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He’s ‘Saving’ the Other Woman

cakeHi Chump Lady,

I have been married to my possible soon-to-be-ex for 25 years (M 53). I should have left in 2007 when he had an emotional / online affair with a woman he met on a dating site (claimed it was an old friend from high school). Our kids were 2 and 10. It was the start of the Great Recession and I wasn’t making enough money to live comfortably. He convinced me it was my fault. We worked it out and have had a quiet 12 years.

In October 2020 he got a 19-year-old female helper. Management supposedly decided he would be the safest person to put her with. She doesn’t have a license, so he picks her up, they ride to jobs together (alone) and then drops her off. I wasn’t thrilled, but to keep the peace, I didn’t say anything. I’ve passive aggressively been calling her his “work wife” for awhile but otherwise, wasn’t letting it consume me. I genuinely wasn’t thinking anything nefarious was going on. He was actually pretty open about telling me things they talked about, some things about her life, etc.

Four weeks ago he sent her $600, without telling me, to help her get out of her country. Supposedly she lost her green card when she went home to Central America and needed the money to get home. Family couldn’t help. I had specifically asked him to not send her the money. Not only did I think it was inappropriate, I was suspicious of the whole story. I found out the next morning when I checked our joint bank account.

The company did reimburse him, but the damage was done and trust shattered. I got mad at him and called him a “f***ing liar”. He got mad at me — and I have texts of him accusing me of being the problem. He also said he shouldn’t have to ask me to “send money to a friend”, and I’ve been “stalking” him with find my iPhone. We fought, and eventually I accepted everything as my fault after begging a half-hearted apology out of him. He still says he did nothing wrong.

Since then, on top of the 2 to 4 hours of driving time they spend alone, I found out they’ve been going to leisurely lunches, either at restaurants or in the work truck (but we can’t go out because of COVID) and then Monday he came home with his hoodie strings cutely braided. I told him lunching for hours alone with his female coworker isn’t appropriate and wanted him to set a “no touch” boundary. He got mad — I’m just being jealous… threatened to quit his job… threatened to fire her… all of his decisions being my fault. None of which are going to happen. We haven’t spoken to each other in days.

He has since also bought her $1000 phone. He “confessed” and said he didn’t know why he did it And our marriage counselor said it seems like he’s trying to “save” her (she’s had a rough life). He promises he doesn’t love her, but does care about her. So after all this, he comes to me yesterday and says he’s going to a coworkers birthday party Saturday night and she’s probably going with him. I went off and told him how could he think I’d be okay with him hanging out with her on a Saturday night after everything that’s happened? So, now he is blaming me for not being able to go hang out with his coworkers because of my trust issues.

I’m in individual therapy and we’re in marriage counseling. Obviously it isn’t doing much good. I’m a big ball of mess — can’t sleep, stressed, heart rate up, blood pressure up. I want to believe she’s “just a friend” but nothing is adding up. I’m trying to find peace but it’s hard when you’re in the middle of a storm.

Beth

Dear Beth,

I’m curious where you fit into all this for your husband. Are you supposed to stay home and starch his shirts? Keep the home fires burning? Maintain a shrine and have no other gods before him?

What exactly is the point of you? Are you just some buzzing annoyance that he placates in weekly counseling sessions? While he continues his balls-deep infatuation with a teenager?

Creep fact: You have two children ages 15 and 23. SHE COULD BE YOUR THIRD CHILD. He is 53.

So is all this interest fatherly? Do your children get new $1K phones? Do you?

And our marriage counselor said it seems like he’s trying to “save” her (she’s had a rough life).

I think the word here is “groom” her. Your therapist is a quack. How nice of her to attribute the kindest of motivations. With that interpretation, what does that make you? The meanie who doesn’t want to save this waif?

Let me ask you — does your husband commit any other acts of flagrant generosity? Sponsor overseas orphans? Have a nephew he helps with college? An aging aunt who needs lawn care?

Or is it just one attractive teenage girl that is the sole focus of his charitable urges?

Funny that.

So after all this, he comes to me yesterday and says he’s going to a coworkers birthday party Saturday night and she’s probably going with him. I went off and told him how could he think I’d be okay with him hanging out with her on a Saturday night after everything that’s happened? So, now he is blaming me for not being able to go hang out with his coworkers because of my trust issues.

You weren’t invited? Oh right, you’re the controlling mean mommy who won’t let him have friends.

Look, Beth, no one wants to be the marriage police. When you find yourself in this bullshit, it’s best to realize that the relationship is over. You’ve been parentified. He’s wildly inappropriate, but you’re the Adult who is supposed to enforce his nonexistent boundaries. (Why don’t they exist? Because he doesn’t want them.) It’s a total no win.

He’s got cake — you there doing whatever it is that adds value to his life. (Just now, please shut up and don’t question his entitlement.) And he’s got his new mark, potential Schmoopie/sexual harassment lawsuit giving life zing.

Speaking of which — you don’t know if she’s a willing participant in all this. She may be a kid going along, who needs a ride, and is creeped out by the attention and needs her job.

If the $600 was reimbursed by the company, (i.e., they read this as a legitimate expense), she may have sincerely thought he could help her in that moment. There’s no reason HE had to do it, if it WAS something the company would cover, so that’s fishy.

But my point is, I can see the Predatory Other Woman narrative coming into play here. She’s after a new phone! A ride home! Bail!

She’s 19. HE is the predator. If he really wanted to “save” her, he could direct her to the appropriate services and keep it professional. His dick is being wildly unprofessional.

But most of all he’s hurting you. And that’s what really matters. He doesn’t seem to give a shit about that.

You can live with the constant devaluing (your blood pressure feels otherwise), or you can leave. My advice — hang up your mean mommy boots, and put the X in that STBX.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Um. Lived this but didn’t know she existed. It’s not good. He is grooming her. Excuses will never end. Leave now.

    • It’s creepy. I’m 37 and would not even hit on 19 year old girls. A 53 year old man is creeping on her. This is all going to end seriously bad for him.

      • Correct!
        I was a 19 year old once and it’s creepy to have an older guys ( 40 was already an older guy) hitting on you or trying to “ help you”
        It’s not flattering ( unless they are some disturbing unresolved childhood traumas) at all.
        My h was “ helping” young hookers 🤮

  • He was on a dating site. That means he was looking for a date. That’s the first one you know about but he’s obviously been shopping around ever since then. His company should know better than to put a 19-year-old with a horny 53-year-old and think things are gonna work out really well. That’s what makes me think this is a bunch of horseshit. I think it’s time for you to pack a bag and say adios to him. It’s not because you are leaving it’s because he’s leaving. You don’t need him in your life anymore and he should be on his merry way with his little playmate.

    • I caught that too, I’m wondering if it’s a bullshit lie he told her. She had to be out with him because he’s the “safest” option? What kind of company is this that so many predatory men are working there and they arrange assignments with that in mind instead of y’know, telling the guys to knock the harassment shit off?

      Or did hubby REQUEST that he be partnered with the hot teenager?

      • This is a construction company (as opposed to an office job) and while there is precedence for women working out on the job sites, it’s not common and this is the first time his division has hired a woman to work in the field.

        “Did he REQUEST…”? I’ll never know for certain. It was between him (since his last helper had left a few months back) and 2 other *single guys. I guess they figured the married guy would be less likely to draw a harassment lawsuit.

    • Let go I would add “for him” to “pack a bag”. My lawyer advised me to not leave the family home as it would negatively impact my negotiations with the fuckwit. She was right and I ended up buying him out( funny how banks don’t loan money to a deadbeat who has no income). It was the single most important thing to how I survived financially.

      • We’ll see – he called my bluff 2 weekends ago when I told him to get out and took his 1/2 of the money in the accounts, open his own bank account, and apparently went and toured 3 apartment complexes.

        Our state doesn’t allow me to just kick him out…just like he can’t kick me out – not without a protection order. I also have no proof of an affair, so if he decides to stay, then I have to try and move out and find a place to rent for 4 people and 3 animals.

        • Most states have a version of a Legal Separation in which the court/judge decides who lives where and who pays what during the term of the legal separation. Then of course the courts after listening to both sides of the case will also determine child support even after the divorce.

          But, you can’t get to that stage until you file. Different states call it different things, but every state I researched had a version of the “legal separation” I mean they have to. You can’t file for a D and get it in one day, so there are provisions for temporary living situations until the actual case is settled.

            • Yep. Main thing is to get legal protections in place, no matter what they are called.

              In our state at the time, they had several ways of taking care of business.

              There is a 60 day waiting period from date of filing, but the legal separation can be longer depending on the individual case. You don’t have to have a lawyer of course, but in cases of children or long term marriages where substantial assets are an

              In my case I could have gotten three years of a legal separation with maintenance. I only asked for six months. After the six months he began to drag his feet for some reason. So I actually got a years legal separation with a good maintenance pkg.

              It enabled me to get back some of the money he stole from marital assets to spend on the whore. It also gave me time to get prepared for divorce.

              These lying fuckers can run up massive debt if given the opportunity, I needed a legal separation to protect myself from him.

              In our state once legally separated each person is liable for any debts they incur after the legal separation is in place.

  • This triggered me for some reason. I can feel the abuse through the letter and my computer screen. Beth, please save yourself. Your husband is creeping me the f*** out. It’s one thing for someone to help a “friend”… it’s a whole other thing for your husband to keep his wife at home, clueless and not able to make sense of all the sh** he’s doing… then blaming her for asking questions and any bad choices he makes. I feel like you’ve been imprisoned by him — he’s gaslighting the crap out of you and grooming a young girl who needs money and a green card.

    • Right? I felt this letter so much. He’s abusing the shit out of her while simultaneously being a predator of young teenagers. She needs to run like there’s no tomorrow if she doesn’t get the hell out immediately. This man in dangerous af.

      • Exactly. This one got under my skin. She needs to get free of him (safely) and he probably needs to be reported (to work? to authorities?) — I’m scared for that young girl too. “Dangerous af” is correct.

        • Get your agreement before you turn him in at work. If he doesn’t have a job it will effect your settlement.

    • ” I feel like you’ve been imprisoned by him”

      I say this with some new-found love for myself: I’ve allowed myself to be imprisoned – not necessarily to HIM, but to my codependency. The lack of self worth, the lack self esteem, not truly loving myself and believing I could only be happy when he was happy.

      He absolutely IS gaslighting me. He gets so pissed when I call him out, but I won’t stand for him negating my reality.

  • Being the marriage police is not fun. It also never works. Ask me how I know 🙄

    I tried for two years to keep him from her, asked (begged) to block her, move jobs, avoid her etc. Totsl waste of time.

      • I also feel like fuckwits do things just to make you totally unbalanced and go insane – I mean how crazy making is it to try to date and spend all you time with someone that could be your kid – WHILE neglecting you and their own kids. I mean this gaslighting is operating on so many levels!

  • Yeah, my fw was spending marital money on the whore for years. (I will never know for sure how many years). Though I was able to get some of it back in the separation period, it still burns me that I spent years sacrificing, and scrimping so he basically had money to spend on a whore.

    she wasn’t young, but close to his age; she was just a colossal screwed up loser. It will forever be a mystery to me how he decided she was a good idea. Good news is, once they married they destroyed each other financially. So he got his “Karma” early on.

    Still weird. He pretty much had it all, and was on his way to attaining his own stated dream, and he blew it all up for the town bicycle.

    • Totally sucks to be taken advantage of, and to be the clueless sacrificing wife at home. Its a betrayal that it hard to heal. Not sure I’ll ever totally be “over it”. It feels twilight zone like. To think of the life they lived when their feet left the threshold of family life, it is nauseating. How a person can compartmentalize like that is beyond me!

      • “and to be the clueless sacrificing wife at home. Its a betrayal that it hard to heal. ”

        Yep, I think most of us who have hearts will retain scars. Doesn’t mean we won’t be happy, most of us will be.

        I don’t know how they compartmentalize it either. I am glad I couldn’t do it.

      • Ha, it fits for sure.

        I saw that a couple months ago, I think on this site and loved it.

        Quite frankly, she had gone after several married men, wasn’t a secret. He was her boss, so she finally found the brass ring. Given how it went down, I think she had him by the short hairs. Gotta give credit where credit is due.

        • @Susie Lee and ChumpDiva: Cheater #2 literally rode the town bicycle. Well, the club bicycle if one wants to be precise. Lonely woman in bike riding club, will go down at the slightest urging.

          She got her karma though: husband divorced her, got a great settlement, including the house. He unfortunately died of cancer less than a year after the divorce was final. He left the house to the kids, who no longer speak to their mom because of what she did to their dad. Oh, and the kicker? Her hips went bad at the beginning of the pandemic and she hasn’t been able to get elective surgery to fix them. Sucks to be her.

          OK, now back to your regularly scheduled thread.

  • Been there. He’s doing everything in the world for someone 15 years younger, and he won’t walk ten feet to get you a soda out of the fridge. He’s doing this shit because he LIKES it. He totally knows what he’s doing, you arguing with him isn’t telling him anything he doesn’t know. He’s getting off on your anger and her adoration. Honestly you’re literally like a mom of a teenager now, the more you try to reason with him the more you’re setting up him as the hero and victim. Leave.

    And OP I’m seriously questioning his story about how his job reimbursed him for money he gave to her concerning her immigration. A little shady there.

    • I felt like a mother to a teen age boy with my ex at the end.
      I was the parent and he was seeing what he could get away with
      Never got any answers to my questions, just that I was “hurting” him with the questions.
      The final straw was his statement to me “you cant put my dick in your purse”.
      I married a cheater in remission, unknowingly.
      Turns out he had done the same thing to his first wife
      Get out and build your amazing life. So happy I did!!!!
      Xo

      • “cheater in remission” – good one. Ain’t no such thing. They just go deeper underground & double down

    • This made me laugh because being married to the ex was like parenting a teenager, all along. I used to joke about how I “had the four children I always wanted”. I thought it was just a little harmless narcissistic lying but should have realized that it would lead to cheating. Kind of how psychopaths start by killing animals first.

    • Beans said: “And OP I’m seriously questioning his story about how his job reimbursed him for money he gave to her concerning her immigration. A little shady there.”

      I totally agree. I wouldn’t be surprised if he got money out of his secret bank account and deposited it into the joint account. Cheaters also cheat with money.

      • No…he sent me a picture of the cash with the note “here’s your fucking money”. To placate him I told him to add it to the “vacation” funds

        • Hey Beth, so sorry you’re in this situation but in my view you should take those funds and give yourself a vacation with your kids while you quietly see a few lawyers and line up those ducks. This man is completely contemptuous of you, your marriage and your family and that’s your giant red flag (as if the 19 year old wasn’t already). He is cheating so you should get organized. Plan now. Grieve later. You are on a war footing now…(((Beth)))

    • “He’s doing everything in the world for someone 15 years younger, and he won’t walk ten feet to get you a soda out of the fridge.”

      33 years younger…
      Yah…this comment hit me where it hurts because it’s the absolute, 100% truth. In 28 years he has rarely done anything “nice” for me…I remember a time when I asked for a massage for Mother’s Day and was told that if it wasn’t something “material” (ie, something he could show off/get credit for from friends/family), it was a waste of money. He’s been better about that since going NC with his FOO but I can still count on 2 hands how many times in 10 years he’s done things for me that don’t benefit him as well (except sex…he’s always been more about me than him when it comes to the bedroom…go figure).

      • Is he really doing anything “nice” for that teenager though? On the surface it looks like he’s “nice” but a lot of his actions come with strings attached – he controls her visa and her transportation now, along with her job. He’s maneuvering a teenager into a situation where she’ll be “punished” if she says “no” to his advances (say goodbye to job, greencard, and getting to places) with the bonus of looking like a “generous helpful person” to his company.

        There are a ton of ways in which he could have helped and not put her into that situation – he could have introduced her to your family and then she’d be able to have the support of a more maternal figure and people her age. You could have helped her as a family – perhaps by helping her get her license. Those don’t benefit him or make him look as some sole hero thought.

  • I should have left at the three year mark when he lied about a female “study partner” from his junior college class. No marriage, no children, no co-owned business. VERY easy walk. But was I going to end a relationship based on suspicion? After all, he said he was not attracted to her (despite That Vibe) and he said there were no other guys in the class for him to partner with.

    I thought I had won the lottery. He’s a nice guy! He’s in recovery! He goes to therapy with me so we will learn together to have a successful marriage and family and avoid the dysfunctional dumpster fire marriages of our parents!

    Not long after I heard his explanation of why they were study partners, I got a call at home (wall phone days) from…..another guy in the class who wanted to borrow his notes.

    Sometime later he admitted to being attracted to her. In other words, he LIED.

    Twenty four years later, with a therapist in the room the entire time, I found out he is a liar, a cheater, and a thief. I don’t know how much of half of my life by that point (27 years) was a MIRAGE. Twenty four years later I realized he was probably banging the “study partner”.

    #facepalm

    Therapy for a cheater is a way to continue eating cake, I am convinced. I probably would have left ages go without that extra thick smoke screen of Going To Therapy.

    That he has A NINETEEN YEAR OLD ASSISTANT after being busted for cheating is a HARD NO FROM THE GET GO. That never should have NEVER been given one second or one breath of oxygen.

    If you hang out in the barber shop long enough, you’re going to get a haircut.

    Trust yourself, Luke!

    I’m glad I stayed because I have my precious daughter. Except for her, I wish I had bailed when he admitted he had lied about “being attracted” to the study partner.

