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Jealousy and ‘Just Friends’

Mindfuck blenderDear Chump Lady,

My wife and I were having issues. It got incredibly bad. I found evidence of something going on. I got suspicious when she suddenly was wearing kits of makeup and sexy underwear, I didn’t get to see.

So I accused her of cheating when I saw a message. She admitted having feelings for a coworker. I guess she wasn’t having one, but did have a crush, so I was wrong, of course.

Well, we got worse. The fighting broke me, I almost committed suicide, I checked myself in to get help. After that everything changed. After that she suddenly started messaging a different coworker, a 19 year old (she is 35).

It seemed to be getting more and more frequent until it bothered me. I told her to please stop, I didn’t like it. So, of course, I was the jealous husband that didn’t let her have friends.

Then I find out she met him by the lake and I blew up and told her to stop it again. Then I found out she went to lunch with him when I found her getting out of his car, it was his day off! I told her cut contact and I wanted to her to show me her phone. I saw some messages, her asking him if he was a virgin. He said, would it change anything? She said no, but if we end up together I would make our first time special.

Of course he was “just a friend”… So she went 12 hrs before messaging him again. This continues. I did all the typical nonsense you talked about: making excuses, pleading her to stop and fix us, the pick me…yep all of it.

I got her phone by guessing the code, looked again since she refused to show me, because I was invading her privacy. I found messages of him saying he loved her. I tried to end it, but couldn’t, so I trusted her again. She insisted I was wrong and they were just friends all the while my mental health went down the drain. I was paranoid and anxious.

Well, I found more and asked her did they kiss? She said yes. So I gave her the him or me — she chose him, blaming me all the way because I wasn’t there for her, I was controlling, she couldn’t be herself.

I believe in actuality for her our marriage was over before I even accused her the first time, no excuse, but she never tried to fix it, but bide her time. It feels so strange, it was obviously inappropriate and I don’t know if there was sex, but it being non-sexual is almost worse.

I even found this kid in my house one day sitting on my couch. They were “just talking”. I don’t know how I didn’t beat the shit out of him, other than I knew I would lose custody with my son. So, I guess she never wanted to work on us. It was an affair, even if she won’t admit it, she vehemently denies it, because in her eyes it wasn’t since there was no sex.

It feels unresolved and she Is just carrying on with the app, dating and although I know it’s over, just pending the divorce but it still feels like she’s cheating on me. I can’t seperate myself out. I’m still paranoid of what they are doing and struggle with it. I still love her, when I committed to our marriage I did not do so lightly but wholeheartedly and I guess I expected the same.

During this time in our therapy, she attacked my job and said it was nothing, although it let her be able to go to school while I held down the fort, and called me unambitious, happy to just float through life. She also told me she didn’t find me attractive. It was all so devastating and I feel worthless and ugly. And after 10 years it’s like we never happened. How do I get over this obstacle? How do I cut those ties that so obviously are toxic? Any advice?


Jealous husband that wouldn’t allow her to have an emotional affair

Dear Guy who’s been gaslighted to the point of suicide,

Okay, let’s imagine for a minute you’re a person in a marriage who has decided your marriage is over. Doesn’t matter the reason, they smell like vinegar, don’t trim their ear hair, you can’t realize your full potential anchored to their unlovability, whatever.

You have an entire decision tree of possible ways to proceed. Do you…

a) Stay in the marriage and never mention its demise to your partner?

b) Openly date in front of your partner and goad them into the pick-me dance? While maintaining that you are not doing what you are demonstrably doing?

c) Exchange “I love you” and sext talk messages with new “friends”?

Or do you…

d) Try and work it out. Exclusively. With your spouse. Not plans A through Z.


e) Actually end it. With lawyers, difficult conversations, and divorce decrees.

Your wife chose a, b, and c. She chose cake-eating — you and her affairs. Went you were recovering from a breakdown, she upped her abuse and began an affair with another man. She had the agency to leave you, honestly, respectfully and ethically. She didn’t do that. She played this torturous mindfuck of “Catch me if you can.” And when you caught something, a detail, an “I love you,” a strange man sitting on your sofa, perhaps an STD (get checked), she denied it. She DARVOed it. The problem isn’t her behavior, it’s your “jealousy.” She doesn’t have a boyfriend, she has a “friend.” She’s not cheating, you’re unattractive and lazy.

Classic mindfuck blender. This is why we don’t ask cheaters for their reasons. Because it generally devolves into exactly this kind of blameshifting and pain.

No, pay attention to the evidence (you have a ton) and then ask yourself — is this relationship acceptable to me?

Do I feel safe? Respected? Cherished? Loved?

Would I trust this person to level with me? See my taxes? Babysit a houseplant?

I know you’re a person who took his vows very seriously, and bonded and invested. But we don’t control our partner’s level of investment. Or their honesty, or anything else. That’s why the pick-me dance is futile. Why marriage policing is doomed. We don’t control other people — only ourselves. When someone is treating you with this level of disrespect and contempt, abandon the field. Quit playing their stupid games.

Of course that’s easier to type than to do. But the alternative is to live in the hell you’ve been living — a checked out partner who cheats and gaslights.

But, but… maybe he was a friend? And I’m in the wrong?

Platonic friends don’t discuss the particulars of how one’s going to lose his virginity with the other. Or exchange “I love you.” She says they’re friends? She can say they’re purple-headed pilgrims. It doesn’t matter. Pay attention to the evidence.

It was an affair, even if she won’t admit it, she vehemently denies it, because in her eyes it wasn’t since there was no sex.

See decision tree above. It’s much easier if you’re the bad guy who Won’t Let Her Have Friends. Grown-ups have sex. That’s what they do. That’s what dating leads to. Not just a plus-one for bingo night, but sex.

She didn’t have sex? Okay, I don’t believe that, but whatever. She was actively dating other men while married to you and while NOT trying to extract herself from all the comforts and value you provide. Emotional, physical, doesn’t matter. The devaluing is the same. This kind of marriage is either okay with you, or it isn’t.

During this time in our therapy, she attacked my job and said it was nothing, although it let her be able to go to school while I held down the fort, and called me unambitious, happy to just float through life.

Sounds like projection to me. You’re the person with the job. She sounds like the person floating through the dick buffet.

She also told me she didn’t find me attractive. It was all so devastating and I feel worthless and ugly.

Don’t. She’s not the measure of your worth. Apparently you were attractive enough to spend a decade with and produce a child.

A faithful, loving, invested man is a stock that trades high. Just because she doesn’t value a good thing doesn’t mean another woman won’t. Don’t look to such an UNWORTHY person for validation. Do you really respect this person? How she navigates life? (See a through c.)

It’s natural to feel devastated after you’ve been chumped. We’ve all been there, we get it. But the negative self talk doesn’t help you. Be outraged and take action to protect yourself.

Your mission going forward is to lawyer up, document everything, get your financial in order, and be the Sane Parent to your child. It sounds like you’re still in the same home and in-house separation will make you insane. Consult with an attorney about how she moves out and get a temporary custody order. Be in the driver’s seat.

Don’t talk, plead, relationship autopsy, ask where the snow shovel is, NOTHING with her. Okay? No contact, gray rock. All interactions will be minimal and only about your son or finances. Preferably communicated by email or text, which you document. Imagine every. single. thing. you do now will be examined by a judge. Be the Sane Parent. Do NOT stay in a situation that will unhinge you.

Guy, it gets better. But not until you stop sticking your head in the mindfuck blender. Leave.

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.
  • Don’t skip the STD testing, seeing your therapist, getting an attorney and getting scheduled to go to a “Co-Parenting when divorcing a Jerk” class that your state probably wants to see you do. Bonus points if you get that scheduled before seeing an attorney. Simply looking into it makes most of them happy.

    Meanwhile – SAY as little as possible. If you can get it in writing, or in a text, that is great. ALL marital perks stop.

    That includes the money. Got a joint checking account? Take half and open up a nice, shiny new account in a different bank. Is she an authorized user on a credit card in YOUR name? Not anymore she isn’t! Remove her.

