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Telling People… How, When, Regrets?

cheater manifestoSo, following up from yesterday’s post about not going quietly, I thought a good Friday discussion would be about chumpdom disclosure. Who did you tell? When did you tell? Do you have any regrets?

However you dealt with D-Days, short of suicide or murder, I don’t fault anyone for their reaction in the early days. Emotionally vomiting all over a stranger may be mortifying in retrospect, but I think it’s preferable to secrecy and isolation.

Are these our choices, Tracy? Oversharing in the Walmart or taking a vow of silence?

No. Ideally, disclosure is a balancing act. I’m all for speaking your truth. This is how we change the narrative. However, if you’re in active litigation and/or have minor children, focus on your settlement first. Lock down your social media. These motherfuckers are looking for an equalizer (aka, What I Did Wasn’t So Bad, It’s Your Reaction To It.) Don’t give them one. Be strategic.

*I’m not a lawyer, this is not legal advice*…. Mr. CL tells his clients in court — whatever the other side tries to paint you as? DON’T BE THAT THING. “If they cast you as a crazy nut job, you cannot present as a crazy nut job.” Angry? You’re chill. Emotional? You’re sane and sober. Yes, even if they’re baiting you and gaslighting you and insulting your parenting. “The coolest head wins.”

Is that cosmically unfair and completely unnatural? Yes.

Or, as my divorce lawyer once told me about custody trials. “It’s a horse and pony show. Be the prettiest pony.”

The other side is only too happy to paint you as a loon. (Read my discourse on not sending manifestos.)

But, but… I WANT TO TELL! I WANT TO CHANGE THE NARRATIVE!

Absolutely. Hey, I’m the woman with the blog. I tell. I don’t carry any shame about being chumped. It’s a shitacular thing that happened to me years ago and I wasn’t the asshole that should feel ashamed.

But when it was new and raw and I was deranged with grief, thank God for fellow anonymous chumps online who got it. I think peer support is essential (and it’s the main reason this site exists, because when I went through it, all those forums were predicated on reconciliation).

To answer my own Friday Challenge — I told immediately. I told shrinks, his family, my family, my friends. I regret the pick me dance and not being decisive sooner. I regret a few manifestos. But, hey, the trial-tested What Not To Do gave you Chump Lady.

Your turn.

TGIF.

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  • The very day I found out I began to tell. I needed support and guidance and clearer heads to contribute.

    Also, although still in those early denial days, I think I recognized my marriage was shattered. Too many tiny pieces to ever repair. Telling those around me was step one in the arduous journey to ending the union.

    Not a single regret.

    • I took a foto of his belongings on the front lawn of the house. Tagged him on social media and told him ‘you can’t cheat on your wife and expect her also be a storage facility. You have until 5pm today to collect or it goes to goodwill’ hahaha just one of the many but remains one of my favs. Do I care how I reacted. Sometimes. But 5yrs on I can see the funny side. He deserved it. Every bit of it. I kicked his arse out and never looked back.

      • I found out and immediately became a detective….had a pic of her within 3 minutes……changed my profile picture to her photo ….and sent her husband a friend request ….my name …her picture. I was pretty pissed off…but now I think it is quite funny 😁

  • I immediately told all my close family, his family and my friends and mutual friends. I did send manifestos during my pick me days and looking back the energy would have been better placed getting a lawyer and going no contact instead of being in the mindfuck blender with FW. Also, I did share on Specific close friends only setting on Instagram and what’s app with posts about being cheated on (think of general quotes you see on Pinterest) – enough for relatives and distant friends to wonder what happened. I had FW blocked on all social media so he couldn’t see but wouldn’t be surprised if a few Switzerland friends passed info along. For those friends and family members I did speak to – I showed them all the messages and texts and photos I was sent about parasite and willing trashcan and they were surprised. I don’t regret telling people. Thank goodness for chump lady because i know I did nothing wrong in retrospect – I put his ass on blast the way I knew how at the time.

  • I only shared with close family and friends. I did not share on social media. This isn’t because I wasn’t being mighty it was because I had a newborn and custody to dispute. Any newly chumped people out there with kids should take the advice of : keep your mouth shut. Yes, I would have been completely justified in spreading the news to anyone and everyone but in my experience, family court does not care if you were cheated on (this may be different in states where adultery matters). What does matter is how stable you appear when fighting for your kids. When I went to court, my FW had nothing on me. I wasn’t as nervous either because I had nothing to hide or explain myself for. His lawyer had nothing to twist around and make me look unstable. Send out a mass email to his friends and family about how he wronged you? A good lawyer will turn that around on you to look like the crazy one. Instead, he looked bad. I still keep my mouth shut and wait for some kind of karma…if that even exists.

    Without kids? I would have told EVERYONE

    • “Any newly chumped people out there with kids should take the advice of : keep your mouth shut.”

      I had two babies in diapers after D-Day #1 and thankfully my short lived “telling my truth and trauma” tour was all in-person or over the phone–no paper trail. After D-Day #2, I didn’t go on tour at all; my mouth was mostly zipped shut.

      Was it a shit sandwich I was eating while FW and GF#3/Wifetress were spreading their story of unapologetic, trust-us-there’s-no-affair-going-on everywhere? Sure was. Who got full custody because she looked like a stable, sane rock in the middle of a storm? Me.

      So, agreed. If you have kids, I advocate for adopting the veneer of stability and let the FW look like a public fool. This sometimes looks like playing the long game of keeping your mouth shut for awhile. Fair? No. Worth it? Heck yes. (In my case.)

        • I was able to get FW to sign off full custody to me when he was in the middle of his honeymoon period with his AP. He was in absolute bliss and really liked the idea that I was being quiet and not standing in the way of his “true love.” He would have signed anything during that period, so enamoured he was with his new girlfriend and the idea that his wife was just going to slip away quietly without a fuss.

          Another support group encouraged this of me: he’s in the honeymoon period with his AP and in total, agreeable bliss. Get your legal ducks in a row NOW while he’s agreeable because after the honeymoon period it’s going to get ugly and he’s going to go after you.

          In hindsight, I suspect he regrets signing off custody so quickly and willingly.

          It’s hard but it’s definitely worth it to park your traumatized, emotional self in the back seat and let your long-game business-woman self drive the car in those early days.

          • The same dang thing happened to me! Hahaha the dipstick signed the most ugly separation agreement in the history of separation agreements! That separation agreement is automatically our divorce decree unless BOTH parties agree to a change. But he is so “happy” with his brand new sparkly toy and her children that haven’t realized what an A-hole he is…. Hey at least I came out ahead with something!

            • Yup! FW signed a separation agreement that favoured me as the primary parent as long as I didn’t prevent access to the children (I never did; he’s still their “weekend Dad”) but I reserve the right to make all decisions about their life. I get to decide where they go to school, what church they would go to (if any), if they get braces or not, etc etc.

              He didn’t care. He was just happy that I was “getting down to the business of ending the marriage so he could get to his happily ever after.”

              It. was. killing. me. I didn’t want to get divorced. HOWEVER, he was acting like an unstable, insane lunatic. I didn’t want to share custody with that if it could at all be avoided. My online support group said “Put your feelings on the shelf, get a lawyer, and strike now. He’s in love with the new girlfriend and you not standing in the way of that will be absolutely intoxicating to him. *Strike while the iron is hot* and, when it’s all over, take those feelings back off the shelf and process them.”

              All the stupid stuff he signed to in the separation agreement came back to him in the divorce papers. Thank goodness.

              If anyone is in the early days of this, remember to get the FW to sign things while they are in love with their APs. No matter how much it hurts. Move now and move fast before the FW starts casting you as the villain in his story instead of the unfortunate obstacle. There will be time to throw up and rock back and forth in the fetal position in an empty bathtub after (speaking from personal experience).

              • This is so true! I didn’t even let on that I knew about his AP until I got him to sign the separation agreement which I gave to him after I made him tell our 3 kids. He told them he doesn’t love me anymore but loves them and will be a new improved better dad! My oldest (18 yr girl at the time) didn’t buy his bs and grilled him about there being another woman. He lied and I ate shit sandwiches for a while. I also made it very apparent that this was his decision and I had no idea what happened or why he doesn’t love me. The kids now know the truth and recognize that he’s a liar. He still is a shitty father-go figure! I got full custody, child support and alimony with no end date! Signed that agreement without having a lawyer look it over.

    • This really makes so much sense to me.

      I think we need to be able to talk it out and live our truth in our close social circles or we get much too damaged — beyond the damage that’s inevitable in the first place, of course — it’s more a question of timing and intensity.

      Each situation is unique, of course, but generally it seems to bear out over time that letting vitriol leak out beyond your inner circle has negative outcomes, at least early on.

      When the divorce/custody papers are signed, and for some it’s once the children are all grown (or the ex dies), then we can relax more broadly. Even then, though, a clear statement is often more effective with those who aren’t closest to us than an intense one — especially online where it’s easy to reproduce and distribute (including in misleading excerpts).

      (Besides, our pain is a kibblefest for those who like to feel central in our radius of attention, so letting them know we’re still upset is generally not the most effective ex-management strategy.)

      If we manage the “volume knob” well, we can tell the truth without harming ourselves. We can be intense with our therapist, close friends, burnable paper journals… Gotta let the pressure off for sure… But at least for a while, we must try to lower the volume where we’re visible as much as we can without turning the truth off.

      • Our pain definitely is a kibble fest for them. I know that FW and his GFs enjoyed my public sorrows and FW was noticeably livid when I didn’t give him that kibble fest after D-Day #2/GF#3.

        Knowing I was in public pain centralized him in my life and he enjoyed that. He liked the attention. An added bonus of “shutting up about it” (publicly) is that FW hated my silence initially. Now, I suspect, he’s grateful for it.

      • I agree with this. My FW would have LOVED the kibblefest of me going public and getting vocal about what happened because it would have fit his narrative that I’m unhinged. I’m also very aware that everyone is fooled by him so if I were to tell people what really happened, I’m not even sure they would believe it. Instead, I stayed silent and it was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. I had to live for months with him in the same home and across the street from one of his affair partners. 2 years later I’m still traumatized and wishing for karma but I can say I don’t have any regrets of how I handled the situation.

      • Agree 100%. I am staying quiet and I have gone no contact. N contact means no kibble and I am pretty sure that hurts more than anything. He has told people in full sad sausage mode, that it hurts him that my son and I are not speaking to him. WTF? Schmoopie won the pick me dance and she has her prize although it is merely a sad sausage fuckwit. His lawyer also gave him the sad news when she defined what marital assets are and that he will not get everything that he thought he would. Boohoo. I lost the pick me dance but I am happy to have lost it.

        • Thanks my perspective. I don’t want to “tell my truth” anymore. I did after D-Day #1 and it sucked. And it hurt. It just didn’t help me.

          Instead, I refuse to talk about him at all. Someone told me once that the absence of FW’s name in my mouth speaks volumes.

  • I’ve only told my closest friends. I’m not ashamed, but I’m also not very social & don’t really want to share the details of my romantic life with too many people. I’m not emotionally close with my family members, so there’s nothing to gain from telling them.

    It’s probably a different scenario for me than for some others here because I was in a long term (8 years) committed relationship rather than married, and my son is not my FW’s son. So that reduced the drama though not the pain. It also meant I was completely & defenselessly financially shattered because there is no divorce court to recoup any losses. I’m never cohabiting with a man again no matter how perfect he seems and how committed he says he is. They can still turn on their heel & throw you away when they feel like it, and you have no recourse at all.

    I’ve already been through custody court with my son, who also happens to be be seriously ill & has been throughout this mess (nice timing FW), so I also have some perspective & just want to focus on rebuilding our lives. My FE cheating & abandoning me is terrible, but it’s nothing compared to my son’s serious illness.

    • I’m so sorry your son is ill. He’s blessed to have you for his mother. Your mightiness through this doubly challenging time is admirable.

    • I was also not married to my cheater, 14 years committed relationship. My now adult daughter is from a previous relationship. So I can relate that there is just the emotional pain, which is bad enough. All my friends turned out to be Switzerland friends, even my best friend of 20+ years, and I am also not close to my family.

      I did once break down to my daughter when she invited me to open up, because she was worried about me. But aside from that I never told anyone, there was no one to tell.

      It’s been 2 years since DDay, I’m pretty close to meh now.

      • I’m so sorry to hear that about your best friend- it’s terrible. It sounds like you handle it well, though. I’m very glad that my FW is also not very social, so we didn’t develop a close circle of friends together. Interestingly, two of the few people we really socialized with turned out to be major problems: a neighbor acquaintance of mine who FW befriended, who successfully encouraged me to go back to FW after D-Day #1, and who also rented my house once I moved in with FW, and left it trashed after he moved out. And of course, one of FW’s best “friends” who I sometimes had to socialize with and even hosted at our home, turned out to be FW’s lover. Seeing naked pictures of her on his computer was the final D-Day for me.

        As for “Switzerland” friends, I don’t think they’re really neutral- they’re on the FW’s side. If they were really neutral and then learned about how out of two people who they care for equally, one had abusively hurt the other, they would confront that one and hold him to standards for restitution (basics such as treating the chump decently in the break-up, being fair financially, being fair in terms of custody). They don’t do that, they just want to pretend (and want you to pretend), that nothing happened. That’s it’s own form of gaslighting and not something you do to a friend.

  • I first called my Rabbi. Then my mom. Then his mom (she’s a waste of a human — a super freak of a narcissist herself). And then started to reach out to friends. And I sent an email to his bosses at work. But that was all the day AFTER DDay,

    Mine happened so fast… my DDay was me figuring it out suddenly, confronting him, and he left within the hour and moved in with his coworker! So it was beyond traumatic. I had to pick up our 9 year old son at a playdate, then I proceeded to have a complete meltdown. That night I called FW frantically while he mocked me that he was in bed with AP. FW then called the police on me and they took me in as a “suicide prevention” while he stood there smiling. Once at the mental health facility, they realized I was fine and that I just suffered severe trauma from FW and released me immediately with an apology and kindness.

    But do I regret any of it? Nope. Melting down is ok. His choice to mock me and call the police have me instant CLARITY. His mask came off.

    I sent an email to his office. I simply said that I had no idea that FW and coworker were together and that he left me and moved in with her. I also added that I was sorry I didn’t know his bosses better. There are only 12 people in that office. It was quite the shake up and they had to sign legal documents. The big boss (major player who was featured in Forbes) even apologized to me personally. He told me how much he hated FW and was already firing him prior to this new info. So when FW’s lawyer tried to accuse me of trying to get him fired, it was already clear that FW knew he was canned already and didn’t get along with that boss.

    No regrets. I shared openly. My son was very aware. But I did shut down social media… I only shared one on one.

    My therapist said it best: “you are no longer his secret keeper”

    • MichelleShocked, you rock. This is mighty! I think the boost to your own mental health of no longer being someone’s “secret keeper” isn’t given the airplay it deserves. We contribute to the cultural narrative of “it’s shameful to YOU to be cheated on” when we don’t speak out. It’s hard to feel unashamed when you act like you are.

      • Thank you. Very kind. I didn’t feel mighty at the time. I was having my first ever anxiety attacks. I made a poor choice with lawyer #1. I didn’t sleep for a year. But I did my best. And I chose not to accept anyone who said “he must have been unhappy”… “you weren’t taking care of him.” To that I answered very clearly “I love sex. I was the initiator. He never wanted any. He’s just an abusive creepy fuck. AP can have him. Good luck to her”

    • What an evil bastard he is to call the police on you and smirk about possibly getting you commited.

      That’s amazing about his boss apologizing to you. It must have felt validating to hear that they hated him there.

      • Thank goodness he did. The switch flipped immediately in him — and made me see him for who he really was. He went from a man I thought was “nice” to asking myself “who is this asshole??” It was an immediate wake up call for me. Whenever I had moments of wanting him back, I remembered him smirking that the police were cuffing me and taking me away. It was horrific and still creeps me out.

        But it also forced my hand… DDay happened and he thought he was in the driver’s seat. He thought I had to wait a year of separation. Instead, he was served 2 weeks later with adultery. He got bitch slapped.

        Then FW’s boss apologizing to me… that was the cherry on top. 🙂

        All of this was much harder and messier than it sounds. But I’m glad I was able to fight back on some level. FW definitely didn’t see it coming.

  • I hid the first affairs. I hid the abuse for 20 years. He used fear to control me, and I played victim for too long. DDay 3 I started telling. I told the kids, friends, family, and the poor bartender who is in the wrong place at the right time. I couldn’t stop talking. Which was good. Light works as a disinfectant and I was detoxifying. My regret is that I didn’t file for divorce right away. Again, fear. But I got through it. I knew he would try to destroy my reputation, take all my money and my pension, try to turn the kids against me, but in the end, I decided it would be better to be alone and living under a bridge than stay one more day with him. So I stopped caring what people think, and scaled back my retirement plans. The kids, they knew the truth so no issues there.
    Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife. Proverbs 17:1.

