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We Reconciled… He Cheated Again

The Unicorn of ReconciliationHi Chump Lady,

I just finished your book… For the second time. Two years ago I found out he had an affair with a 20-something from work. (He was 56 at the time).

We were married for 30 years at the time, and, things were great. We traveled, socialized, and had great sex.

I thought he was the unicorn, because for the past 22 months we did individual therapy, joint therapy, joined the Retrovoullaile community, were very active in our “rebuild”, renewed our vows, and he even got down on one knee and proposed to me again, with a gorgeous diamond ring in a beautiful setting in St. Lucia. “I’m sorry, I’ll never hurt you again, my family means everything, most guys get a second chance, thank you for giving me mine… blah blah blah.”

But something wasn’t right… so much so that I recorded him and bingo… I found out (three weeks ago) that during that entire time we were working on our rebuild, he was paying someone else for sex. Another 20-something.

I did serve him with papers, but now he’s going to a sex addiction clinic for inpatient treatment.

Is it a disease? He kept saying “I’m sick.”

Is it possible he can change? Is this one of those situations to stay?

Please answer this…… I’m

Dazed, confused and devastated

Dear Dazed, confused and devastated,

I don’t believe in sex addiction. I believe in entitlement. He felt justified to fuck around and lie to your face, to preserve his unilateral hold on power. That’s a character issue. A gluttony problem. An inability to appreciate what he has problem.

But more disturbing, he was totally okay letting you publicly and deeply invest in his lie, to avoid consequences from the first time you busted him.

He did therapy he was not honestly invested in. He joined a community in which the Reconciled are supposed to sponsor the Struggling and hold themselves out as examples. He was fraudulent with vulnerable people. And he took his charade further, setting you up for the romantic vow renewal, complete with bling.

“I’m sorry, I’ll never hurt you again” he said while he was actively hurting you.

Why would you believe his sorries now? You can’t. He’s a skilled liar.

He could’ve leveled with you the first time, and given you an honest choice. “I want to be married to you, but I also want to hire sex workers and have affairs with younger women.”

His actions say that is what he wants. Those are the choices he’s been making. And there are women in this world who would look the other way and who have throughout history. Whether they’re economically vulnerable, or not deeply emotionally invested in their husbands, or who like the lifestyle (minus the STD checks). Or maybe they want an open marriage.

Your husband didn’t even give you the honest choice, because then his power would be laid bare. I’m King and I’ll fuck around as I wish, and you can be my wife appliance and public consort. Because that benefits me. No, he conned you by letting you believe you were cherished. Committed to. Part of his high was the conspiracy of humiliating you.

And you cannot un-know that.

But something wasn’t right… so much so that I recorded him

How long do you want to be on the marriage police force? Even when it was “good,” you were hypervigilant. Do you want to live this way? Because the alternative is to trust a guy who is demonstrably untrustworthy.

If you trust the demonstrably untrustworthy, it’s not all diamond rings and tropical vacations. It’s missing money, STDs, and hooker expenses. And the seasick feeling of sharing intimate space each day with someone who lies to you. Casually.

I did serve him with papers, but now he’s going to a sex addiction clinic for inpatient treatment.

Same resort, different setting. Last Hail Mary mindfuckery play was an elaborate celebration in St. Lucia. Next Hail Mary mindfuckery play is in-patient sex addition.

Do you really believe if you hand someone 10K for a therapy summer camp experience, they’ll return with a new character? I think that’s a scam, and I’d protect your money, if I were you. Freeze his credit. Start investigating your finances.

Is it a disease? He kept saying “I’m sick.”

That’s the “self-pity” channel. You’ve been devastated by another betrayal, but he’s the REAL victim here, of an inexplicable disease! Please help this poor man before he fucks another sex worker. Jerry Lewis should have a telethon.

Oh and his disease is only treated by an expensive in-patient treatment center. What do you get? Here’s a plastic chair. (pat, pat) You be Supportive Spouse.

Is it possible he can change?

What? Alibis? Why would he want to change when he hasn’t suffered any consequences?

Is this one of those situations to stay?

Only if you accept the terms of his entitlement openly. And then wish to run the risk of being chucked aside anyway. Do you want to caretake this man? Would you want him caretaking you?

I’d do a credit report on this guy, get a forensic account, tally up how much money he’s spent on his double life, ask for the money back in divorce. Get a divorce. And tell me if he’s still sorry. And if he’s still going to that sex addict therapy.

No? There’s your sorry.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I agree with chump lady. The x in my case (I won’t call it “my ex”), put on a real good show. We’re talking 24 years here. Sure there were some good times thrown in there But there was always the infidelity. I was told that my definition of infidelity was too narrow. But it wouldn’t have mattered if my definition would have been extremely broad, any suggestion of wrongdoing was harsh on my part. Mean-spirited.

    What made a big difference for me was seeing what happened when I filed for divorce and when consequences started happening. After that the clubs were off. After that I saw who he really was. And the funny thing is I didn’t anticipate what he would look like having to deal with consequences because I had never put any down before. This really surprised me.

    You know I didn’t have boundaries before. When people started telling me I needed to set boundaries I had to Google what boundaries even were. Setting those boundaries caused consequences to happen.

    Even now if you’re still together you’re not seeing who he really is. Divorce is difficult. It’s costly and it’s hurtful. But so is being cheated on and being lied to. I choose the one that gets me free.

    • Yes, and the cheater, in this case, knows damn well that divorce will cost HIM lots of $$, which is one reason he’s trying to avoid it.

      Once you file, he’ll be a money-grubbing ass. They all are. He’ll malign you. He’ll quit the stupid ruse of sex-addiction therapy. Once the mask falls with these types, you get to see them in all their entitled glory.

      I’d follow CL’s advice! Before filing, pretend all is well while getting your ducks and documents in order. Do that credit check. Get STD tested.

      Good luck! You deserve better, and this isn’t your fault. Remember that.

    • Me too. He was sorry only when he got caught and only for the exact thing he got caught on at the moment. The victim card was played. “I’m thinking about ending it all” leaving me on watch until he could get an evaluation. Never mind the fact that I am dealing with the ultimate betrayal. It had to remain “about him.” Smoothed things over by praying with me every night for our marriage while he continued the affair with a girl our oldest child’s age. The true him came out when I filed for divorce. He began blaming me for crazy behavior and even pretended I had a restraining order against him seeing our kids. (He was restrained from talking about the divorce with them). Chump Lady called it – he is the king of entitlement.

      • Steel….. are you sure we weren’t married to the same monster? I could have written your words?

        They are all the same.

        Run! Choose yourself.

        • I am free. Lots has happened that I wouldn’t have chosen but I am completely free.

          I am sorry for your pain. It’s almost unbearable at times.

      • “….he continued the affair with a girl our oldest child’s age.”

        That really screws with a kid’s head, even an adult child. Did you ever see the SNL skit, “Meet Your Second Wife?”

        Knowing that my father had affairs with women YOUNGER than I am really just stirs up all sorts of things for me – anger, disgust, bewilderment, disgust, anger, disgust, confusion, disgust, and so forth. I mean, you are essentially a pedophile in adult clothing because when you were 40 your girlfriend was 0-5 years old. WHAT THE EFF!!???

        • Very weird. And uncomfortable.
          Years ago, I visited a friend in her hometown, dining one night with her father and his girlfriend. Gf was a couple of years older than my friend. Awkward. Plus this French man was trying to be flirty with me. Just no.

        • I agree. I chose not to tell our four children about her age. I didn’t want to damage them anymore than they already have been.

    • Boundaries don’t work when the transgression of those boundaries is hidden from you.
      Typical boundaries don’t work with someone who doesn’t want to be held accountable. Then the BIG boundary is needed: separation or divorce.

    • Muthachumper, I loved what you wrote, that you had to Google what ‘boundaries’ were! And now look how far you’ve come! Good for you!

  • Last night I watched a documentary about John Wayne Gacy.

    One of his surviving victims went to police, who did nothing because they did not believe the man who was hospitalized, had provided a vehicle description, and an address, over Upstanding Pillar of the Community Gacy. Who at the time had a conviction in another state for rape/sodomy of a similar victim. He’d moved to the Chicago area after being released from prison for a new location to set up his shop of horrors.

    It doesn’t matter how much is on the Pro list.

    What’s on the Con list tells the tale and has all the information that is relevant. And when there’s intentional harm on the Con list, what you have is most likely is a pro con. He’s a skilled predator, liar, cheater, thief, ABUSER. Of the highest order. He’s crystal clearly proven he has no problem fucking you over. That’s all you need to know. And your story is far from unique. It happened to a friend of mine.

    I don’t care if it’s an addiction or not. Serial killing could be called an addiction too, I suppose. I think I should run from anyone who intentionally harms others.

    • Staying = “It’s OK for someone to emotionally psychologically mentally spiritually sexually batter me”


      (which is NOT love, BTW)

      • …and I’d add physically (STDs), and financially (hooker and double-life costs) to that list…

      • “Staying = “It’s OK for someone to emotionally psychologically mentally spiritually sexually batter me”

        First, one must recognize it as abuse and most abuse victims don’t exit completely on the first attempt. When we add to this the isolation, devaluation, blame shifting and humiliation (to name a few) often times the victim feels trapped without a voice.
        No one asks to be abused; not a one deserves it in any way shape or form. In staying nothing will change.

        • Yes, no one asks to be abused. But those of us who grow up in homes with domestic violence learn is it what deserve, it’s our fault, and it’s OK, and even more scary, attracted to it because it’s been fused with love. That’s a very deeply rooted unspoken weed of a message that needs to be pulled to get away. I’ve found in my own domestic violence recovery that it’s unbelievably insidious and difficult to overcome after even 30 years since I went for help.

    • Yep, Velvet, you are 100% correct:

      It doesn’t matter how much is on the Pro list.
      What’s on the Con list tells the tale and has all the information that is relevant.

    • Velvet Hammer clearly Gacy was a psychopath who managed to con many people. I dont think he but had a mental illness as such. That is why he ended up on death row and not a high security mental hospital. Most psychopaths are not sick although their behavior is described as sick. ‘Addiction’ lets them off the hook with ‘I couldn’t help it’ Every addiction starts with a choice. Entitlement, no remorse, no guilt and no care and in many cases extreme cruelty and delight in the suffering of others.

  • DCD… I’m sorry you are going through this… AGAIN.

    Many of here had to walk away from decades of time invested in cheating fuckwit. It is hard, no doubt about it. But you know what is harder, laying down to sleep every night next to someone who is ABUSING YOU. Can you really see yourself doing that for another couple decades? Do you want to be the marriage police for the rest of your life? Do you want to have to get monthly STD checks for the rest of your life?

    Let’s say he is an “addict” (and I’m in the CL camp – sex addiction is entitlement)… the recidivism rate for recovery from addiction is around 30% (… so you’re likely to keep going through his “lapses” for the foreseeable future.

    Cut your losses now. Sell that bling and pay the lawyer. You’ve read CL’s book twice and you’re here… keep the focus on YOU and YOUR RECOVERY FROM ABUSE. Let your cheater take care of his mess, whatever you want to call it.