    Gather ALL the financial information that you can at this time. Scan it. Film the contents of your home. Not just for insurance purposes, also to determine what is yours, hers and jointly owned. If you look around and realize YOU (solo) own valuable stuff, quietly move it to a storage unit/family/friend’s basement or sell it before she sells it out from under you or destroys it in a rage. Leave her things alone.

    MORE therapy because you are an abused spouse as well as depressed.

    Look into therapy for your kid too. At least family therapy that is for the two of you. Finding a therapist for a child under the age of 12 is a nightmare. Or it was for me years ago. But being able to say that you’ve made 50 phone calls to therapists in your insurance network, provide their names and the dates/times you called also tends to make attorneys happy.

    She’s awful. She may also be insisting there was no sex because there was no vaginal penetration. Doesn’t mean there wasn’t activities that most people would agree are sex.

    Good luck. Hold your head up high because you are an honorable person.

      • Oh, I agree. But in the off-chance (slim to vanishingly small) that it was “just” oral, anal or digital that is still sex.

        Getting the STD panels run is the best course of action.

        He should also consider getting his son DNA tested.

        • If he was tested and he’s not the bio dad does he run a risk of loosing his son?

          Our son was adopted so it wasn’t an issue.

          • Not if he was named the father on the birth certificate. Which I presume was the case. He’ll still be responsible for child support if she gets more than 50% of the time with their son – but it may matter for health reasons. After all, if he isn’t the father, then 50% of the genetic risks become unknown unless his FW wife can identify the father and shake the information out of him.

    • Quietly moving your valuables to a safe location is great advice. It was the first thing I made plans to do right after consulting attorneys. I sleep better knowing he can’t destroy my old family photos or pawn my grandmother’s ring. It wasn’t about the value. Some things can’t be replaced.

  • Dear Jealous… You are not alone and you are in the right place.

    Mr. Sparkles told me on my last D-day (there were 4) that “it wasn’t cheating because he knew the marriage was over.” Sadly, as CL says above, he didn’t bother to tell me that fact. Reason being the marriage was only going to be really over if the OW would take him… otherwise, he’d stay and eat some more cake with me and our family.

    The day he left, the trash took itself out. Yet, I pick me danced for a YEAR… and for a year the OW believed that Mr. Sparkles was legitimately separated and available to date (her words) even though he was living with his marital family when they met. Delusion is strong with that one, but Cheaters are master manipulators. Over that year, Mr. Sparkles never lifted a finger to file for divorce… odd, don’t you think? Not for them, I was still a plan B to him. One night I invited him over for dinner to discuss the divorce, I was ready to file and do so amicably… instead we went through two bottles of wine and watched a movie while he watched his phone light up with messages from the OW… he later remarked about that evening, “I could’ve fucked you that night if I wanted to.” THAT was a huge wake=up call to me about him and the likelihood that I was dealing with a Narcissist. I subsequently hired a lawyer and filed and served him. Ah, sweet freedom (12 months later).

    Moral of the story: don’t be jealous over a cheater… that’s like being jealous over someone who won a bag of dog poop. You and your son deserve better (when you’ve done your hardwork and therapy and know your worth). Your future isn’t with the Mistress of Mindfuckery. Want more for yourself. And keep coming back here, we’ve got your back.

    Rock on Chump Nation

    • I got that one too! XW said “I just want you to know that nothing happened until our marriage was over”, which sounds honorable until you know that we were still married when she said it.

      I interpret this to mean “at some point I decided the marriage was over, so it doesn’t count as adultery.” XW never told me exactly when that moment was, but the earliest credit card receipts that AP’s wife unearthed (gifts of flowers, chocolates, clothes, etc. from AP to my then-wife) were more than a year before this exchange. The gifts started the week my XW moved down for her new job (while I stayed behind so the kids could finish the school year); I have no doubt the affair started earlier, but it wasn’t really feasible for AP to send presents to my wife while she was living with me.

      I’ll never know for sure exactly when the affair started, but I do know for damn sure that it wasn’t “after our marriage was over”.

      Oh, and if you’re hiding from your husband that you’re receiving presents, you’re having an affair. Also, if the person giving you presents is hiding it from his wife, you’re having an affair. It doesn’t matter if/when you started having sex with that person: it’s an affair.

      • Exactly IG… you’ve heard the word salad and seen the calendar salad… bottom line… if the person isn’t divorced when you meet them and they’re living with their spouse, they are married. We didn’t marry good people, better luck to us both the next time!

      • Holy cow, my XW had the same pathetic rationalization – i.e. she didn’t play hide-the-baton with Sgt Sugardick until our marriage was over. Problem is, we were married at the time and I wasn’t aware our marriage was “over”…that is, not until she summarily discarded me with indifference and left (but that’s another story, one that brought me here to CL).

        Man, cheaters really are ALL alike, aren’t they?

          • That is so true! I remember, after DDay when I was a mess (I went 3 nights with NO sleep and was a walking zombie), I was amazed at how he could just go to sleep without a care in the world. I still wake up from nightmares about him and the OW. Still.

            BTW, if somebody says an opposite sex person is their “best” friend, it should be a red flag. I’m not saying it isn’t possible to have a best friend of the opposite sex (who shares your sexuality), it is just highly unlikely that nothing sexual has taken place, especially if that “best friend” is a relatively new relationship for your partner. I have known a number of people who have described their side-piece as a “BFF”, because it certainly is more polite than f*ckbuddy.

            • My FWF (FW father) calls one of his former APs one of his “best friends” …. he said this to the art dealer he was buying art from to give to one of his “best friends” as a gift….while she’s still married. She, the whore that she is, is fawning over FWF in order to get attention and gifts from him.

              I have half a mind to contact her husband to ask if he knows that his whore wife is accepting gifts from FWF, a man old enough to be her father (and younger than me!)!

              I fucking hate these narcissists.

              • Do it. It sounds like you’re in charge of your father’s finances. If you can prevent him from giving away your and your brother’s inheritance, by all means. You have a fellow daughter of a cheater who is rooting for you.

        • I have no idea if/when my XW started having sex with her AP, as she still denies that there was any affair at all. I don’t think it matters, though, since regardless of the extent of genital contact she was definitely having a marriage-ending affair.

          Not to be sexist here, but I don’t think it’s very likely that her AP abandoned his then-wife (who is considerably younger and, by all accounts, better-looking than mine) without sampling the wares first, so to speak. They had plenty of opportunity, as they went to work conferences together for years. And I happen to know that XW booked a trip to the city adjacent to AP (and enthusiastically informed him that her hotel room had been upgraded) the week before they each nuked their respective marriages.

          So, in my judgment they’re usually lying about the lack of sex. But even if it’s “only” an emotional affair, that’s still an affair. It sucks the life out of a marriage just as efficiently.

  • Guy – This is the stage where you’ll be tempted to share the Chump Lady observations and advice with your wife. DON’T.

    Your energy and actions need to be put toward a new life for you and your son. Read through the
    CL archives, put together your support team (starting with a lawyer), make and keep your appointments for individual therapy, use your nervous energy to play outside with your son. Document the time you spend making sure his educational and health care needs are met.

    Finances are apt to be tight, but there are community resources for free clothing, toys, furniture and even food. This is going to require fulltime effort. Don’t let her hold you back.

    • AlmostMonday, this indeed is a huge temptation: to share CL wisdom, strategies, and insights with the cheater.

      Not only is it a total waste of time, emotions, and energy, but it gives the jackass a headstart in trying to screw you in the divorce.

      Ask me how I know. But I listened to CL, got pitbull lawyers, went no, I repeat, NO contact and stopped wasting time untangling the skein of fuckedupness. Time has shown I did the right thing. And it goes without saying CL is right in everything she writes to us chumps.

      • I have never regretted no contact. It made all the difference.

    • Yes, what Almost Monday said! Go to the CL archives, start at the beginning and start reading. Combine that with a policy of No-Contact unless it’s regarding your child. Those two will do more for you than any two-bit therapist can do, IMO. And I speak from experience!

