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I Keep Getting Messages He’s Having an Affair

Mindfuck blenderDear Chump Lady,

About 2 months ago I got an message on Facebook stating my husband of 28 years was cheating on me and to look at his messenger for proof. So I did and found messages between him and a female coworker. And I got livid.

Instead of sending the messages to myself for proof, I confronted him and he said it was nothing, of course.

But I read in the messages he wrote that he missed her and such (no sexual content that I saw), but the messages went on for over a year.

He explained it was her coffee he missed (bullshit excuse). I’m not stupid and I know there’s more to it than he lets on. He had an emotional affair at the least.

So, after a few days of trying figure things out, and him completely denying anything happened between them, I wanted to forgive him. We decided to stay together, but he didn’t want me to bring it up anymore, said I should trust him and believe him because I know him and shouldn’t go by what some anonymous person says.

But about a week later, I started getting phone and text messages from someone saying all these things about my husband.

Like he’s still seeing her everyday having coffee and leaving work to go have lunch together and doing things in his car during breaks.

I told him about it and he thinks I’m crazy and I’m blowing things out of proportion. Never once did he truly apologize. All he said was I have always been jealous and that he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong and that if I felt a different way about it, he was sorry.

So like I said, months later I’m still getting text messages. How they got my number I don’t know.

My problem is every night I have bad dreams about it and then during the day I get messages. And my husband doesn’t want me to talk about it because I get mean and make hateful comments to him (I’m supposed to worry about his feelings).

So my question is: what should I do? I love him, but I don’t feel the same. The distrust is driving me crazy. Every time his phone rings or dings my thoughts automatically go to he’s cheating. I need to get past this and I’m trying. People make mistakes, but how do you forgive if someone won’t let you forget?

Angel

Dear Angel,

The weirdest thing about your letter is your husband.

Imagine if some anonymous person texted your partner every day saying what an awful person you are. Wouldn’t you be alarmed? Upset? Want to get to the bottom of it? Be at pains to reassure your partner that you care? Create a united front against this harassment?

Yet, your husband doesn’t want to talk about it. Worse, he says YOU say hateful things, not the anonymous caller.

Which tells me, this caller is not so “anonymous” to him.

Also, you’re in a pick me dance with the other woman, and he’s okay with that.

You’re pretty scant on the details of who is calling you, but given the persistence of the messaging, and the detailed information, I’m going to assume it’s his affair partner (that “female co-worker.”) A concerned stranger would probably just drop the dime and leave it alone. But a Schmoopie? That bitch is angling to clear the field.

And I think you know this, at some level, because you keep confronting him and you keep staying. You’re engaging in the fight over Mr. Doesn’t Give a Shit.

Never once did he truly apologize. All he said was I have always been jealous and that he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong.

So the problem is YOU? Not the rando who keeps calling? Not his (admitted to) yearlong coffee dates?

To be jealous, there has to be someone, something to covet. He’s simultaneously telling you there’s no one AND that you are mistakenly competing with someone. Mindfuck much?

he didn’t want me to bring it up anymore, said I should trust him and believe him because I know him and shouldn’t go by what some anonymous person says.

Yeah, but do you know him? Apparently he’s some guy that hooks up in his car at lunch.

And did the guy you thought you knew — did you think he’d be so callous about your feelings? So defensive? So blasé about your continued harassment?

You’re married to THAT guy. And whatever you know or don’t know about his extracurricular activities, your husband sounds like an uncaring jerk.

he thinks I’m crazy and I’m blowing things out of proportion

Really? Some anonymous person is calling him a cheater and YOU’RE wrong to be upset? You’d think he’d be the livid one.

The distrust is driving me crazy.

Yes, gaslighting will do that to a person.

 I need to get past this and I’m trying.

Why should you get past this? It sounds like your husband is having an affair (now, present tense) and that the Other Woman is trying to blow up your life, letting you know about it. And he’s being an unrepentant jerk who is placing the blame for this situation on you and your imaginary concerns. Nothing to work with. I’d get “past it” with a trip to an attorney and locking down my finances.

People make mistakes

They do. An affair, however, is not a mistake. It’s a series of willful decisions, harmful decisions, made unilaterally without your consent. Decisions that affect your health (STDs), finances, and intact home life. He’s been okay gambling those things and putting your well-being last. That’s either okay with you, or it isn’t. Affairs are many things (narcissistic, absurd, self-destructive), but they aren’t oh-whoopsy-daisy! no-harm-no-foul. He didn’t spill wine on your sofa. He fucks his coworker at lunch and lies to you. (Now, present tense.)

but how do you forgive if someone won’t let you forget?

Forgiveness is entirely beside the point. You seem to be asking me how can you reconcile with your husband when his affair partner keeps reminding you that he’s having an affair. Is she lying? Is he lying? Should he be forgiven for lying?

Why would you want to stay in a relationship with a man you can’t trust? Who BLAMES you when HE is shady?

Forgiveness can’t happen when he keeps creating situations you need to forgive. Besides, you said he isn’t one bit sorry. Personally, I think forgiveness is meh, and that only happens at a great distance, after much time. And even then it’s optional. You just release this person from the power to hurt you. You give it over to a higher power (if you believe in that).

You’ve got a guy that keeps hurting you. With his indifference. I’d let the anonymous caller have him.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • And when you decide to finally leave this assclown and consult with a lawyer – I’m sure his company would love to know that he is crapping where he is eating with his howorker – but definitely consult an attorney first. Hugs to you – I’m sorry you have to be part of this club that no one asked to be in but you have a safe community here.

    • I have a feeling the only way this chump will “get it” is to see it. (So Hire a PI and you’ll have your answer.)

      But I wish that wasn’t needed because in your heart and head, you already know it’s over. They meet in the car for lunch…yeah, that’s normal…

      He’s engaged in an affair he won’t admit, so there’s nothing to “forgive/forget” because HEY< "NOTHING HAPPENED"…

      this ^^^ is so NOT original. Keep reading here, it's as if there's a script they all follow with minor variations.

      BTW I worked in a mostly male profession and I had male "friends". But we didn't go to lunch alone unless it was actually work related and even that was rare. I ALWAYS told my ex and if my ex had objected I think I'd just have stopped doing it. Because I'd always, ALWAYS place his security and emotional comfort above my desire for "male friends" or even a good working relationship in my job. That's what normal faithful spouses do if they care about their partner.

      Your husband is mistreating you and you are scouring the situation to find scraps of concern from him. But as CL said, you have nothing to work with here.

      I'm sorry but the sooner you wake up, the sooner you'll heal. Don't drag this out. Get your ducks in a row and get the hell out.

      Learn from our many mistakes. I wasted a DECADE (after 25 years of marriage) doing a subconscious and sometimes not so subconcious pick me dance.

      F- that.

      Never again.

      • “this ^^^ is so NOT original. Keep reading here, it’s as if there’s a script they all follow with minor variations.”

        Yep, and if the noose starts tightening, it will be ok, but we only kissed once. Then ok, we had sex but it only happened once. Or if he wants out of the marriage he will deny it, take her on a trip, then the day they get back tell her it is over, he is in love for the first time in his life. Or as you same small variable of the same shit.

        They buy time to get the money and other assets moved around while we are still desperately trying to figure out what the hell is happening.

        • I second the thought, sadly this is every day stuff. Intuition struck me out of the blue one day. Something just seemed off, I asked him directly if he was having an affair. Answer, No I have never been with anybody but you since we’ve been married and I never would. After much questioning and promising if he would just tell me the truth I would not do anything, I just needed to know the truth. He started with (his words ) I f*ked one woman once, ending with he had been leading a 15 year double life. I got a lawyer and now after 51 years of marriage we are divorced. I know I still don’t know the complete truth and never will. Nor do I any longer care. Just know you have to honor yourself more than I did and do not waste your life trying to verify. If you don’t feel like you can trust him, save yourself. Glad you are here and wishing you courage. A

          • 51 years?!?! oh my! I am so sorry! I can’t imagine! I don’t want to let go of 27 years married and 33 together… since I was 16. Sorry you went through all that

      • Speaking of scripts, I LOVED The Script by Elizabeth Landers. It’s written about the male cheater, but you can switch the pronouns to suit your situation. Holy crap! The similarities stunned me.

        The traitor I married did/said every single thing in it. Like reading here, seeing the commonalities is chilling, eerie, scary, mind-blowing, validating, and very sad.

        But at least someone wrote the playbook down.

        Cheating is common. It seems like loyalty is much more rare. Love without truth and loyalty is not
        love at all.

        I’d never be an OW. I do want to be an OWO….O Wise One. ????Cheaters are corrosive, cancerous soul suckers. I am learning to be loyal to myself and not award it to people who don’t warrant it.

        • I got a kick out of some of the reviews. Totally offended, I assume that was the guy(s) who cheated and thought they really played it well.

          Also, I was irritated that folks kept saying what about women, women cheat. The title plainly says this book is about cheating men and how they behave.

      • I go to lunch with male colleagues but I certainly don’t go out to their cars to “socialize”, nor do I take coffee breaks with them. It’s not the lunch, it’s the fact that husband and coworker seemingly spend all their free time at work seeking out one another’s company. That is definitely not normal. A business lunch is one thing; acting as if they are a couple themselves while at work is certainly problematic.

        • My FW had a work/school wife. They were a thing in everyone‘a eyes and when I went to the University people used to give me funny looks.

          MOW is now his wife.

          I guess my point is, that no one should have a work wife or husband. It’s a huge red flag that boundaries are being crossed.

          • OW gave Cheater a retirement (from the military) gift of loose tea with rosebuds in it. I told him that the day one of his stinky Marine Corp friends gave him that same gift, it would be appropriate. Your Cheater was ghastly

    • Responding to the comment about telling the husband’s company about the affair…

      28 years is a long-term marriage. Depending on the writer’s state that may mean lifetime or very long alimony. It is IMPERATIVE that any chump get full legal advice before contacting anyone. By interviewing several divorce lawyers, you can learn your rights and options. And, make sure they are divorce lawyers, not the person who fixes traffic tickets, closes on your house, does your uncle’s will and also does divorce work. No offense to general practitioners but you want someone who has seen cheating and all its’ adverse effects.

      Notifying an employer may seem like a way to even the score but that is short sighted. After 28 years of marriage, a chump may want to insure the best financial situation to start their new life.

      A chump may also have to sign a non-disparaging clause as part of a stipulation of settlement or divorce decree. Notifying an employer would allow the ex to modify spousal support.

      Education is your best friend during a contentious divorce. If anyone doesn’t know all the terms used above, your level of divorce education needs work. Buy Chump Lady’s book and a highlighter and go get yourself an education about what you are entitled to.

      Now, about those messages/texts/ calls….
      Really?
      It never occurred to you to ask a name?
      Or to meet?
      Or for any evidence they could provide?

      That could save you a ton of aggravation and money spent on forensic accountants or private investigators.

      In my opinion, not asking any questions is a form of spackle. You don’t have to face what you don’t know. I cannot think of another reason. OK, first message/test/call or two you’re caught off guard, But after that, I know I would have a notepad full of questions ready to go.

      We get it. No one here wants to find out about an affair. But, Angel, it is smacking g you in the face. Over and over again!