    • Agreed. Also, people don’t become addicts on their first go.
      Most people addicted to hard drugs do ‘softer’ gateway drugs first. You can liken this to cheating- start with flirting, de-valuing your partner, drunken kisses with ho-workers at work parties, maybe paying for online/ phone sex- then it ramps up. My point is, there’s a thousand little choices in all of those steps.
      Even if he is a bonafide sex addict (which I don’t believe in) it sounds like he either lied to you about that when you got together or he’s become one during the course of your relationship. Either way he’s made a thousand choices to betray you, both recent and historic.
      Please, run away. CN and CL are here for you and you CAN survive this.

      • Likely the most common gateway is often pornography. Bet you she’ll find lots of it on the home computer.

  • Dear DCD, this is the perfect opportunity to secure the documents you need for the divorce, copy everything you can get your hands on, open your own account, place half of the money in there, hire a Super Lawyer, rent a storage unit and secure your belongings, run a credit check, change the locks and finally get a STI panel. RUN

    Don’t feel like you are going behind his back. You are protecting yourself from an abusive man. Use this time to get out. RUN.

    This is the perfect time to set it up so that he talks to your lawyer and not you. He will only continue his lies and manipulations. He will never tell you the truth. RUN

    He is abusing you. RUN

    • You can’t trust him, if he is an “addict” they satisfy their addiction at all costs. To paraphrase CL, he could be getting his ducks in a row. You deserve better.

    • Be very careful with hiring someone who is.a Superlawyer!
      My ex is one and he’s a crappy lawyer.
      They’re voted on by other lawyers and the front cover is bought by the highest bidder and not an honor.
      I agree with looking at Superlawyers and I hired one…but ask how they feel about cheating before telling them you’re a chump, not a cheater. Their answer will tell you about their character.

      • This is true of all professions–doctor, dentist, therapist, astrologer, lawyer, electrician…there are good ones and bad ones. That’s why you get recommendations, check credentials, figure out what YOU want and need, and see who has the best plan. I used a divorce lawyer the first time who was great. I went back to him for another matter 15 years later and he acted like a dickhead. So never assume.

  • My cheater only showed GINR. I even sent her the Huffpost version of Chumplady’s GINR verses real remorse article. I said I needed to see real remorse. Even with that blueprint, she couldn’t fake it or go another 6 weeks before fucking someone else.

    I wanted to see that real remorse so badly. But now I realize it would have been an act and prolonged the pain. Do any of them ever really feel it? Ever?

    • Nope.

      And…. I’m not going to waste my one and only life looking for mythical creatures. I set aside belief in fairy tales in childhood.

    • Based on my experience, they only have the capacity to feel sorry for themselves and events that negatively affect them. Showing anything beyond that is mainly them playing pretend “good” human, usually for some perceived gain.

  • PPS…

    What are your deal breakers? What are your limits? How bad would it have to be before you left? Why is this OK with you?

    All the “nice guy” behavior is just manipulation to keep you confused and rooted to the spot, feeding the bottomless black soul sucking hole where his heart, which is missing, should be. If you stay together, it’s because you are of use to him. One day you won’t be and then he’ll just put you in the trash can like a crumpled napkin.


    You gave him a chance and look what he did with it. Someone who is pretending to be loyal to you while screwing around is holding you hostage. That is not love.

    • Unfortunately you do not have anything to work with. Why would he do things knowing they would hurt you? Then pretend to be a Unicorn and keep doing things that he knew were hurtful to you. Say you keep him and he really “reforms”. Both of you still know that he did not cherish you, etc. Did things repeatedly to hurt you. Not only would you want him being your caregiver BUT if he needs a caregiver, sure it will be ok with him for you to be his caregiver but how will you feel. Best of luck to you.

  • Similar in some ways to my story. I got the proposal to remarry, planned a lovely ceremony in central park( we live in Canada). Went through it and he stayed another 4 years blowing my retirement money( hundreds of thousands) on his failing business, lying about it the whole time. Then cheated again( oh yes but he met her 2 days after we separated). Moved in with her 4 weeks later. I don’t think so! It won’t get better and may do you real harm. Please leave.

  • I had a very similar situation. “Sex addiction” is what he called it. What it meant was he strategically slept with women around me, in our circle, like the woman at the bank I was friendly with, and the woman at the title company who handled our dream house closing. It meant getting messages from a woman who asked me to mentor her in her career because she respected me, only to find out she was sleeping with my husband and was actually doing recon. He also slept with vulnerable married clients at his law firm.

    So I found the absolute best counselor I could find and I leveled with her–could sex addiction be fixed? No, she advised. It can’t. Run as fast as you can. Primarily because it’s an internal wiring issue and not a disease. It’s a character defect that cannot be changed. It literally turns these men on to cheat and lie and deceive. A normal, healthy relationship isn’t what they want–they want the facade, not the real thing.

    Go no contact now and literally have all contact through a lawyer. That’s how you fix a situation like this. If you had a cancerous tumor, you’d find a surgeon and remove it–all of it!!–without question ASAP. You need to do the same with this cancer in human form.

  • I’m SO sorry this is happening to you Dazed, Confused and Devastated. You’re in that stage where it’s scary to leave the comfort of the life you’ve known because your liar is tugging on your heart strings with the pity party song and dance routine.

    The reason you struggle is because you’re a good human being who obviously still loves the liar.

    But the sad part is that you are in love with a person who does not actually exist. You’re in love with the man you THOUGHT he was – that man you love isn’t real. He’s a figment of your imagination. You’re in love with a fantasy man and you need to mourn his loss ~ grieve and have a little funeral for him in your mind.

    This sack of shit you see now is the real deal. And he doesn’t “love” you, he’ll never love anyone but himself.

    Your current husband is NEVER going to stop screwing 20 year olds and hookers. He’s just going to get better at hiding it from you after the big “Sex Addiction Rehab”, but he ain’t going to stop. Let me repeat that again –
    he is N-E-V-E-R going to stop!

    He’s going to keep tricking you as long as he’s breathing oxygen. But he’ll be more than happy to continue WASTING your life. And you’ll only be giving him some time to start hiding assets if you stay.

    Life is too short and precious to tolerate someone abusing you. And this IS abuse. There are plenty of wonderful men out there that would love and cherish you the way you deserve. You’re a fucking catch – even he knows it. My second husband is literally a saint who worships me. And he has dimples, too…and is much more well-endowed that my ex. Thank goodness I was strong enough to leave!

    Be brave and get off the crazy train. There are cuter guys with bigger d**ks out there just waiting for you. He will never change, he’ll keep wasting your life as he does as he pleases behind your back.

  • When I sensed a drop off in intimacy during the discard phase (yes, I was so damn slow to recognize anything amiss), I said to my then-husband in the most pathetic of voices, “I would renew our vows.” His dead-eyed response was, “Really?” Then he walked away.

    And even with that, I didn’t see a problem. I arose from the table and probably poured another glass of wine. WTF! I was an abused zombie. I can’t explain it. Had trauma blinded me? I don’t know.

    Dazed, confused, and devastated, please recognize that life doesn’t have to be this way. Cut your losses NOW (after following all the great pre-divorce steps listed here by CL and other commenters). I would emphasize the advice to get the best lawyer you can find. Ask around. It makes all the difference. Worth every penny.

    Welcome to CN! Come back often. We’ll support you through this nightmare.

    • A few months after I left, I was called by a flying monkey friend of the X. I remember telling him “I would have stayed with [the X] forever if he had just been kind to me.”

      On one hand “being kind” can mean so much. Kindness isn’t lying and cheating. But on the other, in his world, “being kind” to me would just be coming home and giving me whatever scraps of attention he had left for me and me being grateful for it.

      Yeah, Nope. I cringe now thinking about how little I would have settled for if he had just made the barest of efforts.

      • No to crumbs in your next relationship. Yes to a multi-layered cake. What kind do you want ? What flavors of filling and frosting ?

      • Exactly! I had the same situation. His priorities are young twenty something year old female friends from community college . I did not care if he took classes. But I thought he should at least treat me as well as he treats his new friends. He had absolutely no interest in spending any time whatsoever with me. And did not talk to me while we were in the same house. He thinks he is a great guy and all these young people are so enamored of him. The problem as he sees it is my failure to recognize his wonderful ness. That is why he does not like people his own age. This is particularly true of men his age. I think they likely call him out on his shit.
        Although now that I am not in the house, he is doing things I had asked him to do for a long time and leaving my mail for me, cleaning up things, replaced a toilet. I’m not sure what he is up to. Is he trying to prove he really is a good person? And if so to who??

  • We (Catholic) also did a Retrouvaille weekend and I now realize that he played me like a fiddle the whole time (per usual). His suggestion at the end of the weekend was that he wanted me to make more of an effort with my Narc/alcoholic parents (the most effective wild-goose-chase on earth).

    Yeesh…I would like to have those 3 days of my life back to do anything except grovel to him.

    His big affair started right about the same time. gag

    Not that anyone is counting, but I also see “sex addiction” as a ruse, excuse, stupid ass crock of shit

  • How do I thank you enough for all your thoughtful and spot on replies and advice?!!
    I’m sorry we all share the same story but we do share a truth that we don’t have to be chumps anymore.
    From the bottom of my heart I thank you all. ❤️????

    • Rosemary – you don’t sound so “dazed” to me! ????

      I’m so sorry to have to welcome you to the club that nobody wants to belong to. But you are indeed very welcome here. Find us at the Chump Lady subreddit if you want to talk more.

      Many of us suffered multiple D-Days, and it sucks. Mine were 14 years apart. I stayed with my STBX because we had a two-year-old, it was “just” a short fling that I found out about within a week, and STBX seemed so very sorry. We did a bunch of therapy, but not one provider recognized the signs of trauma at that time, that now seem very clear to me.

      It’s helpful to think in terms of the abusive cycle: lovebombing, devaluation, and discard. And the cycles get shorter each time. Once you’ve been devalued (think: first D-Day), your abuser won’t idealize you very long the next time. I now realize that I was devalued for YEARS before STBX initiated her second affair 14 years after the first one.

      And in the meantime, during those years of devaluation, I put up with all of the following, though they seemed subtle at the time: unrealistic expectations; micromanagement; “affair lite” behaviors like intense friendships with people STBX was attracted to; STBX “apologizing” for me at social events. And all the while I got more and more tired – I haven’t felt fully rested once in almost 19 years now. And all of this was happening so long after the first affair that I hardly ever thought about it anymore.

      I’m sorry we married people like this, but the truth is that they’re broken inside, and we can’t fix them. It doesn’t matter whether “sex addiction” is real or not; personality disorders are real, and there’s no reliable treatment. But it sounds like you now know what you need to do. CN will have your back as you get your ducks in a row and Gain A Life!

      Hugs to you, ((Rosemary)).

  • IF a person in fact had ‘sex addiction’ they should see a therapist so that they don’t ACT on the compulsion.

    It is just another BS excuse imo, to avoid cutting up the assets and divorcing.

    The fact that he gave you a diamond, professed his gratitude while he was screwing someone else tells you everything you need to know about him.