    • This got left off when I posted above…..

      He has A NINETEEN YEAR OLD ASSISTANT and is FIFTY THREE?!!!

      I hear a fire alarm and an ambulance siren and a tsunami warning and an Amber Alert and an Emergency Broadcast warning all going off at the same time and I see light bars flashing on every single emergency vehicle for miles around……

      This strikes me as being way way way beyond inappropriate and an icky no-no.

      • Velvet Hammer, my ex had weird relationships with women from his volunteer postions, quite early in the marriage. And later he would go for coffee with mothers of our kids friends to ‘help’ them when they had marriage problems. I had no idea what any of it meant. More fool me.

      • At 31 I am probably one of the youngest chumps here. Nevertheless the thought of having sex with a TEENAGER, even one of legal age, disgusts me. I am technically old enough to be an 18 or 19 year old’s mother. No thanks.

        • Exactly!
          Research shows that older we get, the line of attraction moves up;
          Unless someone is f*^%* up and think that 30 years difference is ok
          I’m 38 and seeing a 21 year old man doesn’t create a need to have a relationship with him, I look at him as a “ kid”

        • NoMorreMsNiceChump,

          So so sorry your life situation has brought you here.

          As an older chump….I can’t help but think how fortunate you are to know all of this ‘stuff’ because you have a chance at a good relationship. I don’t cuz I am an ‘older one’ and, at my age and life situation, I have no desire to be in a romantic relationship again.

          After dday the fw I fell in love with admitted to being a serial cheater so I never had an honest relationship with him, ever. To say I feel cheated doesn’t even begin to explain the anguish I feel.

          I do not mean to diminish your pain at all with my comment. After reading what you wrote I just couldn’t get it out of my mind….how different my life could have been IF I had known then what I know now.

          • It is that stealing of your life, your heart your soul…

            I don’t know if CL will let this stay, (I did find the blog in one of her archives) but here is an excerpt from a blog I read that states it so well.

            From the Honey and the Homewrecker blog:

            “And all of that aside? He’d never ONCE told me he was unhappy. Quite the contrary. He’d told me he loved me and smiled to my face all the way until the proverbial knife slipped between my should blades. Do you know on how many levels that messes with a persons head? I mean, the incalculable damage done to every other part of life aside, does anyone out there really get what that does to a person’s soul? If you are one of the lucky ones to never have to experience this, let me enlighten you.
            First, it is so deeply humiliating that someone would think so little of you as to play you like a marionette in their own jacked up puppet show. Second, it makes you wonder why it is you’ve been locking the door all these years to keep the bad guys out of your house when it turns out you’ve been sleeping next to one. And lastly, it causes a wound that will never, ever heal. Not time, not a new love in your life, not ANYTHING this world has to offer can repair a tear that jagged. Nope. This sucker will be with me until my dying breath. Because marriage (even one that was a fraud and you just don’t know it) is a one-flesh relationship. I was joined to him to my marrow.
            It hurt as deeply as if he’d ripped me in half. Which, essentially, he did.
            So, it occurred to me recently that perhaps one of the reasons (and there are many) that I can’t seem to even get in the same solar system as the word ‘forgiveness’ as it pertains to Honey is that I was robbed of a real chance to have my say. He dug in the blade when his bags were already packed. He was just waiting for that tipping point that would somehow make it okay for him to walk out the door and drive away. Some moment where, in my hysterics about the bomb he’d dropped while sobbing on the floor, he could quietly retreat in his cowardice. Just staying long enough to where he didn’t have to witness the full measure of what he’d just laid upon his wife and babies. But at some point, he knew he had to flee the crime scene, so to speak. He didn’t want to stick around and deal with the unpleasant consequences.”

    • VelvetHammer

      Once again what you have written could have been written by me if I had gotten up earlier…

      Sober? Yep. Good guy? Yep. Therapy? Yep. Meetings? Yep. Sponsor? Yep. Sponsees? Yep.
      He appeared to walk the walk and had me completely hoodwinked for 30+ years.

      Many red flags but one I should have paid attention to but didn’t because of friends in program who said it was, ‘Normal’ in recovery. Be patient…’ he cut me off sexually. No explanation. We went to therapy and things ‘seemed to change’.

      Looking back to that time what changed was during that time my role changed from wife and partner to that of being treated like his parent.

      In other words he ‘parentified’ me.

      I just learned that word today when reading what CL wrote above. I knew what it felt like I just had never put an accurate label on it. Best I could do back in those days was fall on the terminology of ‘parent, adult, child’ communication patterns in our relationship.

      Mostly I felt like the parent and OF COURSE that was MY FAULT…

      So of course I worked harder to improve MY communication skills. Never worked and he left home just like all of our grown kids had done. Yep, I had successfully raised 4 children vs 3.

      Mistakes made. Lessons learned. Lost years. Shattered lives.

      I am old and my time on this planet is limited. I feel for my children who have their whole adult lives ahead of them knowing that their father is a serial cheater, stalker, sexual predator etc…yuck. They deserved soooooooo much better. Therein lies my rage….innocent lives twisted.

      Thanks for sharing today.

      • Elderly Chump,

        I know we’re chump soul sisters…that’s why I love and appreciate you. Let’s connect.

        XXOO

      • “I am old and my time on this planet is limited. I feel for my children who have their whole adult lives ahead of them knowing that their father is a serial cheater, stalker, sexual predator etc…yuck.”

        Yuck, indeed. I am an adult child and this description fits my FW father (FWF). I always felt like something was “off” with him. He flirted with women too much, paid them too much attention, always had his eye on someone walking by. I “caught” him flaunting his relationship with an AP (whom he swears he never had sex with) right in front of my face at a dinner party. He did the same right in front of everyone (mom, kids, extended families) with another AP who was a family friend. Fast-forward to last year and my mom told me the extent of his infidelities….pardon me, I mean whoring around.

        In the past year I’ve learned of people he’s stalked in the county where he lives. He’ll have some sort of “limerence” (see last week’s CL blog post) with someone and target them for some unknown reason. He will go to their place of work (they are usually a waitress or bartender) All.The.Time and leave them big tips. He’ll cyber-stalk them and go on their Instagram and follow them (some have blocked him), he’ll delve into the “background check” websites to find out all sorts of things about them like where they live, who they’ve been associated with etc. And why? Because he is a sexual predator. He finds people who are co-dependent or have some sort of daddy issues or problems (one has a son who is a drug addict) so he looks like their savior or knight in shining armor who can save them with his money, if only they’ll have sexual relations with him.

        It is so fucked up. So. Fucked. Up.

        I wish I didn’t know this about my father.

        Wait. Scratch that.

        I wish my father wasn’t a serial cheater, stalker, and sexual predator.

        I honestly pray most days that if he has done something sinister that he will get caught before he dies and suffer the consequences of his actions. Maybe that’s why his life was saved twice in the past year. I hope so. I hope that it was so he doesn’t get away with whatever fuckery he has done. I hope.

        • Bullshit and Lies,

          ‘Tis an ugly trail they leave in their wake. I am so sorry you know so many of the details about your father/sperm donor….

          The x wanted to make our split look clean. The line, ‘We have grown apart’ is what he hoped they would buy but I let them know that was a lie but did not and have not gone into many details.

          I felt they deserved to know that he was cheating throughout their lives since he was NEVER here nor did he show up for activities they were involved in unless it was a graduation or some other kind of ‘see and be seen’ kind of gathering.

          I didn’t want them feeling like they weren’t good enough which is why he wasn’t around which is how I felt…

          I let them know about the exit affair too since it was happening while they were still living at home and they witnessed the insanity that ensued after DDay. Lots of hovering and I was in full swing RIC mode being clueless as to the depth of what was really going on. (I didn’t find CL for over a year or more after DDay so they saw me tolerating a lot of unacceptable behavior on his part.)

          They knew he had checked out….I didn’t and the hopium was strong.

          I am sure they picked up on stuff too and will figure it all out on their own as they realize more about this sick world of betrayal etc.

          • My (at the time) 18 and 19 year old sons lived at home the summer after D-Day. It was a complete sh$tshow of wreconciliation—he’d lie right to our faces, even got down on his knees (I’d blocked this completely but my sons swear it happened) and said he was done with the hooker. The very next morning he drove to her apartment and sat outside “it’s a free country”. Never mind this prostitute threatened our entire family with a restraining order. Our sons are closer in age to the OW then my creepy stbx.

            • The stories we could tell….and get to thanks to CL.

              Keeps my head on straight and the blame off of my shoulders for ANY of the insanity now that I know all that goes on with cheaters.

              I have learned a lot in the past 4 years. Stuff I never imagined existed.

              So nice to know I am truly not alone and thus save me from myself with thoughts and feelings of ‘terminal uniqueness.’

        • Your father sounds like my ex. Serial cheater and predator. Very creepy. He now has a job with very vulnerable women and I worry for his new victims.

      • Mine played the good family man too. Honestly in the first few years that it was obviously going on (in hindsight) I don’t know when he had time. The only thing I can think of is he worked a lot of part time jobs. He had to be lying about some of that.

        He handled the finances so it would have been easy to hid the actual time/money.

        I should have know that with him working a lot extra and me still struggling for money something was not right.

        He kept me so busy.

        • Susie Lee, you and I both got taken in by the “I do nothing but work” lie.

          I could never reach him at work because he was “always in meetings.” He was actually showing up late, skipping meetings, leaving early, lunching for hours, going out for drinks after work and to dinner parties, etc. He ate very little in my presence yet was gaining weight. He had a lively social life as a bachelor while I sat at home waiting for him. The away trips too were hook-up opportunities. I was never welcome to come with but sometimes, at the last minute, he called me to join him there. It seemed the business purpose of his trip was over. There wasn’t even a scrap of paperwork or convention stuff in his hotel room. Apparently he never stayed in the actual convention hotel (if there even was a convention), nor in a cheaper hotel to save money; it was always very expensive and he always had a huge room. He had a huge collection of soaps and lotions from expensive hotels. Until he got fired. At first I could not understand why they would fire such a hard worker. SMH. I later came to find out he did very little work, all the while extorting business intelligence from vendors that he used to play the stock market.

          I was so naive and I loved him. The red flags were everywhere, I saw many of them, and I didn’t recognize them for what they were. I was raised a chump and he took advantage of that in every way he could. Then he found a new, even chumpier chump and discarded me.

          • So much the same.
            “I could never reach him at work because he was “always in meetings.””

            That is exactly what happened in the last year (ish) Or, I would go work a volunteer spot that he couldn’t make because “meetings”. He kept me busy and the fact that my volunteer work helped him in his career, was gravy I guess.

            But, in the early years of our marriage he worked a lot of security jobs, mostly of course at night. Oh I am sure some of them were legit, but not all. I never suspected it though.

            I signed our tax forms so I know some of it was legit. Enough to snow me anyway.

            Can’t say I was raised a chump. My parents were good folks, and they were honest folks. Treated me well. Lived by the golden rule.

    • I bet most of us had some sort of red flag event in the beginning and internal alarms, yet we stayed choosing to see the good and work things out. I missed so much and trusted blindly, I feel like a fool. Like you I’m thankful for the children, but I wish I’d left at the first sign of his most recent big affair. These past few years were pure hell.

      • Agreed LC.

        I could have done without those last couple years. I wish he had left as soon as he got his promotion. I think that is when he switched from gentle devaluing to full speed devalue and discard. But no, they evidently have to emotionally destroy us before the can leave.

  • Sounds more like a sugar daddy situation as what on earth would a 19 year old girl even have in common with a 53 year old man never mind it’s highly highly unlikely a 19 year old girl would even be sexually attracted to a 53 year old man. Seems she is using him for money.

      • It’s creep-city.

        Of course she’s not attracted to him. She might be like a geriatric nurse who’s learned to stomach changing bedpans and putting in catheters to make a living but the young prefer young.

        • That’s what I thought, which is why I wasn’t as bothered as much as I should have been by the amount of time my 48 year old husband was spending with a 25 year old he’d met at work. I only started worrying about it when I found out about her daddy issues. By then he’d fallen head over heels for the damsel in distress.

          • When I was in the web of RIC, I complained to the counselor that she needed to focus on FW’s knight in shining armor complex. He had to “be there” for all these damsels in distress. I realized it was his way to get his kibbles. I think he knew his easiest way into bed with OW was to find ones with issues so he could say nice things to boost their egos and offer them assistance. Oh, he was such a “good guy” that he was up at all hours to talk or text them when they so desperately needed him to tell them that they were smart and good and beautiful. It was the same with all of them. He mostly targeted overweight women who were unsuccessful in love historically. A few were married (and neglected by their husbands, poor things!) but most had never managed to have a steady boyfriend. Sometimes it would be a graying woman, much older than him. He would flatter them a little and their panties would fly right off. I saw it in his emails and texts over and over. He really prefers them young and has not had much success with younger women. I’m waiting for the day he finds the right one and ends up facing jail time for hooking up with someone underage.

            The counselor nodded her head when I brought up his damsel in distress syndrome. She never said much about it. She asked FW and he said that was just my perception because I was independent, I made him feel not needed and these women allowed him to feel needed. Then the conversation turned to how I could be less independent and not make him feel like he had to seek other women. Ugh. When I needed him for anything at all, I was devalued and told I was inept. If other women were needy, well, he must come to their rescue! The counselor brought it all back to my failings and FW nodded that yes, I was too independent and had to change. Of course.

            • “Then the conversation turned to how I could be less independent and not make him feel like he had to seek other women. Ugh.”

              Ugh indeed. I’m so happy you stuck to your guns, and that you figured it out despite this cr*ppy (and honestly—dangerous) advice. 👏🏼🙂

            • ” I was too independent and had to change. Of course.”

              BARF!!!! Sorry you went through all that and hope you are living a life free from that absolute waste of a human.

              Fwiw though I feel like that may play into what I’m dealing with (along with a myriad of other issues). In 2007 I was at a job I hated, miserable, barely making $40k and unable to provide for myself and 2 kids.

              I went back to school, got my MBA, and am now in a 6-figure position at a stable company and don’t “need” him anymore.

    • Well, he’s her boss, so there’s a pretty good chance she’s not very happy with his attention either – she just can’t afford to quit or piss him off.

      • This ^^^ is the truth. She’s 19. He’s her boss. She wants to hold onto her job, but she has no healthy coping skills for this kind of situation. So she lets him flirt and hopes he doesn’t go any further. This is sexual harassment at its finest.

        Beth, your husband is a creepy old man with too much power and an adolescent imagination. Believe NOTHING he tells you. Get a lawyer, and get him gone. Do it soon, because he may be on the way to another lawsuit and no job.

    • Totally agree. He’s a creepy pathetic predator but the 19 year old is using him for whatever she can get from him. She’s playing him or stringing him along. Oh and I’m sure it will come to light a LOT more marital money has been spent on this teenager.

      Kick this disgusting predator to the curb.

      • I’m thinking she could be an innocent victim who has no resources and simply needs to keep her job. He has all of the power in this situation and she is a child. The most she’s probably playing is along so she’s not out on the streets without a job.

        • Also, her green card status is likely tied to her having a job, so she is in a really vulnerable position in that regard.

      • Maybe not “marital” money per se, but he has quite the stash of cash from years of accumulated birthday / Xmas $$ – probably around $5,000 – $6,000.

        That has been another one of his arguments – if he had REALLY wanted to hide him spending money on her, he would’ve just sent a money order or paid cash for her phone. I’m waking up to the fact he is just so wrapped up in his fantasy world he’s created in his mind with her that he doesn’t CARE if I know or not.

    • My ex was really after a 19 yo who worked for him. He would text her, buy her things, etc. I finally threw a fit and told him no more personal texts. He was 50. He said she was a friend. I told him 50 yo men don’t have friends who are 19 yo girls. He finally agreed, but grudgingly. A few weeks later she left to go back to college. He complained that she never talked to him anymore and now he knows she was just being nice to the boss because she wanted a job. Of course she was, weirdo!

  • I will add that she seems vulnerable not just because of her age, but also because of her immigration status. He sounds like a predator. Do not trust him and his DARVO tactics. Protect yourself!

    • This.

      Beth, while a 19-year-old is an adult and can recognize right from wrong, the power dynamics of this situation are a lawsuit waiting to happen. Go find a lawyer and divorce him before the girl discovers that she has rights under US law to a harassment free workplace. Dump that sham of a marriage counselor and find a better individual therapist who understands gaslighting, infidelity, etc. Try to get your share of the marital assets before his company decides that it’s too expensive to retain a man who likes to have sex with teenage interns.

      Remove the “possibly” from STBX and make him a STBX.

  • Dear Beth,
    I hear you loud and clear. I experienced D-Day #1 in 2004 but spackled over it, because my STBX was so contrite, it had been just a brief fling with a former roommate, etc. etc. D-Day #2 came in 2018, and it was *much* worse the second time – STBX refused to break it off with the AP for several weeks and continued lying, hiding things. Entitlement out the wazoo. I found that if I gave STBX an inch, she would run a mile…directly over me.

    But as I started reflecting on our marriage, I realized that STBX had engaged in “affair lite” behaviors in all the years between her two “hot” affairs. She maintained emotionally intense friendships with people she was attracted to. She would pay only lip service to my valid concerns and insinuate that I was controlling if I objected to these friendships. (She admitted that she kissed one friend, but said it would never happen again. Chumpy me thought she had learned her lesson!)

