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It Was a ‘One-Off’ — Let It Go?

chasing unicornDear Chump Lady,

Been married 21 years, and late last year my wife was on a vacation with my adult daughter, where she had a fling with a guy which included a sexual betrayal. Flirting by the pool, exchanging texts, eventually getting together for drinks, back to his room, and it turned sexual. My daughter knew none of this, thankfully.

A week after it happened, she came to me and told me of the fling. I believe her when she told me everything. The marriage had problems and I made mistakes, and I wanted to reconcile, and so does she.

The good is that this situation is different than what I’ve read on your website regarding serial cheaters and narcissists, and this betrayal is a one-and-done. She came forward and told me about it. I’ve never known her to lie to me, and we don’t have the deceit.

The bad is that I’m so very hurt, and she is kind of acting like a FW in that after a quick apology she doesn’t want to talk about it, frustrated with me for bringing it up, she doesn’t want to have date nights because I’m no fun to be around, typical FW stuff. Also bad is that I’m in my 50s, our lives and finances are entwined, and this is the only life I’ve known for 21 years. The pain is unbearable.

We’re in counseling and so far I’m not too encouraged but I’m patient and hopeful.

Soooo… am I a huge double-chump for thinking we can reconcile?


Dear Double Chump,

Well, DC, I’m not in the business of recommending reconciliation. It’s like telling me you ate at the rancid taco buffet and got eColi, but only that ONCE, and okay, you had organ failure, but kidney dialysis isn’t forever (okay, it’s forever), but you had 20 good years of tacos (so, maybe they weren’t the best tacos, but they were the tacos you KNEW) and would I encourage you to eat at Señor Vómito again?

No. No I would not.

You could dismiss me as a crabby blogger who consumes a thousand depressing stories each week the way other people eat cornflakes, but consider this, D.C. — she isn’t sorry.

after a quick apology she doesn’t want to talk about it

And why is this about what she wants? Isn’t that entitlement the sort of Stella-Got-Her-Groove-Back pathetic middle-aged cliche that got her into this mess? Where’d the sorry go? Poolside with an umbrella drink? I’m not feeling the remorse.

frustrated with me for bringing it up

I’m sure you’re frustrated with her fucking around.

she doesn’t want to have date nights because I’m no fun to be around,

This is like me kneecapping your shins with a pipe and then complaining you won’t go on hikes. You HOBBLE! Stay home!

It’s NOT YOUR JOB to be Mr. Romance now, for fuck’s sake. She cheated on YOU, it’s HER job to up her game. The fact that you’re willing to do date nights (i.e., pick me dance for her awesomeness) demonstrates you’re willing to eat the shit sandwich and TRY. And she’s rejecting you?

You know what I say next… (class in unison) Is this relationship acceptable to you? As it is? Do you realize you can’t save a marriage all by yourself?

Here’s why I think your union is doomed — it has nothing to do with if she only cheated once (although I am highly skeptical that someone takes up fucking around in their 50s), or whether she fails to qualify as the most sociopathic creep you read about here (bitch cookie) — it’s that she thinks PUNISHING you with an affair is justified.

You see her telling you about it as unvarnished honesty. I see it as an abusive power play.

Now, if she told you and followed that up with a commitment to the marriage and demonstrated remorse? We could go with your interpretation — she told you because she cares.

But she told you and followed that up with fuckwittery and a blatant disregard for your feelings, so we’re going with MY interpretation — abusive power play.

She was unhappy in your marriage? There were issues? She decided to get your attention by fucking another man. And telling you about it. The way other people punch walls. Upset me again and there will be consequences. You don’t dance pretty? You don’t romance her and improve your attitude? Why, she’s only one Sandal’s resort away from hurting you again. So, you better behave.

THAT toxic shit is why should should divorce her ass. You can’t work with that. What happens if you get cancer? Or fail to amuse her on a random Wednesday? Who wants to cater to such a person? Who wants to live with that sort of threat hanging over them?

The pain is unbearable.

Not to her.

And why would you waste one more minute of your precious life with someone who could casually betray you and not care? You aren’t wired the same way and you don’t share the same values. So, game over.

Oh, and watch her “care” the minute you see a lawyer. You want to stay with someone you have to threaten with legal action before they take you seriously?

Put your therapy dollars toward a happier future without this woman.

The world is full of better tacos.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • DC, she fucked around specifically while on a vacation WITH Y’ALL’S KID. Yes, your daughter didn’t directly witness it, but please, for kiddo’s sake, work to protect yourself and to model what it means to not take disrespect.

    • Agree. It also seems unlikely this was the first time she cheated in 20+ years. It takes some level of entitlement and balls to cheat once after 20 years, and this woman did it ON VACATION WITH THEIR CHILD.

    • I have a hard time following the thread of “is this relationship acceptable to you?” Sadly, it totally was. In fact, I was pretty much convinced that relationship was my best one yet. I spackled with beliefs like the bad stuff was worth it, or it would get better over time, or it was temporary setback, he has learned his lesson.

      Getting my head on straight required me to look at it like this: “under what circumstances would I ever do to him what he just did to me?” The answer was much more definitive: “never!”

      The fact is, I was married to a monster and no amount of spackle was going to make this relationship survive. It’s like an elevator going down to hell. You decide what floor you want to get off.

  • As someone whose former wife did something similar, had an affair to get back at me because I was not doing everything she wanted me to do to show her I loved her “enough,” my suggestion is the same as Chump Lady’s. Even after I divorced my former wife, a year later she had the audacity to tell me I did nothing to get her back, all the while she was still seeing her affair partner. It was not my job to get her back, but that is what this entitled woman was demanding. It seems yours is just as entitled and just as remorseless.

    • My XW yelled at me hysterically “why are you not FIGHTING for me!!??” After 30 years together, I shouldn’t have to interview for my own position. The prize no longer held any value.

  • Same everything…. same exact thing at year 20. I took him back. I believed just like you. Got treated just like you. Then at year thirty got the complete devalue, discard and Abandon. Left me for a coworker. They never change. They just get dirtier. Leave now.

    • That’s exactly as I predict this one playing out too. His wife is enjoying flogging him with the whip to watch him squirm. She will continue this devalue cycle until she finds a shinier ship to jump to. Discards are excruciating. Ask me how I know. Get out NOW DC!
      Oh, and guaranteed your daughters spidey senses picked up on moms behaviour as “off” at the very least. I recall seeing a woman flirt with my dad when I was a child and I saw through that BS with 20/20 vision. These FW’s are shameless and do not care how they display themselves. Even in front of their own kids!

      • Watch the Italian movie from the 1940s “The Children Are Watching Us” to see how astute and affected a four year old is. Never underestimate a child’s intelligence, a little one or an adult.

        These fuckers really don’t care who they hurt. Selfish monsters.

      • “These FW’s are shameless and do not care how they display themselves. Even in front of their own kids!”

        That’s because they actually do think they’re fabulous and sparkly, not shameful and gross. Someone wants to fuck me, it validates my belief that I’m the best!

        Double Chump,
        Your FW sounds just like my cheater. They’re far from the worst cheater out there, just your garden-variety entitled sparkly turd.

        You say that this was only one time she cheated, but I think it’s worth it to look back at your marriage with this new information, even though some might say it’s “untangling the skein.” She didn’t become entitled & external-validation-seeking overnight. Think of that time on vacation together that she was ignoring you, followed by the weird over-the-top lovebombing on your birthday, that six month period where she was mad at you (devaluation) for no reason, that time she DARVO’d you about something totally inconsequential, how she acted weird around attractive male friends, that guy at work she talked about all the time (you’d really like him!), that friend who messed around and she was ok with it. Looking back, that all happened to me.

        My husband had a whole persona of being superior, upstanding, moral and responsible. He would act like I was not, to the point of condescension. That whole dynamic made it hard to see what was really going on, and it was way too easy to label myself as a bad, jealous wife when I thought I saw a red flag. But once I found out he was in fact capable of cheating, it simplified everything. He was not a prize. I saw that it was not just condescension but contempt he felt for me. And I was not crazy or paranoid – he really was not the person he said he was.

        Your FW is going to be confused and offended if you stop pick-me-dancing for her imaginary fabulousness. Whether that flips her to the pity, charm, or rage channel, your response is the same – ignore. As long as the purpose is to manipulate or blame you (and right now it is) nothing she does or says is remorse.

  • This is tough. DC, it seems you want Chump Lady to tell you that your situation is different. Because your wife told you about it and as far as you know, this was a one off, you are hoping CL will say that your marriage is ok.

    But the trouble is, you know it’s not ok. You’re frustrated. You’re hurt. And your wife is acting like a typical FW and blaming you (you’re not fun to hang out with, so no date nights?) and not allowing you to talk about it anymore. Meanwhile, you’re in counseling and have admitted you aren’t too encouraged by that either. What more can you do really?

    I know this sucks. And it’s hard to get out or want to divorce. But staying in a marriage only because it’s what you’ve known for over 20 years…. that’s not a life. I can’t imagine wanting to stay with someone who doesn’t enjoy my company enough to even have date nights. That’s abusive to the soul.

    • I had invested 26 years when I found out that my fuckwit was in a relationship. When he swore he’d never do it again, I did not want to lose on my investment so I chose to believe the fuckwit. It didn’t take long before he stopped displaying any form of remorse and eventually he went right back to acting his entitled self. DC needs to stop the investment now. His fuckwit’s lack of remorse and her blaming him for being boring is supposed to be his cue to start pick-me dancing. Truly DC, you just didn’t read enough blogs here to know what you’re experiencing is what many of us already did, many of us had fuckwits that confessed as well, and like you, we wanted to believe that we also had a unicorn. DC – please realize that you have value even if your 21-year investment doesn’t recognize it. We know it hurts terribly. We know this is devastating. We know what it’s like to chase that unicorn because we loved a barb-wire monkey. And we know how pointless it turned out. But we also know that life is Oh-So-Much-Better without a fuckwit in it. It was difficult at first, but I’m telling you that I am happier now than I ever was trying to placate my ex-fuckwit. I will NEVER GO BACK. I recommend that you read the book by Henry Townsend, “Never Go Back”.

      • yep – I suppose this is issue – by taking him back, you are, in effect, condoning the poor behaviour. He’s got away with it. so he turns the dial to 11. sigh. As MichelleShocked and AmazonChump write – the end is coming – you’ll be better off if you take the step …. hardest thing you’ll ever do …. worth it in the long run.

        • this ^^^ right here. You nailed it downunder sugarglider!

          Had I realized that my forgiving heart was interpreted as “I can get away with this”, I would have finished the 1st time I filed for divorce from my FW.
          No matter what they say, it seems that their takeaway after a chump takes them back after cheating is “Hey, I got away with it!” Which just gives tacit permission to go ahead again. How else could they say (as some do), “I thought you knew” or “I thought you were okay with it” or “How could you not know?” More proof that they expect us to conform to their hideousness. From my experience, the only reward I got from taking a cheater back was more of the same. Are there unicorns? In coloring books

          • Oh, and the gap between 1st filing and finally filing for divorce? 26 years

            DC, do you think investing another quarter century (or 2 weeks) will change the value of your investment? Value could be lower, so get out NOW. Entitlement never “goes away.”

  • Dear double chump

    I can empathize with this. You’re thinking is exactly why I’ve teetered for a while now. My husband doesn’t cheat at least not currently. But he sure did. Didn’t disclose the information to ME for a very long time.
    Maybe she felt guilty but damn there wasn’t much self control and GROSS- a total stranger while out with your child.
    It just can never be the same, or what you thought you had
    We struggle HARD. I don’t want much intimacy
    I’m hurt inside he’s “trying” to love me. I’m watching him closely. Yes their are issues aside from the cheating but as I told him – things are ALWAYS workout-able EXCEPT betrayal

    It’s been exactly one year since dday
    I’d say I have lots of love but it’s not healthy and deep down I have lots more to me. I’m not loving at my full potential ANYMORE.
    Don’t we all deserve to feel free and give it our best?
    So glad you found CL????

    • Such a sad post to read. If you had left a year ago you’d be loving your life right now and through the very worst of it. How about you give the you that exists a year from now that same gift. She could be fulfilled, happy and living a life of peace and joy. Or she could be living the life you’re living now. The choice is yours. Good luck, you deserve better xx

  • “They never change. They just get dirtier. Leave now.”

    Yes, I do believe in that rare unicorn, but well they aren’t called unicorns for nothing.

  • I would also add to my advice — if you’re so awful, she should’ve left you first. And honestly. Somehow in these stories you’re always just awful enough to cheat on, but never awful enough to divorce outright.

    If she wanted to have sex with other people, she should’ve gotten in front of that too. But apparently she’s tied her actions to you being awful. So, I’ll stick with my punishment theory of fuckwittedness.

    • “you’re always just awful enough to cheat on, but never awful enough to divorce outright.” This sums up so much.

      The cheater is the victim, once caught, of the awful treatment by the chump all these years. Yet they never filed for divorce, only fuck strange behind our backs. Mine has loved to tell me how awful and mean I am, as if “niceness” would have kept him from cheating. I think I was likely too nice and accommodating, accepting breadcrumbs from him, and sadly being thrilled with that. I was just so happy for his happy mood, a little attention during his hoover phase it kept me going. Sad the way I accepted that as enough for so long.

      • ” I think I was likely too nice and accommodating, accepting breadcrumbs from him, and sadly being thrilled with that.”

        This is so true for me. Took me a while to come to terms with it, but yes that was me. I accepted crumbs. “oh, I am just not a romantic type of person, but I love you” crumbs “oh, we will fix the house up when Jr. is out of school” crumbs, “oh we will go on a cruise on our 20th anniversary” crumbs, “Oh, I won’t have to work so much when Jr. is out of school” crumbs, “oh, you can buy more clothes when Jr. is out of school” crumbs, etc.

        Meanwhile for years (while they were sneak fucking) the whore got romance and nice gifts, (that’s why he couldn’t afford anything for me) and I am betting he never forgot her birthday; at least not until he married her and made her the chump. I mean she deserved what she got, but he did treat her like shit; likely even worse than he treated me.

        • “I mean she deserved what she got, but he did treat her like shit; likely even worse than he treated me.” My ex-fuckwit also married the skank. I have no idea if he treats her better, the same, or worse than he treated me. But he’s the same person he is now that he was when I was married to him. People don’t change. And my guess is that he probably treats her worse than he did me because 1) I am a decent person and never suspected a thing because I would never have done what he did (I like what CL said, “you’re always just awful enough to cheat on, but never awful enough to divorce outright”), and 2) she cheated with him on her husband so he respects her even less than he did me because I would never have done what he did. So if my guess is correct, the fuckwit does treat her worse, or he will treat her worse, than he did me. Oh, and one other thing. I found out later that he had told his skank that he wanted to divorce me. However, I gave him several opportunities to tell me that he wanted a divorce. Not once did he ever tell me that he wanted a divorce. Even at the very end after I filed for divorce. I asked him, “What were you thinking when you said that you didn’t want a divorce?” He said that he thought we could just live apart. I knew him enough to figure out his thinking. Had I not divorced him and just lived separately, he would have had his skank but not have had to marry her because ‘he was still married’. He also would have said to our sons, “Well your mother must be okay with it else she would have gotten divorced” essentially painting me with the same brush. I’m am just so, so happy he’s out of my life.

          • They are such liars.

            I have wondered in all the years he was screwing her, what lies he told her to explain why he didn’t leave me. It was at least three years, and more than likely closer to six years,

            Truth was he had never asked for a D, until after he moved out. Oh the last year (ish) was hell on earth, but before that there was no indication he was moving towards a D. He certainly never indicated it to me. Not that he was a loving H all the time, but no talk of D.

            In fact he was playing the church going family man to the hilt. He had me fooled, though I am sure there were plenty of LEOs that knew better.

            He kept me busy though, I didn’t have time to worry about that.

    • Guaranteed Classic Devaluing Stage.
      FW cheats = all of a sudden Chump develops an all-bad EVERYTHING!
      Blame-shifting 101, equally of not more painful than the inevitable Discard 101.

  • Something for you to consider, from a guy who’s been there — I think she’s testing you. Not just the post-cheating reaction, but the cheating itself.

    It’s a test you don’t even know you’re taking, because you’re too wrapped up in trying to be understanding, not ‘rocking the boat,’ and making your own needs smaller and smaller and smaller, in order to prop up the 21+ year investment you’ve made in this woman.

    And it’s a test you can’t win. Whether you act ‘nicely’ or ‘badly’ to her cheating and to the aftermath, she will use everything you say and do as a measure of her entitlement going forward. It’s a textbook case of: “it’s not what I did that’s the problem, it’s YOUR REACTION to it that will determine whether there’s a good or bad outcome.”

    She’s putting all the onus on you to make the situation better — and you didn’t do a thing to cause the problem.

    And FWIW — the fact that she cheated while on vacation with your daughter (I assume it’s her daughter too) is a pretty bold indication that she’s ‘checked out’ of your marriage and your family. I’d think seriously about the entitlement required to take that kind of risk.

    • ^^ Yes to all this. Only the FW wife in this situation probably doesn’t think of it as a test so much as a desperate bid for attention (kibbles!). I’m sure my STBX was delighted with all the drama after her first short fling in 2004, made her feel like the center of attention again. Don’t. Feed. The. Kibble-Beast.

    • UXWorld – I’m with you on this one. She’s monkey-branching. Trying to figure out if she should take the leap in leaving (likely for someone else) or should she stay. In order to stay, she’s testing how much she can get out of Double Chump. Her priority is determining where she can extract the most value.

