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He’s Cheating and Now ‘Needs My Help’

Hello Chump Lady,

How I wish I had found you months ago. Before I had invested my time and money into “get your marriage back!” Crap.

It’s been 8 months of an emotional and physical affair. We have been married 15 years, three children, youngest is 8 with special needs. I was the breadwinner for the majority of our marriage, he was the stay at home dad. We moved to a new state three years ago because of my job. It was a good opportunity.

He, unbeknownst to me, was resentful from the start.

Enter the affair partner.

They are soulmates of course. He actually had told me as I making dinner one night, it was this May, that he was not in love with me anymore, hadn’t been for a long time.
I was so blindsided. Two days later I found out about her.

He has played the “I can’t choose” game, and has come back and each time I kick him out because I find out he is in contact with her again.

This last time, he actually got a job 3 days before he left. (I lost my job last month because of all the stress.)

So, It has been absolutely a nightmare. I finally filed for divorce, with an attorney, well, this is actually the third time — the first two times he comes back and we play his game.

I sent her an email a couple days ago with some screenshots attached. Just a juvenile ugly one. And then I sent a follow-up one letting her know that I was filing divorce and they can continue to be happy and play their game without me. I do not want him. Leave me and my children out of it.

He has come over crying the past two days. Begging me to help him get rid of her — that he can’t do it on his own. Upset that I sent her the second email.

He states he needs my help.

I’m so angry at this point. If you can’t be man enough to choose your family, why would I want you? He has exhibited signs of being very afraid of her before. I don’t understand this dynamic.

Do I help him? Can I actually rebuild a life with someone who has discarded me and our kids like this??

Please help me.


Dear Jacki,

Holy Pick-Me Dance, Batman! I think you’re still too pickled in the Reconciliation Industrial Complex. Let’s examine a few of these sentences, okay?

He has played the “I can’t choose” game

YOU CHOOSE. Take back your power. You’re a wife, not a cafeteria option.

Do not fight for the honor of some fuckwit’s ambivalence. Is this relationship acceptable to you?

and has come back

No. You let him come back. You had agency here. Boundaries you could’ve enforced. You kick him out so he can go be with his soul mate — good. That’s you being the decider. Letting him come back with zero consequences to do this again and again? That’s cake. That’s you letting him eat cake.

I know it’s agony and of course you never should’ve been put in this position. But he’s not going to be the adult here. So, tag, you’re it. YOU have to take control and protect yourself.

I finally filed for divorce, with an attorney, well, this is actually the third time — the first two times he comes back and we play his game.

Did you file for divorce to just get his attention? In a spirit of Harrumph! Now I’ll show YOU! Dump the Other Woman and we’ll forget this little squabble? That’s also a game.

You divorce — not because you don’t value marriage — but because you do. Because you refuse to live a sham with a person who is capable of casual betrayal. When you get clear on your values and worth, the games stop.

I sent her an email a couple days ago with some screenshots attached. Just a juvenile ugly one.

If it feels good, don’t do it. Engaging with the OW is doing the pick me dance. It’s giving her centrality, when your decision to divorce is about YOU. These people thrill to triangulation. You just gave her a boatload of kibbles.

And then I sent a follow-up one letting her know that I was filing divorce and they can continue to be happy and play their game without me. I do not want him. Leave me and my children out of it.

She can receive glad tidings of your divorce from your ex. You know what communicates “Play your game without me”? Leaving them ALONE to play their game without you. No contact.

This was all just another bid in the pick-me dance. Watch me leave the field! I’m waving my white flag! I REALLY MEAN IT THIS TIME! Watch me!

And then, on cue, we get…

He has come over crying the past two days.

And round and round we go. “He has come over” = YOU LET HIM COME OVER.

Do his tears satisfy you? Is it a big shot of hopium? He cares?

Slap yourself. This is the same guy who blithely dumped you over dinner. Who walked out on three kids. He’s not a prize.

Begging me to help him get rid of her

Yeah, is this how he does his “soul mate”?

Look, that’s bullshit. He’s deflecting blame on to the Bad, Bad Woman Who Made Me Fuck Her. Affair partners don’t have superpowers. Just like chumps don’t drive cheaters to cheat on them, affair partners don’t make cheater cheat either. Your husband has agency. He CHOSE to do these things. He devalued you and he did it deliberately. And now he’s enjoying a big narcissistic payload off all this drama.

Fuck him.

He states he needs my help.

With what? Tethering his dick to a bedpost so it doesn’t wander? Is that your idea of a marriage?

He has exhibited signs of being very afraid of her before. I don’t understand this dynamic.

It’s the Ooh! My Schmoopie Is Very Scary! Don’t contact her or compare notes — no idea what she’ll do! I’m sure he’s doing the same mindfuck to her (and as she knows he’s married, zero sympathy here). It’s manipulation. Also part of the Timid Forest Creature schtick. He’s just so fragile! Whatever gets you off his trail.

Do I help him? Can I actually rebuild a life with someone who has discarded me and our kids like this??

Why would you want to, Jacki? WHY?

He has a sadz? Yeah, okay. You file for that divorce while he has a job and you don’t. See how the sadz grows. Consequences!

Go rebuild your life without him. No tag backs.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • This guy sounds like he wakes up every morning, asks himself “what can I do today that would create the most drama with the least actual effort on my part?”, then does that thing.

    I second all that CL said. Get yourself set up with some help learning to set and maintain solid healthy boundaries. I recommend finding a counselor who doesn’t agree with the premise that it’s good to try to work things out with a cheater — literally, ask that question during the early consultation. You’re the customer of your counselor, so it’s reasonable to find the right fit and change if it’s time for a new provider after a while.

    It takes practice and determination to become good at boundaries. You can do it. Doesn’t matter where you start, but you have to START before anything will get better. So, START!

    • “It takes practice and determination to become good at boundaries”

      Agreed, it’s a learned skill, not an inherent talent. At least, that’s how it was for me.

      • I agree…I love this site but I have to be honest in saying that talking about boundaries to someone who’s be conned into love, marriage or family is unrealistic. Actually in love, and in marriage and family we essentially vow to live for each other as a team …intimacy is trusting someone enough to give up treating them ‘professionally’ filling out consequences.

        I agree people are best leaving after someone has left the relationship or marriage behind their back because it’s abuse. However – the first stage is shock and denial and they are also being manipulated by someone they actually loved and ‘married’ their lives with.

        Nobody is a computer, and no human can just spin on their heels and walk out. That’s what everyone would recommend but nobody has done it. Not even therapists would actually be capable of it. She didn’t ‘let him’ come back, that’s not fair. She’s not responsible for him – he is.

        • “Nobody is a computer, and no human can just spin on their heels and walk out.”

          I did. Doesn’t make me a computer, or non-human. Cheating was, and is, a deal breaker for me.

          I was married 23 years, but that was the *end* for me. I knew I would never trust him again, and there was nothing to fix.

          • Same here … left within a couple of hours of the discovery. I’ve never been so certain in my life that I was doing the right thing, really the only thing I should consider doing. This after almost 37 years of marriage. But what I uncovered that morning represented decades of abuse. It would have killed me to stay. I’ve not talked or laid eyes on him since, save for passing his car on the road occasionally. When I do, I turn my head so as not to look at him.

            I would argue I’m as human as it gets, flaws and all. But I wasn’t about to suffer any more of it.

            • When I found out and texted him “who is schmoopie” and he didn’t answer, within a minute I told him to get his things out of my house. Never did the pick-me dance, never for one moment considered anything but getting him out of my life. Hard, yes. But it was the ultimate deal-breaker.

              • I turned on my heel and left the cheating exhole that night I found out. It was incredibly difficult but my head knew what my heart needed time to accept … you don’t cheat on someone you love and cherish. He clearly didn’t love or value me if he was prepared to risk losing me random dates with strangers.

                I am grateful I left even though I hurt at the time. I then met my beloved and wonderful Chump husband. He was the best and most wonderful person to walk into my life. Since his death I have discovered what real tragedy is. Our little girl was born on 14 December and my beloved didn’t get to meet her or hold her. He was fully invested in us and our family. Losing him and his love compared to losing the cheater…it was like losing the sun vs. losing a crumb. You don’t realise how little you had settled for with your cheater until you get some distance and perspective. No contact really makes all the difference.

        • The ability to practice boundaries started with my education about them, which began in 1985. They are still a daily practice for me.

          It was essential to my ability to comply with them that I was yold where I was allowing, letting, where I was responsible. In other words, where I had power and was not exercising it because of my lack of boundaries and codependence. For whatever reason.

          When people are able to comply is a completely individual process, but I believe it begins with the truth being pointed out.

          I read “letting him come back” the same way my therapist pointed out the same to me way back when….that I had the power, that I was responsible for my responses (she gave me “response-able”) wasn’t using it for whatever reason, and that I can’t blame others, even if my behavior is the result of maladaptive survival skills left over from my childhood. Even if I am a victim of harm done to me.

          The cheater tried to blame me for his inability to act in co-parenting therapy just last Thursday. She said to him, “It’s YOU.”
          Of course he has no boundaries and what he does is leftover from his childhood. But he is still the responsible party.

          Chump Lady is saying what the great therapists in my life have all said to me. And I agree with all.

        • Starting work on boundaries is never unrealistic, and healthy boundaries aren’t unrealistic in healthy relationships.

          Boundaries explicitly include knowing where my self/space/work ends and when to say no because the work isn’t mine to do.

          Boundaries also include when to say yes, and when to say maybe, and when to re-evaluate, and how to do that.

          They also include taking in feedback/observations, considering it all, and ultimately making the decision that’s right for you in the end.

          It’s not realistic to be great at setting and maintaining boundaries before we’ve practiced for a while, nor is it realistic to expect we’ll ever do it perfectly all the time, but it’s absolutely realistic to start the work at any time.

        • I love this post. I’ve been reading it as much as I can (trying to ignore the guy wiping his face, over and over and over and over and over again.) I think what Chump Lady says here is brilliant, and I’m going “Yeah!” in the background, and cheering her on, and reading more, and reading it again. I just love it.

          But I also love what you said here, Cakeeaters.

          How can you be having a great life, planning a picnic on Sunday, thinking about your kids’ friends, buying socks for your husband at Target, and then come home and your husband is in your bed, naked with some woman? And the next second you turn on a dime and say, “both of you, OUT!” and go No Contact, forevermore, in the space of a minute?

          It is a lot to suddenly do.

          We who have been cheated upon – in whatever way – have had to pivot and give up our dreams, whether it’s in the moment, a day later, or five years and ten pick-me dances later… it seems that most cheaters don’t grow in character and start eating salads and drinking protein drinks when there’s plenty of cake around. And there’s always plenty of cake around… and the cake they crave is what they think nourishes them…

          I think there MIGHT be some unicorns out there. And I think my dad might have been one of them, but he died early and young, so we don’t know what might have transpired had he lived. (Maybe God took him before he could break all of our hearts again? Who knows…)

          I love this: “YOU CHOOSE. Take back your power. You’re a wife, not a cafeteria option.”