    What I have learned is that disordered types will never be happy with what we chumps have to offer, because they need the high-quality emotional supply (kibbles) that usually comes with a new relationship – or, in your case, with “helping” a 19yo damsel in distress. Even if your husband is not sleeping with her, he almost certainly wishes he were, and is resenting the hell out of you the whole time for all your minor flaws and idiosyncrasies. Because, in the toxic relationship cycle, he’s likely been devaluing you for some time.

    My advice? Either make sure your marriage counselor can acknowledge the devaluation that is happening, and validate that your husband is not acting appropriately, or – likely the best option – just stop going to joint counseling altogether. And make doubly sure that your individual counselor recognizes that you are being devalued, and that you likely experienced some trauma after D-Day #1. To be honest, it sounds like there’s nothing to work with in your marriage, if your husband refuses to validate your legitimate feelings and really work to make you feel safe. As CL says, nobody wants to feel like the marriage police or like they are parenting their spouse. You already recognize the toll this situation is taking on you, and I have learned that there are long-term physical and mental impacts to sitting in this kind of stress over time.

    I’m glad you’ve found CL and CN, Beth, and I wish you all the best. It’s so much better to Gain A Life at whatever age, than to sit around in devaluation and wait for the next D-Day, which is just a matter of time.

  • Beth – This was painful to read. Part of the cheating cycle includes the denial, devaluing and discard. It’s to his advantage to make you so confused, so angry that you resort to name calling. Which makes you feel badly for days or weeks while he uses it to justify more cheating. You haven’t talked about your financial situation, but now is the time to get your ducks in a row. Talk to several lawyers. Act quickly, because guilt has a short shelf life.

    • ” This was painful to read. Part of the cheating cycle includes the denial, devaluing and discard. ”

      And the most frightening part is that by the time the devaluing state starts, it is too late to save the marriage; even if there was a slight chance. They are not going to let us (you) in on it until they have made the decision that they are done with us.

      Oh they may still have use for us for a bit, but the relationship of husband and wife is done, if it ever really existed to them.

    • I’ve consulted with a lawyer and financially, my ducks are lined up and ready to waddle. I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that I’m pissed! I’m the only one who’s cared about saving / 401K / etc and now stand to lose 50%. I seriously doubt I can prove physical infidelity and even then, the lawyer said unless it’s absolutely egregious, it would cost more than it’s worth to fight.

  • Yes he likes being the knight in shining armour to her. You on the other hand are being put into his nagging mother role. Once again, another spouse being devalued and blamed for it.
    He sounds horrible. This is a complete mindfuck for you and you shouldn’t need to be begging for his respect and consideration. Going to a party on a Saturday night with a 19-year-old… And you’re not invited. 😂. That will give you the time to put his things in garbage bags and tell him he can go live in the truck with her.
    Seriously, when you have children with a fuckwit it’s no surprise that you try to hold on. But it’s an insidious slow drip when you are devalued like that. End it now rather than going another 20 years with him at which point they’ll be nothing left of you.
    Better late than never.

    • The knight in shining armor was my ex narcissistic sociopath. Every stranger he came across received more kindness from him than I did. Unfortunately didn’t learn about NPD until after I left otherwise I would have planned a better exit.

      • Raff: I feel you! I still lament the settlement I agreed to. These are true scumbags who have no sense of anything but their own entitlement.

    • “End it now rather than going another 20 years….” Amen to that. This is exactly why I’m getting my ducks in a row. I fear the day he gets older and develops some physical condition requiring me to take care of him and then I look like a bad guy for leaving. Let his OW wipe his ass and his drool when he can’t do it for himself anymore. I’m not going to be stuck being nurse to this monster. With his anger issues, I sometimes wonder if he’ll stroke out.

  • Beth

    Your post triggered something within me. I’m angry.

    I’m angry for you.

    I’m angry that your fuckwit husband thinks his behaviour is acceptable on any level, on any planet.

    I’m angry at his total disrespect towards you and your family.

    Please leave. Please. What is your role in this relationship? The emotional punching bag.

    It will hurt like a MF to leave. I get it.

    At the moment he is expecting you to eat the shit sandwich and not only like it but ask for seconds and NEVER complain. Fuck that.

    Please leave.

    • Yes, angry! After the pit in my stomach feeling went away I felt angry. What’s soooo wrong with sooo many middle aged men/women? If it’s not on this site, it’s on tv, newspaper, neighborhood gossip that these fuckups walk among us. All is well on the surface & one day the rug is just yanked away. It’s almost becoming normal to behave this way. Don’t know how much more I can take.

      I’ve been divorced for almost 9 years after what I felt was a beautiful & loving marriage of almost 25 years. Rug was yanked & masked fell off. Fast forward & boyfriend of 7 years just did same thing almost worse in a sense as he hid another girlfriend from me & me from her for several of those years.

      Didn’t get much therapeutic gardening in over the weekend due to rain so I’m just cranking & tired of cheaters ruining too many worlds.

      • Therapeutic gardening is my saviour! I ripped out so many plants, hauled yards and yards of mulch and compost, planted only things that flowered and brought joy. Now I’m at meh and have the self control to nurture and grow things from seed instead of destroy lol.

  • Unfortunately in these impoverished countries, girls are encouraged to hook up with American men who can give them money, green cards and a way out of poverty. It’s a totally dangerous game because these men often do abuse these young girls or the men themselves don’t realize they are being taken advantage of for their legal status and money. I’ll bet good money that this young woman does not love your husband and he could have real legal problems if a) she is under age or b) not in the country legally.

    • I agree about the exploitation. Particularly if the 19 year old comes from one of the countries over-run with death squads, cheater’s dick might as well be a loaded gun since the implication of grooming is that it’s down to a dick deciding if she loses a job or a visa or can’t send a few bucks home to her family. That’s not a choice.

      Just a side note– I live in Latin America half the year and no one encourages young girls to go after old gringos any more than young girls are encouraged to go after moneyed coots in the US.

      In fact, I’d say in an era of OnlyFans grooming videos where sex workers lull girls into the lifestyle, when the mainstream media is also trying to whitewash and glamourize sex work, and roughly 10% of college women– many of them the offspring of what’s left of the upper middle class following the crash– resort to “sugaring” (prostitution by any other name) to pay off student loans, one could argue young North Americans are getting much more open encouragement in that direction even without considering the stakes are far more life and death in the third world.

      No matter where you go there are dysfunctional families that pimp their kids. It’s a sad, icky underworld. But it can be seen as disgraceful in Latin culture in ways even beyond northern concepts of “hypergamy” because of class politics, “Liberation” (socialist) Catholicism and often racial divides between rich and poor.

      • It sounds like sex trafficking is already in progress. What 19 year old girl who can’t drive gets a field job with a construction company that has never hired any other woman for a field job? A girl in the owner’s family might get that job, but she would not be teamed up with a horny goat employee.

  • I woke up this weekend feeling like the winner in this seriously fucked up situation the traitor co-created with however many side pieces.

    If I’m married to someone who can do something like this, good for ME that it’s over.

    If they feel no guilt or remorse or regret, good for ME that it’s over. I don’t want to be married to a sociopath.

    If they do feel guilt or remorse or regret, good for me and good that they’re gone.

    Trust is a butterfly and cheating is ripping the wings off of a butterfly. They cannot be reattached no matter how sorry the perpetrator is, and if they are the kind of person who rips off butterfly wings, good riddance. There is no legal penalty for cheating. Sadly.

    • He threatened to quit his job, fire her, or both when you insisted on a “no touch” rule at work?

      Massive red flag waving around.

      Really? Quit? Wow. He -really- wants to have that rule not restrict him. (Not that its going to, but I can hear the “But it wasn’t a rule that I -couldn’t- touch her..” or vise versa when he’s tossing around word salad after you actually catch him out.)

      And -STOP- apologizing to this idiot! He clearly doesn’t care that his inappropriate-on-many-levels behavior is uncomfortable for you. All he cares about is getting what he wants. Which seems to be you groveling and throwing yourself at his feet while he plays white knight to this girl.

      • Exactly! There should never be a reason to institute a “no-touch” rule because that should go without saying in a monogamous relationship. But if you suggest one and the reaction is a temper tantrum … that tells you everything you already knew.

      • “He threatened to quit his job, fire her, or both when you insisted on a “no touch” rule at work?”

        This is a pretty common manipulation technique called “malicious over-compliance.” Basically, when asked to do a reasonable thing, the manipulator counters by offering a massively unreasonable thing that s/he knows the ask-er will reject, and then takes the rejection of the unreasonable counteroffer as rejection of the original ask.

        It’s sorta the cousin to the “have a self-denigrating breakdown of ‘oh I’m so awful, you must hate me’ blubbering every time someone tries to ask you to stop doing something hurtful” manipulation technique. Just massively overreact to a reasonable request and then use the overreaction to distract and divert attention from the original request.

        • Threatening to quit work and impoverish a family with a minor child is also categorical battering. It’s a form of violent threat and terrorism, full stop.

        • “This is a pretty common manipulation technique called “malicious over-compliance.” Basically, when asked to do a reasonable thing, the manipulator counters by offering a massively unreasonable thing that s/he knows the ask-er will reject, and then takes the rejection of the unreasonable counteroffer as rejection of the original ask.

          It’s sorta the cousin to the “have a self-denigrating breakdown of ‘oh I’m so awful, you must hate me’ blubbering every time someone tries to ask you to stop doing something hurtful” manipulation technique. Just massively overreact to a reasonable request and then use the overreaction to distract and divert attention from the original request.”

          OMG, FW father (FWF) did that to me a couple times in the past year. Both were to such an extreme that I said “for fuck’s sake!” His comment was 1) “maybe I should just kill myself” and 2) “why don’t you just come over here and shoot me!” I mean, Jesus Fucking Christ – how to you jump from a simple discussion about respect and boundaries to suicide and murder?

          • 💡💡I never heard that term, but that’s it! Malicious over-compliance belongs in the CL glossary.

          • Thank you for explaining and providing a term for this! It is something I have experienced frequently. I would bring up a grievance to my stbx and he would way over dramatize his response. Like you were saying, I would say something semi benign, (unless I was stepping on an unknown landmine) and he would respond with “you hate me, always have” or “you’re just trying to get me fired” or “you just wish I’d die’. I was like what in the actual hell just happened, and all totally false!
            With this manipulation tactic is it just a diversion tactic to get us off the original topic?

            • The first time I hear something like that, the relationship is over. Think about it. Either they don’t mean it, or they do mean it. Either way, the relationship needs to end yesterday.

          • Oh, thank you, traffic_spiral.

            I got “you think I’m a piece of shit and I should just go kill myself!”

            Now instead of standing there dumbfounded I can say “that’s malicious over-compliance.” And he hates it when I know more than him so, double bonus 😁

          • ” “malicious over-compliance.” ”

            Interesting. The one I remember is when I was objecting to buying a river property in our last year of marriage. He said “Fine, then I will just work and sit home all the time” Of course I said, that is not what I want.

            I caved because of course I want the poor fw to have something in his life aside from work. Asshole needed my signature to get the property knowing the discard was coming soon. What he needed was a get away in place for him and the whore once the cat was out of the bag.

            She couldn’t have helped him get it, as she had already filed bankruptcy and had absolutely no credit available.

            To add insult to injury I spent several weekend down there building a deck and steps so her majesty the whore would be able to get in and out for their fuck fests easily.

            She was definitely low hanging fruit.

      • Beth, now that you’ve read what CL/CN has to say, you don’t have to wonder: what your STBX is doing to you is egregious. Trust us, and most importantly, trust your gut. Your trauma responses may feel alienating and out of control – because you are out of control. You’re giving that pathetic abuser your power. Try not to engage. You can only begin to regain control by leaving, not by listening or explaining or being patient or compromising more or attempting to bargain or communicate. It’s not a dream and you can’t wish it away or make him better. Ever.

        At first I was ashamed and guilty, but I learned to soften to my anger as things escalated and the truth came out. Ultimately, owning that righteous anger was what protected and freed me. The blame shift is insidious and extremely effective against chumps, so remember: it’s FW hurting you, NOT the other way around. He’s immature, but he’s too old and too dangerous to be called childish. None of this is ok and you know it, no matter how much this creep tries to deceive and bully you into accepting it.

    • 💯…. I didn’t want to be married to someone capable of devaluing our children and me. Lying 24/7. Refused to stop cheating. No remorse whatsoever… blamed ME and kids. 25 years invested but there was nothing to work with. The divorce was hard and scary. I never expected it or wanted to be treated like this. But I live in reality. He sucks. I left and built a new life. I love life and feel nothing but compassion for his limitations as a human. I stay no contact for me.

  • This story is MAJORLY creepy.
    This is a sexual harassment lawsuit in the making at BEST, and could end up far worse.
    I’m sure this young teenage girl is probably creeped out by him, but is not in a position to challenge or say no to him. He is taking advantage of his position of power over her, this is wrong on so many levels!!
    I really hope this wife is in a financial position to leave this creep. If he gets in trouble (which he undoubtedly will, eventually) the wife is going to go down financially with his ship. She needs to get her financial ducks in a row, and get away from this asshole ASAP. He doesn’t care about her, it’s clear and obvious!!

    • This! One of my friends had a father who was a college professor who lost his 20 year tenured position due to sleeping with his graduate students. The college and his wife both looked the other way for years but when the university’s reputation was on the line and he pissed off his colleagues enough he got the boot. No income, no more free tuition for the kids, no pension, and not a lot of savings as they had 8 kids and the wife was a SAHM. My friend’s mom ended up using the connections they had through their church to get a job in social services that ultimately funded her master’s in social work but it was rough going for a while. They had to rely on their church for groceries at times, and lost their house and had to live in a lousy apartment. Sadly my friend’s mom stayed with him and was a bitter woman until her husband passed away.

      • It’s stories like this that keep the fire under me to get out as soon as I can. My grandmother had 14 children and was stuck with an abusive husband. This was back in the 1940s-1960s. He would cheat openly but she had no way out. Truly trapped with no education and no resources. Sadly, she died at only 62 years of age. If FW were to lose his job or drain our financial resources fighting a civil or criminal case, I would be stuck worse than I am now. I have time to LAC and GAL. I can’t sit around miserable hoping he dies first like your friend’s mother. The message is clear; these FWs threaten not only our emotional and psychological states but also our financial state as their lack of self control puts all we have built up in peril.

  • Yeah, my ex had an inappropriate work-related relationship with a “friend” who was 30 years younger.

    If I were you I’d lawyer up and get child support and division of assets in place ASAP. My ex is currently under investigation at work for this relationship and may well lose his job. The same thing may well happen in your case.

    Especially because the payment for the immigration thing sounds very suspicious and if he was really reimbursed by the company (though maybe that’s a lie too), the company may charge that as embezzlement and/or financial fraud.

    Don’t ask me how I know.

    • Same thing happened to me. The husband and his “Inappropriate” relationship got him investigated at work, and pushed out of his job. Not to mention he’s a doctor, so now his license and everything he’s ever worked for could go up in flames.
      He has a good job now, but our finances will take years to recover.
      These dumb ass cheaters don’t realize: this isn’t a game. This isn’t fantasy Funtime. This shit is real, and it will ruin your finances, your reputation, your career, and your home life.

  • Yeah if that dude is “saving” his 19-year-old helper with cash gifts and electronics and long lunches alone in the cab of his truck, then I’m “rescuing” those leftover meatballs in my fridge at lunch, and “liberating” a couple beers at the end of the day.

    • You crack me up. Reminds me of Lewis Carroll’s The Walrus and the Carpenter:

      “I weep for you,” the Walrus said:
      “I deeply sympathize.”
      With sobs and tears he sorted out
      Those of the largest size,
      Holding his pocket-handkerchief
      Before his streaming eyes.

      “0 Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
      “You’ve had a pleasant run!
      Shall we be trotting home again?”
      But answer came there none—
      And this was scarcely odd, because
      They’d eaten every one.

  • This is an instance when replacing the vocabulary in your head will help.
    “Grooming” instead of “saving” is the best instance.
    Your counselor is a quack who is not doing you any favors by excusing this behavior.

    It is only going to escalate up.

    • Yep…..it’s not so funny when you call it what it is…..grooming. The crazy 35 year old uncle who gets his 15 year old niece and her friend drunk, and things get a little out of hand. That doesn’t happen by accident, and he doesn’t get to blame it on the children. The dick’s family routinely laughs shit like that off. Not anymore.

  • PPS….

    Have you spoken with HR where he works? I would.

    This is a girl who is nineteen. She may have agency but she may also be a victim.
    I’d be covering that base for sure (I was someone who was victimized at nineteen…not by someone married but no matter).

    I wouldn’t believe him if he said the sky is blue.

  • I have two different observations about this situation.

    First, yes he is an inappropriate creep. Insensitive to his wife. A dumbass with an open wallet to a young attractive girl. She may be playing him, and she may have motives, but I doubt she is attracted to him. Just his wallet. She is a teenager, she is selfish, she is insatiable in her demands for material things. This seems fairly normal to me, I raised two sons who had no economic clue and thought my priorities were whacked. My insistence on paying the mortgage, utilities, groceries, and gas for work made me no fun. No money for a 1K phone? New pumped up kicks? No? Bummer.

    He is acting like a hormonal teenage boy. If he is this old, and has children of his own, he is immature to his core. Whether or not he is getting any action, he wants some, and HE WILL NEVER CHANGE. The best thing Beth can do for herself is get out now, and start building her own adult life. It is always hard to give up the dream and make the transition. The rewards of a FW free life are worth all the struggles to get there.