  • So so true. You never ask them as all they want to do is blameshift and put you down. Here’s a funny story, after I found out I went full no contact. We didn’t live together and weren’t married so it was ‘easier’ to do this (well not easy in any sense of the word). But he kept reaching out. For 2 years he kept reaching out!! And why do you think that is? He was trying to get me to take the bait. All he wanted to do is tell me how awful I was and how I caused this situation. But after several years (at that point) of reading here, I knew better than to engage. I knew he had nothing of value to offer me. So I ignored him for TWO YEARS. When I finally had enough evidence and he pushed the limits a bit too far, I did respond to him threatening him with police action. And predictably he responded with an email attacking me and blaming me for his shitty behavior. But I’m not the one who had been contacting him for TWO YEARS.

    Anyway, I scared him with the police and he went away. DO NOT looking to these fuckwits for your sense of worth. They have a vested interest in putting you down.

    Sorry you are dealing with this. Follow CL’s advice and you’ll get to the other side.

    • Glad he’s gone. The only thing I would recommend to have done differently is, instead of the police threat coming from you, get an attorney to send a cease and desist letter threatening the same thing. It saves you from breaking no-contact and often carries an extra punch.

      Once my attorney took over all divorce communication with my ex, things actually got better. I regret not having done that sooner.

  • OK, you love her. But she is strongly showing that she does NOT love you. People who truly love each other don’t do things like this.

    I agree that you need to cut her loose. It will be painful. You have a lot to work through, but staying with her is going to destroy you. Ending it is hard but then is much better on the other side.

    • Elsie cuts right to the heart of it, Guy. If nothing else, this is the woman who let you think that you needed to die. We are all responsible for our own mental health, but there are people in this world who make it harder to tend that responsibility, and your spouse should NOT be someone making it harder.

  • The term jealous has always rubbed me wrong. It’s a way to squash legitimate concerns and avoid an actual discussion. It’s purpose is to shut someone up.

    It is often employed by people who are either up to no good or have shitty boundaries.

    I didn’t get the jealous charge but I did get the just friends claim about scumbag ex’s skank ex gf. They were just friends, but he also simultaneously claimed that she’d dumped him and left him angry and bitter and he wanted to be able to turn her down, and that it was “fun to catch up”.

    Makes perfect sense that one would want to have fun catching up with the ex who left them angry and bitter. Especially when you have to lie through your teeth to your wife about it.

    Please….gtfoh….like I was born yesterday.

    • I agree with you about the term “jealousy.” In my view, in the context of GaslightedGuy’s issue, jealousy is about feeling upset and anxious when his boundaries were trampled. Your spouse should be your primary social and emotional and sexual partner. That shouldn’t be opened up to anyone who comes in his or her orbit.

      It’s not that people can’t have opposite-sex friends (or the equivalent for LGTBQT people) but my first therapist said that having lots of them or intense involvement with them is a sign that you are avoiding intimacy with the primary partner. I think it’s pretty easy to gauge intentions if you pay attention to behavior and context. I work in an all-male unit, and I don’t go to lunch or have dinner with the guys. None of us flirt. When there is a need for phone call or text, it’s just business. Anyone could read it. The minute a “friend” is flirting or there is texting for no reason, that’s trouble. T.R.O.U.B.L.E. That’s not jealousy, in some negative sense. That’s your intuition calling, telling you that you are at risk.

      • Weighing in as an LGBTQ person: it’s true that it’s hard for us in same-sex relationships, since more people (whether gay or straight) are socialized to be homosocial, meaning we tend to socialize with people of the same assigned sex at birth. So, for LGBTQ people like my STBX who have crappy boundaries, it’s bound to be a crap show for any partner. Every rainbow chump I have met through CN also was gaslit like Guy about how we’re being too “jealous” if we object to overly close friendships with people our partners clearly are attracted to. (And don’t get me started on attitudes about “judginess” in the queer community.)

        From my position as a queer woman, I would suggest that it doesn’t make sense to have blanket rules about close friendships with ALL members of the opposite sex or whatever. (Where would that leave bi/pansexual people in terms of friend prospects if they’re partnered?) Rather, I think the boundary is defined in terms of the *intensity* of friendship with someone the partner is strongly attracted to. I now see much more clearly that my STBX was engaging in these kinds of intense friendships with women she was attracted to, which I refer to as “affair lite” behavior, throughout our marriage – even though I have no evidence that she ever exchanged sexual or romantic sentiments with them. One of these women, whom STBX considered her “best friend,” was someone who STBX openly envied. My opinions often got discounted when compared with the friend’s. (A form of devaluing me in the cycle of abuse.) I was unsurprised to learn after D-Day #2 that STBX had been pining over this friend for several years before she finally seduced a stranger in a bar to become AP #2, The “friend” was the first person STBX told about the affair, and of course “supported” STBX in it, which would have felt like primo kibbles indeed. If I ever date again, this kind of “affair lite” behavior will be a huge red flag for me.

      • I have never remained friends with an ex. I just think, “what’s the point?” I mean, we broke up because we didn’t want to be together anymore, and for me, being best friends with my partner/husband is part of the totality of the relationship. So if we’re done, we’re DONE.

        I am a woman who finds it easier to be friends with men, though. However, when I am in a relationship (happily married, as I am now – and even when I was unhappily married to my ex-husband), I do not have outside male friends that I call up or hang out with or whatever. I may have male friends at work but I am very careful about the boundaries of a friendship there. I don’t want anybody to get any inkling of any ideas that there’s anything other than just a friendly work relationship. I honor my husband and our relationship too much to step over any sort of boundary that would indicate otherwise. That means I don’t complain about him or talk about him other than “DH and I did this….or are going on vacation….or went on an outing….or whatever” – all my language clearly indicates that we are 100% partnered and there is no opportunity for an outsider to step in between that.

        I think being the daughter of a FW father (FWF), I know what it feels like to even have the slightest doubts about the quality of a relationship and I never want to leave anything open for interpretation.

        I see red flags all over when men have more women “friends” outside of the marriage. FWF is like that. So many women friends. So many. So so so many.

        • This is a red flag I missed with my cheater ex. When we got married, his friends were mostly men. In the later years of our marriage, he accumulated so many female friends and many of his male friends had drifted away. I trusted him completely so it didn’t concern me at the time. Now I see that he was rounding up potential affair partners. He had at least one affair with one of these “friends”.

          I will never trust that blindly again and will insist any future partner have good boundaries with women friends.

        • Cheaters dangle bait to see who will bite by complaining about their spouses/partners. The only response that shows integrity ? “You should really talk about that with her/him” Shut that sh*t down rapido.

  • It’s bad enough to cheat with some young kid who doesn’t know better or just wants to get laid. But to mentally torture you while she’s doing so is vicious. Her behavior is disgusting. Don’t say a word. Get your finances In Order so she can’t rob you. Then file. Run, my friend. You don’t need this hell in your life and neither does your child.

  • What could a young man possibly want from her other than the sex she’s planning to toss at him?Like a piece of meat…
    think about the reality that will hit her once this “boy” finds a cute seeet girlfriend HIS age.
    You didn’t beat the shit out of him because you’re an adult with a child and that’s to be respected because I can imagine the thoughts you’ve had.
    Don’t let this “lady” drive you to want to harm yourself
    I understand those feelings too and some of us If not most have had them too.
    Don’t worry about if you’re attractive to her right now. She’s disgusting anyway… Love or not
    She had other options just as CL stated. So did my husband
    And it’s worse that he wants to hang around now. Cheated “a long time ago” and “I regret the whole thing”
    So I get to make all the adult decisions here.
    I do t know what’s worse because it all sucks.
    They suck and it hurts
    Who gives a shit what she does try and focus on you and the boy
    It will get better once you realize we can’t control ignorance or disrespect.
    Let her show you who she is. Keep your sanity. Remain peaceful (as possible) and you’ll see karma in action. I’ve been there before this. Almost exactly.
    Today it feels like death. In time, she’s a faint memory

  • Floating through the dick buffet ????????. That is now the line I’m using for my ex wife.

