Misplaced, I’m begging you to end the cycle now, before you have children with this person or invest further in a fuckwit. I know it hurts like nothing else. But the only way to heal and to stay sane, is to get out of the mindfuck blender. Once your STBX has already started devaluing you, he’s going to act super-confused and entitled whenever you try to bring up YOUR needs.

    And as for the depression thing: it doesn’t matter why he’s devaluing you and acting like a fuckwit. You can learn more about disorder later, when you’re fixing your picker – and maybe you’ll have more insights at that point about what might be going on with him. For now, stop untangling the skein of fuckedupedness, and concentrate on yourself – what YOU need to do to get free.

    All best to you and to all new chumps! (Hugs)

    • “And as for the depression thing: it doesn’t matter why he’s devaluing you and acting like a fuckwit. ”

      Exactly, just like it doesn’t matter what is going on with a business partner who steals from you and lies to you. You have to get out of that situation.

      • Right. And the insights we chumps might have AFTER leaving our cheaters are mainly useful for figuring out how to deal with them in the future, esp. if we have to share custody of kids with them. I’m hoping that Misplaced can go full No Contact ASAP and stop giving her fuckwit any thought at all. Untangling the skein keeps fuckwits central in our thoughts, though I do think it can be helpful to learn how to identify red flags of disorder in general.

        • I agree the things I learned the hard way from the fw, has helped me a lot; not only in my private life, but in my work life.

  • This is situation sounds very similar to what happened to me—the depression, the “best friend.” He’s cheating and lying to you. Get moving on the divorce and, as CL notes, be prepared for him to freak out when it suddenly becomes real that you are done with his behavior. Stand your ground.

    (My spouse actually stopped in the middle of moving out of our house. I came home to see the UHaul still in our driveway. He called from me from a hotel—with the OW—crying and saying he couldn’t leave me. I stood my ground, but it was excruciating. He and the OW are now married and I live far away from his manipulative bullshit.)

  • This happened to me, my partner of seven years had a best friend I always felt uneasy about. She was gay and had a girlfriend, so I blamed myself. Even though he was always opaque about trips with her or time spent with her. How he would have a day off and choose to travel north to be with her instead of the same distance south to see me unless I begged. Near the end, weeks before he was supposed to move states to be with me it accidentally came out that he was going on a camping trip with her. Out of phone service. She broke up with her girlfriend immediately after. He let be flail for weeks.

    They publicly posted about being in a relationship exactly two months afterwards. And are now married.

    Trust your gut. Trust that they suck. I wish I had stuck to cutting them loose much earlier and had more of my one precious life back. Time is the only thing you cannot ever get more of. He lied to me about his level of commitment for years and I accepted it. I wish I had those years back.

    I was left alone in a new state, with ailing family members and no support. I joined roller derby, because rookie of the year, found a community of strong no bullshit women and queer folk. I came out to my family, got several raises and a promotion at work. Dated a derby referee who runs his own business, we live together now with three cats. He buys me flowers without needed to be reminded. I have a small house in the woods and a view of the mountains people pay millions for.

    Life picks up when you are not flushing your love down a toilet.

    • This is a powerful, inspiring post. Roller derby! Three cats! A significant other who buys flowers! Views of the mountains! It’s amazing what happens when we stop trying to “keep” someone who is already cheating.

      What I wonder, though, is why it is ever OK for your partner/spouse to go on a trip (a vacation, a weekend, a camping trip) with someone is supposed to be a “friend” but could just as easily be a sexual partner (depending on whether the spouse is straight, gay or bi). There’s a chapter in Patricia Love’s book “Emotional Incest” where she lays out “The Roles and Responsibilities of Adult Partners.” As I recall, adults in a committed relationship should be each other’s primary social partner, economic, emotional and sexual partners. Love’s book is about the problem of adult enmeshment with children, at the expense of everyone, but this advice applies to anyone who enters a monogamous relationship. If someone’s “best friend” meets the criteria to also be a sexual partner, that’s trouble. That raises the question of why a man (in Misplaced’s case) needs a female “best friend” when he has a wife who should be his social and emotional partner?