      The truth is that once they devalue you, they never come to value you again. Because their lives are dependent on external validation, they put the onus on the chump to prove his/her worthiness and to inspire them to want to keep them. They can’t arrive at that themselves – and here we are pouring our love and commitment to them when they are at their ugliest.

      The problem with the “test” is that the chump is set up to fail no matter what. If you don’t do enough for the cheater, they threaten to discard you, and if you’ve demonstrated that you’ll hang on no matter what, they will walk all over that to their own advantage. If you do too much, they actually lose even more respect for you because now you just appear weak and pathetic. No matter what you do, they will use it against you in the discard. Heck, my ex even found fault with the 30 days of notes I left for him every morning telling him 30 different things that I love and admire about him. He got so vile.

      I also think that Double Chump’s wife may actually just be biding time to create the conditions in which he is the one that calls it quits in the marriage. That way she can deflect blame for the end of the marriage onto him and away from her affair.

      It shocks me that this woman would have the audacity to pull off a liaison right under her daughter’s nose. That takes a lot of nerve, and that nerve didn’t just come up all of a sudden. This is not her first go; she’s just upped the stakes. The real affair is likely going on with someone at home and the holiday fling is the cover. Double Chump, I think it’s time you got in front of this narrative and let the kids know what mom has done. Real remorse would look like a repentant mother apologizing to her daughter too. Somehow, I doubt that will happen though.

      • This ^^^^

        I would only add that I don’t believe that the “fling” is a one-off, and furthermore, I don’t believe that the “fling-er” is simply a rando she met on vacation with your adult daughter. This ain’t the first rodeo with that guy.

        • I was just thinking this. That she might be having an affair with this guy and confessed to “a” fling because she thinks that the daughter knows something.

          • Agreed, I think she confessed only to get ahead of the daughter outing her. Basic spin control.

        • Right she likely used a vacation with her daughter (poor girl) to hook up with her guy. She’s disgusting.
          Do it in your own time, lady

          I can’t stand when these cheaters also cheat the children.

      • Yes to all of this very insightful analysis. BTW I also think your wife may be angry and frustrated that you got hurt, and you aren’t willing to forgive. Ultimately, that frustration probably comes from a feeling that she is losing control. I agree with Chump Lady–there isn’t much to work with here. It’s hard to recover from being betrayed in a long term marriage, but do you really want to spend the rest of your life with this person?

      • The fact that the “test” is no-win is a feature, not a bug. Monkey-branchers who don’t want to admit it to themselves will pretend to give the spouse an opportunity to pass the test (and win the “prize” of keeping them), but they really want the spouse to lose so they can tell themselves that it was the spouse’s fault for not fighting hard enough, or not reading their minds and knowing they were unhappy, or … [fill in the particular excuse you were given here]. This is why we see so many late-stage revelations here (long after the cheater has checked out of the marriage). Someone who really wanted the marriage saved would have piped up earlier, when there was still some trust and respect in the marriage to work with.

    • The cheating while on vacation with an adult daughter is truly gobsmacking behavior. It’s not like an adult won’t NOTICE things. What kind of thrill did FW get from sneaking around while away with her daughter? Because you know that had to be a thrill.

      I’ll bet a week’s pay that the real thrill for this one isn’t the sex. It’s the sneaking, the deception, the manipulation of Double-Chump, the deliciousness of keeping the secret from her daughter AND enlisting her husband into keeping that secret. She’s a sick one, in my view.

  • Three things hammered into me from my years in alanon seem appropriate to repeat here this morning:

    You didn’t cause it.

    You can’t control it.

    You can’t cure it.

    Hence – save YOURSELF.

    • Another thing I have learned over the years:

      We all stay until the pain of staying becomes greater than the pain of leaving.

  • She’s not sorry. How can you forgive someone when they refuse to do the bare minimum by sincerely apologizing?

    And wow at her saying you’re no fun. It sounds like she’s setting up excuses to justify what she did and what she’ll continue to do.

  • I hate that she did this on vacation with your daughter. I’ll bet if the situation were different: Say she went on a vacation with girlfriends, got drunk, flirted with and picked up a guy, and then when sober was filled with remorse and horror, told you with tears running down her face, and since showed understanding, compassion and concern for your feelings, and genuine remorse accompanied by actions…you might indeed be treating it as a “one-off” even though that in itself is heinous and more than enough to end a marriage, and plenty of terrible feeling and time to work though it.

    You are worried she is a FW because she shows no remorse and is punishing you by calling you no fun and refusing date night. Well, so are we. Because it sure sounds like FW behavior. To not consider that doing this with your daughter present could easily have resulted in your daughter finding out or seeing it, and then your daughter, even though an adult, would be traumatized and in turmoil. And then she tells you but seems to have no idea of the impact on you, almost like she should be praised for telling. Which would mean to me that this is unlikely to have been the first time….

    Three weeks after Dday my husband asked me if I was healed yet. I didn’t at that time know the full story (and probably don’t now.) He hadn’t even told the first hundred lies. It just occurred to me writing this that what he meant was that my brokeness was the problem, not his betrayal. I was way too deep in the pain fog to see that.

    The first devastation is the sex stuff. But for me, 2 1/2 years later it is the character issue. You may be a fast learner and are seeing the character stuff way earlier than others (**raises hand**). Because at the end of the day, this is a person that took a real chance of traumatising your daughter, devastated you, and now acts like it is no big deal and you are flawed to be hurt. This is not a good person. And I am so sorry you are in this terrible situation, once known as your life.

    • My ex wife said 3 weeks after DDay, quit being the victim and why aren’t you over it. The gall they have.

      • Sirchumpalot

        I see your ‘3 weeks’ and raise you ‘2 weeks’.

        I heard the EXACT same phrase but 2 weeks after Dday.

        The irony (fuckedupness if you will) was that my ex said to me if the situation was reversed and I had cheated on him, he would never speak to me again!

        Double standards much.

        They really have no fuckin idea.

    • Choosing to get drunk and cheat is lame excuse. And selfish jerks don’t care if they traumatize their children in the process.

  • You’ve never known her to lie.

    You don’t know someone is a liar until you find out they lied.

    This is a HUGE lie. The kind of lie that is like one cockroach in the kitchen that indicates 40,000 more in the walls. That you didn’t know about.

    I notice that this fling occurred on a trip with your daughter. What a coincidence.
    I’m wondering if your daughter knows and your wife is trying to get ahead of the story and do a damage-control confessional. The mindfuckery has already taken deep root; she TOLD you so she’s not like Those Other Poor Saps on Chump Lady! She TOLD me that she intentionally stuck a bayonet in my back so she must Be Really Sorry and Didn’t Mean It!

    Someone who fucks around ON A TRIP WITH THEIR DAUGHTER does NOT sound “one and done” Mrs. Nice Gal to me. She sounds just as fucked up or more than those of us you are enjoying you are claiming you are different from.

    “She only mortally wounded me once. That I know of.”

    It only takes one bayonet to kill someone. The pain you’re in, that she intentionally inflicted, and then so nobly told you about (okay, so there were TWO bayonets), her lack of remorse (okay, so there are a whole quiver of bayonets), has me in solid agreement with Chump Lady’s astute and very experienced assessment.

    This is the emotional ER. The Intimacy ICU. People don’t show up here by accident for a minor scratch or fender bender. We show up here after we have been on the receiving end of a very targeted missile strike.

    I’m sorry for your loss. Please run.

    • PS….

      My mirage (not marriage) was nuked for my 20 year anniversary. We had been together 27 years. Counseling was an ongoing part of our relationship the entire time (my request with the intention of avoiding the shit show long term marriages our parents had). The affair shocked everyone who knew us. Friends cried and are still in disbelief. A small part of every day I can’t believe it myself, and DDay was in 2017. Just the other day I saw friends of mine who hadn’t heard and they said, “He told us he had the two most beautiful girls in the world!” (me and our daughter).

      He moved in with the Craigslist “Sole Mate”. Though he was living with his fantasy racial demographic, she caught him still patronizing illicit massage parlors featuring women of the same racial demographic.

      And then our daughter was using his phone and saw a message from someone on Tinder. A woman who was a member my racial demographic. Whom he left because he “had always been attracted to” the Sole Mate’s differing racial demographic.

      Cheaters are people with deep deep problems.

      One and Done = RUN

    • “The kind of lie that is like one cockroach in the kitchen that indicates 40,000 more in the walls. That you didn’t know about.” This is how I feel about affairs too, if you see one there are more!
      They don’t become this way overnight, it is a testament of a person’s character.
      After I finally saw the light and realized what I thought was a cockroach, was indeed a very large trashy cockroach and then I realized my house was infested.

      • 100% agree. My ex wife lived with her ex boyfriend before we met and she cheated on him with multiple guys including a threesome with two guys whilst he was at work. I stupidly stupidly believed she just “wanted to feel wanted”. If I could go back and slap my 22 year old self and run for the hills I would. Then less than two years into our marriage whilst we had a less than year old baby she was sneaking out in the middle of the night and returning at 5am. Suddenly needing to stay overnight at her female friends house to help her during a difficult time, I went there several times and she was nowhere to be seen and car not there. I phoned her to ask where she was and more lies. Then skip to 2020 and I catch her cheating with dozens of men. Literally dozens. The people capable of doing this are born that way. They are disordered. They are skanks and home wreckers. My doctor described my ex wife as a serial adulterous and they would be looking at a personality disorder. Almost guarantee the OP’s wife did not suddenly slip up once after 20 years.

        • I had some red flags early on and ignored them. I wish I’d trusted by instincts. He tried so hard to “sell” he wasn’t a cheater I should have know. Who else has to sell that? I’ll never have all the proof of all the cheating. I’ve seen apps I don’t recognize, and plenty of “work trips”. He is a giant secret. Which eventually became enough when he refused to open them. The latest trashy whore was cheating on her husband with him. Her husband wised up before I did. It’s a match made in cheaterville hell, I hope it works out. Haha! I wouldn’t care expect I don’t want my children to be around this low life, I wouldn’t trust her with my dog.

    • “Someone who fucks around ON A TRIP WITH THEIR DAUGHTER does NOT sound “one and done” Mrs. Nice Gal to me. She sounds just as fucked up or more than those of us you are enjoying you are claiming you are different from.”

      I keep forgetting about (and your post just reminded me) an incident which my FW father essentially threw in my face. When my husband and I and a friend-couple went on vacation to my family’s vacation home, FWF was there. I don’t remember why we went when he was there, but essentially he is king shit of his shit kingdom and I never thought of my parents’ house as *my* house also so he could be wherever he wanted. My mother was not there at the time.

      We were having dinner at the house one night and FWF invited one of his fuck buddies to join us for dinner. At the time I didn’t know that’s what she was but the visceral feeling I had when she showed up should have been the first red flag (growing up in our household I was essentially in a functional freeze state my whole life so when I actually *felt* something, that was a big red flag). They were making googly eyes at each other all night. She told me how much I look like my mom. (She was a hostess at a local hotel so has seen us all at some point over the years.) She sat next to FWF at dinner and giggled and laughed at his humor. I shot him daggers from my eyeballs and he was like, “what’s wrong?” ????‍♂️ I told him he was being hugely disrespectful to mom even though she wasn’t there and would he be behaving this way if she weren’t around? At one point he even took her upstairs for a short period of time.

      At the end of the night, we had it out. He said, “Do you think I fucked her in the five minutes we were upstairs?!” in a challenging tone. I was essentially rocking back and forth in an extreme state of stress and acute trauma experiencing. My husband was trying to referee. Our friends were in their room probably wondering WTF was going on.

      He showed me who he was that night. I was confused, enraged, furious, disappointed, disgusted. He gaslit me. He word-saladed me such that I didn’t even know what to think. But I know what I saw. And actions speak louder than words. He said “I love our family. I would never do anything to hurt our family!” and then in the same sentence, “please don’t tell mom.” And I didn’t tell. Not until last year when she told me that he was a serial cheater and was on her way to filing for divorce. I kept his shitty, dirty secret for him. God I hate that fucking fucker.

      That was just *one* woman. He did that over the years with my mom present and in front of her. I am still the “good daughter” doing my duty and standing by his side and helping him in his old age.

      WTF is wrong with me? Why can’t I just walk away from him and let him suffer the consequences of his lifetime of bad behavior?!!!???!!!!

      Sorry, I wandered off topic for a bit.

      • Senor Vomito! Awesome!

        B&L…its good you do not tell your mom what you know. She probably knows more than you think.
        As for your dad, I would cut him from my life. No regrets. No contact.

        • She did tell her mother, years after the fact, when her mum divorced him.
          What a manipulative, awful thing to do and say to one’s child ! Disrespect the other parent, and in turn hurt your child/ten.
          People have a right to know when they’re being played for a fool.

          • Five minutes is all it takes for a quickie or a knobshining. With guests, his adult daughter and son-in-law downstairs. Disgusting ????

      • There’s absolutely nothing wrong with you, B&L. You’re angry. You’re angry at a liar and cannot understand why anyone can just so flagrantly lie. You’re angry because you’re still being gaslighted, and by your very own father! Even when you confront him with the shit-show evidence, you can’t understand how someone who has the evidence in front of him will still lie. And then to draw you into keeping his lie is beyond comprehensible; it’s reprehensible. And then for you to have kept the lie makes you angry and ashamed. Forgive yourself. I was so ashamed when I found out about the fuckwit and his skank. I wondered what was wrong with me, and I was ashamed. I think I was ashamed because I felt stupid beyond belief. It didn’t help when a brother said, “Oh you knew. Deep down you knew.” I honestly didn’t know because it never entered my mind to ever do the same to him. It wasn’t until much later after I had spent years trying to unravel the skein that I finally, finally learned that it was never me, I did nothing of which to be ashamed, I was abused, and I made it through the shit-show. I learned to finally love myself. I think you’re still angry because the shit-show you left hasn’t been over for very long. It’s still fairly recent. It’s okay to be angry. Be kind to yourself during this time. And someday you’re realize that forgiving your FWF doesn’t mean that you have to have anything to do with him. It just means that you’re not going to waste anymore time on him. Your time is too valuable to waste it on the lies of a fuckwit. Forgiveness also means that you forgive yourself for being gullible and wanting to believe someone that you really hoped to look up to, your own father. I hope that someday you’ll just see him as someone that doesn’t hold the same values as you and you would just rather not have that person in your life, but if he does pop up again, that you can nod to him graciously, with class, and then get on with your life as if he was just someone ‘unpleasant’. However, until you’ve had time to heal, be kind to yourself over the anger. And if someone has a problem with your anger, just tell them, “Oh I’m doing the best to get over my anger, but unfortunately I can’t heal on anybody else’s time schedule, so please be patient with me.”

      • I am in the same situation with my father. I never saw him outright cheat, but the heavy flirting and inappropriately sexual remarks about other women even when my mother or his daughters were present, and the amount he drinks, makes me suspicious and cynical at an early age. When I finally reached the age my mother had been when she died, he suddenly started pouring the same open disrespect and contempt on me that he had on my mother, and it never really stopped after that. I was the dutiful daughter for a long time too, thinking, oh he’s having trouble adjusting to getting older, he really does love me underneath, it’s just the alcohol/work stress/getting used to semi-retirement, whatever. But I have come to realize that his abusiveness is a deep and long-standing character defect that is completely independent of any of those conditions, one that he chooses to indulge. It will never go away because he gets so many secondary benefits from controlling everyone with the threat of abusiveness even when he is not being actively abusive. I walked away a little over a year ago, have not seen him since, and it has been a revelation. I see my sister becoming stressed out and angry and insecure when his arrival in our city is imminent, and remember that that used to be me; now I can just go on with my life and not have to put on the armor. She has to deal with his medical issues, and I keep reminding myself that he lost the right to my loving care when he chose to be abusive to me for 20 years. I also keep telling myself, when memories of cruel things he said or did start to surface, that he was never real–neither his supposed love, nor his hate/contempt, had any base in true empathy or in the reality of who I was. It was all impulsive reactions to the aspects of me that he thought would make him look good in the moment. Kind of like Trump toward Ivanka, actually.

      • I’ve been reading your posts for the last couple of weeks and wondering that myself – why ARE you even around him, why are you taking care of him? Your mom is free and clear of him, but yet you haven’t made the break, why not? He’s a walking disaster and you should just allow him to fail. As long as he cannot hurt your mom financially or any other way, just walk away from him yourself.

        • BeenThere:

          Very good question, indeed! I wonder that, myself, and I waffle back and forth all the time. For one, I am helping my mother and FWF administratively with the division of assets and that is not yet done. It is best to work cooperatively and without prejudice until that is completed. The majority of it IS done, but there are some details that will take a little extra time. I’ve gotten a LOT done in six weeks to get her all of the “cash” that she was due. It is just some retirement stuff and investment stuff that is lingering.

          Following that, though….well, there’s the “estate” and the likelihood of FWF being completely taken advantage of if I’m not there to keep an eye out. This means that if I leave the “management of FWF’s affairs” up to him, he’ll throw all his money away on whores. In turn, that means that any inheritance that would otherwise be due to the kids could go *poof* and it is significant enough that someone in the family should keep an eye on what’s going on. Unfortunately, as the eldest and responsible one, that falls on me.