      Get your head out of the blender. Beg, borrow or find the money to interview lawyers (quietly). And spend your lunch breaks figuring out how to better your life.

      And don’t call the employer.

    • I didn’t tell the company even though I had hard evidence because at the end of the divorce I got what I wanted and more. He/she might lose their job and you don’t get the money you deserve in the end, just an FYI

    • Agree that Angel should get away from the FW first. My XH’s APs were the community college students he was tutoring. I could probably have gotten him fired, or at least investigated by his employer, but at that point I just wanted out of the marriage. I suspect he’ll find a way to sabotage his job all by himself anyway.

  • I used to get phone calls telling me about his affair, then he girlfriend would call and leave messages. She showed up drunk at our door one night to claim him. He said I was imagining things. She was crazy. I was crazy. Yep, crazy I stayed with him another 10 years until his next affair. My only regret is I stayed and we didn’t discuss it further, his rules. “Get over her or get over me!” I should have chosen the latter. Leave while you still have strength in your body to run!

    • You’re always ” nuts or sluts ” with these low life cheaters. Mine kept telling me ” there is no such thing as intuition” Yeah, there was but I didn’t face it when I should have. That won’t happen again. Chapter read, test taken, case closed. My now ex-husband can tell that to his loser whore now.

  • Angel,

    Before I read Tracy’s response, I thought it’s the other woman who keeps phoning and messaging you. Who else would be so attached to you leaving your husband ? I hope you saved them for your divorce attorney. Grounds and evidence to depose her during proceedings.

  • It always amazes me at the gall of these guys to throw this back on the victim, and they enjoy it.

  • Either some disordered person is out to get your husband for unknown reasons OR your husband is having an affair. In either case, your concern is justified. Affairs are much more common than weird spousal blackmailing, so logic suggests he is having an affair.

    The question is, what do you want? You could insist on meeting the woman–invite his co-worker to dinner. You could hire a private investigator or do your own sleuthing. You could ask your husband to join you in marital counseling. You could go straight to the divorce lawyer and start lining up your post-marriage life plans.

    Since all of us have dealt with affairs, soul mates, “just a friends,” and other third parties, we tend to lean toward the last option here at Chump Nation.

    But lying awake waiting to feel better, waiting for your husband to wake up to your worth, waiting for the issue to blow over–that is the worst choice. The place to start is with yourself–deciding if you want to try and save a marriage with a man who is hiding something or leave the marriage. Don’t doubt your instincts and experience–something is going on and it is not just nostalgia for the coffee a co-worker used to make your husband.

    You deserve truth, a good night’s sleep, and an empathetic ear when you voice concerns. Anything your husband is doing to devalue or dismiss these needs is evidence of poor character in and of itself.

    • “Disordered person out to get your husband for unknown reasons,” and husband isn’t even mildly curious about who is harrassing his wife on a daily basis?

      Not believable.

      And very unloving toward the wife.

      • I got an “anonymous” text on the second day of my 1 year anniversary trip. When I showed it to Fuckwit, he became so angry and nasty to me which intuitively felt like the wrong emotion for the moment. When that treatment made me even more overwhelmed, he threatened to divorce me and fly back home without me. I was so disoriented, full of cognitive dissonance and the fear of being divorced again, that I felt my only choice was to shove my feelings down and enjoy the next 5 days of our trip. But back at home my gut kept telling me his initial response wasn’t right if he was truly innocent. I searched his phone and found more than the dating he had been accused of – random hookups with neighbors on Adult Friend Finder and meetings with Craigslist prostitutes.

        This may be the only situation the writer is aware of because someone clued her in. It’s not necessarily the only time he’s cheated.

    • Loss of sleep trying to figure it out is so detrimental to your health especially when you already know in your gut something is off. It’s really a waste of precious time. Privately speaking with an attorney will give you the best nights sleep before the storm because you’ll know your options and can plan if you decide to divorce. You are currently the mental marriage police and I can’t imagine getting direct messages.
      There was a time I would spend all hours of my nights blocking my phone and sending nasty messages about him being a pos to his burner phone or twisting to figure his next move to stay a step ahead for evidence when I knew I was done. What a waste of time. It ended the same as if I’d done it privately when I first suspected. The difference may be that I’d have a bit more dignity by eliminating the pick me dance.

  • Same thing happened to me. When I told the lawyer, they said 95% of the time, it is the other woman. Who else would invest so much time and money to find out your phone number and spend numerous times texting? People not invested don’t care. They may send something 1 or 2 times, but then they drop it.

    I finally called her and said that she could have him and divorced him. She didn’t keep him 6 months. Guess he wasn’t as charming day in, day out, without me to triangulate with. Adulters are sick individuals. Don’t put yourself through the drama, leave and have peace in your life!

    • I told mine that too, that she could have him, but didn’t follow through. You are mighty!!!!

    • I like the idea of texting her back to tell her she can have him. But I would first get my ducks in a row by 1. Stalking him privately at lunch (I’m assuming you know where he works, shouldn’t be that hard) and getting solid irrefutable evidence of whatever it is they’re doing and 2. Getting everything to a top notch divorce lawyer – including financials. I would NOT confront him until all that is squared away – the sooner the better. If you have the resources, a private investigator could do part 1 for you. I hired one, and I’m glad I did – it gave me solid proof to get me past all his lies that I desperately wanted to believe. You won’t have to question yourself or your decision if you know the truth, rather than all this he-says she-says crap. Then – as Beawolf suggested, simply reply to the text that she can have him. End the pick-me dance right there, and don’t give her a chance to get him to hide assets or backpedal. Good luck to you.

  • Time to consult a lawyer. The texts to me started when hubby & I were on a his 60th birthday trip to San Diego. Texts were vague. “ you wouldn’t be where you are if you knew the truth, when will you stop being so gullible? He said he wasn’t cheating-it was a disgruntled employee. Then we returned home, it was phone calls to landline. He said he sat all employees down & said detective had been hired we’d press charges. Calls stopped.
    In the meantime, I started moving ????. Changed beneficiaries on inherited IRA. Still wanted to believe him. Howorker stalked us to airport for my 60th birthday. Told me he was cheating with her & another. He says just her. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ???? TO ME.

    Still not divorced. He’s uncooperative in discovery. She’s 30 now, he’s 63.

    • “She’s 30 now, he’s 63.” I swear when I read these age difference I still scratch my head.

      Now I am old (71) and I get that even in my youth sometimes a young woman would be with a really old guy, but it usually wasn’t in everyday life. It was rich old actors (think George Burns). Of course it was money, but now it seems these young women just go for the average guy. Not saying your guy is average, I am only thinking maybe he is not a rich famous millionaire.

      Money aside there is no way a thirty years old has anything in common with a sixty year old. I can see it from the old guys view, but not the young woman’s. My now H is nice looking, sweet and he isn’t poor; but I have a 25 year old granddaughter and well just no. A sixty year old can not keep up with a 25 or 30 year old woman in any area. Rare unicorn, maybe; but not without money to fill in the gaps.

      • I laugh about the time I went for a new watch battery. I was on a date with a 15 year older man. The jeweler didn’t charge me. That had never happened. Man and I visited some photo galleries. He joked about the owners being solicitous. We both knew why-man with younger woman equals potential customer in their minds????

        • That’s funny.

          My now H is ten years older than me, we used to get a lot of looks back in the day. Now not so much, we have evened out. Last time he was in the hospital, the doc did say “you married a young one didn’t you” He just shook his head.

        • True, but also I think the economy has changed and the youngins are after money, and since there aren’t enough really rich guys around, well a steady paycheck is better than nothing. Or they drain the old goat, then dump him. I have to admit, I like it when I see that happen.

          In fact I think a meal ticket is usually what most of these women whores are after. Not all but most. They will take what they can get, for as long as they can get it. If it ends in marriage fine, if not well they still got a lot of goods to show for their slutty behavior.

          • It’s a cultural thing, and I don’t think it’s any worse than it used to be. If anything younger women are starting to wake up to the double standards

            • Oh I absolutely think it is worse. But, in the end it doesn’t change the horrible things that they do.

  • My ex did the exact same crap; lunch dates, coffee breaks and fooling around in the car, and he did it for years. This is unquestionably an affair. His AP s harassing you because she wants you to dump him so she can have the miserably selfish loser. So let her “win” him. She’ll eventually regret it and so will he. To win a guy like him is really to lose.

    You cannot forgive somebody who isn’t sorry and who continues to betray you and gaslight you about it. It ‘s straight up abuse, Angel. He won’t stop. He doesn’t care that it hurts you. I’m so sorry, but you need to face the reality that you don’t have a marriage.

    My ex did stop , did apologize, and it didn’t make any difference. Once they go there, it’s over. You don’t seem to be ready to accept that. Perhaps a therapist can help you to do that. I know it’s incredibly hard, but you have to break this unhealthy attachment to your abuser. All there is going to be with him is more humiliation, lies, manipulation, and callousness. The pain only ends if you leave. You have the courage to do that in you. You just need to be willing to use it.

    • Fully agree.

      My ex wife back in 2010 when I was home on leave from the military got a text on her phone saying “come get your baby or I’m going to expose about your lover” and of course my ex wife gaslit me and said it was for her friend. Right so your friends boyfriend sends that particular message to you whilst your friend just happens to be baby sitting our child. Stupid old me stayed as I could not find hands on evidence of her cheating.

      Fast forward to last year and she was caught on tinder with a profile stating she had a boyfriend who wants to watch her sleep with other men. Of course she had an excuse for that also and stated it was cat fishing. I said well given your job and the fact it shows the profile within half mile of our home we should phone the police to have it looked into. That was met with more gas lighting about now she does not care and she has more important things to worry about like our marriage falling apart. Gaslighting abuse non stop. Either way, at that stage I had already filed for divorce and she had no idea. Thank god for freedom.

      • I very rarely comment but I read here daily and just wanted to show my support, Chumpy, and also tell you that it does get better.

        I’m a chump myself but I also have a sister like your ex wife and trust me, she did not win. My sister gets dopamine rushes but there’s no inner peace. It’s an ugly existence.

  • Respond to the person that you just can’t believe what they are saying without photographic proof or emails from him saying he is actually having sex with another person. You won’t accept anything less. lol In my state, that is proof of adultery and weighs toward getting a greater share in the divorce.

    If you can’t bring yourself to respond and ask for that, hire a PI to get the photos you need and testify that he/she saw FW and schmoopie going into a hotel room or whatever. If FW wants to keep playing this game, he had made it easy for you to get evidence and nail him. Get your ducks in a row and get what you need to get out. Let schmoopie have the sparkly turd.

    • I have a feeling that Angel wouldn’t believe a PI taking a picture of her husband walking into a hotel room with another woman. She would believe her husband if he told her that he was just helping his friend check out a hotel room that she was considering renting for her cousin coming to visit. And if Angel actually saw her husband with his dick still wet from the twat, she would believe him when he said, “But she doesn’t mean anything to me!”