      The answers are that either the “best friend” is already an affair partner or is a Plan B or C for kibbles. Dealing with this BS isn’t as easy as it seems. My XH the substance abuser had a couple of notable “wannabe” girl friends whom he seemed to cut loose, but later I wondered why I was never, ever invited to the somewhat famous restaurant/bar where he met his buddies on the weekends. If everything was above board, I could have tried that eggplant parmi…Chances are, there was a female there who had his attention during the 10-15 hours a week he spent there.

  • Here’s a hide-chapping chapter from my own history:

    I was six years in, waiting for The Ring.
    I finally spoke up and said, and I quote, “I want to be married and have a family and I want to do that with you, but if you don’t want to do that I need to leave.” I was 33 and the clock was ticking loudly. You know what that fuckface said? That he loved me, he wanted me to have his children, and he wanted to marry me. I believed him.

    I now know he was most likely screwing around the whole time I was with him. Except for having my daughter, I wish I had left so so so much earlier.

    When someone cheats they are proving beyond a reasonable doubt that they do not possess the skills for marriage, or any relationships beyond those where your companion is paid by the hour.

    • PS…

      I got pregnant very easily with no medical intervention other than fibroid surgery, ten years later at 43. It does make me believe that the reason I was in denial and in the mirage was because she was supposed to be born……❤️

    • Velvet Hammer – interesting! My beginning history was similar – 5 years into a relationship at age 35 and in fact I did leave him because he was unwilling to commit. But then I discovered I was pregnant and so suddenly he wanted to get married. Boy do I ever regret telling him!! After that I was never able to have another child and chalk that up to the universe trying to protect the gene pool from cluster Bs

  • Ah memories. My ex asshat was also a friend f#cker. How nice. Be glad he’s gone. I know it hurts right now but he is not nearly good enough for you. Find someone who is or just be good enough for yourself.

  • I have been hospitalized for depression (twice). I was married to a narcissist/BPD for 24 years. After I divorced her my depression disappeared and I got off my meds for it. The LAST thing I could have done was carry on an affair. You don’t want to do ANYTHING, you don’t want to even continue living. To plan an affair destroys the “depression” argument. A depressed person doesn’t have the bandwidth to give to another person, especially two people. Don’t fall for it. Depression isn’t an excuse to have an affair EVER. Also, IMHO, if a man waits over 5 years to make a commitment to you, tells you everything you need to know about his feelings. He NEVER wanted you as a real man knows what he wants and gets it.

  • Dear family/friend:
    Asshat has informed me that he only married me because he felt pressured into it to please his family. Consequently, we do not have an actual marriage. I am therefor returning your lovely wedding gift of X. Sincerely Misplaced.

    return those gifts, get your divorce and gain your new cheater free life!
    I promise you a few things:
    It will be hard as hell
    You will question yourself many (or all) steps of the way
    You will find strength in yourself you didn’t realize you had
    You are worthy
    You are enough
    Once you claw your way through hell your life will be better, so very much better, than it ever could have been with a fuckwit holding you down.

    • Apparently, the etiquette is that if a couple splits within a year of their wedding, they could return unused gifts. I would hope that returning gifts would be way down the list of priorities for Misplaced, and that her wedding guests care way more about her than about their gifts.

      Misplaced, I agree that you should freely share your STBX’s language about feeling pressured into the marriage. You could also share that he has left it. (Short, sweet, to the point.)

  • Misplaced. He was never depressed. Please don’t be fooled. He was managing hard on with that so called friend. He wants a divorce do he is doing you a favor. With a six month married maybe you can get an annulment. You have nothing here. This guy is a POS as is the friend. Call a lawyer today and go on with your life.

  • Misplaced,

    Let’s look at these two sequential sentences in your letter:
    *How much of this can I chalk up to his depression?
    *I want to believe him and still can’t fathom him straying from our relationship.