  • I told his mother first – drove over in the middle of the night and woke her up. She cried and was ashamed. That didn’t last too long though.
    Next I told the kids. They have been my rocks and support from that moment on.
    Then I told everyone!!! Anyone that knew me, or the cheater or his work partner AP. Well, I didn’t tell the firm that they worked at – I wasn’t stupid enough to want him fired.
    I have never regretted telling everyone. I always speak the truth! It was only the plain truth; not mine or his or hers. Just THE truth.

    I didn’t have to do anything before the judge except keep quiet and let my lawyer do the talking.
    I’ve told the story here before how the judge called his lawyer, my lawyer and me into her chambers. She gently told me that out of all the people she’s ever seen during her years on the bench, my then-husband was the worst sociopath she had ever seen. Wow! Sometimes the truth comes out in court if we let our kick-ass lawyers do the talking for us. And, yes, another case for having the BEST matrimonial lawyer you can find.

  • My advice is be very careful who you tell. Not only was I a chump but I am also an abuse survivor. I escaped my disordered ex in late 2016 and divorced by early 2017 (easy no contest divorce because I owned everything).

    So about a year later I began to share my story. I thought it was important to let other women know that domestic violence can happen to anyone, even a highly educated successful woman. I told my coworkers my story.

    Fast forward to 2021. One of my coworkers was fired. She was not qualified for the job. Let’s just say she was a real problem. I wrote a formal complaint about her and she was subsequently fired.

    Well she called social services on me. The complaint was about the things that had transpired when I was married. There were also some other outlandish claims that don’t even deserve acknowledgement. Obviously the case was dismissed. I feel so violated and icky. Here I though being open and honest could help someone. But instead a disgruntled employee used my story against me. Why? Because she can’t accept the fact she was fired and had to get some sort of retaliation.

    Be very careful who you confide in. They may be disordered too and use it against you.

    • I’m sorry to hear that happened to you. I can’t help but think the good you did by sharing your story must still be out there, even if someone twisted it for their own selfish, disordered reasons. Stories, as we know here in chump nation, are powerful motivators and inspirations. You did the right thing to share despite the consequences.

      • Thanks Fern. I guess I am still shocked that someone would try to ruin a little boys life (my son) by calling CPS, all because they cannot accept that they were fired due to poor job performance and other issues.

  • My family was with me just hours after I discovered the affair so they walked me through getting an IC appointment asap. I cried and hugged with my best friends following that appointment because I knew I was going to ask him to leave the house and I was getting a D. Told my work because random crying at my desk needs explanations. Then…I told my hairdresser. Best way to get the news around town!

    There was no pick me dance because he couldn’t wait to leave. About 6 months after D-day I got an angry email from him about disparaging him around town. I wrote a response and then burned it without sending.

  • My internal mantra is that he is a “cheating, lying, cowardly thief”.

    The cowardly part? That he couldn’t live an honest life on his own while we ended our 30 year
    marriage.

    He left to to me to find the marriage counselors, to move out, to file for divorce and to tell family, friends and professionals.

    I didn’t do it right away or publicly. I was still smoking the hopium pipe.

    But, he didn’t do it at all. Cheating, lying, cowardly thief.

  • I just told my parents. My son suspected and this confirmed for him. Once I lawyered up, I was advised not to say much and went no contact. Blocked all from social media and locked everything down. FW is playing sad sausage but can’t seem to keep his lies in order which has some people confused. They have questioned me and I just say I cannot speak to it since it is in litigation. Enough said. My son is also no contact which makes sad sausage say that I turned DS on him. My son is 25 and very capable of making his choices.
    Yeah, the all want us to look and sound crazy but I will not give him the satisfaction.I know I would love to say things but I don’t want to are the risk to feel good for a few minutes. After it is settled, maybe everyone should see his pictures that he sent of his genitals and more to his various “friends”. Right now no contact is golden. No reaction gives him less to say. Let him spread his ever changing narrative, in the end he will get what is due to him. I am listening to Mr. CL with regard to if it feels good, don’t do it.

  • My truth-telling was the best thing I’ve ever done. Five years later I have zero regrets, much happiness about it, and it didn’t affect the divorce. I am a lawyer, and I mentally vet everything I write for possible legal consequences (naturally). I had zero blow-back from the following (EX bitched about it to me, but so what – that only made it better, frankly), and I am as proud of it today as I was then. “You shall tell the truth and the truth shall set you free.”

    My situation is a little different in that I didn’t have definitive proof of an affair. The EX just bounced one day, a “runaway husband.” For those of us on RH blogs, most of the time that turns out to be someone who’s having an affair, they just hid it successfully, it comes to light later. I moved away from that town (which I had moved to for his career) six months later – I’ve spent the last five years of living free where I want, sometimes overseas (EX didn’t like to travel – HA!!). So I don’t know. Nor do I care 🙂 When I wonder if the years of good times was a lie (we were the couple other people yelled “get a room” to as we walked in the neighborhood, holding hands, etc.), I take to heart CL’s statement that what I brought to the marriage was true, and real. That’s all you can control anyway.

    So I sent this to his family, and, slightly reworded, to mutual friends (to whom he was selling a pack of lies). Here goes, word for word:

    “Dear Family, I wanted to write to thank you for your love & kindness in the last 17 years [EX] and I have been together. Family is really important to me, and you have been my family, so it’s important to me to tell you what happened (to the extent I understand it myself). After a minor disagreement that lasted a week (about my supposed non-support of [EX]’s hobbies), he threatened to move out. Things then de-escalated and we had a pleasant weekend together, I thought we were moving past it as just one of those things that happens in a long marriage – then I wake up Monday morning to an email telling me he’s putting a deposit on an apartment that afternoon and moving out that weekend. Yes, he emailed me the news he was leaving me after 17 years together. This came out of the blue completely- we had not been arguing on a regular basis, in counseling, etc. (I have been asked about this, so I assume others have this question as well). I was emotionally devastated. To compound that, I had immediate financial worries, as [EX] immediately contacted the utilities companies to tell them he would no longer be paying for the utilities (our housing arrangement is that I pay the mortgage, property taxes, and house insurance, and he pays the utilities). He’s sent me numerous nasty and verbally abusive emails, including threatening to cut off my internet (which I depend on to work) if I didn’t transfer the account by 4 pm that afternoon. (He claimed it was to ensure a “seamless” transition for me- Verizon told me he had a 2-year contract with them, the cancellation fee for which is $160). A PECO worker came pounding on the door to give me a disconnection notice, which was a shock. [EX] also claimed that we had a secret sworn “agreement” that anytime one of us felt like leaving the marriage we could just bounce. This upsets me almost more than anything, as it makes a lie out of our marriage. Does anyone think I’m an idiot, that if we really had had that agreement I wouldn’t have gotten a prenup? Or I would have rolled over proceeds from a paid-up house solely in my name into a house in joint name? Or put my money in a Roth IRA in his name? He still won’t say anything about why he left other than that he doesn’t believe in “one-way streets” (i.e., I take and he gives, which ignores my moving up here to be closer to his work, not having another baby because he didn’t want one, moving out of my house in [city] that I lived in for 25 years and put a 2-story addition on the year before we connected again because he didn’t like that I had lived there with previous husbands, giving him a house to live in rent-free for 13 years, among other things). About a month ago he got a cell phone, after having mocked people having cell phones for years, and I know he meets female bikers out riding. My doctor recommended a full panel of STD testing, which thank God was negative, but of course the HIV has to be repeated in 3-6 months. My family has been mega-supportive, visiting, taking me out, lending me money so I can give him the $$ he’s demanded to sign papers returning my assets to me, but this whole experience has been emotionally and financially devastating. BTW, to clear up something [family member] mentioned, we are not yet divorced. [EX] keeps saying we’re divorced, but legally we are not, you have to wait 90 days in [our state]. We will be divorced then if he agrees to it without demanding more money from me.

    Sorry to dump this raft of ugliness into your laps, but you have been family to me, and I know he’s already telling some lies about me, so I wanted to give you the facts. Please feel free to call me at [phone number], or email, or simply wish me the best in your hearts. I love you all and thank you for being my family.”

    This is my experience – of course, this is not legal advice, and others’ experiences may be different. I’m just super-happy I told the truth. NO ONE IS GOING TO SHUT ME UP. EVER.

  • I got a little too open about my drama and several expressions on the faces of people I worked with reflected back looks of disgust. Too much emotional vomit.

    But I was in that state of trauma and had to talk so I don’t really regret it. Just embarrassed.

    Funny story; I was freelancing with a woman on a project at the peak of my pain. She stuck with the project until the very end when she had enough and politely stepped away into some strange company’s office just to get away from me and my heaviness. She kinda walked backwards like she had enough of my crazy and instead of taking the elevator, the door to that company was the fastest way out.

    It was a sign to me to start reeling it in.

    There were those I told who were chumps themselves and those helped me live through it all. I’m grateful for them.

    • I remember telling a woman at work why I was struggling and her grinning ear to ear when I told her. Sociopaths exist.

  • As I mused/remembered during yesterday’s post, after D-Day #1, I tried to get ahead of the narrative that he had been preparing for (for nearly a year!) and I word vomited over too many people just so I could get “my truth” out there and knock that “we just drifted apart right after we had our second baby and a new girlfriend that I never expected magically fell out of the sky” story that he was spreading around.

    I needn’t have gotten my megaphone out for several reasons: (1) his cover story was objectively stupid and most people didn’t fall for it even before I got my megaphone out, and (2) I’m a private person and blasting him and his dirty dealings like that put me, and my humiliating ordeal, right in the center of a tiny spotlight… which I hated.

    Of the two reasons for regret after D-Day #1, reason (2) is the more powerful one. I didn’t even lambaste him like Alice Evans is doing with her FW; I didn’t want to lambaste him because he was still the father of my children and, at the time, I still ardently loved him. But I definitely emotionally vomited my sorrows and trauma over anyone who would listen.

    Happily, this phase didn’t last long (a couple weeks… maybe?). But it had the unhappy effect of: (1) now everyone is looking at me (which is stressing me out even more!) and (2) I laid the groundwork that would result in chasing away many friends who were sympathetic to my plight but unwilling or unable to deal with my daily streams of raw pain.

    This is, I suppose, where a therapist might have come in handy; I could have unloaded all my trauma in their lap, not my friends. I mean, yes, a friend is supposed to be there to support you, but I think I took advantage of this, forcibly opened up the ears and throats of my friends during this time, and poured my trauma down into them. The results speak for themselves: none of the people whom I emotionally unloaded on during my D-Day #1 days are close friends anymore. Some are out of my life completely and others have just backed off and are friendly acquaintances with boundaries instead of close friends anymore.

    So, I really regret getting that megaphone out on going on a short-lived “this is my truth and trauma” tour. If the reason was to counteract FW and GF#1’s story of “don’t look too closely, folks, this is un-adulterous true love,” then I needed have worried; that story of his was laughably paper-thin and most people saw through it. No, I was temporarily deranged and acted out of character (being very chatty and open, basically) and I regret that because it didn’t draw my friends in closer in my time of need (it chased them away), and, notably, *it didn’t make me feel better; I just felt worse.*

    I handled it differently after the several week “hear my truth and trauma” tour. I junked the megaphone. I only talked about it in more private spheres, not public ones, and I felt better almost immediately. My sole purpose, after I had determined that my husband was crazy, was to be the prettier pony in the pony show. He was acting so weird, unkind, and deranged (like the alien that we all previously thought kidnapped and replaced our formerly loving spouses) that I wanted to put myself in the best possible position to get full custody, which required putting on the skin of a stable and sane parent. I save the word vomit for online support groups and my closest family members only.

    We reconciled (an illusion as we all know, as he just needed a soft place to land for awhile) and after D-Day #2/GF#3 hit like a hurricane, I did not dust off the megaphone. I had learned. It felt bad when I did it the first time; I was not doing that to myself again. I responded to curious friends and rubberneckers with private talks or messages, but I never went on public blast about it because doing so only exacerbated my pain instead of lessening it.

    And that’s my reaction regret story. I can’t go back in time and revise what I did (which wasn’t that big a deal, relatively speaking, all I did was be mouthy about my pain for awhile; I never slashed anyone’s tires) but I did learn from it and reacted in a way that set me up in a better position after the second D-Day.

    • Please don’t feel that your over-sharing drove away your friends. True friends stick by you through that sort of thing, and even get closer. All your over-sharing did was expose those acquaintances who were really only fair-weather friends.

      • To be fair, I know of two instances of oversharing which drove a couple of formerly good friend away. One was going through trials of her own anxiety (diagnosed) and my open tap of pain was not helping her situation. Eventually her therapist told her that, in order to protect her emotionally sanity, she had to put some firm boundaries up with me. If there’s anyone who can understand that, it’s me. We’re not close anymore but she’s got to do what’s best for her. I had another friend, a best friend, that I called daily. I treated her like an open ear and an open well and she took it for a long time. Then one day she wanted to talk about her pain and I shut her down… because I wanted to keep talking about my pain instead. I am deeply ashamed of that and wish I could redo all my conversations with her.

        She didn’t talk to me for over a year and when I finally got her to respond she was quite furious with me. She felt like I had used her as a personal therapist and had no intentions of reciprocating when she wanted to, eventually, talk about what she was going through. She said she felt used. She wasn’t wrong.

        So, I’m very careful about who I dump my sorrows on now and how I dump those sorrows. Just being an open faucet of pain–all mouth and no ears–cost me too much.

        And that’s why I love these anonymous support groups. I get *a lot* out of my system here and it just feels safer.

        • “we just drifted apart right after we had our second baby and a new girlfriend that I never expected magically fell out of the sky”

          I can’t believe one person would have bought that horseshit but cheaters, thinking they are the smartest person in the room and everyone else is a halfwit, tend to use that narrative.

          • Yup! “We met immediately after I moved out of my wife and childrens’ house and it ‘just happened.’ We totally weren’t planning it but, hey, these things happen and no, no, stop! Don’t look at that man behind the curtain!! We were just friends for, like a year before I decided that my wife and I were drifting apart; just friends, I swear! A friend whose house I sneak off to all the time!”

            And that’s why I’m not a proponent of trying to get ahead of a FW narrative anymore or of “telling my truth.” The stories they craft are objectively paper thin anyway.

            • Sadly, Fourleaf that is not true for all of us. Mine spent years spinning the I was crazy and controlling narrative to a point that I even believed it. He also had a battalion of flying monkeys at the ready to defend him and back up his story. Telling the objective truth, was the best thing I could have done for myself. His story was that I had beat and abused him for years and that I finally snapped and beat him up, threw him out and turned the kids against him. (my kids, were completely appalled by that sack of lies) He even had the nerve to put that nonsense in his counter claim after I filed. He actually was shocked that I told anyone who asked that he was a serial cheater who left for a much younger woman – it apparently had gotten back to him and then he started his new lie that he had divorced me in his head so the cheating did not count; so yes that one was insane or paper thin if you will but people will believe what they want – heck people on this site painted Alice Evans as a monster and narcissist and her FW as a long suffering man just a couple of days ago. My ex absolutely counted on me being too humiliated to tell anyone the truth. That said I saved the dirty details of 20 years of abuse for my therapist and a few close people that I could trust.

              • “Telling the objective truth, was the best thing I could have done for myself.”

                Absolutely and no arguments here.

    • Hi Fourleaf,

      Have been reading and appreciate your earnest comments the past couple posts. While I don’t feel it’s right and am working to let go, I also still carry a lot of regret and shame for what/how/to whom I shared. I hear you, and I hope that you – we – can learn to extend compassion to ourselves. Through this, I’ve clung to the words of Paul Simon, which help me feel human and even find grace in my condition:

      “losing love
      Is like a window in your heart
      Everybody sees you’re blown apart
      Everybody sees the wind blow”

      I read all these chump stories and I can’t ignore the themes of suppression and dissonance, or loss of control and “derangement” (as CL put it), or both. Can’t we see these responses as a normal, natural part of the cycle of abuse – and one that seems to signal the light at the end of the tunnel? It’s ugly and it’s a shit sandwich, this trauma response, like everything associated with infidelity. It is also not the victim’s fault – like the damage to the children, like the unraveling of friend groups, etc. While it wasn’t “me,” the rage and truth telling helped me break out of another role that I’d fallen into that DEFINITELY wasn’t me. In some ways m grateful for that weapon and shield. FW finally learned to stay the fuck away.