          Physically, he lives in another state and I am very unlikely to go visit him. He has an assistant who takes care of his day-to-day needs and I’m the financial and medical POA for him. While I greatly appreciate his assistant, I’ve also noticed that said assistant throws a lot of “business” to his friends, so I want to keep an eye on that. I am highly suspicious of anyone FWF hangs out with because he has very poor judgment.

          What you said is correct, though. He IS a walking disaster. He is a narcissist. He is emotionally stunted. He is an addict. He pays people to hang out with him. He hangs out with bar-rat whores who would think nothing of taking him for all he’s got. The good news is that he doesn’t have a lot of cash (for him and the way he spends money) and his wealth is tied up in real estate.

          It is a difficult position to be in for sure. I am trying to remain professional in my position of administering his financial and medical affairs while completely cutting him off emotionally in the role of daughter. I use CL as a way to vent and rant and tell shockingly crazy stories about all that I’ve learned in the past year. I always suspected him to have a double-life and it was just confirmed less than a year ago. I am coming out of a coma of sorts in the realization of what he actually is, and so there’s still cognitive dissonance there.

          Therapy helps.

    • Velvet Hammer said: “I notice that this fling occurred on a trip with your daughter. What a coincidence. I’m wondering if your daughter knows and your wife is trying to get ahead of the story and do a damage-control confessional.”

      Well, duh. My theory is that the daughter knows and told her mom to confess or she would tell Dad all about it.

      The kids ALWAYS know more than parents suspect.

      Double Chump, it’s time to cut your losses. You deserve better than this.

  • I would suggest, Double Chump, that you start with being less patient. What do you want? Go into your next counseling session with a few expectations. You want a date night each week. Tell her you expect to take turns planning them and that each of you must make the effort to be fun on all date nights. I imagine you have other things you’d like to change. Don’t be so understanding. If she balks at your expectations that she up her game, that she make you feel valued, then you’ll be getting a pretty clear sign that you are a security blanket she wants to hold on to while she has her fun and finds her emotional fulfillment elsewhere.

    I would also suggest you see a therapist by yourself. Maybe you’ll discover the relationship is worth continuing even if it is unbalanced. Maybe you’ll discover that there are lots of ambitions or priorities you’ve suppressed in order to be a “good” husband and that it is no longer worthwhile to you to continue on this path with a partner who is ungrateful and selfish.

    As a side note, your wife’s honesty might be less admirable than you think. She was on vacation with your daughter. There is a very good chance your daughter saw or suspected something. Your wife might have been told by your daughter to confess or your wife decided it wasn’t worth risking that your daughter would innocently mention “Jeff” who bought mom so many drinks or “when Mom was out that night and left me alone to watch Netflix,” etc. and blow the lid off the fling. Your wife’s simultaneous confession and lack of interest in working on your marriage in meaningful ways suggests coercion/fear as much as guilt may have led to her “honesty.”

    • Or she she knows she was seen snogging by a neighbor/workmate/
      acquaitance on vacation. Or flingboy is a hustler and has hinted at extortion. Or the wife of flingboy found out and Fuckwitia preempted the potential dropping of the other shoe.

    • Don’t waste any more time and money on couples counseling with this entitled twat Double Chump. Spend that money on individual counseling with a therapist that understands narcissistic abuse. And you’ll need funds for a top attorney.

  • It always starts with a “one and done.” My XH didn’t start with affair partners right away (they came later) but tested the waters with a one-night-stand with a mutual acquaintance of ours.

    Yes, it was “one and done” but not because he was truly sorry and in love with me. It was “one and done” with the one-night-stand after which he confirmed (for himself) that being in a marriage with me was boring and he was having a lot more fun looking for other partners. Miss One-night-stand was merely his test flight.

    I’m so sorry. You’re in a horrible position right now. I remember those days. I also went to marriage counseling
    and reconciled with my cheating spouse and took him back much to the dismay of my emotional and physical health. (Seriously, book an appointment with your doctor and get tested for all STDs, right now!)

    And book a visit with a lawyer too. Don’t tell her about either visit. She’s not your partner in this journey anymore. 🙁

    • All really good points. I don’t think any of them – even the most very Disordered & Sociopathic among them- think “I’m going to start having a double life”. I think they ALL start with a one night stand, testing the waters thing.

      Everyone here was with their Cheater for years and had financial entanglements that were a pain in the ass to extricate. Trust every one of us – going through the exercise of extricating yourself AND your bank accounts from a Cheater made all of our lives better. It’s addition by subtraction.

      • “I think they ALL start with a one night stand, testing the waters thing.”

        True. I think my ex FW started out just being one of the guys on the PD getting his jollies on the side. Susie would never find out, she is so dense and trusting. What an idiot.

        Then he got entangled with his whore who was his direct report; and all hell broke loose. My guess is she offered NSA, and then slowly tightened the noose until the idiot was wrapped around the auger good and tight.

        Most of the other guys had the good sense to keep their shit out of their workplace. Manyof them divorced, but they didn’t eph up their work situation. He did, big time. So yeah, I’m the idiot.

        Honestly, the last few month before Dday, he was walking around most of the time sweating like a hooker on the front pew. Blamed it all on work stress, which I guess in a way it was.

  • The entitlement and lack of regard for your feelings are indicative that she doesn’t intend this to be alone off. My stbx, when caught with $5k that he’d withdrawn for the hooker (a “gift” for himself) to on his 53rd and our son’s 18th birthday, said he was going to do whatever he wanted if we stayed married. Until that moment, he’d never said he was unhappy. In the weeks that followed, he bounced from hotel to hotel, texted her he wanted a future with her, threatened to cut our family’s cell phones off… His entitlement was off the charts and he had and continues to have zero remorse. Several months after I filed, he told our older son that the marriage had been effectively over for a long time. Again, news to me as we were scheduled to go on a family cruise (cancelled because of covid). Now his “unhappy and unattended to” self can see the hooker whenever he desires, all the while making the divorce a bitter, drawn out mess, painting me out to be a crazy shrew to anyone that will listen. My advice: cut ties with your wife sooner rather than later. She’s shown her callous disregard and will only get worse.

    • Faithful Rage,

      Your story sounds familiar to me. My ex felt like it was really fine to start with porn, then hookers and S&M clubs to get his “needs” met. He got a girlfriend because it was “safer” for us. Oh, hey thanks for that! I too had no idea that our marriage was over. News to me! I discovered his cheating while I was on an overseas work trip/holiday with our daughter. It turns out that apparently we always had a shit marriage, that I was a bad communicator and I was just all around no good. Interesting though, upon my return from my overseas trip, the house was loaded with flowers and my favourite foods – he’d missed me sooooo much! But hey – as soon as I confronted him with the $4k of hotels, pharmacies and fancy boutiques it turns out I went from a princess who got all their favourite foods to a piece of shit lame ass wife who caused the whole 13 plus years of cheating because I’m just so gosh darn awful, frigid and lame. Hmmmmm.

      Luckily I had the good sense to kick him out. Double Chump-I feel for you, I really do. I was hoping to god that my husband would come to his senses. But, he told me that it was all my fault, that he needed to get it before he “gets too old”. I said Okay, go then. And then….roll on the abuse. He’s done nothing but punish me since then….even though he lives with his “twu wuv” and he gets all the kinky sex he wants – without having to pay for it.

      I think there are cheaters who just “make mistakes”. But if so, put your boundaries up. Way up, and decide if it’s okay for you. I would never sit back and just think it’s okay. I would make her prove herself if she’s sincere. You shouldn’t have to do the work now.

      • “I went from a princess who got all their favourite foods to a piece of shit lame ass wife who caused the whole 13 plus years of cheating because I’m just so gosh darn awful, frigid and lame. Hmmmmm.”

        This is the most ridiculous and best encapsulation of a cheater’s mindset & how they can just flip a switch instantaneously to suit their narrative. I’m sorry you had to endure this mindfuck, but damn, your response was so clear-headed and mighty!! FormerlyKnownAs, you rock!

  • Watch today’s comments fill up with stories just like your’s. The situation is not unique, nor is she.

    I would add the following to your next steps equation as you try to balance between what we’re saying and what you are hoping (against hope) to hear.

    I divorce in the year of my 20th anniversary. I tried to stay together for all the “right” reasons. I got blamed for all the usual reasons.

    But I have lived a healthier, happier more fuller life in the few years since that D-day. It was hard to get here, but those 20 years pale in comparison to the joy I have now. Its. So. Much. Better.

    • I concur! It’s. So. Much. Better!! The 30 years I was with my ex-fuckwit most definitely pale in comparison to the joy I have now.

  • Don’t be so sure your daughter doesn’t know that her mother acted inappropriately while on vacation. She may not know all the sordid details but kids aren’t that oblivious.
    For arguments sake lets say you are a royal pain in the ass, suck the oxygen out of the room and generally are an unhappy individual. Your wife should have addressed these issues and if you refused to work on these issues, yes, she has every right to be angry and should consider divorce. What she has done is something very sneaky, underhanded and cheap. Then she threw it in your face. No she did not feel guilt and had to come clean, she threw it in your face but doesn’t have the balls to say she wants a divorce. She would have to have someone lined up/secured before going through with a divorce. She’s biding her time Double Chump. She’s not interested in working on your marriage, she has no interest in having a relationship with you and the next guy she screws may want to stick around. Then when she leaves she’ll say YOU KNEW I WASN’T HAPPY. In her world her conscience will be clean.

  • I suspect that was a head start on the parenting issues you will soon be grappling with. I can’t see ANY explanation for a parent not returning with their child to a hotel room. If your daughter was too young to pick up the ” flirting vibes” and was asleep anyway, she shouldn’t have been left alone. And if she was old enough to be left alone, she probably knows more than you think.

    So, in addition to protecting your health and finances, put your energy into being the sane parent. No need to share your plans (except with trusted family/friend) until you get your ducks in a row.

  • Wow, very cool to be a topic of today; reading CL’s opinion and other’s comments is the most validation I’ve had in months.

    To repeat myself a bit (because it does feel good to get it out), I feel like a double chump (refried chump? Twice-baked chump?) in that my work on this reconciliation has been constant, and she has done relatively little.

    I have worked on myself to being a more caring listener, I’m using therapy to learn ways to express hurt and pain without accusing or criticizing, and I’m also working very hard to see her as a person who was hurt and not knowing what to do. It is a lot of work to keep resentment away and see her during that time as feeling hopeless and abandoned and being prey to temptation. The hopium addiction is strong.

    In the face of such raw betrayal it is the hardest fucking thing I’ve had to do in my life. I keep this thing alive by myself and while it hasn’t all been negative, she has been kind occasionally, but generally she just goes about her day, waiting for me to just get over it. The frustration I feel has come out a couple times, which is unfortunate.

    Last week in session with our therapist I told her that I do see this timeline as long and I’m not making any decisions about anything yet, but I do have a concern… The way things are headed I am not getting what I need to heal let alone forgive, and I am having to decide if that is going to work for me. It forces me to confront the fact that no, it is not going to work, and what is my way forward… She sat silent as did the therapist.

    This Easter weekend I have seen some changes for the better. She initiated discussions twice. She hugged me, buried her face in my chest and said “I’m so sorry for cheating on you.” VERY unlike her these past few months. Things may be turning, I’m hopeful.

    Thank you again Chump Lady for letting me get this out. This is the most validation I’ve had since this nightmare started.

    • I’m not saying this is your situation but my ex wife did the whole touching me and telling me how much she regretted cheating and yet was still cheating whilst saying all that. Just pay close close attention to her actions as talk is cheap. It was my ex wife’s actions that made me catch on to her continued cheating.

    • Pay attention to her actions, not her words. And see how long it takes for her to get frustrated/disappointed again if you don’t demonstrate that you’re doing the heavy lifting of forgiving and forgetting.

      You haven’t explicitly said so, but you sound as if you’re at least casually leveraging the resources of the Reconciliation Industrial Complex (RIC). If you’ve been on the CL site for any time at all, you know that the RIC is universally built on the chump trying to understand the motivations of the cheater and doing the heavy lifting of creating an environment in which it doesn’t happen again. This is a dangerous mindset — I implore you to view your therapist and his/her methods, as well as any ‘outside’ RIC resources or groups with a critical eye and mind. Don’t carry this wight if you’re not sensing any genuine and measurable reciprocity.

      • UxWorld,
        “Carrying a Wight”
        That is an absolute profound description!!, of staying with a cheater.

    • 27 years of therapy here. He cheated anyway.

      A friend of mine went to therapy for a year with her cheating husband after DDay. The valuable info that came out? For all that time and money? He was still cheating, had never stopped, there were more OW’s in the woodwork, and just like the traitor in my life he lied lied lied in therapy.

      He continues to lie. To the four lawyers and four therapists his deceit has made necessary.

      Remember you are gambling here with very very poor odds with time and life that can’t be refunded.

      Would you want your daughter to have a marriage like yours? I don’t, and she’s my number one reason for leaving.

      John Wayne Gacy was such a nice guy and community pillar that the police didn’t believe the victim he let go. The bodies (like the cheating) were the proof of who they really are.

      • VHammer,

        Count me in the:

        Therapy-and-still-cheating line up


        Pillar-of-the-community he was involved in



        Enter CL and CN into my orbit

        and then

        Nice-guy-turned-nasty when consequences ended his reign of deceit.

        Dennis Lynn Rader was a pillar in the community too:

    • Oh, dear. SHE was hopeless and abandoned?! SHE felt hurt and didn’t know what to do? Well, that sounds like a description of YOUR current state, so what will you do? Cheat? While you’re on vacation with your daughter? Yeah, didn’t think so.

      Anyone who says they cheated because they didn’t know what else to do is not being honest. At all.

      What are these supposed mistakes you committed that drove her to cheat? That you weren’t a good-enough listener? Double-chump, do you realize how nuts that sounds? I hope you are making sure that she’s not taking money from your accounts.

    • My Day was in year 23 of our marriage. The cheating had ended 12 years earlier to the best of my knowledge. I have no idea the whole extent of it and neither do you. Do you trust her enough to believe what she says is the truth? I was willing to reconcile because it wasn’t currently going on. I divorced her with a clean conscience. You mentioned that you are making all these changes but you just said it took MONTHS for her to do anything? My ex wife gave me a list of 30 things to change for HER to reconcile to with me. That she didn’t have to make any changes herself. I went to MC years ago. It turned into me having to make a ton of changes while, unbeknownst to me, she was currently having an affair. I am not saying you shouldn’t make changes to yourself. I did after I separated. Don’t let her dictate the terms of the reconciliation!!!

    • Exercise caution Double Chump. The holidays always brought out the sentimental, remorseful husband during the 13 months I “picked me” dance, and I ate it up all the way. But, I found that his threshold was about 2-3 weeks before flipping the switch. It’s why I believed for so long that my ex was suffering a mid-life crisis or some kind of mental health issue. It was all so surreal, and it was also all so incredibly emotionally damaging.

      To give you an example of the mindfuckery of when it looks like they are truly committed. Canadian Thanksgiving (October 2017), my then husband took me on a walk and presented me with the most inspiring speech that I have ever heard in my life. Typically, a man of few words, he swore his undying commitment to me, expressed his admiration and love for me, and vowed that he would seek and complete every therapy necessary to repair our marriage and live out our lives together. He told me everything that I had been waiting years to hear, and then exceeded that. Up to this point, all he had ever admitted about the OW was that she was a good friend and shared a kiss once.

      By December, he announced that he was leaving after Christmas (2017), rented a place, and ran off into the sunset with the OW. Just days after Christmas, I discovered his secret email account, which revealed his plan to the OW. The plan was to convince me and our families that he sincerely attempted to work out the marriage so that when he left, everyone would believe that he left because the marriage was over and not because of another woman. In the emails, he explains why he must stay away from her and that he hopes she waits for him to “finish business” before they reunite.

      In the meantime, he did several date nights with me (telling me that he was so happy to be with me) and attended a couples therapy weekend before flipping the switch to start the discard because “he just knew that he couldn’t make it work.” Then, he told his parents that being around me was the source of so much anxiety that it was affecting his physical health, and so he had to leave.

      Had I not discovered the emails, he likely would have gotten away with all of it. Convinced me that nothing more than a kiss had ever happened with this woman. But, I got investigating…big time. I revealed the emails to our families and all agreed to keep it on the down-low. Within six months, I discovered that his affair with the OW had been on-going for 21 months, with dates, day-trips (took days off of work), and overnights. I also discovered there was a woman before this one. I also learned that as he was leaving me to be with the OW, he also slept with a third woman. There is also some evidence that points to another woman around the time he met this OW, but I didn’t care to pursue that trail as I felt that I knew enough. I also discovered a porn issue on-going for a number of years and trace evidence of accessing ED medications.

      And true to cheater form, about three months after leaving the marriage, he decided to announce to his family that he had been seeing more of his “friend” and that she’s a really good person who has been a great listener. You can imagine his shock when every member of his family (his parents, and four siblings with spouses and 12 grandchildren in the family) systematically rejected the relationship and let him know that they will never allow an adulterous relationship into their homes and shown as an example to their children. Three years later, I think he is still seeing the OW, but she has never been spoken of again to his family. My own kids have only seen her a handful of times about a year and a half ago.

      Though I am now just over three years out (thank God he left – Man’s rejection is God’s protection), there isn’t a single family member or friend that still doesn’t shake their heads at what my ex did. Everyone will still tell you that they would never have expected this from him.

      ACTIONS! Watch your wife carefully to see if she truly does what she means. Start doing some quiet investigating and line up your ducks anyways. You must take care of yourself. Your kids need you to take care of their father.