    I went to Retrovaille too. There were couples there from their 20’s to their 70’s. Many had been through many rounds of infidelity. It was a club I did not want to be a member of. It was cheater heaven.

    He is fooling you. Again.

  • I am so sorry you are going through this, I went thru the same thing. The first time you find out, it’s horrific but the second time, it’s complete catastrophic mentally and emotionally. You doubled down in your investment in them and they used it to their advantage to fly under the radar even further. In between DDay 1 and 2, I thought our relationship evolved to the best it’s ever been, only to find out it was a complete lie and she was just enjoying the pick me dance being performed by me and her AP. At this point, there is no other way to classify this other than pure abuse in every capacity. He’s not addicted to sex, he’s addicted to his ego and evil nature. He’s addicted to the power he has to lie, cheat and steal your heart and soul.
    It takes years to rebuild yourself from your partners betrayal and he kicked you while you were down.
    This person isn’t your partner, this person is your enemy who is and was willing to sacrifice you and your mental and emotional well-being.
    Please run, please go no contact. It’s the only way to survive and have any chance of recovery which will be a long road ahead. If he was able to pull off a 2 year heist like he did between DDay’s, he’s capable and willing to say or do anything possible to keep you, obviously except doing the right thing by you and keeping his word of honesty and commitment.
    I am so sorry that you are going through this, it caused a lot of emotions for me to read, knowing all of the pain and confusion you are currently enduring.
    Any time you second guess your next step forward, just remember, you are better sleeping alone than you are sleeping with the enemy.

    • Using the right words is critical for reprogramming! Thank you for your eloquent reminder.

      Better to use “enemy” rather than “husband”, “wife”, “partner”, “boyfriend”, “girlfriend”……a cheater doesn’t even meet the standards for “acquaintance”.

      I came up with the word “consociate”…I have to associate with the traitor and I like the prefix “con” as an accurate reminder.

    • Justin,
      OMG the exact same thing happened to me!! is there a playbook out there that these morons act from. I went no contact 5 months ago and just waiting for the divorce to be final, but the ex and her stupid attorney keep stalling. No contact is truly the way to go, I wish I had read this book after the first discovery as this nightmare would be over by now!! Stay strong everybody

  • I’m so sorry that you’re going through this yet again. I was married 24 years when I found out and filed for divorce. He said he was sorry and I chose to believe a liar. I didn’t want to lose my family. He even went through wedding vows with me again. And at the 30-year point, I found out he really hadn’t cut off the fling. Believe CL. Your FW feels entitled to do what he wants. And like all the others, as soon as I decided to go forward with the divorce at the 30-year point, the true colors came off. He was no longer nice and called me crazy. As others here say, get your ducks in order, and then get a lawyer and take what you’re entitled to. You were a good supportive wife for years. You’re entitled to a good retirement, at least half. I have a house, retirement, and most of all, my peace of mind. It took four years to get that peace. At first I thought that I gave up too soon (even after all of the cheating), but I finally reached peace and without a doubt I know I did everything in my power to make my marriage work. You can’t make a marriage work when there’s only one person working on it. And you especially can’t make a marriage work when there’s another person in the marriage. He is not an honest person. It’s not worth the stress the rest of your life wondering if this time he’ll really be invested. You’re losing your health especially at a time when you should be enjoying the last bit of your years. He has spent years hiding things behind your back. He’s accustomed to you because he knows all the ways to hide things from you. After I divorced my ex, I thought, “Now he’ll be good for another person.” Well…, maybe he is (and probably isn’t), but the fact is that even if he’s good for another person, he would never have been good for me. He knew me after 30 years and he knew how to continue to screw me over. He didn’t respect me and he would never have respected me. And like my FW, yours will continue to do the same to you because he knows who you are and what he has to do to get over this hurdle. Stop it all now and start loving yourself. You deserve better even if you’re alone. And don’t worry about being alone. I swore I’d rather be alone the rest of my life than ever have a liar and a cheater in it again. And once you’re at peace, you will also feel this way. Hugs!

    • You’re the Amazon I wished I’d ordered from first!

      That “good for someone else” is a weed that grows back frequently. A good person doesn’t intentionally lie and fuck over a committed partner. A good person shows up to appropriately problem solve. Caveat Emptor is forever on the table for all who choose get involved with him from now on.


        • Actually, you had it right the first time, Velvet Hammer. Caveat emptor = “Let the buyer beware.” Carpe emptor translates to “Seize the buyer.”

          I myself prefer “Dump the lying asshole.”

        • You had it right! Caveat emptor is “let the buyer beware.” Also relevant: cave canem is “beware of dog”…

          Carpe emptor would be more like “seize the buyer” (sort of – if emptor were accusative rather than nominative). I’m sure our fuckwits will take the latter phrase to heart. ????

          • Oops – I didn’t refresh the page before commenting, and so missed eirene’s response! Classicists unite… ????❤️
            (Also, what is it with all the academic chumps? Do we have a “Deceive Me” sign on our backs?) ????

            • huh – I don’t know if we have a sign on our backs, but maybe it is our focus on the intellectual that thwarts our emotional intelligence.

              • Maybe. I was definitely more interested in ideas than in my STBX’s unrealistic expectations…but she’s an academic too! Maybe we tend to partner with other academics who lack emotional intelligence…

            • Yeah, LezChump, I realized that carpo, carpere takes the accusative, but I didn’t want to be pedantic and muddy things by suggesting “Carpe emptorem,” which doesn’t make much sense unless you’re trying to tackle a customer.

      • Thank you, Velvet Hammer, for increasing my vocabualry 🙂 AND for sharing your experience and knowledge – but I really, really like the vocabulary stuff – Ha! I just now realize I am thinking of other things now!!!! Whoo hoo!!!

  • ThE support here is astounding Again, Thank you all for taking the time to reply to my post. After reading all of your supportive word, my eyes are welling up and I do know it’s time to go. Thank you. ????❤️
    Dazed and Confused. Aka Rosemary

    • Hi Rosemary!

      PLEASE run from this soul murderer.
      Stay here for daily doses of medicine. Chump Lady and Chump Nation has the good stuff!

      One of my friends who stayed was in therapy for a year only to find out he never stopped seeing the Her and that there was another Her as well. Her 1 and Her 2 did not know about each other and when my friend told 1 about 2, 1 was actually furious/believed that she had been “cheated on”. These people are sick motherfuckers who infect those around them and suck the life out of them.

      My friend has stayed in the marriage and is not doing well. Anti-depressants, gaining weight….lack of trust and safety means YOU suffer and just exist….not live.

      The pain of leaving him will end someday. The pain and suffering of staying will never end. I am so sorry for what he has done. We know how painful it is.

      • When I finally found Tracy’s blog, I read through all the previous blog posts AND comments. One that stood out ? “If I stay with him, I’ll either weigh 90 or 300 lbs.”
        Staying with a cheater/abuser will lead to self-destruction. I can think of four women who stayed, including my mother, and it didn’t end well.

        • You will heal much faster if YOU file for divorce versus being dumped (maybe multiple times) by your abuser.

          My mother never recovered from the abuse and discard by my father. It was a long time ago and her incompetent, unethical therapist watered her seeds of self-doubt and low self-esteem for his own financial gain. She told herself “If a man like that treats me this way, I must really be worthless”.
          Chumps have more options these days. The voice of sanity and self-respect in Tracy’s blog (yes !), different mores around divorce and many more therapists. Find a therapist that isn’t a card carrying member of the Esther Perel Fan Club if you seek counseling.

    • Dear Rosemary,

      Job #1 right now is to protect yourself–your health, your finances, your home, your chance at retirement. Give a lot of thought to how you want to live after you end the marriage. If you have considerable resources, do you want to buy a home and be mortgage free? Do you want alimony for life or some kind of settlement that allows you to live comfortably, if you have considerable assets? Do you want to stay in your home or would you eventually prefer a different kind of life? Do you want to stay put until the last kiddo graduates from college? Think through WHAT YOU WANT and WHAT YOU NEED. Of course, you want to turn back the clock and have your “old” life back. But honey, that life was based on a lie. Base your new life on who you are, what you love.

  • Should I share all this wisdom with my cheater? I’m tempted to email my letter and CL really to him
    I’d love him to hear what rational, healthy folks think…..

    Am I crazy? Or should I send him this?

    • NO.

      It’s a waste of time. You cannot make him see, understand, or care. He’s already shown you that he is incapable. Most of us if not all have tried to “make them see.” If he was capable of that kind of empathy you would not be here.

      This is your sanctuary. Don’t invite the viper in.

      • Agree with VH! NO NO NO! Don’t share this with him.

        Not only will it not help, but it will be used against you. He’ll find a way!

        I can appreciate the temptation, but please resist.

    • No! if you think sharing this info with him will somehow get him to have an Aha moment, it won’t and never will. He is NOT worth it. Don’t waste a second more on him.
      Divorce, no contact, therapy, move on with your life. Stop thinking about how anything affects him and think only about yourself and your mental, emotionally, financial well being. You are what matters. Concentrate on you and only you.

    • I recommend that you DO NOT show him any of the comments or let him know anything that you’re doing. The moment he gets wind of what’s going through your head, he’ll start mindfucking you all over again and will make you doubt yourself again. He’ll denounce all of our advise as coming from bitter old hags, because he’s “for real” and you should believe only him — “not those old bitter hags”. The best advice ever is No Contact. My lawyer advised me not to say ANYTHING at all to the FW as I was going through my divorce. It was really hard not to do. After all, I spent 30 years with this man as ‘my husband’ who I believed was concerned about my welfare (because his welfare was my concern.) But I assure you, when the divorce was done, he has complained to my sons about how I took EVERYTHING (which was baloney.) It’s entitlement. He felt entitled to do what he did and he felt entitled to take everything he wanted with him when he left. He didn’t care about leaving me with barely any support even after I gave him 30 years of my life. The entitlement is very, very strong and you will lose in any battle with him. (You’ve already lost in all your battles with him.) He does not care about you. It’s not because you’re not a worthwhile being, it’s because it’s all about him and his image. So go No Contact as much as you possibly can, do not give him any emotional reaction to what he says or does, and leave it all in your lawyer’s hands. After 30 years I felt it extremely hard to do because I was used to handing all issues over to my husband, but the smartest thing I did was to trust my lawyer. I recommend you do the same.

      • “You are no longer obligated to take care of him.”. Great piece of advice I received from an attorney friend the day before I filed. Several times I would fall back into my old thinking but I kept this posted on my bathroom mirror.

        As several others have said, once the divorce is filed and your most excellent attorney has started communicating for you – you will quickly see exactly who he is without the charming mask. Brace yourself. But it does help in my healing to think back to what I saw in front of the judge. My FW would have just as soon slit my throat as split his retirement account. Shudders…..

    • NO.

      You don’t tell the enemy of your plan of attack.

      He didn’t ever tell you the truth, now did he?


    • Hi Rosemary,

      Don’t waste your time sending this to your enemy. He lacks empathy and compassion. Without those traits there is absolutely nothing to work with.

      Spend your energy on getting free and healing. Go no contact ASAP.

      He will never, ever change.