    The problem is that you “want to believe him.” That’s you, holding on to what has now been revealed as a sham marriage on his part. You say you “still can’t fathom him straying,” even though you’ve CAUGHT HIM LIVING WITH A SO-CALLED FRIEND OF YOURS. Even thought you’ve CAUGHT HIM COMING BACK FROM A VACATION WITH HER.

    You WANT to “chalk this up to his depression” because that excuse is the only thing keeping this your fantasy about your marriage going for you. If there is something wrong with him–if he’s DEPRESSED–then you have hope that he will come to his senses.

    The problem is that he’s not depressed. Half the country is depressed during COVID and we aren’t jetting off for a vacation with an affair partner. We’re home dealing with COVID, horrible winter weather, horribly altered work and social patterns. We’re home signing our elderly relatives up for vaccine and binging re-runs of NCIS. We’re doing Zoom therapy and virtual happy hours with friends we haven’t seen in a year. We’re walking miles in the cold because we know we must do self-care.

    What your husband is doing is having an affair. He’s lying to you. He’s gaslighting you in ways so obvious that CL says it straight out: “Now he’s insulting your intelligence with gaslighting.”

    I don’t know why you aren’t angry. I remember during the discard from Jackass talking to him on the phone and having a jolt of adrenaline so strong I thought my heart would stop–because I realized he was flat-out lying to me. It’s OK to be afraid, sad, shocked, embarrassed, panic-stricken, and full of grief. But you have to care that you are being abused, gaslighted, lied to and manipulated by this man in order to get angry. You can’t keep making excuses (depression, “I can’t fathom” that he’s unfaithful).

    Believe your eyes. You aren’t stupid. You can do 6 things TODAY that will help you:
    1. Call the three best divorce lawyers in your area and make appointments.
    2. Separate your money from his. That is, if your paycheck is going to a joint bank account, talk to HR right away and have it moved to a separate account in your name only. This is to protect YOUR income from being used to take the Schmoop on other trips or out for a glamorous dinner. If you don’t have your own checking account in your name, do that TODAY. Protect your income TODAY.
    3. Tell your family and your most trusted friend (think carefully!) what you know about him–about the lying, the cheating, the trip, etc. You have to expose him in such a way that you can no longer deny what he’s doing. It’s very important that you have 1 or 2 people who will help you not fall into a hopium haze.
    4. Block him and her on on social media. Block his phone number and hers on your phone. Don’t delete–BLOCK. I made Jackass’s name DO NOT CALL, TEXT or PICK UP on my phone because early on the urge to call and try to “fix” things. You need to be NO CONTACT with this man because you are very vulnerable to his BS. You need time to clear your head. Don’t talk to or text or email or visit anyone associated with him–not his family or friends. Go silent. Let your lawyer handle communication.
    5. Make an appointment with a therapist. You may be able to get a Zoom or FaceTime appointment. But this is a trauma and it’s clear you will need help seeing what this guy is and how to get past being betrayed immediately after the wedding. You still have the idea that you were “solid” with this guy when clearly he is a person with poor character and he’s a champion at future faking, down to actually marrying when he doesn’t mean his vows and was probably cheating before you married.
    6. Make an appointment to get STD testing.
    7. Get someone in your family or your BFF to help you pack up his stuff and get it out of your house. I put Jackass’s stuff in a storage locker. You can bag it up and deliver it to OvernightHo’s place or drop it off at his parents. Then change the locks. He’s moved.

    You can do all of this today–or at least get all of this in motion. You don’t have to “fathom” his betrayal. You have to start acting in your own self interest. You don’t have to want a divorce. But what’s “misplaced” here is your trust. You need to trust yourself to protect yourself.

    • This is great advice. Since scumbag cheater has already moved out, this will make the blocking and no contact so much easier. This chump is still in shock and in the fantasy stage of them getting back together when cheater comes to his senses which explains the lack of anger. Plus she thought they were solid, so how could this happen without some valid explanation? A lot of chumps will tell her, they thought they had the perfect marriage, had no idea there were problems till they were abruptly discarded/dumped. Not all cheaters treat their partners with disdain or are abusive before they eventually discard.