          And this: “You divorce — not because you don’t value marriage — but because you do. (Oh, YES YES YES!!!) Because you refuse to live a sham with a person who is capable of casual betrayal. When you get clear on your values and worth, the games stop.” Oh goodness, I love this so much! This is my all-time favorite.

          And this: “Affair partners don’t have superpowers. Just like chumps don’t drive cheaters to cheat on them, affair partners don’t make cheaters cheat. Your husband has agency. He CHOSE to do these things. He devalued you and he did it deliberately. And now he’s enjoying a big narcissistic payload off all this drama.”

          And this: “Help… with what? Tethering his dick to a bedpost so it doesn’t wander? Is that your idea of a marriage?”

          And, one of my favorites: “Because, CONSEQUENCES.”

          This post is so full of golden nuggets that it is just GOLDEN.

          Thank you, Chump Lady. I might brave the waves of the deep ocean with plenty of fish again, and if I do, I’ll have my encyclopedia of Fish That Are Good to Eat, and a ready hand at Catch and Release, when I’m hungry and the pickin’s are slim and not at all good for the body or soul…

          • Thank you Light Heart et. al; everything I’m reading here today is hitting home. I spent time in RIC, I was a member, then lead a group at my church for 10 years. All the expensive therapy, retreats, all the books, I’ve got a library. I didn’t see my responsibility. I broke up with the OW for my husband, he also was very timid. It’s like watching Dr. Phil tell the parent’s of grown adult children to stop enabling their addictions. I received PTSD therapy to the depth of ‘I have choices’. My own FOO, all of it, just kept me swirling. I escaped my first cheater, I’m still married to my second. Is he a unicorn? If he is, it’s only because of his age and lowered testosterone. At least, that’s what he says. I see him more clearly than before. I see glimpses of his lack of empathy, his go to defense mechanisms of manipulation and blame. I point them out. I earned the right to speak my observed truth. It’s been 14 years since he’s been caught by me. I quit the RIC when I found this site. I read this every day. Thank you for providing a place to share, heal and be inspired.

            • Wait — so you’re staying married to your cheating husband? And pointing out to him when he’s manipulating and blaming?
              Just curious …

              • Yea, I did the RIC for many, many years. He joined groups and we were eventually leaders in our church, supporting the restoration of marriages after betrayal. For as far as I know, he has been faithful for 14 years now. That doesn’t mean he’s perfect, far from it. I’m not perfect either. I don’t cheat. I try hard not to manipulate and blame, and when I catch myself doing it, I apologize. Perhaps I’m a Chump of a different sort. I stayed married after many years of cheating. I’ve told myself I would have had a better life if I had left right away. Today, it feels unfair to leave after all this time.

              • IamChump, I’m also curious. The flagship statement of this blog is *Leave* a cheater, *gain* a life.

                Yet you state that you have *stayed* with your cheater for 14 years, and presumably intend to carry on staying, so I wonder why you’re here – what do you gain from this site, which is dedicated to chumps *leaving* cheating fuckwits?

                You also say, “it doesn’t seem fair to leave after all this time” – unfair to *whom*, you, or the fuckwit?

                It seems an odd choice of site to comment on, given our viewpoints are diametrically opposed.

              • “Perhaps I’m a Chump of a different sort”

                Actually no, you’re *not* a chump. You’ve chosen to stay in an abusive relationship. Volunteer.

                So again I ask, why are you here? Why do you read the posts, the comments?

                I’m hoping it’s because maybe you’re trying to psych yourself up to finally leave. Otherwise, I don’t know why you’re here.

            • Being a victim of abuse doesn’t mean you are weak and spineless or that you like to be devalued. It doesn’t mean you are without expectations. I was a chump, and I spoke my truth all along. It got me nowhere. Never changed a thing, and life was stressful and depressing. My mom
              has been living a similar pattern for 45 years with my dad. It can go on forever.

              I worked hard, gave my ex way too much credit and trust, lots of “fights” over nothing (which was so confusing and upsetting), did my own thing and kept going the best I could. When I tried to take control of my life or make positive change, or when I pointed out my ex’s unacceptable behaviors and how they were affecting me/us, I thought I was standing up for myself. However, doing so just kept me trapped in an abusive relationship because it meant engaging with and validating a disordered person. Playing his game. He’d use the channels – pity, charm, rage – to manipulate, and I never got what I wanted or needed. I’d express my needs, boundaries, hopes – and he’d ignore them or bully me out of them. Years of this, alongside financial abuse and manufactured and real crises, really undermined my boundaries and expectations, and I came to feel unimportant and numb. I was not central in my own life. One day I actually said to myself, ‘Why does he think he can continually cross my boundaries like this?
              Why doesn’t he care if he hurts me?’ And then I realized that was the wrong question. I am responsible for my own boundaries. I should’ve been asking, ‘What are my boundaries, and what do I need to do to enforce them? What are my values, and what do I need to do to live by them? What do I need from a life partner?’ What is acceptable to YOU, IamChump? What do you want? Dare yourself to imagine, and challenge yourself to be honest.

              Eventually, I mostly stopped “fighting” and lived my own life parallel to my (secretly) cheating partner. A few significant life events (and my growing depression, unease, and need for security) led me to a lightbulb moment, and I embraced life and in many ways felt better and happier than I had in years. I’d become so fed up and bored with FW’s behaviors and apathy. Really, I saw him more and more as the defensive, entitled, pathetic, dishonest and selfish person that he is. It was good to focus on myself. When he would pick fights, I’d just go along, ignore, or try to leave. Of course, that didn’t work, either. He’d follow me around the house, take my keys, say I was being unfair and just ignoring because I didn’t want to, start weeping or change the subject, etc. you don’t have to spend your one precious life this way. It’s exhausting and stressful, it’s an indelible pattern, cheaters/abusers don’t get better (they get worse), and your life is constant, unnecessary drama (that I always felt responsible for). Even if you are okay with the shit sandwiches and don’t mind spackling, that doesn’t mean the cheater won’t abandon you at any moment, besides. (He’s volunteering that you don’t have to worry because of his lack of testosterone; sounds like a pretty obvious cover, to me…) The life I built, the future I was building, was extremely precarious because it was so interwoven with and dependent on a lying, cheating coward who didn’t really care about me at all. When it fell apart, I lost almost everything.

              I was planning and trying to leave long before I knew about the cheating or had fully accepted the abuse or that he sucks and is disordered. I can’t believe I let my life come to this and wish I’d left sooner. My advice is to put down the hopium pipe before you invest even more time, money and energy in a black hole. Put your goodness into something good and stop letting a fuckwit fuck with your life – and the lives of those who care about you. I am very lonely and sad, and my life is small and hard, but no part of me wants to return to that awful man or the house of cards I lived in with him.

              • b&r ^
                This is a brilliant observation and so true. I am truly sorry that your life may be difficult and lonely at the moment but it won’t be forever. You have accomplished so much and have acquired great insight. Hugs to you as you are not alone ♥️

        • Cakeeaters, I think I understand what you mean by “unrealistic.” As a chump my boundaries were nonexistent. It was a tall order to have to, at the time in my life when my resources were already so depleted, learn about boundaries and then also enact them.

          The thing about enacting boundaries where none existed before is that it upsets the whole family system. The cheater has relied upon being able to manipulate and abuse the chump. When the chump, however trepidatiously, starts to say NO (and stick to it—the hardest part), it feels wrong to the cheater, so they believe they’re being victimized. It gets a lot worse before it gets better. For at least 3 years I truly did not believe it would get better.

          Through CL and CN, I’ve learned a lot, and you all have given support and validation that gave me the glimmers to see that one day boundaries could be realistic.

          Another resource I’ve found helpful is the Terri Cole podcast (and Instagram). I do fast forward through the promotional blah blah blah, but the meat is fortifying.

        • She did let him come back. He didn’t force his way back in and hold her as a hostage since. Part of growing and healing is recognizing what we are responsible for. She did “let him” come back.

          And “actually” in love, we do not have to give up boundaries. That is a terrible idea and an unhealthy view of what love is.

        • As soon as I actually finally recognised the abuse I secretly started counselling and within a month I was lining up my ducks.
          Then I left and told my lawyer to start separation of property (what you do here first with no fault divorce).

          I was pretty wobbly at first but he made no sign of truly wanting reconciliation and as I went on it got easier and easier to ignore his tirades and limit contact to kids biz.

          Was it hard? Yes. Was it scary, yes. Was it lonely? Yes.
          Was it impossible? No.

          Its the lack of real resolve, the hesitating and waiting and second chances that cause the most prolonged heartache and also gives the abuser time to to give you diseases, hide money, steal stuff, turn the kids against you, gaslight and make you look like a crazy person and generally ensure a very much worse outcome for you.

    • Yep. Like when your cat gets mad at you for some petty reason and shits in your bed. This guy stirs up trouble because he feels like a loser. Why? Because he is.

  • Mine could not chose either. He told me he prayed one of us(AP of me) would die because he could not chose. He also did really manipulative things to make me crazy(along with AP help) as I was suicidal and then also asked why I had not killed myself.

    Move along OP, go no contact. It is a terrible place to be. The insanity is well, insane. Take care of you and your kiddos.


    • “asked why I had not killed myself”

      Cue me making a horrible face.

      When they act THIS vile and we dont recognize how godawful it is, it shows how chronically abusive the marriage has truly been

      • Thanks all for the concern. I completely no contact. I a a ROCKSTAR at that now! I am five years divorced – kids are adults. I am no longer a victim but the ex traumatized me with his behavior at that time. Good grief – asshole!

        All good now.

        I remember some of you from my days on the forum. Not using my handle on here.

        The disordered really are not original.

        BTW – I have an excellent alarm system 🙂


    • They have done things to make me insane also, I completely understand, the stress has my hair falling out for goodness sake!

      I’m glad you are on the other side now.

      • I remember those days. I lost so much weight in such a short amount of time and my hair was also falling out in clumps. I looked sickly.

        A happier, healthier, FW-free life awaits you.

        • Down over 40 pounds and counting. I’ve kept my hair, but it took months to get my bloodwork results back to normal levels.
          For me, the nightmares were the worst.

          • “Down over 40 pounds and counting” Yep.

            Didn’t lose any hair, but broke out in hives for the first time in my life.

            “For me, the nightmares were the worst.”

            God, yes. Still get them sometimes.

      • My hair fell out also. The trauma to your body is unbelievable. Please please take care of yourself. You are not alone.

        The quickest way to get some sanity is no contact, limited contact, gray rock. Give them NOTHING to feed off of.

        Sending you internet hugs. You got this!

        • At my worst, I was 113 pounds (I look healthy and slim at 125, is I was withering), my hair was falling out and I had hives.