      I think sharing like this, in a community, is helpful. It helps me feel validated and less crazy, worthless and humiliated; it helps with self-forgiveness. Hopefully, it will help educate and fortify other chumps in the throes of trauma, who maybe haven’t yet made these “mistakes.” By the end, I felt I had nothing to lose or gain, and I didn’t have CL or anyone knowledgeable and experienced to turn to. It was self-sabatoge, and I didn’t care, because nothing mattered. Armed with these thousands of testimonials and CL’s solid advice, I might have realized I did indeed have things to gain and lose, and I might have been able to respond in a way that better served me. At the very least, I would have felt less isolated and alone.

    • Hi Fourleaf,

      Have been reading and appreciate your earnest comments the past couple posts. While I don’t feel it’s right and am working to let go, I also still carry a lot of regret and shame for what/how/to whom I shared. I hear you, and I hope that you – we – can learn to extend compassion to ourselves. Through this, I’ve clung to the words of Paul Simon, which help me feel human and even find grace in my condition:

      “losing love
      Is like a window in your heart
      Everybody sees you’re blown apart
      Everybody sees the wind blow”

      I read all these chump stories and I can’t ignore the themes of suppression and dissonance, or loss of control and “derangement” (as CL put it), or both. Can’t we see these responses as a normal, natural part of the cycle of abuse – and one that seems to signal the light at the end of the tunnel? It’s ugly and it’s a shit sandwich, this trauma response, like everything associated with infidelity. It is also not the victim’s fault – like the damage to the children, like the unraveling of friend groups, etc. While it wasn’t “me,” the rage and truth telling helped me break out of another role that I’d fallen into that DEFINITELY wasn’t me. In some ways m grateful for that weapon and shield. FW finally learned to stay the fuck away.

      I think sharing like this, in a community, is helpful. It helps me feel validated and less crazy, worthless and humiliated; it helps with self-forgiveness. Hopefully, it will help educate and fortify other chumps in the throes of trauma, who maybe haven’t yet made these “mistakes.” By the end, I felt I had nothing to lose or gain, and I didn’t have CL or anyone knowledgeable and experienced to turn to. It was self-sabatoge, and I didn’t care, because nothing mattered. Armed with these thousands of testimonials and CL’s solid advice, I might have realized I did indeed have things to gain and lose, and I might have been able to respond in a way that better served me. At the very least, I would have felt less isolated and alone.

      Hi Fourleaf,

      Have been reading and appreciate your earnest comments the past couple posts. While I don’t feel it’s right and am working to let go, I also still carry a lot of regret and shame for what/how/to whom I shared. I hear you, and I hope that you – we – can learn to extend compassion to ourselves. Through this, I’ve clung to the words of Paul Simon, which help me feel human and even find grace in my condition:

      “losing love
      Is like a window in your heart
      Everybody sees you’re blown apart
      Everybody sees the wind blow”

      I read all these chump stories and I can’t ignore the themes of suppression and dissonance, or loss of control and “derangement” (as CL put it), or both. Can’t we see these responses as a normal, natural part of the cycle of abuse – and one that seems to signal the light at the end of the tunnel? It’s ugly and it’s a shit sandwich, this trauma response, like everything associated with infidelity. It is also not the victim’s fault – like the damage to the children, like the unraveling of friend groups, etc. While it wasn’t “me,” the rage and truth telling helped me break out of another role that I’d fallen into that DEFINITELY wasn’t me. In some ways m grateful for that weapon and shield. FW finally learned to stay the fuck away.

      I think sharing like this, in a community, is helpful. It helps me feel validated and less crazy, worthless and humiliated; it helps with self-forgiveness. Hopefully, it will help educate and fortify other chumps in the throes of trauma, who maybe haven’t yet made these “mistakes.” By the end, I felt I had nothing to lose or gain, and I didn’t have CL or anyone knowledgeable and experienced to turn to. It was self-sabatoge, and I didn’t care, because nothing mattered. Armed with these thousands of testimonials and CL’s solid advice, I might have realized I did indeed have things to gain and lose, and I might have been able to respond in a way that better served me. At the very least, I would have felt less isolated and alone. I feel safer here, too.

      • Wow! Sorry for double… wrote and tried to post yesterday morn – something got all mixed up with comment moderation. How embarrassing!

  • He wouldn’t let me tell. Image Management from the very beginning. I persuaded him to let me tell my sister. No one else. He was feeding that we were going to work through this. All self-preservation. For 6 months I was dying inside and had to pretend to be half of a happy, loving couple. Absolute cruelty and torture. After D-Day #3 I started telling close friends and family. But then Image Management and Self-Preservation appeared again and he needed to tell me and those who I had told how much he loved me and how he was working hard to earn back my love and trust. D-Day #4 – no more. Set the truth free. I now tell whomever I want.

  • I am 1 year out from my 2nd D-day. my 1st was 12 years ago and my fuckwit cried and begged, swearing it would never happen again, married 27 years, I stayed. Huge mistake, it, of course, happened again and again for the next decade. I have only told my best friend. She and CL/CN have been the only things keeping me halfway sane after discovering my husband of 37 years is a lying liar, cheating cheater, and closet bisexual..I had no idea. My best friend tries and tries to get me to leave this shitshow, and I do, but then I come back. We live separate lives in the same house because I cannot seem to tell my adult children. Fake Christmas is coming up and I have lost all self-respect, and am dying a slow death. Thank you all for the support and please help me find the strength to get the hell out of here!

    • Kathy, being gentle here. Tell your children – I bet they already know or suspect.

      I left Cheater #1 two months before Christmas and threw out Cheater #2 three days before Christmas. Don’t ruin your holidays for a fuckwit. And he will ruin them just by breathing the same air.

      You are strong enough to do this. We are here with you.

      • STBX and I are about to have THE talk where I tell him I’m out the door for good. Been trying to avoid it since his birthday (and Thanksgiving and Christmas) are coming up. I’ve been worrying myself sick over HIS feelings and then remembered how he told me -after D-day #2 -how I’ve ruined all of his birthdays and Christmases since we’ve been together.

        So. I finally decided, “fuck it”. He’s been asking and asking if I want to go to his company Christmas party in December. Finally, today, I just texted him back with a simple, “no”.
        Of course, he got pissy. I don’t know why, though. I’ve been told by him multiple times over the years how I always ruin his fun and good times. Why would he want me to go anyway?

        So, after he got pissy I just responded with, “Ask that skank Troll to go with you. You already know she wants to take my place anyway.”

        Fight has been picked and my exit discussion is ready to be had.

        • Good for you! During wreckonciliation, Ex picked a horrific fight in a restaurant and I ended up walking out and taking an uber home. Later I got the “you ruined my birthday” but his birthday was over 3 weeks away so I was genuinely confused. Then I realized he’d try anything to throw me off the course of reality/inevitability. So you don’t need to worry about his feelings – he’ll take comfort in his Schmoopie anyway.

          Stay strong ChumpMe, you can do this! Keep coming here to share and for support. One day you’ll be on the other side living in peace.

    • Kathy, most husbands who claim to be bisexual, turn out to be in denial and are actually gay. Claiming “bisexuality” allows them to appease their own conscience about what they’re doing to you. Somehow I don’t find out about bisexual men marrying other men and then cheating with women, though. It’s always the other way around.

      My story is so complex and painful I haven’t really managed to put it together anywhere … but by the time I left, my daughter was in her 20’s. Part of what made it so incredibly difficult to handle, was discovering the gay thing and how long the deception had been going on.

      You don’t need me to point this out, but FWIW: there’s no such thing as “one lie”. There’s only the FIRST lie. A lie that’s been maintained for three decades has spawned hundreds and thousands of offspring by the time D-day comes. I was so thrown off, I had no idea who might have known and covered for him — I didn’t even know whether my own daughter could have known and hidden it from me.

      There’s only one way you can get started on the new “reality” and that’s by stopping all lying, effective today. I just made sure that before I raised the topic with my daughter, I wouldn’t end up burdening her with secrecy.

      I wouldn’t go to the extent that Alice Evans did, but I won’t judge her either. I left out the accusations and characterizations, but let cold hard facts speak for themselves: my husband was gay from day one, he’d hidden his double life from me for over half my life, and I’ve moved out. Short and sweet.

    • Kathy – I have no sympathy for your husband. Use his “secret” to get the best settlement you can after a long marriage. You’ve read the stories of Chumps with young children and no money getting free. You can do it, too.

    • Most sociopaths/psychopaths will go either way gender wise. They do not discriminate they are predators. All about the opportunity. You need to leave this man. Today. You may be living separate lives under one roof but you are still connected. Think of it as an addiction. Find a therapist and hopefully the therapist can help you disconnect.

    • 32 years of marriage when my now-ex told me about his “alternative sexuality.” It took me three years until I was prepared to leave. So don’t despair. You’ll get there!

    • “I am 1 year out from my 2nd D-day. my 1st was 12 years ago and my fuckwit cried and begged, swearing it would never happen again”

      Too familiar! Mine cried and sobbed too and begged for me to take him back and that mistakes like that would never happen again (he always minimizes; it’s never adultery only “it” or “a mistake” or “that time”). Like you, Kathy, my FW (crying!) used the phrase “it will never happen again!”

      Which we all know (now) is code for “it’s going to happen again.”

      My husband never respected me and, I found out later, he respected me even less after I took him back. This was one of the hardest pills to swallow: *his opinion of me plummeted after I accepted his apology and let him move back in with me.* He was still checked out of the marriage, of course, but formerly he still thought of me as “friend material.”

      As the next D-Day hit and he was packing his suitcase to leave for another GF’s house (again) he let me know that I meant less to him than his I ever did previously. I was scrambling for any esteem in his eyes: “I’m still your best friend, right?” (I asked.) “No,” he quickly said. “That’s [male coworker]. You’re not on that level of friendship.”

      My stock had fallen. I wasn’t even a close friend anymore, let alone a wife. He really thought that little of me and his esteem for me plummeted when I took him back. Someone here once said “Don’t take him back. Not that it matters what he thinks, but he’ll despise you for it.”

      Start your new life without that walking wound, Kathy. I am here, reporting from the other side, that it’s *so much better over here.*

    • Kathy, I thought I’d never get out, and I certainly never thought I’d be happy again. My BFF FW was closet gay too (although his deeply silly wifetress presumably still doesn’t know that). I spent 3 years post-d-day 1, trying to put him back together again, even though I was listening to each revelation in horror and was in mental pain so bad I could barely breathe. Kathy, five years out and life is so, so good. If I can do it, anybody can. Shore up your resources, ask for help from people you trust. And remember that abuse fogs your thinking, and your self esteem. Massive ((hugs)) from the other side.

  • Instead of going into my whole story, I just have a question. With the holidays coming up, how do I “announce” my separation and beginning of divorce proceedings to extended family and friends. I have always sent out the typical family photo Christmas card. Any suggestions?

    • I sent out a very brief letter inside a nice card, just saying that we were separated and that we valued their kind thoughts and prayers. In the end, I decided just to keep doing that with the pandemic and all, but we may take a picture this year.

    • This is a really interesting question — and I’d imagine a highly individual one in terms of how each person’s style and scenario wpuld fit in.

      If you have kids, a photo with everyone but the ex would probably be a huge statement all on its own.

      Might be interesting to find a way to wind some kind of message about change in there, in the same way one might if they added a pet (or even a baby) to the family or moved to a different state.

      If you don’t have kids, then maybe a photo of you engaging in a hobby, like hiking or hanging out with nieces and nephews or playing guitar or surrounded in quilts you made or something? Maybe even more relevant if it’s a new hobby?

      Since the separation sounds new, I suggest taking this opportunity to frame your change in a mighty way and invite others to join you in it, if that feels right to you.

    • I sent out a card with a beautiful photo of me and the kids and relied on the family and friends who knew to clarify just what that meant to the others who didn’t. Because the photo was taken by a professional in a meaningful outdoor setting, the message was taken seriously. 12 years later my kids look back at the photos from that shoot and realize that mom had been right – it did turn out ok.

    • This is what I wrote up to put with my Christmas photo cards this year. The photo is one of just me and the kids.

      This has been a hard year for our family. FW moved out of the house in June and we are now in the divorce process. Please keep our family in your prayers. Through all of this I have rested in knowing that God will always remain faithful and His steadfast love never ends. Let us all praise Him during this time of year that we meditate on the miracle of God coming to earth to be our savior!

      My statement about God is my true belief, while also being my way of pointing out what my FW was not. It’s possibly not pointed enough, but it’s as open as I’m willing to be on a Christmas card. If people reach out to me, I’m willing to talk.

    • I just said that Nitwit and I had come to the sad conclusion that our marriage had been a mistake (copied word for word from Miss Manners) in the Christmas newsletter. If any of Nitwit’s family asked me in person I just said, “Nitwit had an affair.” and left it at that. The only ones I told the gory details to were my immediate family, 1 or 2 close friends, and Chump Nation.

      As for the photo if you are the one in charge of the Christmas newsletter I’d go for it and put in just a photo of you and the kids. You will be doing that until you meet a better spouse, so you may as well start practicing it now.

  • My ex took off on a vacation by himself to think and said that I needed a therapist pronto because I was seriously messed up. That and what came before was part of his ongoing story that I was mentally ill. He pulled that later during the divorce, but it never stuck.

    Our regular therapist was away for a month, so I picked one at random. Turns out she had a sub-specialty in all types of domestic abuse and flagged the manipulation, and she said that he was likely not being faithful either. Her recommendation was to separate and be out of the house when he returned. I couldn’t wrap my head around that, but we did separate by phone. He extended his trip.

    I didn’t tell ANYONE for several weeks. Then I told a few including my relatives. Then I realized that indeed most people didn’t care what horrible mess I was in, so I pulled back and vented to my regular therapist and found a good life coach. Supposedly we were trying to reconcile, but it wasn’t going at all well. There was no admission of harm, and he wanted complete control. He said that he had to leave to get away from me for his own well-being. So I said no reconciliation and joined a 12-step group to deal with my aspects of codependency and anxiety over my marriage. I vented like crazy there and got my head on straight. He picked a streetfighter attorney, and I picked “grandpa with an iron rod.” Grandpa got me a good settlement and got it done.

    If I had a do-over, I’d have skipped the friends other than general information and gone with the lots of professional help and the twelve-step group. I never put anything at all on Facebook and stepped away from his family just before the divorce started. They could not understand why I couldn’t just forgive and agree to start over in a new place with him. They minimized the impact of his departure on me and our two college students. I decided that they were not safe people.

    My circle of friends shifted quite a bit in the process, but that’s OK. Life on the other side is good.

  • I contacted a very good mutual friend couple. I was upset and was confused about who knew what and when. I wasn’t sure who to trust. They told me it was their business and I needed to own my part in her affair. I ended that relationship right there.

    • Yes, the “own your part” was a lot of the reason that I decided to clam up with most people until I had figured out who was safe and who was not. Despite his history of addiction and his diagnosed mental health issues, I was supposed to “own my part”? A kind friend pointed out of course I had probably been a pain at times (we all are), but that nothing I had done justified what my ex did. NOTHING.

      Over time I realized that my picker had been off and that I had denied the reality and painted him in a good light when I shouldn’t have for a very long time. But that was very different.

  • I don’t regret the telling itself, but I regret telling before I was educated by CL in how people so often respond to cheating. I assumed they would be outraged on my behalf, because they should be. I was unprepared for how some people who supposedly loved me reacted. They felt sorry for fuckwit because I was leaving him and were angry at me for doing so. They yelled at me. My own so-called family.
    Though all but one of them changed their tune or at least moderated it when they saw me drop 20 pounds in a month, as long as I live I can never forgive them for how they treated me when I was at the lowest I have ever been. I could never feel the same way about them.
    So for all intents and purposes, I lost both my intact nuclear family and important members of my extended family after D-day. My mother, who to her credit apologized sincerely for what she did, died before I could fully get past the pain of that betrayal. So now I guess I never will.

    Telling exposes you to the truth about the people in your life. My advice to newbies would be that if you aren’t prepared to learn that truth, you might want to put off telling until you are up to it. If your family is dysfunctional and your friends are shallow, you probably won’t get a sympathetic reaction, especially if you fuckwit is seem as a good guy/gal by people and is well liked. They are going to blame it on you.

    • True. This is one of those situations where no one understands unless they’ve been through it. To be fair, the pre-Chump me probably wouldn’t have fully appreciated the perspective of a friend who had come to me about a cheating spouse. Since the stories about infidelity in our culture rehash clichés and stereotypes, people who haven’t felt it first-hand can only relate to the clichés. Unfortunately, those clichés generally favor the cheaters. Because, you know, love. 🙄

      And there’s also this weird phenomenon where people blame victims as a defense mechanism. It’s a subconscious way to protect themselves from the notion that their own lives could turn out to be just as nightmarishly uncontrollable. So they tell themselves that the Chump failed in a particular way, and since they aren’t failing in that way, it could never happen to them. Of course, because the Chump (who they cannot consciously identify with) failed the cheater, the next step is to feel sorry for the cheater.