    To the OP though, she is lying and lying non stop to you. I went through some very similar aspects last year when I caught my ex wife cheating with dozens of men. Despite the fact I had the actual evidence from her phone she still denied and gaslighted me. She swore blind for nearly an hour that there was no other man but I then read verbatim some of the screenshots I took. Then she broke down and confessed but only to what she thought I knew. She denied there were others when in reality there was nearly 20. Plus her tinder account when then discovered.

    The projection was also a major thing and she openly stated she had wanted her cake and eat it. She even had the audacity to say she never wanted a divorce and she thought that after my discovery that things would settle down and we would go back to normal. Nope, I went the next day after discovery to file for divorce. The she wanted an open relationship so I told her that ok I will get a tinder account and start dating some girls. Ohh she had a meltdown over that and attacked me. She loved using pressure points on me. She just wanted the dick buffet.

    She did not know I had officially filed for divorce and she kept on cheating. Despite her words the actions never matched. I’m only 6 weeks into my new home so it’s all still very raw for me but your story brings back some very strong emotions.

    • “The she wanted an open relationship so I told her that ok I will get a tinder account and start dating some girls.”

      Man, I wished I had thought of that retort when Nitwit suggested an open relationship. Instead I just rolled over and tried to convince myself that my marriage wasn’t over even though it clearly was. I did notice that after the supposed opening of our marriage Nitwit stopped bringing me to hang out with his friends because there was a guy there who MIGHT have been interested in me. Not there was any chance of my reciprocating. Open marriage or not it would have felt wrong to me to sleep with another man while married to Nitwit and in any event my libido was shot to hell because of all the stress caused by his drama. When s/he suggests an open relationship that generally means your relationship has been over for some time. You just weren’t aware of it.

      • The one exception was when he tried to set me up with a 20 year old guy who I suspect was his OM. I guess it gave him more duper’s delight to think of me having sex with a guy he had already “soiled”. Blech.

    • My FW father (FWF) didn’t want a divorce from my mother. He could have filed for divorce and had his total freedom years ago. But, no, he wanted my mother to provide the image of respectability and family life that would boost his ego and persona in the community. His reply to the possibility of a divorce was “I’ll be ruined.”

      He wanted his cake and he got it for a number of years.

      My mother had enough of being disrespected and has now divorced him after 54 years.

      He does sad sausage of “mom dumped me” and “why did mom leave me” and “mom kicked me out” and all sorts of things like that. There’s only so much abuse a person can take, asshole.

      Go MOM!!!!

  • The level of disrespect and callousness you are experiencing is terrible. And it is not accidental. Your spouse knows she is hurting you, and whether she admits it to herself or not, she is probably hoping your pain will benefit her in some way. She may be kind of excited at the idea that you might commit suicide and make her the center of attention. She might be aware of the ways she would financially benefit from an insurance policy if you die. She might think your death would give her a clean slate and eliminate all the trailing issues of shared custody. This doesn’t mean she is actively plotting your death, but it sounds from your description as if she’s happy to watch you suffer as long as it benefits her.

    Realizing that your love is not only being rejected but used to hurt you is a very difficult experience. I hope you have a therapist or a friend who can help you disentangle yourself from this toxic, abusive person. She is hurting you and she is hurting your son. Frankly, she’s probably hurting the 19-year-old, too, but it is not your job to protect him.

    You deserve better. And it will get better. Get the divorce; limit contact with your EX as much as possible; concentrate on your son; plod through the difficult days. You will be able to look back on all of this and be grateful that your life is so much easier and joyful even though it can take a while to get to this outlook.

    Keep coming back to this community–it is a great place to be heard. And you never have to worry about hijacking the conversation too much with your tale of woe. It is what we all come here for–reminders that we aren’t alone or crazy or hopeless. We are surviving and thriving (or on our way to thriving!)

  • I live FW too, but he only lives himself. This is my time to put myself FiRST snd determine my worth snd my kids’ worth on my own.

    Guy, the situation you describe is completely unacceptable on any standard. She has creative this narrative of justification blaming you (all cheaters go), so don’t believe in her lies. Assume that everything she says is a lie.

    Love you more. Love your child more. Start the detachment process which hurts like hell, but that is for your own self preservation.

    Stay strong chump.

  • Going through some Switzerland friend pain today.

    I found out on Monday that a couple that I brought to the marriage who live in another state hosted the traitor last October. The husband walked me down the aisle at my wedding; I asked him because he was a man I trusted and respected and because my father was dead.

    I should not be surprised. Not long ago I found out that this couple decided to stay together after she cheated on him. How could they be anything but Switzerland?
    The flip side to the Switzerland friend issue are the complications that come up when you are friends with a couple, one of them cheats, and they decide to stay together. If the couple splits up, it’s clear to me what to do. I would remain friends with the chump. But if they stay together? The only response I have been able to figure out is to be civil toward the cheating partner and maintain my friend status with the chump. I took this tack with this couple and look at where I ended up. They had the traitor as their house guest so maybe this isn’t possible.

    I unfriended both of them just now on Facebook. They unfriended me last October when they invited the traitor to visit them.

    Infidelity is like cancer. You just keep finding tumors that need to be removed. The damage and complications it creates are mind boggling.

    • A friend sent me this yesterday, which helped me get clear:

      *For all the sadness of closure, there is a new and joyful unfolding in the process of becoming.*

      We must let go of people, places, memories, and move on to new experiences. The doors of the past must be closed before we can enter those that are opening to us today.
      However, no experience is gone forever. All of our experiences are threaded together, each one contributing to the events that claim our attention now.

      Recovery has offered us a chance to be aware of our process of becoming. With each day, each experience, each new understanding, we are advancing along the path of personal growth. Let us remember that each of us has a particular path, like no other.

      *Life is unfolding for us.* The pain of the present may be necessary for the pleasure of tomorrow.
      I am moving and changing and growing, at the right pace. The process can be trusted.

      *What is right for me will come to me.*

    • I’m so sad that your friends behaved this way. You deserve better.

    • Ugh, what a knife to the gut.

      I’ve pretty much decided that all the people who are friends with FWF are enemies. No Switzerland here. He told so many people about cheating on my mom. There are so many co-conspirators to his abuse and lies and deceit and perversion and fraud. Fuck all y’all.

      He’ll go sad-sausaging all over town with his tales of woe. Poor FWF was dumped after 54 years of marriage. How sad for him. How sad that his wife would no longer be disrespected, abused, endangered, and used. How sad that he lost his servant who would look after his every need. How sad that she didn’t like being chumped. How sad that he now has to pay for companions. How sad that it appears that no one wants to be with him now that he is old and has to piss through a straw and shits his pants. How sad that the excitement of being an AP is not actually exciting when you are fucking over another person and family.

      HOW SAD!!!

      • “Has to piss through a straw and shits his pants” ???????????????????????? I assume he had carers who are PAID to help him use the loo and wash his soiled clothes ?
        Go Mom-she escaped and will have some years of freedom before she dies

  • Choose yourself darling man.

    Your heart will catch up with your head sooner or later. Her mask is falling but your brain can’t get past the cognitive dissonance she’s shelling out like breadcrumbs……

    Here’s the big mic drop – the person you think she is, is not the person she actually is……

    If complete strangers are telling you this is not your fault….THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT….

    If she was married to your best friend or sibling you would tell them to get the hell away and don’t look back. I’ve been here and these are the sorts of things that kept me from jumping over the edge of that particular rabbit hole…

    Best of luck fella, just be very kindly to yourself. Wounds need time to heal.

  • Your entire world is rocked on its axis when you find out that nothing you believed to be true was ever actually true. We prepare for life by learning what is socially acceptable and expected in our FOO and extended world. We act in good faith, and follow the terms of the agreements we made. Then we find out what it means to be cheated.