      • That is true and it takes a while for the heart and mind to align.

        While my ex ass did treat me horribly for the last year, the time leading up to that was not awful, and we were having good times. I can almost name the day that it changed. I believe he was screwing her at least a year before he started the discard process with me. It left me wondering if he started out thinking he would just have some fun and I would never know. Like he most likely did in past years, then she as his direct report started the demands.

        I will never know and don’t care now, as it doesn’t change the fact that he was a lying fuckwit; but I do remember wondering about it in real time.

    • Don’t forget that if she has him as an authorized user on any of her credit cards to make that stop. Now. Posthaste!

    • Fantastic advice! Well done!! The only tweak I’d make is Delete AND Block. If you’re truly going no contact, then you don’t need their email/number in our Contact lists; delete them…and then Block the number/email in your apps.

  • oh, yep yep. Let’s see … Depression; Adult-onset ADD; enlarged prostate; I’m sure there were more but at this point that’s all I remember. (a gift!)

    Since I was an actual human, with feelings, I was very worried, pushed him to get care and all that. I was concerned, at the time, that he didn’t seem anxious to get medical help. In hindsight, well, sure thing. What a true waste of caring about somebody else!

    Turn that page. It’s not easy and it takes time, but ever so worth doing.

  • Depression is just an excuse. My Ex used the depression card. He was depressed because I did not give him enough TLC. I sure did not get TLC from him. He too denied sleeping with skankella. They were just friends. He used to stay in his friend Bill’s cabin. I later found out that skankella’s BFF husband had a cabin in the mountains. He denied that too. They use depression as an excuse to justify their choice to cheat. I was severely depressed when I went through early menopause. I felt unloved and was called nasty names for years. I did not use that as an excuse to cheat. They cheat because they want to. And they do not care who they hurt. As long as they get what they want. If your husband truly love you and valued your marriage he would have never cheated. That was a hard pill for me to swallow.

  • Going through depression sucks, but you know what really sucks? Faking that you have depression to get away with really bad behavior. It’s unfortunate but dysfunctional people tend to use “I’m depressed” as a get out of jail card. They use it not to work, stay home, play video games all day while all the housework and child care is left to someone else, namely the understanding chump. They use it to get away with cheating which really takes the cake. People with authentic depression can barely get out of bed, can barely function. Cheating takes a lot of energy and planning. You don’t have a spouse with depression, you have a run of the mill cheating asswipe that is screwing with your life.

  • In KK’s frequent posts of her boudoir photos on social media, she includes: “I met a nice man when I was very young, and he wanted to marry me. Fat me. Unworthy me. So I did, because who else would? . . . ”

    (BTW, she was 29 when we married).

    She goes on to briefly compliment me and the life we had before launching into why — after 15 years of marriage and 2 daughters — she felt she had to “break free to finally become the person she was always meant to be,” and other vomit-inducing justifications for her fuckwit behavior.

    But by letting it slip ” . . . because who else would?” it’s clear that she wasn’t fully vested in the relationship from the start. She gave her what she wanted at the time — the acceptance, the commitment, the devotion that all came from me — but she had that little ‘get out of jail free card,’ known only to her, that slowly fed the entitlement that leads to cheating.

    All of which is to say — if you’re ‘lucky’ enough to be presented with evidence of their shittiness,
    acknowledge it;
    accept it;
    protect yourself from it.

    (no matter how difficult or painful it may be)

      • What a user KK is. I’d be willing to bet that the story goes more like this:

        “At age 29, I met a good man who wanted to marry me, and I liked being on the receiving end of the love he gave me and the lifestyle he would make possible. Unworthy me, who wasn’t interested in reciprocating love or contributing to a shared lifestyle. So I stuck around for 15 years and 2 kids until it became financially feasible for me to cheat.”

    • “All of which is to say — if you’re ‘lucky’ enough to be presented with evidence of their shittiness,
      acknowledge it;
      accept it;
      protect yourself from it.”