          Cheater was “working” (not “living” there as he put it, no matter he had an apartment with a 12 month lease) 3000 miles away and feigning wreckonciliation to eat cake. He harassed us on every call and visit to submit to his plan to move us.

          I had literally gotten to the point of deciding to tell him to quit calling and visiting, we were done. On that very call, he said “Im coming home” and I LET HIM. He deflected consequences saying he “wasn’t ready” to discuss it.

          Yes, I fell for every trick in the Cheater Book.

          I never left (I was readying to but hadn’t yet) when he died.

    • Me.
      Your situation resonates with me.
      I mean the ability these freaks have with disposable relationships is awe inspiring.
      I have not spoken to my freak for 10 months and the divorce is final. Now what?
      Prepare for retriangleation? More gaslighting? More DAVRO? It’s just who they are, forever.
      Good riddance is where I try to manage my daily, but the damage was done to me whilst she chose her “Tru Wuv”. Boy does the pick me dance suck.
      Happy holidays

    • Yup. I had my FW try to scare me into the OW kicking my ass and he wouldn’t defend me if she did, threatened to call the police on me because he couldn’t deal with confrontation, also told me “I don’t care who I end up with but I know I’m never going to do this again.” ????

      See him for what he is – a coward and an asswipe – please divorce him like yesterday

      Hugs for you

    • Me, this is abuse of the highest order. I’m afraid for your life— he might kill you. Please take every precaution.

    • When they can’t choose, they are not choosing you. There are so many who say well, he or she can’t choose what do I do…………..If he or she can’t choose their partner, that is crossing a Boundary (major) because they can’t protect their primary relationship and family.

    • When I was in the thick of the trauma — it was fresh and painful, and I was crying a lot, deeply depressed and trying to get my life together, now-ex casually suggested I read/watch Thirteen Reasons Why (in which the narrator has killed herself and others involved in her life are reading into her time leading up to that moment after the fact). It was no coincidence. They are sick fucks.

      • Few weeks before DDay #1 my XFIL showed me some very graphic pictures in his phone of a dead body under a bridge. He told me it was a young acquaintance of his that had recently took his own life over his wife’s infidelity. This conversation came out of the blue, and I felt very uncomfortable. Now I wonder if he wasn’t in the know by the time and if that wasn’t a nudge.

        • That’s one of the most disturbing things I’ve read, and I’ve read ALL the comments on this blog. ????????????

          • Just to (try to) be clear: I wonder if the father of my XW wasn’t already aware of his daughter’s affair and was trying to preemptively suggest what I should do to myself when I finally discovered it.

            My English is very bad and I just realized that I phrased it in an inept and harmful way (as if condoning his suggestion).

            I am truly sorry!

            Time for me to shut the f* up and learn some English before start rambling.

            • Brazilian Chump, your English is *excellent*!

              I think you’re right about your XFIL, because I can’t see any reason why a sane person would show you something so horrible if there wasn’t an agenda.

              Your XFIL is as fucked up as his daughter.

              As Sucker punched by a saffa says, that, (showing you that picture with the comment) is *really* disturbing and creepy.

              I’m so sorry you had to experience that.

              I hope you’re now divorced, and the two shit bags are out of your life. ((hugs)).

              • Thank you, Chumpnomore6!

                I am relieved to learn that maybe nobody was offended by my original post.

                My XW FOO has had domestic violence epsiodes along the years (one very recent) and my XFIL was once charged with attempted murder by firearm shot. He has his family convinced that he was once part of a death squad in their town. I don’t quite believe him because he is an alcoholic and likes to brag when drunk. But he is the kind of guy that while using a knife to peel an orange (or a chainsaw to cut a log) can’t help but comment things like “this is such a good (insert tool)! Imagine what it would do to a person”. Creeeeeepy guy. It gives me chills that my kids are spending Christmas with this bunch right now.

                My XW is a military police officer (in the medical corps though), but developed a sudden interest in firearms around the affair, even trying to purchase one of a particular model. Few weeks before DDay#1 she sent to my mom several pictures of herself and the AP together at work dressed in combat uniform and holding guns (AP was also a cop, her subordinate; they worked at a hospital, so WTF???). Why on earth she did that is some fuckupedness I gave up trying to untangle.

                The AP threatened me by text when I confronted him over the affair, but deleted the message right away so that I could not press charges. He was initially denied to join the force due to charges of domestic violence against a former fiancé of his. Courts decided in his favor on grounds of presumed inocence (my XW told me he bought the plaintiff a house in exchange for dropping the charges).

                Sorry for the long rant, I really needed to get this out my chest. I have been through so much fear these last couple of years and there are none but a few non-chump people to whom we can confide these fearful stories without sounding paranoid crazy.

            • I’m not offended (I’ve seen the worst of humanity editing war coverage) but find it almost psychopathic that your f.i.l. shows you such an image, maybe suggesting that you kill yourself ? That is very f*caked up, deranged, in my opinion.

    • My goodness! My FW told me that if he were in my position, with nobody caring about me (including our kid whom he tried to convince me didn’t love me) he would throw himself off a cliff. Didn’t realise they spew the same vile s**t.

    • Dear Me. That gave me the chills. It implies you were the one he was rooting to be out of the picture. Very cold reptile you were abused and entangled with. Stay strong.

    • this is just who they are so many times. They wish one of us would die, but never themselves. Someone dies to make it easier for them, well that is just the price they are willing to pay.

  • Im ashamed of how many of those stupid tricks I fell for back in the day.

    When I get mad at myself for not throwing him out the same night as the “Im divorcing you because you are a terrible wife” speech, I remind myself that this Cheaters behavior is exactly what my Cheater would have done (and expertly I might add) to maximize cake.

    What I failed to do (and this Chump is failing at now) is to attribute ALL of the suckiness (currently influencing all the misery) to the Cheater sucking.

  • Disclosure: I’m Jacki.
    I needed this. Everything I know, nothing I wanted to admit. Hard to hear, but harder to keep being the chump.

    A part of me is still playing the pick me dance. After 8 months, you think I’d learn, but learning some things about myself i don’t like very much (hello doormat!).
    Happily, I will say I did found a therapist who wouldn’t even book me until I got the attorney for divorce,
    I see her for the 1st time next week.

    No contact? As in, only talk if it’s about or for kids?

    Thanks everyone. Im alone here & I know it’s made it even more difficult for me.

    • You’ve got this! Someone needs to be the same, stand-up parent. Destiny is knocking and, guess what… it’s for you.

      These early days are the hardest. I’m so sorry you are going through this. “Welcome to the club no one wanted to join.” Each day you can stick to No Contact (except for legal/kid stuff which can be conducted in a curt but civil and professional manner) is a day you start to, slowly but surely, feel better.

    • Jacki, I am so happy you found a therapist who “wouldn’t even book me until I got the attorney for divorce”.

      No Contact is how you free yourself of his mind fuck. Don’t talk to him. Use e-mail and only communicate about the kid’s needs. This manipulative fuck is going to try to manipulate you through the kids. Email gives you separation from his emotional blackmail. I’ll bet he is too lazy to persist in his antics via e-mail.

    • No contact as in email only regarding the kids. Text if emergency.

      You’re not alone. It just feels that way. Think of it like a cocoon, you’re about to change into something better.

    • Sending you hugs and wishes of strength for the big lift ahead. Your children are so lucky to have you, and your husband has cheated himself out of the treasure of your marriage. Stay the course: Life will be so much better for you this time next year.

    • Yes, only talk about the kids (and only legitimate things that NEED to be discussed, as these people will use the kids as an excuse to talk to you). It’s hard at first, but gets easier with practice. If he brings up anything personal, ignore it, and answer the question that needs to be answered. For instance (based on a real conversation via email w/my ex):

      Me: What time did you need me to pick up [son]?
      Him: You’re a terrible mom. You are so selfish. You never think about anyone else. You don’t care about what I’m going through.
      Me: How about 3pm?

      I would literally shake when sending these kinds of replies, but eventually his inevitable temper tantrums ceased to distress me. And he did it less and less since it didn’t have the intended effect.

      It helps to think of your stbx as a toddler. When a toddler throws a fit, you don’t start arguing with them or defending yourself and your decisions. You just ignore the tantrum and do what you need to do. As my lawyers said: “step over him” and keep going.

      I was a total doormat for years. Therapy really helped me. Just be prepared for pushback when you start enforcing your boundaries. Our custody evaluator called out my ex for getting upset that I had gotten some boundaries. He wanted me to tell him information about my life and activities that were none of his business and when I said no, he accused me of all kinds of things, including starving our child (huh?) and not getting our child the therapy he needs (even though I am the ONLY one who ever found therapists for our son, including getting him evaluated through the school system). I got constant text messages and emails from him for awhile (like, every 15 minutes). If things like this happen, SAVE EVERYTHING. It comes in handy during the divorce, especially if you can show pattern behavior.

    • If you have children, it’s Minimal Contact.

      I talk about Child Business Money Divorce ONLY with Traitor X. (We own a business we co-founded. With legal oversight. For now.).

      I only speak to him if absolutely necessary only about matters that are absolutely necessary. By email, I might add. That way it’s documented and time/date- stamped.

      I do not speak to him hardly at all.

    • Jacki,
      Just this morning I was reflecting on my gratitude for CL and CN. While I never did the pick me dance, I dumped him. (I was 56 at the time and I don’t have the energy for someone that doesn’t adore only me).

      The biggest thing I learned here is the value of NO CONTACT. It has saved my sanity. The few times I did see him or interact via email (he’s blocked everywhere now), it set me back emotionally. Even though my interaction was to tell I him what a deceptive fucker he is, it still wasn’t healthy.

      You have kids and all to navigate, and that’s harder. But there are lawyers and parenting apps to manage the only contact you need. It’s hard, but no contact will set you free.

      Happy holidays to all those who celebrate at this time of year. May each season be less stressful and more peaceful.

    • I’m so glad you’ve made the decision, and your therapist sounds like *just what you need*.

      No contact! There is an app called “My Family Wizard” which you can use for anything that needs to be communicated about your children.

      Best of luck, and ((hugs)). It really does get better. ???? Xx

    • Hi Jacki, it sounds like you’re on the right path. These first months are the hardest and truly crazy making if you are still regularly in contact with the fuckwit. This is someone you were married to for a long time, so he knows all of your buttons. That is why you need to communicate as little as possible, only about kid and divorce matters, and through email or text to avoid knee jerk responses. Always ask yourself “does this benefit me or the children?” “Is it my job?” And “why is he asking me this and should I respond ?”. If unsure, delay responding or don’t.

      You are discovering you were a doormat? Don’t beat yourself up. You’re a chump. You can learn boundaries, your therapist will help. Plus it’s easy to become one over time when you’re the sole breadwinner and taking care of kids when you’re the only one that’s really invested in a couple.

      You decided to file for divorce. Good. He is not your job. You are not his mommy. Whether he chose her over you or not, it doesn’t matter. You chose you and he is a grown adult.