    You were chosen because you provided many useful things on her list of “Useful Things I Need.” Now that she has taken what she needs from you, she is moving on to new shiny things she wants. If this is the way she thinks, she is not the girl you thought she was when you married. You made an error in judgement. You believed she shared your values, and possessed character. She was never the person you wanted to make lifetime plans with. As bad as it hurts to be wrong about someone, it is much more painful to try to make someone into who you thought they were. You cannot change another person. You can only control your actions.

    You have a lot of work to do, therapy to put the healing Balm of Gilead on your wounds. It seems overwhelming. Take one step at a time, keep your eye on your goals. You deserve to be free, and valued for who you are. There are other people out there who do share your values and beliefs and goals. You may not know them now, but have faith. None of this is easy, but all that you learn and all that you become has value. One day you will look back on this time, and you will see that it was a necessary step in your personal growth. It is harsh, but you will learn to see people who use other people are very different from you, and you can protect yourself with the knowledge you gain.

    Don’t let sunk costs, and false dreams hold you in an unacceptable relationship.

  • Guy,

    I am so sorry for your loss and the pain you are experiencing. This is the right place, the emotional ICU. Come here often. The words have healing power and you get practical advice for what to do. It’s the ultimate lifeboat after your spouse throws you overboard. You now have a whole lot of lifesaving company

    Cheaters, by the very act of cheating, prove way beyond a reasonable doubt that they are incapable of a healthy relationship, let alone marriage.

    And remember…..they threw you off the Titanic!

    For another great infidelity/boat analogy, watch that Robert Redford movie where his sailboat gets struck by a shipping container. It’s the perfect analogy of what happens to a relationship after infidelity.

  • Dude! Suicide is not allowed!. My brother chump please walk…you’ve got nothing here to salvage and clearly you have the queen of entitlement and manipulation. I’ve been there….it feels like shit. In my case the ap was a cop. A dirty disgusting disgrace to the uniform. “,only friends ” ” helping me through some tough issues” ” he’s just a nice guy I work with “…. one day while walking down the street with my 3 year old daughter a police cruiser drove passed us slowly and my daughter said ” hey its Jim!” . I tracked him down one night while he was on duty and confronted him. I said bluntly ” stay away from my wife ” he put his hNd on his gun and said ” I’m not near your wife” I said “so you’re going to shoot me?…go ahead!” He drove off. About 20 minutes later I went to my house ( I was staying in my car as we were on a priest brokered mini separation) to sY good night to our kids. She immediately started with me about the confrontation I said “so he’s not near you” ” well I’ll race you to the lawyers !” She pleaded that she was confused and didn’t want a divorce. 2 nights later I was crossing a parking lot at an all night grocery store and out of nowhere a police car sped towards me and stopped about a foot in front of me. It was him I cooly raised my arms and said “hit me!” He backed up and sped off. Then I got stalked at my gym at my workplace my parents house etc. She assured me that she broke contact. One afternoon I had gone to my house to take the kids for the day while she went to work. Now being the days before caller ID and cell phones i noticed a number written down on a scrap of paper by the phone. On a goof I called it….a lady answered and I asked for “Jim ” she said ” I’m sorry this is a drive up payphone at such and such supermarket ” so I drive over to the supermarket and find the phone with a black magic marker i wrote on the phone JIM!BACK OFF MOTHER FUCKER,! She knew about that too when she got home from work. I was done. I did what I felt I needed to do but in the end…to no avail. Pick yourself up dust yourself off and take the first of many steps foreword. They never became an item but I wasn’t up for tolerating any bullshit. “Jim” went on to seduce several vulnerable separated women and was forced into early retirement from the number of complaints about his activities in uniform. I’m still not very trusting and very damaged 30 odd years later. Do it for you and your kid….bail hard

    • New York Nutbag,
      I’m glad your marriage imploding didn’t become a “Dateline” episode, like last weekend’s.
      Small town dentist lovebombed by a “very pretty” single mother. They adopted a boy from Russia due to fertility issues. She cheated and her last affair partner, a Pennsylvania state trooper ????‍♂️murdered her husband, before he signed the divorce papers. Looks like she got all the marital assets to spend while the trooper rots in prison. A witch who sent her flying monkey to do her dirty work.

      • I saw that to Saffa! What a pair of low lives! And the poor bastard predicted his own murder!. Fortunately the scum in my story was a complete coward and only used his uniform and position to intimidate the meek. I’m far from meek and at the time I was hell bent on saving my children from being around that element.

  • I am disturbed that a 35 year old woman would not only pursue a relationship with a 19 year old, who has only been an adult for a little over a year and still cannot legally drink, and then ask him if he is a virgin. What a perv question to ask. I am 35 with a son who will be 16 this year. 19 is practically still a child. It sounds like the reason she isn’t attracted to you anymore is because she prefers virgin teenagers. Run and do not look back. Also, please get your child into therapy. She sounds seriously messed up.

    • Absolutely spot on Wendy. She has delusional thoughts on being attractive to young guys still and he is telling his buddies “hey I’m banging this older married chick” and most disgustingly he’s being praised by his peers and she might be strutting her conquest abilities in front of her peers

    • I agree that there is something deeply troubling about her involvement with a 19 year old, beyond the emotional abuse that infidelity entails. The OW in my situation was sending unsolicited photos of her adolescent daughter posed on a table to my ex – disturbing on many levels, as well as being a breach of her child’s privacy and trust in her mother.

      There are huge discrepancies between any 19 year old and someone in their thirties, both in emotional maturity and life stages – it’s not a normal relationship by any stretch. OP should do whatever he legally can to protect his son from her behavior.

      • Yup. There’s a reason car rental companies don’t rent to very young adults, like a 19 year old. The brain isn’t fully formed. I bet the teenager is probably sending pics to his buddies of this disturbed woman in flagrante. For laughs and bragging rights.
        This so effed up. Run and don’t look back.

    • Agree. She does sound messed up. Everyone involved needs therapy. STAT!

      This also raises my feminist hackles. As a society, I think we tend to be less appalled when the guy is 35 and the woman 19. See Jerry Seinfeld.

      • “This also raises my feminist hackles. As a society, I think we tend to be less appalled when the guy is 35 and the woman 19.”

        Isn’t that the truth??

        I may be in the minority thinking that it’s not weird or pedophilic, biologically speaking, to be attracted to individuals at their sexual peak. I mean, I like how younger men look and don’t necessarily know how old they are when I think “Dear me, but he’s an attractive young fella.” The difference is I wouldn’t dream of starting a relationship or fling with one. I guess when you’re a delusional, entitled cheater with poor boundaries you think anything you want in passing should be fair game. Married, same age as your own kid, whatever. It’s all yummy cake!

        • Right? From my understanding Pedophilia is the attraction to pre pubescent children, hebephilia is the attraction to children post pubescent.

          Attraction to a grown person and legally a person is grown at age 18, is not either of those things, though acting on it suggests questionable character.

    • Yep, she’s a pedophile. This is the crap my 40 year old ex husband is doing, dating teenage children. He had one on speakerphone he was talking to in his game room right before I got him to move the hell out and I was confused thinking, “Whose kid is he talking to?” I thought it was one of the children in our family or a friend’s child because it was clearly a child. Then he called her “babe” and it hit me. To make it worse she even sounded slow, as in literally mildly mentally retarded. She said, and I quote “I’m, like, reeeeaaaaaally…….. like, super hoping that, liiiiiiiiike.,…. Starbucks? would, like, hire meeeeeeeee beeeeeccccuzzzzz….. it would, like, be, like, a really, super great, like, opportunity? for me? Don’t you think?”

      I threw up after overhearing that conversation. I don’t entertain any distinctions on what kind of perverts they are, they’re pedophiles. To a 35 or 40 year old, teenagers are children. If they aren’t children to a person that age, that person is a pedophile who is sexually attracted to children. There’s no nice way to say it.

      • I agree with you.

        And even when they are older, I still think of it that way. If you are fucking a person young enough to be your child’s peer (or younger), then you are fucked up.

        If my 75-year-old FW father is trying to fuck someone who is 30, that is royally fucking disgusting! When he was 40, she wasn’t even born yet!!!! When he was 50, she was 5!

        WTF is wrong with these assholes?!