    The second observation I have is the workplace is never safe. Putting Dad with a teenager is not a safe decision for an employer to make. I don’t know what the work involves, besides a truck, and evidently an unstructured day, but a teenager and Dumb Ass Dad is an odd combination. I have been the young female in a male dominated work environment. I wanted a JOB, with a future, and the ability to earn a living. Men old enough to be my grandfather made inappropriate comments, and some overtures to me on a regular basis. I quickly developed a thick skin and a rough sense of humor to deal with them. Observations like, “Are you off your meds, pop? Should I call your wife to bring them to work?” and “Don’t we have a project to work on, or a client to meet? I have plans after work, and need to get home to MY life. Can we just get to work?” generally let them know I was not interested. Strange thing about Dumb Ass Men in the workplace, they usually don’t give up. They are relentless in the pursuit of whatever they do not have and think they want. I have often thought if I was an employer I might hire a female work force. There will always be bitches and mean girls, but usually when I have worked with other women we come to work. We don’t talk sports, or spend time looking at young men, speculating on whether they “want” us. If I was an employer, I would want my employees to work. Bummer.

    I have also worked with some very fine men, and have developed a work friend relationship with them. Sometimes my spouse and I went to dinner with a work friend and his spouse. Sometimes when we were out of the office, working, we might stop for lunch. It was never a long, lingering lunch, it involved eating. If I was working with a woman in the same circumstance, we would also eat. Just because you have “an opportunity” to cheat it does not always follow you are cheating. If you are suspicious of every potential cheating candidate available to your spouse in the world, you will be miserable all your days. If you are with someone who is untrustworthy, get out. If you are jealous of everyone and every thing, get help.

    We make a lot of our own misery, we are the only one who can change the situation we are in. It is hard to accept, but we only have a companion during certain parts of our life. It is normal to be able to function alone. Really. Even if you are lucky and have the best spouse in the world, he or she can die. So be prepared to live alone, and don’t fear it. It is much better than living in constant misery.

  • I’d also be calling HR where he works.

    Maybe she’s on board and all in, but she’s a girl. Maybe, as others have said, she’s a victim.

    I’d be covering that base. I was victimized at nineteen. He wasn’t married, but no matter. I think it’s best to err on the side of caution. At nineteen I thought I knew everything and was the captain of my ship but I still needed oversight, protection, and guidance.

    • Don’t believe him. Don’t trust him. If he says the sky is blue, verify it.

      When cheaters speak, I only believe what can be independently verified.

    • I grew up with this behavior an accepted part of my culture. Not approved of, but no consequences. Women knew, they would roll their eyes and say things like “what do you expect, he’s just a man.” I never agreed, but when I was young I didn’t think about objecting in any official way.

      When I started working, some of the laws were changing, but I never saw HR as an effective resource. I saw the person who filed a complaint get moved to another position, the offender suffered nothing but a slap on the wrist (and sometimes an Atta Boy slap on the back in private) and the person who complained considered a “law suit risk” and effectively non-promotable. This does not encourage one to go to HR. There are many offenses in the workplace besides sexual predator, there are bullies, and narcissist bosses, and those who take credit for your work. There are many other things. Don’t get me started on nepotism and cronyism. But HR was not particularly helpful my entire work life. If I was in a bad environment, and the economy was good, I looked for another job. If the economy was bad, I developed a thicker skin and tried to avoid certain situations and people as much as possible. In a bad marriage, you have to get your financial ducks in a row. We have very few social protections we can count on. It’s better than it used to be, but still, help is marginal, in my opinion.

      • At my company (I own it) those teeth get used and have been used to fire people for sexual harassment etc. whose conduct would have been minimized and accepted by a lot of people not that long ago, and still is.

        As a business owner I am always going to encourage speaking up. How it’s responded to is always going to be out of the control of the whistleblower.

        • Good for you! The problem with HR in most companies is they are also looking out for the company, and sometimes the offender is a long term employee. I have come to the conclusion that organizations cannot self police. We need an outside investigation and consequences board. It should not matter where you are in the hierarchy, who you are related to, or any other type of job performance statistics. Another issue is he said, she said. Evidence is hard to come by.

          For example, Harvey Weinstein did not become a monster over night. He was a known predator for years, from what I can understand from the news and court reporting. The times did catch up with him. His own brother could no longer defend him. Non-disclosure agreements should not bury the truth in criminal activity.

          Internal Affairs and unions are not cutting it when it comes to changes on police forces. The killing and racism and sexism has got to stop. The recent stories on the news are unacceptable to me for ANY police officer to talk to ANY ONE pulled over for a “traffic violation”. You don’t have to shoot a person for attempting to flee arrest, especially if it is for a traffic violation, or a suspected outstanding warrant, and you already have their identity. You don’t pepper spray someone with their arms and hands outside the car who tells you he/she is afraid. You don’t punish someone for driving to a public, well lit area to pull over, and threaten them with a “ride the lightening” future. Body cam footage should be reviewed on a regular basis.

          Sorry to go off on a tangent, but as a single mother with two kids and a mortgage, I had to work. Losing my job would have been a real hardship. HR offered me NO Protection from behind the scenes retaliation. As stomach turning as it was, I kept my mouth shut and used survival strategies to get through bad working conditions.

          Courts are supposed to be independent and when the same crimes are committed over and over, felons are named as repeat offenders. They cannot seal the files and sign non-disclosure agreements, at least in theory. Not a perfect system, either, but HR has too many other issues to worry about to effectively stop bad superiors behaviors.

          Our solutions have to start at the cultural change level. As CL says, change the narrative. Maybe someday we can answer the question, “what is wring with this person?”, but until then I would be satisfied with workplace solutions that would make transactions more transparent, and take the heat off of the offended party.

            • …..and I am on the hook legally if anything happens at my company. I would be liable. There are legal consequences for failure to comply now which is a great step forward.

              • I am grateful for any step forward, I am grateful the laws are catching up with reality and some things are no longer socially acceptable or given the blind eye. I am just sorry that change is so slow, and retaliation can be hidden in so many ways.

                I live in the South, in Tennessee. I love my home and my people. I despise some common practices and beliefs. We are a “right to work” state, where employers have the right to terminate for many reasons. Technically not for gender, race, religion, or sexual preference. We have to comply with federal regulations. All I am saying is there are many ways to get around laws and regulations. They may be legal, but in my opinion they are immoral. When an organization wants to get rid of you, or shelve you in an underemployed slot, they can. They may have many motives that are not altruistic. It is disgusting, and hard to prove.

                I worked in education and banking. Both are supposed to be regulated. I’ve had to attend seminars and continuing education programs. I know there are penalties. I can also do math, and add up a series of situations which may seem unrelated, and come up with different answers from the “official” answer. I have personal experiences I could not prove in a court of law. I have been told, “Who do you think they will believe?” I have been told, “We don’t recruit women in those programs/jobs.” I can not prove either thing, but I know what my experience was. HR would not have helped me.

                I don’t like it, either. I don’t know what, exactly to do differently. All I am saying is you have to figure out what you can and must do to survive. I couldn’t fix my Ex’s and make them stop being cheaters. I had to figure out what I could do. I didn’t have Chump Lady back then. I didn’t have much money. I had little support from my family. I was raised inside a dysfunctional, co-dependent environment. I did not qualify for government help. I had to adapt and survive. I do not want it to be so hard for future generations, if I can help.

                I welcome change, and I wish HR would have been more helpful. They just were not.

          • Absolutely right in regard to HR looking out for the company and quite frankly their own employment. If the perpetrator is executive management or a principal HR will be putting their own necks on the line. Lets face it not too many people are willing to lose their own position to do what is right. A direct call to the EEOC will benefit the abused employee and actually be of help to HR.

          • “The problem with HR in most companies is they are also looking out for the company, ”

            Not in most companies but all companies they are looking out for the company, they work for the company that is their primary job to watch out for the company. Not saying it is wrong, and not saying they can’t be helpful in solving issues.

            As someone mentioned contacting the EEOC is likely the best bet in these matters. And if HR goes by the law, which is what their company should want, they can work together to solve the issue.

            When we would got our yearly brief from the department heads at DoD, they specifically stated up front they work for the company, and it is their job to do everything per the law but they still work for the company.

      • “But HR was not particularly helpful my entire work life. I”

        Yep, in my age bracket there was a lot of it. It discouraged women from even talking about it, encouraged the put your head down and your blinders on mind set, because you could be harmed career wise even if uyou were not a part of it.

        Quite frankly I think it is a real possibility that a female coworker of my exes whore (who was his direct report) is the one who dropped a dime on their antics to the city counsel. He had petitioned for a raise for her to the city counsel (they didn’t know he was screwing her) and she got the raise. I think a couple of them if not more were sitting there wondering where their raises were, when the whore got one for just screwing her boss. She incidentally did not have a reputation of being a particularly good employee. But, he was a Captain and he went to bat for her.

        I really don’t think the city counsel members knew, nor the mayor because if they did first he would have never been promoted, second they would not have granted the raise. In fact they likely wouldn’t have even have let him petition for it.

        Too much to lose. also, after the shit hit the fan, the city counsel members wanted him fired. I think the demotion and put back out on patrol was the compromise.

        • Susie Lee, I too have been in the position of city counsel members either being selectively unknowing of sex hookups or just plain liars. I’m wondering in either instance why. Could it be they are doing the same thing? Wondering. . .

          • Could have been, or some knew some didn’t, who knows for sure. Either way he got busted and kicked out of his cushy office.

            This was years ago, so I doubt any of them are doing much of anything now.

            But, I just have a feeling they didn’t know. One of them casme to my house with his wife to make sure I was ok, and he was clear that he didn’t know. We had been friends with them, and I believe he didn’t know.

            Again. 🤷‍♀️

  • Yes, the knight in shining armor to her. However, that’s all fantasy. Real relationships don’t work that way. She probably does need a lot of help, but if this continues, it isn’t healthy for either of them.

    After my ex left, he began doting on waitresses and told me about it when we were supposedly trying to work things out. One time he began telling me about a waitress who was a single parent and struggling financially. Mmmm…I doing back-breaking work in retail and two other jobs to keep going in separation. I objected, and he never talked about that sort of thing again. I told that story to a waitress friend of mine (also a gray divorce), and she said that she always warns the younger guys and gals about people like that.

    I did make note that he wanted to be a hero to someone when he should have been doing the heavy lifting to save our marriage. It was more satisfying to help someone in an inferior position that it was to do what was right by us. That type of thing also motivated me to fight for everything that was legally mine under the law during the high conflict divorce process. Several decades together, and I deserved a fair shake for largely being a SAHM. Now he can spend whatever on whatever waitress he wants, LOL. And thankfully I recovered financially.

    I get helping coworkers. I’ve done that, but with no emotional strings. I have had male office mates and male coworkers that I’ve gone to lunch with, but there are certain boundaries in the conversation. I have other male friends in certain contexts, but with limits. That’s normal.

    Just so very wrong.

  • Who has all the power in this relationship? He’s 53, she’s 19. She’s here on a green card. She either works at a company that is full of predatory men who have to be kept away from her, or he made that up to placate his wife and cast himself in the role of protector to the 19-year-old (“You’re lucky you’re with me. All the other guys here would try to take advantage of you. But you can depend on me.”)

    And that business with replacing the green card. He insists on paying for it out of his marital assets, even though the company reimbursed him. Does she know that or does she think that he paid for it, thereby increasing her feeling of dependence on this man?

    Grooming is absolutely the right word.

    And now he’s taking her as his date to a coworker’s birthday party.

    On top of that, he’s gaslighting and sidelining you, Beth.

    RUN. Your husband is a predator and an abuser. Get yourself to safety. There’s no reason on earth to put up with this kind of treatment.

  • I feel for the teenaged employee. It seems odd for a teen girl and this old dude to be spending 4 hours together eveyday.

    If he wants to keep his family he will tell his boss to assign this girl to another posting. His wife is getting sick about this and a decent guy would step up and get a new helper.

    But my money is on him continuing to try to woo this young girl. $1000 phone?? That was family money he used for that.

  • When all the sh*t hit the fan and in desperation… he said: “she hasn’t had sex in five years” and I said “and why does it have to be YOU?” moron….

    should have left after the first affair (that I found out about). I am out and life is SO much better after the addiction to him is out of my system. Every once in a while I get a twitch, like i need a hit of him, and I reread the sh*t he did to me, and the letter he wrote to her. after 23 years of marriage. take me off the bbq Tracy, i am done. (well-done, mind you).

    they play by the DAMN same book…..

    Beth – make plans, stay quiet and LEAVE. nothing to work with here.

  • Dear Beth, your letter resonates with me, *so* much.

    My ex fuckwit had a ‘knight in shining armour’ stance too.

    Some of these fucktard’s really get off on the idea they’re a special person, leaning down from their lofty perch to elevate the side fuck. And yes, I totally believe he’s fucking her, if not right now, certainly soon. No man gives these kinds of gifts to a woman he’s not fucking, or at least hopes to fuck.

    Ex fuckwit had a very similar attitude to the rat faced whore. She was 20 years younger than him. She was a skank known as the Hull bicycle, “everyone’s had a ride”! ” – but in his mind, he was a good person who was just” helping a friend”.

    When I’d finally had enough of all the inappropriate behaviour, gifts (sky dive, watch, clothes, amongst others), attention he was giving her, he sent me a text, saying, “rat faced whore has had nothing all her life! I’m just trying to show her how the other side lives! Excuse me for being soft!”

    He got to feel superior, and a super good person! Which is what is going on with your fuckwit.

    As others have said, this is the behaviour of a man who has already checked out if the marriage, even if he refuses to admit it to himself, or you. Either you still have some kibble value, or he’s hoping to avoid consequences.

    My advice is; say no more. Get your ducks in a row, see a solicitor. While the shithead is at the party with this greedy bint, bag all his shit and leave it on the lawn. Change the locks, and serve the fucker with divorce papers at work.

    He will probably try some hoovering, mine did, but all that means is he wants to avoid consequences if he can.

    Mine refused to admit adultery, so I divorced him on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour. Any judge/lawyer would recognise this shit is totally unreasonable and unacceptable.

    I know how difficult and heartbreaking this is to accept, but there is nothing here but utter selfishness, entitlement, and total disrespect for you, and disregard for your feelings and well being. ((hugs)) hun, CN is here for you. 💕 Xx

    • “leaning down from their lofty perch to elevate the side fuck. ”

      Same with mine, he took the whore out of the trailer park, at least for a few years. They ended up in bankruptcy and back in a trailer. He died and left her penniless, and upside down on a loan for a big ass RV; that he wanted.

    • Haha! “Hull bicycle – everyone’s had a ride.”

      (Off topic… Never been there but one of my favorite musicians was from Hull: Mick Ronson.)

      My ex had a knight in shining armor complex too – he targeted women who were struggling financially. I think it’s a narcissist thing because they create this story line in which, as you said Chumpnomore6, “they’re a special person, leaning down from their lofty perch” to rescue the needy damsel. Barf.

      • Another ‘night in shining armor’ divorcee here

        The x would rescue anything – did it as a profession and as a ‘hobby’…only he forgot about protecting his own family. Flipped that one around to his wanting us to rescue him….

        He left….numerous times.

        He complained of being abandoned….

        Go figure that one.

        I know I am not the only one who experienced that scenario.

      • Yes, narcs love being the Knight in Shining Armor to the damsel in distress. Makes him feel powerful and superior. Eventually though he’ll crucify the damsel in distress for being such a pathetic loser. Can’t ever win with a narc.

  • Beth, let him “save” her.
    I know you have a lot of invested costs (after 25 years of marriage and two grown children) and you mentioned that you are not making a comfortable living.
    But if you get rid of the jackass who is spending ONE THOUSAND dollars on gifts to an outsider and save on your flabby-assed quack therapist, you will survive and save on blood pressure medication as well.

    Ask me how I know. My ex of 39 (and three sons) years earns triple what I do and he is in debt, has no property. I am not in debt and I own my roof. And our divorce was 45-55% division of assets.

    • Yes, I figured that poverty was better than living with all the games and disordered thinking. I had friends who offered us free housing if we needed it, and we did have some really rough years where that was in the back of my mind. I didn’t want handouts unless I really needed them. Thankfully, I did become self-supporting a few months after the divorce was final. He’s retired and cannot work, so no alimony.

      That said, we fought for what was mine under the law. Initially he wanted me to get very little and set all kinds of conditions, and that just wasn’t right after several decades together where I was largely a SAHM. I don’t think that he was at all happy with the settlement, but it was very fair under the law. My attorney did a lot of divorce appeals and malpractice work, and he said that it was an airtight agreement in his eyes.

    • I agree with this so much! I make a third of what my ex makes. One. Third!

      I’m fine. We struggled financially the entire marriage. I budgeted and budgeted and cried over the budget. I was terrified of the divorce, I didn’t know how I’d ever survive after 20 years of struggle with so much more money from both of our incomes.

      It’s easy. Without him it’s easy. That shocked me.

      My best friend divorced her husband and he was making ten times more than her and paying only $400 a month child support for the two kids she had most of the time. She had some struggles but said it was still easier than trying to budget around his irresponsible ass. She was terrified she wasn’t going to be able to feed and home her children and then was shocked that she was LESS stressed about money.