      Now that you kicked him out and going minimal contact, please use some of your time to get more information about your situation. Here are some of my favorite books: LACGAL of course, Cheating in a nutshell, and The covert passive aggressive narcissist by Debbie Mirza.

      Take care

    • Hello Jacki. We all get it.
      My therapist told me that leaving a cheater (abuser) that you still love, is like jumping out of an airplane for the first time.
      Everything in your mind is telling you “no, don’t do it, I can’t do it!”
      But you must.
      It doesn’t get better. The first steps out are the hardest. We all have been exactly where you are. Don’t feel alone.
      Unfortunately they have us so tangled up with emotions and it is so hard to think clearly.
      He is being so cruel to you.
      “CANT decide???? GRRRRRRRR.
      You have to shut down your heart to him, and go forward on auto pilot for a while.
      Then it will become habit.
      And one day, like I am now, (3 years out almost to the day) you will feel so grateful for getting your life back!

      • Yes, except that the plane is actually on fire and the FW is telling you you are crazy, it’s not smoke you are smelling, it’s all in your head! ????

    • Jacki, have your own back. Beating yourself up will not motivate you to fight for your future self. 8 months is early days. It took me nearly 2 years to get those trauma bonds to lessen enough to divorce.

      I’m 5 years out from divorce. Mostly no contact (4 kids) but when I slip and have the rare communication via text I don’t hate on myself, I just pick myself up and recommit to myself and the goodness that I deserve in protecting myself from abusive people like XH through no contact.

      We are here to support you. Get busy finalizing the divorce. Block your STBX on all channels but email that goes (by outlook rule) into a folder that you have a friend screen for essential info. Start meditating and taking very good care of your body. Spend more time outdoors each day and get to bed early and up early. Forgo sugar and alcohol. You’ll start to heal mentally. This insidious abuse takes its toll on us and leads to irrational choices.

      You can choose you. You’ll never regret it.

    • Jacki, I’m so sorry for what you’re going through, you definitely need to build up and maintain boundaries and I’m glad that your therapist enforced a boundary that you hire an attorney before starting therapy.
      You wrote “No contact? As in, only talk if it’s about or for kids?”
      Yes, going No Contact is very much needed in your situation. It is imperative that you create firm boundaries so you can move forward, get divorced, be the sane parent, and create a happy, healthy life for yourself and your children. So here’s a practical tip that I instituted when I got separated and divorced and my Ex and I still use this and we are going on almost 6 years of being divorced. It absolutely minimizes any contact I have with my Ex, so I don’t need to do follow up emails, texts or God forbid have to speak with him. We use an online calendaring system called the Cozi Calendar. I set it up and pay $29.00/annually for cozi Gold, so no Ads. It’s worth it. Get the app on your phone Add an event/appt, whatever and set up notifications to ping the other person’s phone.
      I even had it written into our MSA that using this calendar would be one of the main ways to communicate with each other about our kids schedules and it would all be done in a respectful and timely manner. Plus you can document everything and see which parent is doing what for the kids, including how your custody and transition days play out. There are folks who swear by Our Family Wizard, I did not like it because it doesn’t offer enough Notifications or space to add comprehensive Notes.
      Bottom line, having a system in place like a shared online calendar creates a system whereby you are minimizing any in person or over the phone contact with your STBX. You’re creating firm, businesslike boundaries and you have a place to document the division of parenting duties, custody schedule etc…And when it comes to email and texting, keep it brief, civil, and stay on point.
      Hang in there, you will ge through this, keep your eyes on the prize of getting divorced and maintain those boundaries and No Contact.

    • Jacki, I’m so sorry you’re going through this. A lot of us commenting on this entry have been down this exact road.
      You might want to join the private Facebook group for Chump Lady (Chump Lady Nation). You will find a lot of people who are willing to be a shoulder to cry on and have been there before. Fair warning, the group is a little bit of a tough love type of environment. They will call people on their BS but sometimes that’s exactly what you need in this situation.

    • I was the same Jacki. I turned myself inside out to keep my marriage and to keep believing that FW wasn’t a FW. Realising he was that bad and Finally kicking him out was unbelievably painful. It Almost killed me. I couldn’t believe that my life would be better without him. But it is. So much better. I’ve achieved things I’ve never thought possible. I’m with someone who genuinely cares for me. I have a wonderful job, built my own tiny house and live in a gorgeous area.
      Your life will be better than you ever realised. But you will need to go through hell first unfortunately. Just one step in front of the other and you’ll get there. All the best.

    • No contact means NO CONTACT. Don’t TALK to him. Don’t TEXT him. Don’t send him messages on some APP. You do all business with him by email. And in those emails, you only discuss business, not his neediness or loneliness or his CrazySoulMate problem. You do NOT respond to texts. If he calls, you let ALL calls go to voicemail and you don’t reply unless there is an actual emergency.

      Use email to set up his visits with the kids. That means he picks up the kids at the designated time and returns them. He can take them to McDonald’s or the library or wherever he’s hanging his hat. He does NOT hang out at the family home with the kids. Get your attorney on custody and child support ASAP. But insist on a SCHEDULE, not random willy-nilly appearances at your door. That’s better for the kids and establishes a pattern for a later custody situation. If he has moved out, change your locks if the lawyer approved on that (And don’t forget the garage code, if there is one).

      Document the situation that led to your job loss so he can’t whine that you should be working now. Talk to your attorney about how soon you should get back to work; you want to avoid your XH filing for ALIMONY. If you are in a fault state, or a state that allows you to choose fault or no fault, ask your attorney what will benefit you the most.

      The point of NO CONTACT is to get your head out of the mindfuck blender so you can see how F-ed up this situation is. In a way, you’ve been carrying him for the whole marriage. You have been the breadwinner. And I’ll bet you more than pulled your weight with the kids and in the home. He’s “falling apart” because you are his “mommy” and he now has to have a job and be an adult. No contact will help you see what a selfish loser he is–cheating on you, refusing to own up to his responsibility to make an adult decision, whining to you about his problems with CrazySoulMate.

      The stress is so bad for you that you lost a job. It’s time for you to stop worrying about this moron and start saving yourself. And if you are this stressed, and your STBX is in and out of the house, I’m sure your kids are confused and upset. Take control of your own life. If he texts you, don’t answer. If he calls, let it go to voicemail. Send an email that says: “All non-emergency business about the kids will be conducted using this email address. Do not come to the house other than to pick up or drop off the kids.” (Get a dedicated email that you use for nothing else.)

      If you are still pick-me dancing, part of you still wants him back. He will use that weakness in you to keep you hooked into a marriage that he finds convenient although very one-sided to his benefit. That makes it VERY important not to allow him in the house and to end all conversation with him that you can’t control. That’s why email is so helpful. You can take your time. You don’t get sucked into conversations that serve only him.

      Look. you’ve spent 8 months pick-me dancing and trying to get him to come to his senses. What you don’t understand is that he has huge character problems. He’s a user, a liar and manipulator. And he’s so weak it’s pitiful. Tell yourself (and him) that the next 8 months is about you. THE NEXT 8 MONTHS IS ABOUT YOU. That means you get to put yourself FIRST. What do YOU need? (And I don’t mean for STBX to change). What will get you back on your feet? What kind of life do you want with the kids? How much do you want to work? What will you do for childcare for the special needs kiddo? Tell yourself (and him) that you want 8 months of NO CONTACT other than written emails about visitation, etc. Then see how you feel in 8 months. You moved for the job you just lost; does it make sense to move back? Where would you have family support? friends? If you are filing, he is your STBX now. So start living as if you aren’t taking him back.

      It’s my thought that most chumps, early on, look for reasons to be in contact. We see it as a hopeful sign of a cheater coming to their senses. But an 8-month affair with him racketing back and forth shows that he’s just a cheater who wants CAKE. He wants his working wife, his house, his leisure and his mistress. And he doesn’t want the AP thinking he’s free to marry her now. He likes a triangle! So no contact is a way for you to step out of the triangle and focus on YOU.

      In a way, you are in a great position here. You aren’t tied to a job. You can propose in the divorce to move to where you have support from family. Or you can choose to stay where you are now. In any event, going forward, expect him to hold down a job, expect that you will work, too, and figure out childcare, especially for your special needs kiddo. And you will be amazed how much better off you will be once your #1 priority is getting yourself back on your feet, not catering to a man who made his choice. He’s in an affair. He doesn’t value you. That reflects on him, not your worth.

  • This dude seems like he needs a mommy, and you aren’t mommy enough for him anymore. You know, you’ve been busy bringing home the bacon and being the mommy for your kids, especially the special needs one. So he found a new mommy and she gets very angry when she doesn’t get her way. (There are different kinds of mommies out there, and some are scary!) If only you would be a really great mommy for him again, but better! Just wipe his tears and snotty nose, sit him on the couch with a bowl if ice cream, and read him a story from his favorite fairy tale book. Do you really have the time and desire to do that? Didn’t think so.

    • Especially if we only have his word for her being scary at all.

      The word of a known and proven liar and manipulator, who is expert at passive aggressive string-pulling.

      Actions speak louder than words. His actions have said, “I choose her, and not you.”

      Jackie’s actions need to signal very loudly: “I choose my kids and myself, because you’ve shown me who you really are.”

  • There is no downside to No Unnecessary Contact.

    You will have a chance to clear your head – it will take a few months. You can build the support team (lawyer, therapist, walking partner, etc.) who have your best interest in mind. You won’t make decisions/errors which create more pain for you and your children.

    Frankly, he’s going to be a part of your life as long as he’s in your children’s lives. But he is not the boss of your life. And he certainly does not want the best for you.

  • Oh Jacki, you are settling for this liar. Is this who you want around your kids? This cheater, this liar, this abuser. He is abusing you and the kids by cheating. Cheating is abuse.

    You deserve so much more than this selfish whore monger. You deserve a whole hearted love without the potential for STI. Your kids deserve a Christmas without this messy business. You can make things better. File for divorce and don’t entertain this loser.

  • Jacki
    Do not waste another day with trying to keep the marriage together. He wants his cake and will keep you
    pick me dancing. I would recommend you checking for any STD’s and strengthening your boundaries.
    Do not deal with the Owhore in any way. She’ll find out sooner or later that he’s using her and will probably cheat on her.
    It’s a very difficult time when we have to divorce someone we love but you and your children will be
    happier in the future. Stay strong and keep your self respect in tact. ????

    • Langele, I agree. Fuck this cheater straight back to Fuckganistan. He is horrible and I wish Jacki could see him through my eyes. He sucks.

  • The best thing I can do is WITHDRAW ATTENTION. It’s a daily practice. The chump in the dark is the secret sauce that makes the affair taste so good. The enemy they can be united against. The Krazy Glue that binds them (emphasis on “krazy”). The third leg of a three-legged stool. The oxygen that keeps the firestorm blazing. The chump is the roped-in game player that keeps the adrenaline and the dopamine pumping, that which fuels the affair and makes it exciting and thrilling.
    The reality of all the relationships involved are totally skewed by lies and deceit and betrayal and ongoing interactions. If you want to find out what’s really there, remove the Rose-colored Glasses of Romance…..the chump.