        • It’s disturbing.
          I’m in my 40’s- I look at 20’ something and smile- lovely sweet innocent ( but still kids!)
          Yes, the young men look great- I’m not blind and see the difference between a 20 year old and a 40 year old man, STILL – I can admire their youthful look and a great shape but being sexually attractive? It makes me cringe ????

          I read somewhere that unless there is an issue, our interest “ grows” as we get older.
          So I’m interested in people around my age….
          35+19? Nope
          She was 32 when this boy was 16 creepy

    • Yes, it is disturbing when there is a large age discrepancy, regardless of gender. Nitwit (30) not only banged a 20-year-old OW he tried to set me up with his (I suspect) 20-year-old OM. I cannot even begin to comprehend what kind of fucked up mind would get off to that. Apparently what’s his was also mine, in APs if not financially.

  • Where was she when you checked yourself in for help because you were suicidal? Instead of supporting you, she was chasing a teenager. You mention “our therapy.” In addition to a good lawyer, for you and your child, you also need good therapists for you and your child, NOT shared with her.
    It’s particularly tough to find good child therapists now due to Covid because there’s increased depression and demand for their services at the same time many of them are home caring for kids of their own due to school closures and remote schooling. Instead of or in addition to the phone calls to child therapists, you might want to email them so you have a written record that you were seeking services, and so potential therapists also have a written record with your contact info, making it easier for them to respond to you. Your child will need support from you and a professional.
    You already know that Cheatermom brought an AP into the home at least once; you don’t know what else happened while you were away (for help and for work), or what Cheatermom told child about your depression and absence. Make sure your attorney is fully aware of all of this. And consider parenting classes beyond the court-mandated class. You can take many of them online, and many mental health and family support organizations offer short classes via webinars and small groups. They can be a great source of support while you disengage from FW. She’s not going to do the right thing, but you can do what’s right and best for you and your child. Your child needs a sane parent, and you can be that.

  • Guy,

    I know what it feels like to be so wrapped up in an effed-up relationship dynamic that you let your partner be the arbiter of your worth, that you blame yourself, that you accept her gaslighting and question your own reality. You make your needs small and wonder what tap dance you have to do to keep her interest and love (or what you’ve come to believe is love; it’s not).

    The beauty of extricating yourself from that situation and asserting your self-worth is that you will finally see things more clearly and will be able to begin the hard work of rebuilding all that she tore down. You will be able to examine what the hell happened to you and why you behaved as you did. Forget about her. Focus on YOU!

    We are all at various stages of this self-examination.

    The goal is to have healthy relationships with others and with ourselves.

    Good luck. We’ve got your back here!

  • To Guy, I’d like to offer my support to you as someone whose stbx had an emotional relationship with a 20 something year old classmate. He was 57 at the time.
    I also worked while he attended community college. While I paid for most of it, he accused me of attempting to sabotage his plans to go to school.

    He denied it when I confronted him about the emotional affair but he went to to tell me about how she “gets him” and I don’t, that she is his “best friend “ and I make him miserable. In counseling he would talk about her and how wonderful she is while blaming me for his unhappiness.
    Although I don’t think this particular relationship became physical, he has become obsessed with young 20 something year old girls who he attends community college with.

    Anyway, I have also been devastated and felt suicidal. CN has been a godsend to me because soo many of us have been where you have. I also have a great therapist which I find necessary to move forward.

    For me it has been a very slow process to love myself and do things for me.
    Keep coming back here and I suggest reading the archives too where you will find so many people who have had similar experiences and offer support and guidance.

    • As a 50-year-old man who teaches lots of 20-something young women: this is bonkers. I like most of my students and (speaking objectively) many of them are physically quite attractive, but I have zero interest in a relationship with them and the idea that someone three decades younger than me would be my “best friend” is just crazy. I can only assume that he is not interested in a relationship of equals.

      • To clarify he is not a teacher but a student. He seems to think and act like he is their age. At one point some of the males in one of his classes, who are also older called him out on his behavior towards these young girls. My stbx just said that is the way he is. I told him at that time I felt like I was raising another teen.
        As time has gone on he has frequently said he can’t relate to people his own age.

        • When we went to MC last year, the therapist told me he is going through a life stage that he did not get to go through before and I need to let him do it. So she thought I should be OK with a 57 year old man to act like a 20 something who is wanting to hang out with 20 something year old girls.
          The thing is he went to college in his 20 s before I met him. He could have stayed in that town and continued to go to school. But he moved here and quit school.

          • That’s certainly plausible. My XW and her AP started clubbing (which I know only because they send my daughter 4 AM selfies from the dance floor) and traveling all over the world (which they can do only because the abandoned spouses are keeping the kids). It’s certainly easier to reclaim your lost youth if you dump your adult responsibilities on someone else.

            • Yep, mine lived a second adolescence with his OW, who was ten years younger, but ridiculously immature enough that it was like a thirty year age difference. He then devolved to her emotional age and was a total shitshow, partying all night, drunk off his ass several nights a week, spending his vacation time at rock shows and in bars with her and 20 and 30 somethings who must have laughed at the pathetic middle aged loser behind his back. He was 50 when it started and it went on for years.
              Now she’s gone and he’s back to boring adulthood, wondering what to do with his life and floundering, going on and off his multiple addictions. #sadsausage

              Sending 4 am dance floor selfies to her daughter? Good merciful grief, what a pair of douchebags.

              • And let me guess ? He paid for all their ???? ????????????????

        • Of course he can’t relate to people his own age. Narcissists never get past adolescence emotionally. Some don’t even get there.

      • My FW father calls one of his APs, who is younger than I am, one of his “best friends.” Really? I mean, WTF? This whore used you to get a promotion and then dumped you and married a billionaire. You, FWF, are a fucking idiot. This person is not your friend. Though, I guess considering the quality of your character, you deserve friends who use you and discard you, you fucking idiot.

    • I’m 37 and the office I work in his loads of girls in their early 20’s, in fact we work in teams of ten and 5 of them are about 21 years old and I could not imagine having to spend time outside work with them. Their conversations are total nonsense and I sadly know the inside stories to reality TV and they turn everything into a huge drama in work. What on earth does a man basically my parents age think they could remotely have in common with kids? Same as I have nothing in common with women in their 50’s.

  • Like most narcissists cheater wife has stunted emotional growth. Pretty much on par with teenagers their whole lives. Not surprising she is in a relationship with a 19 year old kid. Men narcissists go for the much younger woman all the time. Couple of things…please don’t confuse jealousy with being upset about her blatant cheating and disrespect. Another thing, don’t confuse love with being bonded to someone. You have an extremely unhealthy bond with this woman, it is not love. Cheater wife trashed you (not ambitious, not attractive to her, etc.) but she is the one cheating with a 19 year old boy. Also, I didn’t read the part where she is a successful Captain of Industry, maybe I missed it?

  • Hello Normal Husband:

    You are normal, not “jealous.” I refuse to use that woman’s word for you, because it is nothing but a manipulation.

    I feel that she has you so down that you have lost all perspective. So imagine what you would say to your beautiful son, all grown up, if he told you that his wife was behaving in such a manner. I think you’d be outraged and counsel him to leave right away, and offer any support you had. I hope you can love yourself enough to take the same advice you’d give to someone you love. You are worth it.

    • Normal Husband! I love it. Way to put it in perspective, PrincipledLife.

  • You said you still love this woman. I think you are addicted to the adrenaline rush. Believe it or not that’s what happens in warfare. From boredom to abject fear to boredom. It really does do something to the hormonal balance in your brain. Forget her. You need help fixing yourself because she is exactly like poison. She’s that toxic. It’s some kind of bonding that takes place when you deal with crazy every day. A psychologist that I worked with said all human behaviors are on continuums. Your wife is on the crazy continuum. She’s not wearing tinfoil and talking to Martians but she’s doing something that makes no sense. Stop asking questions about what caused this or who she really is. You need to fix you and let her go on her merry way on whatever continuum she winds up on.

  • The bitch must have sent away for The Cheater Handbook, and then applied all the lessons.