      WISE WORDS!

      • ps – It is WISE WORDS that I should have followed, but didn’t. For the better part of 17 years, when presented with the evidence of my (then) wife’s shittiness, instead of acknowledging-accepting-protecting, I embraced my inner Chump and denied-rationalized-suffered.

    • So her chronological age was 29 when she married…Emotional age was what ? Petulant teenager or toddler ?
      Good riddance

  • RUN to your physician and get tested for every STD under the sun. He has been cheating on you and during a PANDEMIC. WTF?

    Then let your fingers do the dialing and hit up every family law/divorce lawyer in the county. Or three counties. He may already have done so, but if not – make his life harder. Get the better lawyer.

    Dating for 6 years and he was cheating on you from before saying “I do” = he’s an entitled asshole.

    Keep the wedding gifts, get rid of the ongoing physical and mental liability that is your husband.

    You know why he married you? Because you are the real deal. The SOLID chocolate bunny. He may be pretty, but he is hollow on the inside. A shell. You will survive the nibbles and I bet you will even recover from them in time.

    He’s hollow now and hollow always. Ditch him now. Before you find yourself pregnant because he poked a hole in a condom, switched your medication, dumped it, etc. He may want you around and a kid because he knows you are a worthy person and he is a user. Don’t take the risk. No more sex.

    • “…you are a worthy person and he is a user.” THIS!!

      You are a resource, nothing more. As long as you GIVE, he will TAKE. And he will continue to TAKE until 1) you have been drained of what you have to give and/or 2) he no longer views you as valuable, at which point you will be summarily discarded with callous indifference.

  • When all was said and done, I said to my Cheaterpants “Why didn’t you just tell me that you wanted to see other women?”

    His answer: “Because I knew you would leave me”

    I 1,000% agree with CL’s comment about boundaries and what is acceptable to you. They know that it won’t be acceptable to you which is why they sneak around and lie about it.

    I also unfortunately know from experience that CL’s statement above is true: “And if you don’t act like it’s unacceptable, then you’re accepting it. And you can expect more abuse.”

    So save yourself MORE abuse and leave now.

    Hugs. Sorry you are going through this. It’s better here on the other side (eventually).

  • Misplaced: I have depression. It used to be dysthymia but changed to major depressive disorder after the trauma of being abandoned by my ex of 17+ years.

    Depression doesn’t propel people into cheating. In fact, it’s just the opposite. People with depression suffer from low libido as well as low energy. These two symptoms, when combined, lead people to hit the couch and not move for hours on end.

    Depression often includes anhedonia. That’s a fancy word for “not hedonistic”, meaning that we don’t feel joy, happiness, or interest in social activities like parties or extramarital affairs.

    Your STBX (we all hope) is lying when he says he’s depressed. He’s using it as an excuse to betray you. He’s more likely a commitment-phobe who flipped out over the realization that he got married and is now escaping through an affair. If you file for divorce (please do), don’t be fooled if he starts to show signs of remorse. It’s not real. It’s just sorrow over the loss of cake and kibbles.

    Count your blessings – no children, no mortgage, and no years lost in an unmarriage – and GTFO while the ties are still relatively loose and the resultant trauma is not soul draining.

    ((Hugs))

    • Amen! It’s extra despicable of him to pretend he has a legitimate mental illness just to use it as a cover for his cheating.
      Of all the phoney excuses fuckwits make, that pisses me off the most.

  • If it helps you not to pick me dance, consider the prize the OW ‘friend’ has won… a dishonest, weak-willed man whose love for her was so strong that he went through with a wedding to another woman because he was too cowardly to actually be honest about his lack of commitment. What a lovely how we met story. And believe me, that won’t of changed, even if he does end up with her long term it will be just as wushu washy and commitment phobic as before. Because he’s still the same hollow man and once the shine wears off that one he’ll be stick with himself again. And you’ll be off building a lovely new life. Leave them to it theyre both idiots.