      Angel — your husband is screwing another woman. The other woman is sending you texts to let you know because she wants you to divorce your husband because your husband is too big of a fucking coward to divorce you. He doesn’t give a shit about you. He likes to play games with you to see how much you believe all of his the sorry excuses. He secretly (and maybe not so secretly) laughs at you behind your back. And then he goes back to the other woman and tells her that he wants a divorce, but he doesn’t want to hurt you, and that you have some kind of hold on him. Which is the reason the other woman keeps sending you texts because she’s stupid enough to believe your husband. Therefore, she believes that you, Angel, must be the one to divorce (because he certainly won’t.) If you divorce him, in her mind you have released him from ‘the hold’ that you have on him, and then she and him can get married and live ‘happily ever after’. You’re the ‘witch’ in her eyes. That’s what he has told her, that you’re the wicked witch. In her mind she is rescuing him from ‘the witch’, because I assure you, that’s exactly what he has been telling her. He has been telling her that if he wasn’t married to you, he would marry her. This certainly is a triangle and you’re certainly playing the game. Stop playing the game. The proof, if you actually see it, is to see them right in the middle of fucking. And that will kill you. And it’s not worth it. Get rid of the fucking loser and start respecting yourself.

      • Haha, I forgot till I saw this that I found out during my marriage police snooping phase that my cheater-ex and his schmoopie literally called me the wicked witch.

  • Angel – You are in that surreal space where you understand (in your gut) what is at risk.

    Step back just a bit and evaluate whether your husband is protecting the life you have together or the life he wants with her. Pay attention to his actions, as well as his words.

    And, while you are in that space, quietly get your ducks in a row. See prior CL articles. You have a brief window to retain some control over your future.

    Hugs.

    • I’m willing to bet that the Cheater stopped being kind to Angel a long time ag0–and not just about this cheating issue.

      People don’t lie to, cheat on, and gaslight people that they love, cherish, respect and protect. The devaluation has to happen before an affair can start.

      • Yep I am a firm believer that by the time we pick up on something, the devaluation has been completed, and they are just biding their time until they are ready to leave.

        Most of them will secure their assets to any degree they can before the let the spouse know. They are evil, not stupid.

        For the most part anyway.

        • Or they stay but chip away at their spouse’s self-respect and happiness while they cheat.

          • That’s what my FW father did and then he was surprised when my mother had him served with papers. Like, “How did that happen? We had a good thing going! I got to fuck around as much as I want and with whomever I want while mom took all my shit! She let me insult her, rage at her, boss her around, disrespect and dishonor her all I wanted! And she took care of the house, my doctors’ appointments and prescriptions, chauferred me around everywhere, listened to my boring stories over and over, listened to me complain about every little thing…. I mean, how could she be unhappy?”

            These fuckwits are stupid assholes. Fucking fuckers who deserve to have their genitals fall off.

      • “People don’t lie to, cheat on, and gaslight people that they love, cherish, respect and protect.”

        True. But I don’t believe these fuckers ever loved, cherished, respected or protected in the first place. They *pretended*to, but it was never real.

        • You are right, I agree!

          I feel like my FW father treated us with such disrespect and derision, yet he’d tell us he loved us all. But then he’d abuse us verbally or emotionally or mentally and tell us he loved us all. But then he’d cheat on mom with a friend and throw it in all our faces by having the woman over for dinner…and tell us he loved us all.

          He essentially treated us like he hated us but told us he loved us.

          It creates serious mindfuckery for chumps and children of chumps.

      • “People don’t lie to, cheat on, and gaslight people that they love, cherish, respect and protect.”

        True. But I don’t believe they ever loved, cherished, respected or protected in the first place. It was all false, a mask.

    • Yes. If you want control, this is the only way to have it. Channel your survival instincts into something that will help you, not hurt you. You can do a lot right now. You have a lot of power, just don’t expect your husband to acknowledge that or treat you like an equal – or even a person he loves and respects.

      CL makes many excellent points today, and the ones about how CRAZY it is that he’s blaming and being cruel to you really hit home for me. Your husband is treating you like garbage. Search ‘DARVO’ and think about reciprocity and what you or any remotely decent, intelligent adult would do in this situation. I mean, it’s obvious that he’s hiding things, and even more obvious that he’s a cruel, entitled FW. I am so sorry you are in the middle of all of this right now. Keep your convictions and know you’re right… and that it’s pointless to try to convince the cheater of that (read up on word salad and the cheater channels). It won’t change a thing. And don’t let him make you feel mean, guilty, sorry for him, etc. You sound really smart and strong. We will validate you here if you need it, but he never will because he’s disordered and clueless.

  • “I miss you” + Messenger messages going back over a year + anonymous texts and phone calls + every single thing he has said and done in response which is not unique AT ALL as you will learn here =
    affair affair affair affair affair sex lying gaslighting deception betrayal fraud = abuse abuse abuse abuse abuse = no trust no safety ever again as long as you both shall live.

    I am very sorry and I think it’s safe to say every one of us was once where you are now.

    I quickly came to believe that there is no repairing this one. It’s too intentional a very targeted deep deep deep deep wound.
    Cheating is cruel, and cruel is as cruel does. You can’t claim to be capable of
    love if you are capable of being cruel to those you swore loyalty to.

    I now consider my marriage totaled. He essentially drove our family into the car crusher at the and jumped out before pushing the button.

    Nothing to work with.

    Game over.

    • VH: This is EXACTLY what I needed to hear when my ex’s cheating first came to light. This was exactly how things unfolded (not unique, as you write), and I bought it because I didn’t know any better and was desperate.

      Without the crucial information and support of CL/CN, I retreated into myself to “protect” myself, my ex and our relationship, and I relied on bad advice from a therapist, Esther Perel and the RIC. I was a total chump.

  • This happened to me. Except it was not my cousin contacting me. She had her daughter contact me. Her daughter pretended she was concernered for me. She told me that my ex filed for divorce. That I would be receiving the papers soon. I was in such a fog that I confronted my ex. He denied everything. Even after I received the divorce papers he still denied that my cousin knew. And that he was seeing her. He stopped the divorce.
    Get your ducks is a row. Do not confront him anymore. Keep those texts and consult a lawyer. Maybe report the texts to the police. It could be the OW or possibly your husband. Who knows he may be getting off on the whole situation.
    Looking back I can now see that my cousin put her daughter up to contacting me. If her daughter actually cared she would have contacted me when the affair started. They were seeing each other for four years. Lawyer up. Get checked for STDs and check your credit report. He has shown you who he is now believe him.

  • Again, taking issue with blatant disrespect and being jealous are two different things and should not be confused. Maybe you should clarify to your cheating pig of a husband.

    As most on CL will tell you…dump your cheater. Line up your ducks, retain an attorney and in the mean time pretend that everything is fine. It will irk the OW that she is not getting the response she is counting on and give you a chance to blindside cheater. Check your finances. Like today.

    • OK. Now time for my jealousy rant.

      Jealousy is an emotion, a feeling state, that arises when we feel an existential threat to a relationship we value. Now, for some people, the threat can be any interaction their partner has with someone else and that emotions fuels their drive to control the partner. That’s pathological jealousy, usually rooted in lack of confidence, insecurity, and (perhaps) having a broken picker so the partner is someone with porous boundaries that feed the cycle. This sort of “jealousy” is really about dysfunctional relationship and lack of self-regard and self-efficacy.

      Real jealousy is a potent early warning system that tells you when you are in danger. We have emotions for a reason. We love and bond with our offspring and others who need us. We grieve, which helps us understand the fragility of life and teach us gratitude. We feel fear if a bear chases us. We get jealous when we have emotional and other investments in a person and that person turns what they promised us over to someone else, either secretly or openly. Jealousy warns you that you cannot trust the person you are invested with. Trust that emotion. And if someone tells you that you are “jealous” and means that as an attack, then the response must be: “Jealousy is the proper response to hearing my spouse is cheating on me.”

      I mean, seriously. What other emotion would be appropriate? Jealousy, grief, anger. Those are the three we feel if we don’t take a boat down the River Denial.

      • When a cheater is calling their spouse/chump “jealous” because the chump called them out on their cheating or inappropriate behavior I would imagine the cheater is referring to pathological jealousy meaning the chump is crazy, out of control and paranoid. It’s an attempt to shut down the chump. The other jealousy you refer to I would consider “gut” instinct that something is very wrong. However, you are correct, jealousy can consist of many emotions.

        • I also recall my cheater slapping the word ‘jealous’ on me when it was completely inappropriate and unrelated. It was just a way to shame, distract and blame shift. It’s a clue to me now about times he was cheating that I never uncovered. I look back and think, “Huh. Even then?” And then I feel relieved that I don’t need or even want to know the details.

      • *Brilliant* post, LAJ, thank you.

        “We get jealous when we have emotional and other investments in a person and that person turns what they promised us over to someone else, either secretly or openly. Jealousy warns you that you cannot trust the person you are invested with. Trust that emotion”

        Absolutely spot on. I still remember all too well fucktard’s response to my anger at his showering the rat faced whore with inappropriate attention and gifts, ” we’re just friends! You’re just jealous because I have a female friend!”.

        That still fills me with fury, even 4 years out from DDay, 2 years divorced. God, I was so stupid. ????????

      • Did anyone else get groomed to look the other way with a lot of “I wouldn’t care if you were out with someone else; I’m not the jealous type,” to try to discourage you from trusting your own instincts?

        I got the message that my jealousy over women he mentioned/oops forgot to mention/got numbers from/drove places was pathological. He had shitty boundaries. I stayed for months while my gut was screaming. I feel like my connection to my own instincts has taken a lot of damage.

        Whenever we talked about “my need for reassurance” he would get this very dead look in his eye and a mean tone in his voice.

      • “We get jealous when we have emotional and other investments in a person and that person turns what they promised us over to someone else, either secretly or openly. Jealousy warns you that you cannot trust the person you are invested with. Trust that emotion.”

        Yes, very true. We are conditioned to feel shame about jealousy, but you are right. It is an emotion that is natural and serves a purpose, otherwise we would not have it.

        With regard to my FW father, I do feel jealous of the women he’s cheated on the family with because he has taken resources that are meant for the family and doled them out in exchange for sex. Obviously I am not jealous of the sex part but the relationship and resources part. He repeatedly abandoned and neglected his family. But he had time for emotional affairs. He would be on the computer or phone, communicating with APs while his family was right in front of him. He’d invite APs (and their husbands!) over for dinner while on vacation. He’d travel to be with APs. He did not give his family the attention he gave the APs. And on top of that, he gave them money and gifts.

        Granted, he is a fucked-up individual who is an energy vampire who must have kibbles at all times, even if he has to pay for them. I mean, the man is seriously fucked up. He’s got serious issues going on.

        But still. All I saw was that people outside of the family thought he was super-great-awesome-charming-smart-funny man and all we got was the addict who raged at us when he didn’t get his way.

        These assholes really fuck up so many people. So many.

  • Of course he’s having an affair, all the typical behaviour is here. Now he’s running you around and confusing you so you’ll doubt where you stand and what to do next (that’s the real affair fog – they create the fog (smoke) so you don’t see your own situation).

    If possible:
    – get a private detective and 1000% evidence (you saw emails and let me tell you – I’ve got several very, very good male friends but I NEVER write such emails to them, even to those who’re single. That’s because I’m not having affairs with my male friends.)
    – divorce him. You can still love him but divorce him.
    – further to what CL wrote about affair not being a single mistake but a SERIES of hurtful, willful decisions – it takes a seriously disordered person to be able to lie so long, so consistently and so without remorse. You can’t work with seriously disordered.