      You deserve a better life, it’s time for you to start taking care of yourself .
      We’ll be here for you ????

    • Absolutely NOT.

      He will just mindfuck you with it. Protect YOURSELF.

      This site is for your sanity. It is NOT for reconciliation.

      • So grateful for all the guidance and great advice on this site.
        I think you all just saved my life from an eternity of pain and suffering!!! Thank you!!!

    • Never, ever expect understanding and an apology from an abusive bully.
      If that person was of good character, s/he would never have treated you that way in the first place.
      Protect yourself and get away from him. Do not share your escape plan with him.

    • Rosemary, you are on the path but you are not there yet. Otherwise you would never consider sharing information with this cheater. You cannot induce a tiger to change his stripes. It is who he is.
      You sound like a spouse who has lost themselves through years of being supportive of your husband. While that is a noble concept, it is pretty clear it has been misplaced with him and you are still swimming in denial. Why are you so uncomfortable in your overtly justified anger that you would try to moderate his feelings by sharing information with the enemy?
      My comments are not coming from judgement of you. They arise from my own mistakes along the path towards healing. Please learn for those of us that have stumbled on this route before you. We have suffered and learned along the way and pray our experience will be helpful to other chumps.

    • Rosemary,
      I know exactly what you’re thinking – “he seems so reasonable sometimes, surely he can understand my perspective!” No. He can’t. Even if he’s more confused than malicious, his shame is probably so great that he can never really face what he’s done. Reading CL or any other truth-teller will just put him into that place of toxic shame, and he’ll blame you (because people with that depth of shame always have to externalize it). I know all this because I tried to share some nuggets of CL wisdom with my fuckwit STBX.

      Also, PLEASE don’t do any more therapy with your fuckwit. Cluster Bs and other toxic people just weaponize the concepts they learn there. Your fuckwit is probably already getting plenty of ammunition in his inpatient program. Don’t give him even more by going to couples counseling with him. He might badmouth you, tell other people that you weren’t willing to work on the marriage. Too bad – you know the truth and can hold your head up high. You don’t have to control the narrative or care what other people think. If they really care about you, they’ll learn the truth eventually. If they don’t, screw them.

      All best to you, ((Rosemary))!

    • No! Do not send this to your cheater.

      You will need to learn that he is not your friend. When you are married, it is vital to understand your spouse, so you need to share your thoughts and feelings to make sure he understands you. This is important with your close friends as well: you reveal yourself to them because you want them to really understand you. If they have some false conception of you, you correct it – because you want them to know (and love) the real you.

      Your STBX is not your friend. He will use his understanding to undermine, bully, or outmaneuver you. It is not in your interest that he understand you better. If you reach out to correct a falsehood or a misunderstanding, he will use it against you.

      For years, I felt a need to respond to my XW’s half-truths and mischaracterizations because I somehow thought that if only I could make her understand my true motives, she would stop attacking me and we would get along better. It *never* worked. Not once. One time we had a two-week back-and-forth about my motivation on a particular issue, which ended (after I had consulted with a lawyer and reported back to her that my stance conformed with the legal reality of our situation) with her declaring that she didn’t believe that the legal system worked that way, didn’t believe my explanation, and that unless I supplied her with my *true* motivation that it meant I was admitting that I was acting out of spite without regard for the kids’ wellbeing.

      At best, what you reveal about yourself will be ignored or trivialized. At worst it will be used against you. There is no conceivable upside to showing him your soft underbelly like this.

      • I did these things too, involuntay georgian. I would try to explain to him that if he didnt follow through on the legal questions that it would only get worse.
        Not once did he respond in a sane or reasonable manner. I was trying to ease the pressure. He was using everything as amunition. It took me SO long to see this.
        It was ingrained in me to tell the truth and to share my understanding of events.
        Now i realize he had NO understanding because he never had any human feeling or understanding. Its all about manipulation and fake feeling.
        Of course he loved the centrality and the drama ofvit all. But i didnt see that, either!
        ROSEMARY do not share ANYTHING important with him. Play dumb and get your ducks in a row. There is nothing to save, not him, not your marriage, not lawyer fees. But you can be very very kind to yourself and save you. Hugs and best wishes

    • OMG! Rosemary, you are not getting it! Would you hand your escape plan to your kidnapper??!! This guy is evil. You do not know him. When you actually take action (taking away “his” money and cozy double life) he will get very ugly. This is when these entitled manipulative abusive fucks start poisoning their wives…and I’m not just talking about their emotions, finances, reputations, and relationships…think anti-freeze. Be very careful. He is now a stranger enemy. Do not confide in him. It’s the same as handing him a gun.
      PS: The most barf-inducing line of your story (and there was a lot to choose from) was “most guys get a second chance, thank you for giving me mine”. If this doesn’t illuminate his deep sense of entitlement, I don’t know what would.
      Last words: Silence to your abuser and Super Lawyer NOW!!

    • NO. Do not share anything with cheater. He will use any information to further screw you over. While he is away at in-patient ‘therapy’, you should go ‘no contact’ and stealth mode. Follow the steps to get yourself free. Make those lawyer appointments (yes, multiple lawyers. As soon as you talk/consult with them, your soon-to-be-ex cannot use them. Pick the top five in your area). Get that bank account opened (at a different bank) and move half the money into it so you control it. Assemble your support team (therapist, a few trusted friends) and make an appointment with your Doctor. Don’t wait, do it today. You gave him a second chance and look what he did with it! RUN like your hair is fire Rosemary! You will be better off without that poison in your life.

    • No, do not send it. My daughter (23) sent one of ChumpLady’s posts to her dad and I swear he used it to manipulate more.
      “Oh honey I’m so curious to see why you sent this to me… gosh, sounds like people have suffered so much! But you know, your mom and I were over long ago, so this really doesn’t pertain. Also, I am a good person who does not try to hurt others…blah blah blah.”

      I get that you need to talk a LOT about your situation so you can process and move on. Pick friends who are wise and validating, a therapist, and Chump Nation. Get it all out. Do NOT speak to people who will not completely validate and support you.
      You are looking to him for understanding and he will never understand, never empathize (although he will act like he does).
      Your cheater is a master manipulator. Run Run.

    • No. You cannot reason with crazy. He has created his own show and his own rules that he believes in. Society rules and common sense does not apply to him, he thinks he is entitled to do whatever he wants and for you to believe his excuse. My fw never changed, I took him back, did everything to change and for him to get from me what he said he needed, but his tendency was still there and after a while he inevitably faultered again. Him.crosding the line gets easier as he perfects his lies, deception and how to keep you obvlivous. They get high on the triangulation.

      I am sad to have to end my marriage, but there is nothing there for me anymore. He burnt the tender seed of trust that Isnaged to sprout after his infidelity. I worked hard to trust him again, and once I was there he went both feet into another affair. Who knows really how many he has had? It makes me sick. What type of example would I give my daughter if I continue to stay?

    • No!!!

      Do NOT put in writing anywhere that you wrote this post. Do not make this post admissible evidence in your divorce. Keep anonymous stuff anonymous.

      Opposing counsel – “So you are stating under oath you decided to divorce him when you discovered he was still cheating, right?”
      You – “Yes”
      Opposing Counsel – “I would like to submit into evidence a blog post she wrote showing that she was still hopeful about reconciliation…”

    • Rosemary . Absolutely not. There is nothing served by you doing this. He will not have some revelation. Do you think it will make him see the light. No it won’t. You will be tipping him off.

      You are dealing with an ABUSER and you MUST keep your plans to yourself!!!! Rosemary, ALL abusers have the potential to cause harm and MANY become violent.
      Get your own shit together and leave him out of it. He has left you out of many MANY parts of his life – leave him out of this!!!!!

    • I sent my cheater “signs of a cheater articles after my first d-day. He then made sure not to do any of the things listed, and cover his tracks better. He then just would say stuff like “I mean you can google anything and find whatever you want, it doesn’t make it true.” He really got into my head. He also really squeezed the financials so I didn’t have the money to hire a pi or see an attorney. In hindsight, he 100% knew what he was doing. It was a major manipulation and abuse to keep him in control.
      The second time I got wiser and said less but still my big damn mouth said more than I should. Go stealth mode, collect evidence and say nothing. See attorney and say nothing. Depending on your state laws do not have sex with him, that can be seen as forgiveness.

    • No. Please refrain from sharing anything with your cheater. Reading CL will not give your cheater a revelation or epiphany. He’ll more than likely chalk this site up to scorned, miserable women bitching about their husbands. He may even be tempted to troll and no one on this site needs that crap.

    • NO NO NO. This is you, trying to fix him and make him see. To paraphrase Dr. George Simon, it’s not that he doesn’t SEE. It’s that he DISAGREES.

      See, this is the sign that you really, really want to go back and pretend that he can change, when all the evidence you have says that’s a fantasy. We all want the fantasy back. But then we do through the fire of change and realize we prefer to lived in the real world.

      Really you ought to be no contact with him right now, for at least 60 days, and into such time as you’ve read CL’s book the 5th time and you have a therapist able to de-program you.

    • Sending this to him will give him more tools with which to bullshit you.

      He’s already bullshittimg you with the sex addition and I’m sick stuff.

      Serial killers are sick too but you wouldn’t stay with one of them.

      Let him work out his own stuff. Besides….to Tracy’s point if you really want to see if he’s “sick” and wants to get better see if he continues his bullshit therapy after you divorce him.

      I’m betting no.

    • I would say NO! Don’t share any of this with him. He won’t care anyway and in my experience will just go more underground.

    • In chorus with all the other chumps, no! For all the reasons stated, and also – this is yours. Haven’t you given him too much already? It’s a black hole. Now you get to draw the line and move forward with new things that are positive and just for you: relationships, places, experiences, this site. He left a void in you, and you have to start filling it up. You GET to, and the sooner the better! Keep the good for yourself and people who deserve it and matter to you. It’s not selfish, even if you’re conditioned to think that way. He is NOT more important than you. He’s not even important now and moving forward, even though he was for a very long time. Don’t taint CL/CN for yourself – or anything else.

      • *In that last sentence, I mean that soon you won’t want him associated with things you value… not that he could possibly taint CL/CN!

    • NO. This is our safe spot. It’s going to be hard but you have to stop thinking “we.” Your husband is not your friend. Stop trying to reason with him, even in your head. Stop trying to include him. Stop trying to be a couple or a team. Start thinking about “how would I do this if it were just me?” “What do I believe?” What do I think?” “How would I handle this situation all by myself?” Practice being by yourself while he is gone & while you get your ducks in a row.

    • No! I wrote to CL, received great advice that I was not ready for as I believed in unicorns and he used it against me. These people are cunning and calculating.
      Get all your financials together and see a lawyer then get the hell out

  • Best case scenario is that you forgive him, give him another chance, and spend the next couple of years in a careful, tentative relationship. You never really trust him, although you try to be kind and understanding. He grows more and more frustrated because even if he is behaving, he is now missing both his extra-marital affairs and the unquestioning loving trust of his spouse.

    What will he do then? I’d put my money on shifting from cheating on you to leaving you (and blaming you for never really forgiving him).

    Divorce on your terms, not his.