    • Also, you’re letter is basically asking CL, please give me the key that will allow me to make an untenable situation okay, and maintain the status quo through finding an excuse/explanation for this behaviour which means basically gaslighting yourself. Fortunately CL is not into providing methods of concreting over cognitive dissonance hence the slap of reality. Things cannot stay the same, and shouldn’t in these circumstances, trying to maintain something sick and dysfunctional is how we end up with poor mental and physical health. It takes a lot of energy to keep balls in the air when they’re actually missiles being lobbed at us. So put nothing down to depression and chalk it all up to 100% sneaky agency by a fuckwit and take the appropriate action. His excuse has nothing to do with using it to build bridges with you, he simply wants that narrative out there so when the story becomes public that factoid has already been seeded and those who talk but don’t really care or know enough can shake their head amd say it’s so sad, he was depressed. It’s a terrible disease that makes people do strange things. Bulkshit it’s what he wanted all along but didn’t have the balls to be honest because his honesty would have revealed him as the hollow man he is. Again who wants to tell the story of how they met, oh, he was so depressed that he cheated on his wife with me? That’s admitting you took advantage of a mentally ill man, it’s patent bs but this kind of swirly nonsense logic is how these people operate.

  • TRUTH AND HONESTY ARE THE POWER POSITIONS.

    Lying, cheating, stealing, deception, etc., drain energy and power. It’s supremely idiotic to throw away your personal power and self-esteem with both hands and giant shovel.

    It doesn’t feel like it when you’ve been betrayed, but staying in integrity puts you in the power position.

  • Misplaced… I’m sorry you’re losing your six year investment. When you talk to your lawyer, make sure that if the “bride” paid for the wedding you recoup those costs in a settlement. GET OUT NOW… don’t lose another six years pick me dancing… let “her” have the guy who cheats on his fiance… marries her anyway… and keeps cheating with the side piece… that is WHO she wins.

    Big life out here after the pandemic… don’t bring a cheater to it.

  • Truly depressed people do not have the wherewithal to conduct affairs. Truly depressed people usually aren’t even interested in sex or romance at all, let alone going to such lengths to get it. They have difficulty going about the ordinary business of living. Their energy is low. They lack motivation.
    Conclusion: depressed, my ass.

    Yeah, my jerk tried to play the depressed card to excuse his affair. I didn’t buy it and neither should you. When they say depressed they mean bored. They probably can’t tell the difference, as ignorant and self-involved as they are. He gave you a variation of ILYBINILWY. He claimed she’s just a friend. He vanished and moved in with her. These are all classic signs, straight out of the now infamous cheater handbook. This guy is a cheater and a loser of the lowest order. Divorce him so fast it will make his empty head spin.

    • “Truly depressed people do not have the wherewithal to conduct affairs. ”

      Yes, I think I was sinking into a situational depression the last year of our marriage, as he was ramping up his detach/discard process. I didn’t think it was that, as I was unaware of anything except he was being pretty hurtful and nasty. I thought it was because I was depressed, and he was reacting to that; I didn’t realize until he left that my depression was in reaction to his actions toward me and I was just trying to survive.

      I remember once on the way home from the river property we were working on getting set up. (our retirement property) HA. Anyway, he said it is getting to him that I am always sad. The nerve! He was in full force fucking his employee, lying to me, stealing marital funds to romance the whore, and he was chastising me for not being joyful about our new “retirement home”. The retirement home that he took the whore to as soon as he and I got it fixed up good enough for her nasty well ridden ass.

      I could get through work and get through the day, but my joy was gone. He stole that, and he did it covertly. He knew, but I didn’t. I was even doing his volunteer work that he had signed up for. I was going through the motions.

      • You did HIS volunteer work so he’d have more free time to cheat? That is the ultimate in selfishness.

        Yeah, they cause your depression and then use it as an excuse to cheat and dump you. They get you to invest in things like retirement homes when they have no plans to stay with you. It just blows my mind how calculatingly evil they are. Mine got me to move and do back breaking hard work on our supposed “forever home” we were to retire in, knowing it was not going to be forever. I suspect it’s about the usual duper’s delight when they do that. Inside, they’re laughing at you the whole time.