      • OptionNoMore,

        I am so sorry. That is so damn cruel. Why are they such monsters? Mine did a lot of horrible stuff like that too. Essentially – a long story – but my husband set me up in many ways as well. As parting shots, he told me things like, “she’s younger than you so I have another chance at having another family.”


    • She doesn’t want to lose her status and meal ticket (house, respectability, structure, banking) so she’s gleaning information from your counseling sessions to form a playbook on how to make you feel like this is fixed.

      Search her phone. Have a PI follow her. Get your OWN counselor. Just my opinion.

      • Correct. She has a purpose for him. My ex wife openly admitted one day she had wanted her cake and eat it. She did not want a divorce. She said it was “easy” to be married to me as I’m a good man and a good father and how she loves me. Though for the marriage to work she said I would have to learn to get past her “fuck ups” (caught cheating with near 20 men) and could I ever learn to forgive her lol. She at this stage had no idea I had already filed for divorce. Good riddance to the trash.

        • I had the reverse happen to me. When D-day hit, I bought into the RIC and tried to forgive and repair our relationship. He later (after D-day 2) threw it in my face and said I didn’t love him at all and was only staying with him because “it was convenient” for me. I assured him that nothing about being married to him was convenient and if he wanted to file, he was doing mw a favor. I think he was projecting; keeping the cake was convenient for him. He certainly had not put in any effort or taken any action. Our wreckonciliation was my one-sided effort.

    • “The frustration I feel has come out a couple times, which is unfortunate.”

      Unfortunate for whom? I think you should let your true feelings show. And she needs to sit with that discomfort. She also needs to validate your feelings.

      Oh, and, as someone who lived off of breadcrumbs for so many of my 35 years of marriage, I think you’re eating some yourself and mistaking it for an entire entree of love. Cheaters toss out breadcrumbs to keep cake.

      Based on my own experience and those of so many here in CN, I’m sure will be happier if you leave her. It’ll be hell on wheels to get to the other side, but trust us; it gets better. You deserve better. Oh, and remember that her cheating is NOT your fault. Don’t let her pin this on you.

      Know your worth. Get STD tested. Read and re-read LAC; GAL if you haven’t already done so. Come back here for support. This is your supportive tribe. We’ve got your back. Stay strong and good luck.

    • I tried RIC stuff at first (very Chumpy)…..did individual and couples therapy.

      Hands down, without question 2 things that saved me from my Cheating (now ex) wife….

      1) Goodguys2greatmen – Steve Horsmon was my coach and it was 1 million times better that any therapy…best $$$ I ever spent (I had this during DDay and thru the discovery of her cheating 6 months later)….check him out ….great resources for men (tons of posts and videos……no nonsense staright talk geared for men) ….it’s not about saving your marriage its about saving you! As a matter of fact, I discovered Chumplady via a private forum post there on great books to read.

      2) Chumplady’s Book and this forum……a wealth of experience (unfortunately) and support to help you weed thru the bullshit. I love this site!

      Good Luck Brother!

    • You’ve been pick me dancing like crazy by the sound of it. Now you are finally rewarded for being a good chump and doing all the work with a hug and a few words, and you’re hopeful? Sorry to be blunt, but I think it’s bullshit and she’s an asshole. She hasn’t DONE anything.

      Why are you in MC, anyway? She’s the one who needs therapy. Your marriage isn’t the cause of her behavior, nor did she do it because she was hurt. That isn’t why people cheat. If your MC is telling you otherwise, stop paying somebody to lie to you. What consequences have been imposed on the cheater?

    • I know a woman who cheated on her husband. The ‘fling’ lasted 2 years. She never divulged her betrayal. Stopped because she woke up one day and saw what she was doing and didn’t want to live with the guilt so she dumped the OM and stepped back into being the committed wife.

      AKA – She did not quit out of love for her husband/chump. She still does not love him. She did not end the relationship because, in her words, she had ‘abandonment issues’ and she also didn’t want to take the financial hit a divorce would land her with.

      In other words – She remained in the relationship because it served her the best. Still central, still manipulating and all justified because she feels like it would hurt him and their grown children to ‘come clean’.

      So, stay if you want to be used because that is all that she is doing to you now. The moment she stepped out, whatever you had was over – completely – wether you know it or not. Someday you will know it.

      It hurts like hell but the pain does go away as you find your true worth.

      Please heed our warnings – our collective experiences…save your dignity and yourself.

    • “I’m also working very hard to see her as a person who was hurt and not knowing what to do. It is a lot of work to keep resentment away and see her during that time as feeling hopeless and abandoned and being prey to temptation. The hopium addiction is strong.”

      Umm…so how did she end up being the victim? She felt “hopeless and abandoned” so she cheated and you have to do all the work by keeping your resentment in check. Being prey to temptation? Again somehow your fault and she bears no responsibility. I think you need another therapist, maybe your own. Unless you were a complete monster during your marriage the first thing that should be addressed is why you are so willing to take the blame for her cheating.

    • Please please please get a post nup if you decide to stay. It’s not unusual for the cheating partner to use that time to steal from marital funds. I lost my entire retirement fund like that. Hundreds of thousands( it’s a convoluted ugly story involving business and real estate).

      • Double Chump needs to look at their joint finances yesterday and start separating his from hers. Not clear what Mrs. One Night Stand does professionally. For example, no more automatic paycheck deposit in a joint account.

    • Double-Chump, you sound like you have the sweetest heart. Can we clone men like you?

      It sounds like you are still smoking from the Hopium pipe. I feel like you felt validated by the truth spoken from CN today. However, it seems like all we’ve managed to do was get you to speak up for yourself a little louder during therapy. And it sounds like you are planning on staying and are convinced that therapy is going to help something heal here, am I right?

      If I am right, I implore you to reconsider. Your situation is not as different as you might think from everyone else on this site. We, too, are the loyal, faithful chumps with good hearts that were blindsided and bent over backwards to save our intact families and protect our return on investment (mine was only 10 years of marriage and a few children, there are many 20, 30, 40, 50+ years investments on here with more children involved).

      We are trying to save you from wasting any more years of your precious life with someone who will continue to fuck with your head and play crazy making games with you.

      Your situation is not special or different, this is a character defect that is unfixable. I’m in agreement that the only reason she confessed is because someone else was going to beat her to the punch. I would bet a million dollars someone else knew and forced her to confess or they would do it. (Possibly your daughter, which is gross on so many levels). This was not some “noble” confession on her part, I guarantee it. Heck, perhaps the affair partner was going to spill the beans, and there is a good chance this has been going on longer than you know and this wasn’t random. Or the first time it’s happened. It took many steps and conscious choices to cheat on you – with your DAUGHTER present – ewwww!! It’s a very strange tale of cheating that is nonsensical and full of holes.

      Most of us on here bought the same “one-time” scenario, too. You have a sweet heart and are naive to how these people operate because D-Day was so recent.

      The reason my bullshit detector is going off is because her behavior afterwards. It screams of serial cheater. Ask me how I know. The entitlement attitude, refusal to do date night, etc. I suspect the only reason she did that tearful chest apology is because she’s seeing you standing up for yourself, and she’s trying to win an Oscar for Best Actress because she’s scared that you’ve not only figured her out, but have started to realize you deserve better than this mess and the spell she has over you is waning.

      Listen, it’s your life and I certainly don’t dictate how you choose to handle this. However, I strongly feel you should get out (terrifying advice to you NOW), and start anew. You’re an appliance to this woman. This will never get better, you will never get past the betrayal. I can promise that in 5 years from now, you will look back at this post and wish you had listened to my advice. I wish I had a time machine to go back and slap myself.

      I once had to be brave too, and I am better for it today. I eventually remarried to a fellow chump and he is my rock.

      The right way and the hard way are usually the same way. Sending you prayers for bravery and wisdom in the way you move forward and to know your own worth. ❤

    • I hate to say this but touch is as meaningless to a cheater as words. During the entire length or our marriage my now XH was always wanting to cuddle with me on the couch. He still deprived me of sex. He still slept with at least one other woman and possibly another man. He continued to put me down verbally. He tried to order me out of the marital home so he and the OW could bang in our bed. He demanded a flat screen TV as a parting gift. The cuddles never meant a damned thing to him.

      He even tried to take my hand in the divorce lawyer’s office. And seemed genuinely puzzled when I pulled away. After all who wouldn’t want his wonderfulness?

    • Dude. Are you doing individual therapy? My top tip is ditch the couple’s therapy, which will end up giving her more emotional ammunition to use against you and will only distract from the real problems with what she did. Start seeing a different therapist individually instead. And when you do that, don’t make one early mistake I did by wasting all your individual therapy time talking about your partner and why s/he cheated. Focus right out of the gate on what you want in terms of a marriage, and a partner.

      I did the whole Hopium thing for six months because my cheating ex seemed so sorry. So I totally get where you’re coming from. A lot of people in Chump Nation do. But the hard truth is she’s not sorry. Not only that, she’ll never be sorry. Because she doesn’t know how to be sorry. If she had the kind of empathy and respect for you that would allow her to truly understand how her cheating hurt you, she wouldn’t have cheated in the first place.

      • I did see an individual counselor for a few sessions, yes. It was more for dealing with the trauma and stress of finding out.

        I may go back to IC, I’m not sure, I’m having trouble thinking about what I want in a marriage and partner, I mean if we divorce I would go into hermit mode for a while and heal.

        Or, I really could use a rebound… my self esteem is in the dirt and I’m don’t mean a rebound as sexual, I would love to just sit with someone, hold my hand, and talk. It’s lonely being a chump you know…

    • Your cheater wife and therapist sat in silence because they were shocked. You were supposed to stay in chump mode and let them have their way with you. No doubt her cheating was all you fault. Poor muffin.

      A huge amount of therapists, so called marriage counselors are morons. You have less than a 50% chance of getting a decent one. This field is riddled with loons. They are not gods.Most often you just help put their kids through college. You can always tell if they blame you for the affair. That was a decision or choice your wife made. Totally independent of you of course.

      Like most chumps you are in a hopium addiction. This just isn’t my wife. It’s not like her. It’s so out of character, blah, blah, blah. Nope, it’s a part of who she is. Your wife isn’t in the fog. You are.

      Like most you’ll analyze everything looking to feed your hopium addiction.

      OMG SHE SMILED. Maybe she’s waking up and will be the woman of my dreams now!!!!!
      Nah, it was probably just a gas pain.

  • She needs to do the heavy lifting now with this revelation, and she’s not. A therapist friend of mine (not my therapist) has often said that if you are doing all kinds of things to fix the relationship and trying to make yourself better, and the other party is just going along and throwing out blame here-and-there, you’re in a downward spiral. The fact that she cheated while on vacation with your adult daughter is just sick. Deep down she wanted a fling with someone she’d never see again, and she found it. My guess is that she’s still looking for “fun” outside of the marriage.

    I get the difficulty of facing this. Mine was a gray divorce, and it’s rough to start a new chapter. On the surface, my ex is having the time of his life in a new area where he doesn’t have to admit to anyone what he did. I stayed in the same area where our young adults still live and enjoy the same friends and activities with a few new ones. I’m perfectly content being single.

    My therapist commented that she knows who has the better life because I’m not in denial and am working it through — ME!

  • Double-Chump— 25 years invested here same garbage. Lies, minimized, manipulations, no remorse whatsoever. Found out later that X had been lying throughout our marriage. I was gobsmacked. Thought we had a great marriage. Narcissistic abuse is insidious.

    Sounds like you are scared shitless— I was. I didn’t want to lose what I thought I had built over 25 years. But…. there was nothing to work with. I couldn’t live with a lying cheating entitled “partner.” I trusted he sucked. We simply were not compatible. I lawyered up, got divorced. Spent a few years working super hard to figure out what kind of life I wanted.

    Fast forward 6.5 years. Life is wonderful. I am peaceful. I’m engaged to a man who wants to be with me and only me. No pick me dancing soul crushing BS.

    XH is still with one AP and he is still a miserable human being. The kids won’t see him. His health is wrecked. Not my monkey, not my circus.

    Thank God I listened to Chump Lady and my own then-tiny voice urging me to save myself, to chose goodness!

    We are here for you as you figure this out.

  • Glad you’re reading along D-C

    Like others, I could have written this myself. My now ex-wife had a serious affair and left now a bit over 5 years ago. She kept me hanging being “indecisive” for about a year. We’d been married for 26 years and were also in our early 50s.

    Now – she was also playful and flirty especially after a few drinks and there were occasional rumours that offended both of us that she had had previous affairs. Afterwards, some meat was put on to that and the odds are pretty good that she did in fact have prior affairs including one at a resort that she went to with a friend. She never admitted to any prior affair and would proudly and loudly declare that she had never cheated on me – yes – Mme protesteth too much. She probably hoped to get away with the last one but she was being pushed I believe and told me she was leaving but not why. My digging revealed the existence of the affair partner giving me a mixture of relief that it wasn’t me and horror in what she had done. Something she swore she would never to.

    The sunk costs are real and that was one thing that I had to work hard on letting go of. The dramatic change to what was a comfortable life as a couple into what is now a comfortable life as a bachelor was tough. I’ve dated a bit with poor results but know that I’m enough on my own. Well – I have a cat too.

    But as others have said – this relationship is you doing the work and the repairing and her just going along for the ride criticizing you all the while. I had my wife up on a pedestal and at the beginning would have done anything to win her back. I now know that I should have let her go and gone my own way right from the beginning.

    As people age they become more of who they really are. When the drink, doubly so. Your wife may or may not have cheated before but now that she has with minimal consequences, you’ll never know if she’ll do it again. And as many cheaters themselves will say, it’s more about the thrill of “getting away with it” and having those secrets than it is about the sex.

    I was more or less where you are 5 years ago. There’s a wonderful world out there that doesn’t require you to always be looking over your should and wondering. I had to buy my ex out of the house and am paying support for a few more years shifting my retirement out several years. An article I would suggest if you are worried about the sunk costs is this one

    We’re here for you, we’ve stood on those shoes before you.


    • “I had my wife up on a pedestal and at the beginning would have done anything to win her back.”

      I find it amazing the same thoughts and circumstances we Chumps have experienced. I feel the exact same way.

      I hate what my POS EW did to my children, friends and myself.

      I certainly WILL NEVER put a partner up on a pedestal like that again….EVER! I have made that very clear to my current GF. Very open and honest.

      Does that mean I do not love her or treat her well?…..absolutely not. I sunk way too much trying to please a liar, cheater and remorseless homewrecker.

      I have learned I create my own happiness and am 100% responsible for that. I want my current relationship to last but I know I will be ok if it does not……I will never rely on someone like that again.

      And for the OP…….GET OUT NOW!!!! It’s sad, it hurts….it sucks! But you will be OK. Take all the steps necessary and discussed in this forum.

      25 years of my life I invested. I am grateful for my healthy children but other than that, I wasted half my life on a phantom and I refuse to waste 1 more second of my remaining time on the cheater.

      You will never have the life you thought you did….it is gone.

      • A waste of a life. That really is it. I’m 4 years out now and I’m still angry about the life I could have lived. What if I had met a real woman, not a barbed-wire monkey? What kind of life could I have lived? What kind of pain could my kids have avoided? The crime they commit is theft of a life.

        • That’s what I’m stuck with at the moment is the feeling that she stole my life from 22 to 37 just stolen. Wasted. Pissed down the drain. It was all a lie and a total waste of life. I’ve basically done a prison life sentence. I truly hate myself for not having run away from all the red flags when we met. Just left with this feeling that I’ve completely screwed up my life.

          • I get that.

            My ex fw’s parting shot was I never loved you and I have been “dating” for ten years. Not sure what good that did for him, but he said it. I can only assume he thought somehow if he never loved me, that made what he did more acceptable.

            What it did was make him look worse; and if he never loved me then how am I at fault for what he did.

            Having said that, you are not 40 yet; you are still young. Go out and soar; (I know you will) I wouldn’t trade all the years I have had post FW for anything in the world.

            Bottom line is they are liars/cheaters, and the don’t care who they use or destroy as long as it is a net gain for them. Or at least they think it is.

            I had to basically discard 21 years of my life, because I wasted it loving and being committed to someone who never placed any value on me.

            I was an attractive 18 year old woman, who gave up a guaranteed scholarship, and a certain bright future, for someone I loved dearly, but who by his own words married me under false pretenses.

            That is a tough shit sandwich for any of us to swallow.

            • Susie,
              Don’t believe a word of it. Surely he must have loved you once upon a time. No clue why they all say that hurtful shit. My parting gift was “I never loved you, I only married you for your financial potential”. Come to think of it, I believe her! Lol.

            • I find it also difficult to believe when cheaters say more hurtful things like how they never loved us etc. I think it’s a coping mechanism especially when we as chumps are the ones who filed for divorce so forth. I think it’s just all about control and emotional manipulation.

              • I agree, but once said there is no going back from there.

                I think they flail. My my fws case, I am pretty sure he was trying to piss me off so bad; I would file. Didn’t work. I just mostly went into shock.

                When I rallied a bit, I pulled credit card and bank histories. Found the money he had spent on the whore. Called him the next day and said you need to file so we can separate our finances. He said he didn’t want to hurt me (lol) so he wanted me to file. I said you want the D you need to file and do the legwork. (I was trying to use what little guilt he might have had)

                Turned out when I hired my lawyer a couple days later, he said actually it gave him (my lawyer) more to work with if he filed, because of his adultery, and him abandoning the house and filing etc. Also since he filed he had to gather all the documents etc. All I had to do is review what he gathered and approved them as correct, or add anything he missed.