    They ALWAYS do more than they admit too, and then blameshift.

  • As a parent of a son around that age – she seems like a predator.
    Her activities are not focusing on her parentin responsibilities either.
    Her actions toward you are unkind, disrespectful and dishonest. She has repeatedly shown you what she is.
    Your job is to be the sane parent for your son who he can count, on and to protect yourself and extricate yourself from her. Reccommend reading CLs book if you havent already.

  • Guy, you sound strong, clear and focused on what has to be done – end it. Please follow all the steps here by other Chumps and live your life better. She is a user, is delusional and is completely underestimating your value.

    Funny about “friends”. I dated a guy for 3 years, quasi-lived with for 1. He used to take his Harley and invite exes for “just a ride and stop for some beers to catch up”. After finding out months later about the event, he accused me of losing my mind with jealously. Hmmmm. All I casually asked was “did you mention you had a girlfriend?” His response “it didn’t come up”. Yep, typical narcissist trying to get an ex from his harem back before he’d dump me. I promptly packed up my clothes and left. Over the years since, every several months when he had a girlfriend, he’d reach out to me with some inert email saying hi, I never responded because leopards don’t change their spots. Once a cheater always a cheater.

    • Good for you recognizing the harem game and staying well away from being hovered back! I also had a post-divorce boyfriend who I caught cultivating a harem chock full of all types of boundary-impaired, naive/Chumpy, and even a couple of knowingly OW-tastic women. Hard pass!

      It’s a wonder this isn’t a more well-known tactic in society. We still have such a long way to go with cluster b spotting and pathology education.

      • My FW father (FWF) has a harem!

        When my mother filed for divorce, he opened his contact list on his phone and started calling (well, he’s always been calling) old APs, old “friends,” potential “love interests.” [Sidenote, in his hypomanic state, he wrote a letter to/from God about how he is going to find love now…sorry, asshole, you do not have the character or integrity to actually find love.]

        Call #1 – to some whore in Germany who he was planning to go to Germany to see until he was old that Germany wasn’t accepting US visitors because of the Covid. Then he decided they’d meet in the Caribbean somewhere but that didn’t work out either.

        Call #2 – to his old boss and mentor’s widow. She did a good job of taking care of one old guy, maybe she’d like to take care of another? He flew all across the US to see her in hopes he could seduce her. She turned him down.

        Call #3 – to old friends in his home state to try to set up a dinner with FWF (honoring him, of course) to bring single ladies to so that he could meet someone. They declined to set up the dinner because of Covid.

        Call #4 – to old AP in another state. That fizzled out I don’t know why.

        Calls #5-infinity – to other APs in other countries and states. Sending gifts to try to lure them. Traveling (yes, during Covid when he is a seriously health-compromised person) to see them and try to seduce them.

        Moves #1-infinity – to hang out at bars and brag about how much money he has so he can get a whore/sugar-baby to sign up to hang out with him.

        It is just disgusting.

        • Pathetic and delusional as well. I’m so sorry you’re witnessing this.

  • If one googles “mature woman virgin boy”, or the like, tons of porn sites pop up. So it must be a thing.
    I doubt that one could have a healthy relationship with this woman.
    It seems the marriage is the cover for something else, thus all the terrible and absolutely ludicrous blame-shifting: the focus shifted on him to distract from the real issue.
    Also, as others stated above, this is a situation of crazy territory, of adrenaline rushes. I agree that it is the kind of bonding that takes place when you deal with crazy every day. It is an unhealthy bond of which to free oneself.

    • Gaslighted,

      You can un-bond yourself. She, as a skilled intimate abuser, has infiltrated your mind, infected your thought processes. It is not your fault. You can do it, by no longer granting her access to your inner life. You will begin to get her voice out of your head and start feeling much much better.

  • Dear Gaslighted Guy,

    This line in your later stopped me cold: “I tried to end it, but couldn’t, so I trusted her again.” On the one hand, you know you should end it, but because it’s difficult, you decide to trust someone you know is not trustworthy. You knew that she wasn’t trustworthy and you know it now. Deciding to trust her is like finding out your neighbor steals the charity money he collects and then, knowing that, handing him all your money.

    There are three kinds of trust:
    1. Blind trust, where a chump decides to trust someone on no evidence (see “love at first sight,” early cohabitation, and lovebomging.)
    2. Stupid trust, where a chump knows someone is not trustworthy and decides to go ahead anyway and invest in this person.
    3. Actual trust, where someone has earned trust over time and never abused it. And even then, you trust with your eyes open and your instincts on. How does someone earn your trust? They don’t lie, gaslight, manipulate and break agreements. They are consistent. Generally speaking, for example, people are foolish to trust me to be somewhere on time because I always run a little late. I’m bad about reading email and returning calls. It’s sorry, sad behavior. But you can trust me with your money, your kid, your partner, your ailing parent, your secrets. And if someone is breaking into your house, I might get there before 911 does. It’s not just who to trust. It’s what to trust them with or about. The kind of trust works when both people are into reciprocity, honesty and respect and when both partners are willing to notice and call out breaches of that trust.

    My second point is that if you are divorcing, you need to turn your attention away from you pain over the betrayal by this WannabeEveryone’sGirlfriend and start protecting yourself. This is what the end of CL’s post means. PROTECT YOUR FINANCES. Run a credit check. Get your paycheck into a separate account in your name only. If she has finished her education, make sure your attorney is smart enough to require her to get a job equivalent to that education.

    Talk to your lawyer about getting the house, if you can afford it, or selling it to start over. Whatever is best. But her dallying with a 19-year old may be powerful evidence to get you full custody and her weekend visitation. Don’t hesitate to play hardball over having your son more than 50//50. Yes, it hurts. But you have to put some time limits on that wallowing (I say that word from my own experience) in the pain so you can limit the damage she does to you.

    Clearly, she has no conscience. That’s the reality you have to internalize.She’s not like you. There is no fixing her.

  • Guy,

    Had it happen to me – and pretty much as you describe it – although in my case is was one of Ex-Mrs LFTT’s boyfriends from before we met, rather than a teenager. I would advise the follow:

    – Protect yourself (mentally, physically, financially etc).
    – Be calm, careful and calculating. Be aware that your soon to be Ex will try to provoke you to get a response; she will use this to justify her behaviour in retrospect and to make you look bad.
    – Be the sane parent for your child. This is hard, but the right thing to do.
    – Fight for custody; our three children (then 11, 16 and 18 and now 17, 21 and 24) stayed with me because I bl**dy well made sure that the Court knew that I was best placed to bring them up …. that said, the fact that even her family (MIL, SIL and BIL) all said the kids would be better off with me rather than Ex-Mrs LFTT might have helped.
    – Divorce her a*se and make sure you get a clean break if you can. Her life will go to sh*t, and probably sooner rather than later. With a clean break she alone owns the consequences of her f*ck ups.
    – Don’t rush into any new relationships; ’nuff said.
    – When her AP realises how gross this all is, he will drop her like a hot sh*t covered rock. This will happen as soon as he works out that by the time he is 30 she will be close to 50. Do not be her “Plan B” when this happens … just make sure that you (and your kid) are well clear of Ground Zero so that you don’t become collateral damage.

    And …. lastly, remember that this does get better.

    You are not alone.


  • I’m probably repeating a lot of what the other comments say but I wanted to comment anyway.
    OP- you are an incredible amazing person for helping your future ex-wife through college. Let me tell you; my cheater was a moocher. I had to be the person paying for all his stuff, and in my mind I kind of was hoping he would return the favor when I fell ill. Instead he just complained and cheated. Not only the fact you are faithful and loving but like, incredibly trustworthy.
    Second- I haven’t seen what you look like, but I sincerely doubt your wife’s comments. And regardless- for men it isn’t that hard to be attractive to women, trust me. You can do a lot by dressing nicely, the way you carry yourself, and a lot of other things.
    In my opinion (i see this a lot from abusive partners and male pick up artists) the fact that she insulted your looks and career is not an accident or mistake.
    What she is doing is very conniving- she is trying to lower your self esteem so that you think to yourself “Oh. I guess no one would love me anyway. I should stay with her because there’s nothing better out there.” and resign yourself to abuse. It’s called “negging”. It’s terrible.
    I think I saw a comment saying don’t show her your hand or share any of these articles in order to prove her wrong. Look up the article about rookie mistakes- the cheater is not your ally.