        Jerk petulantly said to me; “Maybe I just didn’t want to be around all that sadness.”
        Me; “But you’re the one who caused it!”
        Jerk; “I know.”
        What can you say to people who are that mudfuckingly stupid? They’re never going to reason like normal people.

        • Yes it is. When I realized what was going on, I tried for a while to analyze what he was thinking, why on earth he could do this or that. Then I realized I would never figure out his mind, as my mind can’t even comprehend his actions.

          The upside to the work was the folks I was working with, I am pretty sure had no idea how devious he was. He lost his standing with them all. Two of the older men I worked with for our city Jr. Baseball team, dropped him as a close friend like a hot potato. Honestly, a lot of these folks were smart enough to know that if he could like like that to me (and to them) he was no a safe person to be around.

          She didn’t get to step into my world seamlessly as they had planned, to enjoy his new promotion, and his standing in the community. He lost it all. They both had big red As on their foreheads, and as soon as he retired (he took an early retirement) they fled the state to set up their lies somewhere fresh.

  • Misplaced, this “sad sack” is just a run of the mill colossal cheating asshole. You, however, have been very naive to the “best friend” alibi, and denying your instincts. You need to cut your losses (sunk time only…you’re super lucky to get away from this POS sooner rather than later) today. File, no contact, change the locks, tell his family everything, put half the money in your own new account at a different bank, documents…get your ducks in a row…as we say. This douchebag strung you along for six year, was cheating with her well before your wedding, and doesn’t even have the decency or respect for you to tell you the truth now. Be glad (if) you didn’t get stds, covid, and/or pregnant. It shouldn’t matter to you at this point whether HE wants a divorce or not. You should want one asap. He clearly enjoys keeping you in the dark, keeping you as an option, and making himself look less like the lying cheating asshole that he is. Don’t let this happen. Once you go no contact and/or serve him, he will hoover. Be prepared. There should be no discussion or second chances here. Oh, and of course, no contact the “work friend”. They are both now your enemies. Keep silent, do not tell your enemies or their family or friends any of your thoughts or plans.

  • Super interesting subject. My story started with XH pathological lying. After many arguments about his lying he brought up seeing a counselor. Twice he saw her, said he talked about his lying. After I found out about his adultery we went as a couple to same counselor. She asked him why he had never mentioned his lying or cheating, much to my surprise. He went to a counselor to stop lying and lied to the counselor. As we talked with the counselor he admitted while telling me about his affair in terms of ” I wanted my dck sucked and I wanted it sucked by anybody but her and I had a right to” Counselor was horrified asking him why he had a right to. He told her ” because I wanted to .” I could go on and on with his cognitive dissonance but at this point it just makes me tired. I wasted my life, he lead a double life of 15 years that I know about.

    • Wow! What an awful man! These liars can’t help but lie. It’s frightening. Glad you’re free.

      My ex spit out this word salad on the topic of lying: “You’ll have to tell me to my face that I’m a pathological liar. Then you’ll be lying.” What does that even mean? I didn’t respond.

      Later he told me he lied every day.
      “But I stopped lying on the day I confessed,” he said, which, of course, was a lie.

  • I understand part of why she let it slide. Did anyone else’s FW accuse them of denying that men and women can be “just friends?” Mr. Wonderful had a female “friend” at work. Mr. Wonderful likes to find women who are recently divorced, insecure about their looks, much older or older looking, etc. so he can be their knight in shining armor and shoulder to cry on and then hop into bed with them. He is so understanding if they wake up at 3 AM and need to text him or call to discuss their insecurities. And this co-worker fit in one of his famous categories of women to whom he could be… Mr. Wonderful! Anyway, he wanted to invite her to a BBQ I was hosting and I said no. In hindsight, I knew damn well what was going on. He got up in arms that he couldn’t have her over. I was being unreasonable. They were just friends and what kind of backward Neanderthal am I to deny men and women just being friends? I was tempted to let it slide but glad I didn’t.