    If you are not ready to divorce, talk to a lawyer about a post-nuptial that allows you to sequester and protect assets in the event that he cheats again. If your spouse is willing to go along with a post-nuptial, then maybe you can risk emotional pain again without risking fiscal security. And if he won’t go along with a post-nuptial, then he is telling you that he is unwilling to promise fidelity in any meaningful way (oh, he’ll sputter about the unfairness and mean-spiritedness and selfishness of your failure to appreciate his “sickness,” but what he is really sputtering about is the being forced to agree to consequences that don’t benefit him).

    • Right. And if he’s not willing to do a post-nuptial, that would tell you, Rosemary, that he’s not willing to protect you. At all.

      Instead of trying to save your marriage, start protecting yourself emotionally and psychologically (with no contact) and financially (forensic accountant, if you have money, because he’s spending money on hos).

      The person who SHOULD be trying to save the marriage is your husband. What would that look like? It wouldn’t look like coming home from sex rehab declaring he’s cured. It would look like he’s giving you tangible security, not renewed vows and a ring. He’d put assets in your name. He’d sit down with a financial planner to make sure you were set for retirement if the marriage fails. He’d give you a year or two of separation with a post-nuptial agreement so that you can get your mind clear of lies and learn to see the signs of gaslighting and manipulation.

      Really, you have a lot of work to do on you, to recover from the abuse and to become someone who doesn’t fall for his bullshit.

      • This all makes so much sense, Eilowny and LAJ, though I never could have articulated it myself. Would be totally wasted on an FW because it’s chump language and reasoning. I can imagine the brain scrambling, word salad response (can’t we all?). I can also imagine, only a couple months ago, reading all of this, thinking, “Exactly!” and then making the mistake of thinking that I could explain it to my ex and he would finally understand and things would be ok. (I know that makes no sense for too many reasons to count.) So, on a really hard day, realizing this perspective shift has occurred helps a little.

    • I figured there’s got to be a missing “never” there, as in “most guys never get a second chance.” But, who knows?

  • One great book for our Chump Library is
    The Script by Elizabeth Landers. The traitor did everything in the book. They all think they’re original and they do and say NOTHING original.

    Leave the cheaters to their crap relationship swapping deck chairs on the Titanic. Don’t settle for junk and jump into the life boat.

    • That is a great book, VH, which I had read years before my relationship with cheater and remembered that his behaviour seemed very familiar to that in the book, which tipped me off.

  • Dear DCD –
    I am so sorry you are dealing with the devastation again. You didn’t mention your age, but apparently your husband likes to bang young women in their 20s. No matter how great you look, no matter what you do to try to hold aging at bay…you, DCD, are going to have skin that gets crepe-y, lines in your face, etc. etc. A 60 year-old woman cannot look like a 20 year-old, no matter what she does. And that should be OK with your life partner without him feeling like he needs a side piece(s) to show (to himself) that he is still virile. He should love you, and your aging body.

    What might be interesting would be to try to get a post-nup out of him, laying out what will happen if you decide to let him stay and he screws around again. Basically, he signs over ALL assets to you – including any hidden ones that he undoubtedly has. He would walk away with NOTHING. Get it notarized, with an attorney. Then wait 6 months, and sic a detective on him. Have them do forensics on his phone and computer. Chances are good you would wind up with everything.

    At any rate, if he is truly sorry and truly wants to reform and fully intends to stop abusing you, he should sign without hesitation. If he hesitates…there is your answer. He doesn’t intend to stop. Get out.

  • Been there. I’m so sorry. I remember the shock, the deep, deep pain—much worse than the first D-day. We’d discussed renewing our vows, she said “no more pain for my family,” my kids were so happy to have mommy and daddy together again…. She never really stopped having her affair.

    I too got the “I have issues/problems” stemming from her childhood, which apparently compelled her to commit atrocious actions knowing they were destroying her family. She just couldn’t help it! Free will does not exist! Oh, the tears, the self-pity. Soon, however, these responses gave way to righteous indignation and finally fury—at me! It was stunning, confusing and deeply traumatic.

    This is who they are. They are not mentally debilitated or helpless in the throes of addiction. They are bad people. We made a mistake marrying them. Extricate yourself from this situation immediately and begin the long hard road to healing from the toxicity. You can do this.

    • Similar progression (and shock/confusion) here, David: ex’s self pity, convincing “remorse,” groveling and rainbows to hook me back in again after all his BS suddenly turned to rage and blame. “Your hate is killing us both!” (I think that was when I showed displeasure and concern upon learning one of his young AP’s had been living nearby all summer – not states away, like he’d told me. I wanted to believe he didn’t know, but come on…) During reconciliation #2, I was very suspicious when he told me he was getting into free will theory (though he couldn’t have a remotely nuanced or curious conversation about it). Equally so when he told me negative thoughts were just that, and I needed to let them go – it’s what he did, and he thought it would really help me with the sadness and anxiety! Even then, this stuff was so stupid I almost found it funny.

      ivyleaguechump, your comments to Rosemary about aging are really nice to read and a good reminder of what partnership and love are really about. Thanks for putting that out there.

  • I completely believe in sex addiction. I also believe in internet addiction, drug addiction, alcohol addiction, video game addiction, etc.

    Addiction is a compulsion. Addiction is not an excuse. If they say they are a sex addict as an excuse, that’s bullshit and I gotta ask why are you taking it? If they say they are a sex addict and they pull up their adult pants and go seek treatment — like any other mental disease, then kudos to them.

    Sex addiction is similar to any other addiction — preoccupation & fantasy, ritualization that adds to the high, seeking the “high” (a sex partner instead of drug dealer or liquor store), doing the deed, feeling awful afterwards.

    Addictive behaviors are maladaptive behaviors used to avoid negative feelings or situations that would reveal their self insecurities.

    That said, like most addiction treatments, it takes 7 sincere attempts at recovery to get some new safe and healthy mindsets and habits, which is why addicts average 5-7 years of struggle before they truly get into recovery. And even then there are slips.

    I don’t have any suggestions for you, but just a warning. Are you prepared for 6 more inpatient sessions? Are you OK with more slips? Are you financially ready for decades of therapy? Will you be OK with recovery being #1 in his life and not you? Are you happy with his inability to be emotionally intelligent (which will take a WHILE)? Will you ever really trust him enough anymore, even if he is a unicorn — as far as you know?

    • I got some compassion for my ex when I was (what is called here) “pain-seeking” — I’d get preoccupied with what else out there I didn’t know, I fantasized about finding stuff and hurting him with it, and I found myself looking through his online information even though I knew it would only hurt me — I couldn’t stop — it was compulsive. And I found stuff. And I hurt again. And then I wanted to make him hurt… Rinse and repeat.

      That doesn’t make what he did OK. And yes, he was in ‘therapy’ and considering inpatient too. But unless they have truly hit rockbottom it’s all image management and patronizing and humoring you. And wasting money.
      Has your SO hit rockbottom? I don’t think so, but you would know. Did my ex hit rockbottom. No, sadly. Sometimes rockbottom for addicts is death, maybe that’s his. Through my support groups I spoke with addicts who are TRULY in recovery and I have to say, it was night and day comparing them to my ex. They were humble and painfully honest. They were forthcoming in what pain they caused others. They were constantly doing their work. They were sincere in not wanting to “be” an addict. And I shook my head at how my ex could have ever fooled me into believing he was in recovery. (CoSA and CODA were 2 great support groups) Maybe find out what true recovery looks like and see if your SO is naugahyding it or not?

    • This is an interesting argument for sex addiction as an actual thing.

      I’m in the CL camp. What I know about people who are PSYSIOLOGICLY addicts to alcohol and drugs is that many of them prefer the drug to real life. My thought is that Rosemary’s H is the kind of guy who’s happy being a “sex addict.” He just doesn’t like it when he gets caught.

  • Leaving gives you your life back to you. Right now you are leaving your happiness in his hands.

  • PPPS….

    More fun facts of my case…

    He moved out and left town, saying he was going to live in the buildings where our business was located, saying he wanted to save money to buy a house. He then became a ghost in our daughter’s life. She was ten.

    We easily had the money for him to buy a place for him with a bedroom for her. Hmmmm….

    When she asked him straight up if we were getting divorced, more than once, he told her “we are working things out”. That was complete BS.

    Later that year, she caught him on Tinder while she was using his phone and a drop-down message came in.

    A couple of months later, I discovered he had actually been living the whole time with the Craigslist affair associate, in an apartment he had set up with her while saying he wanted to reconcile with me. Paying for it with money taken out of our business without my knowledge.

    While still a patron of illicit massage parlors.

    My story is not unique.

  • My divorce attorney once observed that liars and manipulators never change. He also called that pure evil. That sort of thing comes from such a deep place that the best thing is to get out of there.

    I too thought naively for years that the promises would be kept, but the promises were repeatedly broken. When he asked me why I wouldn’t reconcile, I said that I had zero trust left.

    He also promised a “fair and quick” divorce. That was a lie too. He gave me a high conflict, expensive divorce. My consolation was that I spent far less than he did, and his attorney thoroughly hated him by the end.

    A friend of mine that is a divorce therapist/coach observed that “fair and quick” is almost always a red flag in her experience. People who are truly fair and decent don’t have to say things like that.

    Sad that my last memories of my marriage are the ugly divorce. I’m glad that chapter is over.

  • This ‘stuff’ is sooo confounding and defies everything I believed to be true about love, marriage and family and recovery.

    The x cheated early on. I was naive and didn’t know squat so I believed him when he said it was just a one nighter. I continued to believe him even when he refused to go back to therapy because I LOVED HIM with all of my heart and soul – I LOVED him with all I had to give a person so I did the only thing someone like me, a chump, does….I blamed myself and worked on focusing on me so that I would be a better wife etc rather than looking at his behavior and confronting him because, after all, he was perfect in my eyes. I just had to love him more….

    Fast forward 30 years later….He never stopped. I never suspected because I believe him. I now see that I spent 30 years of my life making him central all the while thinking I was shaping myself into the perfect wife not realizing I was merely a wife appliance. OUCH.

    Now the wreckage not only includes me and a past that is a complete lie but my children lived that lie their entire lives. An overachieving mom trying to please a person that is completely empty of anything truly human. I loved a fantasy. I lived believing my hopes that some day…..

    The sins of our fathers…this legacy has been passed on. I can deal with what it has done to me – accept it in some regards but, right now, 4 years out, I am outraged that he did all that he did to his own children and feels no remorse about it at all.

    Yes, that horrifically ugly person finally came out, he is what Tracy describes as a’ timid forest creature type’ AKA as a covert passive aggressive narcissist, when boundaries were set and it still boggles my mind that I was so blind. Love does that.

    Now I work at ‘seeing’ – whatever that entails and it hurts like hell – daily- but I also feel immense freedom because I see now thanks to CL and everyone here. A weird paradox to actually live in….

    I wish you luck. I am so sorry for what you are going through. I hope you find what you want for you.