    • “(that’s the real affair fog – they create the fog (smoke) so you don’t see your own situation).”

      Yes, that affair fog shit is an excuse for the cheater, they create a fog and it is for us, not them. They see clearly what they are doing.

    • “– divorce him. You can still love him but divorce him.”

      This. ^^^^^

      At the very least, you’ll get your self-respect back.

    • Yes, get it documented if needed. I live in a state where adultery is still a crime. You can file for-cause divorce for it here, but it has to be proven in court. Most states are just no-fault for divorce, so it’s usually not worth pursuing proof of adultery if that is the case unless you want to use that as leverage in negotiations.

      My attorney encouraged me to get a P.I. in case we needed the leverage or proof, but I didn’t want to spend my hard-earned money on that. I just wanted it over-and-done, and we did indeed settle out of court after some months. Yes, there were signs and hints. I just wanted out.

      I got to the point that I couldn’t trust him, and not just on the fidelity or not issue. Had to be.

  • Multiple phone calls and text messages = your husband is having an affair.

    Likeliest person to be contacting you is the OW.

    Let her have him AFTER you have consulted an attorney, seen your primary care physician for STI testing (including a blood test for HIV and syphilis), made copies of all your tax returns for the past few years and all bank statements, credit card statements and info on any joint loans and locked down your finances.

    Don’t do anything financially until AFTER you have made all those copies and hired an attorney.

    Best of luck. Run fast, run far.

    • I agree except for the doing “anything” financially. It is dependent on the set up. I immediately changed my huge term life insurance to my grown son, as I was legally allowed to do. He had no control over that. I didn’t change my retirement beneficiary as he would need to sigh off on that. At that time I didn’t have much retirement anyway.

      There was no way I was going to take a chance that he and his whore would get 500 thousand dollars life insurance upon my demise.

      Obviously if he is co owner of the policy that may be different, either way she must act in haste on certain items. I also immediately withdrew all my money from my account that my check went in to and had a three year history run on our main account which my name was on. I also called our credit card co had a three years history sent to me, and cancelled the card.

      Funny thing is he never said a word, and once I got the history, I knew he had used the card to buy shit for whore and her kids.

      • “It is dependent on the set up. I immediately changed my huge term life insurance to my grown son, as I was legally allowed to do. He had no control over that. I didn’t change my retirement beneficiary as he would need to sigh off on that. At that time I didn’t have much retirement anyway.

        Obviously if he is co owner of the policy that may be different, either way she must act in haste on certain items. ”

        All good points and Happy Chump should check on all of it. Particularly if HE is paying the life insurance policy on HER, then he owns it and is permitted to know who is the beneficiary (and I bet he would stop paying on it out of spite).

        • Yep, it is a sticky situation, but I would do all I could immediately to secure my finances. At the same time get to a lawyer and get a legal separation or agreement in place. Most states have some form of legal separation, they just call the different things.

          Fraud is fraud in any state.

  • Ugh the gaslighting. “Don’t believe what you see”, “you have low self esteem”, “you’re the jealous type” , “you’re crazy” straight out of the narc Handbook. How many people in Chump nation have had this script ??!!!(EVERYONE!)

  • Ugh the gaslighting. “Don’t believe what you see”, “you have low self esteem”, “you’re the jealous type” , “you’re crazy” straight out of the narc Handbook. How many people in Chump nation have had this script ??!!!(EVERYONE!)

  • Not sure you want to know the truth or else you would be watching his car on his lunch hour. I would have so many pictures and videos ready for my attorney. Maybe even a voice activated recorder left under his seat.
    Maybe you can hire someone to deliver fresh hot coffee to the car for them just to mess with him.
    Sorry he is making you doubt yourself, you need to get the truth for yourself and be done.

    • Maybe other chumps have a perspective but I kinda think stalking/confrontation would be unwise.

      • I don’t think trying to get some evidence for a crime being committed against you and your well being is stalking.

        But, once she/he has seen solid evidence then yes I guess it could turn to stalking. Also depending on the state adultery is actionable against the perp. So it is an individual situation.

        I didn’t do any trailing or gathering evidence, but it was a different era, and there was no online presence. I did however gather all my financial stuff and act on what I could immediately.

        In my state adultery was not actionable, but financial fraud was, and I proved financial fraud. Made a huge difference in recouping funds.

        But yeah stalking just for stalking sake, not a good idea and likely will just cause her more pain.

      • I would act like nothing is wrong. Take a step back and observe him. Do what the others say – tighten up your finances and see a few very good divorce attorneys.

        Let him breathe and carry on “as usual”. These guys tend to be a little smug about their actions and usually once you know, you can start to see it. Little hints dropped, small lies, hours locked texting in the bathroom.

        Play stupid for a while. Not only with OW dance harder, you might get the evidence you need by doing nothing”.

        Take this time to do all that you need to do. Once the cheater feels threatened by you ( that’s why it’s safer to make him think you are naive), they get nasty.

        Please take your head out of the sand. This isn’t going to fix itself!

        • My god. It’s terrifying, the things we have to plan out and worry about. Cheaters ARE criminals. And dangerous ones! Just read through all of our impassioned advice and warnings today. If that doesn’t scream we chumps are dealing with disordered individuals, I don’t know what does. Forget about the cheating!

  • Angel honey, I am so sorry. Your story resonated with me. 21 year marriage, 27 year relationship with “a great guy”. When D-Day came, my denial and disbelief was massive. How could this person, this man I deeply loved and invested in do this? Nope, not my guy. Then came the gaslighting, blame-shifting, sweeping it under the rug, guilt (why don’t you trust me!!!) idolizing/devaluing… I was losing myself. Paranoid, suspicious, not eating, not sleeping. Found it 3 more times. I became a shell of a human being. My doctor told me that I didn’t have a choice but to end my marriage unless I wanted to spend the rest of my life knowing but ignoring who he is and what he’s doing. I became a shell of a human being. When I finally told him that I wanted a divorce and kicked him out. Then the mask came off. I will never forget the sneer. You are in this awful stage of not wanting to see what’s there. I absolutely understand. It wasn’t until I found them in a motel together (D-day #3) that it truly became real. Hire a private investigator to validate what you already know. I’m so sorry. I’m 3 years out. Not going to lie, The road leaving toxic town is muddy, bumpy, full of potholes and smells bad. BUT arriving at Happy Town has been amazing. Good luck to you. Hugs from afar.

  • Some of these other women ought not to be given a free pass. They are predators.

    I was put in the position of being dominated by the other woman with no way of escaping during two years of school as a child. She was the teacher.
    My parents dominated by the couple from hell: the other woman and her partner—the pimp extraordinaire, out to get resources.
    Thing is my parents were under a pattern of domination by their own family. So in the couple from hell they had their transposed life encounter with their authority figures: no way they could protect themselves.

    In some instances people have such massive issues, that they can easily be taken advantage of. When predators come along, these individuals are done. My parents were the couple onto whom everyone could dump and project their shame. They had no way of protecting themselves because they were so shame-based that they had no core self. So bad it was (they had been abused) that they were easily dominated and controlled. Bullied. My sibling and I as the children of the dominated, became dominated as well because there was no one there to protect us.
    My father was dominated, controlled and humiliated. He became the slave. He lost everything.

    I am now free from feeling shame myself about this. Shame on those who perpetrated the abuse. On the predators.
    They killed my father, who died rather early, a humiliated man, who spent twenty years walking around as though he had a noose around his neck. A drawn-out suicide that started when there was a child with the OW, and the couple from hell profited financially like there was no tomorrow.
    No way for us to get out. Any avenue towards independence destroyed. Took me some time to understand that those people were subtly instigating us to prostitution by way of desperation. Because it is something that gave them the utmost pleasure and superiority. Trying to make you fall into the gutter. My sibling tried to commit suicide.

    • Unless the OW is completely innocent because she doesn’t know the guy is married, she NEVER deserves a free pass.
      Those who know, work to poach them (in covert ways) if they think he’s a good deal- or a better deal than their own husbands.
      They are highly manipulative and make the fuckwit think it was all his idea.
      They know exactly what they are doing….but the ‘ we didn’t mean for this to happen, we were just friends’ narrative is huge.
      If they don’t think he’s a great deal, they just have ‘fun’ at the expense of his wife and family.
      It’s justified by using the chemistry/connection was so strong reasoning.

      The show ‘catastrophe’ is funny and has a good take on a type of woman who throws herself at married men.

      • They know exactly what they are doing, and they usually have to cycle through several married men to get the idiot stupid/immoral enough to go along with it.

        • Lol! This resonates with me.

          First off, CheaterX was fully responsible for his decision to cheat. In this whole scenario, he was in the driver’s seat. Schmoopie wasn’t coercing him or forcing him into sex.

          Second, Schmoopie had a strong track record of picking married men. I remember the day that CheaterX told me that Schmoopie had been indignant when one of the plant managers had told her that he was in an open marriage. What I said was that this just shows that Plant Manager was okay with cheating, but didn’t want a long-term relationship. This was during the EA, I believe, but prior to the PA, and definitely before I knew anything was going on. However, I didn’t realize at the time that Schmoopie was really saying that she’d tried to hit on Plant Manager, who knew she was out for money, and he let her know that sure, he was okay with a quick fling but nothing else.

          CheaterX was a mid-level manager and Schmoopie was on his staff. She had to sleep through a lot of upper management before she found someone stupid enough to buy what she was selling.

          • Very much like my situation.

            I actually think he started screwing with her while she still worked at the down town shelter. Then he likely got her hired as the local dog catcher, and she then became his direct report. So I have to give her credit she spent years riding that nasty merry go round in the dark, to finally get the brass ring.

            They had to wait until he got his promotion to Captain and his cozy office right next to the mayor whose ass he had his head firmly planted in. Oh it was an amaing scheme, they would walk off into the sunshine, she would step seamlessly into my life; and everyone would just forget I ever existed and be so happy for him and his new found happiness.

            Then finally it happened, he had with a lot of help and volunteer work from me reached his pinnacle. They could now start the dumping Susie part of the scheme. And they pulled it off quite smoothly, only took a year before I was temporarily destroyed and laying in a heap.

            Hand in hand they started their exciting new journey. Then in a couple months, he was busted, lost his cozy office, got put back out on street patrol, and became the laughing stock of the PD. But, they still had their love. We were still only legally separated, so she couldn’t yet get the wedding ring, though she did have the engagement ring.

            My son just told me a few months ago that his dad was really pissed at the mayor when it all went down, because he thought they were friends and friends don’t betray friends like the mayor did to him. I am sure his dad said all that with a straight face too. How dare the mayor break his word.

            These fuckers never see themselves.

      • One of my ex husbands other women actually said at a party “Two parents with positive blood types cannot have a child with a negative blood type!” And did this dramatic gasp. I literally laughed at her, she works in a coffee shop, she’s clearly not a scientist. I said 30 seconds on Google would tell her she’s wrong.

        But my ex now denies the adult son that looks just like him, walks just like him, talks just like him. He’s had almost nothing to do with him since the divorce and called him a “weird thing upstairs” when he said how disappointed he was not just with me but with our family.