      If this dude is openly buying $1000 gifts for his child girlfriend I wonder how much damage he’s doing behind her back. I bet she wonders sometimes where their money went or thinks he’s irresponsible and nickel and diming them to death. It’s easier without these men. It just is. Hell , working two jobs is easier than dealing with these men.

  • This post was surprisingly triggering for me.

    I’ve been here before, except I was the 19/20 year old office assistant to an esteemed professor.

    This 63 year old man would offer to buy me little things (that I declined). Then, if I wore work attire on days that I had to attend interviews, he would add $2 to my hourly rate as “appreciation for dressing up [for him]”

    It wasn’t until he asked if I had a boyfriend around Valentine’s day that I caught on to what was going on. He asked if I would accept a $500 gift card to Victoria’s secret so that I could wear it for my boyfriend. He then asked if I could take a sabbatical to join him on a conference trip for a week. When I said no to both, he asked what size bra I wore so he could bring a bathing suit back!

    I filed a complaint against him and requested my work study to be changed, but of course he was cherished, was the editor of a science journal and brought in so many students from Africa and South America. Of course he didn’t mean anything by it.

    The final straw is when I found folders containing photos of all his female assistants from the past on his laptop. Some were picking up books, leaning on a ladder for his bookcase, their legs crossed at his desk, drinking water with a straw…

    Then MY folder. Photos of nothing but my cleavage. The day he took the photos, he told me it was for my profile photo on his website. After I found these folders, I asked his TA if the good professor has a personal website and he said no, confused about why I asked.

    But the worst is when his wife – a Colombian woman 20+ years his junior that he likely groomed as a teen – came to the office to check on him. She was glaring at me, nasty in her tone, as if I was seducing him.

    At the time, I didn’t get it, so I was pissed at her for being pissed with me when clearly her pervert husband was the problem.

    Anyway, I was forced to finish out the semester with him and after it was over, I submitted the information to the Dean. This was 2008 and he was a big guy on campus, so he kept his job, but when I walked past his office, I noticed that he had a male assistant who was sitting at the desk in front of his office door.

    I wrote all that to say don’t see the 19 year old as the enemy. Your husband is preying on her, not the other way around. It’s hard to see it that way in the moment, but he’s a predator, not some put-upon saint.

    He’s telling you anything to stay by his side and showing different faces to his colleagues and the 19 year to get his way with them as well.

    He’s the problem that you need to dump.

  • My X abandoned me for a 25 YO foreign Schmoopie he met at work. Abandoned, as in packed up and moved out while I was out of town, sending me an e-mail toodle loo as my first and only notice that my marriage was over. She was half his age.

    We had been married 28 years. Our eldest daughter was also 25 YO when he did this but he was unswayed by the perversion of that. I had forgiven an emotional affair (probably physical, too) 9 years earlier, also with a younger ho-worker. I was blamed for all of it, both times.

    Familiar? Once these aging goats get the feeling of being adored by a younger chick it is really over. It is a drug and he will lie, cheat, and steal to get it now. You are an obstacle to his access and he hates you for it.

    No doubt he has been building a mental list of all your flaws and comparing her to you and finding you lacking on the daily. See how she needs him? See how she doesn’t challenge him? See how she is so fresh and new, so free and open, while you are so stale, controlling and judgmental? The feeling he gets when he is with her is a high you never gave him. EVER. He feels like he never loved you at all and he is mentally re-writing history to stack the cards against you.

    Even if you don’t make the move to end it he may choose to simply eject himself from his boring life one day, shoving all his chips into the middle of the table for JUST ONE CHANCE to feel young again. A chance you are rudely denying him with all your mommy demands; demands which only prove how awful you are. There is nothing he won’t sacrifice for the chance to truly, FINALLY, live his life free from your bonds. He will pay any price, including losing contact with his adult children and ever knowing his grandchildren, to get that tight new twat on his dick and feel alive again before it is too late. He has to get free and finally start making decisions in his life just for ONCE. Any consequences you levy are simple proof of how awful you truly are.

    I am sorry this is happening to you, too. Once they become addicted to the drug it is a battle you can’t win. Prepare for the worst and line up your ducks. Be ready for him to destroy your family and tell you that you deserve it. ((hugs))

    • Yeah, no kidding! Nailed it. My ex discarded me for a woman my age with 2 kids, but if I could have heard his thought process otherwise, it would have sounded exactly like that.

      I don’t remember how long it took me after the discard for it to dawn on me that I had (emotionally) become his mother, but once it did, all the pieces fell into place: the infantile rages, the entitlement, the disdain for adulting. He just wanted to work and fuck and drink and ride bikes–and my job was to handle that plus the rest of the stuff in our life that was just too boring for him to think about, much less do.

      • Same here Okupin.

        I would say when he stood there and tried to tell me about his “first time” with the whore, after treating me like shit for over a year, while I desperately tried to figure out what the hell was going on. I knew then that he was looking at me like the lame mom, or maybe his frat bro.

        It was the day he confessed (he had moved out a week earlier to “get his head on straight”) I guess he thought I would enjoy hearing about his first time with his new love. He acted like she was his teenage girlfriend. She was a 35 year old woman (to his 40) with three big assed boys. But, in his mind (at the time) she was a girl. I don’t think that illusion lasted long after that.

        The reality is once they have devalued and discarded us, they will never be able to feel good about us again, and more importantly we wouldn’t be able to feel good about them. I do believe some chumps in good faith, spend a life time trying to get back to feeling good; but I just think overwhelmingly it won’t work.

    • Yes, a battle you can’t win. Once they start doting on younger, needy women and finding that more satisfying than their established marriage, you’re toast.

    • Now I.C.

      So perfectly stated.

      And supported by the following I recently read in a book titled, ‘Never Enough’ by Judith Grisel:

      ‘In the beginning of a love affair, the pattern of brain activity recorded by an fMRI is virtually indistinguishable from that showing the effects of cocaine. As long as the stimulus (the lover) remains present, things feel just fine – a new normal. But if our lover wants a break or otherwise opts out of the relationship, an opponent process results in heartbreak. It can take months or years – depending on the intensity and duration of the partnership – to get back to a new neutral feeling state.’

      and, as anyone here who has experience with a serial cheater knows, they do not want to give up the high and will, as you so aptly put it, risk everything – including their own children.

      Mine did….and we had over 30 years together. The end of which was nothing I had ever imagined happening to ‘us’…..

      After reading your ‘story’ I am wondering if you know about the book ‘Runaway Husbands’? (She has a web site too.) The book has lots of stories just like yours wherein husbands simply disappear as if into thin air many of whom are never heard from again…..eeerie.

      Don’t know what is worse – to live through a sudden disappearance or a long devaluing stage…Neither are something anyone should have to endure.

      So sorry for your experience.

      Thanks for posting.

      • Runaway Husbands was the first book I bought. It was helpful to understand what just happened to me and accept it. Once I found Chump Lady I never referred to it again. Tracy saved my life.

        Thanks for the kind words. It is crazy what happens to these Asshats and it is why we think they must have grown a brain tumor when they pull this shit. I know now it was always in their character to destroy us and while I hope my X lives with regret I have to say he likely doesn’t. I am still shocked by what he did to his family and his reasons for it, but thank God he is no longer my problem.

    • “Once these aging goats get the feeling of being adored by a younger chick it is really over. It is a drug and he will lie, cheat, and steal to get it now. You are an obstacle to his access and he hates you for it.

      No doubt he has been building a mental list of all your flaws and comparing her to you and finding you lacking on the daily. See how she needs him? See how she doesn’t challenge him? See how she is so fresh and new, so free and open, while you are so stale, controlling and judgmental? The feeling he gets when he is with her is a high you never gave him. EVER. He feels like he never loved you at all and he is mentally re-writing history to stack the cards against you.

      Even if you don’t make the move to end it he may choose to simply eject himself from his boring life one day, shoving all his chips into the middle of the table for JUST ONE CHANCE to feel young again. A chance you are rudely denying him with all your mommy demands; demands which only prove how awful you are. There is nothing he won’t sacrifice for the chance to truly, FINALLY, live his life free from your bonds.”

      For weeks I haven’t been sleeping well, hearts been racing, anxiety through the roof because after 28 years I KNEW something was off. He kept doing this stupid shit that was hurting me to my core, starting with the $600 and progressing to the $1,000 phone (over about 9 weeks).

      Your words resonate because I’ve been trying to put my finger on what had changed / died in our relationship. This Sunday when he spewed all his feelings to my and the MC about the 20 yo and it was like a light bulb going on and I said “I can’t compete with that…you’ve become addicted to her and let her take you over and invade our marriage.”

      But what you posted is more accurate – it’s the sense of power / feeling needed / feeling wanted that is like a drug he won’t give up. And he won’t. He’s made it clear he won’t leave her behind. She’s his “best friend” and about to become his only friend. I’m the “evil mommy” who won’t let him have friends. He says he doesn’t have any other friends because of me. He’s already mentioned he’s “bored”…he’s found his new “supply” and you’re right, he’ll never look at me the same way again.

      • OMG, Beth, the “best friend” comment really gets to me. My FW father (FWF) has this whiny sort of voice when he calls people his “best friend.” It seems like everyone is his best friend, TBH. He calls everyone at least his friend, if not “good friend.”

        The massage therapist (who was trying to help him from a physical therapy perspective) whom he offered $10k to …..? She declined but she’s apparently now a really good friend. Even though he’s 75 and she’s probably 35. I met her and she told me he propositioned her, she said no, she won’t be alone with him anymore, and he’s a trauma-creator (essentially).

        The female “assistant” (who is married), who worked for him for a while and left. She’s a “good friend” also. She who (so I was told) dressed provocatively while working for him but then said she felt traumatized by working for him. Oh, but that won’t stop her from doing projects for him again because he’s got the money.

        The random waitress he picked up at the bar, the bar-rat whore he picked up at the bar, the literal whore he picked up at the bar. All these women are his “very good friends” …. he the 75-year-old predator and knight-in-shining-armor, and they the 35-year-old damsels in distress.

        These men are fucking pigs.

      • Biggest hugs to you. I know this sorrow and that stunned, confused feeling because I lived it. One line from Runaway Husbands I remember clearly was that “He is beyond caring for your welfare.” That struck me hard and got me moving, knowing that he really wasn’t seeing me at all anymore, blinded by the adoration of a new young chick. There was no convincing him of his family’s value so it was time for me to get moving.

        Leverage their blindness and get the best settlement you can to set you and the kids up well (you are all over that from your other posts; awesome). Mine didn’t even get a lawyer and signed off quickly, eager to go start pretending he was 25. There is a very narrow window to act with low resistance from him- let him go play in the apartment pool and weight room and set up his new bachelor pad with a new big bed he can fantasize about. I used my X’s blindness to make sure to get extra money on my side of the balance sheet for our daughters’ college and their medical premiums through age 26 so I would never have to consult him about any of that- he eagerly signed because having adult children means he is old and he was glad to write it all off up front where it was just on-paper shuffling of home equity and retirement account comparisons and he didn’t write any checks. It was easy to strike that deal with the horny billy goat before he realized the long term implications. You don’t want to be working on a settlement when any glimpse of reality hits.

        Clearly you got this. Painful, but necessary. Keep us posted. You will find you get more genuine care and comfort from us, complete strangers, than you are ever going to get from him now that he has latched on to this chick. Such a damn shame and waste.

    • Well stated. Wife, kids, relatives and even most friends will become the enemy that is obstructing their happiness and freedom. They will get dumped without a second thought as the elation high is a powerful drug for these weak losers. However, it soon will come crashing down, it always does and very rarely do these losers honestly reflect. They will still place the blame on the chump wife, etc.

  • Beth, dump him. He is a creep and you deserve better.

    Sure, a 19-year-old knows right from wrong, but a 19-year-old who is the “helper” (read entry level employee whose boss is hitting on her) and whose immigration status might be very shaky cannot say “no” to her boss. This is a huge lawsuit waiting to happen.

    Here is the thing, he lacks boundaries and he refuses to see that anything he does is wrong. Let’s say that he truly believes that he’s not doing anything wrong when he crosses enough boundaries for a sexual harassment suit. This means he feels entitled to do what he does, and you cannot work with that sense of entitlement. It is a red flag for a Cluster B personality disorder.

    On top of that, he blames you for HIS actions.

    I stand by the advice to dump the marriage counselor. That’s good only if both parties are there in good faith, each willing to work on what they do in order to improve communication, and there’s been no one-sided detonation of the marriage (i.e. cheating, which is unilateral). He’s not willing to work on his boundaries, and that is a very reasonable request. Instead, he blames you and the counselor lets him get away with it. As Tracy (Chump Lady) asks, is he helping out any young relatives? Has he been generous with an aunt? Or is his generosity restricted to teenaged interns?

    Read the book, Leave a Cheater Gain a Life. Also read the older blog posts here. You will see that your STBX triggers a lot of red flags and his DARVO tactics are typical of narc abusive types.

    You deserve better.

    • I would say in thi8s case her age does not matter. If he has the power and her survival in terms of immigration status, or feeding herself or her family are in jeopardy, she has a case for a lawsuit, and the company will likely lose.

      From my understanding of the laws for DoD, unequal power is the key issue in terms of a lawsuit. I assume it is the same in private industry.

      This is the reason so many in DoD were pissed at the Clinton/Lewinski situation. Yes she was a slut puppy, but the reality was during that time many men in DoD were losing their jobs and rank for canoodling with women of lower rank, and even some women lost jobs for the same reason.

      We were going to classes against harassment etc.

      No I am not a BC hater, in fact though I didn’t vote for him; I thought he was a pretty darn good president, he worked across the aisle.

      • Exactly! The age is more of an eww factor, as she is legally an adult.

        The power dynamics here are all messed up, and yes, if the woman were to pursue a lawsuit, the company would likely lose, and would certainly jettison Beth’s husband as being the least expensive of its options. That’s why Beth needs to work with a good attorney now, before her cheater blows up the finances.

    • I had to look up Cluster B Personality Disorders. Interesting…I place him between antisocial and narc.

      “He’s not willing to work on his boundaries, and that is a very reasonable request.”

      In our last session, I pressed hard to get MC to help us lay down some basic / normal boundaries coworkers should have and he claimed he doesn’t know what boundaries are…well, he has no issue going out an educating himself on the best place to find rare Nike shoes (his new obsession), but to my knowledge, hasn’t looked up what boundaries are. Shocker *eye roll

      • Marriage counselors can help with certain problems in a marriage but they are useless when it comes to personality disorders or just flat out selfish cheaters. When half of the couple is defective there is no way to fix the marriage. The defective half may play along for a bit but mostly they are biding their time and wasting your time. Get out and get your own qualified therapist to get through this nightmare.

  • Dear Beth,
    Welcome to a club no one wants to join. My story is similar to yours. When stbx was working the last year or so he would try to hang out with young women. He claimed it was all innocent and usually they had some sort of issue in their life that he wanted to support them in dealing with. Fast forward and he retired and started community college. That’s when he really started being nasty to me and again has been wanting to hang out with and has study buddies who are all very young females. He is 58. He does not feel like he can relate to other men.

    Although he’s claimed it is not for sex and our marriage counselor said the same, I don’t know that I buy it. Especially since he became very secretive about everything.

    The last year plus he completely discarded me and then the last straw was him telling me he’s been miserable since he met me and I’ve blocked his being able to do what he wants. Like you, he blamed me and accused me of being jealous. Yet I am not invited to any of his events. He is like a 58 year old kid. He turned me into his mother.
    Anyway I had to leave and it is incredibly painful. But it’s the best for me.
    I hope you can get out quicker than I have.

  • So he made you feel bad about her situation, then “threatened to fire her” and make you the bad guy?

    He’s not saving her if he’ll use her as a hostage. Tell the therapist that, if your conscience dictates. Otherwise, consider the therapist has a clouded view of the situation, and extricate yourself from someone who’ll use the situation of a 19 year old.

  • Hey Beth, my heart hurts for you.

    My mid-50s ex husband also had a soft spot in his heart for teenage girls. I didn’t like it, but I wanted to be the cool wife.

    One day, I found the evidence that I needed that not every one of his spots for young girls was “soft”.

    I hope you find a way to stop playing the marriage police and get the fuck away from him soon. I also hope he dies.

  • I would like to know about the marriage counseling sessions, because if you are obviously raising trust issues, and he’s not addressing them / putting you at ease, that is something the marriage counselor should be working to address. The therapist should recognize that is a big problem.

    • I asked about going to the coworkers birthday party (at a gun range) and was told it would look funny for him to be the only one to show up with his wife “in tow”. Fwiw, I’ve been to the range a few times so it’s not something new. He just didn’t want me to come – sometimes I think he’s embarrassed of me.

      • Hi Beth, I got that nonsense about having the wife “in tow” too. It was a total lie….. BTW, he is not embarrassed of you he just wants to be “single” in front of the 19 year old he is trying to seduce.

    • I was already feeling a little uneasy about the MC and the fact I wasn’t feeling like we were really getting to the root of the problem.

      We started MC in late February. First session was a 2 hour “getting to know you” session, and then the next week were 2 individual sessions – first with stbx, and then with me. I didn’t hold anything back and told her about why I was so insecure with the situation as there had been a similar event in 2007, along with the years of verbal and emotional abuse.

      The next session we were in “crisis” mode as he had taken another large sum of money out of the joint account to pay for a fishing trip without telling me, so that was $175 totally wasted as it was just us arguing.