    I exercise my power by depriving and withdrawing attention whenever possible. I choke the life out of both of them by keeping my hands to yourself. Just like they wounded me mortally without laying a hand on me physically.

    Standing down and walking away feels
    completely counterintuitive. They will Get Away With It! They Will Win! Crime Will Pay!


    The Craigslist cockroach has gotten away with a booby prize, and so did the con artist I married. What sane person walks past the biggest brightest red flags in the factory? The color-blind madly spackling affair cohorts, busily engaged putting horse harnesses on mules, dressing pigs in the finest frippery they can find, and declaring soulmate status with their partner in abuse.

    The wise learn from fools, and fools learn nothing from the wise.

    If I were buying a house, a car, a meal in a restaurant, the last thing I would choose is something with screaming glaring defects.

    I wanted to be married to who I thought he was. The Craigslist cockroach knew who he was, and actually helped reveal it.

    He told me she showed him what was missing in his life. She showed me too.

    He told me “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” He was right about that too, but not in the way he meant.

    I got what is legally mine, and the Craigslist cockroach took the trash out for me.

    (Cheating is a moral issue, so of course people here are moralizing)

    All relationships have problems. The trick is finding someone loyal who will work through problems with you. Cheaters are in for a big surprise when the problems show up and find they are in a situation with someone even less qualified to deal.

    Well, there’s always maintaining denial and spackle and unconsciously agreeing to remain dysfunctional and unhealthy and emotionally immature and morally bankrupt to keep up appearances of We Are So Happy, Dammit…..

    You can live your whole life totally fucked up and never come close to knowing it. My alcoholic grandmother who died at 101 was a big example of that.

    I am wise because I learned from that fool.

    • What was missing in his life that she showed me?

      A brain, a heart, courage, empathy, kindness, loyalty, integrity, emotional maturity, a working moral compass, self-awareness, recovery…

      Yesterday our daughter went to his place for Christmas. He gave her 100.00 and two Amazon gift cards. Nothing that said I Know You I See You I’m Thinking of You.

      I thought about all the gifts (that I know of) that he bought for the Craigslist cockroach. I realized they were about HIM. He fails at giving because he is not a giver; he is a taker and a manipulator.

      When someone does not hesitate to hurt their own family, in the worst way possible, with the sharpest knife in the drawer, what on earth can there possibly be to save? It seems wise to me to give someone like that a very wide berth.

      • they are shit at parenting, aren’t they VH?

        my X forgot my son’s birthday this month–my son has struggled mightily this semester (he’s away at uni) and is in serious therapy to deal with his deadbeat dad and his feelings about same.

        and then my X informed my daughter that, beyond getting together at xmas eve, he’s busy this holiday season. so, she’s not planning on seeing him much.

        this is our first xmas since the marriage dissolved.

        my X simply doesn’t care. it’s hard to watch. and here i am, trying to parent without getting too involved, they’re university aged kids and need to figure it out on their own, but they’re kids and they’re hurting. gah.

        • Mother Nature required two parents to procreate in case something happens to one (as far as I can tell.)

          Thank goodness they have you.

          My father died when I was 28. Natural causes end to a very volatile crap marriage between him and my mother. He died in October and and she wanted New Guy at our family Thanksgiving and was mad at me for not being All Cool With It. It was very painful and distressing under all those circumstances. A mother who was wired properly emotionally would have made all the difference.

          I had a chance to tell Oprah all about it when I was the featured guest on the topic. The audience could relate and was not sympathetic toward my mother.

          That they have you, no matter how old they are, as Properly Wired Mom is EVERYTHING.

          Merry Christmas.

          • merry christmas to you, too, VH! 2022 is upon us and it’s going to be good in it’s own complicated way. here’s to parenting. #messy

      • I love everything you wrote here VH. Copied and pasted it in a doc I plan to read every morning as mental fuel for my day. I’m getting better at opting out of FW’s mind games.

  • CL had me at ‘You’re a wife, not a cafeteria option.’????
    Wish I had had these words when Fuckwit told me ‘it was a tough decision’
    when he was suddenly leaving me for married office tart.

  • jacki, i’m sorry that you’re in this situation. it sucks. there are so many things to learn + figure out over the next couple of months.

    first, there’s learning to withdraw from your X. that takes time. i found that only using email was effective and i rarely email him. then i learned to delay emailing my response to his emails that he rarely sends. it’s all business.

    then i learned how to break my circular thoughts about my X, the ones that come at night. i created a mantra that i repeat to myself:

    1. my X is an alcoholic
    2. his thinking is distorted
    3. his emotions are distorted
    4. he was raised in a really messed up family with no boundaries
    5. and i deserve better

    i repeat this to myself whenever i need it and, at the beginning, it was all the time. one year out, i don’t have to use my mantra as much anymore but i still use it. i like that the mantra ends with me because that needs to be my focus.

    i have a therapist, a good GP who listens to me, and a divorced friend who knows this landscape. i also have a small group of friends who really listen to me. this is my team. by having this team i don’t cross boundaries with my kids too often. i mean, i cross boundaries with my kids now and again, i’m only human, and this is fucking hard.

    exercise + eat well + try to sleep well. stay away from drugs + alcohol. get an STI test and see your GP for a check up. you’re under an enormous amount of stress right now. you’ve got a lawyer and a line on a therapist and that’s great.

    the only way out of this is through.

    PS fuck that guy. you deserve so much better than this nonsense.

    • then i learned how to break my circular thoughts about my X, the ones that come at night. i created a mantra that i repeat to myself:

      1. my X is an alcoholic
      2. his thinking is distorted
      3. his emotions are distorted
      4. he was raised in a really messed up family with no boundaries
      5. and i deserve better

      THANK YOU for this very effective and helpful insight.

      A Christmas present!

    • Thank you for the mantra, damnitfeelsbadtobeachumpster. My dad was an alcoholic, deceased now, but still takes up a bit of real estate in my head. I’m in counselling working on the effects his behaviour had on me and find stuff like this useful.

      • you’re welcome, shintoga. i find it helpful and hope you find something in it, too. the little things, right?

    • I’ve seen a number of people advise to stay away from alcohol while trying to rebuild. What do you do with the pain? I’ve learned how FOO trauma promed me to choose abusive relationship after abusive relationship. I’ve learned what red flags I didn’t recognize or chose to spackle over. I’ve recognized the ways I’m better off without the abusers in my life. But the cumulative pain is unbearable. How do you cope? I’m practicing mindfulness and breathing, but I’m feeling crushed by the weight of my ex’s final discard, when I (misguided ly) thought I’d finally chosen a healthy relationship after years of abuse.

      • hi ragna, it’s painful, isn’t it? the final discard is fucking traumatic. it’s emotional abuse. i have done EMDR therapy (it’s desensitizing therapy, kind of like cognitive therapy on steroids) and it helps.

        for instance, i have a particularly difficult memory of a conversation i had with my X in the final discard in which is told me he didn’t love me, didn’t like me, didn’t desire me. tough. there are worse conversations that we had but, for some reason, this one? it troubles me. so, i do some EMDR with my therapist around it, probably every 3 months? by the end of the EMDR session, i feel much improved.

        i’m going to say something here. pain is a part of life and i’m thankful that i belong to a generation that collectively and individually explores it. past generations, particularly of women but men have their own baggage, have repressed their feelings. think of all those women from the 50s/60s who were prescribed valium and got lost in a chemical suburb. frozen. we are lucky that our society focuses more on emotional expression and well-being.

        i use on-line yoga and meditation on youtube. they really help me. i’m also a member of al-anon and the support i receive and give there are immensely helpful. somedays it’s painful, yes, and the day passes. each day i’m a little different and a little stronger (some days; some days not). and the months pass and i think i’m doing okay. up and down, but moving forward, you know?

        hang in there, ragna. and have a safe holiday.

        • Thanks so much for your thoughts ❤ It occurred to me while reading your reply that for literally the first time in my life, I am not in an abusive relationship. I bounced from an abusive childhood right into a string of personality-disordered people. I’m detoxing. Decades of hurt to come to terms with. That perspective helps, actually. It makes this all feel a little more temporary. Thanks for the boost ❤ Hope your holidays are safe and peaceful as well!

          • Can I offer something to consider?

            The body keeps the score (which is the title of a great book on this, by the way).

            In other words, we carry this shit in our bodies as well as our minds.

            Using physical therapy – especially bilateral movement like swimming overarm, or playing a two handed musical instrument – can be hugely helpful.

            Yoga, Pilates, massage – anything gentle that reconnects you with your own body can really speed up emotional healing, and reach parts of you that have been neglected for a long time.

            • I would add EMDR therapy was a great help to me in the early days. I think reconnecting to our body is extraordinarily vital, especially if your self image has been beaten down by the cheater.
              It’s tough to re-learn to love your body when it wasn’t cherished and cared for, but self care is so healing!

      • I have been sober since 8/15/86 (alcohol and other drugs). From cigarettes as of 4/1/90.

        Feelings are not forever. They will not kill you. But things you do to numb/try to avoid/try to get around them might. And it doesn’t work anyway. All the feelings just go into storage until the volcano blows.

        THROUGH is the way. For me, that is waiting, talking, crying, breathing, writing, therapy, physical activity, wrapping in a blanket, pro-grade leather punching bag in the garage, etc etc. But WAITING IT OUT, like a storm, is key. Make a written list of what you can do for your pain and keep it where you can see it. It will pass if you allow it to pass through you; it will really fuck you up if you try to block it, avoid it, stop it.

        Alcohol is a very powerful drug. A compound…C2 H5 OH….an ether like substance. An addictive depressant. It actually prevents healing from emotional pain and keeps you stuck. You can take pain medication for physical pain and still heal. Not so with emotional/psychological pain and alcohol/drugs.

        I have been walking through this without mind-altering substances or jumping into another relationship.

        My spending and eating has been a little goofy and reactive, but I am not in debt, have money in the bank, and have clothes I can fit in.

        Running On Empty is a good book about emotional neglect and emotional How To manual.


        • VH, thank you for your advice, and the book recommendation. I’ll look for it. Respectfully, though, telling people that ‘feelings won’t kill you’ is… not tough love. It’s not true, and it triggers a LOT of fight/flight response for the suicidal. I’m a suicide survivor and am covered in scars from the years when self-harm was the only thing keeping me alive. Feelings *can* kill when people become desperate enough to escape the pain.

          • You’re right. Feelings can kill. I’m so sorry, Ragna. I was suicidal every single day for about three years, so I know what you mean.
            I kept holding on by telling myself it will get better. Finally it did. It will for you if you get the help you need. If you’re actively suicidal, see your doctor about getting on an anti-depressant. While it does somewhat delay your healing, saving your life is more important.
            If you want to talk privately, let me know. ❤

          • Please don’t assume you’re the only suicide survivor in the room.