        A “friend” asked how our son could have a negative blood type and I just sighed and said well my mom has a negative blood type and had to do the rh factor shots during her pregnancy with my sister so her body wouldn’t kill the fetus so I’m not really shocked I have a child with a negative blood type. Plus this has been known for years and has never been a secret from my ex. He had a 1 in 8 chance of having this blood type. We did a science project on it when he was in grade school.

        I finally told my son what was said and his response was “Did she even go to high school? How is she that ignorant and why wouldn’t she look it up?”

        Because it’s not ignorance nor stupidity, it is malice. Not enough to get rid of me, she has to get rid of his child too. And she succeeded.

        • and your ex has conveniently played into her sick game…they are justifying his leaving you and your family. Beyond disgusting. I hope your son doesn’t spit on him even if he’s on fire.

      • “Those who know, work to poach them (in covert ways)”

        I’m sorry but I don’t think men can be “poached”. I believe men are human beings with agency just like women. It doesn’t matter if the OW danced naked in front of him, the responsibility is still on him to say no. Sadly society still excuses men’s bad behavior while blaming women.

        “They are highly manipulative and make the fuckwit think it was all his idea.”

        Sure, some OW are manipulative. In my case I think the OW was more manipulee than manipulator. I don’t know the OW from Adam but I do know that my XH is a highly manipulative man. I still shake my head at the number of times he managed to fool ME and I like to think that I am smarter than someone who had to pay her tutor/lover to take her online exams for her. At 20 I doubt the OW has the life experience necessary to manipulate a man 10 years her senior.

        My ex husband was taught how to charm women from a very early age because his parents knew the only way he would ever make something of himself was to marry a woman with a better work ethic, just as I was groomed to be a chump by my FOO.

        • https://www.drkarenruskin.com/steal-another-womans-man-you-are-a-mate-poacher/

          A lot has been written and studied about mate poachers, it’s a common thing. It does not by any means absolve the fuckwit. We have free will. Both men and women go on poaching missions.
          You can believe that fuckwits have agency (I do) and believe that there are people who purposely manipulate the hell out of the fuckwit to get what they want. They lure their target away. One type is those who use a lot of strategies over a long period of time, until they are in their targets head and their spouse is not.
          Even if your partner was poached, they still allowed it to happen.

          • Yep, poachers is just a word to describe the intent of some women who go after married men for the purpose of breaking up the married persons relationship so that they can claim the cheater as their own. Yes the man is at fault for what he does wrong, but so is the woman.

            They poach for many different reasons, some want a meal ticket, some just want a wedding ring but their intent is to poach. That is all the term mate poachers means.

            All mate poachers are whores, but not all whores are mate poachers. If a woman just like to screw married men for the thrill of screwing someone else’s husband they are not mate poachers. Mate poachers know from the onset what they are after.

            If they are sneaking around and lying and stealing from the spouse they are both at fault, they know they are wrong.

            I get that men poach too, but honestly I don’t think as many men do it as women. Most men are just after sex and have no intentions of marrying the married whore. Some exceptions of course. For the sake of this conversation I am just talking about woman poachers.

            • ‘All mate poachers are whores, but not all whores are mate poachers.’ Susie, I love how you’re so to the point . ????????

          • I still don’t like how male mate poachers are ignored, as though this is something only women do. It smacks of the old sexist myths that men just can’t help themselves when it comes to sex but women are naturally manipulative and always know exactly what they’re doing in a relationship. It’s also reminiscent of many cheaters’ excuses that they just couldn’t resist the magic dick/pussy. It brings back a lot of bad memories about how *I* was made out to be the bad guy and the Dollar Whore a helpless imbecile who was “forced” to marry me.

            I’m not absolving the OW of anything. The mere fact that she paid the Dollar Whore to take her exams for her shows her to be stupid, lazy, and dishonest even if she didn’t realize she was the OW. In other words a perfect match for the Dollar Whore. It’s just that I’m not angry with her like I am with him. If I feel anything at all for her it’s pity that she “won” a hot mess of a manchild and contempt that she reduced herself to that. But for the most part she is a non-entity to me. Possibly this is easy for me to say because I never met her, let alone welcomed her into my home and circle of friends the way many chumps did. But I cannot feel the same anger towards her as I do towards the man who used me for my wallet, deprived me of sex, publicly humiliated me, and killed my self-image softly with a thousand tiny criticisms.

            • Mate poachers and fuckwits are not gender specific terms. I was just talking about the OW in my case, sometimes I refer to her as a Hpoacher.
              I’ve read studies claiming there are more male mate poachers. Regardless, they’re all screwed up fuckwits who go after screwed up fuckwits.
              Imagine working so hard to get something proven to be defective!

              – I remember seeing this in high school, there were some girls who just really put it out there ( the big charm, subtle flirting etc ….) so they could know that they could get somebody else’s boyfriend… They didn’t really want him they just wanted that feedback.

      • Zip- this was my situation. MOW had never worked a day in her life. She was 3 kids deep and married. Decided to take some University classes to work on her Master’s Degree and Boom!!!
        There’s my husband.

        He’s charming. He’s top of his class. He has career potential. A nice house and nice things. She wanted it all. It was a very calculated move to go after him.

        Jokes on her. She got him. She also got his porn habit. Hookers. His inability to save money. His impulsively, his temper, his lies.

        Sometimes these predatory OP get what they deserve!!!

        • Lucky, we are all hoping all fuckwits and their partners get what they deserve. I’ve read the success rate is soooo low for these unions….especially after the 1st 5 yrs.
          I just know in my case, my fuckwit needed the light to shine on him. He needed a lot of validation and he did a lot for everybody else ( so he seemed wonderful to us ). But I see now it was so he could get a lot of compliments and superstar status.
          OW came along and undoubtably gave him kibbles galore because she thought he was a better deal than her husband. I’m sure she was very skilled at this and it all started off as a workplace friendship where she leaned on him.

          My fuckwit I guess wasn’t bright enough to look at the source of the kibble factory.
          She played it right to the end, he left me and THEN she wasn’t sure if she could destroy her family for him ( even though they had a plan )so he became desperate and had to work really hard to get her to leave her husband.
          So she finally did (her plan all along I’m sure ) which made him feel like a superstar again.
          He bought into all of this.

      • My husband’s AP was a serial poacher of married men who somehow finagled money out of them. She began with her employer in the office across the hall from our office. His wife told me the woman got a minimum of $30,000 from him. He passed her on to my husband, who came to me wanting our business to declare bankruptcy because we were “suddenly $100,000 in debt”…I had already talked to the wife of the first fellow, and I refused. Told my husband to take it out of his retirement savings, which he ultimately did. Damned if I was ruining my good name and credit history over his wandering dick and spendthrift ways. Incidentally, my husband passed her on the the guy in the office next to ours, and that guy, after a while, fired her for “stealing”. Yeah. Sure she was stealing.

        • Yep, the whore in my case was a serial married man scammer. Luckily I was able to recoup some of the funds the whore and whoremonger stole from me.

          I found out after the fact that she used to go to his office (he was her supervisor) and whine about how hard her life was, and how her two ex husbands left her in poverty yada yada yada. Bingo she finally landed on the perfect pile of stupid shit.

          I sure wish someone had called me when it first started, I could have gotten out of that mess a lot sooner. But to be fair unless I knew for sure they were messing around, I wouldn’t have told the wife. I know the one who told me she would hear the poor me shit from outside the office, but she never saw any indication of them screwing around. I believe her.

          I do know that other police officers knew, they had to see his car at her trailer in the middle of the night, especially towards the end. But those guys don’t talk unless it benefits them.

  • Tune for those unfamiliar (redux version): https://youtu.be/oKOtzIo-uYw

    ——————–

    (music by Roberta Flack/The Fugees, lyrics by Angel’s Fuckwit)

    (Chorus)
    Duping my chump with my bullshit
    Spoiling her life with untruths
    Missing her coffee is my fraud
    Missing her coffee is my fraud
    Spoiling her whole life with untruths
    Missing her coffee is my fraud

    I’m not a cruel deceiver, I’m not a lying louse
    I simply long to lap up her cups of Maxwell House
    It’s only lunch and car play — why is this a big deal? . . .

    (chorus)

    I think my chump should trust me, I won’t apologize
    She should believe my story and not her prying eyes
    She’s always been quite jealous, she needs to pick me dance . . .

    (chorus)

  • Angel…. be an angel to yourself and leave this abuser. Get a lawyer TODAY. Do everything the lawyer says re documents and money. Do not tell the abuser. Do not speak to the abuser. Do not text the abuser. Do not email the abuser— it’s called No Contact. It will heal your brain— the trauma bonds have created Stockholm Syndrome in you. It’s normal with this type of insidious abuse.

    Start this minute. There is no marriage, only abuse. Get away.

    • I had a counselor that got frustrated with me because I refused to stop hoping. I finally found a counselor that asked me to come up with a least of reasons that I have value. Clearly he could see that I didn’t value myself. And so I started getting my list together. I had about 7 things on the list before it dawned on me that the reason that I have value is because I’m a child of God. Nothing on my least was a reason for my value. So when I went back to my counselor and told him my process for discerning value, he said, “Congratulations. You figured it out the first time.”

      Angel. You have value. You don’t need a horse’s ass (your husband) to validate your worth. His opinion is worthless so don’t seek your value from him. And another thing. Not everything you love is good for you. He is not good for you. He’s a liar and a cheater and he will be a liar and a cheater the rest of his life.

  • A friend asked me to help her follow her husband one night when he was working (cop). I know, crazy we were. Anyway, we didn’t find him doing anything wrong. But what started her suspicions were anonymous phone calls from a ‘concerned friend’. the caller stated that she was a neighbor of a woman who always had a cop car out in front of her house every night at 3 am.And that she’d been cheated on and didn’t want my friend to suffer like her. Well, it turns out, it was the woman caller who wanted to be the ‘other’ woman, and she was pushing the guy pretty hard to break up or leave his wife and he wouldn’t so she decided to move things along. So remember, that’s where these anonymous calls are coming from and that your husband may or may not be cheating. But someone wants him. And she’s ruthless enough to stalk and harass you. I’d report the calls to the cops or phone company and have them traced. Hire a private detective and find out the truth for yourself. Get your financial affairs in order and get a lawyer.

  • The gaslighting is strong with this one.

    I know you don’t want to hear this because you’ve got 28 years of sunk costs… but you’re also on Chump Lady’s site because you know in your heart that you’ve got a cheating fuckwit on your hands and in addition to the infidelity, he has brought crazy to your doorstep. You have a stalker problem AND a cheater problem.

    Get to a lawyer – actually get to the top 10 best ones in your area so none of them can represent your fuckwit. Take screen shots of those messages… start documenting… courts love documents… check your banking statements (any large cash withdrawals by him? those are marital assets he’s spending on her).

    And, find a good therapist who is NOT an Esther Perel fan… and start detaching from your marriage. You’ve got a cheater free life ahead of you, let the OW have him… just not your assets.

    • Make sure any therapist 100% unequivocally believes that infidelity/gaslighting/blameshifting is ABUSE! otherwise, you’ll be further abused and traumatized by a therapist who will willingly become the abuser’s hostile advocate (read Bill Eddy’s work—this is a known part of the dynamic of abusers.). Ask me how I know????