      This is a difficult metanarrative to deconstruct (thank you, Chumplady!) because it contains embedded psychological protection.

      Just another shit sandwich for the Chump buffet!

  • Told adult children first. They knew he had been acting weird, not responding to their texts or photos. Then I told the grocery store manager who actually got tears in his eyes. He sent his employees to my Chiropractic husband for years and knew the young woman(employee)he cheated with. Husband was shocked I told and buckled over.

    Hard part about telling was finding drugs about a month later. We had an intervention that was unsuccessful. My Son-in-law reported him to the impaired practitioners network for our state. My lawyer said I shouldn’t tell people about the drugs for my sake. (My tires were slashed). He also broke into our home.

    When a few patients called me & asked me if he was on drugs(because he was not showing for appointments, or manic) I said My lawyer said not to say…patients would say that tells me what I need to know.
    BTW state did nothing. Maybe they just think disgruntled family. He’s 63, she’s 30. I know department of health was more concerned with Covid. He must’ve snowed them in some way. I did see on subpoena bank records that either he or his girlfriend had seen a psychologist for one visit.
    The saving grace for me was the commercial property and home and vacation home were all paid off.
    What a mess. Glad to be done. He was not compliant during discovery at all. He sold office day after I signed over deed. Spiral is sad to witness.

    • Yes, my ex had been sidelined at work for some time, and I wondered if what they were seeing there was what I was seeing at home. He was buzzed most of the time when I was around him. He retired early and went into a bad spiral that became bad divorce.

      His attorney was good friends with mine and told mine some very colorful stories about my ex that confirmed that we needed to get it settled. Thankfully we did get it done without court. His attorney died of COVID late in closeout which was a sad twist, but he had finished the critical pieces. As far as we know, my ex did not get another attorney. Mine was able to finish and advise me on the last pieces, and then we closed the file.

      It truly was a sad situation and not at all what I pictured for this time of life, but life on the other side is good.

      • Wow. Interesting.
        When proposing settlement, I said what if he won’t agree? My attorney says I suspect his will lean on him. After 2.5 years in process his attorney knew he wouldn’t want ex in court. My attorney says if he doesn’t agree we will bring up the drugs at trial. The only thing he wouldn’t agree to was lifetime alimony, it ends when he’s 67. We know he won’t pay anyway. I’ll have to file paperwork. It’s a small amount.(it’ll help feed the dog). My attorney expected it to be crossed out completely. In our state alimony is based on need and ability to pay. I got none of his debt. Not the life I expected at 63 but I live in the truth, so glad I found LACGAL and filed when I did. I was pretty naïve about divorce.

        • Yes, I was naive too. There was no alimony because he wasn’t working, but I did get part of his pension and retirement savings. Not enough to live on by any means, but it is handled by his former employer, so they handle payment, not my ex.

          My original attorney retired the day after it was final and said that he had never had an attorney throw his own client under the bus like that and ignore attorney-client privilege to that extent. He assured me that mostly he just listened while keeping notes and was very, very careful what he said when his attorney was blabbing.

          If it had gone to trial with the attorney that he was recommending to me, she would have had a field day with my original attorney’s notes. So one day I told mine via email to get a trial date and start transitioning my case because I was just so fed up. We put in that they had 24 hours to sign. His attorney said he’d quit if my ex wasn’t going to sign because he wasn’t going to trial. He would have everything packed up and ready to go to another firm the next day. My ex did sign the next day a few hours before the deadline.

          It was a calculated risk that paid off. So the divorce was final, and then it went with the original attorney’s associate to a new firm because I didn’t need a trial after all. The young attorney was appropriately aggressive, and we fought our way through a closeout that should have been simple but wasn’t. Then his attorney died.

          My young attorney observed that the ethical breach had been wiped out. My original attorney retired, closed the firm he founded, gave up the law, and left the area. The deceased attorney’s firm decided to not handle family law anymore. Mine never got a letter from that firm like they are supposed to do when an attorney closes a case or dies, so we just assumed that my ex was representing himself after that and handled the issues accordingly.

          What a mess. And yes, reinventing yourself later in life is hard. I’m going to work at least a few more years myself and then see if I’m ready to retire.

  • If people ask about him I tell them that in the spirit of the Me Too movement that he had a secret life with online profiles, girlfriends, couples and secret credit cards. His behavior isn’t any better than Harvey W.

  • I didn’t have to tell our 3 kids (they were then 18, 16 and 11), as it was them who found out that the now Ex-Mrs LFTT had a boyfriend; her iPhone was synched to an iPad that the kids used and they saw a load of texts between her and her AP that I’d rather they hadn’t.

    I took a while to tell my family and friends and, in hindsight, I wish I’d told some of them them sooner. That said, while my family (and indeed her family) were fully supportive of me and the kids (her mother, in particular was appalled), a very high proportion of people that I considered my friends turned out to be nothing of the sort and I am no longer in contact with them as a result. I did, however, find that some people that I thought were “just” work colleagues were so much more than that; it was their support that saw the kids and I through a very dark couple of years.

    I guess that the lessons are: that you pick your time to tell people and you have to live with the consequences; not everyone you think is a friend will be there for you when you need them and; that some people that you know will turn out – quite unexpectedly – to be towers of strength just when you need them.

    LFTT

  • I had a circle of trusted friends, most of whom had been cheated on, whom I called daily for ages. Twelve. I felt like being around me was like sitting too close to a bonfire and had the presence of mind to allow spread small doses of what was going on with me with a larger group of trusted friends. I didn’t want any one friend to get burned out. Very easy to happen with trauma of this magnitude.

    I’ve always had a good therapist in my world since 1985. My current therapist was our former family therapist. I was able to afford her three times a week for a long time after DDay. I could feel the glue wearing off between sessions with her. I’ve been back to once a week for a long time now, but the feeling of the glue wearing off is still there. The glue just lasts longer now than in the beginning.

    I joined a Facebook invitation only support group for women who had been cheated on. There were six of us. On an invitation-only basis, within a couple of months there were 65 of us. It’s still going on but with less activity and you can really see the progress of us healing. I am sad to say some chose to stay in their marriages went inactive and then later posted to announce the cheaters were still at it and they were getting divorced.

    • My one regret is sharing that one time I shared that he was having affairs at my AA home group.
      I know now that my former husband was lying about his sobriety and he only went to meetings with me, only occasionally, not on his own, but it felt like a careless sloppy move to me. I was definitely in early super raw days so I have forgiven myself, but it still makes me cringe.

      One silver lining of COVID is that I woke up one day and realized that I needed to talk in detail at meetings about what happened and I could go to meetings elsewhere in the world vi Zoom. I started going to meetings in Scotland via Zoom and could speak freely about my experience in a way that I could not in my own local fellowship. It has been enormously healing for me and also for others. This is something that is very common for people drink over, and can even drink themselves to death over. It is really important for anyone to know that you can walk through the pain clean and sober.

      I spoke at a local detox center about what happened. Afterward I was approached by a hard core outlaw gang member. He was a very intimidating looking person with his extensive prison tattoos. He was crying. He said that he had been cheated on and he had been drinking and using over it for years. It made a huge impression on him that I had stayed clean and sober through a similar painful experience.

      This is why I advocate speaking up.

        • In my experience, talking about it is the antidote to drinking/using/smoking/eating/shopping/etc over it.

          When I speak up I receive help and also help others who are going through something similar.

          Truth (facts and feelings) heals.

          To put expectations on someone about how they should respond when this kind of mind-searing earth-shattering pain is intentionally inflicted on them is fucking crazy IMHO. I was entirely baffled by a new and unexpected situation I had been blindsided into, had zero wits about me, was out of my mind with pain, and felt like all my decades of recovery flew out the window.

          Be careful? Hahaha. If I was able to be careful it was an accident.

          And the perpetrator is upset that I am yelling in pain? Too fucking bad. Yes, criminals are always pissed off when you don’t enable them and follow their rules and snitch. They live by the “snitches get stitches” axiom.

          When someone deliberately hurts you, yell and get away. Especially if they are not sorry and show they have no intention of stopping.

        • Velvet Hammer, you are the Buddha of Chump Nation. Your wisdom and honesty is always appreciated, and more often than not, timely.

          • I think I may be the Parrot of Chump Nation. I am at least able to listen, learn, and share what I’ve listened to and learned from!

            🤡

      • Yes, a 12-step group is what put me back on my feet. Nothing shocked them, and they knew exactly what to say. They gave me the vocabulary and understanding to work through my denial and to the other side. I went through a step study with them during the worst of the pandemic when I was still in closeout, and it was a lifesaver.

        My adult children think that it’s hilarious that some of my best, gray-haired friends have a criminal record and aren’t exactly the “church lady” type that I hung out with before. They might let out a four-letter word out occasionally and admit to abortions, marrying their dealers, and stealing cars when they were younger, and I don’t care. They’re real and willing to cry with me and then later laugh so hard that we can’t breathe.

        Yup. Talking to the RIGHT people was key.

  • My Dad was the first person I told. Ex and I had our first marriage counseling session four days after DDay (it was scheduled before DDay). I was advised by the counselor not to tell anyone about the infidelity if I intended to reconcile. I felt attacked during that session. Ex made it all about everything that was wrong with me. I was blindsided by his attacks (on top of the recent DDay) and was devastated. My Dad was going to a meeting two hours away the next day. I told him I really needed to see him and drove the two hours to get to him that night. At first I just told him that ex and I were in counseling and it wasn’t going well and ex didn’t seem to want to be married to me anymore. When my Dad asked point blank if there was someone else I couldn’t lie to him so I told him about Schmoopie. Ex made a show of feeling hurt and betrayed that I had told my Dad. At the time I felt guilty. Now I am glad I told my Dad. I really needed the love and support I got from him that night. I had told him not to tell my Mom but he did. I am now glad for that too. They gave me so much support that I really needed. In retrospect it was unreasonable of ex to expect me not to tell them, especially after he attacked me the way he did in that first counseling session.

  • I told only a couple of people – my mom, my closest friends, and his sister (in a ‘goodbye’ letter).

    I didn’t want to make a dramatic announcement, but I didn’t want to keep the truth inside as I was absolutely sure he would be not be transparent nor accountable for what he had done to me.

    I recaptioned old photos of us in my picture albums, essentially venting my regrets, exposing what he was, and relabelling us as expired – I wanted it out there somewhere, but I didn’t want to make an announcement to everyone.

    I was no contact but there was endless psychic waves I wished to communicate with him. Both venomous attacks on his character, and lamentful wishes were expressed in unsent letters, diary form, and letters to myself (pep talk). I needed an outlet, but I also wanted to maintain my dignity and wanted it to be over. Eventually these entries would get fewer and far in between until I was eventually over the acute phase. I don’t think you ever fully get over it, I think the scars last as hard-learned lessons. But you can reach peace, a calm indifference and aversion.

    Now, I sometimes may tell others in casual conversation what had happened, but not in an emotional sobstory kind of way to fish for pity. More like storytelling about an ‘interesting’ relationship that shaped the way I feel about my current relationships, and some way to bond with others by sharing something personal.

  • I signed a non-disclosure of a list of things I could prove. The non-disclosure meant I would save on my payout to him.

    There was one instance where I was on the phone with him while we were still married. I was on a trip in another country. He mentioned he had the locks changed from a keyed locked to a digital one he could control from his i-Phone. I asked what the code was so I could get in when I returned. No answer. I then asked if he could text me the code if he didn’t want to say it. Crickets again. I then put my hand over the phone and turned to the person next to me and said, ‘he’s changed the locks, but doesn’t want to give me the code. Why would he do that?” Totally forgot that hand over a smart phone does nothing to mute it, so he heard it.

    When we were in mediation, that was omitted from the non-disclosure because it was already disclosed.

    The settlement increased by $100,000 because I had mentioned it to someone else.

    Until I reached a MEH, I kept the wrapper of a $100,000 candy bar taped to a wall.

    • That’s so unfair. The legal system doesn’t make sense! He can change the locks on your shared house, but you can’t speak of it? Crazy

  • The person I wish I hadn’t spoken to so much was my mother in law. She had a degree is counseling and was easy to talk to. She was very supportive while simultaneously being supportive of ex (he was her son after all and she loves him). Ex was not happy that I was talking to her, however. It was his Mom. There was picnic at my sister in law’s house while the divorce was ongoing. Ex and I were both there. I spent most of the time talking to my mother in law about the divorce while ex was there to overhear. He was furious. I felt bad because I didn’t want to get his Mom in trouble or have him not trust her. Two weeks later I got together with my sister and mother in law and I told them I wasn’t going to talk to either of them about ex anymore because it wasn’t appropriate. They didn’t say anything one way or another but they were probably relieved. This was over four years ago now. I am still in touch with both of them and we still get together now and again but we never talk about ex. We have plenty of other things to talk about and that is best for everyone. It allows us to continue to have a strong relationship without making ex mad. In many ways, my relationship with them has gotten stronger because it has nothing to do with ex. It’s a completely separate relationship.

  • I am in this mess right now…am doing my best to be quiet. I am currently no contact.

    I learned the hard way when I divorced a gay FW in 2005 after nearly 20 years of marriage. I got a nuclear destroying email from him about his gay desires. I admit I lost it as I had no idea. Anyway, those two kids are grown and gone.

    The pain from my most recent FW was terrible at first. I finally told my friend. She has helped a lot. It appears I married a nasty pedophile.

    My parents are dead. I have one estranged sibling. FW’s parents found out much of what is going on this past weekend when the 4 of us sat down. They were told he is moving out. His parents seemed ashamed of him.

    I don’t have Facebook or Twitter. I don’t send out emails now. I sent two out as the 2 d days happened to his sister and him this time around…short and sweet. NO MORE EMAILS. NO PROOF FOR HIS LAWYER IN THE FUTURE.

    We have been married nearly two years. Prenup was written. We are older so no kids. I hope to preserve my assets.

    I read here a lot. CL/CN helps me tremendously.

    • Trust that he sucks. My best friend is a gay man who grew up in a homophobic family and only recently came out of the closet, although many of us wondered about it long before then. It would never occur to him to dupe an unsuspecting woman into thinking he loved her, marry her and have kids with her for cover, while carrying on with other men. Because my friend has ethics and integrity.

  • I don’t regret anyone I talked to about being chumped, but I was very careful about who that was. The circle has gradually widened over time and it still hasn’t included social media. The only “random” person I’ve talked to was actually my dental hygienist because she asked the right sort of questions and ended up being a great encouragement to me at that time as she’d walked through a similar situation. Maybe I should have opened up to more people…

  • My discard was fast, cruel and in my face. I told everyone I could at 1 AM in the morning. I will be forever grateful for the friend who talked to me for three hours on the phone that night doing crisis intervention. I sent emails and texts to as many of my FW’s friends as I had contact info. Few responded. I am still angry at my ex BIL. He never responded. It makes me think that Mr. Bishop -in-his- Church knew and did not care, or that he is a cheater himself.

    I never regretted what I did. I think my spewing may have helped my quickie divorce. My FW was active in our community and quickly slunk away as soon as the divorce was final and our former investment property was sold. FW acted as if he had some residual shame.

    No regrets. No regrets ever. I was a good, loving and loyal wife. My value was (and is still) beyond rubies.

  • Sigh I stayed silent for 6 years between day 1 and 2 – biggest mistake as I lost those years while he got stealthy. I told no one and I think it ate away at me. Finally after Dday 2 I went to a counsellor and started to tell. Then I vomited 😂🤷‍♀️.

    One person I wish I hadn’t talked to was x sis in law. She started in on he thinks you had a don’t as don’t tell arrangement.

    Some of my close family thinks that I chose an asshole (feels like they think I should have chosen better). I know from this blog that lots of “nice” people cheat too. You just never know.