            You’re talking to one who is sharing my experience surviving it, what I was taught by the therapists who helped me survive it. Being cheated on brought it all back and I have been living with, and resisting, suicidal feelings for four years now.

            You’re entitled to disagree.

            And I’m here instead of six fret under. You asked. I answered.

            My apologies for answering your question with my experience. Please disregard.

            • TYPO…

              “Being cheated on brought it all back and I have been living with extreme pain and suicidal feelings, without alcohol, for four years now.”

              (Being taught that feelings would not kill me is, that it’s my response to the feelings is what kills, is what gave me the ability to wait them out and saved my life. And that’s the idea that continues to save my life and keeps me clean and sober. Aganfor sharing).

              • “Being taught that feelings would not kill me is, that it’s my response to the feelings is what kills, is what gave me the ability to wait them out and saved my life.”

                Spot on VH, the feelings are agonisingly painful, but no, *they* don’t kill, it’s the things we do to try and cover them up, and obliterate them, that can kill. Cutting, alcohol, drugs may smooth them over in the short term, but those feelings *are still there*, and drinking to excess, drugging will kill you, because every spree results in the morning after, when one realises those feelings are still there, so another bottle, more drugs – it’s a never ending downward spiral.

                It takes an enormous amount of courage, grit, and sheer willpower to decide to experience those feelings, ride them out, without reaching for that placebo.

                You’re an inspiration VH, I admire you so much. Your daughter is lucky to have you. ???? X

        • VH: You are so strong and I admire you very much for your long sobriety and I very much appreciate your posts. There have been so many things you have posted that really helped me. Your daughter is fortunate to have you as a Mom and you are fortunate to have her.

            • Thank you Velvet Hammer. Your posts are full of wisdom and truth ❤️
              I have been in sobriety from alcohol for 4 years since just after DDay1 and am a member of NA. All the things you write and describe fit my lived experience. I was also hospitalized over a month for SI and have been in and out over the past 4 years for ongoing treatment. Thus began the long climb out of the abyss of the aftermath of infidelity. I too had a business with my cheater husband. So I lost my job and business as well in the divorce that he didn’t want but that I needed. Divorce was final last year. Dismantling two large families worth of integrated relationships and being shunned and discarded by just about everyone has been a clusterfuck and had I known what was coming at the time, well let’s say it would have been preferable just to not go through it. The SI was unbearable.
              Christmas makes it even tougher. It’s lonely and it’s insanely sad. It has been pain on top of pain on top of open-wounded pain. Like Jamie Fraser’s back.
              Thank you again VH. You give me strength to keep going x

      • Ragna, I’m sorry to tell you that the pain is neccessary. It’s what you need to insure you fix your picker and are more wary in future.
        The good news is it gets better. I went through PTSD so severe I was hospitalized, on top of crushing heartbreak. They gave me medication, but it blunted my affect and made it hard to think clearly. I stopped taking it because I knew I needed my wits about me and I needed to go through every bit of the misery to get to the other side.
        The same principle applies to alcohol. It delays healing and it clouds your thinking.

        There are techniques, such as various kinds of therapy, self care like exercise and taking time to relax. As an auditory learner, I find binaural beats helpful. It’s kind of like EMDR for the ears. In the lab researchers have found many techniques helpful in trauma, including the aforementioned EMDR and BB. They also used simple desensitization techniques such as deliberately remembering something painful while listening to soothing music or watching relaxing nature scenes. Over time the memory becomes associated with those pleasant things, which lessens the pain.

        You’ll get there. Hold on and keep coming here. Talking about it in an understanding environment is therapeutic.

        • OFFS, thank you so much for your kind words <3 I'm not actively suicidal these days, just in a lot of pain and very tired. Tired of picking up the pieces and learning the lessons from yet *another* round of abuse. Tired of the constant, constant, constant pain. I've learned enough at this point that I'm no longer an easy mark for the personality disordered; my Bullshit-O-Meter is *very* finely tuned, and that includes the Self-Diagnosis setting. I've had several fine examples of what happens when people don't hold themselves up to a mirror under a floodlight after living through abuse, and I do NOT want to end up like them. I do have lots of questions about moving forward, though I suspect most of the answers won't feel very good!

  • I’m sure we can all bitch-slap ourselves for participating in the pick-me and being manipulated. We loved these fuckers & we invested in them & that’s not some easy shit to break free of. We finally do when we start to love & respect ourselves and/or our kids more than them. Sounds like you’re just about there.

  • According to Affair Partners of Americas, your ex is prime Pickens materials. For the sake of humanity, Jacki, you must free him. It would be selfish to keep that total package solely to yourself. Sometimes you just have to take one for the team. In return, you will discover that nothing tastes as good as being free feels. Get your life in order, get your job back (maybe time it to after you negotiate support…) and don’t let the bad guys win. And no more emails to the AP. You don’t want her tossin it back. Happy new year, sweets.

  • I frequent this website because it consistently delivers thoughtful insights with concise writing that speaks clarity to chaos. But as a bonus I often find little gems like this one from today’s post:

    “… a person who is capable of casual betrayal.”

    “Casual betrayal” is a perfect way to describe the mindset of my sociopathic ex. Betrayal to her comes as easy as drinking a glass of water.

  • These disordered people love drama. They may say otherwise, but they need chaos to feel alive. A few D days and lots and lots of drama later, we have had enough. Yes sometimes it takes a few dress rehearsals to divorce. But once you hit that wall its over. Lawyer up and never look back.

  • “ With what? Tethering his dick to a bedpost so it doesn’t wander? Is that your idea of a marriage?”

    Hilarious when you pass that job over to the AP. That payback comes with passing the torch.

    • Yes, that is what is happening with my soon to be x and his affair partner.
      She is learning all sorts of things about him… and yes, I am enjoying it.
      Happy to have passed the torch to her.
      My past is her future.
      Sorry, not sorry!

    • Jacki:

      Great posts here today; please absorb some of this excellent advice. Do not forget your STBX is not someone you can trust. You would not be modeling a good example to your children to even consider taking him back. Parenting and being married are not things you can do intermittently–no back and forth. He would not be in it for the long haul. I wish you as much peace as you can find this holiday season. Enjoy some activities with your children and other family members. He is not your family. I wish you the very best.

  • Jacki,
    This all sucks. And you are dealing with trauma on top of it. But here’s something you need to know… as much as you still think you love him and wonder if you should help him, ask yourself “do you really believe this could get better?” You already know the answer is NO. He could come back and you would just have the same shitty lying cheating asshole. Only now he know he would know he could get away with it even more.

    Please get therapy. Get support from everyone you know. And come here to vent and read.

    We all know how hard it is. Please get free of FW and put your mind at ease that you are doing the healthy thing. It’s time to take off the pick me dance shoes and move forward for you and your children.

    • That is important Jacki. You “think” you love him. Sadly you have been manipulated by a FW into thinking that so that he can use you. Unfortunately he doesn’t know the meaning of that word. Who abandons his 3 little children and his wife for a fuck?! Seriously

      And I am not blaming you. I’ve been there. I remember telling my therapist “ but I still love him!” when my ex FW walked out on me and my 2 little children. It took me months of separation to realize what a complete asshole he was and that I had just been handed a “get out of jail free” card. And believe me, that is not love I was feeling at that point.

      • THIS ^^^ It is a “get out of jail free card.”

        Jacki, you don’t know yet, but FW did you a favor. You will get free of him and look back and say “THANK G-D!!!!”

      • 4 years ago I thought I loved someone I was trauma bonded to. Turns out I had become addicted to chaos. I am a quiet introvert by nature, but there I was. Once I realized that I decided to go cold turkey and that is when I went no contact/grey rock and started my recovery.

        4 years later I am finally divorced. It took 3 1/2 years because FW who wanted a divorce couldn’t be bothered and couldn’t resist racking up a little extra drama. However I am free at last and enjoying my 4th FW free Christmas with my kids. Merry peace and quiet to you all!!

      • “I remember telling my therapist “ but I still love him!” ”

        This is key point for anyone recently chumped. You can still love someone AND leave.

        How you feel about them really should be set aside. It’s too wrapped up in our hopes, dreams, and future plans. Our hearts are stupid, and often take too long to catch up to reality.

        • “You can still love someone AND leave.”

          And sometimes the very best thing you can do for someone you love is to LEAVE and allow that person to experience real consequences for terrible actions.

          Imagine a parent covering up a child’s serious crime. Yes, you keep that kiddo out of prison, but what he learns is that he can do terrible things and get away with them. Lots of chumps think that the cheater gets away without consequences to start over with the
          AP. The consequence is YOU DIVORCING HIM. It doesn’t matter what he does after that. He’s lost someone who truly loved him. That’s a very big deal. He loses time with the kids. It costs him money.

          • Jacki: LAJ has made points here that none of us should ever forget. If there are no consequences, things definitely never change. Also one thought I like to keep remembering is I like very decisive people. If someone is not sure about me or can not make up their mind, I must not be for them or WHY would it take so long for them to choose me very decisively. Keep on reading CL.

          • “And sometimes the very best thing you can do for someone you love is to LEAVE and allow that person to experience real consequences for terrible actions.”

            Exactly LAJ. I realized recently that my wife has experienced exactly ZERO consequences for her cheating. Nada. She’s had a full year of having her cake and eating it too while I performed the most elaborate pick me dances.

            I have no idea how she will react when she is served with divorce papers next week, but I bet somewhere in that cake filled brain of hers that word CONSEQUENCES will ring out loud, maybe not right at that moment but somewhere down the line as she starts to experience suffering, especially when I tell our adult children what their mom has been up to.

  • Second everything said above. GTFO and stay O.

    Sympathy to you as a fellow chump formerly in a marriage that was pretty shaky to start with. Along came the special needs kid and turned it into a total cluster. STDs, non-working FW, etc.

    Kept the kid and kicked the FW to the curb. Life is good now.

  • It continues to amaze me how similar so many of these Fuckwits are. Mine had difficulty choosing between me and his foreign massage girl schmoopie. He told me he made a list of pros and cons, her against me. Can’t imagine what her list of pros would be, besides her willingness to ply her trade on him whenever he wanted by simply pointing to his dick, as she doesn’t speak English. And I actually pick-me danced for a short time even after he told me that, until I caught him hiding in a closet talking to her. ????

    He married the woman before the ink was dry on our divorce. I heard they bought a house with money they got from her family in China and he is currently working on bringing her family over here to live with them in their 1200 square-foot house. ???? Funny how karma works. I am also willing to bet that the unlimited prostitute sex has slowed down considerably now that he’s put a ring on it. But I must be getting closer to Tuesday, as I really don’t care that much anymore.