      • And don’t go to marriage counseling with an abuser. The abuser may charm the marriage counselor onto his side, and they’ll gang up on you trying to fix *you* when the problem is the *Cheater.” I had to go through several therapists before I found one that didn’t try to fix me. The process would have been much faster had I not tried marriage counseling with Cheater/Abuser first.

        • This happened to my mom! FW father charmed the therapist and made my mom look like the bad guy. Poor mom was gaslit not only by FWF, but therapist became complicit also.

          Last month when I was talking to mom (just divorced after 54 years of marriage, go mom!), she said that no one ever believed her.

          I believe you, mom. You were right all along.

    • Or Jennair Gerardot. Her degenerate of a husband went on to write a book and profit from his abuse of her.

      • He did ? I figured he would pen a sad sausage story. “My bat shit crazy wife killed my girlfriend and then offed herself . ???? for me.” I happened to catch the Boat case on Court TV, a channel I don’t normally watch and the legal commentators were mocking the murderous wife.

        • Yep, Mark Gerardot crafted a woe-is-me tale and then basked in the media attention. He was horrible to his wife while she was alive and he’s continued to be horrible to her in death (and when she’s no longer able to defend herself).

          The only good thing to come out of that tragedy is that everyone can now more easily discover what an utter POS he is.

          • I hope people are leaving appropriate reviews of his book, pointing out his character flaws.

            • There were some extremely accurate reviews, but also sympathy for his ‘courageous’ storytelling (AKA the usual cheater rewrite of history).

              I can only imagine what Jennair’s and Meredith’s families think of him.

  • All cheaters lie a lot. You want to believe so you can stay in denial smoking deep from that hopium pipe so you don’t have to make a decision.

    Jumping straight into R and forgiving immediately without thinking it through is always a bad idea. If they work together the affair is ongoing .

    You’ve put yourselves in limbo. No one else can do that but you.

    Right now you are your biggest problem because you’ve chosen to live in infidelity.

  • You are going to have to pull up some almighty rage. He is bull shitting you. No one, NO ONE, has the right to make you feel stupid, or small, or paranoid. You are married to a terrorist. He is quietly, or not so quietly, terrorizing you. It has to stop.
    Look at your financial situation first. Use a lawyer familiar with how to do this.

    Please remember that you deserve a peaceful home.

  • If an STD is not a dealbreaker for you, do you know what is? Are you waiting for him to somehow confess, or admit to the affair/abuse? As discussed in other posts on this blog, affairs are abuse. You didn’t just catch a cold from him, you got a disease because of his actions.
    You are at a point in your life where you are trusting anonymous messages on the phone rather than the actual relationships with people you know. I realize these messages might feel like a lifeline, but you don’t know for sure who sending them, so you can’t really trust them. There must be someone in your life you can have a frank discussion with…
    If you are concerned about breaking up your marriage, you can’t break with has already been broken.
    Please call an attorney and get out of this for your own health and safety. You deserve better.

  • ” So remember, that’s where these anonymous calls are coming from and that your husband may or may not be cheating.”

    I think it’s pretty clear he *is* cheating, but in the very unlikely event that he isn’t, what have we got here?

    A man who has no love and concern for his wife’s state of mind, who dismisses her fears with sneers and counter attacks, who, as Tracy says, is callous, indifferent, blasé, and blames *her*.

    This is not a marriage to hang onto.

    • Exactly what I had with my ex. I had proof of an emotional affair plus a lot of lying, trickle truthing, gaslighting, and tantrums. I suspect it was physical (she lived out of town but came in to see her family) but it doesn’t matter because I had a guy who did not give two shits about anything I felt.

      Baby being uncomfortable and embarrassed was the primary concern as well as his phony image.

      I decided that he didn’t bring enough to the table to live with that.

    • Yes the comment (Trudy?) that “may or may not be cheating” struck me as both inaccurate (because he IS cheating) and irrelevant.

      He’s treating her like dirt. ANY decent spouse would spend energy assuring their spouse if they had doubts and for sure, if a CALLER sent messages like that – they’d REACT and do something to investigate and address it.

      He blameshifts and moves on. That’s just shitty behavior and it’s a huge red flag in itself. And that makes 4 red flags thus far.

      If I could go back in time oh my…. I’d never, ever ignore a red flag. I’d save myself a decade and be divorced as a 43 year old woman instead of a mid 50’s woman, now 61.

      Sadly, this wife thinks she has a choice about her marriage.

      But it’s over. A divorce will happen. He won’t choose to stay AND be a good husband. He will not “wake up” (trust all of us on that).

      The husband will eventually leave her for an OW

      AND OR he will make her so miserable she’ll be forced to file (or eat bigger shit sandwiches with haunting self doubt for the rest of her life).

      At least if SHE files, it’ll be on her terms. Otherwise she’s waiting for the other shoe to drop while telling herself “maybe he’s not lying…maybe I’m too nervous/jealous/insecure = MY FAULT”…..which we all did for awhile (or years) because it gave us the illusion of control.

      After all, if it was OUR FAULT that meant WE COULD DO sometbing to save our marriages and not have our world’s blow up.

      Worst news of all is what I wish a marriage counselor had said (but which I think she tried to say)

      “he’s selfish and acting like he’s a single man, AND he’s not likely to change.”

      that’s ^^^ called “Pick me dancing” and blame shifting.

      • PS

        ANGEL

        ANGEL

        the main reason I hung in there with my ex, is because I projected MY INVESTMENT in our marriage and my commitment level,

        ONTO HIM. because I really believed he felt the same about us as I did. I “KNEW” he loved us but was confused, a workaholic, stressed, blah blah blah.

        Even in the face of evidence to the contrary, I held onto the hope and belief that we mattered. For far too long. My kids saw the truth long before I did. That’s another regret of mine…

        Stop projecting your emotions onto him. IF he felt the way you do about your marriage, this would Not be happening.

        That ^^^ is simply self evident.

        Harsh & painful but still true.

  • Dear Angel,

    If you can’t decide what to do immediately, I recommend slyly pulling out some funds (make a casual excuse after the fact if he keeps sharp tabs but do not ask permission before hand), then hire a PI to get solid, full-color proof of the affair. Make sure the PI digs up dirt and background info on the AP because she may be crazy or even dangerous and you need to know this to protect yourself. Then call all the best divorce lawyers in town so hubs can’t use them and retain the best option.

    After you’ve done these things, whether you are still confused about what to do or not, at least you’ll have taken back the power that’s been robbed from you. Gaslighting and lying are all about power and control over the victim. You’ve been boiled like a frog, no doubt for years.

    I also was waffling regarding whether to file right away. I did stick my head in the blender and could not unhear the horrible things fw bellowed in defense of his AP and the affair at first. I don’t recommend that part. But I also taped these abusive conversations and gathered up proof of financial abuse in the meantime so I don’t really regret that my mind was working on two levels until I decided to bail. By then I had so much damning evidence that FW folded and this made the process less contentious and less stressful. What he feared more than anything was having the AP subpoenaed and questioned about the squandering of marital assets and other gruesome details of the affair because she was dumb, malevolent and indiscrete, would have played very badly and would have created a much bigger scandal at his work.

    You’ve been blindsided and are in shock. It can cause waffling. But there’s a lot you can do to improve your position until the clouds clear and then decide what direction to take when the cards are back in your hand.

      • I have young kids so take that risk especially seriously. One thing the RIC/Perel pop-psych clown car contingency rarely discusses is the potential danger of FWs exposing their families to unknown quantities with, let’s face it, built-in destructive motives and built-in hostility towards FWs spouse if not FWS kids.

        The cluster of clinical studies from a few years back on “mate poachers” and dark triad/ psychopathy was sobering. I had a revelation that every woman I’d ever encountered with violent tendencies in the cluster-B-magnet industry I worked in (media, I have stories) had been, oops, serial side pieces.

        • Yes, and it was no secret that the whore in my fws case was a serial side piece. From her early years on. Also, both her teenage boys were in constant trouble. Now I don’t automatically blame a parent for what stupid kids do, but you put a troubled lifestyle with a serial side piece and it could be dangerous.

          It bothered me for a while how my ex could scrape the bottom of the barrel like he did, I finally got it through my head that this is the type of woman who will become hidden side pieces. Combine that with his evident lack of self respect, well there you are.

          He put on a good front for a long time.

        • Yep, they ignore the danger. My ex was having random hookups and screwing other men’s wives. Towards the end of my marriage I had a man prowling around my house and peeking in my windows. Scared the hell out of me. Then when I found out the gross perverted stuff he was into I wondered if that’s why that man showed up. My husband’s online perverted life was so open you could find myself and my child through social media with it. My blood went cold. I was accused of hacking his accounts by several people but there was no need to, it was all public. Anybody could find him and us easily. Any pervert interested in my husband could find his family and where we lived. Terrifying.

          • It is terrifying – besides some of these AP’s being stalkers, there’s no way to predict how a betrayed partner might react or that they take out their anger on your family.

            Also ridiculous that people would attempt to shame you for supposedly hacking your ex’s accounts, while ignoring the danger that he knowingly put you and your child in with his reckless behavior.

          • I wonder what the homicide rate is on men who go after the male AP’s? I know a deadly combination can be men who are maybe military veterans and suffering from PTSD and then find their wife having an affair and it just makes them go kill the AP.

    • Great advice; some AP’s are disordered and malicious even beyond the usual OW/OM antics. A chump’s wellbeing and that of their family (excluding the cheating spouse) is paramount.

      FW’s AP had a documented history of mental instability and a criminal record; I also learned that her own family is estranged from her because of her abuse towards them. Knowledge is both power and protection.

      Discretion is key when consulting with an attorney, in hiring a PI, in getting STD tests and putting your finances in order. Let FW continue to gorge on that toxic cake while you plan a safe exit strategy.

    • Just the mention of deposing the OW was enough to make my cheater go nuts!
      This is especially true if the OW is a co-worker or a respectable individual (all the better to stash money with).

      I did enjoy the look of sheer terror on my ex’s face when my lawyer said he was going to depose his partner! Almost worth it. Almost.

  • Caller id and reverse Id will solve the mystery of who it is. I’m guessing you know and don’t want to do the heavy lifting of separation and divorce. We all get it and know you really have no other healthy option. Sorry sweetie, he is a FW. You are on this blog and writing to CL so you know it too. Go for it! LACGAL-you owe to your sanity. Huge hugs!

    • Thrive just so you know, burner phones and burner phone numbers are common these days. That is what the howorker used with me. You can go online, spend some cash and have a burner # that disappears within days and is untraceable.

      • A few weeks ago I came across a flip phone at the bottom of a deep junk drawer. Since I didn’t recognize it I charged it only to find out there was no SIM card. Now who would have taken that out? Fuckwit apparently had a burner phone. Don’t know why he left behind a SIM- free phone. All I know is that’s he been gone 11 years & that little tidbit from his cheating still hurt my heart a bit.

        • Why he left behind a SIM card free phone ? Carelessness or desire to mess with you ????

  • If you’ve been with this man 28 years, you’ve got to be in your late 40s or your 50s. You likely have a significant financial investment in a home, retirement funds, and other material and financial items. You may have kids in college or about to go to college. I know–and you know–that your husband is having an affair with someone pushing to take your place. You might be thinking that hanging on to your marriage is the way to protect your financial assets.