  • I was working with the women’s shelter on getting out safely. I talked about it only with my immediate family and two best friends. I met a follow chump locally from this site at a meet up a few years back who understood and we’re still good friends as well. Even when I spoke with them I never gave the entire history. I was afraid and processing it. It was my friend who said I needed to give a specific detail to my attorney. We didn’t have any mutual friends and I never heard from any of his family which was a relief because who needs that direct connection. We have kids but luckily he didn’t ask for anything specific during mediation. Instead he spent that time bashing me.
    I heard from a couple of people earlier that he was running like he was on fire to everyone he knew trying to rewrite history. I ignored that. He always talked negatively about social media I guess to keep me off and after leaving our kid found his Facebook page because he was trying to friend them. I did pull thing from that which were extremely beneficial in court and used them every time we had an appearance. That’s the only time I ever looked at his page.
    I definitely have fantasies about telling and recently had the opportunity-7 ys later- when I saw someone we both knew but hangs with him. Even with masks we recognized each other. He went to speak and I ignored him and kept walking. That was a point when I realized it really doesn’t matter. He’s not my friend. He was the only person that I wanted to not have a negative idea about my character because I thought he had a smidgeon of character as well. It just didn’t matter anymore because he did show me who he is by keeping in the ex’s orbit. That would’ve put be back on the radar I fought to get out of.

  • I started telling after we told our girls. He’d dropped the D-Day bomb on me two weeks earlier, after telling our daughter he wasn’t leaving.

    Then, he broke it to them gently, saying he would “leave slowly”

    I took him into the kitchen and said there would be no leaving “slowly” but that he would have his shit out in a week or I’d have it moved out for him. That was when I turned full on bitch. I started telling people and if I hadn’t had little kids and lived across the street from the school, I’d have told everyone via a large sheet hung on the side of my house with the words “Mr. Kintsugi is a cheater and will soon be DIVORCED!” Or some such.

    I immediately started dumping and blocking his friends and family on all my social media and when he had all his stuff moved out I took a box and would toss in things I ran across that he left behind. I dumped it all on the back step of what became of his new love shack the morning of our divorce and on my way to the court house.

    • “I took him into the kitchen and said there would be no leaving “slowly” but that he would have his shit out in a week or I’d have it moved out for him. That was when I turned full on bitch. ”

      I really wish I had done that. He took three days to move out, all while I was at work. I came home each day to more of his stuff being gone. It was slow motion agony.

      When I finally got my bearings I got the locks changed so he could not enter the house again. We were not legally separated yet, but in my mind he had abandoned me. He never mentioned me changing the lock, though I am sure he came by to make sure he had all his shit and found he had been locked out.

      He could have tried to cause me grief, but by then I had already called the mayor and point blank asked the mayour if he knew this had been going on, mayor said he didn’t. I do believe him because I know if he had known he would have never promoted him; too big of a political risk.

      Anyway, he was still slinking around trying to save his ass; so I knew he wouldn’t make any waves about being locked out. He was also still paying the bills. I am sure by then he had talked to his loser lawyer and even he knew that if he stopped paying the bills after abandoning the home he was in deep trouble.

      I am sure also the mayor told him he better TCB, after all I was as much a part of the mayors win as the fw was; likely even more. Only difference was I had no idea what was going on and the fw knew he was pulling major cons on everyone, including me. And after Dday, they all knew it. Actually they all knew it a little before I did it because a city Counselman told me someone had dropped a dime on him a couple month before, and the counsel wanted him fired. He had before he was outed; petitioned the counsel for a raise for his whore (jis direct report) they granted it not knowing he was fucking her and in fact was fucking her when he petitioned to get her hired as the dog catcher. No conflict of interest there.

      I came in subsequent years to figure out that he likely wanted to keep me and others in the dark for at least another year; but someone made the call, and it all crashed down around him.

      As painful as it all was, I have never forgotten how fortunate I was to escape when I did. Would I have liked to escape a few years earlier, sure; but escape I did.

      Yes his world changed forever, he barely walked away with his job; but not before he had just about destroyed me.

      Luckily for me I had way more strength than I ever knew I had. When I finally told a few strategic folks that I had been blindsided; they rallied.

      I just wish I had told them of all the awful stuff he said and did to me.

  • i was on the phone with my close GF’s right away. confidential. therapy started.

    in the early shock and awe days, i thought my X was having a massive mid-life crisis, so i contacted 2 male friends of his to tell them what was going on. basically, i hoped they would talk with him and help him figure himself out.

    when my X found out about this, he was shocked. “you had no business telling them ANYTHING. i was going to tell people in the new year,” he said, blinking rapidly. “we need to tell people that we’re considering separating and we need time to figure out what to do with our marriage.”

    controlling the narrative. i responded that i was comfortable sharing our marital difficulties with a few select folks and encouraged my X to talk to these men. it was a highly stressful time.

    later, he said he wanted me to join him in saying that we’d grown apart. i refused and said, “don’t tell me what to say. i have my own truth and i know that this all started with alcoholism.”

    i don’t know this for certain, but i think he’s talking about my mental health and using the “she’s depressed and unstable” card. but i’m the sane, steady parent to my adult kids and taking care of business. don’t get me wrong. i’m sad. it’s a sad situation. but he’s drinking and saying shitty things to the kids, estranging them, visit by visit by visit. the kids are in therapy re: same.

    looking back now, i realize he had sorted it all out in his mind in the early days, but just needed more time to organize himself, nail down a narrative, manage his image. he’s an executive at an oil and gas company.

    now i just say the following “in our family we deal with the disease of alcoholism” and leave it there. it’s amazing how many people respond with a 1/2 hour chat about alcoholism in their families–it’s everywhere and nowhere, and no one talks about it much.

    it’s only after my X left that i realized how much of an alcoholic he is, because i’m not there to control the intake. his decision making abilities are poor. this week, in mediation, we finally settled on spousal support, and the mediator said about my X, “he doesn’t make sense.” that’s a big statement from a neutral party. i suspect my X has been causing a lot of grief in the background. executives don’t like to be told what to do, even by the law and their spousal support equations.

    • DIFBTBAC, thank you for your post. It resonates with me in every particular. Two years before he left me, the ex was telling mutual friends that I was ‘restricting’ his ‘drinking’. My estranged brother has been an alcoholic for decades. He was (perhaps still is) also a cheater and his ex wife, who he cheated on when living with a long term partner, was also a cheater with him, so some karma there. I knew that the ex had alcohol issues before I started a relationship with him. The OWexgf knows this too. I seriously believed that when the ex was with me he would change. Gradually I saw that his mother was an alcoholic. His brothers were also alcoholics (both had marriages that broke up with this as part of the reason, but both brothers were also cheaters). I still married the ex. I do not know why but I am exploring the reasons in twice weekly therapy. Any addiction adds an extra dynamic to the situation. Alcoholism is a really difficult one. I find myself accepting that I often drank to dangerous excess with the ex, to make myself more acceptable to him. He also threw the abuse ‘you are puritanical’ at me. I associated that word with my mother who has strong narcissistic traits from which I have suffered the consequences all my life (59 at discard, 61 now). I have alcohol in the house now. Friends come round and I’m a sociable person. I enjoy a glass of wine, fizz, a G&T. However there is no longer a compulsion to drink to keep up, to keep him happy. I never knew what drunk ex I would get: happy, fun drunk or, increasingly with his ageing, abusive, vicious drunk. There are aspect of my life with the ex that I miss, and that my friends miss. We were talking about it last weekend. He could be fun, funny, charming, good company. But that dark side of him was disturbing, frightening. It is a relief not to have to live with that uncertainty, that chaos any more. The ex is a functioning alcoholic. This makes it hard for people to recognise and accept the truth of who he is. I vented as much as I needed at the start. Now I rarely mention his name. If he comes up in conversation, he is ‘the ex’. Not ‘my ex’ because he is no longer anything to me. I pity him. Regardless of life’s difficulties, my default setting is ‘happy and content’. As to his? The place is so dark that I choose not to go there, save to pity him and the me who thought he was good enough.

      • I’ve remembered that after he told me he was leaving, he went to a hotel, then came back for a couple of weeks. Not a reconciliation although I was hoping for such. I hadn’t told anyone at this point. I had lied and said that he was working away. My father had just died so I was in a state generally. I arranged to go out for a couple of evenings. On both occasions I returned home to find him sitting in the kitchen with an empty bottle of wine next to him, on his lap top, allegedly working. I later discovered the emails that indicated that he was in fact FaceTiming or whatever with exgfOW in Canada. We are in the UK. He would smirk at me and say that he was working with overseas colleagues. By this time a bottle of wine had no impact on him – he needed more. I believed him. Afterwards I remembered him talking about a male friend (who I never liked, instinctively) who although married was in a long distance relationship with a woman in New York. Ex claimed that friend and wife had separated, that both had new partners, that they had carried on living together, hadn’t told their twins, had bought more property together blah, blah. With hindsight it was obvious that said friend was a cheater, the ex was in on the act and had no doubt shared his own cheating with friend, and that the wife had no idea, but the discard was coming. Another red flag, look at the integrity and actions of their friends. Trust that instinctive dislike. Funnily enough that friend had walked over ex by getting promoted over ex’s head. Ex didn’t have the gumption to get promoted. He was too busy drinking and buying rounds while others were being serious and responsible, at least for as long as he mattered. All bar 2 of ex’s male friends were cheaters.

      • MW, we share a common story:

        1. alcoholic X
        2. alcoholic in-laws
        3. narcissistic mom

        i knew my FIL was an alcoholic when i married but didn’t realize my MIL abused prescription drugs and my SIL abused prescription drugs + alcohol until after we married. if i had know my MIL was an addict i would not have married, i know that much. but i rationalized my FIL because he’d been in WWII as a teenaged boy and, well, it was BAD.

        my X was likely an alcoholic when we met but i didn’t recognize it as such, because i was young and stupid. and we couldn’t afford much alcohol in the early years. by year 10 i knew what was going on and so began the various stages of “managing” the disease, one of which was drinking a glass of wine or two just to reduce X’s intake. i hear you on that one.

        sometimes, i have a glass of wine about once/month and sometimes, i go months without. it’s just not a big part of my life. but i have an alcoholic daughter who attends AA and is sober, and i support her 100%. she is breaking the family pattern. in our family of 3, we talk openly about alcohol and we’re all healthier for it. my X is living alone, drinking, and stuck in a shame spiral, but that’s his business.

        i too have been in therapy and discovered that my mom’s narcissism primed me to feel comfortable with a difficult man, you see, i used to call my mom a difficult woman. that was just covering what was really going on–emotional abuse. this is a painful but freeing realization.

        i’m feeling much calmer these days, accepting. i’m going to be okay. you will, too. keep going, comrade.

  • In the last couple months of the year of discard, I smelled a whore. I was still hoping against hope, but I smelled it.

    On Dday which was Christmas day 1989 at our sons house in AZ (he was in the AF) I woke up about five in the am or so. Really early as one does in a different time zone. He was gone. I got up he was not in the apt. I walked out and looked out at the common area and he was on his phone across the way. I started walking fast and he started walking fast away from me.

    I accused him, and he wouldn’t talk. It was tense, but when we got home he turned stone cold against me. He left the day after new years, throwing out the “I need to get my head on straight” “I think it will work out, I just need some space” So in effect he just threw me some hope to faciliate moving out of the house without any drama from me.

    I cowered in hope and desperation until he came back about a week later and told me of his great love he had found, and how unhappy he had been. He had been “dating” for ten years, and he never loved me yada yada yada.

    I holed up and the first person I talked to was to go across the alley and tell my mother in law. She was stunned. I don’t remember much about that except that I told her and turned around a walked home.

    Then at some point (I can’t remember) our preacher and his wife came to my house (he was also the police chaplain) I honestly remember very little about that conversation. I know I didn’t say much; I was humiliated beyond belief. Yes I had been suspicious for a few months but in the context of a 21 year marriage and how long he claimed to be cheating on me, I was blindsided.

    I should have spilled my guts to the preacher and to his mother and anyone else who would listen. There was no reason not to other than my undeserved shame.

    I didn’t tell my dad and brother (who lived 800 miles away for about three weeks after he left. I didn’t tell because he kept saying he needed time, and he didn’t want anyone to know his business. I was totally crazy. I think I just thought if I keep my mouth shut and do what he says this nightmare will end.

    Anyway, my advice to anyone one would be tell some folks your whole story. Tell the truth. If you have to consider child support, settlements etc consider them; but you have to tell someone.

    In my case he had also conned the mayor and several others including the city counsel; so yeah he got his; (took about a year for him to lose his promotion, his cushy office, and he lost the respect of the community he purported to love, but in the meantime oh how I suffered in fear and all alone.

    He took my support system away from me by conning me.

  • I feel it was a weakness to share what happened. I regret it. I wasn’t strong enough to take on the cheater/family & marriage destruction by myself. I got stronger and quieter (i.e. more lethal ) every day.

    Years later, the ex wanted to come back. I was in a position to easily say “no thank you”. No anger needed, strong in my new level of evolution.

  • -I do ZERO social media thank goodness for that.

    -I told only one person after D-Day One…because my fkwit doctor husband of 30 years told me it was just one affair with one “wonderful soul-mate” woman.

    -The ONE person I told was an 80 year old retired Bev Hills divorce attorney who raised 2 doctor sons and was married to a doctor.
    -She told me it was my fault for working so much, being gone so much, not doing my hair professionally, etc. So I accepted the 1950’s housewife mentality blame game and suffered through the ‘pick-me’ dance blaming myself complete with breast augmentation consultations, bought lingerie, went to hairdressers, spray tan salons, and got my nails done.

    -A few months into the pick me dance I told my sister who also blamed me….she said all men fk around and how could I have been so dumb-witted not to know. (so far zero support – I stayed silent in shame)

    -Then D-Day 2 six months later was the revelation that the ‘wonderful affair woman’ was actually a prostitute with a rap sheet of arrests 169 pages long and was extorting money from fkwt and threatening me. So I had to get a Criminal Restraining Order which cost $$$ to keep the whore away from my house and office.

    -Fk wt husband cried, apologized, and went in to solo therapy. I had not found Chump Nation yet….

    – I forgave him and helped him. D-Day 3 was two years later, he unfolded a ton of sh-t about all the hotels and restaurants right in town he took whores publicly to and that he had lied about seeing whores. D-Day 4 was just a few days later, he unloaded all the porn he kept on his computer which was shockingly rough S&M as well as told me about all the dungeons around LA he rented to whip women.

    -The hits kept coming, this is what narcissists do to manipulate you…. D-Day 5 just a few days later while I’m planning my exit, he reveals a few more “I forgot to tell you…..” total of 40 more prostitutes he hired including going to “legs wide open sex” parties and hiring prostitutes at every conference across the nation.

    -It’s now been 5 years since D-Day one and five years of mind-fuckery. Once I found Chump Lady and her book and web site things changed. I understood how current literature still blames the wife and how the Reconciliation Industry is a money-grabbing blame game preying on damaged people.

    -Now, I confided in 3 very close lady friends about my doctor’s hooker habit – they were and are incredibly supportive. I wrote my own 15 page post-nup (thank you Chump Lady) – fkwit signed it and notarized it, I took the deeds to our two houses and had both houses put in my name only…. I moved quickly while fkwit was sweating and weeping like a child once he realized the whores had pictures of him going in and out of the dungeons on security cameras dressed like a pathetic Tarzan…he saw what was happening to the USC and UCLA creepy doctors and was convinced he was going to be sharing a jail cell with Harvey Weinstein.

    -I used my little law degree to bust up all the pension plans, pay a ton of tax but get my cash. I held my shock and tears until I was financially protected – they always screamed at us in law school ‘get smart, don’t get mad…..’ I didn’t spend a dime on lawyers or therapists – Once I had all the ducks in a row I left with our Bichons and stayed away for a year and 1/2 with no contact – I cried those blood tears every night not in anger but in fear that I could live with someone for 30 years and be so fooled and betrayed. I found it more frightening than sad.
    -I have now returned to LA and reclaimed my so cal life and as the rumors whip through the medical community I turn my 105 pound ass in their faces. I was a loyal, loving wife of 30 years who worked hard and supported both his and my parents. I never spent a dime on myself and shopped discount – thank you Loehmann’s! Now it’s MY time. Take no prisoners.. Yes, the prettiest (smartest) pony wins – I did my best acting job but in the dark of night I cried my eyes out. Living Well Is The Best Revenge.

    -I think the song “momma don’t let your baby grow up to be a cowboy” is wrong – it should be “Mother’s don’t let your daughters grow up to be whores or cheaters with married men”…. Mother’s let your son’s be cowboys….all the cowboys I knew growing up on a farm were gentlemen.

    • Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be fuckwits
      Keep ’em off porn and hookers and such
      Don’t let ’em blow family assets for a few cheapo fucks

      Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be side plates
      Doing gymnastic sex acts for married douchebags
      And fronting that it’s for twu wuv

    • “I moved quickly while fkwit was sweating and weeping like a child”

      Wonderful! Strike while the iron is hot! Move quick, move fast, protect yourself, process those feelings after.