                So I guess I instinctually did something right. Of course I would have had to file if he didn’t do it within the next week or so, but he did.

            • I gave up law school to be a SAHM. Now I’m without a career, have to sell our almost paid off home, and let go of all the plans for travel that we were just available to do–youngest was just off to college when Fredo decided to blow it all up. Etc etc–so many ripples from this shit. I had seen the effects of cheating before and was always vocal about it but now I will not tolerate even the whisper of someone trying to ‘yeah but’ cheating. Eff that noise–the cheating is just the visible obvious injury. Unless you’ve been through it folks don’t have ANY idea how deep it cuts and the lasting scars it creates.

              • “Unless you’ve been through it folks don’t have ANY idea how deep it cuts and the lasting scars it creates.”

                This is so true–betrayal is a pain that must be experienced to be understood.

                For me, it’s the lying. I don’t think I’ll ever get past that. In new relationships, I can’t fully trust the other person; I can’t shake that fear that he’ll lie to me.

                My therapist said, “But he hasn’t lied to you or shown any indication that he will lie.” My response? “Yet. He hasn’t lied yet.”

                So, here I am.
                This is my ex’s lasting “gift.”

              • ” Unless you’ve been through it folks don’t have ANY idea how deep it cuts and the lasting scars it creates.”

                So Agree. I have to be careful to not be too hateful with those who don’t have a clue. I want to educate and not offend, but dang sometimes you just want to say “you don’t have any idea what the hell you are talking about”

                I am way luckier than many in that, though all I had was a minimum wage job, it was secure, and there was good potential for advancement.

                In a few years I outlearned FW, but it was too late for him to enjoy. Which is good because he would have gambled it away anyway as he did for his own.

                After our D, the idiot stood a good chance of becoming a millionaire, and the dipshit and the whore started gambled and lost it all. He had conned me into signing for a river front property about six months before he drop kicked me. Instead of holding on to that and taking advantage of the casinos (which he knew about, because the laws had just been passed allowing offshore casinos in that area) that were coming down the line in that area; he and whore gambled it all away. Over three hundred thousand dollars worth of property (including the house he was living in)

                This was in the mid 90s.

                He made a little on the property, but the folks who bought it really cashed in a couple years later. Lost every fucking thing we had worked for 21 years for.

                All I got was a small house that was paid for, which was ok with me at the time; because I couldn’t afford to make payments on the rest. But, couldn’t happen to a more deserving couple.

            • Oh he loved you…, in the only way that he knows about love. He loved you because you were attractive, useful, made him feel good about himself. That’s not true love. As soon as you were ‘old stuff’, he needed something else to make him feel good about himself. He loved you like a new car. He showed you off, talked about you, and watched the envy from his friends. But once the new car has a bit of mileage on it, has a few ding marks and scuffs on it, and is an older model, he wants another ‘shiny new car’. You’re not in for that kind of ‘love’.

              • ????

                Unfortunately that is true for so many chumps.

                Heck he didn’t even have the decency to leave me for a younger shiner model, she was a well used 35 year old to my 40 and only used by him.

                But, I guess she was new to him.

              • The “older” model doesn’t even have to be that old. Nitwit’s affair started when I was 29. I am now 31 and free forever from that loser, but it amazes me how quickly I lost value in his eyes once we were married and he figured I wouldn’t go anywhere. The devaluation started on our honeymoon!

  • It sounds like you are taking responsibility for your wife cheating, by saying the marriage had problems and you made mistakes. Please do not accept responsibility for her cheating. I’m sure your wife is not delight to be married to, and yet did you cheat? Marriages have problems, that is normal, but when one partner unilaterally decides to cheat they are making a choice that ruins everything. She was ok making a choice to risk the 20 years of marriage. Now she is devaluing you by saying you aren’t fun to go on dates with, that is just mean and not true. There is nothing “fun” about being cheated on. She wants you to play the pick me dance better and be “fun” for her. Making her central and showing her entitlement. What is she doing for you?
    I know her hail Mary card of, disclosing the cheating makes it seem workable, but I don’t think it is. A wise person told me after my cheating discovery that once they cheat you can’t trust the other person and there is no marriage. I really leaned that sound advice coming from a person I really respected. Sometimes its as simple as that.

  • The part about the 21 years.
    I suspected at about that many years also and was overwhelmed with how. At 38 years I pulled the trigger because I had proof and was running for my life. Like so many others here, I found I was better off financially and in all aspects of my life post divorce. (I did not get alimony and fully support myself financially ) FW continued the affair and continued to profess his love for me. But as CL says “sorry is as sorry does”. Refused to get a postnup, got angry when I asked questions about the phone record, expected me to take blame etc etc etc.
    get your ducks in a row . You can hire a pi, investigate phone records, look at her phone messages and track her cellphone if you need more info to get moving- this is not a way to live. You already know enough.
    Even with 3 children, large family relationships, joint business ventures, divorce was worth every cent. Life is good 3 years on the other side of crazytime.

  • I’m sorry you are a member of this group. It totally sucks to be betrayed. You are in the right place. While you are trying to make sense of this (you can’t BTW), get your straits in order with stealth. There is a good chance she is squirreling away money. Consult a lawyer, get a therapist, collect financial records, get off credit cards and even cancel them and put one in your name, if she wants one let her get one in her name. Start to untangle finances, don’t take out any more loans until this is resolved. Look at this as a shut down of a business -even a bankrupt which it it is metaphorically-you don’t increase spending or debt. Prepare for the worst and cry all the way through it! Take care of your self! Don’t nice things for yourself without her. Start to build an independent life of things you enjoy. Be vigilant-she can’t be trusted. These are the worst kind of vipers-like a cat playing with a mouse before it bites it’s head off. Hugs!

      • It does not sound like you have a good, neutral couples therapist. If a cheating spouse is not trying to work as hard as the betrayed spouse to work things out, they are not “all in”. I think they should want to work harder as they have more to lose than the betrayed spouse. Most likely not her first rodeo and very doubtful it will be her last. Sorry. Most cheaters who are not “all in” on working through such a betrayal will pop up and do the same thing or worse in the future when you have more invested in the relationship. Or she could be waiting for an opportune time to really blow your world up. Good luck to you; you are at the right place at Chump Nation.

  • Call me hyper aware of people’s actions after what I’ve been through. 33 yr relationship, 26 married, 7 ys left, 5 ys divorced, due in court again next week because he’s a ClusterB. If I have to give someone (other than my kids an ultimatum) to just be a decent caring person towards me, well I’ve accepted that that is not acceptable to me ever again. Either they want to continue to mutually invest in the relationship or I’ll bail. You’ll know in your gut, after it awakens from being numbed for years, what’s the truth within your marriage.
    Those little hugs are for herself to squash your uprising. Go see an attorney without her knowledge with all your evidence just for shits and giggles to get advice and find what you need to do to protect yourself. Accept there will be some financial loss. Time has already been lost. If it works out for you both together then it’s nothing more than knowledge gained. If I was a gambler, I’d bet she’s has or plans to see an attorney herself and spoke with others planting seeds of discontent and you won’t ever know until you get notice or you send her one. At that point you’ll see how she really feels. Another bet I’d place is how shocked you will be at the depths that’ll go to destroy you. I never thought that someone I chose as a life partner would do or say xyz ….

    • Informal,
      You make so many great points I can relate to. One, the ultimatum, just being forced to do that means its enough to leave. I did this and then followed through with attempting divorce (I say attempt bc I suspect mine is cluster B as he is making this impossible.) Two, intuition being numbed for years, slowly that does return and the rose colored glasses are removed. It can be quite shocking, my clarity came suddenly and it was difficult to see so clearly the life I’d been living. Mine is trying to destroy me with slanderous documents, it is scary the depths they will go to “win” and for us to “lose”.

  • Every time I see a male chump who is 40+ who is considering staying with his wife I just want to scream. Do you know how many thousands of awesome single women there are who are 40+ who would love to have a loyal, faithful husband?

    Chumplady is right. She’s shown you who she is. If this isn’t acceptable, hire a lawyer.

    • It is too bad. The problem is, once a guy has been wrung through the divorce courts, he is no longer interested in being anyone’s husband. There is virtually zero benefit to marriage for a man. It’s all downside risk. For women it’s a profit center. I’ve educated my sons to these facts, but I am dismissed as bitter and angry and “not getting over it”. You don’t need a government contract to love someone.

      • “For women it’s a profit center”? Wow Quantum Chump… no. My ex FW destroyed our finances and after digging myself out of that hell, I have zero interest in marrying again. My current boyfriend is lovely, but also financially up and down. I have zero interest in being anyone’s financial crutch after doing that for my ex (who is in FINANCE, btw). Ex’s brother — he’s financial crap while his wife works crazy hours as a nurse to pay the bills. I have a friend who is a physician and her husband hasn’t had steady work in 15 years…. she pays the bills and stresses over him. I have a friend who dug her husband out of debt (took 15+ years) and she’s the breadwinner too. I could really list like this all day. I’d say this is more common than what you describe. Most women I know don’t end up financially better off by marrying a man. Both men and women need to LEARN to be self-sufficient. It’s not about our sons avoiding financial entrapment… it’s about learning how to get a good job, keep it, and manage your money (male or female).

      • I think a lot of men are going MGTOW. After my experience of what I’ve just gone through and how social services and police instantly sided with my ex wife over her false DV allegations and listening to my lawyers about how so many men get absolutely screwed financially even when their wife was the cheater etc , I’d never in a million years ever get married again and nor will anyone else’s name be going on my house. Think the statistics on second marriages is 70% divorce rate give or take. Would you jump out an airplane with a 70% chance your parachute won’t open? Better bachelor is the way for me right now.

        • ChumpyNoLove – Men do the same things to women. My ex-husband attacked me on D-day by physically strangling me in front of my two elementary school age children. I ran to the car to escape, he fought and overpowered me and I had to literally jump out of a moving vehicle and roll on the ground to survive.

          After I jumped out, he drove straight to police station, scratched up his own neck (who does that?) and proceeded to attempt to file a Domestic Violence report on me. The nerve. He wanted to beat me to the punch so we would both look certifiable. The crazy part was that I didn’t call the police because I wanted to protect HIM at the time (which is crazy to me now). Thankfully the police laughed at him, and I came out the victor in all the court battles.

          He’s also since called in numerous false DCF reports on me over the years (he lives in a different state, by the way during these reports). Apparently, people can do this to harass you without any consequences. The DCF reports were so far fetched and became frequent enough to be harassing, that the DCF guy gave me his card and volunteered to testify in court for me (as a man, he was pissed at watching this nonsense), to which he did – and it was powerful, too. He tore his lawyer up, it was glorious. I love that man.

          Anyways, my point is that there are just shitty people from both sexes, and sometimes the crappier human is bolder and better at lying than the nice guy, and gets their way in court. Luckily, I had good lawyers and mine wasn’t like that.

          I swear, Chump Nation needs a dating site, a place where good humans with honor can meet.

        • And this is coming from a Chump that is happily remarried to fellow Chump. My current husband has to pay an exorbitant amount to his lazy, arrogant cheating ex-wife because he settled during mediation. However, her “queen” status of her sitting on her ass and collecting money has an expiration date. He was smart enough to walk away with his business, pension and 401K, that’s why he offered the child support deal as temptation, and she foolishly took it. Princess lazy pants can’t touch his retirement assets. So she’s “peaking” now, but it’s a finite situation.

          He makes a generous living, but I am actually the higher income earner of the two of us. After escaping my abusive marriage (I was a SAHM and broke) I worked hard, got my degrees and have my own successful company now.

          I certainly understand the MGTOW movement, however I think the WGTOW movement has been happening for decades. I have a newfound respect for the “crazy cat ladies” and “spinsters” who live alone after my ordeal.

      • Wow, guess it depends. Instead of all of us blaming an entire gender why don’t we ensure it’s isolated to those that are disordered. I’ve seen both genders try and financially ruin the other. My stbx has totally squeezed me out of any financial independence over the years and I am tired of being nothing more than his mother, while he cheated in every sense. Yet I’m not blaming the entire male gender for my one bad experience.

        • Please stop with the gender bias. I was married 38 years and worked part time most of it. In my 3 years since divorce I’ve been much more financially secure (without a cent from me x). My SO would like to marry and financially we are pro ably equals. We have agreed that if we do we will get a post nup. I had sworn off marriage but am leaving the decision for the future.

        • Exactly. My ex was extremely stingy with me and house matters. I live personally at the bottom of the economic ladder, while he indulges himself with his boats and campsites etc.

          Kept putting me off when I want to upgrade the house just a little. Then dumped me for the whore after 21 years.

          I worked for several years to get myself in a good job.

          My now husband and I have been together 26 years, we had no issue signing a prenup to protect my retirement and his, but he also secured some funds for me. Guess he thought I was worth it.

          If one does not want to marry, I get that; it is so individual. But, to blame an entire gender group for the actions of a few.

          On the lighter side, my ex fw and his whore drove themselves into bankruptcy; and continued to try to use pretty much everyone they came in contact with; including our son. Their continued woes have been everyone’s fault but their own.

          As my son said, he found someone as selfish as he is. They truly did deserve each other.

        • Amen. Only small-minded, bigoted people will blame an entire gender for the sins of one person. It’s just easier that way for those who lack critical thinking ability.

      • Um, Quantum Chump that road runs both ways. First of all it is very well documented that women end up on the short end of the stick in divorce more times than not. My ex spent 20 years destroying me financially. When we married I had a great job, a house with equity and a very healthy 401k. He was working a contract job at the same company I worked directly for. MY Department gave him a direct hire job, not the one he was working in. He ran through all of it. 20 years later I had less than I when I married him at 33. It cost me $20,000 to sell my house – an expense I took on just to get away from him. Now I am 58 and peacefully rebuilding. I will be unable to retire before 70 and I have been working since 22.

        Beyond his destroying our finances, I was the cook, maid, laundry service, grocery shopper, full time wife/mother, jitney service for the kids, WITH a full time job. Also, well documented is the general disparity in household chores and child care – it falls disproportionately on women. He never appreciated any of it, in fact he was always really happy to point out all of my faults not only to me but to anyone who would listen. He was basically catered to for 20 years. So I guess what I am saying Marriage is a Cash Cow for assholes like our exes. Please check your misogyny!

        • I also changed careers during the course of the marriage to one that paid less because he insisted on it. First I was transferred and he did not want to move even though he could have transferred with me and second because he was worried that I would have to work second shift (we were both employed in manufacturing.) He did not know who would watch the kids – he was one of those guys who “babysit” their own kids, I think he was worried about having time to cheat – no time for “drinks with the guys” if you need to be home after work. Anyway, he showed up to one of our negotiation meetings demanding that I pay HIM for all of my lost wages when I took the lower paying job – his attorney actually told him that was insane and to put away his spreadsheet. He also insisted that I was fired when in fact I took a very lucrative buy out in the early 2000’s when company’s still did that sort of thing. I am now 14 years into the second career and fortunately I have a pension that he did not think to go after.

          • My mother got ruined in divorce when my sperm donor left for the AP. He took everything and my mother nearly ended up losing the house as he legally tried to kick us out so him and AP could move in. Then we had years of poverty whilst my mother put herself through university. Never had any boyfriends, never had men in the home and she worked so hard to get where she is. Retired at 55 and travels to world. She is the strongest woman I’ve ever known.

            Money wise I was lucky with my recent divorce, my ex wife did not chase for money as it would go to court and my legal team simply would have shown the evidence of the dozens of men she was cheating with. So she agreed outside of child support that I will give her x amount per month which and I she never got a penny of my investments nor pension etc. My legal team even stated how lucky I was that she basically rolled over during divorce. Sadly that’s not the case for many men but same that many women get destroyed.

        • None of these many examples people are posting are going to sway him. His mind is made up and he’s not letting inconvenient things like truth and reality get in the way.

        • Same here, FW husband and I were financial equals when we married. I’m not great at saving, so I’m not saying I’m blameless in my current situation, but I am broke. I changed careers to marry him. I followed him for his career immediately after getting my masters degree, and took care of our children (one 3 months old at the time) for just over a year to support this move. Then he worked away from home for three years while I worked barely full time because I had full responsibility for the kids all week and many weekends. I took care of them while he went on trips and screwed around. I was and still am constantly exhausted and chronically depressed and even sick. I cashed in my investments to pay for things for the kids until I had to hand most of the bills over to him because I was simply out of money. I FELT BAD that I wasn’t contributing as much financially. But I thought he had my back. Once I found out he was cheating, I understood his true entitlement. Sure he paid for a plenty good life for us, but he thought I should be groveling (or at least pick-me-dancing) for it, and says that HE resented ME. What??

          No, I will take a big hit in lifestyle, no matter how the divorce agreement ends up. My work performance has suffered while I have 100% custody during the pandemic, because he’s moved for his fabulous career again. It will still be worth it if I never have to look into his haughty face again knowing that I am dependent on this person. He will see himself as taking a financial hit, but the truth is if I wasn’t keeping his secret of whose wife he was banging, it would be much worse. He did this to himself, but I won’t suffer any less than him for it.

      • Not blaming a whole gender. There are plenty of deadbeat dudes out there. There are plenty of gold digging gals out there. Its just in general, recent statistics are really bad for men. 60+% of marriages fail. 75-80% of (older) divorces are initiated by the female. 85% of alimony is paid by men. 95% of custody orders (when both parents are capable) go to the Mom, along with the corresponding child-support. The marital home is awarded to the wife the majority of the time. Male suicide after divorce is second only to PTSD military vets.