    • Just reread that. He was actually hiding in the closet talking to her 10-year-old son, who provides interpreter services for them. Except in the bedroom, I suppose. Gestures and grants are probably all that’s needed there. lol

      He refers to that kid as his son now. If he does stay with her, he gets to go through another teenager experience. ???? Again, Karma.

      • When the karma clan arrives from China, he will be fleeced of whatever he owns after your divorce. Mark my words. Somebody is being led around by his short hairs.
        ???????????? ???? beep beep

        • Hahaha!! Yep, which is what I told him when I found out what the other woman is. I told him she is using him for a green card and to bring her family over from China. He said, “It’s not like that. We’re in love!’ And there was NO WAY he would EVER agree to bringing her family from China over here. But that’s exactly what’s happened.

          What a fool.

    • I can’t imagine spending one minute on a jackass that would put his WIFE on a list with a sex worker. That would be a permanent dealbreaker.

  • Watch how quickly the sadz become the madz when he has to pay child support and split the assets! It’s all bluff. My ex went from “I don’t have a family. I’m sleeping in my car,” to “karma will get you; you’re trying to bankrupt me” rage, rage, rage. Btw, he wasn’t sleeping in his car; he was living with schmoopie and driving her kids around.

  • Such great posts here, I copied and pasted so many lines.
    The mind fuck of the erratic, dramatic chaos caused by a cluster B disordered individual is a deep soul sucking experience.
    It is truly awful.
    There is no easy path out, and it will change you and your view of the world.
    It’s the death of innocence and our unquestioned belief in someone we loved and invested fully in.
    I’ve come to believe that nothing adds more value to their lives than making yours as miserable as they possibly can.
    It reinforces their belief that they are the center of the universe, if they can cause that much trouble, they must really be all that and much more.
    It’s almost impossible to imagine what’s happening is really happening and that someone could choose to blow up their lives so horrifically.
    We can all vouch to you that it is frighteningly real.
    Time for you to help him shift his warped self centered axis and focus on you and the tedious work of getting free from him completely.
    As much as is possible, don’t let him see your emotion and anguish. Place an invisible wall around yourself and concentrate on your own survival and that of your children. Gray rock the hell out of him.
    He’s lost the right to be a part of your life and nothing he does should allow him to weasel his way back in. As was so well said: “your husband has cheated himself out of the treasure of your marriage”.
    Don’t second guess yourself or hope for that miraculous unicorn to come galloping your way. He’s not fixable and not worth it.
    I know how it goes against every belief you once had for your relationship, but the sooner the reality of it sinks in, it will be way better for you and your family.
    The path out is the only one to take.
    Good luck to you. You are making the steps in the right direction, surround yourself with loving support and dispose of that imposter con man in your life.
    Don’t hold yourself responsible for his crash and burn either. What happened to him was always a choice.
    You cannot help him, but you can help yourself walk towards a much healthier life. It will unfortunately get worse before it gets better, but you have the combo to the lock that keeps you engaged.
    Turn two rotations to the right, one to the left and dial in “H E S U C K S!” then run as far and as long and fast as you can away from the toxicity.
    It will improve and you are so much better a guardian of your life than an abuser will ever be.
    Another line well stated, “ when they can’t choose, they are not choosing you”.

  • One of the common mistakes that chumps make, when they first find out about the betrayal, is they evaluate the proper reaction through their own perceptions and values. They still believe their partner is the “mirage” they fell in love with. They do not have all the tools they need to end the relationship in a clean, smart, legal way. These skills have to be developed, there is a learning curve. You need some help, some support, from people trained to do that type of work, and people who have already walked through the fire. The latter is the help CL and CNation can give.

    The hardest thing for me to accept was that my husbands did not really love me. They found me to be very useful. They used my responsible and dependable attitude against me. They chose AP’s for their lack of sexual boundaries, their willingness to “perform” on command. I would not and could not do that pick me dance, it just went against all my values and beliefs. Both of them used porn — I found out post marriage. I found porn boring and disgusting. I did some research and found it conditions the brains of those who will not get away from its influence, taking them farther and farther down a rabbit hole of delusional thinking. It causes them to think of “partners” as dehumanized and interchangeable body parts.

    At any rate, I can only be who I am. I will not be put in a position to make an important life decision for someone else. If your partner was not so brain dead, he would not ask you to make his choices. It is his job to choose, and his lot to suffer the consequences of his poor choices.

    I have not read one story or response on the CL site that describes this experience as easy or painless. You just have to realize what you thought was working, was really NOT working. You have to change what you do in reaction to this bad news, or you will be trapped in an eternal pattern. If you don’t change, you will also model this behavior to your children, and friends. If you want to have a chance to be happy, you have to get away from toxic people and relationships. Once you are safe, you can begin to heal.

    • “They still believe their partner is the “mirage” they fell in love with.”

      Portia that’s been me this past year. I finally realized that my wife has become the imposter that was always lurking beneath the surface, wanting to get out. When she finally made the jump to cheating she became someone else, a full-on entitled narcissist FW, and I sure as hell don’t want to be married to what she has become.

      I was delusional thinking I could recover the previous version of her by playing the pick me dance. That person was long gone.

  • Regarding understanding this dynamic; there are two possibilities.

    1) It’s vaguely possible he has discovered schmoopie is in fact a loon and is afraid. Well tough. He made his choice and he must break it off with her all by himself. He has the nerve to ask you to help break the news to her that he (allegedly) doesn’t want to see her anymore? If she really is a loon, he’s enough of a rat bastard to try to put you into a dangerous situation to save his cowardly hide.

    Solution; get serious about divorce, stop taking him back and go no contact with both him and schmoopie.

    2) Chumplady is right on the money and he is totally playing you both. Funny how he didn’t need her help to break it off with you, isn’t it? Apparently, breaking up with spouses is no sweat for him, but breaking up with fuckpals…well, you can’t expect him to take on that onerous duty by himself, right?
    What a prize bullshit artist this guy is. He’s using the self-pity and charm channels to keep this sick game of boomerang going, but he’s guaranteed to flip to rage when you stop playing. Be ready for it.

    Solution; get serious about divorce, stop taking him back and no contact with either him or schmoopie.

    I suspect CL’s take on it is correct, but as you see, the solution is the same no matter what’s going on in his alleged mind, so try not to fret about why he’s doing this crazy back and forth. Because he’s a narcissistic, fuckwitted cretin is all the explanation you need.
    So the answer to your question is hell no, don’t help him. You don’t owe him anything. Well, you owe him a punch in the chops, but that would constitute contact. Plus (sigh) it’s not legal.

    I hope you get through the holidays okay. Do not let him use the holidays as an excuse to weasel his way back into your life. Schmoopie can have him over for the holidays, or his relatives, his friends, or the nearest soup kitchen. It’s not your problem. Happy holidays to you and please keep in touch about your progress.

  • I was in the middle of pick me dance and chumpiness when my ex wife tried the triangulation with the affair partner.
    I had a strong moment and told her ” you are trying to create a race between me and the other guy. I am not part of this ”
    I did heaps of regretful things in the “pick me dance period ” but this was a moment I am still proud of.

    I can’t choose , means that the choice is made.

    I agree with OHFFS – the holiday season is a vulnerable period .
    Stay strong

    • AFS, same as what I experienced. They love the attention. Centrality. Because it gets boring without a chump in the equation. It gets boring when it becomes a standard relationship, involving a liar and a co-conspirator. Hiding, lying and secrets give them that high they’re after. She couldn’t choose not because her ap was irresistable, she couldn’t choose because she needed your presence to feel high and special.
      I regret my pick me dance as well. But in the end we gained our strength and left these people. Well done to all of us ????

      • My then-STBX seemed disappointed when, months after D-day and while we were in the process of selling the house and untangling 35 years of finances, I wrote, “I don’t care what you two do.”

        In that moment, I realized he loved the triangulation. Depriving him of that made me fee powerful. NC works.

  • They can’t make a decision.
    I am sure it’s because they couldn’t find what they were looking out there. I was told the same thing: I need time, I am confused.. I am so upset with myself that I didn’t kick him out of my life right then and there. I would’ve continued with my life, heartbroken, but I would be okay. Now, I feel depressed every time I remember that he manipulated me and played mind games with me. I had to be quiet about his manipulation, he hated my distress and my questions. I ignored my personality and became a person who was scared to lose a liar and cheater. It took much time to gain my strength and feel like myself again.

  • That’s exactly how I feel now. & his anger towards me has increased these past couple days (for not backing off about the divorce as I had before).
    He came over this morning & told me I’m making him come back because he won’t allow another man to raise his kids. He has used that excuse lately. Yet, it only takes a couple days before it starts all over again.
    I’m embarrassed & angry at myself for still feeling anything for this boy.
    Our children have begged me to not let him back in. (Pretty horrible to have your children say that).
    Of course, he says the kids would be fine if I wasn’t sad in front of them.
    So much manipulation, & I fell every time.

    Hoping I can make it through the next 2 weeks until papers are filed.

    • And…I have not even thought about dating, & another of his lines is that “no one will take me with 3 kids, esp one with Special needs” & “ I will destroy and make your life a living hell if you ever think about bringing another man in”.
      It’s all he can focus on lately.
      Sadly I assume he has always been this person, & I was to blind to see it.
      The words he says don’t even hurt that much anymore.
      I would just allow myself to get sucked back in, but I can’t tell you how much wisdom and resolve you all have filled me with.

      I will be ok.
      I can do this.
      I don’t want a sham marriage.
      Stop giving them the fuel they love for their affair.
      He is a horrible person.

      • Re-read this.

        Re-read “I will destroy and make your life a living hell.”

        Read it until you can see that this is not only verbal abuse, this is a threat. It doesn’t hurt so much because you are numb to it.

        Imagine how shocking and scary it would be for a stranger to say these words to you. Imagine someone saying them to your child.

        It’s not okay. He needs to lose the privilege of speaking words to you immediately. You aren’t blind anymore!

      • Since most states presume 50/50 custody, then we can assume that no one will take HIM with three kids/one with Special needs? Yet! He already found someone to cheat with though the standards bar was low; those willing to toss their family/date married people are NO prize. Typical cheater-speak, don’t bother explaining what’s good for the gander is good for the goose. His entitlement and Schmoopie tell him he’s super special. Nothing to work with here.

      • Sorry Jacki, it is freaky when the mask slips and we get to see what is underneath. You can’t unsee it now, let it be your fuel to get out of this situation. Trust that he sucks, even if he turns the channel back to “charm”. Stay safe. Document everything, relay threats and intimidation attempts to your lawyer, he/she will know what to do. You are starting the divorce process, you are taking control and looking out for yourself and your children. You have rights and your soon-to-be ex will soon learn that. It will be OK. Stay strong, things do get better and your new life is waiting on the other side. ((Hugs))

      • You don’t want to be married to a man who:

        1. thinks you are a possession he can control;
        2. threatens you to keep you in the marriage (i.e., “I will destroy and make your life a living hell”;
        3. demeans you by suggesting no other man will want you (while at the same time threatening you about a relationship you don’t have yet):
        4. thinks it’s fine for him to have a “soul mate” while MARRIED to you but you don’t get to have someone AFTER YOU divorce. What a stinking hypocrite.