    No. Nope. Nopety nope. What you don’t know is how likely your X is to leave you. Right now he’s seems to be happy with his side piece and you for a wife. But as time moves on, things for him might change. Many cheaters feel free to leave once the kids are out of high school (thus avoiding child support and paying for college). Others wait until the kids are launched, when you might be in your mid-50s or older and it would be even harder to start over. If you’ve worked for a while, you wouldn’t even get alimony.

    So you need to go see 2-3 top lawyers and find out, from their perspective, how to protect yourself financially. Myself–I wouldn’t stay with a man I couldn’t trust or respect. That’s what you have right now. (And while we’re on the suspect of trust, is it OK with you that he put his Schmoopie in your COVID bubble? Or that you might get an STD from this HoStalker?) The lawyer I saw was full of doom and gloom about how I’d have to pay alimony, etc., but I made a plan and worked it and got away without all that.

    I ended a marriage at 61 and 9 years later (with a year Fuckwit detour) I am working my plan and on track to retire when my house is paid off. I have everything I need and nothing I don’t need (a cheater).

    Here are some things you should do RIGHT NOW–as in starting today. Run a credit check to see if your husband has opened up a credit card or two. Go back a year and look at your checking and savings to see if you can account for where the money is. We have a chump on the Reddit support group whose husband )not XH) has (HAS) a joint account with the Schmoopie. While you’re at it, copy bank statements, the mortgage account, retirement accounts, investment accounts, utilities, and federal taxes. This will be helpful not only if you decide to divorce now but if later he leaves you or you’ve had enough and kick him out. When you shop, start buying gift cars and secure them in a safe place. Even though I live alone, I put a couple of $20 bills in a cup every payday. It all adds up. You want ready cash, just n case. Secure vital documents–birth certificates, marriage license, car titles, etc.

    Do some thinking about the life you want in 2 years, 5 years, and 10 years. Not your life as a married couple, but what YOU WANT FOR YOUR LIFE. Do you want to stay in the home you are in now?Do you want to downsize or move to a warmer climate or closer to your family/friends? (Because if he leaves, you will need support).

    I would think about hiring a private investigator to find out who, exactly, is sending you messages and what your husband is actually doing. And for Pete’s sake, stop listening to his lies, excuses and gaslighting. He should be kissing your feet and full of shame and remorse. That he’s all “don’t talk to me about this” and “you’re crazy” is the clearest sign you have that he has devalued you to the point where there’s nothing to work with here.

    Make a plan with a timelines. Don’t tell him what you’re doing but at the very least, talk to a lawyer about protecting yourself financially from this serial liar and gaslighter. You can do this.

    • *gift cards, not gift cars…but hey…make sure your car in in great condition (battery, tires, brakes).

    • I am thinking along the same lines, LAJ. Married 20 years to a serial cheater. I just no longer had the energy to deal with the lies. I didn’t even have the energy, or time to hire a detective, or do an audit. I had just had enough. I started planning my exit strategy, and when I left I had what I needed, what my children needed, and I stopped worrying about the rest. Everything he had hidden or squirrelled away over the years, everything he had squandered, I just walked away. He had to pay child support for a while, image management, but I knew the boys and I could survive without him. I had put myself into a forced saving plan, too, and I was the one with the good credit, steady job, and big assets under joint ownership. He didn’t have much wiggle room. I was 45.

      Now that I am retired, I actually look at our living situations and I believe I did the best thing for myself both emotionally and financially. He ruined his credit, again. He spent his private retirement funds on schemes and faking a lifestyle he couldn’t afford. He didn’t take care of his health. I get enough bits and pieces from things the kids tell me, I don’t need to go pain shopping. Also, I don’t really care what he has. But the point is, I didn’t have to put up with him anymore, and I did better for myself. I also learned a lot, so when I did get into a bad rebound, I got out fairly quick. I have been “alone” since my mid 50’s, but my life is stable, sane, and financially secure. Totally worth any financial loss I may have suffered initially.

      When you think about leaving, it is not only what the cost of freedom is, but what price do you pay for peace of mind. There is no dollar amount that even comes close to the price of peace.

      • I couldn’t agree with this more. Most people thought I made a bad deal when I divorced as I got a lot less than 50% of our assets, but I got a lot more than 50% of the kids’ time. I trusted my own ability to continue earning a living, and I didn’t want to spend years in court trying to collect some pittance of child support. The biggest error many women make is never developing the skills to live independently. Of course, it is never too late, but it isn’t easy to do at 35 or 55 or 75 if you’ve been dependent on some one else since you left school.

  • “Forgiveness is entirely beside the point…Forgiveness can’t happen when he keeps creating situations you need to forgive…Personally, I think forgiveness is meh, and that only happens at a great distance, after much time. And even then it’s optional. You just release this person from the power to hurt you.”

    Forgive YOURSELF for trying to hold on to 28 years invested in a relationship. It’s a long time, but it’s not your entire life. It’s time for you to look out for yourself, because he clearly won’t.

    Get your money in order. If he only monitors credit card statements you can buy gift cards during your regular shopping trips. As hard as it is, make a plan to leave before you leave.

  • Angel,

    Take it from someone who already gave a second chance and regrets it 15yrs later. They DON’T change, they only get better at hiding it. RUN.

  • You know, maybe you could have some fun with Ms. Mystery Caller-Texter.

    How about, “Oh, thanks. He’s done this a million times. Someone else has been calling me besides you…which one are you again? I have a hard time keeping everybody straight.”

  • Document everything for when you decide to divorce this guy who doesnt actually give a crap about you. Also please read this book after you’ve read Tracy’s. https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07XJRCM6D/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1 it sets out plainly why you can’t trust him, what your body is telling you, and why under the circumstances it is impossible to forgive. It’s not just emotional, it is physical. This guy is a danger to you.

    • Cheating, in a Nutshell: What Infidelity Does to The Victim (Asked, Answered and Explained) – sorry I meant to post the title

    • A decades long family “friend” who massively betrayed me and my mother (posthumously) has dementia. I’m convinced her husband’s cheating caused this. She and Howard the Whoremonger were married for over fifty years. She overate and also developed fibromyalgia. I think in some perverse way she envied my mother’s freedom after my parents’ divorced. She stayed for the luxurious lifestyle and made little jabs about my mother’s work as a secretary.

      • Her mask fell off and it wasn’t pretty. A manipulative two-faced phony.
        She attended my mother’s memorial service and muttered to my best friend “The nerve of him, showing up here”, referring to my father. A misstep on my part, allowing him to come. She, her husband and my parents met in group therapy years before. Hadn’t seen him in 15 or 20 years. When her cheater finally croaked 6 years after my mother, she invited my father to Whoremonger’s memorial service.

  • …..please just get away from people who hurt you and make you cry.

    A man or woman who hurts other people and makes them cry, betrays and lies to the people they made vows to is not a prize. Neither are the people who hook up with them. They hurt you too and didn’t care.

    Yoi can’t tell a book by its cover but in this case you can.

    ????

  • Divorce his ass, cold, hard, fast and furious. All the while being a cool cucumber on the outside.

    A better life awaits….

  • Thank goodness for ChumpLady cutting through the bullshit of your husband’s behavior! I feel for you Angel & am sorry you are in this situation. Everyone above has given advice that is spot on- know your finances, get STI tests, & get advice from an attorney! It is difficult to do this at all, especially in secret after a long term marriage, but you are worth protecting! If you don’t realize this, he may have already subtly abused you over the years. Doing some things alone, ones that are about you protecting you, will give you more confidence, step by step. Go for safety! All kinds of things could happen. It’s better to be prepared, by yourself.

  • Three cheers for anonymous sources…..even if they are the other woman.
    This person Is giving you the information you need, not the information you want, to move forward and live your best life ever.
    I got an anonymous email containing a photo of Narkles the Clown and the Flying Whore having sex. There was nothing more concrete and hurtful than that. I still have no idea who sent it, all I can say to them is:
    I don’t know if you meant to hurt me or help me, either way you succeeded.
    Sure the divorce was painful as hell, accepting that I had been cheated on was embarrassing but you know what, I got out of that marriage, got my finances together and fixed my picker. Taking your head out of the mindfuck blender willl make your whole world better. You will see things so incredibly clearly when there isn’t someone manipulating you.
    Stop worrying about the anonymous caller. Take your future into your own hands and make your own way. It won’t be the drams you have been chasing but it will be real.

    • So true. I wish the ow or anyone had sent me a heads up. I could have gotten out of a fake marriage a few years sooner.

      I don’t know if I would have believed them though. It took my fw telling me to believe it. Still a good thing to happen though, as painful as finding out is.

      My fw did tell me soon after he got promoted that if anyone called saying he was messing around, someone is trying to cause trouble for him. Can anyone say “huge red flag Susie” Yeah, I know but I believed him, though a few months later when he started getting the nastiest, it popped back into my head.

    • AllOutofKibble,
      That is hideous and I’m sorry you had to see that photo. How fucking gross. You are mighty!

  • He’s lying to you and gaslighting you. I know you don’t see it now, and in fairness it is hard to see because being gaslit really does a number on your mental health and ability to trust yourself, but you will see it eventually.

    Recognising this is the first step, the rest and whatever step you will take, will come afterwards. You already have all the evidence you need and know what you need to know. Don’t allow him to manipulate you any longer. Someone who still defiantly lies to your face when you have evidence is a person with no conscience you will never be able to trust again. If he at least admitted it you might have something to work with, but you don’t. Sending you big hugs, I know exactly how you’re feeling

    • “Someone who still defiantly lies to your face when you have evidence is a person with no conscience you will never be able to trust again.”

      Succinctly put. ????????

      • Yep, I can still see the look on the rat face when I ask him why he was out so late, and he stood there telling me he was counseling with one of the guys who was having marriage issues. That was about the time I was finally starting to get a clue, and I remember focusing on his lying eyes.

        His eyes turned dark when he lied, and I could visibly see his iris shrinking.

        I honestly hope he had a lot of miserable times with the whore, and just from what I know, he did.

          • yep

            Though the worst shark eyes was new years eve, when we hosted a friend couple. I looked at him for something funny that happened, and those shark eyes peered back at me through slits. Made me shudder.

            He started moving out Jan 2. That evening, I saw him and he said he just needs some space, and he was sure things were going to work out. He just didn’t want me to be giving him any hassle. I wouldn’t have anyway, but I guess he didn’t know that.

            He came back a week later after having had his space and said he and this “girl” had been “dating” and were in love and wanted to get married. Then he proceeded to say everything he could to make me feel like shit. Mostly I just stood there in shock.

            If I had the advantage of CL, I would have said Go to hell you sadistic bastard. I know I never would have let him come back that one week if I had read CLs wisdom from anywhere. I was flying solo though.

  • Ow normal bitch mode. She’s so desperate for her legitimacy, she’ll go around the cheater to declare her status.

    What should this tell the cheater? That the ow is trying to usurp the relationship power. It’s his story to tell you. Not hers.
    What should this tell the ow? That the cheater is a fuckwit who makes her do his dirty work.