      The next session was the Sunday he took the coworker to buy her phone. He was still on the road / hadn’t even made it home in time for the session and MC did call him out. I was booted from that session as she wanted to talk to him alone.She called me the next day and this was when she went down the “I don’t think he’s physically cheating but is extremely codependent and has no sense of boundaries” road.

      We had a week off for the Easter holiday and then this past Sunday we were together again and she got him to talk about his relationship with the coworker. It was my “a-ha” moment.

      She’s handled him with kid gloves claiming she doesn’t want him to shut down and thinks we can work through this. I’m starting to realize she just wants her $175.00.

      • Maybe she is sincere but mistaken — thinks he is a poor “timid forest creature” (see archives for reference). Must be very gentle and not spook him!

  • Beth, notice the pattern here. He steps out of the marriage (dating sites, emotional affairs, TeenageSchmoopieHoworker, lunches, birthday parties, etc.). Then he blames YOU for what he does.

    He blames YOU. And you accept the blame; “He convinced me it was my fault.”

    First, you need to end the marriage counseling if the marriage counselor hasn’t noted this pattern and corrected the record. (The spouse on the dating site is the problem, not the chump who found out about it. We call this DARVO–Deny, Accuse, Reverse Victim and Offender. It’s a strategy that manipulative people use to avoid consequences and accountability for what they do.
    Second, he can’t use DARVO on you if you don’t talk to him about what he’s doing. Look–he knows he’s doing wrong or he wouldn’t DARVO you. You will never, ever, get him to admit the extent of it or take responsibility because HE IS NOT LIKE YOU. He doesn’t care how you feel about what he does. In fact, he sees you as someone on which he can inflict a second wound–blaming you for the hurt he causes you.

    There’s nothing to work with here. But if I were you, I’d hire a private investigator to find out what’s going on with him because you want the best possible settlement when you divorce. See an attorney, get the process started and wait until you have more ammo to use. Then file before he gets fired because that’s coming, sooner or later, if he keeps this up. If you have enough ammunition, he may not drag out the divorce.

    Copy all your financials (taxes, housing expenses, mortgage documents, bank statements, retirement plans, all sorts of insurance). Make sure to get the 1040 information from the taxes so STBX can’t lie about his income. The attorney will need these. Copy ALL credit cards going back to the start of this mess. And maybe spot check earlier ones, looking for other financial infidelity. Your lawyer should ask for the money spend on TeenageSchmoopieHoworker to be returned to the marital estate. Secure all your own valuable papers (passport, birth certificate, Soc Sec card, kids’ birth certificates. Put any personal valuables (jewelry, family heirlooms, kids’ artifacts) in a safe place; I’d suggest a friend who has no connection to your STBX.

    Make sure you have your own checking and savings accounts and have your own paycheck deposited into that account. Until you separate, you can write a personal check to the joint account for your share of expenses. Start thinking about whether you want to keep or sell the house. When you shop, buy gift cards you can stash to help you until you are fully on your feet.

    What I would do, in your place, is leave before he has a chance to siphon off money or leave you in a bad place. You do not know what he’s planning or how much trouble he’s in at work, so your first job now is protecting your financial future. Don’t wait.

    • And PS. Do NOT tell him what you are doing. In fact, you should just not talk about any of this. Just keep your own counsel, come to the Chump Lady reddit site for support, tell those friends who are not HIS friends, too, but only those people who can be trusted not to blab. Put your energy into planning your exit.

      You can always get re-married if he changes (which he won’t). But if he starts hiding money or gets fired or runs off with TSHoworker, you will have lost the chance to plan and manage this next phase of your life; you’ll be reacting to what he does. And get an STD check.

  • Honey, it’s done. This marriage is dead. Bury it, be happy. After you have everything you need to nail him for most of the assets and have a killer lawyer, then smirk and agree how awful you are. Being happy, calm is not over rated.

  • The one question I have here is this:

    If he’s really mentoring her, sees her in a fatherly way, and is trying to “save” her from a hard life, then WHY CAN’T YOU BE AROUND HER???

    If this coworker birthday party on Saturday is innocent, then why can’t you come too? Why just her? Why can’t he bring you, his wife, as well?

    Why are you not allowed to any of these long lunches they’re apparently allowed to take on the clock?
    If the relationships is purely professional and appropriate, why does he absolutely explode at you when you point out the very UNprofessional and INappropriate things he’s doing for her? Why is everything always your fault?
    Does he do these acts of generosity for his own kids?

    Does he do these things for YOU?

    I think I know the answer to all these questions, and so do you.

    Whether or not this girl is playing him is actually fairly irrelevant to me. It doesn’t matter.

    What DOES matter is he is a married, 53-year-old man, and her superior at work, and he is treating her in ways that are characteristic of grooming. If he’s not grooming her and she’s going along with it, he is still a married 53-year-old man who thinks it is appropriate and acceptable to have this kind of relationship with a 19 year old. Which is fucking disgusting. I do not care if she is technically over legal adult age, she is still a teenager and young enough to be not-even-his-oldest child. Nothing about this is appropriate. Nothing.

    I also will echo that it is highly suspicious and more than a little gross that the company deemed him the “safest” person to pair her with. I got two questions about that. 1) If that’s true, what the actual fuck where the other options like and why is the company okay with it? 2) Is that *really* the truth or is that what *he* said? How do you know he didn’t specifically ask for that placement and is feeding you a line of crap?

    Whether she’s playing him or not, whether the rest of the people at the business are a bunch of lechers or not, it doesn’t matter. You are playing marriage police to a man in his 50’s who’s okay with trying to cultivate an affair with a TEENAGER. That should disgust you to the very core of your being. He isn’t “saving” her. That’s an excuse and a line to get you to feel bad for raising a red flag. I briefly dated a guy who told me he was “helping” this poor 20-year-old because she had such a “rough life” and he was “taking her under his wing.” This “just a friend” (who was ten years younger than him) in his life was pregnant as hell with a baby that “wasn’t” his but she “just kept bugging him” to help her raise it. But he SWEARS it’s *not* his and he “Just doesn’t know why” her *ex* boyfriend hates him…He’s just trying to help a vulnerable girl in neeeeed, but she won’t go away and won’t stop asking him to be a father to it, why would he do such a thing? It’s not his, he promises…

    Okay Clark Kent…then send her to social services to see if she can get some help from state resources for low-income single mothers.

    If your husband wants to save this poor 19 year old from her rough life, he can point her towards the right resources. He isn’t because the only thing that’s got a hero complex here is his dick.

    • I kept telling him that her family needs to be responsible for this crap, not US. But then it becomes a fight about me controlling all the money and how he works so hard and should be able to do what he wants.

      I’m not sure where to go in regards to how the company decided he was the “safe” go to …idk I think part of the problem was the other supervisors had helpers and the 2 who didn’t are known assholes and neither married to my knowledge from when he used to come home and talk about his coworkers (pre 20yo coworker). Guess they figured he was the married one and “safe”

      • Beth, your words won’t fix him. Your problem isn’t with his company who decided he was “safe”. He is the problem. His disdain, disrespect and devaluation of you is the step before the discard. Beat him to it. Get you a “pitbull of a lawyer” and file first.

        Make sure to schedule a STI panel because I don’t believe for a hot second that he isn’t fucking her. You can’t fix him but you can divorce him and get a life.

        I am so sorry that you have been abused like this. Adultery is abuse. He is abusive and you deserve so much better.

      • Don’t fight with him. Separate your finances and file for divorce. It’s not OK for him to use marital assets this way. You can see that trying to reason with him doesn’t work. Would he let you spend $1500 on some 19-year old landscaper or lifeguard? I know the answer to that.

      • “I kept telling him that her family needs to be responsible for this crap, not US. But then it becomes a fight about me controlling all the money and how he works so hard and should be able to do what he wants.”

        I don’t remember who posted it originally but I will echo it again: This is a way to get you to shut up, sit down, and comply. It’s called DARVO and it’s a manipulation tactic. You give them a reasonable ask, or you call attention to something that is not right, they react with an over-the-top dramatic response and propose a completely disproportionate solution to the simple thing you asked, and make such a big deal out of it that it gets you to stop talking about the original thing. DARVO means “deny, attack, reverse victim offender.” The deny wrongdoing, attack you for bringing it up, and then make themselves into a victim and you an offender. Let me tell you a story of my first cheater many moons ago:

        He would sometimes want to go out with his buddies after work. I had met all of his friends, and they liked me, so I didn’t really see a problem with that. He would tell me “I’ll be home at -insert time here.” But he would never actually come home at the time he said he would be. And the times would get later and later. Sometimes he would come home so late he would skip work the next day from being too tired. I told him this isn’t ok, I have no idea where you are or if you’re alright, please come home when you say you’re going to.

        That turned into him always having a fucking man-baby meltdown. How DARE I try to tell him when he can come home! What am I trying to do here, keep tabs on him? He’s a grown man, he can do what he wants. Sometimes after they finish gaming, they like to go out for food or something, what’s wrong with that? They can’t decide to do anything else? What, I don’t want him to have friends? Is that it? I want to be the ONLY person in his life EVER? FINE he’ll just tell his friends he’s not allowed to see them anymore because I can’t handle him going out with them anymore and I want to watch him all the time.

        I said no, it’s not that I don’t want him to have friends, it’s just that he says he will be home at a certain time and he never is. If he and his friends decide they are going to get food or do something else that will have him home later, just text me or call me and let me know so I’m not worried, or not waking up at 3 am wondering where he is.

        “Oh you just don’t want me to have friends then, I get it. Well you can’t control me, you can’t control them either and we don’t owe you ANYTHING. What is it you think I’m doing out that late huh? What is it? Why don’t you say what you think we’re doing huh? Why don’t you go ahead and accuse me of something? DO IT!”

        No shock he wasn’t “out with friends” at those hours. All I had asked him to do was either come home at the time he said he would, or just let me know if he and his friends wanted to do something else later. Reasonable ask right? It would be for someone who has nothing to hide. For someone who does, over the top explosive reactions are a good distraction from what’s really going on. You’re not going to notice a spider biting you if you’re watching a fireworks shoot off in your living room. It’s manufactured anger to hide something more sinister.

  • Boy what timing for me. I just found out he has a young girl living at the house that I still own— because”she needs to get out of a toxic situation.” I guess he never heard of our domestic violence shelter.
    Meanwhile he still needs to get information for our taxes so they can get finished. And he’s failed to do that. Yes he is trying to save this girl. Riiigghht….

    • So sorry for you to have to see that. I’m glad you moved out of that craziness. Hope you have a good attorney. Hugs to you.

  • The whole entire story about the lost green card is made-up. In no way, shape or form does it require $600 to replace a green card, nor does it require a call to her employer. She could contact the U.S. embassy in her country and fill out some forms, that’s it. If she’s with-it enough to HAVE a green card, then she should know that.

    I don’t know which one of them is lying, but the $600-green-card-lost story is ridiculous. What’s funny sometimes is how cheaters lie as though they’re four years old. “Then a big monster tiptoed up the side of the house, and HE did it!”

    • Yup. Whatever that $600 was for she’ll never know. There is so much bullshit in everything this guy says it’s impossible to wade through.

      The facts:

      1. He’s been on dating sites in the past. So, he’s actively tried to cheat.
      2. He’s lied about his young coworker. Who cares why, he’s 100% lied to her face
      3. He’s given money to the coworker and lied about it
      4. When asked about any of these things he, you guessed it, lied!

      He’s a lying liar who LIES which is enough of a reason to not want to be married to someone anymore.

    • Not to mention, I highly doubt that the *photo* of $600 cash was an actual work reimbursement for the $600 given to the girl.
      I don’t know why you didn’t just say that you were going with him to the party. (too)!
      You need to stop believing this cheater and liar. And I’m sure that a chat with his boss or HR would solve the teenager issue. Or even a chat with the teenager. But, regardless, sounds like you need to file on this asshole.

      • I asked about going to the coworkers birthday party (at a gun range) and was told it would look funny for him to be the only one to show up with his wife “in tow”. Fwiw, I’ve been to the range a few times so it’s not something new. He just didn’t want me to come – sometimes I think he’s embarrassed of me.

        • Beth, you may be right about that. But I hope you know that is all about him and what he is doing and not that you are an embarrassment or that his feeling this way is a reflection of your worth or that you need to change something about yourself.

          This guy is bad. I’m sure he had and even still has many good qualities. But over the years he has changed and something rotten in him has taken over.

          This is all about him and not your personal foibles as a less than perfect human being. Please keep coming here – I wish I had had access to the collective wisdom of this site when I was going through this. You won’t be sorry to turn your loving focus onto yourself, to work on healing this trauma, and move in a direction that makes you happy. Life is too precious to waste on a FW.

    • That is exactly what I thought. Either the 19 y/o is making up stories to get money or cheater is using lame cover stories to explain monies missing.

  • I cannot imagine what is wrong with your therapist. I see two easy paths to solving this problem that the therapist ought to be recommending:

    1) Your husband extricates himself from work arrangements with the teenage co-worker as they are causing problems for him at home.
    2) Your husband makes extensive efforts to make you comfortable with his teenage co-worker to ease your concerns and demonstrate his boundaries.
    This might mean calling you to come join him at lunch, taking you to the co-worker’s party so you can see how everyone in the company interacts
    (including teenage co-worker), and taking your suggestions about other ways you’d like to be integrated into his life.

    Any therapist who dismisses your concerns about long drives, long lunches, expensive gifts, and extra-hours social events with a female co-worker of any age is cheerfully ignoring the elephant in the marriage.

    Even if he is not sleeping with her or grooming her, he is having an emotional affair with her.

    My marriage broke up for a number of reasons, but his early 20s “soul mate” was one of them (he was also in his mid 50s). He also claimed he wasn’t having sex with her (in fact, he dismissed my suspicions with the odd claim that it was more significant than that, yet not something I had any right to be jealous of). And, I don’t think he was . . . he was just hoping to once she graduated from college. I also discovered a very expensive graduation gift (the exact gift he had given me for Christmas).

    Here’s the most important thing: I do not miss him.

    • Long drives, long lunches, gift and socials without the spouse all equal an affair. This is exactly what my husband did with the last ho-worker. He totally gaslighting by making the problem your reaction, not his actions! I told my husband to get a new assistant or a new job. He never did, and kept seeing the whore. Just cut losses and run. There is no good here.

    • The party situation came and went – I actually went with a (female) friend that evening and got a massage and spent the night in a hotel. He chose to stay home and start making preparations to leave. He actually went on 3 apartment tours. I shouldn’t have asked him to stay.

      I agree that the therapist isn’t being very helpful but finally stated yesterday until he establishes clear boundaries with 20 yo that there isn’t much she can do for us.

      My therapist has said things similar to your suggestions above – that if he was serious about regaining my trust he’d do whatever was necessary.

      • Part of knowing that leaving is the right thing is making all kinds of efforts to save the marriage. Don’t feel bad about having asked him to stay. You needed to do that to get to the point where you realized you HAD made every effort.

        Best wishes!

      • “if he was serious about regaining my trust he’d do whatever was necessary.” -This was where we finally reached gridlock. I stated he needed to open everything in an effort for honesty, and finally quit working with ho-worker, he refused so I figured there was much to hide and he was not changing. That is when I went through with seeing an attorney. From what I have learned so far, where there is smoke there is fire. We also may have one situation hit our radar but its likely there were others that didn’t hit the radar. Sorry you are going through all this.

        • He’s said he’s not leaving his job and will protect his best friend too. It’s accept or end it…and I’m starting to accept leaving / getting him out needs to happen.

          • Ohhh, she’s his “best friend” now and he will protect her from you.

            Uh huh…yeah. Does *she* think he’s HER best friend? Does a 19-year-old girl think a married 53 year old man is her best friend?

            I’ll bet you my left tit she doesn’t. He gave you an ultimatum where he’s willing to throw out his marriage for this 19 year old. That’s all you need to know.

            Btw, he’s doing it again. Making it *your* fault. He’s set you up to be the one that ends the marriage, and I absolutely, 100%, god as my witness, he will frame it as you leaving him because you couldn’t accept his generous “friendship” trying to “save” a desperate young girl in need, and you’re just bitter and selfish and…and…*voice trails off into distant whining.*

            Be prepared for him to spin that narrative. And steel yourself against it because it is NOT YOUR FAULT the marriage needs to end. It’s him. Putting up with his inappropriate “friendship” is not something you should have to do and leaving is absolutely a reasonable action to take in this situation.

            I would also bet you two other things 1) This girl probably has no idea what is actually going on at home between him and you and 2) She’s been fed just as many lies and manipulations as you.

            That said, she’s not the bad guy here. Again, it’s him. The man in his 50’s cultivating an inappropriate relationship with a teenager. Even if she was coming on to him, throwing herself at him, following him around promising to suck his dick every day, he is the fully grown adult with an established life and career and he should know damn well what is and is not acceptable behavior in the workplace and in his personal life and should be able to draw those lines.

          • Try to get him to leave. Even if you have to make him believe you think it is for the best temporarily. He will think of it as a win, win. He’ll leave hoping it will work out with the 19 y/o and if it doesn’t he can come back home with you waiting in the wings. Once he’s out the door change the locks. Beth, you need to divorce this man and it shouldn’t be contingent on whether it works out or not with the teenager. He’s shown you that 1. he has no respect for you or your marriage 2. he’s a loser creep that thinks he has a chance with a teenager

  • “ Or is it just one attractive teenage girl that is the sole focus of his charitable urges?”
    CL you have the gift of reducing a steaming pot of bullshit into logic.