        Here’s my suggestion. Do you have a family member (parent, sibling, aunt or uncle) or a friend who could stay with you until you file and get therapy going? It would be nice to have someone right there to hold your hand and remind you not to let this loser in the house.

        This man strikes me as dangerous. Document any threat he makes (like the one above) even if your heart tells you he doesn’t mean it. Get a copy of Gavin de Becker’s book, “The Gift of Fear” to see how to better protect yourself. The “if I can’t have you no one can have you” vibe this guy gives off really worries me.

        I would also suggest you get engaged on the reddit board, where you can get daily reinforcement if you need it. It’s a private forum, moderated by veteran chumps.

      • And how about this: “He actually had told me as I making dinner one night, it was this May, that he was not in love with me anymore, hadn’t been for a long time.”

        You, of course, will be no contact. But if he brings up reconciliation via email: “You told me you were ‘not in love with me anymore, hadn’t been for a long time’.” You don’t get to take that statement back. You aren’t in love with me and you haven’t been for a long time. So do’t bring up reconciliation again.”

    • Jacki – I’m concerned for your safety.

      Please make sure that there are no weapons, drugs or alcohol in your home. Do you have a safe, neutral spot for any required in-person communication? Keep your lawyer (and the police) informed of any threats he makes.

      Put together a bag with important documents, medicine, etc. and have a safety plan in place.

      • Thank you, I do.
        & I have put in new deadbolts (can’t change the locks just yet, so added deadbolts, it’s better than nothing).

  • CL / CN has nailed it today for you Jacki. So sorry you are going through this… It’s a nightmare and you’re in the thick of it right now. Just keep moving in the direction of freedom. One foot in front of the other. Your cheating husband will never change back to who you thought he was. He cannot. This is who he truly is: he is someone who would treat his wife and family as disposable. He does not care that he devastates you all. He has prioritized his orgasms above an entire intertwined life and history with you and your children. This is not someone you can age with. This is not someone you can ever trust again. He is not sorry and he will do it again.
    Cut to your future now. As they say in recovery circles “Do the next right thing”. Your therapist sounds great. I hope your lawyer will be too. Surround yourself with Team Jacki. You can do this.

  • I would add EMDR therapy was a great help to me in the early days. I think reconnecting to our body is extraordinarily vital, especially if your self image has been beaten down by the cheater.
    It’s tough to re-learn to love your body when it wasn’t cherished and cared for, but self care is so healing!

  • Jacki

    Tell everyone in your circle. The former spouse nearly doubled over when I said how shocked our local grocery manager, he had known for years, was. The manager got tears in his eyes when I told him. You need the support. You deserve much better. He will be completely uncooperative, as CL says Cheaters hate consequences. I always had setbacks when I actually had to deal with spouse, stay strong. Best to you, you’re seeing the light.

    • Cheaters deserve to be outed, and they deserve consequences – and then some. However, I would caution chumps to be careful. My ex went to extremes to manage his image. I have told very few people about the physical abuse because I am nearly certain it would backfire; he would find some way to use what he did against me and spread even worse lies to somehow deflect and blame/shame me. At times, I have had to worry about my safety, and I don’t dare poke the bear. It’s a shit sandwich, because although I KNOW that I am not to blame for whatever he does when his actions are exposed, yet I’m still scared.

      FW engaged in subtle blame shifting/image management/grooming while he was leading his double lives. (After I left, many shared the stories and lies he told them over the years – another layer of betrayal.) I witnessed him do the same thing when his crimes surfaced (cheating, lying, stalking, emotional abuse). To my horror, a lot of people believed him. I learned that people in “our” group of friends were very worried about FW (after one pathetic apology tour) because he was so remorseful and depressed; one even reached out to the group to say he needed their support. I would have been shocked if I hadn’t been suckered by his shameless weeping and pity parties, myself.

      Cheaters/abusers *do* hate consequences, and they are liars who lack integrity and empathy. It’s a dangerous combination. When your abuser is a well-connected Nice Guy who can publicly commit crimes and still maintain his shining image, and when he uses threats (like, “It wouldn’t be good for you if I called the cops”), it’s really hard to know how to do the right thing. I feel like a coward, and I am still consumed with anger by the injustice of how he hurt and stole from me, but I’ve decided to try to let this go in order to move on. Doesn’t matter what should be – I’m accepting what is and doing the best I can with the reality. That’s what LACGAL is, for me.

  • Jacki,

    Some have said in this thread that perhaps it is not human or realistic to go no contact when you first discover the cheating. Sure it is “hard”, sure it “hurts” but you know what is harder and hurts more? Letting the backstabber back into your life. The pain intensifies when they come back and you try to pretend that everything is fine. My point is, it is perfectly human and realistic to go “all in” with no contact, by protecting your sanity and your children’s sanity. It is the smartest thing you can do – go no contact – or, if you have minor children, then “gray rock” or minimum contact preferably with legal boundaries established. He did this to the family, no you, not the children. If you think this is hard on the children now, it would be tremendously confusing for them to have you two back together and then watch you try to deal with the mess. You cannot live happily with your emotional abuser (and, maybe physical – if you’ve unknowingly contracted a STD).

    To be honest, he sounds self-entitled and completely out of touch. I hope that you have the strength to move forward and save your sanity and your children’s sense of well-being. Hugs.

  • Over the years, the more I study and the more experiences I hear about, I have come to believe “that person” never really existed. These dysfunctional folks put on a personality like a new suit of clothes, acting out a role like a highly accomplished actor. There is nothing of value in them. They are hollow shells, filled with evil intent.

    I understand this belief goes contrary to the concept of redemption and forgiveness. But you cannot redeem a value that never was there, or forgive something that there is no remorse for.

  • Dammit, she threw him back.
    Got an email from her last night (I didn’t respond) & he showed up shortly after.

    He’s on the lease, & I can’t remove him without just cause, & cheating isn’t in the list of options. (in my state divorce papers are filed & request is made that he must move out of home, and then granted by judge.)

    I moved to my daughters room last night.
    I’ve been re-reading all the comments, shoring up my resolve that I will not participate in this again.
    But I’m scared.

    • How about packing up the kids and going to your parents’ home? Or asking them to come to you?

      In a way, it’s good that it’s a lease. You won’t be wrangling over property.

      I would think threatening you is on the list of options. Don’t be afraid to call the police.

      • In a sense, what I’m saying is that you can’t make him leave but YOU AND THE KIDS CAN LEAVE. If your folks or a sibling can come to you for Christmas, then when the holiday is over, you can get the heck out if he continues to escalate.

        Remember: YOU ARE NOT PLAN B. You were his wife, and those were his kids, and he was willing to discard you for this mess he got involved in. You are not Plan B.

    • Jacki, I’m a UK chump, so I don’t know how things work in the US, plus different states have different laws.

      However, ex fucktard left to live with his rat faced whore; ie: he had a different domicile. This was crucial, in that my solicitor argued since the fuckwit had somewhere else to live, it was not reasonable for him to claim our joint property was a free for all he could return to anytime he liked. The Court agreed.

      I don’t know what state you live in, or what its laws are, but is this maybe something that could be reasonably argued, ie: he left to live somewhere else, so it isn’t reasonable for him to simply move back in to your shared property?

      In whatever case, LAJ sums it up beautifully. *You can leave*. If you have family/friends you can stay with, great. A hotel, B&B, if you can afford it. Alternatively, given the creepy threat, a shelter for domestic abuse victims. Because I agree with others above, this shit bag sounds like really bad news – he’s threatening you. This is such a scary horrible shit show, I’m so sorry.

      We’re all here for you. ((hugs)).

      I would also make the police, family and friends, aware of his threats. This shit needs to be documented. ???? Xx

    • Jacki,

      I don’t know the circumstances of your state, just the way you wrote that makes his coming back to the house sound so aggressive. I know people have insisted on knowing your boundaries and that understanding that you are letting him back in is something to think about. But it sounds as though if you had the choice you wouldn’t have him in your home, but because his name is on the lease and he shows up on the doorstep, you are feeling intimidated.

      As someone who had their own apartment, and still felt incredibly intimidated by a guy showing up at my place, and whose trauma response was to fawn and let him in, and then end up in another couple of years of relationship with him, I just want you to recognize that he is being aggressive and taking advantage of your compromised ability to say no.

      When I think of the trauma and real need behind my inability to protect myself, the way that because I’d never had protection, I had not grown a consciousness that knew itself deserving of protection and care, and that my defenselessness was advertised in the ineffective ways I tried and failed to say no, I just want to reach out and give you a whole bunch of video game power ups to keep your boundaries, trust that part of you that doesn’t trust him, and learn to observe him without telling him about what you’re observing.

      I wish you good energy to protect yourself and your kids and your assets. I’m up late on Christmas Eve and I just want to say that I’m thinking about you.

      • You brought tears to my eyes, and I just wanted to say Thank you for your kindness & compassion.
        (For everyone’s, truly)
        I will make it through.
        If I’ve learned anything, it’s that I have an inner strength that will bring myself & my children through to the other side, & I will no longer compromise on my value, no matter what.

    • So sorry about the situation you and your kids are in. I would definitely consider moving out if he won’t if it’s a lease.

      My FW was not threatening me but we was completely passive about filing for divorce and renting his own place when he declared us “separated”. He stayed at an undisclosed location, would come regularly to visit the kids and I would have to leave my own house to not be around him, and he too was in the lease so I felt stuck. So I found a little place to rent and moved out with my kids. He moved back into the old place where all his stuff still was. I downsized but turns out I didn’t need that much space without all his crap, and my new place was clutter and FW free. My situation was much simpler than yours but these FW can be very passive and think you’ll continue to be the nice little wife appliance regardless because that’s what they’re used to, so decide what’s the best for you and do it I guess is my point.

  • I may get some flap for this but it seems men that make the choice to be a stay at home parent…it never works out. I’ve seen couples go through periods where it is feasible for a short period and there is a game plan for the husband to eventually go back to work but mostly I’ve witnessed the working wife, work all week and still take on the majority of child rearing and household duties. Both husband and wife seem to have resentment with this set up. I’m sure there is the exception to the rule, I’ve just never witnessed the exception. Also, there is resentment when the man works full time, the wife chooses to stay at home (but could work) and finances are strained.

    • You are right actually. It caused more issues that just grew yearly.
      I also didn’t realize how much resentment I felt, how much I had allowed myself to wither.
      Never again.

      • Stay strong. Same time next year you will be making new memories with your children without him around. It will get better.

  • Jacki, call a domestic abuse line or shelter as soon as you can. Get out immediately. He made threats to you, and demanded to be allowed back. You and your kids are not safe.

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