    My cheater cheated on me with a woman who was cheating on her guy. You remind me a lot of him. She was/is an entitled womanchild, and he was devastated because she had convinced him there was nothing else for him out there except her *hugs*

    • I fully agree with your insight on her comments about “not being attractive “ so forth. My ex wife use to tell me that nobody would love me or put up with me how she did. I’m not looking for a girlfriend but I’ve had interest from about 7 women now who all find me attractive and wanted to date. I’m only six months into being alone so I’m so far from being ready. These abusers want to tear us down as they know deep down they are broken disordered people and we chumps are worth so much more.

  • I too was told the “just a friend” crap when I discovered suspicious emails. Followed by several weeks of lies, gaslighting, blame shifting. I was blindsided, highly suspicious of “just friends”, and devastated. Then he couldn’t decide if he wanted me or her. This was emotionally gut-wrenching. Then I happened upon his secret email account. He was posting and responding to casual encounter ads on Craigslist. This “friend” had replied to his Craigslist ad, knew he was married with kids, and they were hooking up in vehicle on his lunch hour for sex. Don’t ever believe they are “just a friend”. I’ve been divorced for 3 years and life gets sweeter every day. You will get through this and be amazed at how great life is when you lose a cheater!

  • Honey, even if she had never kissed or fucked a single guy, she was massively emotionally abusive to you, to the point where you tried to kill yourself. There is nothing to work with here. She’s a walking, taking, dick slobbering POS. Integrate that reality into your thinking. She’s not even remotely a good enough person to get to judge you. Take CL’s advice. Also, be warned that she will likely try to make life after divorce hellish for you. She may try to come between you and your son, hurting him in order to hurt you. Yes, she is that vile. She may even make false accusations of abuse against you. Her type often does. Be prepared for the worst, get a good lawyer, and gather defenders around you in your friends and family. Get to them before she has the chance to spread lies about you to them. Again, her type usually does. Do. Not. Trust. This. Woman.

    I’m really sorry. I’ve been there, with the emotional abuse, the suicidal depression and my shitbag husband of over 25 years (now my ex, praise be) ignoring it and continuing to cheat and lie. It burns like no other pain there is. For whatever it’s worth, I’d date you in a heartbeat if I was closer to your age and wasn’t so broken myself. Somebody, some day, will adore you. That person is not your wife. She is a spousal abuser and a sexually compulsive whack job. If you accept that her lack of worth as a human being is the problem, not your lack of worth as a partner, it gets easier to let go. Don’t hold on to dead things. Make a new life instead. You can do this.

  • Guy, chump lady is absolutely right.

    Your situation sounds exactly like mine with my XW. They were just “her friends”, and she also gaslit me and called me the jealous one. Honestly, very similar behavior. Let me tell you how it ended. After “friend” number three, she decided that was the new guy she wanted to be with.

    On the way out, just to be nice, she told me that every single one of those “friends” were guys she had slept with and had affairs with. I was like you, questioning my sanity because her actions weren’t matching her words. Two years out of that situation, I kick myself for not realizing the truth that was going on. It was obvious to the outside, but while I was in it my head was in the mindfuck blender.

    Good luck brother. It’s not easy. But this relationship is unacceptable. Boundaries have already been crossed. Sending you strength during this tough time.

  • As a woman with platonic male friends I can tell you it has never crossed my mind to ask them if they are still virgins or to use the phrase “our first time together” in ANY context. No way is this guy “just a friend”. As others have said, it doesn’t matter if she had sex with him or not. What matters is she is gaslighting you to the point of suicide.

    When Nitwit said he was feeling suicidal I fretted over him. I told him how wonderful he was and how my heart would be broken if he died. I hid any pills he might use to take his own life while I was at work. I later found out it was all a ploy to get attention, just like a whiny teenager, but the point is that is how normal people react when a loved one talks about suicide.

    Did your wife do any of that when you were feeling suicidal?

  • Thank you all, your right. I took it o. The chin for soo long. Funny thing I called her a pedophile one day out of anger. I am going to therapy. I’m trying to hmget my stuff together. I did move out and we did finally start the divorce process. It still feels like she’s cheating when he’s ov er there which is every Saturday while I have our son, but I have no legal recourse so just have to deal with it. She truly feels like a whole other person, not excusing her btw, she chose this. I do feel we lived a lie. Its hard when the future you envisioned planned and saved for is obliterated and your left broken confused, broke and aimless. I suppose I’ll find my path again. I live for my son, he keeps me fighting. I can’t fail him and I won’t. I don’t believe they didn’t have sex, although she denies it, and she is a really bad liar and has some very obvious tells. It’s the one thing I can’t get her to Crack on or show her tells. I do refuse to buy it though. I have no my wife couldn’t she is innocent thoughts. Just I never found any proof. So I will just try and learn from it and be the best dad I can and see where it leads me.

    • You WILL find your way again, I promise! Just keep taking life one day at a time, let yourself feel the sadness and loss without running from it, and you will begin to see brighter days ahead. Allow the process and the grief to take the time it needs so you can start healing. Your situation is really tough! Everyday try to do 1 thing that makes you feel good, maybe things you stopped doing because you were married to her. Concentrate on You now. And please please please don´t take anything from her personally, it´s obvious she is messed up and that is not on you. You did not cause her to be or act the way she has.

      You sound fairly young, like you are an awesome dad and are willing to comit! Do your healing and get back out there, someone is going to snatch you up in no time! A big hug to you, I wish you all the best

  • I also failed to mention 2 weeks after we separated I found a pic of the two of them cheek to cheek with hearts on it, I confronted and asked if they were together she said they were. But they were just friends. They set up a relationship while we were married and then got together as soon as we were separated, but they were just friends.

  • No she actually told her ap I was “in a straight jacket” and I was just trying to get attttention. She acted concerned. On our drive home from the facility I asked to talk and it ended with her screaming at me about how I let her down while she had soo much going on (school, work,her parents moving) and I was asking her for too much time. She finally told me later she was suicidal once but she couldn’t get help because she had to run the house. She had to be there for everyone else. So yeah no sympathy or empathy.

    • I’m sorry, but there is nothing here to work with. It is ALL about her. Not even your child is that important to her. It sounds like you are doing better, keep up just putting one foot in front of the other, You will get there!

  • “She also told me she didn’t find me attractive. It was all so devastating and I feel worthless and ugly.“

    It sounds like she is also projecting with that hurtful comment.

    ???? I’m sorry Guy, had a loony ex-wife except she cheated with a considerably older guy, older than me. My 29-year old wife with a 44-year old guy (both betrayed their respective spouses and kids).

    They suck

  • Dear Chump Lady,

    I read this post, and then I read your advice.

    And then I read your advice again.

    My goodness; it was brilliant. I loved the Decision Tree. I loved how you turned it back to HIS feelings: could he trust her? Is that how he wanted his marriage to be? Did he feel safe, valued, loved, respected, cherished?

    They had sex or didn’t have sex. You said it was no matter. Did he want that kind of marriage? Was it okay with him or not? (Oh, I love it!)

    My favorite part, she said he wasn’t attractive. You said, A faithful, loving, invested man is a STOCK THAT TRADES HIGH. And that is exactly right! I would love to find a man with those qualities! That would be super attractive to me.

    Then you said not to reason with her. (Because we all want to do that!)

    And be the Sane Parent.

    Oh! This advice makes me feel so good inside! This man has a chance now. He will be able to leave a terrible, heart-rending situation that has no other good ending than his leaving. And his son has a chance, too.

    Thank you for this tonight. Of course I’m hurting, over something so little that I wouldn’t even mention it, but your words soothed my heart and I feel a little lighter now. 🙂


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