  • Knave-man helped the AP begin and succeed at a writing career because she “was so intelligent and had been through so much.”
    He became indispensible to her. She moved 2000 miles to be nearer to us (him).
    This was validating and powerful to his cake-demanding ego.

  • Wow!!! The level of support here is amazing! Thank you all so much for your comments and insights. So many have gone through similar situations and it just makes me sit back and go WTF is wrong with people.

    Let me clear up a couple items I saw reading through the posts:

    – I am now very financially stable. From a base salary standpoint I make a LOT more than him, but with his overtime, our gross wages are close. I shouldn’t be on the hook for alimony.

    – I really don’t want to leave the marital home. 1. I am ultimately going to be responsible for our 16 year old and our oldest and their partner still live in the house too. I’d have find a place for 4 people and 3 animals in an area where even buying a house is nearly impossible right now. 2. I also don’t want D16 to be uprooted from her school. She is high functioning autistic. It would be easier for him to find a 1/2 bedroom and keep “helping” Susie Q from there. 3. I can refinance and buy him out without too much hassle.

    – physical cheating: my gut says he still hasn’t dicked her yet – great sex has always been his way of saying “sorry” and there’s been a lot of that – but without major changes, it’s probably not far off

    – I’m starting to realize our marriage counselor is playing “both sides” way too hard. No, she hasn’t really held him to task and was even sympathetic about H53’s retelling of the now 20 year olds horror story about escaping Central America, leaving behind everything (including a kid) and her now finding someone she can trust (my 53 yo stbx) – her only friend in America (she’s been here <12 months)

    – “mom” is exactly how I feel

    – he is the golden child at his company…and I seriously doubt they’d fire him regardless – plus I need proof and don’t think a PI would be worth it. He let me search his phones and unless he’s deleting everything (possible) there’s no incriminating information there (2007 I had screen shots and print outs of his “I miss talking to you so much…” online chats)

    So since I wrote my email to CL, I’ve finally become aware of how much he’s vampired this girl and just allowed her to completely take over every aspect of him, which in turn has destroyed our marriage. He talked about it in marital counseling yesterday!! Went into details about how she listens, is nice to him (I’m the evil mommy, right?), looks up to him, makes him feel like he’s worth something. I was sobbing but taking it all in and realized I finally have validation that my feelings haven’t been wrong. This “relationship” has made him realize he’s missing out on SO much in his life. He’s told me in previous arguments he’s “bored” and that “we don’t love him anymore”.

    Is he grooming her? That’s a good question. He’s 53 but because of unresolved issues with childhood abuse (physical/ sexual / mental) would venture to guess he’s emotionally stuck at about 12. Idk if he’d even understand what “grooming” means. Not saying it’s an excuse, or that he’s not doing it, just something I keep in mind. Also I know his unresolved issues aren’t mine to fix.

    I’m feeling strong today and truthfully, these responses have helped me feel even calmer about where I am.

    I honestly think he’s on the verge of leaving and if my dumbass had said “GO!” last Sunday, he probably would have. But my fear and codependency took over and I begged for more time to “work on me” and my jealousy issues. I think he’s waiting on me to say “GTFO” so he’s not the “bad guy” – even though our 16 year old knows what her dad is doing isn’t right (she’s unfortunately overheard some of the arguments) !

    • And no, he is absolutely NOT helping anyone else, family or friend and I started thinking about that last night before this got posted here…he has plenty of family who could desperately use our help and even begrudged me over this situation for helping his sister last summer when she lost her job and couldn’t pay rent / insurance etc. comparing him sending 20 year old coworker $600 to me pending his sister about $1,000. Wtf man?? Wtf is wrong with you???

      • Hi Beth. I do much relate to your story. And it has finally propelled me to call my lawyer this morning and we are just going to file the paperwork. I was trying to figure out finances if his and all othe
        Of information so we had a solid offer to hopefully just have him take it. But I can’t wait any longer. He has a young girl living in my house and refuses to discuss with me what exactly he wants. I’m finally done. It will cost me more money but I no longer care about that.
        Good luck as you move forward because it is a bitch. And it really hurts.

      • “Went into details about how she listens, is nice to him (I’m the evil mommy, right?), looks up to him, makes him feel like he’s worth something. I was sobbing but taking it all in and realized I finally have validation that my feelings haven’t been wrong. This “relationship” has made him realize he’s missing out on SO much in his life.”

        I. heard. the. EXACT. SAME. THINGS.

        I found a note to her telling her “you showed me what was missing in my life.”

        It’s true. She showed me what was missing in my life too. I thought I had a loyal husband with a brain, a heart, and courage. Nope. If not for her, I would have kept believing his Nice Guy facade. I had a MIRAGE, not a marriage. I had a con artist, not a spouse.

        They all say and do the same crap. It’s uncanny but I have found comfort in it. They are NOT original in the least.

      • If you think he wants out, make him an offer he can’t refuse. Figure out the equity in the home, talk to your banker about refinancing (it’s the perfect time for that) and suggest a reasonable child support payment for your underage kiddo. Suggest that an amicable settlement will save you all money and he can pursue the life he wants. Let him take what he wants from the house.

        You deserve so much more than this guy. The see “looks up to him, makes him feel like he’s worth something” is textbook narcissism–the marriage doesn’t give him the kibbles he needs to maintain the mask over his hollow self.

    • You don’t have jealousy issues! You have a husband with boundary issues.

      The DARVO is strong with this one:

      Deny (There is nothing going on with co-worker!)
      Accuse (You have jealousy issues!)
      Reverse victim and offender (You don’t love me anymore, I’m missing out on life!)



      The effect of going through this loop again and again with someone is torture and can destroy your mental health. My husband really, really, did a number on me constantly telling me I was a mean, cold, unsupportive, person who didn’t love him.

      It took me a couple of years of separation to realize how fucked up it is to say that to your spouse. I used to think he said it because he felt unloved (how sad!), and I would try to do more to “prove” to him I loved him. 



      Now I realize it’s just a con. 



      Just some way to twist me up so I’d stop focusing on whatever lie he was trying to cover up that week. Some way to force me to be nice to him when he didn’t deserve it at all. Some way to cause a fight so he could justify everything he did behind my back. 


    • I had to laugh– though not in delight– on reading about how your FW’s, cough, “hostage” (presuming the story is true and this woman is on immigration tenterhooks and supporting a child and imagining her country of origin is one of the countries ravaged by roving death squads, etc.) was so “nice” to him while he proverbially holds a gun to her head ordering her to be nice (because he’s the company golden child and, whether he would misuse that power or not, he effectively has the power to get her terminated and sent back to hell).

      If this woman/girl has internalized abusive systems, she may imagine that she’s playing him back, but it’s obviously not an ideal situation for her regardless. It still makes him a 53-year-old predatory perv, maybe even more so if she’s a fucked up person with a character disorder. He’s still effectively profiting from someone’s trauma and, if you really think about it, literally profiting from death squads or whatever cataclysmic horror is going on in her country of origin.

      What would people from Latin countries think about it? In case your husband’s bogus virtue signaling and fake social justice warrior rationalizations get under your skin or start to confuse bystanders, see Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larrain’s dark, poetic film “Post Mortem,” which basically argues that fascism floats in on and relies on the secret rapeyness of average assholes. I love Larrain’s work because the theme seems to drive most of his films (also see “The Club,” “Tony Manero,” and “Fuga.” His Oscar-nominated “Jackie” has hints).

      Yeah, what your FW is doing is “political” but not in the sense he thinks.

      Also it’s interesting that Zapatista Women Warriors in the last Chiapas summit for “Women Who Fight,” totally blew off the current faux-feminist trend of supporting sex workers as making “empowered choices” and refused to let a group of active sex workers do a presentation on why “sex work is work” or have a legitimized voice in the movement. Zapatista women not only suffer from foreign corporate oppression but also from oppression by Zapatista men. They don’t take kindly to women who are willing to sell themselves to both to hegemonic foreign managers (making their post in Mexico more welcoming and homey) as well as taking meager family assets from Indigenous families toiling 20 hours a day and barely able to feed their children.

      So social justice my ass. The people who walk the walk and whose opinions matter wouldn’t buy any of the excuses.

      By the way, I think there’s a special place in hell for FWs with special needs children. The spouse who plays sane parent usually gives up massive amounts of freedom and agency, often becomes socially isolated and can suffer many “caretaker” health issues in order to care for a disabled child, making it that much easier for a FW to take advantage and depend on the sane parent’s paralysis to get away with murder. It’s analogous to preying on single parent of an endangered child with tenuous immigration status from a violent homeland except in your case, the child in the mix is HIS OWN CHILD. WTF.

    • Please please PLEASE read the rookie mistakes article- he is NOT your ally. Do not ask him for anything. Smile and nod and don’t antagonize him until you have all your cards in place and can drop the bomb immediately. Look up grey rocking- you need to learn this asap. The more you confront him about this, the more he will rope you back and blame you and mentally destroy you. You need all the energy you can have

      • Beth,

        Yes to what Birdchump says.

        You haven’t seen anything yet.

        Shocking when they really turn nasty….and I mean nasty in a way you can’t imagine them ever behaving towards you.

        Happens when you finally set boundaries and there are consequences for their behavior.

        At least that is what happened in my case.

        I am still shocked and it has been about 4 years now….

        PROTECT YOURSELF in ALL areas.

        • Totally agree. He was pretty okay moving out until he realized I had boundaries. My STBX has amped up the manipulation and gaslighting 100 fold. He really didn’t think I was going to protect myself, he thought he was going to control the narrative, the money, the business and me. He was seriously fucking wrong!

          • It is amazing that they think that the chump will just do as they say through out the divorce, and even after.

            My fw actually thought he would control the state divorce laws just because he said so. It was kind of funny in hindsight when he began to realize he had no control anymore. I wish I would have had more time to enjoy watching the slow crash and burn; but I was too busy surviving.

            One example is that he called me at work, and threatened that he would sell everything, if I did not agree to what he wanted to happen. I just said “knock yourself out big boy” and hung up on him. He called back a bit later to apologize for what he said.. He had a sad sack of a loser for a lawyer, but I am wondering if even his idiot lawyer didn’t say you can’t do that shit, she will tell her lawyer you are threatening her. Which I did tell my lawyer, but we basically had a laugh about it.

    • Don’t let him or the therapist trap you into believing you have jealously issues. Horseshit! The reality is your husband is messing around with a young woman and you are being royally disrespected. Please do not confuse jealousy with being disrespected.

  • Living with a FW husband is like living in a house with a faucet that starts to leak. You thought the faucet was nice looking and dependable. But then it starts to drip, just once in a while. In fact, you even think you’re imagining that it’s dripping, it happens so seldom.
    But then the drips are more frequent. Then so frequent you can’t stop them. You know it’s time to call a plumber but you don’t have the time to take off from work & you wish someone else would take the responsibility of getting it fixed.
    This is where you’re at, Beth. You can’t ignore the creepy stuff your husband is doing. You can’t ignore his unilateral decisions; maybe years ago you had shared decision making & you’re still working with that old mindset.
    Your house is going to be flooded soon! Chump Nation above has named so many things that could happen!
    Call that plumber yourself and begin to figure out how to protect yourself & your children. Your teenager still needs a functioning parent, with resources.
    Seeing my situation from a safety perspective helped me get out. Are your finances safe right now? Is your body safe right now? Is your mind safe right now?
    You deserve to be safe, and you have to be safe so your children are safe, too. I hope you have the strength to take some first steps, then you’ll see from there what’s next.
    And hopefully you’ll get out before your house floods.

    • Finances are ok and after what happened in 2007, understood my responsibility to have a safety plan in place. All of my documents are safe and secure where he cannot get them.

      I spoke with an attorney in February so understand the laws of my state and have the paperwork ready to hire / pay the retainer / get a separation agreement in place.

      I also have a separate bank account- he knows about it but I was trying to be open and save the marriage.

      • You are in the perfect position to divorce him. Put yourself and your needs first. You are begging a man invested in a 19 year old to honor his marital vows. He doesn’t care about you or your kids. Be your own Mama Bear. Would you let your married adult child be treated this way? Bet you wouldn’t!!! There have been no consequences for that pervy husband. He won’t change. But you can. Divorce him.

        • Thanks 🙂 I’m working on it. It’s not easy going from severe codependent / caretaker / “if he’s happy, I’m happy” to letting go, no matter how disgusting the circumstances are.

          He also knows the laws of our state too and no, without a restraining order, I can’t kick him out. He’s offered to leave but when push comes to shove, I wonder. Although he seemed to like one of the apartments he visited – was enthusiastic about the pool and weight room.

          • Letting go does not happen overnight, at least not in my case.

            Something that helps me is the slogan: Fake it until you make it.

            Ain’t easy but it is doable.

            One doesn’t have to get over being a caretaker in order to set boundaries.

            I would wager a guess that most of us here are severe caretakers…but I wouldn’t want to implicate anyone except myself 🙂

          • It won’t be easy but expediting this separation/divorce process will work your favor. Again, trick him into leaving by leading him to believe he can come back if he so chooses. Once he leaves, change the locks and file. Hopefully you can buy him out and not disrupt your kids and pets. You can grieve later but I’m thinking your grieving process will not be too long.

  • Dear Beth,

    Like I commented earlier, I think threatening to quit his job– basically threatening to impoverish a family with a minor child– is unequivocal battering. It’s a violent threat, particularly in the midst of a pandemic. It’s not just me defining it that way, it’s increasingly an official definition.

    https://www.dvconnect.org/domestic-violence/financial-abuse/

    https://ncadv.org/blog/posts/quick-guide-economic-and-financial-abuse

    In my view, cheating or threatening to cheat is a form of battering because of subjecting another person to unconsented risk of STDs isn’t much different than threatening to brain them with a tire iron. Little wonder that there are other overlaps between cheating and dv, like the fact both categories of abuser use the same DARVO tractics (Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim-Offender) to psychically paralyze the victim, triangulation and social bullying tactics (painting the victim as the “bad guy” to anyone who will listen and covertly or overtly threatening to destroy the victim’s reputation with these lies) and of course financial control/abuse.

    Abuse is abuse is abuse is abuse.

    I second others here who warned of a looming risk of harrassment lawsuits that financially ruin countless families.

    • We wouldn’t be impoverished- I make more than enough to live comfortably.

      I don’t see it coming down to harassment. If anything, it sounds like it would be a mutual relationship. More power to him.

      • In my case, the OW chased, danced and manipulated hard. She wasn’t as young as ride-along-Sally in your situation but there was still no denying the massive power differential between her and my FW. He was the golden boy in his male-dominated tech field with a 20 year track record and she couldn’t climb much beyond intern status. Her drunken FW dad, who had to downsize after the ’08 crash, was also getting tired of paying her bills. She was childless and may not have feared deportation back to a pit of death and despair or seeing a child starve, but to many members of the middle-class Millennial gen who suffer from an epidemic of depression, addiction, health disorders, perma-single status and job insecurity and whose parents suffered class demotion, I suppose the specter of ending up on unemployment and being cut off from retail therapy feels like a fate worse than death. The gun to their heads may be plastic and loaded with Nerf caps but the important thing is that they think it’s real.

        He also bellowed before D-Day about how “nice” people said he was compared to my “endless criticism” (which was all about his stealth drinking, absences, mood swings and irresponsible parenting related to the affair btw). The first thing I thought was “Yeah, yeah, they’re all nice when you’re paying their massive drink tabs on the family dime” and dangling job perks.

        He was abusing power regardless of whether the other party was saying “Thank you, Sir, I’ll have another” or not.

  • “but I was trying to be open and save the marriage.”
    but he has deceived about $ and time. and often what you find out is often only the tip of the iceberg. Listen to the many voices of experience, protect yourself and take action! Others here have been sharing that the patterns here do not progress well for chumps. Cheater abuse moves quickly from guilt to anger.

    You’ve written for advice.Many people have shared their experience and recommend leaving, protecting yourself and your kids future because he has already checked out. Sorry but the other future you hoped for is gone. What remains is to go forward as best you can to protect your and your kids futures . You’ve written here so presumably you are now considering that you cannot save the marriage. The time for being open is gone – now it is to quickly, quietly work out how to leave him imho. He has already checked out.

    • I’m slow on the uptake and also extremely codependent. I’ve been the caretaker and my life has been centered around his happiness and my kids. Don’t get me wrong, I have MANY awesome accomplishments to my name, but getting untangled from someone I thought I loved so much for 28 years isn’t easy.

      I honestly didn’t know how deep he was in it with this girl until yesterday and hearing it come straight from his mouth. I was in denial. I couldn’t let this go without trying counseling and the fact he was even willing gave me hope. I’m now realizing it was false hope.

      I really do appreciate all the comments and advice. I have taken steps to protect myself. The next one it paying the retainer and getting a separation agreement in place.

      • You likely did love him, not just think you did. And you still may.

        I know how hard it is to walk away from someone you truly loved. It tore my heart out to be discarded by the man I loved, I don’t know if he changed, or if he was never who I thought he was; but I do know he became dangerous to me; especially financially.

        You can always change your mind if he does a complete turn around after you get a legal separation. (it is doubtful he will, and I wouldn’t trust him anyway) In our state once you are legally separated, you are no longer responsible for any debts he runs up, (and vice vers) and it will be harder for him to move and hide money. He can moved it, but he will have to explain it in court.