    They are delusional in their twu lub.
    Don’t be delusional. Lawyer up. Std check up. Financial adviser up. Chump lady.com up.

  • When one expresses a concern and is labeled “crazy” you have your answer. Guarantee most everyone on here has been labeled “crazy”. He is cheating. Wants you to question your own sanity! Chapter 1 page 1 in the cheater handbook!

    • I went to two therapists who encouraged me to leave. I didn’t listen to them, but I did listen to the cheater when he told me over and OVER again that I need a therapist.
      It’s pure projection. He is such a sicko. I am so glad to be out of there.

    • I got called crazy, or better yet, I got called anxious, angry and controlling. However, when DDay hit, and then the decade-plus years of lies came tumbling out, I did go fucking crazy! I went crazy when he said things like, “She’s younger than you so I can have another family”, and “You need to be friendlier to me at work (this, after learning he was fucking someone at work and trying to keep it undercover). So, he did get to see the crazy! I screamed into the phone. I HATE YOU! And YOU HURT ME! He couldn’t handle this display of emotion. He was utterly ill-prepared for just how much learning that my whole married life was a farce pissed me off. Until then, he’d controlled my emotions and wouldn’t really let me have them. When I got totally incensed, he was shocked. He thought that I was supposed to be calm and happy for him. It was so weird. It was then that his girlfriend tried to have me committed into a mental hospital…but that’s another story. So, crazy you ask? Fuck yeah I went crazy!! And I was also “crazy” during the many, many years of being brainwashed and gaslighted. Crazy is an absolutely normal response to emotional abuse. I like how cheaters make us crazy, and then call us crazy as an excuse for them to cheat and/or leave. In hindsight, I truly wish I’d gone crazier at him. And…it explains his “crazy” ex-girlfriend that he had right before he met me. I hated her at the time, but now I know that he drove her crazy too. I can’t wait for his current girlfriend to go insane.

  • These jerks don’t change. I think you should get out now. But in the event that you decide to stay with him, get the post-nup Chump Lady recommends. I am 2 weeks out from discovering my husband has been cheating again (this is the second time [that I have proof of]). That is a clear line in the sand for me, so now I am getting wheels in motion for divorce. But now I face the prospect that this SOB gets to waltz away with part of my retirement, half the equity in the house, I might even have to pay alimony. That I am going to have to go in to debt to write a check to this man after what he did…..it makes me so angry. It’s almost worse than the betrayal, that I have to give up some of my hard earned retirement fund to extricate myself. F***ing sucks.

    • It does suck!!! Truly, madly, deeply. But remember, on the other side of it is peace. Believe me. The peace is so much better than a life of lies. You will enjoy it, even if you have to pay for it.

  • You are being abused. Your gut already knows what is going on. Trust your gut and leave like your life depends on it. Don’t tell him ANYTHING, consult an attorney, get evidence of all the financials – make copies or take photos – get all your ducks in a row before showing your hand or contacting the OW.
    Oh, and it is definitely the OW messaging you, but your gut knows that already.

  • I just want to say that if I had to do it over again, I would have done much more of either my own PI work, had a friend do it, or pay for it. My husband lied, lied and then lied again. He gaslighted me in the most egregious ways – it’s almost unreal when I re-tell the story. I chose to believe him every time he lied because I didn’t have any other proof. I was going crazy from the lies. I asked him point-blank, “please tell me if you’re cheating because it seems like you are, and I’m going crazy here.” He looked me dead in the eye and said, “no, of course not.” And then he would either soothe me and tell me how much he loved me, or get annoyed that I was so insecure, suspicious, whatever.

    If I had my time again I would have followed him and tried to catch him red-handed. I was so steeped in emotional terror from him that my lied-to brain couldn’t function that well. I think it would have been healthier for me to follow him when he left the house for a “boys night”, and found him with a hooker or one of his other women. I know it sounds crazy, but I think the cold, hard truth would have done better for me than the constant gaslighting and bullshit. To have seen him, thrown a drink in his face and told him to fuck off would have felt better than rolling over all the time for his inane lies. I know not everyone would agree with that approach, but I think taking their lies all the time without some serious action gets them off the hook in some ways. A cold drink to the face in public and me yelling “fuck you you fucking cheater” would have been great! Maybe it’s just some sort of revenge fantasy. I really hate that most of us chumps basically just fell into a heap on DDay and then had them walk away, usually leaving and telling us it’s all our fault. I sometimes think we should push harder to expose them.

    • F/k/a, your first paragraph could have been written by me. Our paths diverge somewhat after that, but the outcomes, and I’m guessing the patterns in between, were still fundamentally the same. I wound up with irrefutable evidence, snapped out of doing the pick-me dance, went NC and began piecing a life back together – only to allow myself to be hoovered back in by love bombing and more lies, a convincing and confusing act of love, redemption and remorse. (Rascal-nakov the cheater! Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Even when I said or wrote just the right thing, my satisfaction was short lived; it got me nowhere or was used against me. No matter how egregious, illogical, blatantly dishonest or unethical his words and actions, FW found a way to shift the blame and attack me. Righteously call a cheater out in front of accomplices, an OW, a bunch of barflies? How does that help you? You’re too good for that.

      What I’ve gleaned from reading this site is that there is no way anyone can win as long as he/she stays with a cheater. Wasn’t yesterday’s post about how all cheaters “leave” chumps? The patterns uncovered by CL/CN are stunning. Leaving bizarro cheater world is the only way to start having a satisfying, authentic and empowered life. Sounds like you and I are both on our way?! When I have fantasies, I try to make them positive and forward-thinking. (*Try.* Hard when I feel hopeless and defeated.) When I can’t help but look back – happens less now, but I’m still more stuck than I’d like – I have to rewind all the way to the beginning and wish I’d never met FW. The problem is who he is, not what he did. Anyway, you didn’t miss anything good by not having the opportunity to expose your ex publicly. It might also have been dangerous for you (one of the reasons I’m not exposing my publicly-facing ex, for I know he’d have no problem going after me with more lies to manage his image, or worse, turn violent again).

      • Also, f/k/a, for what it’s worth, I know a little bit about your story from what I’ve read here, and it sounds really traumatic. I’ll never know you, but I’m glad to know you’re out of that.

        • Thanks bread&roses, and you’re right-it wouldn’t do any good. In a way I did catch him red-handed on some things, and of course, he lied to my face. I guess it’s just that I’m not at “meh” yet. I really have a hard time living my life now knowing that 26 years was one, big fat fantasy in my mind and he was lying to me all along. The pain is immense. I never did the pick me dance – by the time DDay hit and the lies spilled forth I knew it was over. He tried to have sex with me, and thank god I refused. To him, that was the signal that it was over – not only could he not control me, but I had no desire for him anymore (up until that point, he was a sex withholder, so I was always up for it when he showed up, it was another of his control mechanisms). I just hate that our choice is to quietly suck it all up and leave – I wish we had more revenge than the old, “living well is the best revenge”. I know it is, but still, it feels like another level of sucking it up and living with their shit! I’m getting there, and thank goodness for understanding and wonderful people like you here at the chump nation!

          • I hear you. We’re consumed with anger and anxiety for a reason. I like CL’s idea of forgiveness, and if I get there, it won’t be for awhile. I’m not trying to find peace for the sake of an FW or because society says I should be gentle and humble and gracious. I want to let go of my anger, etc., because living like this is excruciating. I think – hope – it will subside, as did the initial shock, loss of appetite, insomnia and dangerous distraction of the DDay and pick-me. Reaching some aspects of meh, but a little worried in this season of pandemic uncertainty, isolation and depression that I’m meh about myself, too. This is going to be awhile, no question, but now that I’ve left, I think at last I can see clearly.

    • I think many of us, at least me; have a couple fantasy’s of how we would go back and do it different. Problem is we are so mired in pain and confusion it is usually all we can do in real time to just survive. I wish I had more information about these things when it happened; but it was before internet and I didn’t know how to navigate it except to listen to my dad, which helped a lot when I actually unfroze and started listening.

  • My sense is that, when an anonymous message arrives saying a spouse is having an affair, the spouse is actually having an affair 99% of the time, and the only live question is who sent the message and why. And yet, when that anonymous message arrives, the chump spouse thinks there is a live question as to whether there is an affair 99% of the time. Total triumph of hope over reason.

  • Angel,

    Everything in your post is Gaslighting 101. I sincerely hope you listen to CL and CN and get free of your husband and stop trying to find a way to forgive a man who is messing with your entire sense of reality.

    Examples of his gaslighting:

    * “He explained it was her coffee he missed” (yep — sure. Even you know this is BS)

    * “…after a few days of trying figure things out, and him completely denying anything happened..”

    * “…he didn’t want me to bring it up anymore, said I should trust him and believe him because I know him and shouldn’t go by what some anonymous person says.” (this one is clear as a bell … he’s telling you not to believe what you are actually SEEING and READING…to just ignore it and you aren’t allowed to question it)

    * “I told him about it and he thinks I’m crazy and I’m blowing things out of proportion. Never once did he truly apologize. All he said was I have always been jealous and that he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong and that if I felt a different way about it, he was sorry.” (Seriously? He is telling you YOU’RE CRAZY… yet you are receiving texts about his cheating. He IS cheating. You KNOW this. But he is saying you’re “crazy” and “jealous.” This is straight out of a textbook. It is pretty much what happens in the movie “Gaslight” — the movie/play that inspired the term “gaslighting”)

    * “my husband doesn’t want me to talk about it because I get mean and make hateful comments to him (I’m supposed to worry about his feelings).”

    Your ENTIRE story is one of gaslighting of the worst kind. Stop listening to him. If his lips are moving, he is LYING. And he is seriously messing with your sense of reality and mental health. I hope you can get a good attorney (don’t tell him!) and get free of him.

  • Bitch is angling to clear the field, indeed. In fact, she’s wasting no time at bat! OW’s ALWAYS want to see AP run the bases to her own dugout sooner than later. They don’t like being on-deck batter one little bit. If she makes her way into your home she will slip thong panties in between the sheets, claw marks down his back, sweet nothings in his brief case. This bitch swings for the bleachers! She WANTS you to KNOW and kick him out, into her arms.
    Hubbies behaviour checks all the boxes of on-going affair:
    Lying
    Blame shifting
    Gas lighting
    Crazy making
    Devaluing
    Being evasive
    Down playing
    He’s caught with his hand in the cookie jar and treats YOU like YOU are the asshole? Mmmm yeah NO.
    Have you responded to any of the text messages? She obviously got your number off hubbies cell. How many red flags do you need before you get yourself and family to safety? Please save yourself. This is a very sick game they are playing and that sickness is contagious when you are mired in it. OW has an agenda and she is clearly vindictive. Hubby is angling too. Make no mistake. Get out now. Get a lawyer and protect yourself financially is job one.

  • Ask the texter to provide some proof. Some naked sexy photos would make nice evidence for OP’s divorce attorney. Hire a PI to follow the lovers for their noon time trysts. Have the PI find out who is sending the text messages. Should be cheap and easy for a PI.

    I foresee a very favorable settlement for OP if she plays her cards right. Nothing helps you get to meh like a healthy bank account.

  • UXworld,you are my hero.
    (Alongside C.L,and all the many other amazing writers I love on here of course!)

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