  • When Best Regards came home from his weekend fuckfest with the OW (a woman he had met three weeks prior) and told me he was walking out on our 18-year marriage for her, I was in shock. And what I do when I’m in shock is start talking. Weird, I realize, but it’s how I’ve been since I was a kid. So, I immediately called my mom and my sister. And then I started calling all my close friends asking for advice and prayer because at this point I thought he had just had a mental break and was going to snap out of it and come home remorseful, etc. Nope. Though he did text me and “request that I stop badmouthing him and OW to our friends and colleagues.” Which I was explicitly not doing, but I was telling the truth about what was going on. Still, though, I felt terrible and apologized, etc.

    Geez Louise. Here’s what I would do differently about sharing my story if I had to do it over again: Nothing.

    Sure, there are some things I would change about how I handled the situation legally, but telling people my story was what got me to listen to my own words and realize I was being abused–not only that, but I had been being abused the entire length of our relationship. If I hadn’t started talking, I never would have realized that.

    Now, I only told a few, close, very trusted girlfriends about the abuse once I figured it out (months later); that information, I didn’t spread around to our wider community–not because I was ashamed at that point but because I didn’t see what a smear campaign would garner me. Since he was one of these typical Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde-type narcissists, I knew I’d be expending a bunch of energy that I didn’t have at the time trying to get people to believe me when they wouldn’t, and it didn’t really matter: he was clearly out of my life at that point, and I needed to focus on me, not him.

    That’s when I started calling him Hurricane Best Regards and thinking of him as a natural disaster that I needed to recover and rebuild from, not an actual human being with thoughts, morals, and feelings from whom I could expect some kind of reckoning and recompense.

    Is he still abusive? Probably. Do I feel sorry for the OW on that point? Gotta say, not really. She literally made her bed there. Do I feel sorry for her two little girls? Yes: I pray for them when I think of them.

    I don’t really feel the need to tell people anything now other than that Best Regards and I got divorced. I think that’s a good sign that I’m healing nicely, 2 years out.

      • Yeah, at the time it crushed me when he went in the space of a WEEK from signing his emails “Love, X” or “Can’t wait to see you!” to “Best Regards, X.” But now I think it’s hilarious.

        • it is crushing to be discarded in a callous way, but, with the passage of time, there’s humour. thank god for humour!

    • ” but telling people my story was what got me to listen to my own words and realize I was being abused–not only that, but I had been being abused the entire length of our relationship. If I hadn’t started talking, I never would have realized that.”

      And that is exactly why I keep advising baby chumps to talk, talk, talk. Yes be in as much control as you can; but find a handful of strategic folks to talk to. Had I started talking to our preacher and just told him what our last year together was like, I know he could have helped me so much more. But, I was frozen and not talking. I am guessing he just thought I was blind sided on Dday. But, I had lived the last year of our marriage with him mentally and emotionally and not to mention at least three years of financial fraud. I had the proof; but I was humiliated and scared.

      That asshole wouldn’t have been able to squirm out of anything if I had talked even just to the preacher. He crashed and burned anyway of his own accord; but I should have outed hi8m for the abusive monster he was to me. For my own good.

      I held that shit in for years, and hated myself for it. Doesn’t mean I had a bad life, I once I started to get strong again had a wonderful blessed life full of love and good friends. But I always held that secret except for my husband; no one knew. I finally started talking to my brother and to my son when the fw got sick. I wanted to get it all out before he died. I knew I couldn’t say it after he died as in my mind then he wouldn’t have the chance to defend himself. My son had a strained relationship with him because of the way he and the whore treated him and his family; and I apologized to him for having to tell him; but he knew so much more than I realized.

    • “I started calling all my close friends asking for advice and prayer because at this point I thought he had just had a mental break and was going to snap out of it and come home remorseful, etc. Nope. Though he did text me and “request that I stop badmouthing him and OW to our friends and colleagues.” Which I was explicitly not doing, but I was telling the truth about what was going on. Still, though, I felt terrible and apologized”

      Ugh, mine did that too. He was livid when he found out that (a) other people either knew the truth now or (b) figured it out for themselves.

      And somehow he got me to be the one to apologize to him for it! Bizarre.

  • My discard was so confusing and debilitating that I entered therapy in a partial hospitalization program for people in trauma. With a lot of encouragement and tough love, I was able to vent and cry and gather my wits to lawyer up ASAP. Learned a lot of necessary coping skills as well. I felt raw and exposed and incapable at the beginning. And yes I did call my besties and yes they were all there for me. Folks who pretend my gay in denial for 34 years husband just forgot to tell me that he always preferred to have sex with men, those people aren’t ready for my company anyway. They cannot handle the truth. It’s way too brutal for most of us to deal with. Until it happens to YOU. This blog is a great place to communicate our strengths and hopes AND struggles as well. Grateful for you all every day.

    • My Wasbund is gay too. What a mind bender that was – whole different level of craziness. This happened to me back in 2004/2005.

    • I went to a group counseling class sponsored by a Church for divorced folks.

      The rule for attending was that the D had to be final. My ex sister in law knew the lady who lead the group and told her about my situation with her brother and that though the D was not final and I was still a mess, she thought the class would help me. The leader agreed that I could join.

      Anyway, though that class was geared toward post D issues, I do think it helped me a lot. It was a six class series and the first one dealt with moving on after the D. It focused on self care, and learning how to put yourself first etc.

      I am so glad I didn’t get hooked up with a RIC type therapist, though in that time I don’t think RIC was in full swing. I do thing the wrong focus could have rui8ned me.

      I was probably lucky I couldn’t afford therapy.s

  • I told, as soon as I realized that he and the AP were smugly carrying on in front of everyone, and most people already knew, they were so out there. My Mom and sisters were shocked, though. I had zero feelings of shame, and pretty much all our friends said I was too good for him anyway. I was always catering to him, trying to make him happy. Ugh, I wish I could take all that back!
    A couple of our guy friends said- I thought you knew he was screwing around, and were ok with it, so that was a horrible thing to hear, and I had to defend myself. I wish they had mentioned it to me, I could have gotten away from the nut sooner! ( he was a serial cheater for about 30 years) So, I told anyone I wanted to, hopefully people understood that I was conned by a Narc deception master.

  • The first person I confided in was a lawyer friend I’d worked with for 10 years in advocacy. I knew how skilled she was in moving strategically against the forces of evil in another dangerous arena, so the advice I got (and followed) was to hire a PI, then an attorney and to play every move with settlement and custody in mind.

    I was in a precarious position financially so had to play it very close to the chest. But man do I envy those with enough social/financial security to blurt. I’m sure it’s six of one, half dozen of the other and there are things to regret no matter how we respond to supremely unfair situations. But for the most part, I enjoy a good non-violent but bombastic chump rebellion. No one should have to get themselves into trouble to entertain me, but for those who cringe a bit remembering their past “town crier” reactions, just remember there are those among us who admire your chutzpah.

  • This is one of the only things I regret. When I first found (very abruptly) about the affair I was a little in denial, and instead of anger, that denial was created feelings of that there was something wrong with him and that he needed help. As such, I quickly disclosed what was happening to two of his friends, and then lastly his mother. No one knew what he had been doing. It was horrible, especially the conversation I had with his mother (with my then SIL in tow for additional support). Looking back part of his consequences should been to have to be the one that explained his horrible behavior himself to his friends and family and I feel in a way that I let him get off easier by doing it myself.

    • Caryn, he either never would have given them an explanation, or whatever he did say would have been a lie. I’m sorry that others made your telling painful. But I’m glad you told them the truth.

  • The x’s telling:

    x told each of his adult children right after telling me. They immediately wanted nothing to do with him, which I think shocked him. The miscalculation of a low-EQ individual. He actually thought our son would want to meet for beers so he could share with him the story of how he fell in love with this much-younger woman. My son was horrified. Similarly, he thought our daughter would immediately embrace the AP and want both of them to babysit. WTF? He didn’t realize he was hanging by a thread with them even before he fessed up. For years I’d implored him to try to improve his relationship with his kids (which is my own crazy, I guess). He always insisted he had a great relationship with them.

    When he told his sister (also a chump), he was upset that she didn’t immediately hop in her car and drive 2 hours to hug and support him. His rationale? He’d driven to her place to comfort *her* after she’d learned she’d been cheated on. He failed to see the difference.

    My telling:

    As for me, I immediately told my really supportive sisters and brother. One sister right away said, “He’s no prize,” which is a lot like CL’s “trust that he sucks.” I appreciated that. My adult kids were also huge supports. I might have overshared with them. So, I guess I regret that a bit. My female friends, with the exception of one who seemed to feel I had leprosy, were also very supportive.

    I never blasted the news on social media. No desire and totally not me. But I did tell select people, mostly because I wanted to get my narrative out there.

    Occasionally, I shared with strangers or people I don’t know that well: yoga instructor (when I cried at the end of class, I felt the need to explain; plus she was just so great), hygienist (again, the crying), garage-door guy (not crying with him but he asked why I was moving, so….). These people were often surprisingly great.

    I quickly figured out that in-laws are now out-laws. They’re stuck with x and wifetress. I’m not sorry to lose them. Super dysfunctional family.

    I had/have NO desire to protect my ex. In fact, after I slopped my story onto one friend, she said, “I won’t tell anyone.” I responded, “I really don’t care if you tell people.” At the time, I didn’t feel shame. I felt anger. I wanted to expose x.

    The shame crept in later. I’m still dealing with the fallout in therapy. I work through stuff on this site, too, so I don’t have to burden friends and family. Thanks again to CL for providing this forum. Thanks to CN for the daily insight and support.

    • Your FW’s perspective on events is remarkably similar to my FW’s. He was stunned and angry when his friends didn’t rally behind him after D-Day #1/GF#1. (His friends were equally stunned: “No, we don’t support this. How do you not get that?!”)

      And after our “reconciliation,” he went on the apology tour. Two people did not instantly fall to their knees to forgive him (like I did, I’m ashamed to say): a mutual friend of ours and my mother. They both told him that what he had done was unimaginably horrible and that, yes, they were willing to give him a second chance but he would have to work long and hard for it. He would have to earn their forgiveness; they weren’t just going to give it to them.

      He came back after both those meetings fuming and told me that they were unfeeling, toxic people who we didn’t need in our lives. All because they didn’t immediately accept his apology.

      I should have ran for the hills then and there. Instead, I sat quietly stunned that he could see things that way.

  • After he left to stay in a motel to “find himself “ I texted my now x sister in laws, 3 of them. I told them everything. I was still in total shock and had no idea what I was doing. I guess I thought they would be on my side. All I did was give them information they passed onto the cheater. I literally texted the flying monkeys and handed over information 🤦🏼‍♀️ The next day i told my boss. I knew I was not going to be able to function for a while. He was also my friend and was so helpful at that time. I didn’t tell my own family for 10 days. I felt so horribly alone. I had barely no communication with the cheater. He was playing the “I’ll call you tomorrow to talk and cut off communication for days game”. I was in total limbo still thinking maybe we could work things out. That first month was awful. I was a zombie and didnt talk to hardly anyone. After that I made the mistake of wanting to tell anyone and everyone. I just thank god I didn’t have a Facebook account yet. My biggest problem was I wanted everyone to be as mad as I was and hate my cheater husband as much as I did. The reality was stinging. They didn’t. Which was even more confusing and made me madder and and more determined to win that awful pick me dance my XH wanted me to play. It took my over a year after the divorce to finally get on the right track.

  • When I first found out I told my Mom and children. He was upset and angry that I told them. He told me that is was no none business what went o in our marriage. And they probably would not believe me anyway. Because all I do is lie. I told him it is not my job to protect his reputation. If he was worried about his reputation he should not have cheated with my cousin. However, it was perfectly fine that he told his parents that I was stealing his money. And he was stashing cash in their safe. He also told Skankella that I was nasty to him. Was crazy, could not keep a job and was stealing his money and credit. I guess my reputation did not matter. I continue to tell anyone I please. He chose to cheat and trash his family. I do not give a rats behind about his reputation.

  • Here’s one that might be amusing–

    I told my family and a few close friends. Posted nothing on social media during the entirety of our 10-month death march to formal separation. She, on the other hand, published some thinly veiled references as Facebook statuses:

    “Done. Done. Done. Done. Done. I’m so fucking done.”
    “So happy to finally be able to be the person I was always meant to be.”
    “Mothers of children need to be respected more.”
    “He who focuses on the money is the asshole.”

    Each of them was up for a few hours, then suddenly disappeared.

    During one of her ragefests (we were in forced cohabitation), I broke gray rock briefly and countered that at least I wasn’t posting anything shitty about our situation on social media. To which she replied: “yeah, I KNOW they weren’t appropriate. That’s why I took them down!”

    I didn’t point out that KNOWING something is inappropriate means you don’t do/say it in the first place. But let’s face it, if cheaters had any impulse control at all, they wouldn’t be cheaters in the first place.

    • “So happy to finally be able to be the person I was always meant to be.”
      HaHaHaHah!!!
      The things they say, that are so much truth. And the don’t even realize, as we roll our eyes at them! Yes, do your thing, cheater and betrayer, just do it far away from me!

    • “But let’s face it, if cheaters had any impulse control at all, they wouldn’t be cheaters in the first place.”

      Ain’t that the truth!

  • Definite recovering over-sharer here! The trauma I have experienced during the past 22 months has crept, more often times leapt, into conversations with my family, friends, neighbors, hairdresser, veterinarian, dental technician, postal worker, the odd sales clerk and even a therapist, and (drum roll) now you.

    My story has the same basic frame-work that all of us “Chumps” seem to share. Blindsided just days before Christmas 2019, by my covert narcissistic husband of nearly 29 years. He basically pulled the “Runaway Husband” scenario after announcing he simply didn’t see me in his future (foreshadowing)!

    Here in lies the plot twist in my “Lifetime” Channel drama. Four months ago he went into the hospital just a couple day prior to our second scheduled mediation and died during open heart surgery.

    The mix of emotions I feel for my grieving children, the survivors guilt, the relief of instantly retaining financial security, the specious acceptance of words and acts of kindness at his passing (when all I really want to do is scream “Where were you when I really needed you 18 months ago?!) and the gratitude and love I feel for those that were, there for me 18 months prior, is a lot to process!!!

    I continue to try to give myself grace. I don’t share with every Tom, Dick and Harry any more. (Lol! To be honest though I have just deleted an entire looong paragraph explaining what happened on D-day, and about what a wanker my husband was by explain the abundant evidence of cheating and lying we uncovered after his death. Edited out! Cheers to me!) I do feel that figuring out who to share with now is a bit more nuanced than before. Feeling like I won the lottery of divorces, but at the expense of my children losing their father is ugly and guilt inducing! Speaking ill of the dead is still a bit taboo. However, if any of you are screen writers for The “Lifetime” Channel…😉

    I just know that I am looking forward to not thinking about him so often! Not letting that quippy-sarcastic comment about him slip out! I’m tired of it and I am sure my friends are as well. I hope time will do this for me and all my fellow “Chumps”. We are all so much more than this chapter in our lives!

    • Nothing better than when a cheater dies before the divorce is final and leaves the chump with financial security. 🙂

      Fun Friday Fact:

      “The researchers found that men in stable extramarital relationships were twice as likely as other men to have heart disease at the start of the study.”

      “In further analysis, they found that cheating husbands had an increased risk of heart problems only in cases in which the men said their wives had NOT lost interest in sex.”

      https://www.latimes.com/health/la-xpm-2011-nov-29-la-he-herman-cain-affair-heart-health-20111129-story.html

      My X recently had a heart attack and he’s in his late 40’s. That’s some nice karma if you ask me since he’s obsessed with sex. Does he have anxiety of having the next Big One during sex? I don’t know, but if he does, that’s karma to me. 🙂

      “Bottom line: Infidelity won’t just break your partner’s heart; it may damage yours as well.”

      As I said to my girlfriend after sharing with her about the heart attack, “X broke my heart, but God broke his.”

      • One can only laugh at the naiveté of their theory that the stress of cheater guilt is what causes the heart problems. Eating and drinking too much don’t seem too likely as causes either. If anything, a person in an affair probably, on average, eats less because infatuation has that effect on the appetite and the cheater doesn’t want to look like a gluttonous pig or substance abuser in front of precious schmoopie.
        My cheater’s AP was both a drunk and a glutton, but even so the fuckwit wanted to keep trim for her and lost weight, something he would never do to be more attractive to me.

        Cheater guilt is even more mythical than a unicorn. It’s more like a fairy, because at least a unicorn is supposedly a mammal, and mammals do exist. So I’m going to call this cheater heart disease link the Tinkerbell Conundrum. Who knows why the link exists, but it’s good to know they can potentially pay for their sins. Thanks.

    • Feeling down today but this made me laugh, thx. More power to that college age girl who knows how to dump a cheater.