  • He fooled me once, we reconciled; he cheated again. We have all been where you are. Some of us more than 30 yrs, some much less.
    Cheaters lie about EVERYTHING!!
    He is not just cheating ON you; he is cheating you in every area of your life. He will continue to ruin you if you stay.
    I don’t believe in sex addiction either. Its just an excuse. Just another lie.
    Divorcing him will certainly be unpleasant, but when you are free, it is heavenly. Peace, truth and contentment can be yours every day. Much, much better than living a lie. The moment I found out X cheated again was the moment I wanted out of the giant lie forever.

  • Dazed,

    You’ve been married 30 years, he’s in his late 50s, so I’m assuming your kids are grown and mostly so. So think about the calculations he is making:
    * He’s thinking about retirement and not wanting to divide assets.
    * It may be that he likes having sex with 20 year-olds but doesn’t want to marry one and raise another family, so staying with you is a way to have his cake (that 20-year old) and avoid entanglements with her (or them). You are USEFUL to him.
    * The other possibility is that you won’t get to divorce–that he will go there first. He’ll have a decade or so to hide enough money to take away the pain of separating assets.

    Seriously, you’ve got your head in the sand. You’ve been unicorn hunting: you believe in “sex addiction” when the chances are that what you have is a guy who just like sex with young women. All this while he’s been having “great sex” with you, he’s been spreading that around to other people. You think that the affair a few years ago was his first time at hitting on the help at work? Or paying for sex? People don’t start up with this behavior suddenly in their 50s. My guess is that he’s been at this far longer than you realize.

    You had him served with papers. YOU WILL NEVER HAVE THIS MUCH LEVERAGE AGAIN. Get yourself a decent settlement. Get him to agree to pay for putting the kids through college, etc. Plan out the next stage of your life, unless socializing and travel are enough to make a life for you. You want to stay because you liked the life you had and you liked the belief you once had that you were married to a good husband.

    There’s more to life than what you have now–a lying jackass who is making a fool of you. You’re young enough to do anything you want to do–get a law degree, move to the beach and get a job, date some nice guys you might want to settle down with.

    • “He said, after he left, he understood: “It’s not just like I killed you, but that I’d done it subtly, over years. That I’d been poisoning you. Chipping away at you.” He made me doubt my own instincts and watched me move further away from my personal values and social mores, trying to connect with him, never telling me it was impossible.”

      This is Joss Whedon’s former wife, talking about the double life he lived cheating with young actresses (etc.). It’s worth reading the whole article. You can find it on

      • Oh, God. Reminds me of something my ex wrote to acknowledge and apologize for how he mistreated me and undermined my confidence and happiness for years. (“This just happened to you. You didn’t deserve this. You’re the sweetest and most creative person I know. Blah, blah, barf.”) This was after I left and went NC the first (kind of) time. It’s partly true, of course, but also really egotistical and full of shit. Joss Whedon thinks behaving that way made him powerful? Weird, isn’t it? I don’t buy they’re that aware and intentional about what they’re doing, even when it’s manipulative and willful and criminal. They don’t care enough, for starters. Who knows. Not me, and fortunately, I don’t need/want to!

        You know, that kind of revelation is also really sneaky, because it seems like the cheater is finally emotionally intelligent, and sorry, and sensitive, and capable of change. I mean, how could someone say all that and then keep hurting a person, all the while understanding the damage they’re causing? It really fooled me. Pretty quickly after I returned, this “understanding” was conveniently forgotten and exchanged for many others where I was to blame and he was the victim.

        Something about this also reminds me of the pedophile coach at my high school having “an affair” with a 14-yr-old; it was obviously inappropriate that he would have this girl
        come in his office after practice, but no one could believe he would be so bold, so everyone looked the other way. Who were we to be nosy and think such dirty things? Grooming.

        Glad this woman got away and is telling her story.

  • Rosemary, I’m so sorry you are going through this. A few things stand out to me.

    – The “vow renewal” is almost certainly a marriage death-sentence where the offending party is hoping to either pretend to repair the damaged they’ve caused, or pre-emptively distract the offended party from finding out what is really going on. I’ve been through a “vow renewal” and also all the other people I know who’ve been through them have ended up divorced. It is a sham effort to show….caring? ….reconciliation? ….(false) trustworthiness? ….dedication? Who knows. Just shorten that sentence to “It’s a sham.”

    – I don’t buy into “sex addiction” and especially the sex addiction inpatient recovery. I think it is a convenient sympathy play when an offending party has been caught with their pants down. “Oh, I can’t help it, I’m addicted!” Going into inpatient with recovery is an attempt for the offending party to be let off the hook because they do not have control over themselves. It also connects them with other sex addicts so there’s the “oops I relapsed with someone in the program who is also an addict!” or the learning how to get away with things better because they confer with other addicts on techniques to not get caught. Sort of how prison makes better criminals.

    – To stay or go? Go, for sure! But how to manage the situation is tricky. I’m of the mindset to play along like you are still the sweet compassionate wife who feels so badly for him having to deal with the addiction. You are committed to your marriage. You want everything to work. But like a duck, your legs are doing all the work underwater where he can’t see you. I would say you are not ready to go no-contact because this will work against you at this moment in time. You need a plan for going no contact without executing your plan for now. This means you start interviewing attorneys – find one who is skilled at high-conflict divorces because he will likely make things very difficult for you. Start making copies of all of your bank statements, or download them from your bank. Make copies of all of the important papers like your deed, car titles, insurance policies, stock certificates, ownership papers of anything held jointly or in either of your names. Do you have someone you can trust? I mean REALLY trust? If not, rent a small storage space and get a filing cabinet for all of this stuff because you don’t want him knowing what you are up to. If you think you are going to have to leave the marital home, then very slowly start putting stuff in storage. Slow enough that he won’t notice. If he catches you, say you are donating it to a shelter or something. Take what is important to you (jewelry, family heirlooms that he wouldn’t miss, photos) and leave the bland stuff. Chances are he’s not actually paying attention to you anyway. Get a new email address for all of this behind-the-scenes lawyering/getting-ready stuff. When you use it, clear your search history afterward so if he goes on your computer he won’t find out. Change your passwords to everything. Set up a new bank account and get a new credit card in your name. If he’s the breadwinner and you don’t work then maybe when you do the shopping (if you’re the one who does that), get “cash back” and start socking that away. Think like a cheater. You are now going to be cheating on him but in a different way – in a way that puts you first and protects you and prepares you to set up a new life. Think of the money he spent on his whores! If you’re in a no-fault state then it won’t do you any good to get evidence of infidelity, but if it isn’t no-fault, then do your homework to see how much money he’s spent on affairs over the years.

    You’re not ready for NC yet. You need a plan and to look ahead six months to a year. When you have everything ready to go (hired a lawyer, socked away money, have your own credit cards and bank accounts, all the documents prepared, etc.), THEN sock it to him. Have him served with papers in a blindsiding sort of way so that you have the upper hand and he is scrambling and doesn’t know what hit him.

    And come here often. And don’t tell him about this place. This is YOUR place for help, healing, and humor. He can fuck right off!

    • Duh. Reading back again and see that you already served him papers.

      Forget his “recovery” for sex addiction – that is a bait-and-switch, a distraction for him to make you think he is doing one thing while he is likely plotting another. So keep moving forward with your plan but let him think you are willing to reconcile and stand by him (if it is possible to work that way in your state or with what you have done with the papers). Let him think you are “weak” and gullible. Then turn the tables on him with no mercy!_

      • “Bait and switch” all right. I kept thinking of Nurse Jackie and “recovery centers.” Who’s to say he’s going to go or to stay in his “in-patient facility” and not off on a vacation with Schmoopie?

        • Easy — the inpatient facility will keep her informed. They will also confiscate all his gadgets and not have anything addiction-related in. I think in some even the weekly call to a SO, if wanted, is monitored.
          Breaking an addiction is HARD.

    • Even if they are in no fault state, she should find out all the money she can that he spend on the whores. She can in many states recoup that money. I was in a no fault 50/50 st6ate, but was able to get a long maintenance with him paying everything because I had proof that he defrauded me by using marital funds for the whore. In my case she wasn’t a working whore, but she accepted many gifts of clothing and help with her bills. I had proof of a lot of the items.

  • Dear Dazed, Confused & Devastated,
    Is he 6 feet tall, balding, a little or a lot chubby? Sounds like you are married to my XH! My giving him second chances again and again went on for too many years as I struggled to keep my family and marriage together. I too sat through Retrouvaille, faithfully working on myself while he continued to be involved with another woman or two or three or???? I listened when he went to Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings and came back wanting me to read the plain-wrapped bible of the “victims” of addiction. He also told me all about the other members “who did worse things” than he did. He then kept cheating. Kept stealing my money, my love, my time, my joy and my life! Stop the steal! (hehehe)
    Run, do not walk, away!

  • I met a woman that divorced her cheater/abuser decades too late.
    He had cheated very early in their marriage, had a son with his side piece/sidearm/marriage howitzer. This woman and the parasite had a daughter. Fast forward to her nearing retirement. Guess who cheated, again ? And she had to give him a lot of money to go away. She graduated from a top public uni and held a better job.
    His jam was being Mr. Spiritual, insisting they rise at 4 am every day to meditate for a few hours. Poor woman hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in decades.
    Leopards don’t change their spots.

  • Dazed, this is unequivocally not a situation you should stay in. This man is a con artist. He gets off on deceiving people in general and you in particular. I’d lay odds he finds himself a fuck buddy at his “sex addiction” retreat, while thoroughly enjoying bullshitting the therapists and other patients that he is committed to change. He doesn’t have a disease. He’s just an asshole and he doesn’t want to be anything else.
    As CL says, get a lawyer, file the divorce papers, check out the finances and get STD checked. Protect yourself at all costs, because when you enact consequences, that’s when the rage comes out. I’d change the locks while he’s at that retreat. A few days before he gets out, text him that he is no longer welcome in your home and that his belongings will be on the front step. Then you only communicate with him through your lawyer. He’ll squawk that it’s his house too and be has a right to be there. Again, don’t respond, just let your lawyer handle him. Best of luck. I was married a long time to a guy who turned out to be a cheater as well. Being together that long makes the transition difficult, but against seemingly insurmountable odds, I did it. You must change your mindset of feeling responsible for him and you must be as ruthless as you have to be in order to protect your money and your sanity.

    • The last man I dated (very briefly thanks to CL) met his second wife at a Christian retreat he and wife #1 attended to save their marriage.
      Judas Jack and his wife Cindy flew from Connecticut to California. Soon to be wife #2 Pam was there from the Deep South with her husband. And they fell in love.
      He ditched wife #1 and moved to Tennessee, didn’t work and kept busy spanking his monkey to web cam girls. Pam, a two time loser picker, threw Jackoff out and has vulvar cancer. In financial ruins, according to one of her sons who responded via Fakebook; I was curious about the real story months after I ran.

      They do not change, just seek new hosts to latch onto.

  • Rosemary DCD

    I’m glad you’re here. Wake up and smell the coffee…so you can stop to smell the roses later.

    YOU WERE “Duchovny’d”! That’s my term. He’s a self-appointed “sex addict”.
    Every teenaged boy is a sex addict considering they (we) think about sex hundreds of times a day. ????.

    Do you know what a ‘grifter’ is? You own one.