    • “he wanted to invite her to a BBQ I was hosting and I said no. In hindsight, I knew damn well what was going on. ”

      Weird, I remember about six months before Dday, mid summer the ex and I had just walked out the back door. I was going to invite our two couple friends over for a cook out. Out of the blue he said, I would like to invite whore and her “boyfriend” over too. I said “why?” He said just to make them feel included. I said, no I don’t think it is a good idea to make it a work related thing. Honestly though on the surface I didnt’ know, I had to have been having inklings at that time.

      Around the same time he invited her over to introduce me to his employee (dog catcher) she came with her “boyfriend”. As we were sitting there chatting, I mentioned that fw and I had just got back from a trip and on the way home he rented the honeymoon suite. There was a funny story related to it, which is why I mentioned it, but I remember even when I said it, she had the funniest look on her face. After Dday that look on her face came back to me. She was pissed. I bet he caught hell in their next fuck session.

      By the way the “boyfriend” was a guy who was about 19 or 20 to her 35. He was no boy friend, though I am sure she threw him some fucks to keep him as her cover. I actually knew his mother, she and I talked down the line, and she told me she was horrified at what happened to me, but on the other hand was so relieved that whore was out of her sons life. I understood her stance, and was not upset at it. She was a nice woman who had raised a sweet but naïve young man and he like me I am pretty sure he was just used.

      She had no idea that whore was fucking my H. Though she did know that she was a whore who had gone through several married men. Pretty much everyone knew that. She was scared to death that her son was going to marry this whore.

  • I’ve been deeply depressed most of my life. I have major depressive disorder and C-PTSD from childhood sexual trauma and abuse. Depression is NOT what drives someone to cheat and lie and manipulate and gaslight. That’s entitlement and having a shitty character. My depression causes me to go to my partner and talk to her about it and seek medical treatment, not abuse her.

  • okay….while I agree in this situation that dude sucks big time, there is such egregious misrepresentation of depression in this whole post. There are heaps of psychological symptoms of depression that can easily link themselves with infidelity. No, it doesn’t excuse it. But your portrayal of depression as this one-dimensional, easily fixed little issue is…irresponsible. As if there isn’t so much complexity to human psychology especially when that psychology is essentially, glitching. I have had SEVERE depression in my life, began meds as a young teenager when it wasn’t commonplace. I have never cheated. Not once. I have certainly made other terrible choices and behaved terribly when in the hellish darkness of this sickness. I absolutely understand how a depressive episode could become infidelity based on the person’s individual psychology (not “they’re bad people”, but preexisting thought patterns such as burden anxiety, self-destruction/self-harm as punishment for one’s failure to thrive, etc). Not to mention that infidelity can be an escape for a depressed person. The same exact way that depression might lead to drug use because of the immediate euphoric boost and dissociation from reality, so can engaging in the flirtatious and exciting aspects of a brand new “relationship”. Not everyone with depression can simply lean on their partner or get medical help because surprise!, depression often makes those things impossibly difficult (and I mean impossibly). Why? The depressed person will feel guilty for their withdrawal from their normal,“happy” behavior and their mental illness tells them they are a burden on those they hold closest because of this. It is, more often than not, the closest people to a depressed person that bear the brunt of “bad” behavior as a result of their ILLNESS. You push those closest to you away (sometimes through bad behavior) because you fear hurting them the most, and your brain when it is sick with depression tells you that you are hurting them just by existing. This article is harmful and so painfully simplistic. Humans are not automatons, mental illness is not one-size-fits-all, and this mindset can lead to socialized shame about depression that in turn leads to tendencies of shut-down and euphoria-seeking (cheating!) in a depressed person. Do not downplay the scourge of mental illness on the mind. It, by definition, changes how we think and behave and when your thoughts and behaviors are driven by a mind that is MEDICALLY SICK, it is absolutely understandable that those thoughts and behaviors would reflect the sickness and sometimes be, essentially, shitty, I wish life with mental illness was as easy as you make it sound, but it simply isn’t.

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