        With 35% lost to taxes and 35% lost to alimony/child support, there is not much hope for a guy who has been “zeroed out” by divorce. When young men witness their fathers trying to live on 30-cents to the dollar earned, especially when it was Mom who cheated and blew up the family, there are going to a lot fewer taking the risk, in my humble opinion. I think its incredibly sad.

        • “75-80% of (older) divorces are initiated by the female. ”

          I would say that at least 80 percent of the women who are divorced here on CN, initiated the divorce, but why did they initiat the divorce. Adultery by their partner.

          In my own case my ex wanted very badly for me to initiate, but I told him he wanted the D, he needs to initiate it. So he did, he didn’t like it as it I am sure interfered with his planned story of “I tried to work it out with Susie but she kicked me out”

          His story of course was “he didn’t want to hurt me” Um that ship had already sailed.

          The rest of the stats I can’t speak to.

          In my own situation he got the marital house and all the rental properties, and the boat and car, plus I waived my entitlement to half his pension in return for the small rental property.

          I got one small apt sized house that was paid off. A few years later I sold it for 40 thousand dollars, so you know what a castle that was.

          He did agree to pay for all my expenses for six months while we were legally separated, but it was because I proved he used a lot of marital funds to court the whore(s). He also took over all debt which was about 5000 in credit card debt that he ran up mostly on his whore.

          He delayed the divorce after the six months were up, and voluntarily paid for six more months. Don’t know why. I honestly think he was trying to delay his marriage to the whore, she was his direct report; and he had crapped all over his work situation.

          There was no alimony in our state, and I was lucky that my son was fully emancipated when he blew up our marriage.

          But, my point is I see stats of who files and I do know stats show more women file, but I am betting if the ones who are filing against a cheater were taken out, the stats would flip.

          But I do think you are right that fewer men will want to marry, and fewer women will also.

          • I do think this site is heavily skewed to us Chumps that had to do all the heavy lifting as we were all duped by selfish liars and cheaters. I had to file myself, as did the few male chumps here had to (so there goes that statistic lol). Most of us men and women here got screwed by unscrupulous partners so we don’t reflect the entire population. I wonder where all the cheaters congregate on-line?

            • Quantum Chump this is why I think this “no fault state” nonsense should be abolished. Cheating is breaking a legal marriage contract, just like a breaking a business contract. Somehow, we have became so slanted in our society that we hold business contracts in a higher regard than marriage contracts.

              The betrayed spouse that was victim of a cheating (regardless of their sex) should get the majority timesharing with the children and the cheater should get less time and be the one to provide child support. Period.

              There should also be punishment for perjury in family court. Also, the spouse who is unfairly smeared in court should have the right to sue for libel and slander in court afterward.

              There also need to be free court appointed lawyers to parents defending themselves in a custody battles. Many rich fathers who were cheaters can destroy a mother in court by having the financial upper hand, as she was forced to start over from scratch in her life (if she was a stay at home mother, for example) and can’t afford to keep defending herself in relentless, expensive custody battles.

              Lastly, if it is proven that during ONE custody battle that the opposing party was lying their ass off, there should be a mandatory requirement that they provide material evidence to a judge before being allowed to file future custody disputes. I have won 4 times thus far, and in my state, you have to win 5 custody cases (where there is proof the opposing party completely fabricated stories) before a judge will screen for evidence before allowing them to file another case.

              I am sorry that you got screwed. Most of us on here have, I feel you. I think it’s less of a gender thing versus we are the nice people in the relationship who aren’t cutthroats without morals thing, and usually the cutthroat, vindictive people succeed in court most of the time, unfortunately.

            • I can only imagine the shitty outlooks and comments being made by a cheater site… I’d hate to read that. Garbage:/

        • Quantum Chump, if you’re throwing out statistics, you need to provide all of your support. Link the articles specifically. Otherwise, your statistics are likely made up and no better than gaslighting… you’re trying to skew our reality to fit your argument.

          It doesn’t seem you are open to understanding that what you are saying is out of anger and is offensive to many (if not most) of the women here. Most of these women were cheated on, fought hard for custody (that 95% custody number is total BS especially in my state) and many were financially destroyed by our ex. Not to mention… it doesn’t matter if women file for divorce more… I did because most cheaters are TOO LAZY and want to have OW/OM without the divorce hassle. My ex moved in with his coworker and I was still the one that had to file. So it may only prove that more men still cheat.

          Ugh. I don’t have the energy to argue with someone who should be open minded that cheating is crap regardless of gender. I’m sorry you’re too angry to see it.

          • Those seem to be ancient stats from a bygone era and are devoid of context. Everybody knows standard custody is now 50/50, for example, and in fact men rarely contest it.
            Men are more likely to commit suicide PERIOD, not just after divorce. Women initiate more divorces, but with good cause most of the time. Men pay more support because they earn more. That speaks to male priviledge if anything.
            The context is missing because it’s MRA propaganda about how “oppressed” men are and that women are to blame for their problems.

            • Never told this story before… but one of my good friends got chumped about a year after me. His wife didn’t come home one weekend and he called the cops frantically reporting her as missing. She waltzed in on Monday and told him she was running off with a wedding singer because his manhood was too small. She immediately called the cops who dragged him out of his own house, she even had his bags pre-packed. He went back to his house to pack the rest of his things while she was at work and she had him arrested, orange jump suit and all, at work, causing him to loose his job. He had to go live in their unheated beach cabin in March, while some big-dicked leech slept in his bed with his wife.

              I was trying to help him cope, and we had made plans for us new bachelors to “paint the town red” next weekend. He stopped returning my calls and a co-worker found him hanging from the rafters when he failed to show up for work. I still blame myself for putting plans off till the weekend.

              So don’t judge till you have walked in my shoes. Your misandry is just as ugly as any MRA stuff.

              • I did the math around Mr. D’s suicide (a family man in my childhood church) and figured that his wife cheated on him. My mother commented at the time “Well Bobbie D. certainly got over her husband’s death quickly, didn’t she ?” He blew his brains out in their basement and his wife married another man within 18 months. Harsh.
                His son and I were in youth group together, both of us teens. I remember when he told us that he was drinking too much. His little sister, 6 or 7 at the time, could have found her father’s body.

              • You seem to confuse “misandry” with “facts.” Also, “I have done way too much reading on the subject?” You have to actually be reading facts in order for it to be worth anything. YouTube rants and bad MRA circle-jerk websites aren’t worth much.

              • Gee, I’m sorry I didn’t see this yesterday. I really missed out on a stimulating conversation with an intellectual giant.

                Not a single thing I said was misandrist in the least. Not. One. Single. Thing. I was talking about MRA fanatics, not men in general,
                and you know it, as it was clearly stated. That marks you as dishonest, therefore you have no credibility. If you have to resort to lies to try to advance your argument, that’s a solid indication that you don’t have a valid argument.

                I think you project much when you suggest others should try to walk in your shoes. You need to walk in a chumped woman’s shoes. Do you see chumped women here, who have gone through utter hell, suggesting that men are all so awful that marriage is destructive to women? Yeah, that’s right. You don’t. That makes you the turd in the punch bowl here. You talk about suicide? I tried it myself, thanks to the abuse I endured, abuse he GOT AWAY WITH.
                I’ve walked in your late friend’s shoes, and I can assure you that having a vagina wasn’t an advantage.
                In other words and to be blunt, piss off with your presumptuous, gender biased and intellectually bankrupt drivel.

          • Yeah, I don’t have a fully cross-referenced bibliography, but I have done way too much reading on the subject. I don’t need a study to tell me the stove is hot. My first exposure to these inconvenient truths was from my divorce attorneys, one male, one female. I naively thought my hard cold evidence of her affair would help my divorce case. Nope, nope nope. I live in a northeastern state where “its not my fault” divorce is the law. My female lawyer told me the worst thing you can have in court is a penis! They were preparing me for the shit show to come. It only got worse from there.

            • So you got the house and the kids and you had to pay child support anyway? I am confused.

              Many of us here are paying college expenses and other expenses for our children that would have been paid on a duel income – for me instead of being upset that my ex is a man whore, I feel a sense of pride that I can help my children and that I am teaching them that someone does have their back. (One undergrad and 1 dental school and 1 med school.) I never once even considered saying no college for you – but jobs and loans are necessary and are a big part of learning to adult and be self sufficient. From your comments about your ex it seems that your anger is consuming you and you are way to invested in your ex’s bed hopping and the size of her man whore’s penis – that can’t be healthy for you or your sons. Beyond that if you are in the states and a no fault state which most are these days, it seems that your attorneys were pretty weak and to say what the said to you to prepare you to loose because you are a man sounds like they were getting off on making you angry and trying to explain away their own ineptitude…….

            • The way I came across that type of information was YouTube, I was watching some business type things for men and then watched some about dating etc and quickly went down the MGTOW/red pill hole. The thing that stood out for me was the sheer amount of hatred towards single mothers and the sweeping statements that ALL single mothers are gold diggers and just want a baby daddy for their kids. I got attacked for stating that not all are like that and I got the “you’re a beta male” insults. Near all my friends growing up came from broken homes and yet their mothers never had a revolving door of men nor went gold digging. I grew up in a rough council estate in the UK, think section 8. Poverty and single mothers were the norm and yet none of the sweeping MGTOW statements matched that of my surroundings. I have single mothers in my office and none of them are like that either. They are surrounded by educated single men with good incomes and yet they ignore them.

              My mother who was chumped when I was a baby and left on her own with two kids in poverty put herself through night class and then university for years ending in her masters degree. From the moment he walked out till I was 27 years old my mother never had a boyfriend. Never had men in the house ever. My mother is and was my role model for strength and I think her tenacity is what is getting me through my situation.

              Anyway, my lawyers and my mother who had worked for years in and out of court for family issues told me to expect to be treated worse due to being a man. I was automatically assumed guilty by social services over what was then proven to have no evidence of domestic violence. Police automatically believed my ex wife. My lawyers did state and my lawyer was female with 30 years experience that men can and do get shafted in family court. Of course there are many exceptions to that as many women also get screwed over, my mother included.

              I fully get where you’re coming from as I’ve seen it from both sides and experienced it. My opinion is so many chumps both male and female, both straight, gay, pink, purple, whatever get absolutely screwed over during divorce and the fall out.

              As for suicide, that’s awful. We had a close family friend a couple of years ago who hung himself as his ex was messing him around and turning the kids against him. Terrible stuff.

        • Quantum, I can say I understand your hurt and your anger but, the statistics have always been bad for women and if you look they still are. They are the worst for women over 50 – well beyond those for men in the same age group. That said, I don’t think that dwelling on statistics and hating men or marriage or my F’ed up financial situation for that matter would have been helpful to my son or my daughters. What is helpful is financial education and honest talk about both finances and relationships. Specifically what a healthy relationship with a partner and with money should look like.

          Regarding custody, I don’t know where you live but my state was 50-50 with little child support if both parents are working, in that regard you seemed to have gotten a very raw deal. I have stated here many times that my ex initiated a bogus DV claim, fortunately, my children were old enough and angry enough to nip that in the bud. I completely understand the anger and pain that that sort of false allegation causes.

          BTW, I initiated the divorce, after he told me he was cheating and had been for years. Who initiated it is not the same as who caused it…….or more succinctly, it does not tell the story at all, it only tells you who filed first. My ex routinely referred to it as “Chumperella’s Divorce” in spite of the fact that he at 56 had a 37 year old pregnant girlfriend at the time of DDay who was married with 2 very young children. (The pregnancy and termination was my husband’s – her husband had a vasectomy.)

          • Thank you Chumperella. Exactly.

            And for what it’s worth, Quantum Chump, clearly you’ve been screwed over bad. I’m sorry.

            • I actually fought hard for my kids who chose to live with me. I bought her out of my family’s home that I had inherited before marriage, so my kids could have a stable familiar environment while they attended college. One actually got himself into Harvard and I wasn’t about to tell him “sorry kid, your mom’s a slut, so no college for you”. I endured severe financial losses and my kids learned how to stretch a buck. But I got an extra 5 years living with my kids in the house they grew up in, so I think I won. XW bounces from one loser’s bed to another when she’s not living in daddy’s house.

              • That’s terrible you had to give her half of the money on a family home that YOU inherited from your family. I hate hate hate laws like that. I believe cheaters should be entitled to absolutely nothing. Not even a single fork or spoon should go to them.

          • Here in the UK, child support can be rather low and not cover the costs of children. If I went via child support agency I’d be paying a lot less per month than what I currently pay. I know it’s dependent on your income but I know some high earners in engineering etc and they are paying barely anything despite six figure salary so they make sure they buy their kids clothes and toys so forth on top of what they legally provide. I’ve no idea if the UK does the alimony thing.

      • You’re being dismissed because you have a misogynistic view that’s totally out of touch with reality, not because you are angry at your ex. To infect your sons with your distorted, ugly view of women is absolutely appalling and a form of emotional abuse. “Education” my ass.

      • A profit center? GTFO with this. I feel like I’m getting screwed over so hard in my divorce. FW makes over double what I do and has substantial pre-marital assets that are not considered when determining maintenance (which is a laughably short amount of time) and child support. I can barely afford rent in my HCOL city. What burns me up is that we made a joint decision for me to enter a more flexible career (in a STEM field) in order to be around for the kids more. This came with quite the salary cut. Since I’m mid-career, getting a new job would be quite the pivot and likely involve going back to school. Most families have similar circumstances where the woman hamstrings herself to take care of the kids and then gets blamed for the financial situation she finds herself in later. She’s a mooch on the man despite mutual benefits a SAHM, part-time worker, or flexible worker provided to the family.

        The stats also show that more women suffer a greater fall in standard of living post-divorce. Men tend to suffer adverse health from divorce which is ameliorated by remarrying. In general, single men tend to lead unhealthier lifestyles e.g drink more and eat worse. Also, 50/50 custody is the new norm. We had a poster here talk about how her ex had multiple DUIs and it still didn’t matter much.

        • And also the woman’s social security benefits are relative to her outside work. I worked many hours on rental property- never billing myself. My lower social security amount at retirement was not accounted for in divorce. At this age my choice is one half of his amount or mine (which is about one half his amount). Typical penalty of SAHMs.

        • “Most families have similar circumstances where the woman hamstrings herself to take care of the kids and then gets blamed for the financial situation she finds herself in later.”

          Absolutely, I was a STAHM full time until my son reached first grade, then I went to work part time in the school system, so I could be home when he was home. I started full time work the year he became a senior in HS.

          Two years after he graduated I got drop kicked for the whore. I likely would have gotten DC’d as soon as he graduated, but he still had not gotten his promotion yet, and he needed the family unit for a little longer for political purposes.]

          Quite frankly, I think he would have preferred to keep the fake family unit in tact for at least another year to steal some more money; but something happened and he was outed.

          I am pretty sure the mayor didn’t know he was screwing his direct report. The reason I say that is, he got busted from his recent promotion just a few months after we were separated. I think if the mayor knew, he would have moved her to another job sooner, and likely he would have never promoted him. It was a big deal in our town, and a public relations nightmare for the Mayors office.

          He didn’t give two shits about losing me, but losing the captains bars and that cushy office, man that had to sting. Plus it put him back out on the street with the guys he had crapped all over. Awkward. I think that is why he took an early retirement. It cut his pension by about a third.

      • “For women it’s a profit center.”

        Female chump here. I worked to support us throughout the entire marriage. Cliff notes version: he got the marital home, I had to move out to a much smaller place, and the only reason he didn’t take half the cash in our “joint” account that only I contributed to was because he was too lazy to do his own homework. Factor in the fact that paying for the wedding overwhelmingly falls to the woman or her side of the family and I could have saved money if I had simply hired an escort once a month instead of getting married.

        Does our family court system really punish men or does it punish the higher earner, who is usually but not always a man? I don’t use the word “bitter” because it’s been used against far too many chumps of both sexes but you do come off as a misogynist. Or at the very least clueless about how the other half live.

    • Well I probably need to figure out where they all are because I feel totally alone and abandoned (which I understand is typical).

      • It does feel that way because in some ways it is true. The person who you trusted most, the one you thought had your back no matter what stabbed you in the back instead. It is really important to get good help – not a marriage counselor but help for yourself. Find someone who works with and understands domestic abuse – this might sound out there to you but call a local women’s shelter, they will have recommendations for therapist who gets it, they may even have recommendations for an attorney who understands how to deal with cheaters if you decide to take that route. The cycle of abuse applies even when physical abuse is not there and given your willingness to take the blame for her actions it seems that she has been grooming your for years – I say this from experience. Even in a no fault state the affair can come into play, you just have to monetize it in terms of stolen assets – that is why “getting your ducks in a row” is so crucial at this time. Tell a trusted friend or family member – at first it is hard to say it out loud, it makes it real. Understand that you are experiencing something very similar to the death of someone close, those stages of grief apply here. To be honest with you I found that this was more difficult than dealing with the sudden death of my father. My ex decided to kill my marriage and end our life together deliberately and with malice. It takes a lot of help and support to get through that. Coming here is a great start. Take care and know that this community is here for !

      • You’re not ready to date yet. I’m not ready to date yet, so I understand.

        But, I promise you, we are out there. Awesome women.

        When you’re ready, start asking your friends. Open your eyes and you’ll see single over 40 women everywhere.