    Read Tracy’s book and make notes because the escape route is very well defined there, AND here.

    Next read THE ART OF WAR Sun Tzu.

    Put a choke collar on your emotions and keep your mouth shut. He’ll recognize that you’re “off” once you initiate your Freedom gameplan. So you’ll need to learn abit of emotional subtrefuge yourself to keep from exposing your lawyer-directed to do list.

    Start learning about the narcissism spectrum of PERSONALITY DISORDERS. Watch the movie THEY LIVE. Knowledge is power.

    You did not Cause his ‘addiction’.
    You cannot Control his addiction.
    You cannot Cure his addiction.

    But! You sure as fuck can leave it. It Takes guts, and persistence is Lord. You’ve got guts because you wrote in for advice.

    No use putting this off. Let’s get started, Yeh?

    Hugs. Hugs. And more hugs.

    • Marcus,
      I was just about to post the three Cs for a person in relationship with an addict. Or in the case of a “sex addict”, being close to an impulsive, selfish abuser.

      • Saffa
        The 3 C’s, once grasped- become an incredible tool. Especially effective once internalized. Especially when the face to face drama loops get old.
        Good on ya.

  • My ex lay on the couch sobbing saying, “I’m sick.” Sex addiction – yeah right. So I’ve been there. He moved out and we headed for divorce. He constantly (before NC) told me how sad it was that he had changed completely, COMPLETELY, through therapy and meditation but I was too bitter and unforgiving to realize the mistake I was making. I’ll skip over the details of how this happened so I don’t incriminate myself, but somehow I found myself in his new house looking through his computer because I KNEW he hadn’t changed but I was still in the early phase of my recovery so didn’t trust myself completely. So I found a video he made the night before he moved out of our house – his usual masturbation video to share with men online. Time stamped and dated. An hour before he made the video he was trying to show me what a new and changed man he was and had texted me a photo of the dogs saying, “I just walked the dogs and we had a great time – didn’t want you to worry”.

    So I saw the video he made and finally knew for a fact that he had not changed and is just a complete fraud. He stopped by to get the last of his stuff and I thought – hey great opportunity to see if he is, as he says, a new honest man who will fess up to his “relapse”. So I said, hey I’m worried you have gone back to the porn world, when was the last time you actually made a video or did a live sex session? He did a textbook DARVO (deny, attack, reverse victim and offender). “Oh my God, KathleenK, you are so bitter and you can’t even imagine someone can change and become a good person. I feel so sorry for you to live your life that way, but don’t spew your hateful filth at me. I don’t do that anymore and I’m sorry you can’t accept it.” I said “Just stop it – I saw your video that you made last week so I know you are lying to me.” He sank down onto the front steps and started to cry. And those tears were not for me or my kids, they were for him. Because he’s the real victim here. What a gift that was for me to watch in real time with REAL knowledge of the actual events. That had never happened before. It was so powerful and I just walked inside and said a prayer of thanks. The most honest thing that happened in our 20 year marriage. That fucking asshole.

    • I’m saving this in my notes. How liberating it must have been to see the DARVO plain as day after what I’m sure were years of your head being stuck in the mind-fuck blender.

    • KathleenK – I do NOT wish I could go through what you have, but I do wish I could have had the satisfaction of ending things the way you did. Ultimate mic drop. Thanks for providing vicarious joy. DARVO sad sausages are the worst. (I also appreciated the way you referenced yourself as KathleenK in the story. Tickled my funny bone.)

  • Agree with CL. “Sex addiction” is a scam. Ex tried to pull that shit on me too for years and all the sad sausage “oh poor me I have a CONDITION that means I HAVE to fuck a constant line of new randos and it’s SO HARD ON ME, so hard in fact I can’t work or be accountable for ANYTHING in life oh poor meeeeeeeee!” Meanwhile here I am _actually_ disabled with severe medical conditions, working full time or full time grad school with 3 part time jobs and NOT screwing over everyone around me with all the lies, manipulation, oh or sexual assault…. Fuck that.

  • Sex addiction is not a real thing. Does one have to detox from sex addiction? Of course not. There are no tremors, seizures, or possibly fatal fevers brought on by these people not having sex.

    It’s a manufactured “condition” that makes money for so-called treatment centers and makes excuses for cheaters.

    Cheaters may have one or more underlying mental disorders – personality disorders, bipolar disorder, OCD, frontotemporal dementia, etc. But they are not addicts.

    They are also, most of them, pathological liars. They lie reflexively, without remorse, and over the course of a long marriage they have probably lied to their spouses hundreds if not thousands of times; remember, lying by omission counts too.

    Lots of them are con artists who are skilled at not just lying but manipulating people by studying their wants, desires, beliefs, and soft spots.

    Rosemary, your husband is a cheater, a liar, and a world class manipulator. He does not know how to be sincere, but is exceptionally good at SOUNDING sincere. Just like my ex, The Python, was. I gave him a second chance too. Big mistake. I caught him again 4 years later. Thanks to Chump Lady and Chump Nation, I didn’t give him another chance. I hope you don’t give your husband any more chances!

    Please keep your plans to yourself but do plan your exit. Don’t discuss your feelings with him or anything you have learned here – he will use those things to further manipulate you. I know you’re not used to keeping anything from him but you MUST start now. Big hugs (((Rosemary)))

    • Yes, detox from sex addiction is a thing. Really hard. Just like detox from a chemical addiction. Except possibly harder — changing behaviors is HARD. Again, if your ex used sex addiction as an excuse for his entitlements, it’s bullshit and it is not acceptable. It’s like saying you’re diabetic as an excuse to eat others’ food because you need the carbs — once they know the disease, it becomes a responsibility to manage it, like diabetes.

      Don’t accept addiction as an excuse to continue their terrible behavior. Sex, drugs, alcohol, behavioral, whatever form it takes. It diminishes the reality of those who actually do have troubles and are trying to be better people. And it steamrolls you into someone less than you deserve to be.

  • Sorry that you’re here (again). We can help you through this tough moment and transition. This is NOT your fault. You didn’t fail, your sense of loss is because you were intentionally lied to, gaslit, and deceived. It’s okay to mourn who you thought he was as you realize who he really is. I’m glad you know enough of your worth to know that your spouse’s actions are speaking so much louder than his words.

    I too agree with Tracy that sex addiction is not a medical or emotional addiction that is victimless. You don’t have to stay just because you agreed to taking care of someone when they are in sickness and health… this isn’t sick or healthy, it’s gaslighting, deceitful, and intentional emotional (and physical) abuse of you. As hard as it is, please separate as soon as possible, get a therapist who agrees that infidelity is abuse and understands the slow PTSD/trauma that can happen from a long time around this type of person, and talk to a lot of divorce attorneys to get an idea of what it will take to untangle finances after so long (also to undersatnd if you are in a fault or no-fault state). Also please keep asking for help here the reddit group and on facebook for Tracy’s group. So many good resources to help you logistically and emotionally right now – you are not alone! Hugs.

  • To DCD – Your story was my story minus the nice vacation in St.Lucia. Even if he says “I am sick,” don’t give in. Cut your losses now. It does not get better with “sex addicts.”

    My STBX & I went the route of certified sex addiction therapists, and SA for him, SANON for me, then I added a “betrayal trauma” group for my healing. It didn’t work in the way I thought it would. STBX never did the things he was recommended to do. He kept on lying (mostly by omission) and I ended up with an STI. I witnessed the people in the betrayal trauma group throw thousands of dollars at a problem that never got solved. I heard the ongoing life experiences of people in SANON and I began to feel sorry for them because it became obvious that they are taking on the responsibility for a poor relationship. They were constantly trying to figure out “what I am doing wrong” and “how can I keep my side of the street clean.” And some seemed to settle for supposed freedom from a “sex addiction” but saw their money being spent on food, subscriptions, toys, etc, and time spent away from the family because the entitlement behaviors were still there.
    I had to accept that STBX’s problems are truly so deep that he is never going to be healthy enough for the kind of marriage I want. For instance, the sexual behaviors took his attention away from me & the kids for so long that he could not keep up with the changes taking place and the kids’ needs as they grew up. I suspect that his use of women led him to turn away from his daughters, and once in awhile to give them advice like “stay away from sex traffickers”(!). He sounded & acted more & more like a detached, strange person and my oldest son asked whether I thought Dad had started drinking again. I had to accept that the dynamic between us would not change if we stayed married. No one in the SA/SANON or CSAT industry sees infidelity behaviors as abusive.

    When I looked at his behaviors as abusive I was able to work on “how can I feel safe?” I never got a “formal disclosure” because he refused. I had to accept that the behaviors I knew about such as keeping secrets about who he was with & how much money was spent without any discussion (I had evidence from credit cards), endangering my health, ignoring the children, not answering questions directly, omitting relevant information, not allowing discussions about anything to take place, not “remembering” pertinent information, were all behaviors that harmed me because they took away my ability to make a good decision for myself & the kids. Real harm is different than feeling hurt. Real harm is getting an STI, losing money that you depended on having, losing confidence in yourself, losing your ability to trust your intuition. Seeing it as abuse gave me the energy to get out of the marriage to protect myself and my adult children.

    • “No one in the SA/SANON or CSAT industry sees infidelity behaviors as abusive.”

      Let’s not paint with wide brushes. My therapist is awesome and is a CSAT and CAC III plus lots of other stuff. She lived through this herself (divorced her addict). She is a trauma survivor with PTSD, and she gets that what my ex did to me, and what yours did to you, was abusive and manipulative and masterfully malicious. Like any career field, there’s good therapists and D-average therapists..

      • Yes, individual therapists can be helpful & understanding. But I was talking about the “industry” as represented by printed material. In 2016 I was given material to read (Patrick Carnes, Barbara Steffens, Stefanie Carnes, SANON green book, blue book, etc). My CSAT told me about how “they” were learning about the trauma experienced by the partners of sex addicts but that not everyone in the field accepted that trauma occurs. Later I came across Omar Minwalla’s work, which outlines that if trauma occurs, there is a perpetrator of that trauma & he supported calling things by accurate names, such as the abuser, or perpetrator.

  • So sorry you are experiencing a second d-day. Your husband went though a lot to keep you in his web…. all so he could continue to have a loving devoted wife at home all the while f-Ing around. He did what it too to get you back to complacency. Once you were lulled back to “sleep” he went back doing what the hell he wanted. He plays games, manipulates and uses women all so he can remain central. He’s not interested in fixing anything, that would mean giving up centrality. He’s all about conning you back to the place he likes best…and this time it’s the sex addict card. Next time it’s what?! I wouldn’t stick around to find out. He’s shown you he’s a liar and cheater, there’s nothing to work with.

    When I caught mine the first time he diverted my attention with possibly buying a beach house, I ended up with a new car. Second time, he booked a vacation. I told him I wasn’t going and booked an appointment with an attorney instead.

  • There is some discussion about addiction versus compulsion. Some experts think unless you have put a substance in your body you don’t have an addiction. You are compelled to do things but you also have the ability not to do them. I saw a psychiatrist say that putting drugs in your brain actually hijacks it. That’s why drunks and drug addicts sleep out in freezing weather, drive when they are nuts etc. You notice compulsive people manage to stay warm. I kinda see their point. Your husband does all the things a sober person does except for that little stuff on the side.