  • I initially was very quiet about it, only his family knew and one of my friends. In hindsight not telling more people that I was close with was a mistake, as I was then mind fucked by his family even more. It was the whole “you can’t leave him, what about the children”. And his dad telling him to change passwords on his electronic devices, etc. I was worried about what people would think, being in a small town. I wasn’t ready to face the truth, didn’t have the strength yet to leave.

    I’ve told many more people, and care less about what people think. I still occasionally get a twinge of feeling like I should keep quiet, but that is from the years of gaslighting and manipulation I faced. I see why I stayed and why I didn’t see it, I was so controlled by him.

  • With the exception of very close family and friends, I still tell very few unless they’ve walked in my shoes or have a need to know. As in to validate another’s similar experience or to support one going through it.

    The main reason is that people in general could not give a rat’s arse and are just interested in juicy gossip and personal details they can chew on and share with others. Not to mention, half the details get lost in the translation and embellished to suit the narrative. Then you end up with a dozen or more people with no vested interest in your welfare with knowledge of your personal business.

    Inlaws, personal, and business friends of ex rarely have any allegiance to the chump – they’re on the other team, not yours. What worked for me was to keep it on a “need to know” basis, keeping myself out of the path of further destruction, and living a life with our children that spoke for itself as opposite of that of the disordered cheater.

  • I regret that I didn’t tell anyone while ex was telling anyone who would listen to his smear campaign.
    Including the janitor at our sons school, our sons teachers, band parents shopping at Wal-mart who he normally didn’t talk to, anyone who would listen.
    At the time I believed that by taking the high road and remaining silent it would be more dignified and people would see through his big mouth smear campaign.
    I was also confident that people know me knew better than to believe his outrageous lies.

    I was wrong.

    If I had to do it all over again I’d talk and talk some more.

    I also didn’t tell our son, didn’t want ex to look bad…
    Again, huge mistake.. ex didn’t hesitate to villanize me to our son, which resulted in parental alienation. Ex told our son that if he lived with him they would be like college room mates. Just what a 16 year old boy needs is a college room mate. Ex eventually had our son emancipated so he wouldn’t have to pay child support.

    Speak your truth.., tell your children in an age appropriate manor.
    Cheaters need accountability

    • I am pretty sure that is why my ex at first waited until our son graduated from HS to drop kick me; so he wouldn’t have to pay child support. (He was never going to pay for any of his college)

      But then in sons senior year my ex started supporting a newcomer who wanted to unseat the sitting mayor whom my ex hated. (he was an awful mayor). He asked me to join in the fight and of course I did. I had no reason at that time to suspect anything. He and I both worked hard on the campaign.

      The new guy liked us both and I have no doubt bought my ex’s family man con. No reason he shouldn’t. FW was going to church, as he had been for a while. We went to all the political and community stuff, as we had for years. (little did I or these folks know he had been fucking the whore for several years by then) oh some police officers knew I am sure but I guess it wasn’t time yet to drop a dime. I think the reason they were keeping quiet is they all hated the mayor and they were looking to get rid of him too. They knew if anyone could get him ousted it would be me and fw, as long as they kept quiet.

      Anyway we ousted the old mayor, the new mayor was seated in Jan of 88, so he needed to play the family man until he could get his hoped for promotion, and so the con continued. I was so thrilled; my H was treating me so well at that time. I thought we had done a wonderful thing in ousting the old mayor (which for the city we had).

      No way I would have been a part of that con if I had known the truth, and of course my H knew that so he kept lying.

      Anyway, the h did get his promotion in the fall of 88. I was so proud of him and myself for being a part of a good movement. I remember he sent a couple other lieutenants over in a police car to pick me up at work. (I worked on the Army base) he and both these police officers had been promoted to LTs right after the mayor was elected. I was proud of them all because they were all hard workers. H, a fellow male officer and a female officer.

      God I was stupid. I still don’t know who knew and who didn’t know; but I am sure because of some other evidence that the new mayor was conned by the ex. I am absolutely sure had he known he would have never promoted H to Captain and put him in the office right next to him and trusted him like he did had he known he was lyi8ng through his teeth to me and everyone who mattered. It would have been political suicide. And in fact he proved that by upon disclosure promptly moving the whore to another job, which in fact was a better paying job than animal control. He knew she could file a lawsuit. Also he before the year was up busted my ex, and the two other LTs who had been recently promoted.

      It was qui8te a mess and I only found out because it was in the paper. The mayor couched it all as re org changes, but anyone with two brain cell to rub together knew what happened.

      New mayor had to cover his ass; and I can’t blame him. Thought he was covering his own ass, he also avenged me though I doubt that was his intent. I had called him when I found out and asked him if he knew. He said he didn’t and I believe him for several reasons, one being it would have been political suicide had he known and given my ex the power he did. He (the new mayor) was highly pissed. He was very kind to me in the call; and I do believe he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was clueless and had been conned aright along with him.

      I feel pretty certain that the former mayor also did know. Had he known he would have blown it wide open and saved his seat.

      I won’t lie, seeing my ex get demoted, and lose his place in the community put a little bounce in my step. I knew that all the important players knew I was innocent and was only trying to help the community and my H by my work. I got a lot of calls from city counsel members and city employees.

      I walked away after he was outed; yes I was in tremendous pain but I walked away and let my ex crash and burn as he deserved. I had to start my life over at basically the poverty level. I figured he was handing over everything I had worked for to her who had worked for nothing. She had a reputation of being not only a lazy worker, but a town whore who went after several married man and I thought she would just step in and take over where I left off. She didn’t. She was shunned. They both went down in flames. It took a few months but it became clear from what I read in the paper, and what I saw first hand.

      I think from what I found out that fw and his whore were planning on using me for another year to secure his promotion, then he would dump me and drag whore out of the woodwork as someone he turned to after we divorced then someone dropped a dime to the city counsel and he got his nuts wrapped around the work auger. He crashed and burned. I am guessing his life at work was a living hell until he decided to retire early (he lost about half his retirement to qualify to retire early) I didn’t find out about a lot of this until just before he recently died.

      My son mentioned it. We never really talked a lot about his dad other than (how is your dad, etc) My life had taken a complete different turn; for the better.

      It really is kind of all sad what he threw away for a whore. He chose to be a lying con man. He didn’t have to be. A small part of me feels sorry for him and wonders what they hell he was thinking.

  • D Day 1 I told told a friend who’s husband had cheated a long time ago and their relationship recovered and our marriage counselor. If we were going to try to save things I didn’t want everyone to know.

    D Day 2 I was done. I told my dad — it was Christmas Eve and didn’t want to ruin anyone’s holiday, but needed to talk to someone and so I called him. I also knew once I told people there was no turning back this time and didn’t want him to gaslight me into changing my mind.

    FW’s mom was staying with us and he asked me not to say anything to her about the impending divorce and I agreed because I didn’t want to make her have to fake it for the kids too, but he told her right away about the divorce. However, he told her that it was because I always made him be the bad guy with the kids. (He barely saw them and I handled everything even when he was home and awake.) After about 20 minutes of parenting lecture from her (right after she told me that my sarcastic but well behaved kids will end up in jail because I don’t spank them), I interrupted and told her that her precious boy was fucking around.

    I’ve told a couple friends and while sorely tempted I didn’t put anything out there. He was being agreeable as to me keeping the kids and the house (Only about $10k in equity at the time, we’d not had it long) and he kept his $47k+ in debt that he couldn’t/wouldn’t tell me what it was from. (I told him I would split the debt, if he would tell me what it was for, but he said not to worry about it.)

    My divorce only cost about $700 (my brother’s wife was my lawyer) and I got what I wanted and so I didn’t want to rock the boat. I regret not telling his AP’s husband about it, but by the time the divorce was over it seemed so long ago and I didn’t have any proof this time.

    If friends/family ask why we got divorced, I tell them the truth but I don’t broadcast it.

  • I told my two closest friends who were very supportive, one lives thousands of miles away but was always available on the phone for me. Then I told our closest mutual friends, a couple. I was sure without a doubt that the woman of that couple would be horrified on my behalf. And she pretended pretty well at first. She told me she was crying at work the day after I told her over it.

    So she invited me to go to the beach. I hadn’t realized going to the beach would mean driving by one of our early apartments and restaurants and malls we used to take our son. It was a rough drive. I told her this when I got there and she rolled her eyes at me. She can sob at work and require comfort over my divorce but I get an eye roll for being sad. Ok…. I admitted to her I’d been feeling suicidal and she ignored it completely. I thought well, some people aren’t good at dealing with this kind of thing. A few hours later she started talking about how worried she was that my ex would kill himself. And she kept bringing it up the rest of the weekend. So she doesn’t give a fuck when I’m suicidal right in front of her but she’s oh so worried that the man who threatened my life, cheated on me, and brutally dumped me and our son might someday become suicidal. Ok…

    After that I felt like what the fuck is the point? That was the one I had the most faith in and she was garbage the whole time. Probably she’s fucking him. I’ve been estranged from my mom for years and our last conversation she said bizarre things about my husband and how he would choose her over me. I thought she was nuts. Now it makes sense. They were fucking. I had weirdness between him and my sister that “friends” who I now know were his fuck buddies told me I was crazy to even be suspicious of. How could he fuck my sister?!

    Well, if she let him, then he fucked her. And I’ll never know the truth. I know she started parading around the house in a bra to the point where I demanded she move out. And he bought her an expensive big screen tv that Christmas after never buying her a gift and I got treated like stupid, crazy dogshit for being WTF?!

    I got rid of everybody. Maybe some of them are decent people but how the fuck would I know? And I’m not willing to go through the screening process with each of them, it’s horrible and painful. I gray rock my sister and tolerate her but we aren’t ever going to be close again. Because I don’t know. And I’ll never know. And he’s still liking all her facebook posts and she’s still friends with him, which according to my boyfriend, tells me all I need to know. It’s nice to have people in my life who aren’t his gaslighting fuck buddies who will say no, that’s actually fucked up. Why is she friends with the man who threatened your life? That’s not fucking normal.

    So I just moved on. Fuck them all. They’re all pieces of shit and they deserve each other. His new #1 girl will be the next person they treat as a stupid bitch to lie to and use and she actually deserves it. She loved seeing it done to me but she thought she was better than me and oh so special. She deserves everything she gets. And since she’s a sick motherfucking psycho too, maybe she’ll give them some of what they deserve too.

  • No one believed he could ever cheat. I did not imagine it one second. His mother what the first to find out, when he broke his leg abroad and called her instead of me due to the presence of the OW. She was shocked and informed me, but I was so much in denial that I understood only one year later. And then I told every family member who called me. They don’t call often. I was so alone all the time. No one talked to me at work. There was a bad vibe coming out of me or something, because now the same people are much friendlier.
    Years later, when he had almost reached his goal, new appt, new job, new area, foreign fiancée, his heart stopped. I helped his poor mother the best I could to sort out his stuff, she had always been on my side.
    Weird situation. No one sent a condolence card to me, because he was considered gone anyway, although we had lived 15 years in the same house. I did not inherit a cent. Always there to solve problems, forgotten for all the rest.

  • If I had to do it again, I would wait until I found out who the OW was, and then after she had blown up her own family to be with fuckwit, I would mail her all the over the top love cards he had given me (many during the affair ). If I had taken pictures of all the bouquets of flowers, I would have included those in the package – she likes to post the flowers he gives her (exact same that I received ) as her main Facebook page picture. Actually she alternates her main public pic with either flowers he has giving her or little gifts he has given her. I received the same type of gifts.
    It would’ve given me great satisfaction to imagine her opening the envelope and realizing that he’s a one trick pony and that she’s not special. I’m sure this cheating latest soulmate has received cards with the same wording.

  • Question: Should I tell the adult children of OW that their late father was not suffering from dementia when he accused his wife of sleeping around? She was having sex with his best friend (my ex). I think my ex sits at the head of their dining table now.

    • Sicker Punched is right. Why should you keep her lie for her? It’s such a dishonor to that poor man to let everyone believe he was just “demented” when, in fact, he was telling the truth! It breaks my heart whenever I think about the evil lies FWOW still tell about me. It’s the insult they add to their injury And they do it without consequence because decent people such as yourself worry they might upset others with the truth.

  • The only telling social media post I made was after divorce from cheater drug user was final:

    Moving on doesn’t mean you have to forget who that person was to you; you just need to accept they aren’t that person anymore.

  • I told everyone. I had nothing to hide…and I knew that the cheating exhole would HATE people knowing that about him. He was SO BIG ON IMAGE and everyone thinking he was great. I ghosted him and left him with our assets. His name was on the lease but I was paying the rent…I laugh thinking about what a shock it would have been for him to finally have to use his own money for all his debts, bills and rent. 🤣 I have no doubt that he would have really struggled since he HAD no money left and couldn’t work in the middle of treatment. I mean…I wasn’t there to pay for all his life extending experimental cancer therapies either which were VERY expensive. He reaped what he sowed.

  • I didn’t tell about the early suspicion and triangulation and everything. I kept quiet about all the red flags. There was a blow up while we were still engaged where I caught him crossing lines and I kept quiet about that. Then when the big D-day hit and I found the burner phone filled with years of texts, photos, emails, etc., I told everyone. I changed my FB relationship status to “It’s complicated” and my SIL made a shitty comment about it. I spent a week trying to figure out how to get away from him and then got sucked back in. I kept all the evidence. I tried to move on. He continued to treat me like crap and I had one friend who knew almost all of it. I vented to her and no further. Then D-day 2 hit. I started talking to a small group of friends who are spread out and don’t know each other. Two of them klootzak doesn’t even know I still talk to. These people I quietly reached out not just to vent but for ideas and help. They are my tribe. I have kept only 4 people in the real loop and even they do not know everything because I won’t talk to anyone about anything my attorney discussed with me. I know 2 others who are chumps. One was dumped this summer and the other is preparing to file and get away. They are the ones I use foul language with and share real usable ideas. The first four are resources. They have legal connections. They have offered to let me stay with them if need be. One offered to pay for a PI as a gift but I did not accept. Some are far. Two are in my neighborhood. They have seen his behavior with their own eyes.

    On social media, I quietly over time deleted every post I ever tagged him in and almost all photos that he was in. I don’t mention him or share any obvious quotes. On my birthday, I put up a fundraiser for a women’s shelter. I have an alternate persona on my other phone that I use to ask questions in private groups and to research and make sure I have protected myself and my son as best I can. I took an online course with One Mom’s Battle about documentation. I keep it all quiet quiet quiet. Anyone looking at my Facebook would think I was already a single mom though my status is married and tagged to him. My day to day posts do not involve him at all and haven’t for ages. If his attorney wants to dreg up old deleted history, they might find something from me from 10 years ago but nothing in the last several years.

    Sane parent? Yup. A judge would find my behavior boring and move on. I haven’t wigged out in a long time. The last D-day right before the pandemic, I knew I had to accelerate my plan and I have but I’m lying very low. A few of the people I vented to years ago haven’t heard from me in a long time. That’s on purpose. If anyone asks them, they’ll recall that I bent their ear maybe 5 years ago but not after that.

    My fingers are crossed that I will benefit from all this eventually. To me, the biggest eyes watching how I behave are my son’s. If I act crazy, he’ll see, he’ll report, he’ll not like it, and I wouldn’t blame him. My self control is so important. I truly believe klootzak will try to take him. It’s my only fear.

    So yeah… plenty of people heard from me over the years that Mr Wonderful isn’t but it’s ancient history as far as the courts would care. I did my big venting years ago and got wise once I became a mother.

    • I just reread my post and want to clarify because I think I wrote that the 4 friends are “resources” but my point was that I only let them know certain things so I can get help as I need. I let my one friend know I needed legal help for a divorce so she knows quite a bit of what is going on because I felt like I had to tell in order to ask. The other 3 are friends who have offered various ways of helping and I keep them updated because things they have offered evolve as my situation does so I keep them up to date on my progress. At one point, my friend’s parents had their condo downtown vacant and she could have worked it out for me to move there rent free for a while if I was ready to go. My emotional venting is to my 2 chump friends but the others are friends who, as they became aware and wanted to offer help, now I keep them updated from time to time on where I’m at and how it’s going. The legal connection made contact with a good attorney in another part of the state if I get moved (which was a potential at one point). I only divulge as I must. Usually they are making sure I don’t backslide. “Don’t back down. We will help you get out.” They are resources to my sanity. The way I stated it above sounds crass and that wasn’t what I intended. I don’t use people like klootzak and I am trying to do everything I can without much help. But it sure is good to know it’s there!