  • There’s something deeply disturbing about people who involve their children in their deviancy, thriving not only on the manipulation of their partners, but also their children. In my situation, the OW sent a questionable image of her adolescent daughter to my ex, which he saved on his phone alongside OW’s unflattering nude images (she was also badmouthing her children to him as the “nightmares of her life”).

    Trust that the only remorse they genuinely feel is when they experience consequences for their behavior. The rest is duper’s delight and image management.

  • As my name implies, I am a second generation chump. My mother borrowed my lingerie to go to a sex party. With a friend of mine. While she was married to my dad. And this isn’t even the worst thing she’d done. I’ve had a lot of therapy to get over some of the things she’s done, but really wish my dad had left her. He wasn’t perfect, but he wasn’t insane.

    • Ugh, 2nd Gen Chump. How horrifying for you. I don’t know what is worse – cheater moms or cheater dads.

      My mom just left my dad after 54 years. It was something I always feared, even as an adult. But now that it has happened, I am overjoyed for my mother. Did your dad know about your mom? Sounds like she’s a wee bit cuckoo….????

      • My children are very happy for me. They love their dad, but they’re very happy I’m not longer putting up with him, i.e., they know their dad is a liar and a cheater.

  • If this truly was the first time, it sounds like she has aquired a taste for it. So she is already making rationalizations for next time by saying you’re no fun on dates and, I’m sure, other complaints. She told you not because she’s sorry (she’s clearly not) but to put you in your place and probably to see how much she can get away with so she can do it again. She’s acting like an entitled, callous fuckwit because that’s what she is. If you put up with this, next it will be a full blown affair.

    21 years be damned, my friend. I had more than that in when I dumped the tool who cheated on me, plus some compelling reasons to stay which I won’t go into. Don’t use the sunk costs equation to make this decision. Instead, remember that *you* are sinking now. Ask yourself if you want to keep throwing more and more of yourself into a bottomless pit of until there’s nothing left. It sounds like you’re afraid of making the change. Please know you deserve better than being treated like your feelings are of no consequence. This woman is not a good person. A good person would feel remorse and let you grieve, not guilt trip you about the results of her own behavior. Do you want to spend the rest of your life with that kind of person, someone who puts you down because you’re too hurt to be “fun” and refuses to discuss the pain she caused you? Please stop finding excuses to stay. At the very least, insist that you will leave if you don’t get a post-nup and see some real remorse, meaning she talks about it as much as you need to, she stops blaming you and putting you down, and she commits to being a better partner. Make *her* do the dance. I suspect she will fail completely, and then your decision is made for you.

  • As much as it sucks and is horrible for your family, F that bitch. Go 100% divorce ninja, silently get everything ready and then get out for good.

    Your going to be unhappy for the rest of your life if you stay with the cheater bitch.

    You will reach happiness and fulfillment if you divorce her. Takes time but the end result is awesome.

  • Think how many other trips she has been on without you.. That is opportunity.. Her actions show she has plenty of motive.. And she has you indoors providing the means to keep on doing this.. Unfortunately she won’t stop until she has to.

    Her so called honesty is just rubbing it in your face to see what you will do.. Amd you are doing the pick me dance.. And it just devalues you, and will kill your self respect.. I know i was there for two years till i turned around and told her to make a choice.. Her marriage or her fun lifestyle.. She wasn’t getting to keep both. And i backed up my threat with divorce papers..

    If she was honestly remorseful for cheating ( and lets not minimise it as a onevtime thing.. She still pursued another guy then spread her legs for him) she would be doing EVERYTHING she can to make this up.. To show you she can be trusted again.. But she is just giving you lip service and blaming you for her choice to fuck around..

    You need to look after yourself and if that means telling her to ship up or ship out so be it.. You are not the cause of her cheating.. That is ALL on her.. She needs to show you she is sorry.. Show you she is willing to put the effort in.. And above all show you she is CHOOSING you above anyone else now and forever more.. If she can’t do that.. Walk away and find someone who wants a faithful partner.

  • Can you live with sweeping her behaviour under the carpet? Are finances going to take precedence? That is for you to decide.

    Trying to be nice and loving to a back stabber sucks. You know in your gut that they don’t deserve it.

    If your business partner stole from you could you accept a ‘my bad’ and carry on the business?

    Individual therapy may help you decide.

  • The entire scenario was suspect. She went on vacation, during Covid, and hooked up sexually. Why weren’t you there? And if she wanted to be with adult daughter, why was she flirting and sleeping around? Didn’t adult daughter wonder where mom was? She may have wanted to cheat in front of your daughter for extra duper delight. Maybe she wanted adult daughter to tell you men found her attractive so you’d give her more kibbles–and kept quiet a week hoping that would happen. Or maybe she got caught, and adult daughter threatened disclosure, so wife thought you’d forgive her and up your kibble production if she confessed. YOU WON’T KNOW, BECAUSE SHE IS A CHEATING LIAR.
    Adult daughter must have seen the flirting and suspected the sex, and may be agonizing over whether or not to tell you. Let her know what you know about this one, and that you’d like to know if there’s more that would help you understand. Don’t tell her much; your goal is to listen, get info, and get her out of the middle, not to triangulate and get her to side with you. Don’t tip your hand that you’re considering divorce. She might tell her mom in an attempt to save the marriage. And be prepared, daughter may be aware and okay with her mom’s cheating. You saw how well your wife manipulated you; chances are she has or will do the same to your kids and others.
    Don’t trust wife. She’s getting what she can get while she can get it. She hugged you, said she was sorry, and initiated discussions twice. Did she say anything of substance? Did she offer to sign a post-nup that she’d forego financial support if she cheats again? Did she offer to show you all her phone and email records, and all her phone and email accounts? Did she ask what SHE can do for YOU? Did she come up with some date nights that YOU would enjoy or gain from, even if you aren’t “fun” during the date? Is she showing she loves you–or is she doing the bare minimum to keep you hooked, since you told her and the therapist that you might move on?
    She shut down communication outside that therapy hour, where YOU tried to save your marriage, and she “agreed.” Now that you expressed doubts, the best response she can come up with in weeks is a hug, three words, and initiating “talks” with you twice. I know you want to believe these are signs of great change, but it looks more like an attempt to make you a Triple Chump. It hurts, and there’s probably more hurt to come. If you wait, that’s more sunk costs and more time for her to hurt you.Please protect yourself.

    • Great point about Covid. She risked catching and giving her family a deadly disease so she could cheat. That alone should tell him everything he needs to know about her selfish, irresponsible, totally shitty character.

  • IF there’s no humility & real repentance that you see, hear & feel
    in your bones, THEN start your exit tasks privately. Beware RIC. Research covert narcissism.

    • I like this “in your bones”. I often think about this it’s been a year… we aren’t the same. I am NOT the same. I like my husband I care deeply for his well-being. I do not however feel in “my bones” that it’s healthy to accept this as is, and stay.

  • DC I am sorry – but her actions do not sound like remorse. They sound like entitlement and more abuse.
    Agree from experience leaving from lives and finances entwined is detailed but it can be done. Your statement “The pain is unbearable” concerned me. Sending you care and reassurance. Getting through this can be done – one small step at a time. You’ve asked for advice – take those steps. Also self care and therapy for you.

    • “Agree from experience leaving from lives and finances entwined is detailed but it can be done.”

      So true. I was with my ex since we were kids for more than two decades and I had no idea where he ended and I began. I couldn’t even figure out which stuff could be labeled his or mine. And it sucked working through all of it, but I did it. And, it was actually very empowering to regain my autonomy and independence. I can’t believe I ever gave up so much. Never again.

  • DC Let that resentment turn into hate and Action. Make use of your anger to motivate you forward into the divorce process. Quarrantine your Jezebel to another bed. NOT YOUR MARITAL BED!!
    Cut her off, bag up her shit And put her out of your home. Go complete NO CONTACT. Have copius contact with a bulkdog lawyer and lay heavy consequences on this adulterer. Work quickly though and gain momentum. Your life clock is ticking. There’s nothing here you can work with or through.

    • Exactly what needs done. I made my ex wife sleep on the sofa from the day I found her cheating. I also took her into the city and walked her into the bank and had her removed from joint account. Changed all passwords, removed her access to anything of mine, I cut her phone off that was in my name. She even got upset that I got my own Amazon account. These lying cheaters hate consequences and they hate losing control of their victim. Last time I seen her two months ago she cried that I never talk to her. Well tough shit.

    • Best advice I received from a former chump was to strike while the iron is hot. While she is still glowing from her affair and thinking she is such a sex goddess that she will forever be treated to an endless smorgasbord of beef cake. He warned me, as soon as she realizes the grass is not greener, she will turn NASTY! Both were true. Unfortunately delays in selling my house gave her time for the tingles to wear off. Then she went full “take him for everything possible” legal mode. Work fast!

  • DC, I feel for you. D-Day is hell, and it’s reasonable to want it all to go away, and to return to the marriage you THOUGHT you had. But as CL says, the chance that your wife has told you everything is approximately 0.00%. My dumbass ex was stupid enough to move out, shack up with his whore, and leave his laptop behind. That laptop (and that dumbass) is the reason that I know that his “just one time” was the tip of the iceberg. Even if this is the one time your wife’s genitalia cheated on you, she had to do a LOT of self-justification to get to the point at which she felt entitled to let her genitalia do that. If she’s anything like my ex (and she is), she’s been talking to everyone she knows about why and how she’s entitled to cheat on you. ONCE SHE CAN JUSTIFY IT TO HERSELF, THE MARRIAGE IS OVER. I don’t care if it happened once or a hundred times. Once she goes through that gate, she’s through. There is no fixing your marriage — it’s already over, dear DC, and the sooner you extricate yourself, the better. I’m 5 months out since D-Day, after 14 years with my FW, and I can tell you already that I haven’t felt this good in years.

  • I am constantly amazed by Chump Lady’s ability to cut through the bullshit and slap reality into chumps in ways that are inspiring, motivational, and witty. Chump Lady, you are the therapist we all wish we had.


    As hard and as difficult as it is, please heed the advice of Chump Lady and everyone in the comments. Leave her. I believe at one time all of us thought our situation was unique…sure, other people had cheating spouses, but they don’t understand my unique situation and the type of unique person my spouse is.

    Your situation is not unique. Your spouse is not unique. Leave her. You will be better for it.

    Good luck.

    • Yes, this. I swore my 20-year union was to a unicorn upon D-day. I justified the crap outta what he did. But, like everyone else, I was married to a standard, run of the mill, narcissistic lying jerk.

  • This is partly our own community and society’s fault – you have been told that infidelity is just an issue between couples and doesn’t involve others. This mindset sweeps the abuse under a rug and makes us victims shamed… instead of the abuser having to be accountable and relearn. We don’t embrace and understand infidelity as abuse, although it is emotional and physical abuse. The victim needs support – not just from the abuser, but from their own team to help them understand what happened. And the abuser needs to account for their actions and work on themselves…not directly with you. YOU didn’t make the decision to hurt yourself. Your flaws in partnership are not meant to be punished by infidelity. You are not at fault.

    I hope you keep reading and working on yourself. I hope your therapist agrees that infidelity is abuse, so they are basically needing to break a cycle of abuse (although it’s hard to accept for many of us infidelity victims) instead of having you accept the abuse. Can you imagine if another emotional abuse was treated the same way as infidelity?! It would be ridiculous to everyone, even your wife, to tell an abuser to just get over that emotional abuse and move on… not to mention that you should stop being a downer on dates after I abused you.


  • What Tracy said x 1000. Tell yourself “I deserve better”. It is scary starting again in your 50s ( I know) but it’s way better than being abused by someone who obviously does not give a shit about you.

  • That she was willing to cheat on you on a vacation with your’s and her’s daughter tells you all you need to know. We talk a lot about fundamental values on this here website. My values tell me that cheating on the father of my child while on vacation with that child is absolutely morally bereft, for some many reasons (not the least of which was her risking your daughter making the discovery and then being saddled with the burden of whether or not she should tell you, her father, and then the impending mental health and stress issues your daughter would suffer not being in the middle of this thing). If that’s your value as well, then your fundamental values do not align with hers. And, that makes a shitty relationship.

    Hey, I have no doubt that she’s going through some crappy mid-life thing. And, maybe you’ve been a lackluster husband for a while…I dunno. But none of those things are passes for what she did–betrayal, risking your daughter’s mental well being, etc. Most of us go through mid-life things, and we take other actions (I went to law school, for example). Most of us had lackluster spouses, and we make other choices (I tried to get my ex into therapy and planned getaways for us, for example).

    It’s all about personal choices. She made hers, so you get to make yours. I encourage you to, at the very least, undergo a trial legal separation where you live in separate households and begin to contemplate a life apart. Give yourself the gift of distance and time. You might be surprised how many epiphanies you have about her, her behavior, red flags, etc.

    Also, a legal separation protects your assets in that, in most states, anything you make after legal separation is yours and any debts she incurs are hers. It’s a little insurance policy in case she starts making other irresponsible mid-life decisions.

  • When someone loves you, they don’t fuck you over. It’s pretty simple but brainwashing and mindfucking very slowly over a long period of time made it very difficult for me to internalize this very simple truth. Yes, it is that simple.

    He was cheating probably the whole time we were together. What was I doing in the same relationship? Going to therapy and beating my head against a wall talking to him. I brought every single mothereffing therapist into our lives because I wanted to be a great person and have a successful marriage, successful family. While he was sabotaging it behind my back. (Hey, I fucked up! I trusted him! #flounder #animalhouse). Who found the therapist he is seeing by himself now? Me. And guess what else I found out a few weeks ago? He hasn’t been going as much as he said; he’s been pocketing the money a lot of the time that comes from a joint business account used to pay for it. More lies, more lies. If he said the sky was blue I’d have to verify it.

    Do they love their children? They may believe they do, but the mind-boggling mindfuck this does to our children is off the charts. Cheaters “OJ” their children; when one parent abuses and soul-murders the other parent, they’ve just saddled their children with the most painful and heaviest baggage to reconcile in the known universe. It’s an extremely complicated situation that adults can barely navigate, let alone children who are still in development emotionally. If you had the tiniest clue about what love, the verb, is, you’d never put anyone in this situation. If you loved your children, you’d never intentionally annihilate their mother or father. Then they pledge allegiance to the fuckbuddy who helped them nuke their family and they’re surprised when their children hate them.
    I don’t feel warm and fuzzy toward anyone who locks me inside my house when I’m asleep and burns it down either.

    When someone loves you, they don’t fuck you over. People who understand what love is don’t fuck ANYBODY over.

    Period. No ifs ands or buts. End of story.

  • If the mistakes our writer made were common human foibles and not abuse, deceit, and/or willful harm, then the good stuff has all been said.

    If the mistakes our writer made were any of those things, cheating or otherwise, then it will be tough to know how much spin is in this story.

    In the benefit of the doubt scenario that assumes our writer has common human foibles only, my two cents are that CL is right every time she says that sorry is as sorry does and trustworthy is as trustworthy does.

    Cheaters aren’t trustworthy. Cheaters who are truly sorry proactively go to therapy for years and move heaven and earth to become and act trustworthy, show total accountability, deflect nonpai from those they have hurt, and cast no blame toward others for their own behaviors. It almost never happens – – not impossible, but certainly exceedingly rare.

    Nothing about this cheater looks like sorry to me based on the story in this letter. Not one thing.

    • I never laid a hand on her and never threatened to, and I never lied nor was deceitful. Never. My mistakes were taking her and the marriage for granted, putting too much emphasis on my career, and generally not hearing her and not attuning to her needs. I confess I didn’t pursue her or make her wants a priority.

      She made mistakes too. She spoke to me very condescendingly, and scolding at times. She was often criticizing and judgmental. She was always available sexually, but almost never initiated. The kids’ needs would always come before mine.

      She was harsh when she spoke, our conflicts were almost always destructive; when she lashed out in anger from her hurt, I responded with defensiveness and anger. I have called her names, as has she. She has said things to hurt my feelings, and unfortunately towards the end the past few months before the fling I didn’t hear her hurt or cries for help. I still loved her but things had gotten to the point where we were stuck and I had shut down.

      The fact that I didn’t lead and act as a true husband, that’s my greatest failure and deepest regret. I have committed to changing and have several examples of solid accomplishment. Never again will I use my words to tear down. I’m the husband and head of household, and I should have taken action. I failed.

      Should she have taken the kids and left? I wouldn’t have blamed her.
      Should she have served me with divorce papers? I would have understood.
      Should she have made an ultimatum for counseling? Absolutely.

      Her committing adultery… Do I see it in context with the bigger picture? Yes. However, I still find it unacceptable.

      I have told her several times my shame and regret. I have responded with empathy and slobbering apologies when she has brought up past hurts. I don’t let my shame or regret get in the way of making sure she knows I’m not that person anymore, and I’m working very hard to show it.

      I am hurt that she doesn’t reciprocate. It kills me that for months she hadn’t allowed me to express my hurt and pain. It hasn’t been all bad, she has taken some steps toward me but generally she has been emotionally distant and unavailable. We’re about two months of couple’s therapy (my doing), she makes only a modest effort, and progress is slow.

      Thank you for listening. I’m not ready to give up yet. I need quite a bit more, and if I don’t get it we will almost certainly go to a divorce. Should that happen I will accept it knowing that I truly did everything I could.

      The many. The hurt. The chumps!