    • I recommend that people read the book “Your Brain on Porn” to understand sex-related addiction (note, I didn’t say sex addiction per se). Apparently porn is to the brain as heroin is. The dopamine release triggers the feeling of wanting more, more, more, and never getting enough. People who start with “vanilla” porn end up on the worst kinds of sites imaginable. One of the side effects of porn addiction is actually erectile dysfunction, so people who are addicted to porn aren’t necessarily addicted to the sex act. In fact, they can’t even get it up anymore and cannot relate to other human beings in a sexual way. Regular people and regular intimacy is not a turn on and the porn addict cannot perform. This is going to be a long-term problem for society because young people these days are having less sex (not that it is a problem per se but is indicative of the greater issue), cannot relate to each other, do not form intimate relationships, and don’t understand each other. Young men are having ED problems at alarming rates and IIRC make up a large percentage of people on Viagra.

      • Yup. Judas Jack aka Porn Slob Pig struggled to ejaculate with a busty, hour glass figured live woman, with his little blue pill. I attributed it to fried arousal synapses.

    • Addiction is about getting the feel-good chemicals in your brain to release, and the “best” way is the shortest path — sexual release, drugs, etc. It’s easy in the beginning to get the high, but as time goes by it takes more and more effort to get the same euphoric feeling — there’s interesting research on what goes on in the brain about this. That is where compulsion comes in. Addictions always escalate — masturbating doesn’t do it any more, then porn doesn’t work, then maybe it’s sex workers or craigslist, then couples and groups and orgies, then more dangerous liaisons, etc.

      When you’re on the hunt for the high, nothing else matters. Consequences don’t matter by the time they are in the compulsive state. They don’t care if the “needle” is dirty. They don’t care if they can be arrested or blackmailed.
      This is why recovery programs concentrate on behavioral and mindset changes BEFORE the compulsive part of the addiction cycle hits, because nothing will stop them at that point, they just gotta see it through.

  • Dear DCD, your story is the exact same as mine. My final D-day was May last year and was soon part of two online support groups–one for spouses of sex addicts and one for divorce. I cannot tell you what a glaring difference these two groups were–everyone in the S-Anon group was morose, resigned, dead-eyed. Those in the divorce group were crying, laughing, alive. The difference was eye-opening. You can tell which group knew their worth and saw light at the end of the tunnel. And you can tell which group looked like they were being fed live worms. The only solution is to leave. These people cannot change even if their genitals shriveled to a prune and fell to the ground. It doesn’t matter if sex addiction is a real thing or not–the severe narcissism required to do what these people do is not curable. It never, never, ever, ever goes away and will destroy everything in its path. RUN.

    • Yes, Jam, I, too, went to a RIC group therapy for people that were “standing” for their marriage & Cheater. They all were joyless, exhausted, and would tell horror stories about the Cheater that were YEARS old. I asked this one Gentleman who was relaying his Cheater wife story “so, did this happen last week?” He looked at me horrified, and said “no, this was 14 years ago”, but the hurt was as raw as if it had been a week ago. Still hurting, not healed, didn’t trust (or even really seek to like) his wife one bit. This was another big piece of my puzzle to get out and never turn back. I couldn’t imagine wasting 14 years going to group therapy with wounds as raw as the day they happened.

      • Chris, same! The group I was in had 7 women. Four of them were in their 70s and talking about “my husband just spent our vacation money on prostitutes and I am trying to support him through his relapse. I know I can’t control him.” I couldn’t believe it. It’s like a cult. It sure was a glimpse into the future for me if I didn’t leave ASAP.

  • Renewal of vows or remarrying is a stand out for image management/illusion/manipulation. It seems to be very common for cheaters to do.

    Rosemary, if youve been married a long time then you probably have a lifetime of assets and investments accumulated together. This is what he is really trying to preserve and loves. ($$$$$$) If he can keep your combined life savings in tact and still indulge in his illicit sex escapades on the down low, then he is a happy camper.

    Your SO sounds like a narcissist. Narcissists need various validation sources (which give them supply or fuel) to survive and one mainline source for narcissists is porn and secret sex affairs. Its like a fuel shot of herion feeding their emotionally stunted vacuous selves. They live a secret double life hiding behind a false mask they carefully crafted. The image from the mask of a good guy is a hologram and not real. It enables them and facilitates to operate undetected. They are the proverbial wolves in sheeps clothing.

    Once they are empty again, the process starts over. The compulsive sexual acting out is only a symptom, and a hallmark symptom of NPD deficit in empathy. You may want to google it

  • Rosemary,

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this pain. As CL says, it hurts like a motherf*cker.

    You might find insight from this podcast by Lisa A Romano. She discusses trauma bonds and the abusive cycle of intermittent reinforcement. To me there’s no better example of the horror of intermittent reinforcement than wreckonciliation. We chumps are primed to seek validation and to fear negative outcomes, and in our pursuit of pleasure over pain we will make all manner of excuses for our abusers and will defend and protect them to our own detriment.

    Fixing our pickers can only be accomplished if we see these dynamics for what they really are, and then do the excruciating work of forging new neural pathways.

  • I got married two years after first DDay and one year after our second child was born (conceived via angry breakup makeup sex after three years of trying). He cried and cried on the wedding day. I thought it was sweet he was so emotional. Fast forward 5 years and I find out his OW (from D Day 1) had only just dumped him a week before wedding (which was the night of his stag do!) so she probably found out he was getting married after he visited her that night or something). They carried on for another 12 months until the next OW came along, when my mum was dying, but that’s another story for another day.

    But seriously, run. They don’t change. The depth of their depravity is immense. If they are capable of standing up declaring undying love while lying through their teeth then there’s no coming back from that. They are pigs. Pigs are nicer I’d say.

  • I’m a number of years from D-Days, divorce, marriage policing. But the 6 weeks of marriage policing I did were some of the worst of my life. Spending hours checking his emails, bank accounts, social media. I probably spent 60 hours a week marriage policing during those 6 weeks. 360+ hours. Before he changed all of the passwords because he was cheating. Again. Those are hours I can never get back when my kids were 6 & 2 years old.

    I’ve told my story here many times. I caught him cheating in my 20s and forgave him. I caught him cheating again in my 30s and forgave him. Guess what happened? I caught him cheating in my early 40s, did the 6 weeks of marriage policing, and was done. Particularly when a therapist told me “you’ll be doing this again in your 50s, 60s, & 70s, if you even live that long, which I highly doubt due to the stress”. Nosiree, Bob. I was not being put into an early grave for that cretin.

    Once you’re tape recording, secret videotaping, tracking their cars, tracking their phones, it’s over. There’s no trust there. Spend your time getting out, so you can move onto healing and getting a life.

    • To everyone here….THANK YOU!
      So much wisdom. So much great advice!
      And I will not share my post with him.
      What was I thinking??
      Today had been the best day of my life in a very long time thanks to you all. ❤️

  • “Part of his high was the conspiracy of humiliating you.”

    Again, CL succinctly captures in one line what would have taken me at least a paragraph to express. Thank you!

  • My STBX asked me if he could experiment with S&M. He said he’d gone to a club and was curious. I said I’d try it, but he said he didn’t think I’d be interested in what he was doing. I said I’d think about what to do and get back with him. It broke my heart, I was confused, but I wanted to help. He’d seemed so distant, so stressed, so tired. I thought to myself, “well, maybe he just needs to experience this. Maybe he’s having a midlife crisis.” So I bravely told him I’d consider letting him “experiment” with a few conditions – personal safety, never lying to me, giving me fair warning about what was happening, never embarrassing me or our daughter, being very discreet, and under no circumstances were relationships involved – this was just sex for an experiment. I figured he’d get it out of his system, maybe now and again. I said we could try it once and see. He said he’d think about it. He said he was needing time to think. He seemed pensive – like this was a big crossroads in our marriage for him. He was humbled that I offered this deal. He wasn’t sure if he would take me up on it – he needed time to think. We got closer, we finally had more sex. He got his wedding ring fixed, he was wearing it again. Yay! Fast forward…we all know the story…say it together now…HE WAS LYING!

    The real story turned out to be that he had been cheating on me for many years with hookers, and going to S&M clubs, and fucking randos he met along the way. Then he met schmoopie who would give him all that he ever wanted and more…and how’s a guy to pass up that offer? He said he’d come home now and again, to mow the lawn, do the taxes and hang out with the family sometimes…you know, so we could be so lucky to have his majesty’s presence. We’d stay married, I would be the appliance wife, keep the business going, me and schmoopie would be best fwends, and he’d go and fuck her brains out while I sat home and folder laundry. I said GTFO. Then, I found all of his sex toys, the lies, the lies, the lies and the lies. Did I mention all the lies?

    There is no sex addiction in my mind. My husband said he HAD to tie women up and degrade them for sex. Really? He HAD to? He kept talking about his NEEDS. Do grown ups need their fantasies indulged all the time? I don’t. In fact, I told my husband my sexual fantasies and, in 25 years, he didn’t indulge ONE of them. NADA. ZIP. I agree with CL that this is just the next level, highest order entitled shit. No one, but no one, thinks that I was somehow sub-par for my husband. All of my friends were horrified that I would even think for one minute about allowing him his fantasy sex on the side. But I loved him with my whole heart so I thought I would help. What a chump. Cut him loose – he’s lying to you and using sex addiction as a cover. If he found something that enticed him, he’ll probably leave like mine did. Mine was just putting me into a holding pattern until he found someone who would do exactly what he wanted. I don’t trust that your husband won’t hurt you. Please protect yourself!

  • Formerlyknownas my heart goes out to you. You are absolutely right.

    Self entitlement, lack of love and empathy for anyone but themselves and their own desires trumps all. It enables them to trounce the faithful partner in so many astonishing cruel ways.

    Initially I felt I had to keep up with those 20 something whores and porn stars. I wasnt allowed to get old and was afraid he wouldnt love me. He would make terrible comments like when I would dress up he’d make sure to point out my varicose veins. 20 somethings dont have that problem you know. So after dday I went all out to be a twenty something whore so he would be happy. So he would love me. Well as you could of guessed that didnt work. My 20 somethings have long been past. Then I thought why on earth would I aspire downward to be a young sexually savy whore?!! I am me and thats all I have to be…varicose veins and all. My value is not based as if I am a commodity. I didnt need to live up to his impossible standards who himself is a old degenerate man with his own varicose veins whose values are so altered he doesnt know what really is truly beautiful in this life.

    • Thanks Gramchump
      You’re right. If they don’t like us for who we are,
      There’s nothing we can do about that. Schmoopies get old too. Mine went to one who is really stupid. He’ll tire of that soon I have no doubt.

  • Sex addiction is such bull. Especially because you can have all the sex you want with yourself. You literally don’t need to victimize anyone your get your rocks off.

    It’s like if Madoff claimed he had a money addiction. “I only stole all of that money because I have a money addiction judge! I just can’t stop myself from stealing money. I’m sick and need help.”

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