        Get a two year history on your joint accounts, and get a two year history on any joint credit cards. The credit cards is where I found the charges for merchandise for his whore and her kids. Also, try to get your hand on a recent pay stub of his, to know for sure how much money he was claiming he made vs what he actually made.

        I was able to recoup a lot of that money during our legal separation, because he had to pay me temp maintenance. Our state was no fault/50/50, but the laws still allowed for recouping marital financial fraud, and it allowed time for me to get on my feet.

        My lawyers argument in part was, he and the whore had been plotting against me behind my back for several years, now it was my turn to have time to plan on his dime. Oh my lawyer I am sure used better words than that, but that and recouping monies stolen from marital assets, was his argument and the judge agreed.

      • Remember that codependency is not a given. It’s a habitual way of relating to others that you can change. Your STBX is obviously disordered in some way and you are the one taking care of a child on the autism spectrum and pulling down the big money while he is emotionally an adolescent.

        What changes codependency’s the determination to have relationships that are reciprocal and mutually supporting, where both parties are healthy and capable individuals. You can’t get there with this guy because he’s not up to adulting.

        • Backing up LAJ here.

          hallmark of codependent recovery = listening to their actions not their words.

          I can’t remember where I heard that but I agree.

      • You sound stronger already! Hooray! It’s not an easy decision to make after so many years. We’re here foot you.

        • *for you*
          I have a young adult son, with high functioning autism & some other medical problems. He will always be dependent upon someone. I struggled with the decision to separate. When I made that decision & decided that I would be the one to move out, I found a rental home that was open & ready. The day after I showed him the rental home, he had his entire room packed & ready to go! He asked how soon could we move! Until then, I really couldn’t tell how much the checked out FW bothered him. He spoke rarely & without emotion. Once we were on our own, he began talking more & more & I’ve seen his confidence go up, he is doing more things independently.

      • Beth – You may want to remove your photo and use a different screen name. The second he knows there are consequences, he will begin sniffing around. The less information he can find regarding your observations and plans – the better.

        I bet if you ask the admins, someone will help you do so.

        Best wishes and remember that it WILL get better once you’ve divorced a cheater.

  • The girl may or may not be complicit in wanting his attention. Note that younger girls are looking for older men because they have more money than males their own age. I saw a conversation on that on Tim Poole’s YouTube channel. Of course, it was twenty-somethings choosing men in their mid-thirties and over for what they could provide.

    In my ex’s case, he was 48 and had a 23-year-old employee that got moved to him after she (married) and another (married) coworker were having an affair that caused the boss to move her to the ex. Then the ex hooked up with her and ended up leaving me and marrying her. He’s turning 50 in June, and she’ll be 25. Baby on the way. 19 is not that much younger than this chick was.

  • There’s only one way this story goes, if it hasn’t already. It’s such a shock when you get confronted with the end of your marriage and you find out about it this way.

    The only good end to this story is when you divorce him (doing all the work behind the scenes so you can continue to keep an eye on what he does and build evidence). Post-chump life is the best life.

  • Blameshifting and guilt tripping- check
    Parentification of spouse- check
    You’re not the boss of me petulance- check
    Long lunches with female coworker- check
    Spending money on female coworker- check
    Talking a lot about female coworker- check
    Much younger mark, signs of grooming detected- check
    You not invited to work parties- check
    History of cheating- check
    Falsely accuses you of unreasonable jealousy- check

    Yep, you 100% have a cheater. Whether at this point it’s only emotional and she’s not let him fuck her yet, who can say, but he certainly intends to. Intention is enough. Hurting you and not caring is enough. Chasing girls young enough to be his daughter is enough. He’s scum. Enough.

    Have you heard the song If You Tolerate This, Your Children Will Be Next? That’s literally true in this case. The next thing he will do is break up his family and destroy his own children’s lives, all for a chance to fuck a young girl he’s either taking rapey advantage of or who’s using him.

    • He’s her boss and far superior in the company. If she nicely rebuffs him, she will be “laid off”, and probably deported. (Ask me how I know…many times.) If I were Beth, I would talk to the girl, kindly, and get her side of the story, and let her know that you are still married. The girl deserves to hear the truth. And you should still divorce this jerk. Who knows what the lying husband told her. In no way, is it the girl’s fault.

  • One month before D-day, I found an email exchange from my STBX (53 yo old doctor) to a woman (young nurse). He was writing a paper for her for nursing school. I went ballistic. Who is this woman…why are you helping her…inappropriate, inappropriate, inappropriate. He was livid. Said he was just helping her, I don’t know what I’m talking about, I just don’t know anything about work relationships (I am also a doctor but stopped many years ago to raise our kids). Fast forward to D-day–I stumble onto nudes and videos on his phone. So apparently they have been living together for 3 years! He literally lives in her house with her kids whenever he’s supposed to be out of town. (He’s a traveling physician-how convenient.) He celebrates birthdays, prom, watches kids’ sports with an entirely different family. He even came to our town occasionally, staying in a hotel with her. I think he liked the thrill of possibly getting caught and still getting away with it.

    My point is these pieces of shit are wired differently. Whatever you know, it’s always just the tip of the tip of the tip of the iceberg. Please GET OUT.

    • Yes, this is what I’m learning that what tips is off to an affair or wrong-doing is “just the tip of the iceberg”. The rabbit hole of lies and deceit is so deep and twisted. I know there is so much I don’t and will never know, but what I do know and the dots I can connect are bad enough. When we begin pulling on loose threads we just don’t know what we’re going to find. Sorry yours was a whole second family. I know think a “travel —-“ is a red flag.

  • I’d like to add a thought that in hindsight I realize is absolutely crucial.

    When I found out my ex was cheating I went straight to a counselor, Liz. Without knowing it at the time, she literally saved my life. We didn’t do any ‘how do you feel’ crap, she helped me make thorough and strong decisions (i.e. protect yourself by confronting him at a restaurant so he won’t go crazy angry on you). My strength – thanks to Liz – ended up saving me financially (I made him leave the house, I ended up the 50% as required in my community property state).

    The day after confrontation, we went to a different counselor I had set up. My ex clearly stated he wanted a divorce. But this is the problem: when my ex said he would need time to end the (long distance) affair, this counselor said, “it’s okay, these things take time” (probably alluding to letting her down gently). I just listened; it didn’t impact me because the marriage was going to end. But what I know now that I didn’t know then, is that the counselor was flat out wrong. If he had been the counselor I went to on my own, I would have been getting really, really bad advice. In other words, RUN AWAY from any counselor that has any ambiguity and can’t call a spade a spade. If the counselor doesn’t have the word ‘grooming’ readily handy for this very obvious situation then something is very, very wrong.

    • I am also talking to my own therapist and she has been no-holds-bar about the inappropriate nature of his relationship with a 20 yo. I asked her to back off last week but she still insisted on calling a spade a spade and I appreciate her very much.

  • He complains about your responses to his shitty entitled behavior – well, ain’t he like every other cheater?

    Lean into it. Hell yes you don’t trust him – he is untrustworthy! Hell yes you are angry that you aren’t invited to the parties and are left at home – you are his WIFE. Hell yes you are angry that he bought her a $1000 phone and let me guess – you and the kids are using his cast-off phones from 10 years ago. Or at the very least, whatever he can get with the least cost and fewest features.

    What the hell? She is 19 and he is 53. He is her supervisor/boss and while she may be an awful human being she is 19 and may need the job badly enough to put up with his leering, innuendos, pawing, etc.

    I’m shocked that his company is letting him do this because how could they not know this is a sexual harassment lawsuit waiting to happen? Particularly after they reimbursed the $600. Look – if she called him and needed the help then he should have notified the company straightaway.

    Please, for your sake and your kids – pull the plug on this never ending nightmare. Divorce him. Just be done with this!

    As for that counselor – write a letter or go one more time to inform the idiot that he isn’t saving her – he is GROOMING her. Hell, I’d report the idiot to the state licensing board too. It may go nowhere, but the hassle and time for the idiot counselor to have to deal with it is worth it.

  • Oh – and Beth – RUN to your physician and get tested for STDs. Including syphilis and HIV. Don’t trust. Verify.

    And get divorced.

  • Agree totally that most of us saw the red flags but denied to ourselves it was really true. I needed proof, real proof. I wasted 26 years of my life trying to find proof. Finally my now ex admitted he did have a 15 year affair. That’s what he admitted to, I have no idea what else there is. Animals have the god given sense to alert at the slightest noise, smell or shift in environment and RUN. We need to believe our instinct or soul and RUN. Please learn from our mistakes, don’t waste your precious life.

    • That’s a great point. A deer doesn’t necessarily wait around to make certain it’s a mountain lion rustling in the foliage, and not a baby rabbit. If something seems off, s/he simply bolts. Never mind waiting until the lion comes into clear, close view for absolute confirmation.

  • Hey Beth, thanks for chiming in responding to various replies. We in Chump Nation appreciate the real time feedback as you fight through this tragedy. You sound damn smart and capable.

    Fast forward in my situation (abandoned by e-mail for a foreign twat 4 years ago after 28 years married)– surprise! My X got older even though he was certain the hands of time would stop for him if he could just get away from my Rules and my constant Anger. The foreign twat is apparently not on the scene anymore and he lives several states away from me and his adult daughters. His daughters refuse to speak to him and he claims (in one-way texts that they don’t acknowledge) that he is sad about that. I don’t think he misses his mommy- me – because he would have to acknowledge that he completely nuked his life for magic beans that proved worthless. Indeed I think he would say it all was worth it and that I am just the bitch who is poisoning his kids against him, regardless of how his life looks empty and ridiculous now. He “finally got to make decisions in his life for once before it is too late” and he fucked it up completely. Consequences.

    No matter, I get all the good stuff with my girls who are strong young women with excellent boundaries. I will get to watch their lives blossom while my X sits over there wondering if he has grandchildren. Though I never would have chosen this path I am glad I no longer have to deal with a petulant, childish man-baby who ruined his family for selfish reasons. He is a stereotype, a mid life crisis cartoon, and everyone can see what a ridiculous thing he did by abandoning his objectively awesome wife for some stupid co-worker twat. How unoriginal.

    Act fast while your Asshat is on his self absorbed high and is willing to sacrifice everything for a chance to ride this little girl. Hand him a pen and well wishes and get your life back, then pop some corn to watch him self-destruct. Hopefully he won’t try the hoover maneuver, watch for that and stay strong.

    • “You sound damn smart and capable.”

      Yup. 😁 Beth seems like she’s really got her act together, despite inevitable early-days confusion and shock (as one realizes the entire relationship was a lie).

  • Beth: I think you are going to need a lot of individual therapy. The couples’ therapist is worse than useless. When a cheating spouse or any spouse does not know the meaning of reciprocal and obviously does not care if the betrayed spouse is hurt by what they are doing and have done, there is nothing to work with. Sorry you have invested two decades plus with him but you will feel better once you are free of him and better to get out now than after another decade or two. Hope you are familiar with the country song that goes something like this: The next time he cheats, it won’t be on me.

    Lots of people on CN had spouses who were not at all reciprocal, who blame shifted, felt like the betrayed spouse was keeping them from being happy, etc. It sucks but there is a better life without him. Best of luck to you.

  • Hi Beth,

    I hate to say it but you’re in the devaluation process. I was in a long, slow devaluation process so I’m a bit of a pro! You’ll now never be able to do anything right, it will all be your fault, and he’s “testing” the waters with this new thing. Look up “monkey branching.” You’ll never be good enough and he will find all these ways you are meeting his “needs”. How sad and pathetic that it’s with such a vulnerable woman – you can now be mad at him for his lack of character.
    Tips: DO NOT move out of the house. Call a lawyer. Move half of your savings into an account if you can. Stop talking to him about the other thing – he’s already with her now, he’s just biding him time to make sure it’s real before dropped the bomb, OR, he’ll keep the cake and kibbles routine going for awhile. I told my ex, “you need to go so we both have time to think”. This was my way of kicking him out so that I maintained control of the house – thank god I did. I almost made it seem like a good thing that he was going – and he thought so too because he got all the time in the world to fuck his girlfriend. However, once he realized I was no longer his puppet to control, the abuse ramped up. That’s why keeping the house and getting hold of the money is a good thing, and now.

    Sorry you’re going through this. It sucks so bad. I lost mine to a client at our work – she was young, dumb and desperate, but she let him do degrading sexual things so apparently that was more important than a business, home, wife, and daughter. Fuck him. I’ve said it here before (not my words). Don’t make someone a priority who is only making you an option. You are not plan B. You are the wife. The trick to understand is, once they’ve made their mind up to devalue you, there’s absolutely nothing left to do but leave before you’re discarded.

    Big hugs

  • “Four weeks ago he sent her $600, without telling me, to help her get out of her country…I had specifically asked him to not send her the money. Not only did I think it was inappropriate, I was suspicious of the whole story. I found out the next morning when I checked our joint bank account…He got mad at me — and I have texts of him accusing me of being the problem. He also said he shouldn’t have to ask me to “send money to a friend”, and I’ve been “stalking” him with find my iPhone. ”

    So many red flags here. Spending large amounts of money without consulting you, his wife and supposedly equal partner. When you are married yes, you should ask your spouse before “helping a friend” if it’s more than what you would generally carry in your wallet. As for the texts accusing YOU of being the problem, well that’s just classic DARVO (Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim Offender).

    “…and then Monday he came home with his hoodie strings cutely braided. I told him lunching for hours alone with his female coworker isn’t appropriate and wanted him to set a “no touch” boundary. ”

    There is something deeply, deeply wrong with a 53 year old man who comes home with his hoodie strings braided. So you set a boundary. And the previous quote indicates he is in the habit of steamrollering right over your boundaries. You have nothing to work with here.

    “So after all this, he comes to me yesterday and says he’s going to a coworkers birthday party Saturday night and she’s probably going with him.”

    What about you, his wife? What are you, chopped liver? He has forgotten to dance with the one who brung him. That generally has consequences. Assign some to him, in the form of divorce papers.

  • Mine said he had to stay “friends” with her or she’d commit suicide. Turns out they were vacationing together when I thought he was on business trips.

    They will say anything to avoid accountability and to keep the cake coming. Get out. It will hurt like hell, but is much much easier here on the other side.

    PS He eventually broke up with the suicide mistress (who never even got close to suicide) and then married his Craigslist hook-up mistress.

  • Beth turn that possible STBX into an actual STBX and ex. Protect yourself from this cocksucker. This is who he’s always been and he’ll never change.
    My ex wife was Director of Nursing at a facility and she hired her sparkle dick into the Assistant Director of Nursing position, who was 5 years younger than her and 8 years younger than me. Well about a year into it their co workers knew what was going on between them. So they turned them into corporate and they were given the ultimatum to end their affair or resign. They both chose to resign giving up their 6 figure salary for the fuzzies. To avoid child support and alimony they both have worked part time now for the past 3 years. He has 5 kids with 3 women and my ex and I have 4. So you see where their priorities lie.
    Your hopefully STBX may end up in the same boat and pull the same shit. It’s what these fuckwits do. Give this asshole the boot.

  • I remember the first time I had a ‘normal’ interaction with a non-psychopath after enduring years of emotional abuse and blameshifting from my ex, his mother and his shmoopie who was our live-in au pair. I was unhappy with something a colleague had done and – wow! the colleague immediately apologized and set out to change. Then I of course felt bad and backtracked and took part of the blame and we came to an understanding and solved the problem. This is what normal interactions with normal people are like. It was a breath of fresh air that more than anything made it clear to me how broken my ex and his mother’s beahvior were. Normal healthy people don’t blame everything on you including their own actions and things you have no control over. Normal healthy people don’t abuse you. Normal healthy people feel bad when you are unhappy with them and try to fix the situation. Normal healthy people take your concerns seriously and try to negotiate a mutually satisfactory solution. Normal healthy people take blame for their own actions. Normal people don’t throw you under the bus and say horrible things about you behind your back in order to cover their own bad behavior.

  • My ex had a long history of trying to save other people. It should have been a red flag to me, that most of his guy friends needed some sort of saving. From alcoholism, drug addiction, unemployment, mental illness, family issues, etc. I thought it was noble that he wanted to help these people and he was being a good guy. In actuality, he was choosing people he felt were “beneath” him so that he could feel superior.

    I’m sure that dynamic was in play with his choice of OW, who is now his wife. She’s a massage parlor sex worker with a 10 year old child (who he nows refers to as his son). Very likely sex trafficked from China with an undoubtedly sad story she told him. He liquidated one of our retirement accounts to set up house with her. Left me with no warning after 30 years of marriage, while I was out of state caring for my sick mother. Just two months after I’d retired from my 29 year career at the same company. Married his sex worker as soon as our divorce decree was dry.

    Thankfully I hired a good lawyer. FW couldn’t be bothered to hire an attorney. I got the house, kept my 401K and will get his pension when he passes. I did have to pay off all the marital debt, which was significant. I had to go back to work, but I landed on my feet.

    I get lonely, and it’s hard handling everything on my own sometimes. But I’ve learned I’m stronger and more capable than I thought. It’s better to be alone than to be with someone who is lying to you daily and putting your health at risk. It still makes me want to retch when I think of giving him BJs after he’d been with her.

    I’m not yet at Meh, as I still hope that his marriage to a woman he can have very little in common with (besides sex) fails. When I no longer care about that, I will know that I’ve finally arrived at Meh.

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