  • I told too few people and too late. I wanted to keep things quite during wreckonciliation to protect him on the assumption that we were gonna work it out, so I only told 3 people. Years later when we were divorcing, I told more people…and most were supportive…but it just felt all weird at that point. Like, it was old news to me but then I had to watch them process it in real time. It sucked.

    Not sure I would do it too much differently now. I’m a private person (not to be confused with secretive…those are very different things). But I totally get people who spread the word. And even though I agree with CL that our chump asses should stay of social media with this crap, I support Alice. Sometimes the only way forward is to share your pain.

  • It’s such a blur looking backwards 3.5 years post divorce. My ex had just retired from a 39 year corporate career. We had built a retirement home the last 7 years of his work, but still had our primary residence 4 hours from that. He moved down to our beach retirement home alone for almost a year after he retired without me. His dad had died, he had heart issues and he just retired, so I thought he was just in crisis of some kind and needed to reset, so I gave him the space he requested for that. My adult daughter and I were at the main house. He texted me from the beach one day frantic and saying that I told my daughter that he had abandoned us. ( I didn’t know she had also been texting him and having an argument about what the hell he was up to) I hadn’t even spoke to her, as I was unable to understand what the hell was happening myself, but I then got a brief moment of clarity and told him how I saw it, he had abandoned us in every conceivable way. Come to find he was flying back and forth to the mistress that year he was “finding himself” at the beach, deciding what card he wanted to play in retirement and picked the 5 year mistress card, the much younger option than me. When I found that out, I absolutely told my 27 y/o daughter what her dad was up to and her two brothers as well. He lost his mind not being able to control the narrative he wanted any longer and had an actual stroke over it. He then left about a year later to permanently move in with the mistress, marrying her in 2020 with three day heads up on that to his kids.
    He must have started controlling the story years before, in his plan to set it all up, because his three siblings were all onboard with his bs story of “ I love her but I’m not in love with her” any longer. I come to find out he was a serial cheater for probably the entire 38 year marriage. I thought we loved one another, at least that’s what I believed to be true. He tried to control the story to my five siblings too, but he should have known better, they would never turn on me!! They fully have my back and are equally shocked as to what a complete loser he has turned out to be. It’s mind blowing to everyone that knew us.
    Thank God for my family, I would not have survived without their love and support. I’m not a talker and I’m a very private person, so my family truly saved my life. Now, I am completely open and honest to anyone that wants to know what happened. I will be thrilled if I can help another person avoid the crater I fell into, and I will help in any way I can. He thought he had a great relationship with his kids, but they have to prepare themselves for any communication with him now, they don’t look forward to it and it is extremely awkward, it’s been devastating for all to accept the reality that their dad turned out to be not their hero, but a complete piece of shit. That’s a lot for anyone. None of us feel good about it, but at least we know the truth and can try to move past it. My kids and I call ourselves “the A-team”, our love is unconditional and we will always be there for one another. That’s been everything for all of us to have.

    • Chumpasaurus45, you hit the nail on the head: “He lost his mind not being able to control the narrative he wanted any longer and had an actual stroke over it.” ” He must have started controlling the story years before, in his plan to set it all up, because his three siblings were all onboard with his bs story of “ I love her but I’m not in love with her” any longer.” “He tried to control the story to my five siblings too, but he should have known better, they would never turn on me!! ” All of the not speaking out just allows the cheater to continue the kind of one-sided control they had in the marriage. You are mighty to have seen so quickly and clearly that this is a control issue. And I love your conclusion, “None of us feel good about it, but at least we know the truth and can try to move past it.” You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Amen! Thank you for this testimony!

  • I told noone that was in my personal circle as I was so embarrased….i know now the shame is his to carry.

    However I did tell the nurse at the hospital (miscarriage follow up), a tarot card reader (!), the person on the end of the phone on the Good Samaritan help-line. These individuals were so kind to me and although I don’t even know their names, I will never forget them.

  • In all honesty, I wasn’t able to keep my shit together. I dissociated. There were several days when I literally couldn’t speak at all. Since I already had PTSD twice-over, D-day shattered my emotional stability completely. It triggered my shame, so telling anyone was torture. My tears spilled out reflexively and embarrassed me on many occasions. Truthfully, I probably should have been hospitalized during this time. I was prescribed two antidepressants, two anti-anxiety medications, something for insomnia, and another medication to control my blood pressure. I think the only reason my counselor didn’t have me admitted was because she didn’t want him to use that against me. I do wish there had been someone to take care of my kids during that time, because my mental state made everything worse for them. I still feel incredibly guilty for that.

    The good thing is that FW was so convinced that I was batshit crazy, he didn’t believe I was capable of it when I said I wanted to move 2000 miles away. So he signed papers agreeing to it, and I packed up the minivan and took off. It was the best move I made. By the time he could do anything to fight it, we were already settled legal residents of California with his documented permission. Of course, this didn’t happen until a year later when I wasn’t totally mentally paralyzed.

    Anyhow, I kept everything to myself in the first year, except for FW and my counselor. There were a lot of things I wish I had held back from him now. But there are also quite a few things I’m glad I said, along with a few choice words I wish I *had* said.

    If I could do it over, I would be as ice cold, as brutally honest, and as cruel with him as I learned to become later. Now, I spit venom if he tries to cross my boundaries, but mostly I ignore him. As for others, I’m finally able to talk about it as just a matter of fact. It’s good to finally be here.

  • I did not tell many people at first – like the first year. I found out in 24 hours that my ex had a double life that involved voyeurism, exhibitionism and a plan to replace me. I was shocked. I only told family and a person who helped me get an attorney. The ex had essentially told me (after I requested a telcon while he was on a business trip) our marriage was over – I read between the lines. News to me. I was horrified, ashamed, processing and still protecting my best friend for 17 years. The support of my family kept me from pick me dancing. Now – 2 1/2 years since I found out I was living a sham – I feel comfortable telling most anyone and consider it a cautionary tale. I am thinking of writing a book.

  • Internet is such an amazing way to connect and share and yet nowadays we have to be so cautious of what we say instead of just sharing all the truth for fear of those wonderful ambulance chasers. I’ll just say I was blindsided and I ain’t real proud of how I reacted to it so I’ll just say this. Hurt, lost, alone, afraid, uncertain, terrified, detached from reality……my reality had just ended…..or so I thought. Reality doesn’t end it just is and my new reality was this. It was like an atom bomb wake up call and I slogged through the devastation because what other choice is there? Yes, I shared too much and with a lot of the wrong people……another learning lesson, but their are good people out there and they came through for me and I’ll never forget that. Hard way to learn about people who really care, but maybe that’s what chumps need. We need to fix our pickers in all aspects of life. Now, I ain’t perfect by any means…..still got my chumpiness from time to time and no I don’t believe I deserved what I got, but deserves got nothing to do with it. A good and honest hug can fix a lot and empower anyone to just keep swimming. Sometimes we just need to get back to the simple things for those first steps.

  • I was terrified about having to tell anyone. At work no one knew for a good couple of weeks. The lockdown in the UK helped me in the way that I wasn’t able to socialise. I hadn’t been on any social media during the discard. I disappeared into myself….

    The relationship was a long one. 34 years together, mirage (term coined from here) 31 years. Then there was suddenly an all encompassing void.

    My 3 adult children were the first to know. My 2 darling daughters already knew and tried to convince me several times during the strange. I knew too, deep down but I didn’t want to believe it. When it all came crashing down around me, my parents were the first who I told. I went back onto a social media platform with a new account and waited to see if any of our mutual friends asked how we were….. and they did. I told them the truth. Thankfully I had read LACGAL and found this support network by then so was ready for the questions. All were shocked. All said helpful and supportive things I needed to hear. Most then just continued with their own lives. Me and my situation was probably gossip for a day or two then just old news. Anyone who wanted to be friends with us both were immediately dumped from my life. If, they asked why, I told them. A few, who surprised me, immediately dumped FW from their lives… they are MY friends and I’m grateful for them. I am no longer on any social media and I like it that way. I find it too fake.

    I have dragged myself through this emotional tornado, felt all my feels, cried, screamed, burnt stuff (a lot of stuff 😂), got drunk, got more drunk, got sober, talked and talked and talked and talked endlessly to my closest friends, read this site and everyone’s comments everyday, you have all helped me so very much. When you step away from the crazy, you truly see it for what it was. Then I started to count my blessings. I have evolved 😁. It was hard, healing a broken heart has been the toughest challenge for me so far. I am still in battle Royale (divorce) as FW wants it all, which isn’t gonna happen. The Law in the UK seems to somewhat favour women who have been in a long mirage and sacrificed their careers to raise families and support their spouses into a fabulously paid job. Looking back there isn’t anything I regret doing or saying. I have fantasised about doing dark things though. I’ve come to the conclusion that FW never loved me, he only pretended too and that has helped me to just release a lot. He doesnt/didn’t care about me so I don’t about him. I’ve made it sound so easy, it wasn’t, as I said above it’s been the toughest time.

    To the outside world I acted with grace and dignity. Inside my heart and mind was a raging banshee that wanted to spew feelings onto anyone who’d listen.
    That witch wanted to plaster posters everywhere, she’s powered my engine, I love her 😁. I’ve realised quite early on that people give you a sympathetic ear and kind words ‘oh he’s left you’ ‘another woman!’ ‘wow I thought he loved you so much’ ‘I was so envious of you two’ blah, blah, blah, but then just get on with their life. They ain’t in the shit storm it doesn’t affect them, why should it. I get it.

    My life is awesome. My Tuesday is in sight. To anyone who has just received their chump status, be kind to yourself, allow those feelings, true friends will appear…hold on tight to them as the sea gets really wild at times. Come here everyday. Read the stories. Read about the mightiness, it’s here in abundance. It saved my life, everyone here saved me.

    Hugs to everyone ❤️

    • claire, this is familiar territory for me. i hear you. sharing is key. and, with the passage of time, life is calmer.

      i too burned a number of things in the firepit out back. it was satisfying. i should burn a few more things, just to keep the edge off.

  • If you’re a new chump here to gain some wisdom & direction in deciding whether to tell or not, I just want to make this plea: TELL YOUR STORY. I’ve posted my own story above of what I did and how fabulously it turned out, but this is a broader point, which is:

    How can we change the culture by staying silent?

    Yes, I understand friends might make fun of you or disappoint you with their reaction.

    Yes, I understand the fear you might suffer some small loss in your court case (although I seriously question that – if your telling the story is calm and factual). Truth is a huge defense. I’m not talking about the poster here who lost $100,000 from a stray comment – most of us are not wading in those waters in our divorces. I’m talking about not being afraid or ashamed to tell factual truth to whoever we believe should hear it. This is not legal advice – if you are in active litigation, of course consult your attorney. But I wonder how much of the “I can’t speak out for fear of hurting my case” is really just fear of the social humiliation of having been cheated on or victimized. And how can we change that culture of social humiliation without speaking out?

    There is enormous power in numbers. Think of the MeToo movement.

    I’ve practiced law in the area of employment discrimination and harassment for 35 years. The way our culture, other lawyers, juries, etc. now BELIEVE women who report sexual harassment is light years different from how they were seen 35 years ago – or even 5 years ago. What changed? The huge numbers of women speaking up. Literally nothing else. Once people realized how common as dirt this crap is for EVERYONE, they became more willing to believe it when ONE person reports it.

    Can we do that for the problem of how being chumped is seen in our culture? I give CL huge credit for popularizing and validating the LEAVE YOUR CHEATER part of this equation. That has changed the culture, and it’s huge. But part of making that easier for future chumps to do is changing the stigma of having had this experience. And I don’t know how you change the stigma of something when you’re hiding it. Who has that ever worked for?

    Can we all be Rosa Parks and refuse to move to the back of the bus? The societal and mental health benefits of refusing to hide are enormous. You will be uplifting not only yourself, but future chumps. Please think about it.

  • I told everyone about it and too often. Disclosed to people I hardly know.

    I think I was waiting for some sort of justice where people would tell me ” you are right , she is wrong”
    Of course at the same time my cheating ex wife told everyone her version of the events ” just a friend ” loveless marriage” , the whole bull shit.

    It left me in a vulnerable situation , as I had disclosed really personal thoughts to people who I don’t have this level of trust with.

    I suggest to disclose to a couple of good friends and certainly here on the chump lady website.
    But otherwise be the smiling assassin and move on. Prepare for the divorce, stay free of all those crazy emotions.
    I know that is really hard and it took me a while.
    But I can see the difference – my ex still wants to argue and fight 3 years post separation and I don’t.

  • Long posts on facebook, montly emails to family members. Told them all, yet I didn’t leave. Did this for 5 years while completely losing my dignity. In the meantime hubby and OW just kept their relationship going under my nose. I guess I was a doormat. When he finally divorced me, I married the first man I met 6 months later.

  • I was oblivious to everything except a severely handicapped newborn at the time. I’d never have guessed except for the STD diagnosis. I mentioned the STD a couple of times between trips to the emergency room with the baby, but really I could not have cared less where he stuck it as long as it wasn’t into me. It was another six or seven years before things calmed down enough for me to get a divorce. To this day, nearly 30 years later, IDGAF.

    On ordinary days I cannot tolerate cheaters and have busted 3 of them semi-publicly during my career as an adult. I have no truck with the “don’t ask, don’t tell” thing or people who support it.

    My very deepest sympathies to those still struggling.

  • I always choose my confessions carefully. BUT… after D-Day #3, FW was brought in front of the whole church by our pastor (we were both in church leadership at the time) and the whole story was made public. At the time, I felt really humiliated by it and overwhelmed with all the messages I was getting as a result. I was angry that I didn’t have the chance to choose who I trusted.

    That said, it allowed me to talk about it pretty far and wide without looking like a crazy person, because they all already knew.

    After awhile it got old, though, as it always came with reconciliation advice. Glad to have put that behind me.

  • I told my family, and a lot of our mutual friends. I didn’t actively reach out to anyone, but if they asked, I gave them the full disclosure. I didn’t post anything on social media, just went silent. I had to accept early on that he was claiming he only “texted the wrong person,” and that the true friends I had would check with me, and the rest weren’t worth keeping. Looking back, I’m amazed I stuck to my guns on that, seeing as I was either seething with angry or bawling my eyes out.

    One of the most important things I read in those days after D-day was “Make sure your children are proud of the way you conducted yourself.” Looking at my infant son, I knew I never wanted him to be ashamed or embarrassed of something I did. I knew custody would never be a battle (and it wasn’t), but I didn’t want to give me ex the satisfaction of any examples of the “crazy ex-wife.”

  • The one person that I wish I hadn’t told was my 88-year-old mother.
    “Move back home with me,” was her automatic reply.
    Although I’ll definitely move in when she needs me for full-time care, it is
    not the solution I need right now.
    And why have I not yet told my grown kids, when I have told several trusted friends?
    It’s been almost two years since d-day, and a legal separation is all I’ve
    managed to accomplish so far.
    I should change my moniker to TurtleChump, but I’ll eventually get there.

  • I told EVERYONE, EVERY ONE, EVERY SINGLE PERSON I KNEW, and some I didn’t.

    He had to find a new dentist, hairdresser, grocery store, couldn’t pick the kids up from school without having to act like he didn’t notice many of the other parents wouldn’t look at him, never mind say hi. His brother and sister, who already didn’t like him much, liked him even less. The mother who made him the entitled asshole he is was disappointed in him! Our family friends never spoke another word to him. Our plumbers (well, my plumbers, because I took care of most everything around the house, right? Good spouse appliance) and handyman doubled up the care with which they did work at our old house, and discreetly cut their bills. The kids and I had multiple invitations for every holiday for years – him? Not a one besides Schmoops. I told people at work so they’d know why I was half checked out for a while, and got tons of support AND practical assistance. And more holiday invitations.

    I don’t think he was too bothered by most of this, he was going to just transplant himself into Schmoopie’s life (just like he’d done with mine, damn!). Too bad she dumped him a year or so later. For another man. And then did it again after they got back together again.

    But his trick of finding a woman and parasiting onto her life continued, at least as long as I had some info about how his life was going. Lucky for him he’s really good looking. Last I checked he was on his 6th or 7th ‘THIS is two lurv and a lifetime commitment’ relationship. But that’s got to get exhausting. And he’s not even old yet.

    I could blab to everyone because I didn’t need his money, other than gov’t mandated child support. And the kids were old enough (11 and 12 at the time) to make their own decisions about how much custody time to spend with whom. We were also not legally married (thank god! he couldn’t touch my pension, and it was his own retirement funds that melted so fast as he tried to live the high life AND pay child support), so aside from the house, splitting up was super simple. I also knew that I had been a good partner and had done everything I could to make the relationship work and keep my kids’ family together (including truly moving past his 1st affair 7 years prior). I had no shame, that was all on him.

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