      • If you believe your greatest sins are taking your marriage for granted and focusing on your career, you’re being mindfucked.

        You are supposed to take marriage for granted — it’s your safe harbor. You trust the person. You’re secure in your attachment. That’s how it works. I’m not saying don’t make effort or be romantic, but adulting is hard work, as is raising children and having a career. You’re a husband not a kibble dispenser.

        It’s a good thing to be honest with yourself and admit shortcomings and flaws. But please know that in an abusive situation (you are in an abusive situation) these “admissions” are weaponized. You aren’t dealing with an honest broker. She isn’t tripping all over herself to admit HER failures. Dear God, man, you booked the shrink appointments!

        You seem to really think this thing is your fault.

        It’s a very common chump trap. If it’s your fault, you can fix it. If you can fix it, it’s not as scary. You’re not as vulnerable. You don’t have to admit to yourself that you invested in a person who doesn’t respect or love you.

        I understand wanting to feel like you tried. Also consider that waiting has costs. And continuing to be vulnerable to a remorseless person doesn’t end well.

        • Agree with CL, here, DC. Your “flaws” as you list them are seen in every relationship on Earth. There is nothing earth shattering in your confession that would necessitate betrayal.

          Once I had gotten distance from Dracula, I ran into an acquaintance I hadn’t seen in a while and updated her on my divorce. She asked right away “what did you do wrong?” – in pure RIC vernacular. I responded “I was as perfect of a wife as any wife out there.”

          Real life is not a Harlequin Romance. And even in romance novels, movies, tv shows, the story always ends at the wedding or engagement. That’s the Happy Ending. The story doesn’t keep going through the marriage, because of the day to day doldrums – the “flaws” you speak of here, are all too common to every day folks. They exist in every marriage & relationship. You did nothing wrong

      • It sounds to me like your cheater uses the word mistake to describe and conflate small issues (yours) with big harmful issues (hers) and that is super messed up, as CL says.

        I’m not saying it isn’t important to identify and improve the ways you could be more present in your relationships. I AM saying the appropriate way to address the concern, for your partner, does not include deceit or endangerment or contempt, and those are the things she gave. That’s her personal failure, and you didn’t make her act that way. She chose it. It’s hers to bear. Entirely her responsibility whether she takes responsibility willingly or not. Entirely her choice, entirely her fault.

        Remain wary of anyone who compares your molehills to their own mountains and suggests you’re the one who needs the climbing gear. Classic DARVO. Total gaslight. Not OK.

        Stay strong (which includes seeking the help and support any person would need in your shoes) , listen to CL (she’s amazing and so smart) , and take care of you (you deserve so much better than this, and so does your daughter, and you’re her role model too – – and she may know, or intuit, more than either of you realizes, so do still be her sane role model) . ????

      • My husband told me that my leaving the lights on when I left a room was disrespectful to him, just like his having a secret sexual life was disrespectful to me. Even Steven, right?

        The everyone has flaws argument is a bog with a hundred thousand skeletons at the bottom of it. There are degrees of flaws. There are teachers who are absent minded, and some who are lazy, biased or easily annoyed. And then there’s Mary Kay LeTourneau raping a 12 year old.

        Not. The. Same.

      • So you weren’t a monster. You didn’t lie or deceive. You took your wife for granted and focused a little too much on your career. Whoopty freakin do. Chumps (initially) will gladly fall into the trap of taking the blame for marriage failures. They are so desperate to make the marriage work they need to believe that if they do better, jump higher, admit their failings (as in sometimes let the laundry pile up, didn’t tell cheater how wonderful they are on a daily basis) as a partner the cheater will stop cheating and the marriage will be saved. It’s a fantasy, because if they say wait a minute, I didn’t lie, cheat, steal or abuse, they will have to admit that their cheater is a selfish piece of shit. Then tough decisions need to be made.

        • No, not a monster. I have had episodes of being a monster I believe, but generally I made some mistakes and am owning and atoning for them. I can be happy and satisfied that I took this experience and did the right thing.

          The silver lining is that my next wife will be the benefactor of me being fucked over because I now very clearly see how important it is I take my role as husband seriously.

          • “next wife”…buddy, relax and take this one step at a time. In my estimation and experience, once you end your existing marriage (or your ex ends it), you’ll need a long period of time to recalibrate and figure stuff out, “fix your picker,” grow yourself as a person outside a relationship. Like, maybe years. Moving forward, I highly recommend placing zero focus on a next relationship and all the focus on becoming the best version of you, without her.

            There’s so much healing to do, it’s not possible to be a good partner to someone until that healing occurs.

  • Like so many other commenters my XW found her sparkledick at the 21-year mark in the next cubicle over. Seriously…why is that number so common?

    Sorry but I find the way you were cheated on to be an ‘add insult to injury’ sort of thing; by having your daughter there too. She must have planned this.

    Is it possible that she and schmoopie planned this trip?

    In my case, as soon as I found out about the affair, I hit the ejection seat. 21 years, 2 kids, house, dog etc. No regrets…the more I read about infidelity, the more I realize that there was no stopping it or even controlling it.

    Our marriage wasn’t perfect but I was planning on staying in it…but not with an affair in the mix. I certainly remember the feeling that this affair wasn’t just going to go away. That is, even if it ‘stopped’; it would still continue because they are co-workers. Also, I’m an only child and apparently we don’t share mommy very well.

    But what I remember most of all is that whole ‘talking to cheater’ thing; chumplady has the head in a blender cartoon to illustrate this. You need to pay close attention to the whole head in a blender thing and find a way to deal with it.

    • People who love you don’t fuck you over.

      People who understand what love (verb) is don’t fuck ANYONE over.

      Cheaters fuck everyone in their orbit over. Even themselves, but they’re not bright enough to realize it.

      The subtle slow-as-molasses brainwashing and grooming campaign by the covert passive aggressive narcissist I married made it very very difficult for me to internalize this very simple bottom line truth about the cheater.

      End of story. Period. No ifs ands or buts. They don’t love anyone.

      I just looked at photos of the living arrangements he made for himself and our daughter compared to the living arrangements he made for himself and the Craigslist cockroach.

      For our daughter, the illegal firetrap loft of the commercial building where our business, a manufacturing facility, is located. Not even her own room or bed. A grim studio space with zero amenities, the walls and ceiling not even finished. It’s illegal to live there and had there been a fire they would have been trapped. Google “Ghost Ship”.

      Their place? A very nice apartment complex with all the amenities and a pool. Paid for with money taken out of our business he had been hiding from me. In other words, embezzled. He should have been living with our daughter there. Instead the cockroach got the nice place to live. He also pretty much ghosted our daughter when he left.

      It has been just over three years and it is just now sinking in even more looking at photos of both locations how incapable of loving anyone he is.

      • “Cheaters fuck everyone in their orbit over. Even themselves, but they’re not bright enough to realize it.”

        Absolutely, and quite frankly I think they fuck themselves over more than anyone, then they try to spin themselves out of it. It rarely works. I would say it never works, some just hide it better than others.

  • If you read here long enough you will find every kind of cheater imaginable but your is “off”. Obviously she couldn’t just go by herself or you would have asked too many questions. It’s almost like she is asking for forgiveness instead of permission. If she hadn’t told you would you have ever known? So, the question is, what was her agenda? I don’t think there is a shred of guilt there. I think she did a “gotcha” with your daughter in the mix to really hurt you.

    • Excellent point Letgo. FW wife did indeed throw her own daughter into the mix as a sick added level of decoy. Narcs truly have no hearts. Not even towards their own flesh and blood. True story.

  • She IS a fuckwit.
    I’m sorry.
    No chump wants to know this. But better know it before you get taken and exploited further.
    It’s time to lawyer up on the down low.
    On vacation with your daughter for god sake’s.
    This was probably a planned vacation with a planned OM.

  • “The marriage had problems and I made mistakes, and I wanted to reconcile, and so does she.” what exactly does that mean? Can someone explain this to me please?

  • OK assuming you do want to reconcile, there are certain things that need to happen before you even consider this. Your wife does not seem as though she is sorry and this is a MUST. She must understand how deeply she hurt you and how it has affected your marriage. She must show that she is taking the necessary steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again. If she cannot do these things then I’m afraid I would agree with the majority here – RUN.

  • Brother we know your pain all to well here. I’m guessing she confessed because she may have suspected your daughter caught her or your daughter knew something.
    My ex wife was fucking one of her employees and all her staff knew about it. The shitty thing was that our oldest son was also one of her employees. So he had the older women in the facility where they worked telling my son what was happening because they knew what was going on.
    You have nothing to work with. You can do all the counseling you want but she will not change. I can also tell you this isn’t the first time she has cheated.
    Gather all the financials you can, every thing you value in that house and store it somewhere. Get it altogether and hire the best lawyer you can. Also call every lawyer in the area to limit who she can hire. But be prepared for the rage it’ll be classic.
    Keep coming here for support. If you need the book I’ll send it to you. Hang in there because it does get better.

    • D. C.: You need your own counselor for YOU. You can not work on reconciliation with a cheater who does not show genuine remorse and/or does not accept complete responsibility for their cheating. Nothing you did justifies someone unilaterally making decisions that affect Your life. It is almost impossible to reconcile with a cheater but completely impossible if cheater points the finger of blame to the betrayed. Nothing you did justifies someone breaking vows. Good luck.

    • My husband came “clean” because he was tired of “her” holding it over his head I am convinced.
      No matter how hard he tries to change my mind that it was his choice to finally tell. That he was tired if “living with it” and now that “it’s” out, we can be wonderful and better than ever.
      I love him but I think it’s a codependency especially difficult that he just won’t go every-time I’ve asked him to leave or tell him it won’t ever be the same… he just stays. I feel like this is a virus. Lots of therapy for myself
      Couples isn’t quite hitting it
      I agree come here for support

      • Shann, I hope you can get away from your abuser. Our situation sounds very similar and I am so sorry he is doing this to you.

        • Mia
          Thank you for your response sit means a lot! Do you mind telling me your situation?

          Thanks again and be well

  • DC,

    We don’t say “hopium” lightly here. We use that term to denote an addictive false hope that keeps chump imprisoned instead of acting in our own best interest. You feel hopeful because you showed some willingness to end the process in therapy and either your FWWife has decided staying marriage is in HER best interest or she’s waiting until a better deal comes along (and she can blame you for being “unforgiving.”

    You can stay married to this cold and unkind woman if you like, but at least protect yourself:
    1. See a divorce lawyer, preferably one with experience with disordered people, and learn what your situation is.
    2. While your state may not officially recognize a post-nuptial agreement, draw one up that has an infidelity clause and in your final joint therapy session, ask FWW to sign it. You can be reasonably fair but make sure you protect your income, your retirement and enough assets for you to live well. Chances are when she meets the right AP, he’ll have money. Make sure she doesn’t have all of yours. There are several good reasons for a post-nup, one of which is to make your wife understand what’s at stake. But it also lays out for YOU what your limits are.
    3. Check your joint credit, now. Consider locking it down altogether. Sexual infidelity and financial infidelity are often linked. Make sure there are no credit accounts you don’t know about.
    4. Separate your bank accounts, Keep the joint one if you can’t bear to give it up yet, but have your paycheck deposited in your separate account and write a check for only the amount needed to pay for your share of the bills. Not a dollar more.
    5. Assuming FWW works, she must pay her own share into the joint account, too. If she doesn’t work, that needs to be a condition for you to stay.
    6. Copy all financials and all important personal records–house, taxes, representative utility bills, credit cards, investments, etc.
    7. How much did she spend on that trip? If you have joint savings, take that amount and put it in a separate savings account. And do a careful examination of her debit card and credit card charges.

    It’s time to protect your financial future. My XH the substance abuser thought he could be drunk, mean and vile to me because I loved him. The biggest shock he ever got was that I had a line beyond which I would not go and at 62 I had enough. Where is your bottom line? The marriage may be important to you, but YOU need to be important to you. Protect yourself. And figure out what sort of life YOU want to have, not just what scraps she’s willing to toss your way.

  • Great points… my husband cheated with his daughters mother. Since he disclosed the information to ME, they’ve become estranged completely. She keeps the daughter away. Blocked us from the phone that WE bought. He’s NOW taking her to court for parenting time/violation of the current order.
    How messed up.
    I used to support everything
    Now it’s all messed up.

  • DoubleChump: you’re in a world of pain and I’m sorry.
    Your STBX does not have your interests at heart and all the advice you have been given by the wise CN is what you need to take in and act upon. It’s hard to absorb anything if you are doing therapy and being in communication with a cheater. You need to gain clarity and that’s not going to arrive while you’re smoking the Hopium of sunk costs (21 years, family etc) and fake reconciliation while simultaneously grasping at breadcrumbs / straws (hugs from her, her attending therapy with you etc). If you can, you should go “no contact” or learn about “gray rock” communication techniques.
    It’s a certainty that this so-called one-off cheating fling is not a one-off. It’s just the one-off she copped to. This is her master stroke and is a form of trickle truthing by your STBX. She’s testing, seeing how much the “truth” of this “small transgression” (note: it’s a small transgression in her mind) will have consequences **for her**. She could not care less about the consequences **for you**. It’s ALL about her. She is seeing what it would take to cause you to pickme dance. This is lovely cake! Yummy. Dance harder DC. How far can she go now? She is testing how much of her bad behavior you will “take” and/or what you will do. You are already trauma bonded and deeply embedded in the cycle of narcissistic abuse. STBX wants excitement (kibbles), not your marriage. Officially? She needs to have the narrative look like she tried to “save” the marriage having unilaterally destroyed it. This is why she attends therapy with you and where her smear campaign will kick in with the wider network and in this you will be painted as the bad guy (which you are NOT) or “he has issues and I have issues but we are working on things together”.

    Cheating is not “issues”. Cheating / fling / affairs / secret relationships / Sexual abuse / infidelity = deal breakers.

    Then – particularly if she gets any negative feedback from outsiders – (“Oh but DoubleChump is cool, he’s a good guy”) she will hoover you back and make noises about changing. Don’t fall for it. She is not sorry. It is impression management by her and for her alone while she puts you through the wringer. On the contrary, from what you write, she is emboldened and imagining her future life without you while she milks you in the present life and pretends to want to reconcile. She doesn’t want the consequences of any choices she made until she is good and ready and certainly not until she has found herself a new affair-shaped soft landing pad. Just saying. You staying and effectively negotiating with her is confirming to her that she can cheat and you will tolerate it. She is confident now you are AOK with being her Plan B. But she is planning her exit. You need to plan yours. The longer you stay for the mindfuckery, the longer your recovery post separation will be. Sorry to say, but ask all of us how we know! Stay strong. You can do this. Save yourself.

    • Thank you, yes, lots of good advice here and as I said before, the most validation I’ve had since this nightmare started. Thank you for taking the time to respond.

      • Your cheater wife and therapist sat in silence because they were shocked. You were supposed to stay in chump mode and let them have their way with you. No doubt her cheating was all you fault. Poor muffin.

        A huge amount of therapists, so called marriage counselors are morons. You have less than a 50% chance of getting a decent one. This field is riddled with loons. They are not gods.Most often you just help put their kids through college. You can always tell if they blame you for the affair. That was a decision or choice your wife made. Totally independent of you of course.

        Like most chumps you are in a hopium addiction. This just isn’t my wife. It’s not like her. It’s so out of character, blah, blah, blah. Nope, it’s a part of who she is. Your wife isn’t in the fog. You are.

        Like most you’ll analyze everything looking to feed your hopium addiction.

        OMG SHE SMILED. Maybe she’s waking up and will be the woman of my dreams now!!!!!
        Nah, it was probably just a gas pain.

        • Marc878

          Reading your comment about hopium made me recall reading this:

          ‘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 (our 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 result in heartbreak. It can take months or years – depending on the intensity and duration of the partnership – to get back to a neutral feeling state.’ (Meh as CL labels it)

          From: ‘Never Enough the neuroscience and experience of addiction by Judith Grisel

          Hopium does exist and isn’t just a clever name CL coined.

          Your words resonate and are the truth of we go through. Visceral in every aspect.

  • Why did she tell you? She could have gone to her grave with this betrayal if she wanted your marriage to go on as it has been.
    My husband told me. I never would have known about it otherwise. He didn’t have to tell me. He told me, he claimed, to unburden his own feelings of guilt, but in reality the reason he told me was to hurt me for whatever pain he had from childhood. He told me to burden me with the betrayal because he was angry at me in general. Our marriage was a burden to him, even though he fought to stay with me after he decided the affair was no longer fun. He wanted the stability I gave him as an honest, hardworking spouse, so he decided he wanted to stay married to me. Your wife – even if only subconsciously- was trying to stir the pot by telling you. My husband secretly wanted out of the marriage and he secretly (I say secretly because he would never tell me his true feelings even though I asked him constantly) wanted to express pent up anger by burdening me with this cruel betrayal. You should get out of your marriage now while you’re still young enough to find a nice woman. We are out here.

    • Mia I would be more hurt if she didn’t tell me.

      Everyone’s comments and yours are valuable, and I do feel naive compared to all of you.

      It’s very difficult. Thank you for the response Mia, you seem like a nice woman. I hope you have some resolution to your situation, it sounds like you’re still married and working through some shit. Sorry about that.

  • I hope you’ve had STD testing. Hope your cheater didn’t give you a life long gift you may never be able to get rid of.

    Usually in these tru luv affairs caution is thrown to the wind and STD’s don’t exist in unicorn land.

    However, they do exist in the real world.

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